Social (Anxiety) Media
I’ll be the first to admit I’m really terrible at all forms of social media. I resisted most of it for a long time, relenting to Facebook a few years ago which I update and check occasionally. When I started my journey to become a published author, I expanded my presence to Twitter since that seemed like the thing to do. Since then I’ve added a few others like Instagram and most recently a Facebook Author Page.
I resisted mainly because I’m ridiculously bad at self-promotion. Good thing I’m not an author aspiring to get the world to know of my books, huh?
Unfortunately, of course that is exactly what I am. I write to get my stories out there, but balk at the thought of trying to promote myself. I know that I have to because no one else will, but that doesn’t ease the anxiety at all.
I follow a lot of other self-publishing authors and sit back in awe at their ability to self-promote and interact with their followers. They’ve got hundreds of people hanging off their every word. Things they post get re-posted and shared like there’s no tomorrow. They launch a new book and hundreds (myself included) descend to snap it up. What I wouldn’t give for that level of confidence. Now I know they didn’t get that to that level overnight, but surely an innate ability to interact with people had to be present beforehand.
My anxiety levels shoot up whenever I need to interact with the unfamiliar or unknown. Not just online but in “real life” as well. My wife says I’m ridiculously self-assured based on some of my jokes or comments I make around the house, but that’s only around people I intimately know and trust. Dump me outside that comfort zone and I clam up. Online is just one big non-comfort zone for me.
For example: Maybe I just read a great blog post and think “I should post comment on this”, but then my anxiety kicks in and I doubt myself. Do I sound stupid? Will they misunderstand me and what I think sounds witty and hilarious is going to come across as being rude and ignorant? So many thoughts run through my head and usually I give up and not say anything.
It’s also one of the reasons I went with a pen name rather than my own. Apart from the fact I have to spell my real surname to people all time, I wanted the anonymity of a persona as a shield. I chose a pen name that was easy to spell and I could hide behind.
But I am trying hard to overcome my anxiety of interacting with others, at least from my online perspective. I’ve commented on a few WordPress blogs, Reddits, and Tweets. I’ve created a Facebook Author Page so if anyone wants to friend me and ask me questions they can (current friend count: zero – still plenty of seats available!).
Even this post is a step in that direction. Apart from a few posts way back when I first started, most things I post on this site are either book reviews or updates on whatever I’m currently writing. Actual personal-level posts such as this are almost non-existent.
I guess what I’m saying is that hopefully between all of these different social outlets I can let go of some of my hang-ups and become a functioning member of the online community.
Or perhaps… am I just over-thinking all of this, and my social media skills or lack thereof don’t matter in the grand scheme of things?
It’s possible, I tend to over-think everything.