Social Networking for Writers – Valuable or Waste of Time?

What? Social networking is vital to online writers, isn’t it? After all, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networking sites are how we promote our work. How could we possibly do our jobs without them? Who would know when we’ve had something published? How would we spread the word? And where on earth would we go to keep in touch with all our writer friends?

I remember writing online before Facebook.

I actually did quite well. In fact, when I look back at my early days of writing online, I have to admit, when social networking became a “thing” it really had little or no impact on my page views at all. It gave me less time to write, so my income actually decreased a little. There was the increased popularity, of course. People were talking about me more. However, my actual page views were no better or worse.

Search engines still bring me most of my views.

Even after all this time “working” on my social networking skills, most of my page views come from random people searching for answers to random questions online. Now, that may be because I mostly write “evergreen” articles that provide those answers. It may also be because I refuse to annoy people with spammy posts. Whatever the reason, social networking has very little to do with my income. At least not directly.

Remember, you’re not the only one promoting your articles.

You don’t have to network at all, as long as someone who reads your article does. Now there’s a real revelation. Did you know that when someone else links to your article in a post, it’s much more valuable than when you do? It increases your “Google Juice.” Now, you could say that you have to network to get your articles read by that person. The thing is though, you don’t. They could just come across your article while searching, like it and promote it. This is all done without you doing any social networking at all.

How much time per day do writers spend socializing?

It can range from just a few minutes to all day. For those on the heavy end of the equation, that’s a lot of wasted writing time. For me, personally, I’d much rather be producing more work, therefore generating more profit, than just talking about it all day. Wouldn’t you? Still, I do feel social networking has merits. It does keep me in touch with successful writers who pass on invaluable advice.

The best writers I know….

That is, the writers I know who make the most money writing, hardly network at all. Sure, they maintain a presence. They get their name out there. They’re friendly and professional online. But, guess what? I hardly ever see them post more than once or twice a day. Why is that? Well, my guess is that they’re too busy doing their job to talk about it. In other words, by not doing much social networking, they actually have time to be more productive and raise their reputation as well.

When it comes down to it….

Social networking can be either invaluable or a giant waste of time, depending on how you use it. You don’t want to be on those sites for hours at a time when you should be working. You do want to form valuable, long lasting friendships with your fellow writers that could lead to more work or simply great conversation on common subjects. So, go ahead, get your social networking on. Just don’t spend the whole day playing games or engaging in comment wars when you should be writing.

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