Social Media is great because it means we can all stay in touch with one another and meet people we’d never otherwise had access to. Also: Social Media is a horrible business because we can all stay in touch … Yeah, you get it.
Every day, I see or receive TERRIBLE instances of social media – and I don’t just mean whinging about how you’ve got a cold, or how terrible your life is, or how hard it is to write or find a way “in” to the industry. Try some of these for size:
1) ‘Read my pitch!’
I don’t care about your pitch. There’s a time and a place and guess what, Twitter ain’t it. Nor is it on my FB comments, via my LinkedIn account or in my blog comments. I will trash them all without reading. If however you’re at London Screenwriters Festival and want to pitch me your idea and ask nicely, even in the cafeteria? I’ll listen to it. I might even give you some quick verbal feedback.
Similarly, if I say you’re welcome to share your work or links on Bang2writers (which I frequently do and always encourage), then feel free to put it on the wall and invite comments from other members, which I may or may not join with. Otherwise, STAY BACK or I’ll flame throw you and feed you to the WGs (they like barbeque).
2) ‘Read my blog!’
Every single day, without a word of a lie, I get entreated to read someone’s blog. Usually it’s two or three times. And I don’t mean tweets with updates from NetworkedBlogs or whatever, I mean an ACTUAL EMAIL or PRIVATE MESSAGE to half a dozen or more people telling me (and the others) there is an update and could we stop by and say what we think?
Guess what I do. I don’t click on the link. Why? ‘Cos I figure that, if your blog is good or interesting enough, the link will find its way to me via Facebook and Twitter via other people … You know, your ACTUAL READERS. A personal recommendation from a reader (even if it’s just an RT) is worth a THOUSAND emails asking me to read your blog.
3) ‘I promise not to spam you!’ (Whilst spamming you)
I get messages that legit say THIS >>> ‘”Like” my page or join my group – but I promise I won’t spam you with updates!‘ So you want me to keep updated with your service, product or film – yet you’re NOT going to tell me about it???? WTF is the point of it, then? IGNORE.
4) ‘Love me, Or I’ll hate you!’
Even weirder, I’ll get messages that basically say, ‘Get behind my Kickstarter/ IndieGoGo project – and if you don’t, you suck!’ Everybody’s trying to make their way here and I’m well behind anyone who takes the bull by the horns and gets stuff done themselves. But seriously, taking to Twitter or Facebook to complain you’re not raising the money you hoped for is not cool. In this climate, with many creatives feeling the bite of the recession hard, you’re lucky to get a couple of a hundred quid. And every penny helps!
5) “No one will help me, including you. Boo hoo, etc.”
If I never receive a message again telling me how it’s somehow “different” or “easier” for me, it will be too soon. It’s not different or easier for anyone. You want it? Go get it. It’s what I did. And for the record, I help other writers as much as I can, but I can’t do it all for you.
6) “Please listen to my story on WHY I can’t make it”
As above. Though if you really *are* having a mega hard time, think of it as material! Seriously. Just like everyone, I’ve had shit times, you just don’t know about it ‘cos other than the odd enraged tweet, you won’t find me writing about it online … You’ll find it in my work instead.
7) “I want to save you!!!”
Whenever I mention online about publishing – as I’m doing now – I have to brace myself. Why? Because I know I’ll get a slew of messages about HOW NAIVE I AM to have an agent and/or to have signed a traditional publishing deal. DON’T I KNOW I CAN MAKE MORE MONEY CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN AND SELF-PUBLISHING instead???
Erm, I am a hybrid author anyway. But WTF? Who do you think you are? I happen to think agents are well cool, I know a stack of them. Also no, I don’t regret a single penny in commission because they have contacts and mad negotiating skillz that I don’t. That’s final.
But I see writers, frequently new ones, giving this so-called “advice”, even to high profile bestselling authors! As I’ve said before, I am not against self publishing, I support it, but if you’re overzealous like this in your support for it? Be a dear and turn it down a notch. Like down to zero.
8) ‘Wow! I’ve got great stuff going on … But I can’t tell you about it!’
Sure, I get it. Whilst contracts are being sorted and signed, it’s wise to keep schtum until it’s all been ironed out. Oh wait! You mean you’re not saying anything because you think it makes you seem more mysterious and thus more “professional”! Perhaps you think it will make your fellow scribes jealous? Well let me take those illusions and chuck ’em in the bin for you, ‘cos it doesn’t.
And perhaps my favourite of all:
9) ‘I want to meet an agent and/or producer. Refer me!’
Dudes, seriously?? A) I don’t know your writing. B) I don’t even know YOU. You’re just a name on a screen to me. Yes, I know my LinkedIn is full of interesting people (hi everyone) and yes, I don’t mind doing that introduction thing that LinkedIn has, but beyond that? Oh and by the way: say mutha****ing please.
Oh and let’s not forget:
10) ‘Here’s how you don’t do social media!’
Yes. Including this blog post. But you read to the end, right? SUCKERS! 😛