There’s a school of thought which insists social media is an essential tool for writers. As advertising budgets at publishers have shrunk, the attitude has been that authors should pick up more and more of the slack, constantly entertaining the world via clever tweets, perfectly filtered Instagram photos and pithy Facebook updates. I could not care less about any of that, and I respectfully suggest you consider taking this stance.
At best social media is a time-wasting distraction. Every minute you spend reading tweets, looking at posts or perusing images is a minute lost. No work has been done. And if you’re not working, then by definition you’re goofing off. For someone like me, who depends on a steady income from producing fiction, goofing off is literally something I can’t afford.
This isn’t to say entertainment must fall by the wayside, or that one must work all the time. However, I’ll ask you this: would you rather spend your time scrolling through a feed (of whatever kind) that’s been shown by objective study to cause depression (link), or is it better spent reading a book, taking a walk, playing a game, talking to someone close to you, or simply watching television? I know my answer.
If you’re a writer and your publisher says you have to use social media to sell books, tell them no thanks. If your friends or family or coworkers insist you get a social media account to “keep up with everything,” don’t do it. There is no good to come of being on these services that outweighs their negatives. You are better off doing almost anything else. Your Twitter feed isn’t going to sell books. Your friends can send you a text if they want to go out. Your relatives can pick up the phone. You don’t need to see pictures of someone’s vacation, party or food.
And that’s why I don’t use social media.