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  • Writer's pictureDouglas James Troxell

Social Media: The Double-Edged Sword

Social media is a double-edged sword for a writer. It's a common belief that a writer should have a strong social media presence to help connect with and attract readers. Most agents expect prospective clients to have a strong platform (the dreaded "P" word) before they'll consider signing them (Mainly because they like to do as little work as possible).

So the question is, how much time should writers devote to social media?

Although this isn't exclusive to writers, social media can be a black hole where free time goes to die a surprisingly quick death (Seriously, where did the hours go?). There are only so many free hours in the day. Those hours can be spent writing or posting on social media. That's where the paradox of social media comes into play. Does a writer spend precious time writing so he has projects to promote on social media? Or does one spend spend time gaining a following on social media so readers are there when the writer finally has something to promote?

Like everything else in life, balance seems to be the best approach.

I am notoriously bad at social media. For example, my goal is to post a blog post on my website at least once a month. Imagine my surprise when I saw that I hadn't posted anything since January. Personally, I would much rather spend my time in my own fantasy worlds dealing with imaginary people I create than with potentially imaginary people who live on the internet. That's why I try to schedule my social media time to force myself to do it (Obviously, it doesn't always work). When I have a release looming, I lean heavy into social media to get the word out to my Troxellites that something new is on the way.

But when I'm deep down the rabbit hole, it's tough to tear myself away from whatever fictional world I've submerged myself in. I have to remind myself to come up for air. Sometimes it can be months before I realize how long I've dwelled down in the deep.

In a way, our fictional worlds and social media share several similarities. Neither are completely real and both are populated by saints, sinners, friends, enemies, and psychos. But social media doesn't offer the same high as real writing. I hate the manufactured feeling of the whole thing. Nothing feels real and oftentimes it feels like yelling into the void. Sure, there are literally millions of people out there, but how many are actually listening?

Give me my imagined world over the phony world of the internet any day. But, seriously, thanks for reading and don't forget to buy my book, stranger on the internet!

Don't forget to check out my latest novel, Cheshire Moon, that deals with the simulated life we've created for ourselves via technology. You can buy it right here!


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