Friday, April 07, 2017

Writing: Too Much Information?

Writers are encouraged to make use of social media to make a connection with readers. I'll have to admit that when I take off my "writer hat" and assume the role of "reader," I enjoy knowing more about some of the authors whose work I read. But, whether you realize it or not, those of us who use social media--and that number seems to grow exponentially each day--have to walk a fine line between making a connection and giving out too much information.

I notice that authors' social media posts fall into the usual categories: publishing information as these people sign new contracts, public appearances and signings, interspersed with recipes, travel, and snippets about everyday life. But, whether you think of it or not, there are some things about which we're warned, and the same would go (so far as I can see) for anyone, not just those of us who write.

What should we avoid? I've been told not to get too intense in posting about my political beliefs. Why? One reason is that some of my readers may not agree with me, but they still like my novels. In the recent presidential election, I've discovered that a number of my friends and acquaintances in the publishing industry don't share my political views. I still like to read their work, but I have to admit that I now look for their politics bleeding over into the writing. I've made my views known, but not to the extent of some people, who post some pretty combative stuff.

What about trips? We're all happy when we are about to go back home to visit or start a long-anticipated vacation. But, although we're anxious to share this information, realize that it might tip off the unscrupulous that you're not going to be home for a bit. We're careful to put a "hold" on our newspapers and make certain our mail doesn't pile up in the box, but why let the world know that our home is an inviting target for burglars?

There are other things those of us who participate in social media are advised to avoid. Do you think we share too much information? Too little? What do you see as the reason behind communication via social media? Let me hear from you. I'd like to know.

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Patricia Bradley said...

I definitely think people share too much information--like photos of their children (always make sure only your close friends can see them) and where the photo is taken.

Never share when you're going to be away from home--that's an open invitation to thieves.
And just like I don't honk my horn when someone cuts me off in traffic, I never post my political views. People get too angry if you don't agree with them.
Great post to consider, Richad.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you agree. And I'm especially careful not to honk at other drivers since Texas became an "open carry" state. : )

Patricia Bradley said...

That's true if you're in Mississippi as well. :-)

EM Griffith said...

Sometimes seeing pictures of family makes an author seem more "real", but I understand the need for privacy. Politics should be avoided in general. Online or not. Sharing one's faith as a Christian author can help readers feel connected. I don't like when Facebook friends post a check in at church every Sunday morning, though. It feels like they're hoping for brownie points? And if they've had a mishap and broken bones, I wish they wouldn't say it was all in God's plan. God doesn't plan for us to injure ourselves. In fact, outside of prayer requests posted online, most medical info shouldn't be shared.

Richard Mabry said...

Elise, thanks for your comments. One of them (the "check-in" one) makes me think of Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory, who says he has trouble with a Deity who takes attendance. I know, it's probably sacrilegious, but I still had to laugh.