My brain doesn’t work in ways that make Facebook, or Twitter, simple tools of expression. They are scary, complex and overwhelming to me. Like the cockpit console facing Ted Striker in Airplane.
I’m not wired for them. I’ve had to stare down this deficiency of mine, look at it cold and hard, and either accept it, or adapt.
I’ve decided to remain deficient.
Before I started to “build an author platform,” I didn’t post anything to Facebook. And I definitely didn’t tweet. I spent hours down the rabbit hole . . .reading, watching videos, making connections in my head. Following my own personal Prime Directive, I would observe but not interact. My Facebook and Twitter accounts were mute spectators to the infinite universe of comments, opinions, and pictures of so many people, all better able than me to make these things suit their purposes.
Husband Tim has chosen just one tool, and he uses the hell out of it. He’s a Twitter guy, and he has 2,500 followers. Over 8,000 tweets.
I have 43 followers. And 60 tweets.
The Anne McClane Facebook author page has 22 likes.
I’ve read how Jonathan Franzen has compared social media to a protection racket, and described the internet in general as totalitarian. My feelings about it aren’t so extreme, and I don’t feel a threat to my personal freedom. Just intimidated by my perceived incompetence.
I earn my keep in marketing, so I recognize the usefulness of these mediums. And I recognize my attempts at platform-building are new. @anne_mcclane is about 6 months old, the Facebook author page is maybe six weeks old. And the first post on Anne McClane the WordPress blog turns one month old on Saturday.
I know there are things that can be done to garner more likes, more followers. I also realize that this post could be construed as one of those things. A cry for pity. “Feel bad for me, I suck at these things, please like me, please follow me.” That is NOT my intention here.
But I do want to provide proof of my deficiency. I attempted to use Twitter to tell an elevator story. (Not an elevator pitch. A story about an elevator – two elevators, to be more precise.) Here’s Part 1:
Back in April, at the IBPA conference, I noticed the elevator in the conference hotel was inspected by someone named Steve Rodgers. Captain America (though he doesn’t spell it that way). So I took a picture, tweeted it with something like “I sure feel safe in this elevator, Cap must use the “d” when he’s incognito.” Granted, not terribly clever, and maybe a tweet better suited to a comic con than an independent publishing conference. But since movies, and superheroes, and stuff like that are usually going through my brain, it felt like an honest tweet.
Part 2: Fast forward to Labor Day weekend. At the condo in Alabama, I got stuck in the elevator. For twenty to twenty-five minutes. Members of the Orange Beach Fire Department had to pry open the doors to let me out. Something felt tweetable, especially since one of my 60 tweets involves an elevator. So I had to reply to my April tweet, and said something about “Cap not being the inspector.” Tim, bless his heart, favorited it.
But, yeah, not quite the narrative impact I was going for.
So, thank you, WordPress, for allowing me the space to tell the story. No, there’s still nothing life-altering about it, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to round it out with some details and time/space context.
“Platform” is an annoying buzzword. But so is “organic” when it’s applied to marketing. “We want this product, this promotion, whatever, to take off organically.” But it accurately describes what I want from social media. To plant a seed and let it grow. I don’t expect a buried acorn to produce a full-blown oak in one month’s time. If you like what I’m offering, if you enjoy reading things I write, then please, by all means, follow, like. But until that time, I’m good. This writing thing is a slow burn.