Social Networking—Take Time to get Your Feet Wet

We live in an exciting time as writers. We have more ways of
interacting with our readers and each other than ever before. In addition to
email, there are blogs to read and comment on, Facebook and Twitter to connect,
not to mention the new options of YouTube and LinkedIn. But this excitement can
also lead to overload and burnout. Here are some tips to help you ease in
without overwhelming valuable writing time.
  • Set Priorities – I recommend you pick
    one or two applications to concentrate on before you move on to others. For
    example, I started with a blog and Facebook about the same time, but waited
    until I was comfortable keeping them current before I added Twitter and
    LinkedIn into my routine.
  • Set a Time Limit – I could spend all
    day moving from emails, to Facebook, to blogs, to Twitter, to . . . well you
    get the idea. I set specific times to do my social networking. There are
    exceptions, but for me to actually write—which is the point, after all—I have
    to stick to a schedule.
  • Realize There’s a Learning Curve – When
    something new comes along—I have to give myself permission to not be an instant
    expert. We hear buzzwords like intuitive and
    user friendly and immediately think
    there’s something wrong with us if we don’t pick it up easily.
  • Don’t Fall for the Hype – I’m guilty of
    being one of those who’s excited about new ways to connect. In the spirit of
    encouragement, I’ll tell those around me, “You’ve got to try  ____________________!” There are lots of cool applications out
    there—but none of them is the right answer for everyone.
  • Accept that Social Networking Makes
    EVERYONE Feel Overwhelmed –
    I don’t care who they are, or who they work
    for—no one can keep up. The business is just changing too quickly. Feeling overwhelmed
    is part of the picture, just accept it and go on.

I love social networking—and I get a lot of business through
it—but even I have to be careful and not let it take over my life. Seth Godin,
one of the most popular bloggers on the Internet recently posted a blog  about ways to keep this monster in check. If he struggles with this issue,
there’s definitely hope for the rest of us.
Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in
the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing
blog, The Write Conversation.
She has two bestselling books, an eBook, Social
Media Marketing for Writers
as well as a devotional available in
print and eBook format, Fighting
Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle.