Facebook Icon and LinkI’m going to be honest: Figuring out how to navigate social media comfortably is a challenge, at least for someone with my personality (whatever that is), and especially when I use social media as part of a writer’s platform.

For example, I began using Facebook as a way to keep up with friends and family, and I love how it allows me to do so. There are few downsides.

But I also know that I need to use social media as a way to strengthen my professional community, my writing life and career, and that’s where I sometimes struggle.

Do I really want to bore my friends with blog post updates every day? Do the people I know on Facebook through writing connections get tired of news feed items about painting pottery or children coming home from college?

And why do writers have blogs, anyway?

The answer to the last question is addressed wonderfully in two recent blog posts:

Erin Reel’s piece explains why it’s good for writers to have an online presence, and Judy Dunn shows one way how to do so.

I find that every writer who is blogging or has a website needs do her own social media dance, one that works and is comfortable for her. For me, I am realizing this means keeping my writing posts separate from my friends & family posts (knowing, of course, that some people will be interested in both, but many will not, and some will even roll their eyes). That said, I have a request:

If you are interested in connecting through Facebook and receiving updates their for blog posts (my own as well as from terrific bloggers whom I follow), book resources (such as Rebecca Rasmussen’s reading and book signing in Mequon, WI on May 11th!), and other writing-related posts and discussions, please consider “liking” the Facebook page I’ve created for this purpose (and if you then want to “unfriend” my regular Facebook page, because you are primarily interested in writing stuff, please do so).

My choice of social media dance is a two-step I can master. It’s comfortable for this slightly uncoordinated Midwestern girl who still cringes at the phrase “self-publicity” or the idea of sending out into the world a steady stream of self news releases. If you also struggle with this aspect of the expectation for writers to have an online presence, be sure to listen to Joanna Penn’s podcast interview with Mark McGuinness for a refreshing and informative perspective. Here’s a taste:

“Create, don’t compete. You’re not actually in competition for the same $, the online world is all about sharing within a niche. If you get to know other people in the same area and then share and be generous, you will receive traffic from the others as well. It’s hard to understand, but blogging is a really generous and giving community. Being generous means everyone benefits. Traffic links everyone together. Online is also really social, as well as being good for business and you can meet people all over the world. Finding a community of like-minded people online is fantastic.”

How do you feel about the current expectation for authors to be their own publicists? What dance is comfortable for you?