I’ll pause while ya’ll gasp in shock.
Sadly this doesn’t just go into physical interactions. It extends into the digital world as well.
I do not understand Twiiter. I’ve tried, people my age (at the grand old ripeness of 39) and older have told me about the ease in which it works. They’ll pull up their account to show me – “look, see? It’s easy,” they say.
I nod sagely at this revelation, and the individual in question smiles and begins blathering on about something on their feed and what not.
They do not realize that inside I’m screaming. I want to clap my hands over my eyes and wilt to shut out the noise of it all.
The columns and posts and feeds are visually chaotic to me. Even though most of it is in English (barring abbreviations, #anything, and web addresses), it feels to me as though someone shoved me in a room with five hundred people, all of them talking at once, each in a foreign language unknown to me and each a conversation topic that is totally incongruous with the one person (or persons) whom they are talking to are speaking on, and told “just be social. You’ll do fine.”
I have an account. I’ve piddled with it. I don’t understand it. I’ve tried searching the web for a “Twitter for Dummies” tutorial. I’ve tried lurking on accounts that I’ve chosen to follow, just trying to get a handle on it all. I’ve tried interacting.
I honestly do not get it and I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of everything on it. It’s like a rabbit freezing in the headlights of a massive semi-truck on the highway.
Facebook hits me the same way.
Jesus, Ishtar and Buddha – how am I supposed to be able to utilize social media to do ANYTHING in the realm of promotion? I understand the idea is to just lean back and be social, but I’m not social. I get that one must cultivate “friends” and “followers” years in advance of publishing , but I don’t even do that in person. There are, right now, maybe 3-5 people I am willing to physically hang out with. 3 of them are out of state and I never see them. 2 of them I can literally only handle 1 hour every two weeks or so. I literally get drained within 30 minutes of interacting with anybody, even my own family. When my children bring a single friend over to play? Oh, ye gods.
I’ve read various tactics – post about your hobbies, tv shows or movies you like.
I like to read, fiber arts like weaving, archery, writing (duh). But the only thing I read anymore is non-fiction histories and archaeology books because that’s what INTERESTS ME. “OMG Jeffreys-Jones History of the FBI is so interesting! #americanhistory #FBI” or “Have you read the fiber analysis of the grave good finds in The Mummies of Urumchi? *SQUEEEEE!!!!!* #history #mongolia #weaving #fiberarts”
Yeah. That’ll go viral.
I haven’t woven or even knit or crocheted or shot archery in forever because I can’t do that and write and take care of two kids at the same time. I don’t watch tv because there’s very little on that is interesting to me. I’ve built most of a Little Free Library (haven’t set it up yet) and lurked on their “channel” (is that what it’s called?) but I don’t understand the communication flow.
It overwhelms me. It crushes me. It is literally terrifying to me.
I’ve tried taking “baby-steps” – building up my tolerance to it with short bursts of lurking or an occasional post, but it seems to irritate me more and more each time. I’ve read the advice posted by people like Kristin Lamb – you can’t live/promote a book AT ALL without the social media bits – you’re doomed to horrible death and despair if you do not. Others say if you can’t stand Tweeting, then for the love of God, don’t Tweet.
How, exactly, does one stand out, be social, attract followers and what not by being honest when, honestly, everything is so overwhelming you’re terrified? Good lord, even blogging is a trial. Should I post this? What about that? Will anyone actually like it? Maybe that isn’t such a good idea. What am I trying to SAY in this post? Keep it short, but expound when necessary, do this, not that, over here, do it again, no, not that – the other thing, you know.
I can’t even sell myself in a live interview to get a damned job. I have to know someone already there who can vouch for me and say “Yeah, she is about a degree or two off-center, but once she starts working, shit gets DONE.” I’ve even had hiring managers tell me “I have no idea why, but for some reason they want YOU.”
How do you sell a book when you’re that person?