Critical Meeting Places
I’m sitting at my desk and contemplating social media and how it fits into my writing career. I have been doing research on how best to build the best online structures into place to support my writing career. With my initial focus on social media, I have made a number of changes to my existing social media presence. This was quite a lengthy admin process and so plenty of cups of coffee were consumed, in the making! Have you found yourself doing the same social media exercise?
I had an existing professional Facebook page but this was about my writing career and my career as a psychotherapist, combined. That had built up a following of around 300 people, which was pretty pleasing. Research suggested, however, that my page would not flourish as a venue for those interested in me as a writer, as long as the page remained ‘watered down’ by the message of my other career; psychotherapy.
I created a new professional Facebook page, dedicated solely to my writing career. I took the uncomfortable step of closing down my former page with its 300 followers. I posted a notice, inviting those page followers to come and join me at my new page. Many of them did, which was lovely.
I am pleased to say that there are already almost 90 followers to my new professional Facebook page. One of the things I enjoy about it, is the level of engagement that comes from those who follow my page. It is so nice to see people taking an interest in writing, in books and all things literary. That is what I had hoped for.
I want people to fall in love with reading all over again. I want people to enjoy books and e-books and to explore their imaginations. I hope that many will also go on to be inspired to write, whether purely for their own enjoyment or with a view to sharing their writing with others. To see people visit my page and not only message me, but that they are now chatting with fellow page followers on the various posts that I make is a complete joy. I truly aim, over time, for the page to become a resource for them. I hope it will become a meeting place where people share with each other, while having a cuppa and a break in their day, their love of the written word.
My next task was to apply my research to my Twitter page. Again, my Twitter page was a blend of my two professional worlds; writing and psychotherapy. This had become too unfocused and, although I had built a decent sized following of 1200 followers, it was time to make changes.
Again, I decided to simply start a new page. I deleted my former Twitter page and I created a new Twitter page (find me on Twitter: @DeanParsonsUK) focused solely upon my writing career. This was only yesterday but I’m pleased to have already achieved around 40 followers in little more than twenty-four hours. What is particularly notable, already, is that among these new followers are fellow writers. I am already learning so much from them and many have made contact with me and offered me helpful tips and lovely feedback. I hope that both fellow writers and readers will join me at my new Twitter page.
I recently dabbled with an Instagram page. Sure enough, I developed a good following numbering in the hundreds in almost no time at all, but the level of engagement was very different. I also found the format, and the way that Instagram is used, to be somehow uncomfortable. So much of what I saw on there was either about the huge egos of people or, conversely, the almost crippling insecurities of others. Body dysmorphia and the expression of all things depressive were all too present on Instagram. I may revisit Instagram in the future, but for now it didn’t seem the right sort of platform.
I am happy that I have achieved the social media platforms that best suit my needs; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and here on WordPress. The task in hand, when I put down my coffee cup, is to now build on what I have created and to learn more about who my audience is on each of these sites.
There are so many writers online offering advice about how to build a social media following. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to build a following just for the sake of increasing numbers. For me, it is about getting people to think, to critically analyse and to debate. If people explore, consider and process, then there is development, insight and connection. That is how we break down barriers, share and learn from each other.
(C) Dean Parsons 2019.