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Agony Editor: Engage with social media based on your own feelings, not external pressures

Dear Agony Editor,

With the recent controversies around Twitter, I’m thinking this is a good time to shut down my account. I’ve been on the platform for about 10 years to maintain my profile as an author, but I’m tired and disinterested, and I’m not sure being on Twitter has done me much good. I’m also afraid of falling off the radar. Should I stay or should I go?


On the Fence

Dear On the Fence,

I don’t think you should be on Twitter if you don’t want to be there. 

I get that most people have conflicted feelings about social media, but if there’s no value or enjoyment for you, shut it down. Life is too short to sit around painfully trying to compose tweets. And while social media might help you maintain a profile, I’m not at all certain that an author plays a vital role in boosting book sales. They can help raise awareness about their work, but ultimately it’s readers, not writers, who fan the flames of a book’s popularity. 

Before you delete your account entirely, I’d suggest taking a break. Remove the app from your phone but keep your account active. Make a promise that you won’t check it for a set amount of time. Then use that time to monitor your feelings. If you miss Twitter, go back. If you don’t, delete it. 

No matter what you decide, your greatest contribution to the world isn’t your social media posts: It’s your books. That’s really your purpose – to engage, provoke, question, inspire, and connect with people through your work, not your tweets. There are plenty of authors not on social media who seem to be doing just fine. 

I realize that success can seem precarious at the best of times, and many writers worry they’ll fade into obscurity if they’re not visible. But there are benefits to having a low profile, too. And sometimes, the less people know about you, the more interesting you seem. Give yourself a bit of time, decide what feels right for you, and then make peace with your decision. And never allow yourself to feel pressured into doing something in the name of success – that’s the surest route to unhappiness.

By: Brian Francis

January 24th, 2023

10:44 am

Category: Opinion

Issue Date: January 2023

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