A friend of mine was having Facebook trouble: His wife was trying to "friend" his lover. He called me in a panic: "Get Shel Holtz on the phone, immediately!"
Well I'm ready to turn to Shel for some help too. After a meek attempt at resisting social media, I'm over-friggin' whelmed with the stuff, constantly scrambling from Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn, round and round, at once amused to have so many going projects but never satisfied that I'm doing enough to promote myself or my projects, via all these online contraptions.
In my various personal and professional lives, I'm trying to use social media—because what else would I use, TV ads?—to promote:
• Vital Speeches of the Day and its new website. (And every cotton-pickin' podcast and blog item that appears on that site.)
• This blog, and myself as a communication industry chronicler and philosopher.
• My commentary, on Huffington Post.
• My reporting on politics, culture and sports, in what's left of the paying media.
You might say I've got too many irons in the fire. I say you've got too many social media outlets whose effectiveness is hard to measure. (Sometimes I feel like I'm Tweeting down a well!)
Look, man, I've got a lot of energy and a lot of interests, and I don't mind writing and producing all this stuff. It's what I do.
But then to have to cold-call all the potential readers to get them to subscribe and then pick each missive up at the printing plant and throw them on people's porches …. That's what I feel like I'm having to do for each and every project I'm involved with these days.
I've been writing like a madman for 20 years, and only since the advent of social media has carpal tunnel syndrome begun to burn my wrists. I don't think that's a coincidence. I think it's from the tension of trying to keep so many balls in the air (and promote the circus in the meantime).
I'm worried that one of the unforeseen problems with social media is that with everybody being their own self-advertiser, trying to fit their message through a million little pinholes, it makes it harder to get heard, thus requiring anyone who's serious about wanting to promote a thing to focus on promoting it the exclusion of all else.
Well I ain't got one such thing that I want to focus my whole work existence on. I got 10. So how do I get traction on them without hoping for some viral jackpot? (A lotto shot that reminds me of my 1993 hopes of getting an article published in The New Yorker.)
Shel, I'm starting to freak out; hell, I was starting to freak out when I first wrote about this, back in April.
Now I'm sitting under my desk, cranking up my H.A.M. radio, SOS.
Come in, Shel Holtz, come in. Is anybody out there? Help me!
POSTSCRIPT: And it appears this guy blogged about his plans to kill women for nine months, but apparently wasn't SEO-savvy enough to attract any attention.