A couple months ago I had a friend and fellow writer tell me that she does not 'do' the social media thing. My first reaction was to nod and say "Yeah it's a big time waster." How many times have you logged on to one of the sites and the next time you looked at the clock it was hours later and you hadn't accomplished much of anything - more than a handful. Maybe she was smart not to 'do' social media
But then, the more I got to thinking about it the more I realized this friend is going to be left behind. In the shrinking world of writing, where a name and a reputation can propel a person forward or cast them aside, social media is the tool to build that name. I've landed nearly as many freelance gigs via social media as I have via pitches and job postings.
Social media, for a freelancer and a writer of any kind, is a must! It's your chance to voice your opinions, showcase your writing style and build a loyal following.
Sure, facebook and myspace can be addictive and a true time waster. And true, people tweet about what they had for their last meal more often than they tweet something profound. OK, Linkedin isn't the same as face-to-face networking. But the key is to figure out how to utilize these sites to your advantage.
Another freelancing friend of mine is a huge fan of Linkedin. She is on there daily updating her status, making new connections and adding clips. Through that medium she's landed gigs from a variety of companies. She's also got news angles and press releases she might not have seen otherwise that give her the ability to pitch mags with new information. Every week when I get my Linkedin updates her name is always on the e-mail with a huge list of things she has done on the site that week. For her Linkedin is the key and she's working that angle.
I've had luck connecting through Twitter. I've interviewed two people for the hip hop publication that I edit for via links on Twitter. I've also landed a couple writing assignments after followers have enjoyed what I tweeted about. Am I tweeting profound words of wisdom in every update. Hell no. But I am mixing in a bit of real life, with a bit of my writing and a dash of humor. It's working for me.
So get out there, get social media accounts. 'Do' that thing!