Milly Johnson new author photo 2016 credit Charlotte Murphy
Social media vs Unsocial Media by Milly Johnson
2017/02/16  |  By:   |  Features  |  

I was slightly worried about my presence on social media this week.  It suddenly struck me that other authors were making political stances and pontificating about high-brow things like artists I’d never heard of, literary geniuses that I probably should have heard of and philosophies that had enriched their lives and using words that I needed a dictionary and a brain transplant to understand.  For a couple of days I felt like a lesser writer. Not one of the ‘elite’ but someone with my ignorant nose pressed to the window of the ‘lofty discussion class’ taking place within.  My tweets tend to contain pictures of my dinner, moans about our local binmen and what my rabbit Alan is up to (eating and plopping mainly).  I began to question whether I am using this whole internet interaction correctly.

I use it to advertise my books – of course I do. And I have absolutely no shame about that at all. It’s a fabulous tool for authors, plasterers, restauranteurs.  I’ve discovered treasure houses of handbags and lipsticks by people advertising their wares on Twitter and Facebook.  I’ve had nail design ideas from Pinterest and Instagram and have solved my ‘what to buy awkward relatives at Christmas’ problems thanks to companies recommending that I buy their products – and highlighting their flash sales so I can grab bargains. So if I hear that any of my books are going cheap – of course I’ll direct my readers to the sites in question. There’s no obligation to buy, but if you were thinking about investing in a paperback, it’s better to get a quid or two off.

And it’s lovely to connect with readers – these are the people who I write books for.  I’ve never understood authors who build a fence between writers and readers. You’ve written to move people, so they send you a public message to say that you have moved them… why wouldn’t you reply?

The annoying ones on Twitter are the slebs who use it to advertise their new book/film/appearance in Hello, but never acknowledge what other people write.  Let’s call them ‘THE TAKERS’. Nor do they acknowledge their fans. (The clue there, people, is ‘social’ media).  All the A listers need to do is chuck a few crumbs of their attention to the crowd occasionally and the ripple effect that ‘this guy isn’t too up himself to say hello’ spreads smiles across the globe.  Hugh Jackman could make my CENTURY by sending me a ‘Yo Milly’. Talking of which, I did get quite excited when I received a notification that I was now being followed by Liam Neeson.  But then I noticed he didn’t have a blue tick.  And all of his tweets asked me to either follow a boxer I’d never heard of or ‘Michael Douglas’ who tweeted (quote): ‘Thank you all for the message and the nice welcome all have good day.’ Why on earth would you want to pretend to be a real A-lister? At least I’m real, I thought. Maybe I’ll realise I’ve hit the big time when someone pretends to be me and I have to change my handle to ‘The Real MJ’.  I have more chance of Hugh Jackman turning up on my doorstep to deliver that ‘Yo Milly’ in person.  With roses.

I can’t argue about Trump – because I’m rubbish at anything serious.  I have no knowledge (or interest) in politics.  Nor do I really want to get into Twitter spats with others whose sole purpose is to bear-bait. Nor do I want to pick apart strangers’ tweets to look irritatingly super-right-on (You don’t like black coffee? You must be a white supremacist then!) I’d rather hit the block button than take up keyboard arms against them because social media, in my book (excuse pun) = fun.  My level is sharing jokes, commenting on how nice Tom Hardy’s bum looks in trousers, Poldark’s chest and where to go for the best home-made scones.  Occasionally I have a mini-rant about bad customer service because companies recognise the power of social media and seem particularly keen to nip in the bud any attacks on their good selves.  And it’s far easier to tweet than wade through 20 minutes of automated voices and filtering menus on the telephone, and so much easier on the blood pressure.  I am always keen to spread the news of a missing pet or help fellow authors advertise their lovely books (as they help me – we are THE GIVERS) but on the whole, if you feel that involving an author with a blue tick might lend some gravity to your stance on fracking or want to discuss the picaresqueness of the latest Booker prize winner ‘The Boy who Ate a Fish’ please don’t choose me. However, if you want to share a recipe to make something that looks like a macaron, tastes like a macaron but contains only 10 calories or talk about pens/paper/anything stationery related …hashtag: I’m your woman.

 

Queen of Wishful Thinking HBThe  new book by Milly Johnson - THE QUEEN OF WISHFUL THINKING – is available to pre-order now in eBook and Library Hardback format.  The paperback edition will be available to buy in all good bookshops on 4th May 2017.

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