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Social Media for the Socially Awkward (AKA: me)

I tend to avoid personal growth like the plague. Or pleated pants.

If something’s going to inspire soul-searching, introspection or the pain of change, I’m out.

But Vickie’s great post about Twitter got me thinking, which led to that dreaded introspection—and a discovery.

I’m afraid of social media.

Social_media_fear_0

I’m terrified of Twitter, petrified of Pinterest, and intimidated by Instagram. I can Facebook. Kind of. But that’s only because I’ve posted about silly stuff for years.

It’s this business of “professional” posting as part of the author gig that sends me into a tailspin of hyperventilating anxiety. Despite the fact that I ghost-post for my clients on social media, I’m the very definition of socially awkward.

Want someone to show up at your party with salsa stains on her shirt? Invite me.

Looking for a conversationalist well-versed in awkward pauses and far too much information about serial killers?

serialkillers

Call me. Or don’t. I won’t answer because I don’t do phones.

Social media amplifies my concerns about doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, or the grown-up equivalent of not getting picked for the kickball team. Each time I log into a social media channel, I’m paralyzed by indecision.

For Twitter:

What am I supposed to tweet about?

Which is better: liking or re-tweeting?

Is there a re-tweeting protocol?

For Instagram:

How does one craft a visual brand?

What’s a filter?

Should I share that picture of what I’m pretty sure is a planter’s wart as a way to double-check symptoms?

Even Facebook seems fraught with pitfalls:

Do I post author news only on my author page and personal stuff only on my personal page?

Is tagging people to congratulate them okay, or does it just give them one more thing to deal with?

Do I wish a Facebook friend (but not a real-life friend) a happy birthday? Or is that the digital version of sending a singing telegram to someone’s workplace: a nice gesture, but….

So many questions. So much awkwardness. And so many social media mistakes already made.

I’ve tagged the wrong people, mixed up my personal and author page posts and, my personal favorite, accidentally used the ha-ha laugh icon rather than the love/heart one due to phone glitches. Which means that I’ve ha-ha’d surgical updates, children’s performances, and wedding photos rather than loved them.

Yeah, not good.

I’ve also accidentally used a question mark rather than an exclamation point when replying to someone’s post. “Congratulations?” sounds a LOT different than “Congratulations!”

The saving grace is that despite my incorrigible awkwardness, my author and reader friends on social media welcome me with open arms and nary a side-eye. They respond to my attempts to reach out with love and support. They share my happiness. Commiserate. Celebrate. Treat me like one of the gang, even though I feel like the new girl at school.

This new girl:

superstar

How about you? Are you a social media maven? Do you tweet triumphantly and Facebook fabulously? Or is the social stuff, both online and digital, hard for you? Please share. In the meantime, I’ll be posting photos of my foot on Instagram.

43 thoughts on “Social Media for the Socially Awkward (AKA: me)

  1. Your post is so me! I’ve gotten to where I am somewhat comfortable with Facebook, but I don’t even try any of the other social media platforms. I also have anxiety about posting comments on blog posts like this one — “Should I post a comment — most of the other comments seem to be made by other authors. I’m just a reader…what should I do?” Thanks for a blog post I can really relate to.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Chicks on the Case–

    Would you change my email contact from this address to regina.clarke.cozymystery@gmail.com ?

    Thank you very much!

    Regina

    On Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 3:15 AM Chicks on the Case wrote:

    > Kathleen Valenti posted: “I tend to avoid personal growth like the plague. > Or pleated pants. If something’s going to inspire soul-searching, > introspection or the pain of change, I’m out. But Vickie’s great post about > Twitter got me thinking, which led to that dreaded introspecti” >

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Regina, We’ll figure this out in Chick Land (not all of us are allowed to touch the email settings), and make the change asap. If it needs to be requested through the system by you, we’ll be in touch. (Guess you can see which Chick isn’t allowed near the email settings, but wanted you to know we saw this.)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s a SinC workshop on this next week, by the way.

    I have no idea if I’m doing anything right. I use Twitter usually for more political stuff or to connect with authors who don’t do FB. Lately, the other Keenan Powell and I have been tweeting each other GIFs from movies we’ve seen 5 times or more. We have devolved from impressing each other with our good taste (Other: Lawrence of Arabia. Me: Casablanca) to less so (Other: Batman. Me: Star Wars IV.)

    FB I do happy stuff except we’re having political drama in Alaska and most Alaskans are on FB so that’s where we’re organizing.

    Instagram: Pretty pictures.

    Don’t forget Bookbub and Goodreads. They’re social media too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sounds like you have a great balance! And confession: I never do Bookbub or Goodreads. For some reason, those particular social media REALLY intimidate me!

      Now I’m going to have read the Keenan Powell(to the second power) tweets! There’s another Kathleen Marie Valenti in Oregon with an impressive rap sheet. Maybe we’d have some interesting social media banter! (Or not.)

      Liked by 3 people

      • I have a Google alert set to my name. The clearly more famous Becky Clark is one of the winningest softball coaches this side of the Mississippi. (Or the other side, can’t remember where she’s from.) So depressing I might just have to start coaching softball.

        Like

  4. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t an author, I wouldn’t have much, if any, social media presence, Kathleen. I’ve never felt that my life is interesting enough to share. On the other hand, I’ve met so many wonderful and kind folks through social media that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.
    Now, I need to go and post a picture of my cat. She’s the one thing in my life people do find entertaining. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nope! Nope! Nope! I’m all about that Anti-Social Media. I stalk Facebook(as my husband); my Twitter profile pic is of a recent book cover; and my profile pic on Goodreads is this lovely AT 20/20 microphone. I do not discuss politics, or your daughter’s wedding, or even my favorite Hobby (Which Shall Not Be Named here). I’m all, Slam-Bam-Thank-you-for-reviewing-my-book!
    I’ve been saying to the hubby that I’m gonna hafta get a facebook profile, and a real picture, simply because I’ve gotten some *mentions* on audiobook fan pages, and they can’t *tag* me, so I can’t interact and thank them profusely (…and nod robotically thru a long response about their daughter’s wedding…) and offer them my next AUDIOBOOK!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Yes, Yes, A thousand times yes!

    Kathleen, you’re braver than I am, as I don’t have accounts on any platforms for two main reasons. The pesky full-time job results in way too much staring at a computer screen and I consider most social media platforms to be evil empires.

    There’s a breakdown of social norms as most trollers seem to revel in destruction instead of construction (yikes, did that come across as too mean?). Sites like Chicks on the Case is a supportive environment and one of the few blog posts that I follow.

    I’m also terrified of writing/saying the wrong thing on these platforms. It’s drummed into us that electronic words live on forever so be very, very careful what you say.

    I applaud you for seeking ways to connect with us, while balancing all of those challenges!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This all rings so true for me. I do like Facebook for reconnecting with high school friends, seeing dog videos, and learning about book releases. But the pressure to “post fun and relevant material” for an author is no fun. As for Twitter, I simply do not get it. So I’ll stick to what I (sort of) understand.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m with you! I think finding that fun-and-relevant material could be a full-time job. (In fact, it is for people who are social media specialists!) My hat’s off to social media mavens. As for Twitter, I wish I knew what I was doing! I keep hoping I’ll catch on.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I have many social media accounts. It’s just as important for a blogger as an author. If not, I probably would have closed several of them years ago.

    I just got on to Instagram a couple months ago. I’ve had an account for years but never really used it. I’m enjoying it, but I’ve also discovered it is extremely dangerous. I found an account that posts pictures of new Disney pins. I’ve now found two new limited edition series I must buy. Got several of them off eBay last night with more to buy.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. LOL, this is great, Kathy! I’m on Twitter and Instagram, but man, those sites confound me. I feel totally social awkward on them, and don’t think I put them to good use, business-wise. Both can be fun in their own way, but they’re also damn daunting! I get FB the most. Not sure why. Thoughts, anyone?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Same here! I can get around Facebook okay, but I’m lost on the other platforms. Twitter moves way too fast for me. I feel like I’m shouting into a void. I’ve never even tried Instagram since I already know I’d be hopeless.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Thanks, Kathy, this is great! Facebook feels more like a commitment to me, while Twitter is a casual relationship. I toss a couple of hashtags out there and walk away. While on FB I’ll actually worry about some cyber friend if I haven’t seen a post from them in a while, like “Gee, I hope she’s okay”! (BTW, I won’t show up at your party with a salsa stain on my shirt, but I’ll probably have one by the time I leave. I also snort when I laugh. I’m entertaining that way!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha! I love a good snort-laugh! And great analogy about the committed Facebook versus casual Twitter relationship. It’s nice to know that we’re looking out for–and missing–each other!

      Like

  12. I think I like Twitter best because it’s so random it’s almost like a dispersion of responsibility for me. You jump on and jump off, and really, no one cares whether you’re there or not. (Yeah, I know. So why do it, right?) But I find So. Many. Ways. to fritter time on Twitter. I spend a lot of time on Facebook just reading my feed, lol. The platform that terrifies me? Instagram. I also lurk on that one, and I think I’ve posted 2 dog pix. Every time I open the app, I screw up and hit the video share thing, which scares me so much I exit pronto. Last summer I tried Facebook Live at a Beach Boys concert. What a disaster. People literally laughed at the result. No more Lisa Live!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I “got” Facebook right away and it’s always been intuitive and fun to me. It’s just not nearly as much fun as it used to be. Before facebook, I’d post those kinds of things on my blog, but now that I do so much of that on fb, I’m kind of at a loss as to what to post on my blog! I don’t get twitter AT ALL and I’ll never be on there. Instagram and Pinterest are fun, but such a time-suck. BookBub and Goodreads require me to have a profile, but I don’t do much, if anything, on either one.

    I wouldn’t worry about any of it, folks. Play on the playground that makes sense to you and be your authentic self. That’s all people want … that’s the “social” in social media!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m no maven, but I thought I was doing okay until you mentioned visual brand and filter. Oh, dear.
    I don’t understand if you’re trying to build an audience you show grossness on your body. I’ll ready a cozy murder, but I don’t want to see your oozy, bloody wounds. Sorry.
    Cozy, yes. Oozy, no thank you.
    Fun post, Kathleen!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have done all of the above. I’m on FB. A little too much on my personal page, and hardly any on my author page. Thanks for letting me know that I’m not alone in the social media struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

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