52 Pick-up 2.0, #42, 11/3/2020
“I’ve noticed a lot of authors are abandoning some forms of social media or don’t put much effort into their pages, but you’ve got a healthy presence—is this kind of activity enjoyable for you?”
Yep, I guess it is. Like anything else, social media can be pushed to being good or bad, and I think you have to decide why it is you’re in the game. Long ago I decided that I was going to use it as a way of staying in touch with readers and as a casual form of interaction; simply saying that I wasn’t going to get too personal or express my views in a lot of volatile subjects—not that I don’t have them, but there’s a time and place. There are enough folks arguing about politics, religion, and other things, and I just decided I wasn’t going to engage in that for a number of reasons: first off, if it’s a casual form of communication, I was going to keep it light, and also because I didn’t want to spend my days arguing with people I don’t know or may never meet. My writing time is precious to me, and I don’t want to spend it on some blog arguing the relative merits of what brand of truck I prefer.
When Facebook and others first came out, I remember that the publishers kind of threw all of us authors to the wolves saying, “You should have a presence in social media, so get at it.” Well, we did but that didn’t mean we specifically knew what we were doing. I guess I did something right because I discovered quickly that Facebook/Private accounts were limited to 5,000 friends, so when I got there they explained that I would have to transition over to a public persona account with unlimited Friends—the difficulty being that when you subscribe to that type of account you lose the ability to comment on your Friends streams. I really didn’t want to do that because I think of any kind of communication as a two-way street. So, now I have two pages, one dormant one that I comment from and the other, my official, active page. It gets confusing for people, and I generally have to message them and direct them to the public page when they want to Friend me but the communication is well worth the effort.
By the way, if you’re interested, here’s the link to the official page. https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCraigJohnson
I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make is banging your drum too loudly, that is only being on there to sell books. One of the greatest benefits of social media is the interaction I have with readers which may be because I live in a town of 25, or just that I enjoy it. With the advent of cell phones, it’s so easy to take photographs and share them, and as they say, every picture tells a story.
The Thirty Seconds of Zen I put up on Sunday mornings kind of evolved from an attempt to give folks a moment of pleasant contemplation, something their lives may not provide on a daily basis. Not everyone has the luxury of sitting by a stream in the Bighorn Mountains, so I feel it’s only conscionable to share.
Then there’s 52 Pickup, which you’re reading now. When Ry Brooks started up the Longmire Book Club on Facebook, I was just impressed by the amazing job he was doing and I thought that maybe I should be helping him do some of the lifting, so I contacted him and said why don’t we do a weekly piece where readers can ask questions and I can respond with more than a few sentences. It’s one of the few, writing luxuries I allow myself and hopefully people enjoy them—a break from all the religion and politics…
See you on the trail,