Is Your “Social Media Platform” Killing Your “Brand”?

There’s an author I follow on Twitter who is so insufferable in her Tweets that I’ve sworn never to buy her books.

My two requirements for reading your book: 1. I have to be able to lift it. 2. You can't be a jerk.

My two requirements for reading your book:
1. I have to be able to lift it.
2. You can’t be a jerk.

I probably would not have bought her books anyway as she writes hefty (you’d think she’s being paid by the pound) 1000-page space operas (yes, that is an actual genre), only now I’m not buying her books out of spite, instead of not buying them out of disinterest.

My experience with this author has me reconsidering the advice you hear everywhere about “social media presence.” Just this morning, I read the profile of a literary agent who is looking for new authors with a “strong social media platform.”

But what if your “social media platform” reveals the hithertofore concealed fact that you’re a complete asshole? What good are 64M Twitter hate-followers?

I’ve been thinking more about my own social media presence now that I’ve been rejected for two blogging gigs over the last couple of months. The first job I don’t think I seriously contended for, despite a request to submit additional samples of my work. The second seemed to hold more promise when the editors slogged through voraciously read the past six months of my posts.

Screen Grab 2

A couple of weeks later, they came back to look at the two posts I’d published since their first visit.

Screen Grab

In the end, I didn’t get the job, as you may have already deduced, since this blog post is not titled “See ya!”

Now I’m starting to wonder whether the social media presence I’ve created with Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please is supporting or thwarting my writing goals.

And don’t think I haven’t considered the ramifications on other areas of my life, as well. Suddenly, I’m starting to think maybe this blog wasn’t such a good idea after all, what with my kids getting older and those damn public schools teaching them how to read. Now the older one is skirting the edges of puberty and it’s only a matter of time before she discovers this blog. Do you know how often Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please turns up in typical teenager internet searches such as “best places to have sex without your parents finding out” and “places to have sex without getting caught” and “best places to have sex in your car”?

You can’t even begin to imagine. Or perhaps you can.

(Also, for some reason, this blog comes up when you Google “vigina tattoo” which is another phrase I hope my daughter never searches only because I expect her to be a better speller.)

As I’m considering my social media presence, part of me feels like I should stop writing about anal sex and blow jobs controversial topics*, and another part of me figures that folks who are offended by anal sex and blow jobs controversial topics* aren’t going to be happy with anything else I write, either, so I should at least be true to myself.

What does that mean? I guess it means that I’m going to continue building my social media platform on controversial topics anal sex and blow jobs.

Royalty free stock photos, including the image in this post, can be found at The screen shots are my own.

*For the record, I have never actually written a blog post about anal sex, although I have threatened to write one. Blow jobs, on the other hand . . .


21 thoughts on “Is Your “Social Media Platform” Killing Your “Brand”?

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    All of that, minus the anal sex, blow jobs, and teenagers, is why I decided not to start a blog about my novel. Or to tweet about it. How many people who aren’t me want to hear that my book’s out? Three: my agent, my publisher, and my publisher’s publicist. After that, people would rather hear about something else. If it tickles them, maybe I’ll be lucky and they’ll look up my book. And if they don’t, well, they probably wouldn’t have anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      I don’t think you (in the general sense, not “you, Ellen Hawley”) inoculate yourself from being a jerk on social media just because you aren’t harping constantly about your book–the author I’m complaining about rarely mentions her books; she’s an asshole in so many other ways. I’m so tempted to embed a few of her Tweets here but I’m afraid that will attract her minions. Maybe I should do it anyway–I could use the page views 😉

      Anyway, yes, those authors who have nothing else to say than “buy my book” shouldn’t be blogging, shouldn’t be Tweeting, shouldn’t be breathing. Oh, wait. That last one is a little harsh. 😉 And I agree with your philosophy on blogging-give me a reason to seek out your other work. I don’t know if this method is any better than Tweeting “Buy my book” every 12 hours, but at least it gives me something to point to when someone asks, “Can I see a sample of your work?” Of course, if they’re not particularly enamored of anal sex or BJs, I am SOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle at The Green Study says:

    I suppose that it all depends on what kind of writing career you want. If you dream of reporting for the Washington Post, this might be a problem. If you just want to write fiction, who gives a shit? This blog will, however, be an awesome way to embarrass your children. I think that’s a bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      Well, I think all those agents and publishers who want writers to have “strong social media platforms” give a shit. I’m not convinced that having 64M followers on Twitter or friends on FB sells books, but Mark Zuckerburg and Dick Costelo have convinced a lot of people that those numbers translate into sales. So far, FB has had some success with targeted advertising; Twitter, so far, not so much.

      I think the jury is still out on whether social media influences buying decisions, or at least how much influence it has. A lot of folks seem to think it does, and until there is conclusive evidence otherwise, the rest of us are expected to play the game.


      • Michelle at The Green Study says:

        Sometimes I feel like we’re being sold the Emperor’s Clothes when it comes to social media, so quick and transitory it has become. It feels like people try to make a lot (of money) out of something that is nothing and nobody is willing to call bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    I don’t think you need to worry. Considering how the English language is continuing to devolve into a series of emoji’s and short form acronyms, by the time your kids are old enough to not only read your work, but actually want to (completely different timetables) they won’t be able to understand most of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      Yes–as Lynsey White notes below as well, my freaking kids could not care less about my blogging, like the rest of my family (even the cats, who really have disappointed me with their lack in interest in my blogging career).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. rossmurray1 says:

    I’m no expert, but I have a feeling that Google may be putting those results up at the top of your queries because it intuits that this blog is one of your “preferences.” However, I’m not about to search “vagina tattoos” to test my theory. But you can test it on me: when I Google “Ross Murray” I get a lot of me in the top 10. What about you? Go ahead: Google me (that’s what she said).
    In other words, you may be more hidden than you think. If so, continue writing about anal sex and blow jobs with impunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Belladonna Took says:

      I googled “vigina tattoos” and got a frighteningly large (114,000) set of options (google corrected my spelling). Seriously, who DOES that??? My scientific interest was limited to only the first screen, but DNGSITSP wasn’t on it. So you’re good… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Karen says:

      Ross, I’m absolutely flattered that you think I spend my free time Googling good places to have sex in public, but (ahem!) those are not searches I conducted. Rather, those are the searches that show up on my stats page as “Search Terms” and bring the boys to my yard send other folks to this blog.

      If I Google “Ross Murray” I get Drinking Tips For Teens coming in at #5.


      • rossmurray1 says:

        Ah, I see. So much for science.
        Here’s weird: when I Google myself (tickles!) my own blog doesn’t show up until page 5. (There’s other stuff of mine on page 1, though.) So go figure.


        • Karen says:

          Now you’ve got me intrigued, so I conducted an experiment. Results: There doesn’t seem to be a difference in search results if I browse privately (in Chrome, that’s the “incognito” browsing mode) or not, so I don’t think searches are influenced by our personal preferences, but rather just by all those secret algorithms Google is using to take over the world.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. lynseywhite says:

    Speaking as the mother of a 16 year old, I am happy to say she hasn’t got the slightest interest in reading my blog (even though she subscribes to it). Mind you, we sit together on the sofa watching ‘Orange is the New Black’ without the hint of a blush. In fact we just talk about which of the two leads we’d go for if we were lesbians. I reckon a cool and open-minded person such as yourself will have produced cool and open-minded kids who (a) will have cooler things to do than read their parent’s blog and (b) can happily take a bit of smut in their stride. My mum on the other hand…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Belladonna Took says:

    Thank you for affirming my deep distaste for Facebook, and my flat determination never to get onto Twitter. If I ever actually get around to finishing and publishing a book, it will have to get itself out there without me engaging in that way. I jus’ don’ wanna!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      I actually like Twitter a lot and I wish I could be more active on it. I think it’s absolutely amazing how we can get up to the minute and unfiltered information about ongoing events. Does it sell books? I dunno about that.

      Liked by 1 person

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