How Much to Share Online
With everyone going so crazy over social media today, many have legitimate questions about “how much is too much.” How do you share information and conversation on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter while still having personal and professional boundaries?
I’ve noticed two separate issues with this:
1. The professional aspect.
What if you’ve queried 150 agents and had no success yet? What if you have an agent and your project is about to go out on submission to publishers? What if you just received a publishing contract?
Do you blog and tweet these things? How do you know where to draw the line on sharing professional information? I can’t answer every single variable here, but I can say this:
Always be thoughtful and discerning when deciding what professional information to share publicly.
In other words, don’t just dash off Twitter and blog posts without thinking. Be strategic.
You may use your blog to chronicle your efforts to get an agent, but always ask yourself what your blog would look like to one of those potential agents. You may be sharing your publishing journey, but you never share details like the fact that your agent is about to submit, or what publishers have made offers, or specifics of a contract that has a confidentiality clause in it.
Even with getting an agent, or getting a publishing contract, never share the information until it’s official (with publishers, this means the Publishing Agreement is signed) or until your agent gives you the go-ahead.
2. The personal aspect.
Many writers are concerned about their privacy, and that of their family. Privacy isn’t the same for everyone—some people are more concerned about it than others; some people have more at stake than others (for example, young children in their home).
If privacy concerns you, then let me assure you it’s not difficult to have a robust online presence, full of personality and wit, without ever giving away personal details that you’re not comfortable sharing. You’re not required to post about your kids or your dinner menu or where you live… or anything you don’t want to share.
Just remember the cardinal rule in blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking: It’s about creating relationships, not selling. It’s about offering something rather than trying to get others to do something or buy something. There are plenty of ways to do this without divulging too much personal information.
If you hesitate to be too personal online, just don’t forget: You still need to have personality and humor.
What are some ideas for using social media while avoiding giving away too much? Any tips for your fellow writers?