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February 12, 2019

What Social Media Platforms Do You Use?

Close up of a purple butterfly with text: Social Butterfly? What Platforms Do You Use?

A few weeks ago, I saw a mention on Twitter of a social media event called #AuthorLifeMonth. Every year, Dahlia Adler puts together a list of prompts for writers to share a bit about themselves, their work, and their life each day of February.

I remembered seeing the hashtag last year and it seemed fun, but most of the month had already passed by the time I figured out what it meant and never joined in. This year, I saw the notification in advance, so I had the chance to participate.

The hashtag is primarily used on Instagram, which I haven’t been on before. But as Dahlia says in her announcement post, the prompts can be used on any social media platform.

That said, ever since my guest poster Monica Corwin shared her tips on how to make Instagram work for authors last summer, I’ve been tempted to see what made the platform so popular. This hashtag event seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out Instagram. *grin*

Yes! I’m on Instagram Now

If you’re on Instagram, give me a wave and follow. (Or use your Instagram camera to focus on the “nametag” image below and press and hold on the camera screen to bring up my profile.)

Instagram scan this nametag to follow Jami Gold

I don’t really know what I’m doing yet, especially when it comes to creating stories or sharing others’ content (the equivalent of a Twitter retweet or Facebook share). I’m used to sharing funny stuff or good advice I find on Twitter, but Instagram seems to be more about original content. Maybe?

Are you on Instagram? How do you decide which social media platforms to use? Click To TweetWhen it comes to sharing content, there seem to be unwritten rules about asking permission, giving credit, and using the #repost hashtag that I don’t quite understand—especially as those rules might vary depending on whether it’s a meme, advice, inspirational or funny quote, or personal content. So far, I’ve been avoiding the issue, but I’m such a “Hey! This might be helpful” sharer that not sharing feels weird to me.

(If anyone wants to fill me in on those unwritten rules down in the comments, I’d appreciate it. *smile* Or even just telling me how to do a repost-share—like, what buttons or options? I’m telling you, I’m lost with that aspect… *shakes head*)

Want to Join #AuthorLifeMonth?

At least I was right that Dahlia’s #AuthorLifeMonth hashtag is the perfect way to get started on Instagram. I don’t even have to think too much about what to post. (Yay, thank you, Dahlia!)

And it’s not too late to join the hashtag event. As Dahlia says, don’t worry about missing or skipping days or if you post prompts late—it’s just supposed to be a fun opportunity to share. Also, for those who aren’t published yet, interpret the prompts however they work for you and your situation.

My #AuthorLifeMonth

So far I’ve shared all but Day 7’s “Author Fashion.” (I was too busy that day to post, and yoga pants aren’t that exciting anyway. *grin*)

Instagram is a more visual social media platform than I’m used to as a poster. I’m not a selfie-taker—or even constantly attached to my phone—so each post takes more effort for me than simply typing a tweet or status update. But that visual aspect is also a big part of what makes Instagram appealing as a scrolling user—even I’ll admit that. *smile*

If you’re reading this on my site rather than on my newsletter, you can see my pictures up through Day 11 below. Click over to Instagram if you’d like to check out my posts.

 

Jami Gold's profile on InstagramJami Gold's posts on Instagram

Life Balance and Social Media

We all have extremely limited time, and the various social media platforms can add yet more obligations to our schedule. We can’t be everywhere and do everything, so we each have to decide where we want to spend our time.

For me, Twitter has always made sense for what I like to do and share, but I know it’s not for everyone. Others love Facebook or Instagram or blogging. Others avoid social media altogether.

We might choose based strictly on where we can find our readers. Or we might choose based on where we have the most fun, which app is easiest for us to understand, what fits best with our branding, or where we can most successfully build a platform. There’s no right or wrong answer, only what’s right for us.

To be honest, I have no idea how much I’ll use Instagram after this month. It’s not like I have a lot of free time available for adding yet another social media platform to my daily list of things to do. Plus, once my “cheat sheet” of prompts for post ideas runs out with the end of the hashtag event, I’ll need to rely on Monica’s scheduling advice, and I’m not sure how I’ll do.

But setting up the Instagram app to find my Facebook friends showed me just how popular the platform is, so I’m trying. I really am. Even though I don’t have time for it, I’m having fun with Instagram this month, and I guess that’s what matters for this event. *smile*

What social media platforms do you use and which do you avoid? What made you decide to use the social media platforms you’re on—what about them works for you and what do you like about them? Are you on Instagram, and if so, how do you use it? Do you have any advice for me? If you’re not on Instagram yet, do you have any newbie or #AuthorLifeMonth questions for me?

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Dahlia Adler

Hooray and welcome! After years of admiring your worksheets, I’m so happy to be able to provide something small in return. Enjoy!

E J Randolph

I stuck some paintings up on Instagram, but those are just landscapes and have nothing to do with writing. I’m mystified and baffled on how to use this for authors. If anyone can give some advice, I’d be much obliged. By the way, I have trouble with social media and can’t seem to find a “home”.

A month ago, a friend and I started a website on WordPress with reviews of books we are reading. Now, that is workable and fits my lifestyle. It’s also an affiliate bookstore, but my friend and I don’t expect to make any money, just get more visibility, meet readers and authors, and have a little fun. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Bookstore. (Thesciencefictionfantasybookstore.wordpress.com.) We are including romance as long as it is a fantasy or a paranormal story. But, we just started, so we don’t have too many books on it yet. Any suggestions of must-read books? (I have read all your books Jami, but I haven’t written any reviews on them yet. I read them a while ago, so I may have to review them a bit. My favorite is still your first book.)

Deborah Makarios

I wouldn’t call it a Must-Read, but I’d love to send you a review e-copy of my fantasy novel Restoration Day if you’re interested. If you click on my name it’ll take you to my site where there’s a secure contact form – let me know your email address and what format you prefer.

To answer your question, Jami, I’m not involved with many forms of social media. Blogging and Ravelry are about it – I’m not much of a technophile. I’ve sometimes thought about joining Twitter, but it seems a bit like trying to converse with a firehose.

E J Randolph

Glad to read it.

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara

Goodreads and Pinterest, I don’t go near anything owned by FB. What others do is of course up to them.

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