I heard from a couple of writers I respect that they are quitting Facebook. Some of them keep their business pages, or just one group related to their blog or latest product. Few are going cold turkey.
I get where they are coming from. Social media can be a huge time suck. Likes, comments, and upvotes are addictive. For some, it means affirmation and validation. For many, it is a popularity contest. But among those who enjoy the popularity, are writers and other business owners like you and me.
Facebook, while a great platform for connecting like-minded people, staying in contact with friends and building your brand, can be hell: People being constantly negative, friend requests from creepy strangers, newbie bloggers who want to use you as a free consultant and their own Google, and content that gets banned for no good reason along with content that should be banned but isn’t…
Yet the positives far overweigh the negatives. And I can’t give up on Facebook. Maybe it is an age thing: You see, I was there almost from the beginning. I signed up around 2007, right after my Erasmus year. It was mainly a way to keep in touch with friends and neighbors. It was also to kill time during an internship where they didn’t give me much responsibility.
So 10 years later, Facebook remains my favorite social networking site. Granted, it has its cons. I hate most design updates. The ads are a bit much. But worst of all, it is so damn easy to get lost in your news feed when you have over 500+ friends.
But don’t worry. Facebook, with a little insight and self-control from you, can be a very powerful business tool, as well as serving as free therapy and entertainment.
So let me provide a proper bullet-point list on how Facebook keeps me sane and productive, and you can decide for yourselves whether it is worth your time. Because if we are honest, it makes procrastination very easy.
1. Traffic and social proof. Most of my blog traffic and shares come from Facebook. I have a lot of writer friends, and friends who want to be writers/or bloggers here.
2. Social media management skills. I might not be the ultimate Facebook guru, but I’m pretty damn good at it. I do social media marketing for clients, so it helps that hanging around Facebook comes as a second nature to me. I love the site. Damn you, Zuckerberg! You created a monster.
3. Groups for social interaction, business growth and learning. Yes, you can google a lot of things, so I’m not suggesting asking friends and colleagues “What’s WordPress?” or What’s blogging?” in this day and age. But there is a lot Google can’t tell you, especially in the specific way you need to learn them.
Google is a search engine, and sometimes you need to ask direct questions to your more experienced peers. Some of the amazing groups I belong to:
Groups on making money from your non-fiction:
- 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success (private group for Gina Horkey’s namesake course.)
- Earn More Writing (group for Holly Porter Johnson’s namesake course)
- Beyond Your Blog (Group for Susan Maccarelli’s namesake blog)
Anything related to Screenwriting
- Screenwriters who can actually write
- Fiction Writers
I run some awesome groups myself:
- Addicted to Writing – official group for this blog
- Writers Helping Writers – a group for all things fiction and non-fiction with very few rules. (The existing rules are: Be respectful and nice to each other; helping others comes before self-promotion.)
I get a lot of requests, so I recommend add something about writing to your profile. It also helps if you belong to writing-related groups. This is to avoid people who sign up for everything but not participate, or people who are not serious about writing. Everyone in this group is either working as a professional writer, or trying to. Writers who write as a hobby won’t find it as fun or practical.
- Hyperactive Dreamers. This is a super niche group. While most of the members are writers, it is a group for people who love more than more profession, run or want to run more than one business and has multiple fashions. We are extremely helpful, so you are welcome to check it out.
4. Keep in touch with clients. Sometimes you stop with certain clients, but you are on good terms. You can later collaborate on other projects. Or you can just have a wider network. Some of your clients love Facebook. So do you. And who knows? Maybe they want to throw some Facebook-related work your way. Or they see you and remember that they have friends who need writing work.
5. Finding like-minded people. Oh, this is crucial. Many of us full-time writers tend to be at least a little quirky. Frankly, I think it is non-writer people are a little weird, and I need writer buddies to back me up on the sentiment. We have big dreams, and we don’t let overt realism or pessimism deter us. Fellow writers understand why we can’t just write as a hobby.
6. Sharing ideas and exchanging feedback. With some ideas, I’m confident I need to keep pursuing. Some ideas, especially if I’m not experienced in the niche or with the genre, I need feedback on. And once I start working on with an idea, I need more feedback. Obviously, I return the favor.
The good thing about Facebook is that it offers variety. So let’s say you can take criticism, but you are not a fan of tough love. (That’d be me). It’s amazing that I can find friends who will be honest with me without crushing my spirit.
7. Laughter and entertainment. Who doesn’t love a funny video, song, joke, gif, meme…etc? Let me share one right here. The world can be a dark place filled with problems, including and not limited to your own life. So yes, I’m unapologetic about my right to see cute kittens on a regular basis.
8. It improves your writing. When you share posts, you learn quite a bit about how to write succinct but interesting
9. Venting. I don’t recommend venting all the time. It is not pretty, and it might turn off a lot of people, clients and friends included. But we need a place to share our frustration, and writers get frustrated a lot.
I’d argue we lead more challenging lives than other professions, except for other creatives, because we get rejected almost on a daily basis. I’ve been known to receive two rejection emails within 5 minutes. What the….?
I also live in a city with tons of traffic, inconsiderate people, crazy weather and constant construction noise. And then there are health problems and family members…So yeah, we all need to vent sometimes. And it’s great to be welcomed by friends who jump in to say “Me too!” It just is better for everyone if you can combine the anger with some humor.
10. Reducing isolation. I talk to friends, and it feels like I have co-workers. The difference is, I like all of these co-workers. Writing can be very lonely, and it is detrimental to our well-being to be on our own all the time, especially if we have an extroverted side. Social media created the illusion that we’re not working alone, and Facebook just is more comfortable when it comes to messaging and commenting if you’re on your computer a lot.
7 Tips to Limit Time Your Time on Facebook
- Turn off the Internet.
- Get away from the computer.
- Use free apps to block your site. I use SelfControl for Mac. I wrote it about in detail in my productivity book. (If you want to receive The More Productive Writer, email me and I’ll add you to the newsletter. Or you can subscribe to the newsletter by using the TinyLetter form in the right sidebar.)
- Schedule more time for exercise and friends.
- Leave groups that you haven’t felt the need to participate in a long time, or groups that have failed to provide you benefits.
- Unfriend people who you don’t remember even meeting. They aren’t notified when you do.
- Unfollow friends whose feed you aren’t enjoying.
How about you? Are you a Facebook person? Let me know your reasons why (and why not) in comments!
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