Monday, 15 April 2013

Social Media Love It or Hate It?

A shy girl’s perspective.

Social?  The word makes me, a true-blue shy girl cringe. Social? That means interacting with and talking to people.  I get tongue tied when I talk to family and my closest friends.  You want me to talk to strangers?  Hell, you want me to talk to important strangers like authors and editors?  My brain freezes up and I just stand there and smile, all the time wishing I had something clever or meaningful to contribute to the conversation.

I can honestly say I’ve been in more than one situation where I’ve been the quiet girl in the corner with no idea where or how to do that whole networking thing.  I start to worry and the more I think about it the more I stress and worry and it snowballs until I am on the verge of a meltdown.  Yet, I’m still smiling on the outside.

This is where the “media” half came to my rescue.  I am by no means a social media expert.  I use Facebook, Twitter and visit the occasional blog or author website. I took a necessary leap and started my own blog, That’s really the extent of my usage.

In each of these I am guilty of lurking.  I have lurked for months before posting a single sentence.  But I am so glad I did.  With each post or comment things got easier and the words came more freely.

One thing the internet gave me was the ability to think for a moment about what I want to say.  I am still guilty of over thinking things a bit too much and have deleted posts when I probably should have shared them.  But that little bit of time relieves some of my anxiety.

Another thing the internet gave me was a little dash of anonymity.  I have never used it to lie or mislead anyone but there is something freeing that comes from using a screen name.  Shy Amy?  There are thousands of Amy’s out there and I’m sure plenty of them are shy. I can blend right in.

But that’s where things begin to change.  See, now I need to build my “author platform,” Amy J. Hawthorn.  I want people to remember that name.  I want people to like her and think just maybe, she might be an author worth trying.

Now the pressure’s back on.  But this time I have something or someone in my corner backing me up.  I now have experience online and something even better.  I have friends in my corner backing me up.  Their support means the world to me.  Knowing that they love me and think highly of my writing is one of the greatest gifts ever.

Where did I meet these wonderful, almost too good to be true, friends?  Online.  I met them at an author’s forum where readers gathered to talk about books.  In that forum I found friends who read the same books I did, and they live within an hour’s drive from my house.  Too good to be true?  Sounded like it.  We decided to meet up in person and we played it safe and met for lunch at a very public place.  Then we went book shopping together.

And we clicked.  I didn’t know what I was missing until I found them.  Now I wouldn’t trade them for anything. So many good things have come to me just from sticking my nose out there into the internet.  New to me authors that I adore, great friends and possibly even a second career.

The downside?  It can be a huge time suck for me.  I can lose hours of time and have no idea where they went or what I did.  This is one bad habit I have to kick soon, like NOW.  Big exciting changes are coming my way and they are going to keep me busy.

Another downside?  There are people out there who aren’t as nice as they pretend to be.  There are more than a few crazies out there in cyber space.  It pays to be cautious. Always. Please, please, please, always use caution when meeting people online. The world is a scary place sometimes.

For me the decision is an easy one. I am very thankful for social media and the internet.  It has enriched my world in so many ways.  For this shy girl, the bennies far outweigh the cons.  

Amy J. Hawthorn


  1. I feel your pain Amy for once I was just like you.

  2. I've never been a super shy person, but I can relate to your appreciate of the anonymity of the net, as well as the extra time you have to think through your response. I tend to put my foot in my mouth in real life, so those extra seconds are a good thing for me.:)

  3. Social media is a great way to keep connected to the world around you....and also a great way to meet new friends. I have met a lot of people I consider my friends in RP ...people who share the same love of books as me and my pervy's a great way to keep informed of new releases from your favorite authors I new ones you want to read....what would we do with no social media....I think I would go crazy

    1. Lisa, I can't tell you how many new-to-me authors I have found and love because of the internet. Unfortunately, brick and mortar bookstore shopping just doesn't cut it anymore.

  4. I love Social media and this group I too get sucked into the tractor beam or quicksand that is Face book. You rock and I am looking forward to reading more of your books. Shy can be mysterious and draw good attention to you too. Long may the PERV force be with you

  5. I, too, was one of the people who resisted getting drawn into social media kicking and screaming, but now I'm so grateful for it. :)

  6. Amy, it is always hard to put yourself out there! I think authors are some of the bravest people in the world! Thanks for sharing your friend-making experiences. I, too, get caught p with the awesome people I have "met" on the Internet.....I even met my husband online! He is DEFINITELY a huge!!

  7. I'm a major shy girl, so social media is the bomb. I get to show people my personality without being scared to death.