There’s some debate if Facebook helps anyone at all.
A good friend of mine who is also a great writer recently turned off her Facebook in order to complete a major project. It was a good decision for her because she knows that like many of us, social media can be distracting. It is so easy to sit on Facebook (or other social media) and scroll through my feed laughing at funny posts, rolling my eyes at overly dramatic posts, burning with rage at posts about injustice, and trying not to cry at moving, uplifting posts. And for some people, Facebook is more than distracting, it’s detracting. It makes them feel downright bad.
It is a lot easier to scroll than tackle tough writing tasks. So why don’t I eliminate Facebook from my life all together?
Because like any good optimist, I think there is some good in everything. Even Facebook.
I spent a great day yesterday working with a creative friend yesterday who wondered if Facebook really was useful for her. Also this month, one of my favorite clients has reached out to me to ask for two presentations on social media, one for beginners and one for advanced users. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how social media like Facebook can be useful.
People share stories on Facebook, and writers need stories. Facebook helps with inspiration! No, I don’t suggest you steal people’s life stories for your next novel, but I do suggest thinking about motivations and background and choices. Use what you read about how people to act to make your characters seem as real as possible.
Hello, critique group! Yes, you can connect with other writers and conduct a pretty decent critique group via Facebook. And if you get into a great professional writers’ group you can also learn valuable info on how to pitch your work. Just make sure you give as much as you get. Remember, online networking can be a lot more effective if you also incorporate some IRL (in real life) experiences.
What You Don’t Know
Facebook helps you gain knowledge, if you use it right. Go beyond just liking friends and find some pages that feature information on different cultures, or foods, or skills. Like them. Learn form them!! Maybe push yourself to go to new events that you discover online and learn about yourself, too.
Hone Your Funny Bone
As a writer, use Facebook and other social media to write as funny as you can as succinctly as you can. Humor works well on social media and helps you practice your craft. As a reader, find some joy in the world. Think about what it is that people love to read about and include these elements in your stories.
Keep It Real
Sometimes all we need to do is post our goals in public to help us reach them. Once you have a good core group of friends, you can ask them to help you stay accountable. Just don’t forget to lend the same support to other writers who also need that nudge.
Facebook for the Checkbook
Facebook helps writers get writing work – sometimes. It works for some people, but it’s not the best way to land great gigs and it should never be your only way.
There are lots of ways to use social media for your benefit. But I think a big part of using social media the right way is to think about your goals and identify drawbacks. I have turned off notifications and only go on social media during designated times during the day when I don’t have other obligations. I also monitor my usage on RescueTime so I can find out if I’m cheating!!
What ways do you find Facebook to be helpful?
You can also check out my article about how Pinterest can be less about procrastination and more for productivity.