Regular PHS columnists, AlTonya Washington and Joss Wood, are talking about their online presence and what topics they like to engage with.
AlTonya Washington: When Positive is a Negative
My social media presence has always been fixed on sharing what’s near/dear to my heart-besides being a mom which is my favorite (and most exhausting) job among the many I hold. Socially speaking, keeping my readers/followers informed of my latest book release or what’s coming through the pipeline has been the focal point of that presence.
When I’m not talking about the books I’m writing, I’m talking about the books I’m reading. When I’m not doing that, I’m talking about the latest movie I’ve seen or TV show I’ve become addicted to. At all costs, I try to stay away from more provocative topics. I’ve tried.
Lately, keeping to that decision has not been easy. Not been easy? It’s been pretty impossible. Of course it’s not hard to post a book or movie cover and discuss what I did over the weekend in 100 characters or less. What’s often hard is turning a blind eye to all that’s happening in the world around me. I’ve heard people speak out against celebrities sharing their opinions on world issues and how they should stick to talking about their movies, books or other claim to fame. I think it’s often forgotten that celebs are just people. Granted, they’re people who have extraordinary occupations, but people just the same.
I’ve been asked about the cons of maintaining a positive social media presence in the wake of adversity. It was a question I had to think about there for a minute. At first glance I’m thinking what could be negative about being positive in the midst of adversity? Once I took a step back from the topic and thought about myself-just Tonya-not the writer but the working mom living in a world that seems completely off its rocker…more off its rocker than usual, I got the point.
I believe that in everything, maintaining a balance is key. While I have no intention of maintaining a balance between spotlighting my near and dear topics and the worlds’ adversities, there comes a time when such things can’t be totally ignored-nor should they be.
What makes my social media presence so engaging is the fact that I’m not always talking about my latest book or what’s coming down the pipeline. What’s most fun for me is discussing the latest TV show I’ve discovered, movie I went to see or book series I’ve started reading.
Friends and followers-in spite of what some naysayers believe- really do want to see you as a real person. They want to know some insights about who you are beyond the project you’re promoting. They want to know if you stay up at night concerned about the same things that concern them.
Those who have checked out my social media feeds lately can see that I’m very concerned about such things. In voicing those concerns however, I take great care to remember balance lest I become another adverse contributor to a world off its rocker.
AlTonya Washington is a college librarian, award-winning author, insatiable movie buff and proud mom. For more information about her and her latest release - Provocative Attraction - check out her website, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Joss Wood, Maintaining a Positive Social Media Presence
I am the best example of being an extroverted introvert you can possibly imagine. I screen phone calls and, if I am in my cave trying to recharge my emotional batteries even calls from my closest friends can make me feel physically ill. Other days I feel like that if I don’t speak to someone I’m going to go off my head. But please don’t ask me to do small talk, the deeper the conversation the better. I love being the center of attention but only for about five minutes and then I feel deeply uncomfortable. I need to be among people but I also need to isolate myself.
It’s all very confusing.
Social media is great in that I can connect with people and then withdraw and connect again when I feel like doing so. I might post ten things a day or I might post none…it absolutely depends on my state of mind and whether I am in extrovert or introvert mode.
That being said, I am very careful about what I post on a social media site. When I became published and needed to have a social media presence, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to portray myself to the world.
One of my first decisions was to be authentic, that I would never be or do or say or re-post anything that jibed with my values or the truths of my life. (Because, you know, the truths of my life may be different to the truths of yours…it’s all about perception!)
I also knew that I wanted to be, as far as possible, positive, about the world, my country, my life. I live in a country that has a bad rep, for bad governance, for crime, for corruption. But there is so much about South Africa that is utterly awesome and I wanted to tell the world about the amazing people and places I’ve met and visited. There’s a place for stories about corruption and crime, bad presidents and natural disasters but it’s not on my page. I don’t do sex, politics, crime, starving animals or religion. There are millions of places where those topics can be delved into and I visit many of them (I am utterly fascinated by politics, religion and crime) but I want the choice as to when and where to delve into those topics, I don’t want to be smacked in the face by them.
I firmly believe in practicing active gratitude and you’ll often find posts relating to gratitude, thankfulness and motivation. I believe in all religions and none. I’m fairly certain that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience and that we create what we think about. I believe in being positive, always, so you’ll see a lot of posts about exactly that. Creating your life and practicing gratitude. And sometimes I’ll post a quote or a link to an article to either encourage someone or, frequently, myself. I feel that if I am inspired by something or a post touches me, it might touch someone else.
I believe in laughter, in humor, in sarcasm and in laughing until your belly hurts. So, yep, there will always be something to make you smile on my page. What else do I believe in? Coffee, food, not going to the gym. And books and the power of reading.
I also believe in posting the occasional picture of a hot guy because A) I can and B) I can and C) he’s hot. And also because I am a romance writer, it’s research!
My social media presence is not about promoting my books so much as connecting with people, with readers. My books are me, I am my books and I think that if you like what I have to say in the real life, you might like the stories I create.
That’s my theory, anyway. Now visit my Facebook page, there’s a picture of a very hot guy fixing a light bulb!
Joss Wood is a South African romance writer, fuelled by coffee and craziness. For more information about her and her latest release - Her Ex's Well-Kept Secret - check out her website, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.