In Over My Head…Again

Last Monday was the monthly meeting of Left Coast Writers at Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, CA.  The guest speaker was a social media strategist and the CEO of Uhuru Network, Peter Lang.  While he was giving his talk, I realized how lame I am at all of this Internet outreach stuff.  Most of what he was talking about made no sense to me, but many folks in the audience were tracking and absorbing all of his ideas.  I was lost, and my notes were of little help the next day.

What I did grasp was his point about writers supporting writers.  Several times during the evening he had us trained to reply, “go to other writers’ blogs and post comments.”  I’m not much of a fan of the call-and-response method for engaging audiences, but I have to admit, it did stick.  For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to eek out some time to visit blog sites that my fellow Left Coast Writers have created and then say something on them.  For me, it’s taking time.  I wish I read faster and was a little wittier or insightful with my feedback.  I’m working on it.  In the meantime, I’ve picked up a few new “Facebook Friends” just because I’ve reached out to bloggers.

Peter Lang, as a social media strategist, had plenty to say about increasing the flow of visitors to any portal: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, etc.  And he emphasized the need to do this as “a professional,” meaning do it to get paid.  I found myself feeling embarrassed by the fact that I’ve been blogging and facebooking for over a year now, and it never occurred to me to set money making as the goal.  What kind of self-respecting writer am I that I just give away my “content?”  I’m not even sure what that means, but I was too unsure of myself to raise my hand and ask for a little clarity.  I was unwilling to unveil the fact that I’m seriously out of the social media loop.  I was developing a headache, and the suggestions for generating “unique visitors,” “revenue streams,” and “watermarking” all of my posted photos was tightening the screws at my temples.

I’m not ready to go prime time.  Employing numbers crunchers, whether they are paid human advisers such as the people over at Uhuru or free downloadable software such as Google Analytics, kinda takes the fun out of public outreach.  Analyzing data about who is following Pearls My Mother Wore, or me, would be about as interesting to me as reading Denmark’s tax laws.  I get it that some folks thrive on that stuff, all those juicy statistics, but I get queasy just thinking about it.  Sure, I want people to visit the Pearls My Mother Wore website, but if I got all hung up on how many came to the site and how many clicked on one of its links, two of its links, all of its links, I think I’d go cuckoo.  My ego, quite honestly, couldn’t handle it.  If the numbers were high, I’d get all full of myself.  If the numbers were low, I’d get in a funk.  Actually, I’m sure my numbers are low, but I’m O.K. with that because I’m not hustling to pick them up; I just let them be what they are.  If I was aggressively pursuing followers, and then failed to accumulate them, then I’d feel like a total loser.  Peter Lang suggested a goal of one thousand “evangelical followers” (i.e. fanatics.)  I don’t know, I’m getting that queasy feeling again.  I know my attitude is not a good one if I ever wish to make it on the New York Times bestseller list, but for right now, I’m still in the amateur leagues.  Oh well.  Defeatist?  No.  Realistic?  Yes.

All I know is that I enjoy writing, and I enjoy knowing that people are reading what I have to say and thinking about it.  This is something I do more as a hobby than a business.  It’s a public hobby, but it’s still what I do for fun.  I’m so pressure adverse, this too I know about myself.  There’s a lot of pressure in staying on top of all the statistics.  I also feel pressure when I’m trying to ingratiate myself for the purpose of bulking up the number of hits to my website or “Friends” on my Facebook page or “Likes” on the Pearls My Mother Wore page.  I didn’t get into writing to become a politician.  If I think of something to say via the Internet, then I want it always to be sincere.  I guess I’m not much of a salesperson; quotas seriously bug me.  O.K., ’nuff said.

How about the holidays?  How’s everybody doing with the season?

Christmas in a box...make that boxes

Getting nine boxes down from the attic is as far as I’ve gotten with decorating the house.  Hopefully, by next Friday, I’ll have the contents of these numerous bins sprinkled around, bringing bright colors and good cheer to the long nights of winter.  I’m counting the days until we reach the solstice.  I can’t wait.

Have a good week, and I’ll post again next Friday.


6 Responses to “In Over My Head…Again”

  1. Rita says:

    This is a common complaint with many creatives. I happen to like marketing, and still I do not believe I will ever “Facebook” anybody, no matter how many unique visitors it may get me. One reason I like writing is that I can remain in a cocoon safe from all worldly intrusion, including virtual ones. I see some popular bloggers who feel the same and don’t have comments enabled or give out their email. Not everybody wants to twitter.

    What it is all about is building relationships, so commenting on other blogs is working for you. Just do that for now. You probably don’t have the time to do much more. Keep a list of marketing things you want to learn to do when you get a little extra time. I treat it like a game. I’ll send you a few links to blogs that are for newbie bloggers and writers to keep in a folder and read them when you have time.

    Afte all that you have mastered, this will be child’s play.

    Try thinking about it differently. Think, “I want to share what I am writing in my blog with more people,” instead of “I have to learn all this boring crap to make money.”

    I love reading your blog and I think it merits a wider audience. I will forward any how-to-master-the-tech-stuff blog posts I encounter. There is a learning curve, but WordPress has good customer service (I hear. Still don’t have a blog yet.) so maybe you can email them.

  2. susan says:

    When you start writing from the viewpoint of the bottom line you’ll lose your soul. In the end you’ll never say ” I wish I’d been more marketable” but you may say ” I wish I’d been more honest.” Stick with what feels right.

  3. Linda Watanabe McFerrin says:

    And yet, Peter’s advice moves me to post a comment … and I hope you’ll come and join the lively undead at!

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