I overheard two women at the pool griping about Facebook in the locker room. “Who cares what people have had for lunch?” one said to the other. “Strangers are not your friends,” complained the other. “And Twitter is even worse!” I wondered if either one of them had tried the sites, or just disliked them on principal. Every new advance has its naysayers. I’m sure people complained about the telephone (it’s not like being with someone, you can’t see the expressions on their faces!) and email (no one will ever write a letter again!), but the truth is if the new things were less convenient we probably all wouldn’t be doing them.
I resisted Facebook for awhile (and email back in the day) because I didn't get why it would make my life easier. But all in all I’m a social kind of gal. I like parties, I like to chat and I like to hang out. The computer is a little less friendly, but I’m happy to be able to keep up with friends in far away places. There were plenty of people from high school and college that I had lost track of, and I’m happy to hear what they’re up to. I keep up with people I met recently at conferences, and love hearing about their book deals and other writing triumphs.
The biggest problem, as so many have stated so eloquently right here, is that it’s difficult to find time these days to do a writer’s main job – writing books. We write blogs, we write emails and we write updates on sites, and that takes away from the time we have to write books. Or be with family. Or exercise. Or sleep. So what’s the solution?
There is none that I can see. Cold turkey means cutting ourselves off from our social networks, and from fans. I've definitely found new readers through social media and sold books to people I've never met (without burning any gas). But moderation is definitely the key. You can easily spend a whole day tweeting or checking Facebook updates, and never get any writing done. So I ramp up my participation when I have news to share (to avoid accusations of sharing my breakfast choices), a book to promote, or events to invite people to attend. And I dial it all back when I need to finish my book. After all, without the writing, we would have nothing to promote.
So friend me on Facebook, follow my tweets (and I'll follow yours), but don't get offended if I occasionally wander off. I'll be back -- hopefully with a new book to share.