My Love / Hate Relationship with Social Media

broken heartI don’t know about you, but some days I find keeping up with blogs, Twitter, and Facebook (not to mention Goodreads and Pinterest) to be quite … challenging.

A plethora of content is generated daily, even hourly. News is shared minute-by-minute. You get that terrible feeling of being “behind” if you ‘re out of touch for half an hour.

While there’s a lot of useless chatter out there, the real problem for me is that there’s so much that’s valuable. I can’t imagine how I’d know what’s going on in publishing, how I’d stay up on blogging techniques, how I’d get constant inspiration and business advice, without the relentless stream of blogs I read.

I’d rarely know when there was a TV show worth watching without Twitter. I’d certainly have no clue what my friends were up to or when their birthdays are, without Facebook.

But it’s a challenge, isn’t it, to balance attention to the persistent “incoming” with time spent doing everything else?

What kind of toll is this taking on us? I think we all struggle with a distracted focus. We can get easily sucked in to the useless chatter online and we have to take intentional steps to discipline ourselves. There can be anxiety because we never feel we can do enough, and we are forced to constantly filter and make judgments about what’s important and what isn’t. What deserves our attention, and what doesn’t. And there is the time lost—time taken from other valuable pursuits, or time taken from what used to be our down time.

And that’s not even taking into account the pressure to create content for blogs and social media. I’ll be honest, I absolutely love the way the Internet and social media have changed our social lives and businesses… right up to the point where I hate it and wish it would all go away.

What is the value of all this information? How much do we retain? How much does it actually inform our business, our decisions, and our lives?

Is social media worth the time we spend on it?

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Tim Chan on December 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Here’s what my wife thinks:

    “I love it because it allows me to connect with people I would otherwise have a difficult time being able to connect with. I hate it because it aggravates my struggle with being content with the life I already have.”

    More of her thoughts here:

  2. Nan Kilmer on June 17, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    On a recent MAD MEN episode Roger commented to Don–“So you are drinking with a purpose!?” after hearing one morning of yet another harrowing situation for the agency. I remind myself to tweet, blog, type,link in and communicate with a purpose other than revealing my dinner plans or favorite celebrity.
    Don replied “I am tired of this piddly shit”.

    We all should at least TRY to avoid piddly shit and communicate on line and off–with purpose.
    And everything in moderation. ( <:

  3. Dale S. Rogers on June 16, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    I love the information I gather and the connections I make, but I get frustrated when it takes away from my writing time.

  4. Friday Features #8 | Yesenia Vargas on June 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    […] My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media by Rachelle Gardner at Rachelle Gardner […]

  5. […] is a treasure trove of useful information for aspiring writers, has an interesting post entitled My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media. In her post, she poses a question to her readers: Is social media worth the time we spend on […]

  6. Tom Waite on June 5, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Great question – and I was captivated enough to read all the terrific responses (and you had MANY responses!). However, I have just emerged blurry-eyed from this micro-social media blitzkrieg to realize how much time has passed. Time to get back to writing!


  7. suzy sammons on June 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Alas, if we aren’t present for the LIVE relationship in our life, we have little of interest about which to write!

    Thanks Rachelle

  8. Lynn Rush on June 4, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    What a great discussion. 🙂 I’ve skimmed some of the comments, too, and love seeing all the different opinions. I just love social media. I can’t be involved in them all, so I pick a few and work to limit my time. Especially during edits!! It can be distracting if I let it.

    Thanks for the post!

  9. Lauren Smith on June 4, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Thanks for your thought provoking post :}. Social media can be a blessing when it is used for the right reasons and is in balance with real life connections. Author Jason Caston writes about how churches can utilize social media as an evangelistic tool in his book, The iChurch Method, which is an excellent resource for ministries:

  10. elise daly parker on June 4, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    “I absolutely love the way the Internet and social media have changed our social lives and businesses… right up to the point where I hate it and wish it would all go away.” Well put and so agree. How do we control social media without it controlling us? I’m working on making it a time and place for everything endeavor. I’m working with a timer and just giving social media some time, otherwise it could take all my time. There is so much to learn and glean, but I just can’t get other priorities done if I don’t limit the social media. Mixed blessings!

  11. Melanie Marttila on June 4, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    SoMe has to be managed and as I write this, I’m closing in on 2 hours of email, blog commenting, curating to FB, retweeting, etc., so I clearly haven’t figured out how to do that yet.
    But I’m working on it.
    Tools like Google reader a Hootsuite help, but there’s a strange dichotomy going on.
    On one hand, as we build platform, the goal is to garner thousands of followers, but on the other hand, the more followers you have, the more people you’re obliged to follow in return. That makes for a pretty thick forest through which to see the trees you really want to.
    It’s hard to stike a balance.
    I’m with you in so many ways.
    And I’m just a baby at this (blog started March 2012).
    I love it when I discover I’m not the only one feeling a little overwhelmed.
    Well, have to post and get on with the budiness of writing with what’s left of my night.
    Good luck and good writing!

  12. Lily-Bea Jenkins on June 4, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Busy, busy people we are. It reminds me of Uncle Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood to keep his patient distracted with little nothings. It certainly is exhausting to be a human in the 21st century. Information, like today’s modern currency, is becoming hyper-inflated thus diminishing its value.

  13. June on June 4, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I was on social media so much, that combined with my writing, my thumb joints became very painful. I finally, pretty much, gave up trying to keep track of everything.

    The Lord tells us to redeem the time and number our days. There are only so many hours in a day. The world is in an increasing state of chaos. I’ve decided I prefer to spend more of the little time I do have, studying the word of God and preparing myself for his kingdom that will govern the Earth in the future.

    I have no regrets about my decision.

  14. Diana on June 4, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    I am so glad to hear someone in the profession saying these things. I’ve often felt left behind, overwhelmed, and wondered; “Is it just me?” Apparently not. I like James Scott Bells’ comment. No kidding.

  15. Beth MacKinney on June 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Obviously there are a lot of opinions on this since I’m #133 (or so). I’d say social media can be good, but if you let it get out of hand, it’s not good. I try to find very informative blogs to read, and limit myself to just a few of them. I prefer short posts, so I avoid wordy writers. I want meat rather than fluff when it comes to writing and publishing.

  16. Susi Robinson Rutz on June 4, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    My online community includes many ministry leaders and those involved with Christian writing. We feed off one another. As we process each other’s updates through our own filters, that inspiration comes back out of us at new and fresh angles.

    Years ago, I decided I didn’t need to read every book published. I believed God led me to the ones that best benefited me. I take the same approach with social networking now, asking God to direct the choices I make. I don’t need to read every blog or have a presence on every social site.

  17. L.L. Muir on June 4, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    That’s it.
    I’m dropping it all.

    Except Twitter. I have to keep Twitter.
    And Facebook. I have to keep Twitter and Facebook.

    And my website. I have to keep Twitter and Facebook and my webiste.

    And…RWA loops…I have to go shoot myself now.

  18. Kristin Laughtin on June 4, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I feel you. As much as I’ve learned from social media, I’ve also found the stress of keeping up annoying to deal with. I’m paranoid I’ll miss the One Important Thing that will alter my future significantly, especially on Monday mornings like this one where I’m catching up on everything I missed over the weekend. I keep hoping that as time goes by, some sort of balance will make itself known, both in my own time management and the amount of content others are producing.

    I’ve started pruning the blogs I read to keep up, but new and interesting content is published every day. It’s a love/hate relationship for sure. Social media has a lot of benefits, even before one is published, but it also has the ability to cause stress and steal time from getting anything else done.

  19. […] Gardner’s (@RachelleGardner) post on [Her] Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media is unintentionally ironic: on the one hand she appreciates all she gets from all her social media […]

  20. Tyler H on June 4, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    I find that I just need to be careful with who I follow and how I schedule my time…if I’m just clicking refresh constantly it is definitely time for me to get up and do something more productive, but I couldn’t do what I do without social media thats for sure

  21. Jill on June 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I divide my writing life into two parts: when I was in my twenties before I decided to go back to school, and now in my thirties, post school. In my twenties, I researched in libraries. I checked out or bought the Writer’s Market tome. I went to conferences. I interviewed people. I did hands on stuff like visiting a cadaver lab and attending a first responders’ conference (I was writing mysteries in those days). When I sent off queries or stories or poems, I sent off paper copies.

    Now I stare at a computer for research. I talk to people online. I send off e-queries and e-manuscripts. I market myself, not solely with my writing, but with my online presence–my blog and facebook account. I can’t help but think my life hasn’t improved. But at the same time, I’ve made friends with writers from across the country, and I’ve made contacts that could aid me in my career.
    I don’t know what the answer is. I love the new way of things right up to the point where I hate it, too.

  22. Joanna K. on June 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I can relate to your struggle. I’m still trying to find my way with this new technology. But I also want to say that I am SO thankful that you take the time to write this blog! I have been helped, encouraged, and motivated by it for many months now. Thank you for investing in people you may never even meet. You are making a difference, and I think that, after all, is the best goal in life, eh?

  23. Emily Scifres on June 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Great thoughts and great comments!

    Social Media is such a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is absolutely necessary to maintain a presence, seeing as it is the communication forum of choice for upcoming generations.

    At the same time, like anything we don’t monitor, it can be a time/energy-eating monster if not given boundaries. Social Media outlets might not sleep, but people certainly must!

    1. Create yourself a manageable posting schedule.

    2. Balance it with a great proportion of face time.

    3. Don’t let it steal the joy of writing from your heart, because THAT is what your audience truly connects with.

  24. Ida on June 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I’m not on facebook or twitter although I do have two website set up.(my name plus pen name). I tried to go on Pinterest because
    some things looked interesting but it seems an account can only
    be opened through facebook or twitter. Probably just as well.
    I find I spend enough time on line as it is.

  25. Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Here is a pertinent article by Nell Terry that I just pick up on SiteReference

    The Fall of Social Networking? Written by Nell Terry on June 4, 2012 in Facebook, Google+, Social Media – No comments
    The Romanesque rise of social media over the past decade has whipped Internet users into a frenzy. We tweet, we Like, we +1. But as societies like Rome have learned time and again throughout the world’s history, the quicker the rise means the faster the fall. The Internet itself has become a global society, and social media provides the outlet through which the world interacts.

    Do you remember MySpace? If you do, let me save you the trouble of typing it into your browser’s address bar: Yes, it still exists. I deleted my profile ages ago, and I haven’t been on the site in, well, forever. But I still remember a time when it was the hot ticket round the ‘net. Facebook had yet to get its online sea legs and everyone I knew was on MySpace nearly 24/7 (the site was big during my college years). MySpace’s star shone bright, and it rose fast. Then, with the emergence of Facebook, it seemed to vanish into thin air literally overnight.

    This isn’t the first time power shifted amongst tech companies. Did you know that back in 2002, Yahoo tried to buy Google for a mere $3 billion? Yeah, that happened – and a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a search engine named Alta Vista ruled the Web.

    The point here is that the Internet is an ever-changing landscape. Social media as we know it is evolving right before our eyes, and though it might be hard to imagine Facebook suffering a MySpace-style demise (unthinkable!), in a few years, it could become a very real possibility. If the tech bubble of the late 90s taught us anything, it’s that Internet companies are incredibly volatile because they exist for and thrive on traffic – and traffic can be translated to consumer confidence, or “votes” for the website in question. Social networks are even more at risk because they are, by very definition, social. If a company like Facebook starts losing users, an unstoppable domino effect could potentially take place that would land them right in the backyards of some of their old, washed-up rivals.

    The Stock Market Says it All

    If ever there was ever a good measure of trends in the United States (and the world, for that matter), it would be the stock market. It’s how we can define the housing booms and busts, pinpoint the exact time when tech stocks plummeted, and it’s how we know that the crash of ’29 signaled the start of the Great Depression. The stock market tells tales, and the latest from Wall Street is a little story about Facebook:

  26. Bonnie Way on June 4, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I agree with you on the love/hate relationship. I focus on Twitter and Facebook, post blog updates to G+ (but rarely go there otherwise), and only drop in on Goodreads occasionally. I try to make sure that I’m interacting, but not spending too much time there. It’s a balancing act for me, I guess, and probably always will be. 🙂

  27. Lisa Gant on June 4, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I love this post! It gets right to the heart of the double-edged sword that is social media.

    A few short years ago, people could completely avoid it if they wanted to, but we now live in a world where Facebook and Twitter have become as much a part of our cultural landscape as TV and movies, if not more so. And there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.

    Personally, I’m okay with it. While it’s definitely critical that we each find balance between our online and offline lives, I believe that in general, the benefits of social media still outweigh the drawbacks. And that’s why I participate. Thanks for sparking the discussion!

  28. Dustan Stanley on June 4, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    For me, as a constant traveler, social media is a Godsend for communication. However, I recently deleted my personal facebook (kept the page) because of being bombarded with stuff I hated to read, AND I felt like I was being sucked into a black hole where time runs a million miles per hour for everyone else but I don’t notice. I still have the twitter and like it better simply because it’s a world of discovery where I am blessed my the people and articles I find.

  29. Crystal Laine Miller on June 4, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    If it weren’t for social media, I wouldn’t have found some of my best friends in writing. I’m in one group where we go back to the days of “I would like to write.” It started online because we are spread to the four corners of the world, but I would trust these writers with anything.

    I’m such an introvert, so while I like people and can “act” extroverted, I have to back off and find a quiet place to recharge. I would think extroverts have more trouble backing away from social media and blogs to get their work done, than introverts. However, I think if you’re a disciplined person, you can find balance.

    Moderation in all things.:) There will always be those who overindulge (and we all have weak moments,) and always those who do what they need to do to get their work done.

    And we all have moments of insanity or needing to just play. (Or we would be really dull.)

    I’m glad those authors who detest social media sometimes come out and blog, Twitter, FB, Goodreads, etc. Otherwise, I would lose track of them and might not notice when they have a new book out. I can think of a specific author who is completely out of the social media world and I was a big fan of her past fiction. She is still publishing books, but to be honest, I am no longer reading her books because she seems so distant and unknown and I don’t notice when her books come out. I lost interest in her and her books I have picked up to look at do not seem as interesting as in the past.

    Fun post! And insightful. Thanks.

  30. Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    “Words are undervalued as a means of expression. Pictures tend to trivialize experience.” –Attributed to Author Miller

    In the June 2007 issue of The Writer Chuck Leddy wrote kind of a neat article: First ‘typewriting machine’ infuriated Twain “In 1866, Scientific American looked into the future and prophesied a revolutionary new technology for writers: the typewriter. ‘Its manifest feasibility and advantage,’ the magazine said, ‘indicate that … the pen must, sooner or later, become obsolete.'” … “Among the first to purchase the new typewriters was Mark Twain, who loved newfangled gadgets (and would end up losing much of his fortune investing in them). … Twain was shocked when a representative from Remington & Sons asked permission to use Twain’s name in promoting its anemic sales. Twain responded in a letter: ‘Please do not use my name in any way … I don’t want people to know I own this curiosity-breeding little joker.'” Could Mark Twain, visionary that he was, have envisioned that we would be engaged in a writer’s social media debate in the year 2012?

    • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      My bad! That was of course the Author Arthur Miller not Author Miller.

      Sorry about that.

  31. Luke on June 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Great discussion. Not much point in hating SocMed (not going away), but life’s a lot better when I’m *with* my friends than when hanging out with them online.

    The birthdays aspect makes me grin. If they weren’t important enough for you to add it to your calendar … 🙂 Reminds me of the quip that birthday wishes on Facebook don’t really mean HB anymore, but simply “I’m on Facebook today, so I see it’s your birthday”. The phone calls and even emails rank far higher.

    The grip of social media, I think, boils down to FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.

    Also, even though I type much faster than I write, I somehow get far more writing done with a pen and notebook than when I attempt to write at the computer. Like now, for instance. 🙂 (Oh, I’ll just check that ONE link … ooh, what’s this? and that? etc)


    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      I’d read that link, but I don’t have the time. GRIN.

  32. S.M. Hutchins on June 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I, too, have a love/hate relationship with social media. You summed it up nicely. I want to be able to see what’s going on, but I don’t want to be on my phone or computer all the time checking things. I’m trying to be more conscious about having social media time rather than whenever wherever.

  33. Chris on June 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    If one doesn’t know how to use SM, then my answer is a resounding “NO.”

    I’ll admit that it can be worth the time if used sparingly and wisely for the “right” reasons; i.e. networking with agents, other authors, mutually beneficial relationships.

    • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      I couldn’t agree more Chris. Humorist Marc Acito (How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater) put so very succinctly: “Become a part of your writing community. It’s not a matter of who you know. It’s a matter of who knows you.”

  34. Felicia on June 4, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    That’s easy: no. Not worth it. If you cultivate real-life connections, engage with a limited number of trustworthy news sources, you’ll find your way to those TV shows/YouTube clips worth watching. But, let’s be real: how much stuff is *vital* to your existence? All of it is ephemera. It’s kind of gluttonous to attempt to take it all in, just because you can, or just because you have access to it. You have to be the curator of your own life experience.

    I do understand the desire to remain abreast of trends and news stories in one’s profession; in that case, my advice is to try to seriously limit the time you spend doing so. For example, Rachelle’s is one of only a couple agent blogs that I read. I get great info, and then I go on my merry way. Does this mean I’ll miss out? Possibly. Depends on how you see it. But I don’t care enough to waste my time. I’d rather go read one whole book than one hundred blog posts.

  35. ed cyzewski on June 4, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    I’ve made so many contacts with editors, colleagues, and readers through social media, that I can’t deny its benefits. Having said that, it is a huge time drain that needs to be regulated with great care. That is what I struggle to do the most.

  36. Donna Pyle on June 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    “Distracted focus” provides the perfect description. Social media is vital in terms of keeping current (as you stated), as well as interacting with other writers/bloggers and marketing our writing projects. Balance is key, but I struggle with that also. TweetDeck and Buffer have helped tremendously with my own posts and scheduling updates, but it doesn’t help with keeping up with what others put out. I maintain sanity by believing that I’ve seen what I was supposed to see each day.

  37. Katie Ganshert on June 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    It’s definitely a love-hate relationship for me. I love it b/c I’ve made some really great friends and I like being able to connect so easily with readers.

    I hate it because it’s a time-suck, it’s incredibly distracting, and like you said – it leaves me with the feeling like I’m never doing enough. And when I take a break from it, I feel like my creative juices flow so much better, which makes me conclude that it steals some of my creativity.

  38. Sandie Bricker on June 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    As much as I REALLY DISLIKE the whole social media game, here’s the bottom line: This is where our society has landed in 2012. As a whole, Twitter and Facebook are the places where people get their information, inspiration, entertainment, education, etc. Like Rachelle, I wouldn’t know my friends’ birthdays without it, and — most importantly — I probably wouldn’t have even a third of the readers that I have without it. So like it or not, if we’re in this game for the long haul as writers, social media is part of our job now. As with any job, there are going to be aspects we don’t enjoy, but this stuff comes with the dinner.

  39. Jarm Del Boccio on June 4, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    That’s a difficult one for me, Rachelle. Social media consumes much of my time, as I develop my platform, but my writing skills are enhanced as I use it, and the friends I have made and friendships I’ve renewed are priceless!

  40. Cynthia Herron on June 4, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Rachelle, thanks as always for tackling the tough issues that would be easier to tiptoe around.

    I spoke about social media on last Wednesday’s blog post: and so did a lot of other people, it seemed. (The lovely Jennifer K. Hale shared excellent security tips regarding social media, as well.)

    As writers, social media is a must, but it will only be as intrusive as we allow it to be. A year ago I wasn’t as intentional as I am now. Now, I check in at all my “go to” faves to the “tune” of a timer and I’m much more productive.

  41. Melody H Hanson (@melodyhhanson) on June 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    I’m mostly overwhelmed by the number things I wish I had time to read, and don’t! It is difficult to stay grounded with all the social media opportunities. Depending on my spiritual state, they make me feel like crap. Or like a million bucks. I think the caution is to guard our hearts and make sure our real life relationships, service and communities are healthy as well as for me, to maintain spiritual disciplines. If I am not careful social media just makes me feel constantly left out. You know the clicks and circles of popularity in Jr. High? It’s that all over again. Ugh.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Wow, it most certainly can feel that way. Building a social media presence is definitely frustrating at times. A wise woman once told me “Be a fan of people and when you sprout wings, they will cheer your flight.” Perhaps my greatest encouragement in social media has been the opportunity to encourage others.

      • Melody H Hanson (@melodyhhanson) on June 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        I’ve been thinking about this all week and it has brought great freedom to me in thinking about social media. Thank you.

        • P. J. Casselman on June 10, 2012 at 3:27 PM

          Thank you for telling me! That made my day!

  42. terri tiffany on June 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Everything in moderation.Um… yeah…I’m learning that. I’ve cut way back because I found most of what I was reading wasn’t worth my time. But I must say I wouldn’t know what I know about writing if it hadn’t been for social media.

  43. Jenny Lee Sulpizio on June 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    I struggle with this a lot. As a writer, I have to build my platform but it certainly isn’t easy and I feel conflicted all of the time by the amount of time I waste on social media. I honestly feel (at times) that I’m just not getting anywhere in the process. I’m hardly scratching the surface, let alone making a dent…

  44. Joan Cimyotte on June 4, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    The answer for me is Yes and No. Love and Hate. I think social media takes away from the time I should be writing. My usual order during the early morning; Check out facebook for only 10 minutes. Problem is I get so distracted by something I’m interested in. So after more than ten minutes(OK and hour later), I go to your blog. Here I feel a sense of accomplishment if just by leaving a comment and/or by learning something valuable.
    So in conclusion I need more Rachelle and less facebook.

  45. Christine Dorman on June 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    You’ve put words to exactly what I’ve been feeling. I love Twitter, blog groups (especially this one), etc. because of the information, ideas, inspiration and humor they offer. What I really love is being part of a community and I delight in connecting with the people I’ve met through social media. However, it just keeps mushrooming. The number of followers I have on Twitter has increased dramatically in the past few months which is wonderful but it also means that it takes so much time going through tweets. You mentioned being away for a half hour. Sometimes (often) I can only check Twitter, etc. two or three times a day. It can take hours just to quickly scan the tweets I’ve missed. And many of them are things I really don’t need to know about, but I have a fear of missing the ones I DO need to know about and respond to. This past month, I’ve neglected my own blogs because I spend so much time on other social media sites — which is necessary not only for the personal benefits, but for the business networking, promoting, and so on. Of course in the midst of this, I’m trying to devote time to my WIP and then there is my day job, not to mention everyday life.

    I am thankful for social media and mostly consider it a blessing, but I also feel I’m running a never-ending race and getting behinder and behinder — rapidly.

  46. Meghan Carver on June 4, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Let me apologize in advance for repeating another comment. I just don’t have the time to read 60+ comments — and I don’t expect that everyone who reads this blog will get all the way down to my comment either. (I do scan, though.) Social media has been terrific for me. It has allowed me, a stay-at-home homeschooling mother to connect with others on a regular and non-intrusive basis. BUT, I must control the time spent or it will control me. Thus, I can’t take the time to read thoroughly everybody else’s brilliant comments. (If you got this far, thanks for reading!)

    • Rachelle Gardner on June 4, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      I do read all the comments, Meghan, so thanks for leaving yours! I often think about the fact that I would have been so much happier during my kids’ baby-years if I’d had social media. I was a SAHM for a short period of time but the isolation from the business world drove me crazy. Things are totally different now.

      • Meghan Carver on June 4, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        I figured you read them all, Rachelle. I just wasn’t sure about everybody else. Thanks for the reply. I appreciate all the valuable information and encouragement you share on your blog.

        • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 1:07 PM

          Some of us read them. Thank you Evelyn Wood for the speed reading course!

  47. Andi on June 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    As a writer, I finally decided to start a blog, but only out of what felt like necessity. I failed. Ultimately, the responsibility of it got to me. I just didn’t have time for it. I have 5 kids (ages 3-17) and when I get a minute to sit down and focus on writing, it NEEDS to be on something that will help move me forward, whether it is practicing my writing, or reading blogs of the experts, or, editing, revising or writing something new – and I just was not good at blogging. I don’t have a Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube or Linkdin dedicated to writing, but I do have a Twitter account that’s just for writing. And I do subscribe to many helpful writing blogs. I read a lot, and try to share what I find to be helpful -but that’s the extent of my contribution to the writing social-media world.

  48. Lindsay Harrel on June 4, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Instead of thinking of it as chatter, I think of it as connection…instant connection at our fingertips. It’s useful both in business and our personal lives, like you mentioned. I personally love the constant interaction, although in our personal lives, I think it has altered relationships…sometimes not for the better. You can pretend like you’re invested in someone’s life by reading their Facebook posts, but that’s not the same as being there for them in a crisis or connecting on some deeper level.

    But for business? Hoo-rah. Perfect. Love it.

  49. Diane Yuhas on June 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Everything in moderation. Social media can be a time-sucker, but it sure beats the passivity of TV for entertainment and information. I’ve learned so much through social media that I wouldn’t consider getting rid of it, but I do see a great need for discipline when using it. As for the constant barrage of self-promotion, I try not to tune in too much. Finally, inanity has it’s place, at least on Facebook. It’s so, well, HUMAN.

  50. Marilyn Walker on June 4, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    No, not worth the time. So why do we spend the time? Is it really like a pitcher of margaritas?

    I think it’s because we are social creatures who LOVE connecting with other people through their words. I miss the days of amazing handwritten letters, delivered just to ME. I loved writing them, too. I don’t get those anymore, so social media is the replacement, I guess. But the signal to noise ratio is way off the mark.

    I think (wishful?) it will evolve to a point where it is more helpful than distracting. Right now it’s tipped the wrong direction. As social creatures we can’t help ourselves – so much fun stuff to read and do (and comment on!).

  51. Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    It seems that, since social media is here to stay, according to many experts, that I need to figure out how to make it work in my life, ruling over it rather than it ruling over me.

    I am learning how to use a timer to help me not spend too much time on sites like facebook. But, I’m also learning so much about writing and other things I’m interested in on quality blogs. So, I see the benefits of social media as well as the necessity of taming the media monster in my life.

    As Wendy said above, discernment is the key.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      I agree. Most of what I’ve learned about the business of publishing has come from social media. It’s amazing what is out there. Yet that prioritizing is so important. I can easily waste a morning on blogs that are interesting, but not important.

      • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 5:21 PM

        Been there. Done that. Many times. 🙂

  52. Colin Smith on June 4, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    I think social media is worth spending time on… but probably not worth the actual amount of time we (certainly I) spend on it.

  53. BK Jackson on June 4, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    My first priority is blog following. The content is specific, focused and usually laid out in a logical, sensible fashion. Yes, there’s a lot of content out there, but you learn to whittle down to the most valuable sites and move on.

    HOWEVER, I am not a fan of the ADD-designed Facebook and Twitter. While I have both accounts (because writers MUST have these, so everyone says), I spend little time there. I especially detest the sloppy, haphazard, all-over-the-place design of FB. It literally feels like torture to log in & check my FB account.

    At least Twitter is somewhat orderly.

  54. Cherry Odelberg on June 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Rachelle, you said it so well. I love my social media-can’t live without it. Yet, I can go away camping for five or six days, and not miss a thing. You have to be able to walk away from it. However, the stress and pressure that comes of knowing there is no way I can possibly keep up with everything that is considered essential (for instance; building a platform), can also drain me and make me feel like giving up. It helps me to remember that things change. It is better to just give a cursory read of headlines to keep up with the times and not become enmeshed in each new type of media.

    Looking back from whence I have come and not taking myself so seriously helps. Twenty-five years ago my favorite best-selling authors were saying things like; you simply cannot get published without a current year “Writer’s Market;” Invest in good quality letterhead, envelopes and business cards; Build a collection of tear sheets from nonfiction articles you have written before you approach a publisher about your novel; Forget an agent, go straight to the publisher.

    Many things have changed. It is good to keep up. The best writing advice I have received over the years was not even aimed at writers. It was the Nike slogan.

    “Just do it!”

    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Cherry, I’m building a platform as an unpublished fiction author just to get impressive enough numbers to get an agent to peek at my work. Perhaps that’s just doing it. There are times, however, when I feel that I’m delusional and should just give up. It’s funny, but at those times, social media can actually keep me going.

      • Cherry Odelberg on June 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM


      • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

        That is a consideration P.J., however, there are other, better methods of building an author platform. Some of these are: build a website, start a blog like this one, become a guest blogger, write eZine articles, print up some advance review copies and get noticed on some good review sites, and the list goes on. You are only limited by your imagination. It is sad but true, that finding not only an agent but the “right agent” is a daunting task. Traditional publishing houses, more and more, are adding: We will not consider unagented submissions to their submission guidelines. Agents have become the defacto gate keepers of the great American slush pile. Smaller presses still deal directly with authors. One way to get noticed is in the relhm of magazine articles. Many an aspiring writer has gotten his foot in an agent’s door because that agent had read that author’s articles. Some writers look at lists of agents and publishers and just pick out agents willy nilly and fire off a query – don’t be that guy. You MUST research prospective agents as thoroughly as you do background research for your novel. That means you must do things like actually reading some of the authors that that particular agent has represented and be able to honestly tell her that your book is very much like X’s book but with a new and different twist. Everyone likes to be stroked and agents are no different. If your query looks like it is a template from a monograph on how to write a query letter you will probably get a pass on it. Agents are extremely busy, most receive over a thousand queries a month just in their eMail. Do you really, in your heart, believe that they will find the time to troll social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?

        I wish you all the best in your quest.

        • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 5:46 PM


          Thank you for taking the time to write all that good advice! Trying to find an agent who will represent Christian fantasy novels is like seeking a squirrel in the desert. When I do find one, they’re buried in nuts! 🙂

          • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 6:13 PM

            That’s a great analogy P.J. I just watched a great movie on pay per view the other night. SUING THE DEVIL staring Malcom McDowell as Satan. An Australian law student sues Satan for eight trillion dollars. Talk about your Christian fantasy with a real-world message for us all! If your story is anything like that, two questions: when is it coming out, and where can I buy a copy?

            All the best.

  55. Connie Almony on June 4, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    I have a love/hate relationship with all communication technology. I LOVE the fact that I can “chat” with people all over the world about things that interest me, that maybe those around me don’t “get.” However, sometimes that ability keeps us from getting to know the neighbors, because we spend so much time on the web, relating to someone half a world away. And what happened to the friendly pleasantries with people at the store. Hard to do when the Bluetooth is on. Always trade-offs, but I must say, I miss the personal touch!!!

  56. CG Blake on June 4, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Excellent post and comments. For me it’s about being selective in the blogs I read and engaging with others to build a community based on sharing and giving. The problem is that I keep discovering fantastic blogs, so at some point I must put limit on how much time I spend on social media.

  57. M. E. Pickett on June 4, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    I’ve asked myself this question about a thousand times and every time I come to the conclusion that I am going to delete my Facebook account. But then I remember all of the stuff that I would be missing out on if I did that.

    I think that most of the time I spend on social media is wasted. But then there are those moments that are valuable. And when I do the math in my head, I have to admit that the valuable times are worth more than what I’m losing in those wasted hours. It must be, or I would have quit a long time ago.

  58. Susan Strickland on June 4, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    The question is–when did we decide that Information equates with Knowledge…or much less…Wisdom?

    • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      How very true! Knowledge is the wheat and the rest of the information from the information superhighway is merely the chaff. The road to wisdom is the useful application of knowledge.

  59. Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    I have had several opportunities to go deep into the Andes and do “off-off-off-road and then down a goat trail” mission work. I have been to places where there has NEVER been an outsider, ever. Most of those people have no electricity, let alone Facebook. “Twitter” is what the birds do. Then I come back into town, leaving behind people whose lives are the same as they were 300 years ago, and go to an internet cafe and file a report to the mission team support network. Talk about an onslaught to the senses! Then I check my FB, “where are you?” they ask. My answer is usually, “on another planet”.

    My mind loves the break from what is considered important to 21st century life. I am very thankful that I can email my family and let them know that I am fine and healthy. I’m happy to update my status on FB to “alive”.

    I have limited my social media to a certain point, once I am published, I know it will change. But for now, only a few people care what I say. We can spend all day online, but we cannot buy any of that time back to do other things.

    Focus. Focus. Focus.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Focus really is the key, isn’t it? Social media’s just a tool. We choose our priorities.

      PS. Way cool on the mission trips!

  60. Wendy Paine Miller on June 4, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Not long ago I was at a concert and I thought to tweet about the band and the music. Then I reconsidered. I decided I wanted to *be* at the concert, not tweet about it. Something about filtering it through social media would dilute the experience for me.

    And to James Scott Bell’s point, some mornings I wake up with a royal social media hangover.

    Though, I’m also thankful b/c I’ve met some amazing people b/c of social media. As with all things, it seems social media requires us to use discernment and wisdom. A constant sifting process.
    ~ Wendy

    • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Well said Wendy. There is a point where social media leaps into un-social media. Be present, enjoy the moment. Listen to the music. Take a picture and post it tomorrow.

    • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Good points, Wendy. I still have a cell phone that is the cousin to the “Amish phone,” and so I don’t connect when I am in various places. Even without a smart phone it’s a challenge to be “all there,” but it’s what I strive for.
      Discernment, a good word.

      • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Cool! I have that same cousin! A *smart* phone is beyond what I need.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      You know, commenting on these would be a lot easier if there was a “like” button here. 😀

  61. Robin Patchen on June 4, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    There’s a difference between social media sites and blogs. I read a few excellent blogs every day, this one included, and have learned so much from them. I can honestly say I don’t learn much from FB, Twitter, and Pinterest. The time I spend on blogs like yours is well spent. The time I spend on FB, though it may be valuable to me when my books are published, doesn’t offer much but entertainment.

    • Sarah Thomas on June 4, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      Exactly! It’s often a matter of figuring out what’s valuable and what’s just “fun.”

  62. Stephen H. King on June 4, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    “Is social media worth the time we spend on it?” – Of course it is. I’ve got my Castleville kingdom up to over 2000 Castle points and am able to make more Stone Blocks, Wood Planks, and Deviled Eggs every day. I’m sure some day I will find a useful tie-in to reality with that.

    Then again, maybe not.

    I remember once, as a kid, one of the other kids at school got me all fired up about these new nuclear power plant things that were going to destroy life as we knew it at the time. Unfortunately for me, Jobs and Wozniak were still playing with electronics in their garage, so I couldn’t share, tweet, or link anything to my friends on the matter. All I could do was use the round dialy-thing on that device we used to call a telephone to call a federal agency over and over and tell them “no nukes” till my father, an engineer, caught me and explained what the nuclear power thing was really all about.

    These days there’s a ton of stuff out there. Some of it’s good, most is bad, nearly all is unreliable. But just as the office employees (“secretaries” was the archaic term) of olde used to work at learning to press the button thingies in order to get the letter thingies to fly up and press the ink ribbon against the paper, and do it faster than they did yesterday, so we must build what is arguably the most important talent of the “Tens”–filtering.


    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      So, what you’re saying is, I shouldn’t vote for the next president based on the picture captions on Facebook? Radical! 😛

      • Stephen H. King on June 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Depends. President of what, specifically? 🙂

        • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM

          Ah, good point! President of the local P.T.A. I should have clarified.

    • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      A lot of new writers are shocked to learn that whether you are Indie, POD, subsidiary, or traditionally published you have to promote your own books. I know I was shocked. Since I didn’t know that much about book promotion, and still don’t, I set out in my usual whole hog or nothing style to devour every scrap of information I could get on the subject. What do you think one of the first bits of advice was? You guessed it, you must get out there on facebook, everybody is doing it. Well shucks “I’m not as smart as the lawyer guys” to quote a line from Robert Service’s Shooting of Dangerous Dan Magroo, but I figured that millions of people had to have something going on. So I set up a facebook account. I just kinda drifted away from it–too many other things requiring my time and effort. My wife maintains it now and chats with her friends all the time. Since the secret of a happy life is a happy wife, I tell her, That’s great honey, go for it. She fills me in on anything she thinks I might be interested in. I’ve never learned to tweet, I guess that’s like saying I don’t own a cell phone. I do, but my plan costs $20 for 90 days of service and 20 cents per minute. I spend about a dollar twenty a month on the average. My usual conversation goes something like this, Hi honey I’m on my way home do you need anything? I guess I’m like those guys in the truck commercial finally find an area with no cell phone service to pitch camp for their getaway retreat.

  63. Richard Mabry on June 4, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    My “love-hate” relationship with social media has gradually turned into a “tolerate-hate” one. Guess it’s generational, but I yearn for a kinder, gentler, simpler, less-connected time.

  64. Timothy Fish on June 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    I grew up in a rural area. There were hotspots of social activity—the barber shop, the bait and tackle shop, the grocery store. There were always a few people sitting around talking. As a child, I learned many things from just listening to old men talk. It was valuable, but if you sat in there too long, you would never get any work done. Social media is just the community gathering place moved online. And just like it has always been, if you spend too much time listening to it, you won’t get any work done.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      One nice thing about the social media is that you can swing by the barber shop at 10 PM and still catch up.

  65. Adam Porter (@AtlasProWriter) on June 4, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Social media is designed to hit all the right passive social and psychological triggers…if we approach it as surfers or consumers it can certainly become a compulsive distraction.

    I set times during my day to both “give” and “receive” via social media. Otherwise I am always fighting the temptation to check my phone or my laptop…just to end up inundated by stuff that does not edify inform or inspire.

  66. Sue Harrison on June 4, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    I often think about how much info I receive now through blogs (yours mostly!) and other online resources about the publishing scene. What a huge and welcome change from the non-www days of the 1990s when I was first published. Then I felt like I was playing a huge and important game but didn’t know any of the rules until I inadvertently broke one.

  67. Lena on June 4, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    I’d say NO to the question in the end, but I do not hate and would never want it all to go away!! Can’t imagine a life without Social Media.

  68. Julie Sunne on June 4, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    You’ve tied my thoughts on social media up in a neat little bundle and presented them here, Rachelle. Unfortunately, as a writer, sm is not really an option anymore, so we need to balance its benefits with its endless distractions. I’m working on that!
    It’s nice to know there are others experiencing this love/hate relationship with this monster.

  69. kathryn Magendie on June 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    I can’t tell you how many books I’ve bought from writers I’d never have heard of, and music and art and other creative this’s and that’s if not for SN. I practice what I preach: I support other authors/artists/musicians, etc.

    And, I’ve had many readers find me and connect and thus read my books because of social networking.

    But yes, the downside is between writing the next book and keeping up with SN, I don’t have much downtown – so I make sure I go for a hike, or just go walk-about in the cove, or go explore my little mountain towns – etc. Still, I’m on my laptop an awful amount of time.

  70. Michael on June 4, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    Have you tried or You can use these applications to filter the best stories from your Twitter and Facebook feeds. We use it to find the best stories for trade associations without having to read every story out there.

  71. Jen Zeman on June 4, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    As much as Pinterest and Goodreads are touted as necessary for authors to be active in, I’ve decided that right now I don’t have the time for them. I’m active in FB and Twitter and I’m creating a website. If I add anything else to this mix I’ll need to have myself committed.

    • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      I’m with you on this! Though many of my friends are on Pinterest, I know that if I join it now, I’ll get sucked in and waste all my writing time checking out all the cool things people are “pinning.” Maybe I’ll join in the future, but this isn’t the time to engage on more sites.

      • Christine Dorman on June 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        Absolutely. While I did join Goodreads (mostly because of Rachelle’s recommendation), after an initial investment of time on it, I’ve mostly ignored it, and I choose not to get involved with Pinterest. A writers group I’m a part of on Twitter wanted to start a hangout on G+, so I started a G+ account for that, but the hangout never materialized (thankfully), so I’m not continuing on G+. New social media sites keep popping up, and I think the only way to stay sane is to just say no. To quote a Corrs song, “There’s only so much I can take / and I just gotta let it go.”

        • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 11:39 AM

          🙂 Yep, I’m deliberately ignoring most other forms of “staying connected” right now to invest my little bits of time in the most important things.

  72. Julia Munroe Martin on June 4, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    Great post. Love/Hate. Exactly. I love the friendships with other writers and the inspiration and information. I hate the distraction, the feeling of “needing to go on,” and the time taken away from writing and my real-life happenings. And the down time…what’s that?

  73. Bonnee on June 4, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    I love the opportunities social media creates, but I think that users need to adapt an attitude of not panicking when they are out of touch for a little bit. There is NO WAY a human can balance social media with the rest of their life (which is just as important, if not more so!) without missing out on some posts and information. Anything terribly important will come up again, and if you’re worried about something specific, it’s easy enough to search it on google or whatever for more information.
    I’ll only bother catching up after a really long period of being offline if I’m bored.

  74. Ellen Gregory on June 4, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    I share your sentiments exactly, Rachelle. My (coward’s) solution is to ‘hide’. If I don’t check Twitter then I don’t know what I’m missing out on… Now, Facebook is a harder habit for me to kick. But gradually I’m schooling myself not to scroll down to the last thing I read…

  75. Patricia Zick on June 4, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    I didn’t need to read much further than the title on this post to know I’d be able to relate. It can suck you dry if you allow it. But the conundrum is it also can inspire. I’m in the process of balancing and honing down to what is absolutely necessary. I do think it’s paramount to our careers now so to maintain that career and actually find the time to write makes balancing the key. I took a few days off – computer issues – and found my rating dropped significantly on amazon, no new followers came to my blog and comments on Facebook and retweets, of course, didn’t occur since I wasn’t tweeting. I believe it’s necessary, can be fun and inspiring but needs intelligent managing. Thanks for the always thought-provoking blog.

  76. Cindy Huff on June 4, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    The key is to set aside a specific amount of time each day for social media. Otherwise you’ve spent all your time that you should have been writing on FB.
    I have found so much valuable information for writers. I have gotten an opportunity to discover publishers, agents and editors on a more personal level and lots of new books coming out. Not to mention news items that ignite an article idea.
    Time-management is the key to keeping it from controlling your life.

  77. Ruth on June 4, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    I just skip other things to keep up with social media. I don’t read the news anywhere except Twitter and Facebook, and I don’t watch TV. If anything important happens, I’ll hear about it from a source I trust!

  78. Lance Albury on June 4, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    No, it’s not worth it.

    I liken it to how people became with home telephones. I remember observing how friends and family scrambled to answer a ringing phone as if it were life or death. Now most are enslaved to a cell phone.

    Media must serve you and not the other way around. Cut your Internet off for three days; if you can’t handle it, you’re a slave.

  79. Patricia Zell on June 4, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    You and Michael Hyatt seem to be on the same page this morning with the topic of focus. Sometimes, we may just need to close the rest of the world out and just chill with God. I have noticed that social media can just become gimmicky and superficial. Here’s a possible suggestion–recycle posts (not just re-posting through Twitter). In education, we are working on depth rather than quantity. There is great value in re-reading and analyzing information; there is no law that says every post has to be brand new.

  80. Catherine Hudson on June 4, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    I think the most important contact is that face to face connection. We have to be able to stop and have time for God interruptions – yes these ‘tools’ can help our business but in the end they have no soul to save. Keep it personal if you can because genuine counts towards your business in a big way anyway.

    Its one of the reasons I love your blog.

    Hope you find the flow today Rachelle. I’m pretty sure there is no balance, only flow.

    • Christine Dorman on June 4, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      I agree that face to face connections are the most important and I think it’s vital not to let social media take away from that or, heaven forbid, try to replace it.

  81. Holly on June 4, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Thank you for your blog. The problem is like science and ethics. Our science is developing faster than the ethics we have to manage it properly. It’s the same kind of problem. There’s so much to manage and look at and where do we draw the line? If you don’t support so and so, will they support you and the cascade begins. I haven’t looked at FB for a week, which is a first. FB sent me this little notification at how much I was missing, but it wasn’t anything. Do I really care that my stepson is going out running with his Nike GPS. No. I’m glad he’s healthy and alive. Twitter is what I find the most difficult to manage and wade through.

    I like feeling connected, but I like stone silence, too. There is an off button for everything and I when I reach for that off button I think, “There was a time when we didn’t have any of it and barring an emergency, we all survived and still got around just fine.”

    We’ll all figure it out together. And when we do, it will start to show. It’s only a puzzle. Keeping working on the solution. And we’ll find it.

  82. Anna on June 4, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    I completely agree this is an issue. It’s all relatively new too so we don’t yet know the effect it will have on people. I am sure though mentally and physically we aren’t designed for it and so I don’t see how it can really last for a lot of people because they’ll simply get too ill.
    I would like to separate work and play and only use it for work but that’s one of the hard things that the two tend to be inter mingled.
    Another problem I find is that people – friends and businesses – assume you know about stuff bur to know would mean you never missed an update of any sort which in business terms makes it a very hit and miss tool.
    It all gives out a feeling of being terribly important but I am not so sure it has as high a value as we are led to fear it does.

  83. Marina Sofia on June 4, 2012 at 4:17 AM

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed how apologetic everyone is for being offline for a few days, for not blogging or tweeting or commenting for even quite a short period? You then get these long lists of reasons and excuses and ‘I’m so sorry’. And then you get those other bloggers who feel the need for a longer break, a blogging hiatus. It just shows how overwhelmed we all feel.
    I agree with you: I don’t waste my time on the rubbish content out there on the webt. The problem is that there is so much worth reading and so little time!

  84. Peter Bernfeld on June 4, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    You said:I can’t imagine how I’d know what’s going on in publishing, how I’d stay up on blogging techniques, how I’d get constant inspiration and business advice, without the relentless stream of blogs I read.UNQUOTE:
    Rachelle, your blogging technique is fine. I don’t know how many followers you have, but they post comments, and plenty of them.
    Inspiration? Presumably you mean for the blog articles. Well you’re involved in the publishing industry so that must give you a certain amount of inspiration. Let’s be honest, you must be fairly busy as an agent, so I can appreciate and I’m sure others can as well that you have business to take care of.
    That brings me to your final point, business advice. I’m pretty sure that you’ve got it ‘sussed’ by now. If you haven’t you won’t be getting many publishing deals, and only you and your authors know the answer to that.
    If I were you, I think I’d devote say an hour a day to keeping up with what publishers are saying, after all that’s your business. Everything else you’ve mentioned is your general interest and at the risk of sounding harsh, your interest you take care of in your time, that includes facebook etc.
    After you’ve checked to see if publishing houses are actually saying anything different to what they said yesterday, then you take care of ‘the day job’.
    Like I said, your blogging is fine, stop worrying about it.

  85. Graeme Ing on June 4, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    I find myself relying more and more on others @mentioning me on vital info, or using apps like buffer and hoot suite to repeat their tweets. I analyzed my fear of missing out, and realized that I felt more relaxed if I knew that I wasn’t missing that one tweet or FB post going out into the ether. If it is repeated at different times and days, I’m more likely to see it. I realize though, that taken to extreme we would simply quadruple our data streams by everyone repeating everything.

    RSS to me is still the most useful of social media, and I’m surprised no one mentions it more often. Using RSS I will never miss my favorite blogs, like yours, and can come and comment on my schedule.

  86. P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    The more I say the more I feel silenced by the waves of puppy photos, redundant word pictures, and advertisements to get more followers by paying some third worlders to like me.
    There is a lot of valuable information out there. I often found myself reading about the austerity problem in Europe when I only planned to quick-browse the weather. One day, I felt convicted about it while I was reading Corinthians. All that knowledge was merely puffing me up, but not building me up. It was then that I started using an egg timer. I don’t have time to explore it all, so I’m more picky about my social media choices.

    On a side note, I posted the following to my friends:

    Dear Friend,

    I want you to know that I care about our soldiers, am concerned about kittens, love our country, appreciate our veterans, am not ashamed of my faith, believe in charity, have a heart for those afflicted with every disease known to mankind and love you as a person. This being said, please stop asking me to share and repost if I care about our soldiers, am…yada, yada, yada. I’d rather just see an update and picture of you, my friend, whom I love.

    Now, repost this to all your friends and share it on your Facebook page if you don’t want a meteor to strike the earth and cause the the deaths of countless baby seals.

    Your Friend,
    P J

    • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Amen Pastor, amen.

    • Stephen H. King on June 4, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Nicely put, but you assume I don’t want to see an end to baby seals. I’d rather not forward/Share. 🙂

      • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 8:57 AM

        Why do meteors smite the cute stuff? Isn’t there a “weed” meteor out there? Or perhaps a “housework” meteor?

        • Stephen H. King on June 4, 2012 at 9:16 AM

          The “housework meteor” is called a mai–er, a domestic assistant. Most of us can’t afford one of them these days, though. What I’d love to see is a Person-Who-Shares-Cute-Crap-All-The-Time meteor.

          • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 9:19 AM

            Oh, and the conditional “If you don’t post this and 99% of you won’t, then you don’t love Jesus and you’re an evil sinner with no love for the whole world” crap.

          • P. J. Casselman on June 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM

            Thanks you two! I needed a good laugh this morning!

    • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Well said, PJ. I think you struck a nerve here. 🙂

  87. Lesley McDaniel on June 4, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Social media is truly a blessing and a curse. I love that I can connect with friends and potential readers without leaving the comfort of my pajamas, but it also provides an easy excuse for avoiding my actual writing.

  88. Tiffinie Helmer on June 4, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    I feel like you wrote this blog just for me. I am conflicted about it all. I love and hate it. Scared to do without and yet so grateful to have it. I’m more in contact with friends and family like never before and I can’t even imagine publishing a book without social media. The anxiety of it all is intense.

    I head to Alaska every summer as a commercial fisherman on the Bering Sea. In ten days I will be forced to unplug for almost two months. I don’t know if it will save my sanity or kill my career. If I survive, it will be interesting to find out.

  89. Aimee L. Salter on June 4, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    I think it’s about picking your poison.

    After messing with everything under the sun for years and doing nothing well, I decided to focus:

    Blog and twitter for outgoing, blog-follower list and twitter for incoming. Facebook only for personal stuff.

    (Some say I’m crazy for not facebooking for business, but everyone who followed the FB page came from twitter or the blog – so they already had contact anyway. Maybe when I’m published?)

    It’s still hard to balance, but I rarely find myself hitting that hair-tearing limit anymore.

  90. Cheryl Barker on June 4, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    I have many of the same thoughts and questions, Rachelle. Just not sure of the answers…

  91. terri patrick on June 4, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    I’ve personally taken steps to unplug and trust that what is important will still catch my attention. My advice is filtering your time limits.

    The rule I follow is one-to-five. One hour on social media for professional connections to five hours offline doing my work. Entertainment/personal social media can be up to two hours – after those five hours of work.

    Sure, we’re supposed to operate on an eight to ten hour workday… But I’ve learned five uninterrupted hours are more productive then ten where my focus is scattered.

    I’ve learned that my personal “most productive time” is between 10am-3pm and I’m usually up by 7am, so there’s three hours to catch up on the buzz of the day and feel happy to shut down until the after-hours buzz begins.

    • Iola on June 4, 2012 at 6:24 AM

      Thanks – that’s good advice. Now to do something about it…

    • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      I like your thoughts here. I do something similar, giving myself a social media “break” after I’ve written a certain number of words.

    • Christine Dorman on June 4, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      Terri, this is a wonderfully healthy attitude.

  92. Beth K. Vogt on June 4, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    I am changing my name to James Scott Bell.
    What he said.
    Is social media worth the time we spend on it?
    Well, some great and powerful “they” out there decided it is worth our time … and I agree with them. To a point.
    But then we get c-r-a-z-y and give social media all of our time, like some fire breathing dragon that has to be kept satiated or else it will devour us.
    We let it control us, instead of the other way around.
    Therein lies the problem.

    • carol brill on June 4, 2012 at 6:44 AM

      And I will sign on as James Scott Bell the 3rd 🙂

      Rachelle wrote “While there’s a lot of useless chatter out there, the real problem for me is that there’s so much that’s valuable”
      that’s my stuggle, too. After my FT day job, and balancing time with my husband, writing, reading, friends, everyday chores–finding even an hour a day to social network is a challenge.

    • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      James Scott Bell the 4th. Or we could just hire us a geneticist and clone him.

      • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        Hi Jennifer,

        James Scott Bell is one of my heroes. In his wonderful little book THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS (see my review on Amazon) He addresses SOCIAL NETWORKING MEDIA on page 245: “And if your books do deliver the goods, word of mouth will do more than your self-promotion efforts combined.” [Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter et al] “Knowing that, you are free to invest as much time as you like in these things. Just remember, people aren’t into reading glorified ads. You have to offer them something of value in everything you put out there. Such as useful information, entertainment, or provocation.
        Do that, and you’ve earned the right to tell people all about yourself and your books from time to time.”

        Here is Bell’s ten best forms of self-promotion:
        1. Your book.
        2. Your book.
        3. Your book.
        4. Your web presence.
        5. Reviews.
        6. Publicity.
        7. Face time.
        8. Your book.
        9. Your book.
        10. Your book.

        And there it is.

        • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 11:42 AM

          Thank you Jim! It always comes down to the book, doesn’t it? An author can only promote so much, and then it comes down to what’s between “Once upon a time” and “The end”.
          There’s a book on Smashwords that I’ll be downloading for one of my summer reads. I’ve read a bit of his stuff, and holy cow, he’s going places!

          • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

            Thanks Jennifer. Speaking of smashwords if you want another read for the summer go to the POINT DECEPTION page use coupon NC77X and download my novel for free. Have a great day.


        • Jennifer Major on June 4, 2012 at 12:29 PM

          That’s the one I meant, Jim. 😉

          • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 1:24 PM

            Enjoy! Remember, I am not responsible for possible sleep deprivation. LOL

        • Anne Martin Fletcher on June 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

          Another of my new favorites (haven’t finished it yet) is the “War of Art” by military/historical author Steven Pressfield. I don’t think he addresses social media per se (he has an aide who does that), but he addresses resistance, which is how I unproductively use social media.

          • Jim Gilliam on June 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM


            That sounds like a great book. I’ll have to get a copy.


        • Helen W. Mallon on June 4, 2012 at 7:02 PM

          Great stuff. Thank you!

    • Doris Swift on June 4, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      Well said Beth K. Vogt! At times I feel as if I need to detox…slay the dragon…and write!!

      I do try to be selective in the blogs I follow; they have to inspire, encourage, and challenge me in some way…

      Then there’s twitter, facebook,, my blog of course, etc.,etc.,etc.,..hey, building a platform is hard work.

      Looks like this girl won’t be slaying that dragon anytime soon…

  93. James Scott Bell on June 4, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Social media is like the 50s. Everybody smoked and drank martinis. If you didn’t, you missed out on the party. Over time, it took a toll. It’s like we’re living through an episode of Mad Men.

    Social media is fine and helpful in moderation. Keep it that way. Don’t make a pitcher of martinis every night, or else it will be controlling you and not the other way around.

    • Heather Sunseri on June 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      Okay, got it. No pitcher of martinis every night. 🙂

      Love that analogy.

      Re: this post, I’ll just say, “What Mr. Bell said.”

    • Chance Scoggins on June 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      What an incredible and important question, especially coming from someone with your influence.

      THE ANSWER IS NO!!! I am trying. Here I am, reading your blog. I tweet throughout the day. I respond to others. I gather content to keep my pages compelling. I check in on my rising Klout score. I blog regularly and respond to comments.

      I have to tell you – the only reason I do the bulk of it is the constant insistence from leaders like you and Mike Hyatt. If it weren’t ‘required’, I’d chuck it to the curb where it belongs.

      This ‘social’ media is too often endless, ugly, sickening self promotion. I often feel a pit in my stomach as I press send, and I feel it as I sift through the chatter as well. It’s so artificial. This isn’t real relationship – I’m not sure you can even attempt relationship 140 characters at a time. Who are we kidding?

      We’re adding to the noise. And we rarely take the time to assess and feel the price we’re paying. But my 2 and 4 year olds feel it. My wife feels it. My friends feel it. My church and community feel it.

      It’s too much. We’re missing REAL LIFE trying to build this artificial one.

      You’re in a position to influence people and change the tide. I APPLAUD YOU for asking the hard question. Now go do something about it.

      Stepping back down from the soapbox, 🙂

      • Carrie L. Lewis on June 4, 2012 at 12:31 PM


        At the beginning of this year, I cut off all social media but the two blogs I maintain. I found it not only superficial and time consuming but toxic. The stuff that was coming into my ‘house’ through Facebook was disheartening, discouraging, and detrimental and it got to the point at which it followed me away from the computer and throughout the day, affecting attitude and killing creativity.

        I decided I didn’t need it.

        I may be unusual in this respect (we don’t watch TV either and for all the same reasons), but it got to the point that the information gems wasn’t worth sifting through the chatter.

        There comes a time when panning for gold becomes wasted effort regardless of the potential for finding gold.

      • Lisa Marie on June 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Mr. Scoggins, I cannot add anything else to your post, because I could have written it myself. And don’t get me started on text messaging and mobile apps!

      • K. Carmitchel on June 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Amen! Too often I feel guilty for not “learning” more about the business I want to pursue. That gives me a great excuse to stay online, to tell my kids “Just one more minute” until they leave, discouraged, and find someone else to talk to. And it’s not just publishing and writing — my other life gets thrown in the research mix as well.

        I HAVE learned a lot that I can use later, and I want to know how publishing works. But I’m a pretty curious person, and one thing leads to another. Before I know it, I’m researching books I have no interest in reading, topics that don’t pertain to my life, and neglecting my family and my Lord. Not good.

        And I’m not even a social media addict, compared to most people I know.

        I reckon we’ll all just have to ask the Lord what’s right for our own situations.

    • Katharine on June 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Perfect analogy. Which of course makes me wonder am I more Peggy, Betty or Joan? Which makes me want to tweet this question and find out the answer. Which makes me want to check my feed every five minutes to see what folks say. Which makes me despair that I don’t have enough answers. Which makes me randomly follow a hundred more people, so I’ll get a better response. Which makes me smug that I’m so together with my social media. Which totally makes me a Pete Campbell.

      • Helen W. Mallon on June 4, 2012 at 6:51 PM

        !!! LOL #reallyfunny

        In other words, I get it.

      • EC Sheedy on June 16, 2012 at 8:03 PM

        LOL. There is only one reason to watch Social Media–to be forewarned about the coming Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously, there’s people out there who are watching for it as we speak. They’ve told me, so it must be true.

        (Oh, and because I’ve been brain washed into believing social media involvement might help sell some of my books. Hmm…)

    • Lanny on June 4, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      Ditto that remark. Btw, James, I’ve ordered your Plot and Structure, and it’s being shipped from Amazon as we write. It got lots of good reviews online.

    • Helen W. Mallon on June 4, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      That’s hilarious. Martinis. Indeed, I find Twitter addicting–the instant hit if I strike up a conversation (I welcome the challenge of having a real conv. in 140 character exchanges, & have met some cool people and learned a lot that’s relevant to my writing) –but combined with the need to keep up and promote and reach out and strategize and God knows what else, it’s never enough. You can NEVER do enough, and that’s part of the addiction aspect, esp. if you’re building a platform as a writer.

      …there have been times when I wanted to ditch the whole Social media thing–it sickened me–but if I don’t take every contact as my last chance for something great to happen, it’s a LOT more fun.

      The Key: Building my spiritual life, which has nothing to do with all that…finding a timeless place to go into which covers all of life keeps it in balance. Great post, Rachelle! You hit a nerve, and that’s good.

    • Larry Shallenberger on June 16, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      Great analogy, James.

  94. COLUMBA KNOX on June 4, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    You typed, “how I’d get constant inspiration”; that is the sumtotal of thy blog………