The Horrors of Social Media and Modern Publishing

Book Doulas—help with birthing your book

Favourite Fictional Characters

Not open for further replies.
I do put myself about a bit on social media, but fortunately have not (yet!) experienced any dreadful behaviour.

I received some mild criticism for responding to a review (which wasn't a bad review) - a big no-no I know. Oh, and one criticism about a cover design (posted by a cover designer - obviously someone with a solid understanding of effective marketing :confused:). Oh, and the guy who moaned because he needed Dropbox to obtain a free copy of one of my books. This para sounds a bit like 'What did the Romans ever do for us?' My list endeth here.

Anyway I read this blog post and became even more depressed about the world we live in.

Has anyone else here had bad or unpleasant experiences with social media?
There are some truly horrifying attacks perpetrated on social media, as Anne R Allen's blog post shows. The anonymity of the Internet allows cowards to get away with saying things that they wouldn't dare to voice in person. I'm reminded of the old adage, 'If you've got nothing nice to say, then say nothing', except that online trolls take the opposite approach!

I've read that many famous authors refuse to read any reviews of their work, which sounds like a sane approach to me.

One of the main reasons that I've not fully engaged with any of my social media profiles, using them to promote my writing, is that I think it would largely be a waste of time and effort. I'm not afraid of criticism or bad reviews, but don't want to provide fuel for creeps who lurk looking to start flaming rows with some bitchy comments. If you look at any Comments section below an online newspaper article, you'll see how swiftly it degenerates into squabbling.
I curate my Twitter feed quite ruthlessly and don't use hashtags unless I know who's likely to respond. What I like to follow are tweet feeds from writers who post their favourite lines on Wednesdays, writers reviewing books, writers chatting about plot holes, writers befriending other writers. Twitter doesn't work as a sales pitch arena, but those following certain writers become aware of their friends and followers. I've bought many books this way. It isn't overnight connectivity. I link on Twitter to good reviews, light-hearted memes and I only ever post positive comments on writing threads. Twitter isn't the place for anything critical in the writing sphere, it is far too volatile a space. My political posts are never overtly linked to writing posts and I don't make personal attacks. Ever.

Facebook for me is for family, friends and media colleagues. Again, I don't do tendentious and I don't use it as a selling medium. If a poster gets aggressive or over-discloses, I just block posts and consider unFriending. Instagram is for images and poems and I simply go there to play, a lovely creative space, largely troll-free. If I need to self-publicise, I use a website, make sure I can moderate and approve comments before they go public. WordPress works for me as a blog format.

And over the years I've made some wonderful friends.
I wouldn't have any readers without Facebook. LOL! But at the same time, it's also a cesspool of authors behaving badly toward one another, and toward people in general. I'm very picky about who I friend, and I unfriend and block just as easily if someone gets nasty with me or with others. Just like in real life, I have the right to choose who I talk to, and who I ignore. :)

Authors are beginning to use Instagram to promote and to connect with readers. I just joined this past weekend. Still getting used to it.

As for Twitter, I admit I largely ignore it. I have my Facebook page posts set to automatically tweet to my account. That's about all I do. I have to limit my time online, otherwise I'd never get any writing done. :)
I haven't experienced any trolling yet as a writer. I nominally use Facebook and Twitter, but hate them both. I know I need to post more, but every time I decide to do it, I think "well, who the hell would care about that?" and invariably delete the post. My blog posts automatically go to my Facebook author page, which makes it look like I pay more attention to it than I really do.

Way back in 1990, when the Internet was a fledgeling, I was badly trolled on an education forum. It has made me skittish. I tend to skirt widely around anything that raises people's tempers. Unfortunately, I have a troll as a family member, so it's hard to stay away from it completely.
I've seen trolls in progress, mostly on Twitter, but never aimed at me. I think I'd just ignore them if they came along. I did question who these awful people are (and the horrendous language they use) and are they probably just normal people you see on the street. The answers I got were mostly, "yes", they're normal-looking people. What on earth happens to them? btw - be careful who you "friend" on FaceBook. Delete the requests from people who don't have quite a good list of friends (and who are friends of your friends). I keep getting generals and colonels wanting to friend me LOL.
Yeah, I treat Goodreads with care--from all I've heard, it's the gathering place for trolls.
And you know what? They dress and act just like people! The smell of sulfur doesn't really give 'em away until you're standing too close to evade their grasp. Years ago, when I thought I'd give the social media thing a try, I figured the safest way to proceed was to just be myself, no nom-de-wifi, etc. Now I wish I had tried those scary places out as a sock puppet first...
I've been very lucky.

Very early on in my Twitter days I experienced one troll and their following gang up on one poor girl from Australia who'd spelt a Scottish placename wrong on her blog. It turned from criticism to nasty (by an age group that really ouight know better) very quickly and really upset the girl it was aimed at. Thing is the trolls couldn't see they were engaging in the behaviour and acted like dogs with a bone. Very sad. I defended the girl and then blocked the bullies. It taught me a good lesson. To check profiles and pages to gauge what a person is like; helps weed out robots too.

That said, it's the only time I've seen it. The writing and reading community is generally very supportive (esp. on Twitter) but it never hurts to tread with caution on any form of IT.
Just popping in here to give a link to an opinion piece in yesterday's Guardian by Matt Haig who has written so movingly on depression. He now sees social media as divisive, exploitative and commercialised. Some good questions raised.

'Kurt Vonnegut said: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be.” This seems especially true now we have reached a new stage of marketing where we are not just consumers, but also the thing consumed. If you have friends you only ever talk to on Facebook, your entire relationship with them is framed by commerce.'
@James Marinero yes, I'm the same in that I can only stay connected to my sister in Canada on Facebook. She doesn't do phone calls, Skype or emails. I enjoy my FB page and have made it as safe for myself as I can. That means being ready to curate 'Friends' and comment threads quite ruthlessly and shut down conflict. But the algorithm tracking of individuals on social media is scary, I understand it but the assiduous pushing of certain interests and posts is quite intrusive.
Criminals love Facebook and other social media sites, as users are astonishingly naive about what they post. Many house break-ins happen because people post that they're abroad for two weeks, their pets in care and their home empty.

A good friend, who's too open for her own good, had her identity hijacked a few years ago. Fraudulent credit cards were opened in her name and several mortgage applications made, none successfully, but it took her an age to sort out and make sure that her credit record wasn't affected. Afterwards, she worked out that the criminals had gathered information on her date of birth, schooling, career history etc from all of the details she'd innocently included on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Since then, she's created several alternative 'hers' to use online.

Just because you're paranoid.....
I stay in safe neighborhoods and don't do much marketing on line. While that may not do much for book sales, it keeps trolls away. Now and then, someone is nasty. If a calm response doesn't defuse whatever is bothering them, I block them. Life is short, and I don't want to waste time in the company of *#@*+@s
Not open for further replies.

Book Doulas—help with birthing your book

Favourite Fictional Characters