The Heart of Social Media

Photo credit: PV KS on Flickr
Social media is a funny thing. When offline, people tend to talk about it in terms of promotional use—how many people they can get to see the ad about their book or business, how many followers they can get on Twitter or likes on Facebook and how many people in turn buy their product.

And I’m not going to pretend that social media isn’t great for that—just about every business knows that social media is key to getting exposure and ultimately getting clients or buyers. But the thing is, social media isn’t just about the numbers—if it was, it wouldn’t work because all we’d do is spam each other with Follow me!s and Buy my book!s and Hire me now!s and God knows that’s not what social media is about.

The heart of social media is something that I didn’t really discover until I was neck-deep in Twitter and tumblr and Facebook. I went in expecting it to be very much about the numbers, but I quickly realized it was about something else entirely: it was about the people. The relationships. The connections. It’s about helping and encouraging each other and celebrating victories as a community and mourning tragedies together.

The heart of social media is the community. It’s you and me. Your first Twitter follower and your last Facebook like and everyone in between. And that’s something that we should all be thankful for.

I’ve found that the writing community is especially wonderful—you see, the nice thing about us is that we can be genuinely happy for every new writer that gets signed or book that gets published, because the beauty of it is that we aren’t really each other’s competition. Many products rely on the fact that a buyer will only choose one product—one iPad or Surface or Android tablet. Writers, however, don’t live in that kind of cutthroat competitive environment—readers can and will buy multiple books, so when a new author is signed or a new book is published, we don’t have to feel threatened. We can be genuinely happy and help each other.

When used correctly, social media is truly a fantastic asset and using it is a joy. It enables us to be kind and lend a helping hand with minimal cost or effort, and it gives us opportunities to make new connections and relationships that would have been impossible otherwise. We are the heart of social media.

As an example of this, I’d like to give a shout-out to one of my favorite authors Beth Revis (Across the Universe), who is currently running a very cool contest with authors Marie Lu (Legend), Marissa Meyer (Cinder), Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch) and Megan Shepherd (The Madman's Daughter) called Bringing YA to You.

In short, these five authors will be taking a book tour trip to any city in the continental US or Canada that gets the most votes, so if you’ve ever wanted a YA book tour to take a trip to your hometown, now’s your chance to speak up and let them know. All you have to do to enter is fill out this form and you get extra votes for spreading the word about the contest. It seems like a really fun way to get readers involved and gives everyone a unique opportunity to have a say in where the book tour will go, so I wanted to share it with you guys. As a bonus, if you share the word about the contest, you could qualify to win ten signed books from the authors. Pretty cool, right?

The thing is, contests, giveaways and opportunities like these to really get readers involved would be impossible without social media. And if you ask me, there’s something really special about that.

So let’s make a point to remember to keep social media special and support each other this year, and it can start right here: what blog or social media account would you like to give a shout-out to?


Carly said...

Hi! I just wanted to say that I admire your blog and posts. When I found Writability last summer it really motivated me to start thinking about blogging. I've always enjoyed writing and thought it was about time that I did something about it. So I started a blog around September called Sort by Genre. It is still a work in progress, having a mere little 8 posts but it is coming along and I really enjoy it. I just wanted you to know that I wouldn't have done it without the inspiration from your blog and it keeps motivating me to write. So thank you. I think people deserve to know when they have inspired others.

Margaret Alexander said...

What a great post, Ava. You're right, we're not here to compete or spam each other. Just connect with some awesome people that we otherwise would have never met in our lifetime and encourage each other where we can. Such is the beauty of the internet :)

Chewylicious said...

Love this post!!!

Ava Jae said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Carly. I'm really happy to hear that you've been enjoying your blogging experience and I'm honored that you've found inspiration and motivation through my blog. I wish you all the best with Sort by Genre and whatever future writing endeavors you take on! :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Margaret! I absolutely agree that the relationships and connections that the internet enables us to have really makes it something special. There are so many experiences that wouldn't be possible without social media and it's something that we shouldn't take for granted.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks! ^_^

Survey Crest said...

Your post was quite comprehensive, enjoyed reading it. I agree, people and connections are the heart of social media.

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it wouldn’t work because all we’d do is spam each other with Follow me!s and Buy my book!s and Hire me now!s and God knows that’s not what social media is about.
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