Control What You Can
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Much of our world is outside of our control--especially if you are going the traditional publishing route. Many authors have unrealistic expectations or myths about their publishing experience. For 10 Publishing Myths, I focused on ten of these myths and you can use this link--or the one at the end of this article to get the book for only $10 including the postage. Each chapter ends with practical steps every reader can take to control what they can in the publishing process or take their own action.
Through the years, I’ve built an active presence on social media with thousands of connections. In these articles, I’ve written about my actions where I spend limited time on the social media sites where I’m active (X or Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN). I do not control these websites which are called “rented media” yet in general I post on these sites 14 to 15 times each day. It’s a pattern that I've been doing consistently for years.
In this article, I want to point out two simple yet important actions I regularly take on two different social media platforms.
First, let’s turn to Facebook. On my personal Facebook page, there is a limitation of 5,000 friends. I’m fairly close to that limit. Several times a week, people will add a comment to my post saying Facebook has suggested friendship and request a connection. Yet I don’t have room for such a connection. Here’s the actions I take each time:
1. I block this person so they will not be able to see my posts or get such a suggestion from Facebook in the future.
2. After the block, I delete their comment from my post.
This action can be done quickly but shows that you are monitoring your feed and account--or controlling what you can in this area.
Second, let’s talk about LinkedIN. I have over 19,000 connections on LinkedIN and have written about the importance of these relationships with editors and other publishing professionals. My public site says that I have over 500 connections but my number of connections is much larger.
Often I will get a request on LinkedIN to connect. In each case, I look at the profile of the person making the request. Do I know this person? Are they in a part of the world where I want to have a connection? For example, if they are in a foreign country, do I want a connection with this person? In many cases, I am not interested and will decline the request--and also tell LinkedIN I do not know this person. The notification of not knowing this person will be reported back to LinkedIN.
I also look at the occupation of the person making the request. Frequently I receive requests from real estate agents and people in the financial services industry. I do not need any connection from either industry so I decline the request.
Some of these requests I will accept and make a connection. Then I will be watching to see what the person does with this connection. Frequently I get some standard email introduction asking for me to schedule a 15 minute phone call to “chat” with them. I'm not interested in such a chat. I rarely use LinkedIN email because with thousands of connections it is not an effective communication tool--for me. I will send a short response expressing these details. Then here’s my final step which I wanted to write about: I block this person and remove them from being a connection or being able to communicate with me through LinkedIN in the future.
Such interaction is not worth the agony or mental anguish. Yes, build relationships on these social media sites. These relationships are important to every person in the publishing business. Each of us have the same amount of time. My encouragement is for you to control what you can and let the rest go. What steps are you taking in this area of controlling what you can? Let me know in the comments below.
As a writer, much of the publishing world is outside of your control. In this article, prolific writer and editor gives some details about how to control two of the social media sites where he is active. (ClickToTweet)