I visited a ghost town recently.
Well, Monterey isn’t known as a ghost town, but that’s how I experienced it.
You see, I grew up there and as I drove and walked around town I would say to myself, “That’s where my father ate his morning donuts. That’s where Carmen lived and where my friends hung out.”
Monterey Was My Ghost Town
Monterey is a beautiful town, and my memories of it were always tied to people who either had died or no longer lived there.
Ghosts were everywhere because I allowed myself to imagine them.
I tied my experience to the past.
The reason I was in Monterey was to see my sister and nephew. In between the meals we shared, I walked with my to the wharf, at a park, around the city, and at Carmel Beach, my favorite beach on the Monterey Peninsula.
By the end of my stay, somewhat to my surprise, I’d begun to create new memories.
We all know that it’s not good to live in the past. When we do, we are influenced by past hurts and experiences instead of present opportunities.
Social Media Ghost Town
By now you might be wondering how this topic relates to social media? Let me explain.
I frequently encounter writers who are living in any number of ghost towns. Their storylines run this way:
- I tried using Goodreads, but didn’t like the “meanies.”
- Someone called me a name on Twitter, so I stopped using it.
- A friend told me that if I use Facebook, I’ll get my email account hacked.
- I tried to use Twitter, but then I started getting all these tweets asking me to buy books.
- These salacious men were sending me messages on Facebook, so I stopped using it.
- Why does everyone automate their Twitter accounts? I can’t stand it.
- I tried blogging every week, but it was too much. So I gave up.
In other words, authors make their foray into the virtual world of social media, have a negative experience, and use that incident to leave their accounts behind, making them virtual ghost towns.
How to an Avoid Online Ghost Town
If someone says something rude to you, don’t abandon your profile in a huff. Do this instead:
- When you encounter one or two mean persons on Goodreads, ignore them. Continue to make friends with other readers.
- Might someone flirt with you on Facebook or refer to you as a phony on Twitter? Maybe. But don’t stop using your account after one bad episode.
- Do some poor souls automate tweets thanking new followers? Yes, and they are terribly misguided. Instead of leaving a social media network where you encountered these individuals, ignore them.
- Might someone send you a friend message and then spam you with requests to buy their books? It’s happened to me but guess what? I still haven’t left Facebook.
Weird men have sent me messages indicating that they “couldn’t take their eyes off of me.” (Ewe!) Some guy called me a phony on Twitter.
Someone posted a picture of a woman wearing a red bra and tagged me in the image on Facebook.
And after connecting with me on LinkedIn, people asked me to vote for their book, buy their book, and subscribe to a blog.
None of these incidents have prompted me to leave social media because the benefits far outweigh the few negative experiences I’ve had.
Stick It Out for the Sake of Your Book Marketing
So please don’t give up if you have an isolated encounter on social media that’s negative, or that grosses you out.
Think instead about the readers you’ll meet and connect with and the colleagues you can help out on social media.
Instead, follow the advice of Blind Boy Fuller in the song “Trucking My Blues Away” and keep on truckin’.