Maybe it's the holidays. Maybe it's a looming deadline. Maybe it's the fact that there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day, but I'm not feeling social networking lately. Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful that not only does SN allow me to share pics of my kids with my family, keep up with high school reunion news, and chit chat with my book club frands when we are all flying in different directions, but it allows me to engage with my readers ... occasionally in real time. You just can't put a price on that.
However, I've noticed a trend that's making social networking not as fun anymore. Specifically on Twitter. When I log on and click on "connect", I used to be able to respond to my readers, answer questions, and thank them. Now, I scroll down and all I see is, "I entered the XXXX sweepstakes to win @JamieMcGuire's #ABEAUTIFULWEDDING." I scroll down some more. Same thing. More ... and more of the same. You get the idea. Less often, I'll see 50-150+ posts on my author Facebook page in one afternoon or evening with "XXXX book blog sends you love!" These usually last for several days, too.
These posts are not a bad thing. I am honored that book blogs or other authors feature my books in giveaways. I've done it myself for my own giveaways for my own books, but it usually last a day or two and then it's over. However, when there are one or two blogs a week asking their followers to tag me in a post or tweet, and the contests last for 2 days or more, what started as sporadic is now an all day, daily occurrence. Unfortunately, this means that checking my feed and responding takes twice as long. Scrolling through posts/tweets from those who don't expect a reply and separating them from readers who need to ask me a question, post a picture they want me to see, or take the time to let me know how they feel about my latest book is now eating up more writing time than I can spare. I hate that. It genuinely bothers me not to respond to someone who took time out of their day to write to me. In the last six weeks, I can't seem to keep up, and I've figured out why.
I do hate the new normal, but do you know what I like? I like free stuff! I like giving away free stuff! And I LOVE book blogs and that they want to offer my books to give away. I understand that this is great, free promotion for the book provided by these blogs--not to mention sending them to my Facebook page, and it's very much appreciated. What I wish, though, is that we could all put our heads together and figure out a way around the feed saturation. Up until recently, I checked my feeds 5-6 times a day. I couldn't believe it today when I realized it only happened once. I knew what I was going to see when I logged on, and I wasn't surprised.
Maybe that tag can be replied to? Maybe Twitter and Facebook can help us come up with something brilliant? A new tag that doesn't show up in the feed? Wait. Isn't that a hashtag? *giggles at myself* Just because I'm addicted to social networking doesn't mean I'm an expert! Anyone have any ideas on how we can revolutionize the giveaways, while still combining it with the mass reach and ease of social networking?