Personal Versus Promotional

I’m not having as much fun online as I used to. When I first got serious about social networking, I had a core group of people that I interacted with very regularly on Facebook and Twitter. It was personal and it was fun. I made a lot of real friends. When I met some of these people at Bouchercon, it was as if I already knew them.

Now I seem to have lost contact with many of them. Part of the problem is time. I just never have enough time to read all the blogs I want to and say Hi to all my online friends — and still earn a living, while writing also writing novels.

Another part of the problem is Facebook’s reconfiguration. I’ve lost the ability to see friends’ updates in one easy-to-read page. The home page is not the same, because it has photos and games and gifts too. I miss the update-only page. That’s how I got to know people and interact with them.

And part of the problem is volume. The more people I have in my online spheres, the less personal, and the less frequent, my contact is with any one individual.  That seems inevitable. Bigger businesses, bigger schools — their constituents suffer the same issue. It’s hard to feel cozy in a crowd.  The people I interact with are probably experiencing the same thing and have less time for me.

But for promotional efforts, volume is good. Right? The point is to reach as many people as possible. Get your name and work out there. Reaching people in a personal way though feels better to me than simply making contact.
My spheres continue to grow — only because I’m friending and following people who come to me. I’m not spending any time trying to expand. But I’ll never turn anyone away either.

I finally download Tweetdeck, hoping it would help me stay in contact with some of the people I’ve come to really care about, but I haven’t had the time to figure out how to use it properly. (I really just want to create a group and have it show up as a column.) And I made lists on Facebook, only to discover it still doesn’t give me their updates when I look at that group.

Some people might say you have to make a choice — personal or promotional — you can’t have both. They may be right, but I don’t have to like it.

So what now? There is no going back, only forward. Is anyone else experiencing this? How are you handling it?

8 Comments
  1. Hi LJ,

    Hey – I completely understand your dilemma. You found digital networking a great way to connect with people you’d want to meet anyhow. But – your need to use social media for professional promotion and marketing has begun to trump your social needs.

    My solution: Maintain two identities – it’s easy! One of them could be your “LJ Sellers – Promo” ID and you could use that one to connect with many many people, post interesting tidbits, incent folks’ curiosity and generate greater name recognition – all the various things you’d normally want to do as you promote your work.

    The other could be whatever you like. Other authors, random people you just happen to want to stay connected with personally, etc.

    Separation of church and state, baby, it’s the only way! 🙂

    As a side note, my own view, and that of many folks who’ve discussed this topic on LinkedIn ad infinitum, is that at somewhere around 350-500 connections, most people lose the ability to connect more personally with individuals. It’s like living in a little town vs. living in a big city!!!

    LJ, since we connected, I’ve been amazed by your persistence, work ethic and great style. I even bought The Sex Club and read it – liked it! because I feel like I know you a bit – and I love reading books by my friends! 🙂 I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as you extricate yourself from the business vs. social quandary. Hope the multiple identity notion is helpful to you.

    Cheers

    -Jeff

  2. I have enjoyed Twitter, because it has connected me more quickly to a variety of people/information vs. an Internet search. I have resisted Facebook, because I’m trying to write and my distractions are large enough without it. I like personal interaction too. Many times I feel compelled to respond to a Tweet and then think, “They won’t care what I think.” Either way, Twitter gives me that outlet.

  3. Oh man, this post really hit home for me. I used to only have about five blogs I visited on a regular basis, and then the list slowly grew…and now I don’t have time to visit half of the ones I love. Heck, I haven’t even had time to add some to my blogroll so I can keep track of them.

    Facebook is great for finding old friends, but I’m trying very hard not to add too many people so I can keep track of those personal and business connections that I want to stay on top of… I don’t think you have to necessarily choose, but it’s a very hard balancing act!

  4. On facebook, you can put people into groups on the backend, then only look at updates from specific groups. Some of the groups I’ve set up are Family, NYC friends, photographers, DC friends, Cali friends, High School, College, etc.

    Anyway, make a group with the core people you’re interested in keeping tabs on, and then let facebook know, you only want to see those.

    Best of luck!

  5. Thanks, Jeffrey, for your continued support. I’m considering the two identities. And thanks, Bitter, for the helpful advice. I’ll try it.

  6. Don’t know about Facebook and the others, but with Twitter the problem seems to be that the more people we follow, the less we see of those people. And the few ones who are “friends” get lost in the mass of tweets. And the more things we do to promote books, the less time we have to connect.

    Sounds like a Catch-22 to me!

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

  7. Hi LJ,

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people on Facebook are starting up fan pages, getting the word out (and ignoring the comments over on Twitter about egocentrics) and then deleting the people off their personal page once they’ve converted over to the fan page, leaving just the folks they truly know/interact with.

    Tweetdeck is great for creating groups. I also find that by using Google Reader, I can queue in hashtags and other key words to follow a conversation, say “agentfail” or “queryfail” etc. and read them at my leisure.

    I hope you’re able to find a happy medium!

    ~Kathie

  8. Great blog, i need some time to think about this. happens all the time

    Follow me on Twitter

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