I started blogging this year—March 1, 2013 was the launch date. The idea for the blog was born in 2009 after reading a Yahoo Finance article listing how people were earning extra income. About half way through the list was "Blogging for Income" highlighting Darren Rowse, his success and his Problogger book. Sounded interesting so I ran out bought and devoured the book.
Since then I've read many good books and followed blogs related to starting online businesses. One of the things I learned during my research was that to be successful you HAD to have a presence on the web and most people do that through a blog with social media "outposts" such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.
Up until last year I had been antisocial media. No Twitter account—didn't really have clue what that was all about. No Facebook account—didn't want people knowing too much about me. No—well— anything public.
But I wanted to be successful so I was committed to following the "formula." Twitter, Facebook, here I come!
Over the last 10 months, I've discovered that social media is two-faced: a beauty and a beast. Here's what I mean.
Love the Beauty
Ah, there are so many lovely elements to this social media, social networking, world. Here are just a few:
- Online networks provide the opportunity to connect with a vast array of people worldwide who share common or related interests.
- The blogging community is incredibly supportive of other bloggers as long as you are producing valuable content.
- You get immediate feedback on what you're producing and that feedback creates personal growth opportunities.
- People from around the world stop by, comment, tweet or share what they find on your site, which feels great.
- Social media is open 24/7.
- Building an online presence can open doors for jobs, contracts, freelance work, etc.
Dread the Beast
While a beautiful tool that can be extremely useful in this new economy, it can turn on you and inflict some damage if not used wisely. Here are some examples:
- Your time evaporates as you stare at the screen, refreshing it waiting for feedback or searching for good content to share.
- It causes distractions because the temptation is to have all the outpost windows open and check them feverishly.
- You feel compelled to add just one more outpost. Really, how many can you honestly keep up with and still create good content?
- The beast shares everything you publish—good or bad. This can haunt you later if you ever interview for a job, bid for contract or freelance work, or want to speak publicly. Don't let your guard down because I think that this bite could hurt bad.
Keeping the Beast at Bay
I'm still struggling with how best to keep the beast at bay while using social media/networking to it's fullest. I do believe that it is a major factor in being successful in our new economy. It lets you shine (or fall on your face). I try, albeit not so successfully, to:
- Set a writing schedule and stick to it. I did write a schedule down, but I haven't been terribly good at keeping to it.
- Turn off my computer before or just after dinner. This one I can do.
- Don't have the social media sites open while writing. Okay, I suck at this still.
How Has Social Media Helped or Hurt You?
I'm curious to hear your story; how has social media helped or hurt you? Please leave a comment below!