Once upon a time I was at a writing-related event when Someone Very Important (To Me) who works for A Very Important Company (To Me) introduced herself and then said, ‘We were just reading one of your blog posts in the office the other day!’
I should’ve been elated. I should’ve been delighted that anyone, anywhere who I didn’t have direct contact with should take the time to turn their eyeballs towards this URL, let alone someone who I knew for a fact worked at a desk surrounded by piles of unsolicited manuscript submissions (who were all eyeing the piles of purchased manuscripts she was already working on with jealousy and suspicion). This woman didn’t have the time to read a Post-It note, yet she had devoted time to my little blog.
But instead, my stomach dropped. My palms began to sweat, and I drifted out of the conversation as my mind raced with anxious thoughts. What post? Was it one I read over before I published it? Did it have typos? What does my ‘About’ page currently say? Have I updated the ‘News’ page lately? Are the links working? WHAT DID THEY SEE?!?!?!?
I’ve decided the theme of the images in this post will be ‘pictures I took of my computer showing my blog in various places.’ This one was the hot desk I rented for a while…
On a related note, it’s pretty annoying to get an e-mail from someone that reads ‘I was just on your website and the link to [insert something] doesn’t go anywhere. You might want to update that.’ Or ‘On your Amazon bio, it says that [insert something] will be out in October 2013. But on your blog, it says November. You might want to update that. Or, ‘In the back of [one of your books] it says that you have [insert something] but I’ve looked everywhere and you don’t. YOU MIGHT WANT TO UPDATE THAT.’
It annoys me on two levels. First: that someone has taken the time to alert me to what is obviously a tiny oversight, and that they think I have the time to be worrying about such things. Second: that I’ve overlooked it, and that I haven’t taken the time to make sure my entire online existence is as up to date as the trendiest of irony-loving Brooklyn hipsters.
It’s so easy to let online things slide. Mostly because you’re hardly looking at them. How often, for example, do you look at your own Amazon Author Profile? I almost NEVER do. (Listings? Yes. For new reviews, obviously, lest my soul needs some sand-papering. But not my Author Profile.) And the times I check or update my ‘About’ page are negligible, even though I’m on my blog and publishing new posts quite regularly.
But shouldn’t I always be ready for anyone to visit any part of my online existence?
Obviously, yes. I should.
Except that, of course, I am not doing that. My online existence is a cobwebbed, outdated, messy… um, mess. My bios are different on every site. Some of them talk about plans that never happened, while others leave out the most important stuff that’s happened since. There’s no cohesiveness.
So this week I’m going to a major spring clean, and I invite you to join me and spring clean your social media existence too.
I’ve done a couple of items on the Spring Social Media Clean already:
#1: Scrubbed My Website
Take a look around: things are all new and shiny! Taking into account that I want my website to be simple (read: easily updatable) and that most people these days are looking at websites on a mobile device (read: no sidebars) I have:
- Removed the sidebars from most pages
- Updated my About page
- Updated my Contact page (may I introduce you to Angry Dinosaur Face…?)
- Streamlined my Books page
- Streamlined my News page.
This one was in Nice, France. Ooh-la-la!
#2: The Great Unsubscribe
I’ve had my current e-mail address since early 2010, I online shop more than I real-world shop and I’m always suckered in to subscribing to newsletters and mailing lists and blog posts and all sorts. I get a lot of e-mails anyway, but add these subscriptions in and you get an inbox that’s groaning at the seams.
So every day for a week I spent ten or fifteen minutes unsubscribing to anything that came in that I wasn’t interested in anymore. It was boring and time-consuming, but my inbox instantly improved. After a week I had sent 50—50!—subscriptions packing, many of which I couldn’t even remember signing up for.
#3: The To Do List
This week I plan to finish the job. I will:
Check/update my bios on:
- My public Facebook pages
- Amazon Author Pages
Check/update my books, as in:
- The product descriptions for all my books that are for sale on Amazon
- The front and end matter in all my e-book and POD interior files, re-upload if necessary
- Make sure they’re for sale wherever they can be, fix issues and upload if necessary.
And this is what my little desk nook looked like when I first moved in. It looks WAY messier now.
- Go through my Posts: Drafts list—I make a new post to jot down ideas I have, but there’s 114 of them I’ve never come back to. Time for a clear out, me thinks…
- Go through Feedly (my Google Reader replacement[earlier I mistakenly typed ‘Feedler’. To do: check more thoroughly for typos!) and unsubscribe to any blogs I’m not interested in any more and add any new and exciting ones I’ve come across
- Go through the Reading List on my browser (a kind of bookmarks thing) and either read, file or delete each link
- As I haven’t answered any e-mails in, like, a month or so, power through my inbox until everything is read
- Google myself to see if there’s any online stuff I’ve forgotten about.
So, who’s with me?
And if you’re already up to date, what’s your system for staying that way? Let me know in the comments below…