Personal vs. Platform: Where Is the Line?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the pursuit of the elusive platform agents and publishers love so much I have a blog as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once I got them(and believe me, for a techno-phobe like me that was a big accomplishment), I wasn't sure what to do with them. Communicate. Yes, I got that part. But about what? Books? Family? My love of chocolate? Would photos of my gorgeous daughter dressed up for prom annoy my business colleagues? Would updates about writing contests bore my fellow high school alumns to death?

Unconsciously, I developed a filter in my brain that sorted my life's happenings into three piles: personal, business, and both. As a result, my social media accounts evolved along the same lines. My blog is all business--although I did post pics of my favorite beta readers (er, listeners) my dogs Maggie and Daisy the other day. It includes links to clips, my resume, writing workshops I conduct. My Twitter is mostly all business. There are occassional raves about non-book related things I love or funny things my kids do. My Facebook, which is a way to connect with my huge family as well as friends scattered across the country, is mostly all personal.

Recently a colleague asked me a question I've been wondering about for ages. Is there a line between personal and platform?

Seems there are two schools of thought:

1. Seperate, seperate, seperate -- These writers tell me fans of my writing and possible future editors don't want to hear about my vacation, my kids, or my opinion on the debt ceiling. My tweets, updates and posts should be about writer related subjects because that's the part of me they're interested in. Most recommend two accounts in each social media. Two! I can barely manage one!

2. Show Them Who You Are -- These writers tell me fans of my writing follow me because they want a peek at the me beyond my writing. They want to hear about my award winning recipe for Snickerdoodles and that I am miserable this summer because of my allergies. They tell me that knowing the personal bits and pieces of my life can help editors say, "She would be perfect for this job."

Hmmm, I can understand both sides. Maybe there is no right answer. For now I think I'll keep things as they are. Twitter and blog for business and Facebook for personal. If I sell my book(what was I thinking? I meant WHEN! When I sell my book), I may start a second business Facebook.

Does anyone else have trouble deciding what info to include in your Social Media accounts?

Jodi Webb is a WOW Blog Tour organizer as well as a writer. Depending on what part of her life you want to know about you can find her at Words by Webb , @wordsbywebb, or on Facebook as Jodi Webb.


Margo Dill said...

I think this is something I struggle with myself. But I don't separate. My writing "friends" and my family and friends have access to both of my accounts--Twitter and Facebook. And of course, thank goodness, you can't control who reads your blog. But I do not just Friend anyone. If we don't have a mutual writing friend, then I usually draw the line there. My life is not too exciting, so I don't have any wild pictures I have to hide or anything like that. I don't share my political or religious beliefs on my page, but I wouldn't do that anyway unless I was asked. So, I guess that's where I draw the line. I'm interested to see what others say.

mommakin said...

Google+ is the perfect solution to this dilemma - you organize your contacts in circles (friends, family, professional, writing, whatever...) and then choose which circle each of your posts will be visible to. I like it for separating things I want to share with my adult friends from things I want to share with my younger family and friends.

Kelley Lynn said...

Great Post! I've recently decided to make "a go" at being a published author so I created a blog. I didn't know what to do about the other stuff in my life that doesn't relate to writing, so I created two blogs.

One of them will be mostly for my profession as an author, the other is for the randomness that is my life.

I have links to each on both of them. I figure that way if the two worlds want to collide, they can on there own choosing :)

Course, this means I have two blogs to keep up with. But so far I'm really enjoying it!

My facebook account is still all personal stuff, though I'm pretty bad about updating it...

And I don't have a twitter account... is this something that I should have? Does everyone find this to be a benefit to our profession?

Sioux Roslawski said...

Alas, I do not have a facebook account, but since I am in the process of getting a picture book published, I might have to succumb...

Robyn Chausse said...

I'm a wallflower. I started a blog years ago just to teach myself how to use the internet; it is filled with articles written on subjects that interest onlty me. My "professional" blog sleeps in a half-finished comma and I am still resisting the FB thing. When colleages do find my personal blog I feel like I should appologize for not being professional. Yet, we all yearn to be ourselves.
I will probably keep the business seperate as much as possible and keep my "ramblings" on the personal site.

Val said...

I prefer to read blogs that combine the professional and the personal interests. If I want a reference book, I'll get a reference book--not look for advice in social media. As far as promoting a book, nobody wants to watch the same commercial over and over.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

It is such an interesting dilemma. For my upcoming blog tour, the organizers asked me to come up with post topics and organize them as either "About writing" or "About life". Almost all I came up with seemed to cross both. Writing as life, Life as writing. Writing should inform us, or move us, or both. I don't want to tell everyone everything, but I do think your true personality should come through. So I say, go from the heart and trust your own judgement.

Jodi Webb said...

It's so great to hear so many points of view!

Oh no, Mommakin. Google+ -- Another thing for me to learn! Although it does sound like a great solution.

Kelley, I like to tell people the ladies at WOW dragged me into Twitter kicking and screaming. True :) But I've found that even for someone like me who isn't promoting a book it's been useful. I've gotten a few jobs that people posted in an "Ah, my freelancer flaked on me!" sort of way. It's also a great way to keep up on industry news and find out what agent/publisher is looking for what type of book since they(especially the agents) will tweet things like "Why won't the slushpile gods send me a middle reader for girls about sports?" Then if you just happen to have that manuscript lying around you can be all "Me! Me! I have it!"

LuAnn Schindler said...

How can you separate the two? Writing is a direct result of who you are. I don't separate, and based on the number of best-selling authors I follow on Twitter, they don't separate either. So many post about kids, what they had to drink last night, current events. It makes them personable. And honestly, if a potential reader or even editor doesn't view me as an individual, I'm not sure there's going to be a reading/working relationship.

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