Social media can seem like a daunting undertaking. There are many platforms to choose from and many wonder if any are worthwhile or just an enormous waste of time. What good could come of being on various social media? Other than it being a solid procrastination tool, it has many other benefits. Depending on exactly what you are hoping to gain from it will affect which platform is best for you. I have found that LinkedIn is not useful for myself, it is too distant a connection and doesn’t seem to allow for any creativity. This may be because I have not spent enough time learning the ins and outs of the application though. So I am going to focus on the three social media apps that I use the most: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
These platforms allow for an easy way to connect with other like-minded people. As a writer there are many pages devoted to writing, be they useful writer groups, less useful humour pages, or author pages. Each of these presents an opportunity for me to connect with someone who will be able to help me, and in turn who I can help, down this path. Through Facebook I was able to find another critique partner for my creative writing, the more opinions one can get the better! I have also found a community there where others are going through the same process and are able to offer support and advice at various stages of the process. Facebook is the most social of the apps, in my opinion. You can chat and look for shoulders to lean on when those rejections start rolling in. This is, of course, transferable to other passions and professions. Somewhere there will be a community you can connect with.
Twitter has been the most productive app for myself, for finding professional connections and learning about what they are looking for. Twitter is completely accessible and you are able to customize your feed to be only what you are looking for. If you are a sports writer, music writer, or not a writer at all, there are always people posting about jobs, posting information, and sharing leads. In my case, I have found tags which highlight what agents are looking for, I have found agents who represent books similar to mine, and I have been able to use twitter to research the agents. Do they post things that do not align with my beliefs? Are they rude, helpful, absent? All these things can factor in to making a decision. It is a great resource for researching people, finding jobs, and seeking advice as the audience is much wider than Facebook.
The last app (that I use) is Instagram; I typically use this to post pictures for family that do not have other social media apps. However, I have found that agents are very active on Instagram and this too can give insight into trends, jobs, and opportunities. Agents and agencies often post if they will be attending a conference with links to find out more information about them. They will post if they are going to host a webinar and links to their blogs where more information can be found. Instagram, unlike twitter, has no character limit so this leaves more space for agents, authors, or the like to post more information. And, the more information one can get, the better their odds are. Again, while I write specifically to writing, these are transferable to other passions and occupations. All social-media apps are customizable so you only see what you want to see. Your feed is beneficial to you and the goals you are trying to achieve.
I have found these apps to be exceptionally beneficial. I highly recommend them, but I must end with a warning. With all these apps as much as the information about others is available, what you post, what you share, and what you like, is observable to those around you. If you are using social media in a professional basis, then make sure your posts are professional as well. Social media is a public forum, and just as I research agents using these apps, they too will be researching me. It is a simple way to learn about who a person is, and if you believe you will be able to work with them, if they are someone you want to represent your company. In your quest for information do not forget it is a window, both into them and into you.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature