Almost a week ago, I decided to take an indefinite hiatus from Twitter. I haven’t looked back since.
For many reasons, I just don’t feel comfortable using Twitter anymore. It’s definitely not the same place it was back when I first joined. And, to be completely honest, I made myself a promise back when I started my career as an author.
I decided that, if any part of this ever stopped feeling good, I’d stop immediately.
Twitter hasn’t felt good for me in a long time. I straight up get nauseous when it’s time to check my timeline or mentions, wondering Now what? Wondering who’s going to be stomping on #OwnVoices authors while demanding more diversity, or who’s going to be telling me I’m not queer enough or disabled enough. Wondering who’s going to wander into my mentions without actually reading my tweets and start ranting at me. I’ve witnessed authors drag other authors or even bloggers and readers, encouraging their thousands of followers to pile on.
If you stand up and say “This isn’t right,” if you don’t instantly block the “trash” people, you’re out, too. Twitter feels like the digital version of high school: “You can’t sit with us, especially if we see you sitting with her.”
I’m almost 29. I am far too old for these kinds of games. I’ve got lots of books I’d rather focus my energy on writing. Not to mention my energy is already lacking, thanks to a current flare.
I’ve tried taking regular Twitter breaks. I’ve tried paring down the number of people I follow. These things helped a little, but they weren’t enough in the long-term.
So I’ve decided I’m done.
I’d already decided to focus my time and money on Facebook. Now that I’ve connected my Facebook page to my reader group, it’s so much easier for me to manage everything. Through research, I know that Facebook is where I need to be if I want to connect with readers. Plus, I’ve made some lasting connections with other authors there.
Authors who are professional and courteous, even when they feel passionately about something.
From here on, my Twitter page will serve as an outpost. I will not be checking mentions or DMs. I have, however, unlocked my account again; I will be tweeting only when I have news to share, and it will usually be an auto-shared link to my blog.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
It feels so good and quiet now, I can hear myself again.
Recently Facebook started rolling out a new feature: the ability to make a Facebook Page the administrator of a Group. Through this feature, you can now post to your Group as your Page. This eliminates a lot of headache for authors using a pen name. Previously, authors who were using an anonymous pen name or who wanted to separate their personal life from their business had to create a second Facebook account, because you could only post to a group through your personal profile. This was kind of a pain in the ass, though, because then you had multiple accounts to run, plus your author Page(s) and Group(s).
For example, if I’m running a pre-order for my upcoming release, I would:
post to my reader Group through my author profile to let my inner tribe know first
post to my author Page to let all of my fans know
post to my author profile to let all of my author friends and a few readers know
post to my personal profile to let close friends and family know
As you can imagine, this gets exhausting—especially if you have a limited supply of energy in the first place. Who has time to deal with all that on top of running a business, writing a new book, and managing a chronic illness?
I saw that a couple friends had been able to make their Pages an admin of their group, and desperately wanted to know how. At the time, though, Facebook was just rolling out this feature and only a percentage of users were getting access. So I continued with my lengthy process—until Facebook released the feature wide and I accidentally stumbled upon it.
I figured I’d share the steps with you so that you can make your life a bit easier, too.
Go to your Facebook author Page. As far as I’m aware, this feature can only be set up while on the desktop/browser version of Facebook (not the mobile or tablet versions).
On the lefthand side, you’ll see your tabs. There is now a Groups tab. Click on that.
There will be a prompt to connect a Group with your Page. You can do this with multiple Groups that you run, by the way. However, I don’t think you can do this with Groups that you’re just a member of. Follow the prompts and Facebook will make your Page an administrator of your Group.
Go to your Group; you can now post as your Page! There will also be an automatic notification to the Group that you’ve made your Page an admin.
When you visit your Page now, there will be a Group widget at the top (much like the Shop widget). Fans of the Page will now see your Group, and members of your Group will be able to see the latest Group post right from your Page.
I’m hoping this new feature will allow for easier growth of my Group. At the very least, it’s cut down on the amount of time it takes for me to manage everything. Now I can deactivate my author account and simplify things a bit!
Five years ago, when I first started out on my publishing journey, I naively thought that I could use my existing social media for my new business. It wasn’t hard to separate business from personal at first, but everything changed when I signed with my publisher. Suddenly authors were friend-requesting me on Facebook, even though I’d resolved to keep my personal profile separate from my business page. I felt bad denying requests, though, and soon my feed became a mix of everything ever.
A friend suggested I make a separate account strictly for business. She’d done so and, even though it was one more account to manage, it’d helped her separate the two. I still stubbornly insisted that I only wanted one. Over the years, readers began friend-requesting me from my reader group. It was fun being friends with both readers and colleagues as well as my IRL family and friends, but it also got tricky.
For example, if I wanted to go on Facebook just for fun, there was no avoiding work-related things. If a friend tagged me in an off-color meme, I had to do damage control.
Keeping the two separate was getting more and more difficult. I kept tossing the idea around, but hesitated because creating a second account and moving people, pages, and groups around would be a gargantuan task. It wasn’t as if I had spare hours to just sit around cleaning up my social media act.
This weekend I decided it was time, though. Today I sat down and created a separate Facebook; soon I’ll be doing the same for Twitter. If you’re an author, reader, or someone else in the book biz and you get a friend request from this account, it’s really me. I’m friend-requesting here and there, though, so it doesn’t get too tedious or hard on my wrists. Feel free to add me if I haven’t already made it to you!
There’s an old saying that you can’t mix business with pleasure, and even though I love what I do, it’s still true. I’m really looking forward to being able to sign into Twitter, for example, and just see book stuff.
Speaking of book stuff, today I hit 28K for Any Other Love. I’m thinking about release dates now, and I’ll be able to share more info soon! 💜
Over a decade ago, a guy I was dating raped me. I feel dirty just typing that, but there it is. For the longest time, I didn’t even remember the event, but it kept assaulting me from the depths of subconsciousness. It wasn’t until November 2015 that I finally started dealing with this and other traumas in both therapy and writing.
It was harder than I’d even imagined it would be. Basically, I spent months reliving every trauma I’d experienced—all at once. It was hell. While awake, I’d combat flashback after flashback. At night, I had disturbing nightmares.
But I got through it.
Then, several months ago, the piece of shit who raped me friend requested me on Facebook. After years of neither seeing nor speaking to this person, he suddenly thought it was appropriate to contact me. Never mind that he’d raped me or that we had a slew of other issues in our trainwreck of a relationship; the damage he’d done was extensive, the list exhausting. This person had been warned repeatedly years ago by myself and others to stay the fuck away from me, yet keeps trying to force his way back into my life every so often.
When I saw the friend request, I panicked. Full anxiety attack with hyperventilation and flashbacks and everything. I also went a little berserk.
Facebook and other social media are a digital part of my business and life, but they’re also a safe space. They’re the places with which my voice is amplified, places where I share my writings and feel strong, secure, and safe. In that moment, though, I no longer felt safe or in control. If he’d been able to find me on Facebook—when I’d made my privacy settings more secure than Fort Knox—he could find me anywhere.
Even at my home.
It all had to go, I realized. I had to scrub myself from the internet. Before I could fully think through what I was doing, I started deleting Facebook friends. There was no rhyme or reason to it; I just went into my friends list and started manually deleting people, one by one—people I’ve known for years, family members, readers. As I scrolled through my friends, mindlessly going through the “remove friend” process over and over, I started thinking about how to go about getting rid of Instagram, Twitter, my blog, my website.
And then it dawned on me: Was I really going to upend my entire career over this person? Yes, he’d hurt me—hurt me in so many more ways than I can ever express to anyone, taken from me not only my sense of safety but also three years of my life that I could have spent much happier. But I’d been healing. I’d grown strong. I’d found my voice and faced all of that pain head on. Was I going to let him undo all of that progress and send me burrowing deep down into myself again? Was I going to let him hurt me once more?
I stepped away from the computer.
Months later, I’m still dealing with the consequences of that day. Since then, I blocked him from my personal profile and business page, and opened up my personal profile to be public. Where I previously refused to add people I didn’t know well, my profile is as open as it can possibly be to my readers and colleagues. Still, I deleted a lot of people.
I tried re-adding as many people as possible, but 1) I had a lot of friends before my little spree and 2) the weird behavior confused a lot of people. One day we were friends, then we weren’t, and then they got a new request from me. There are a lot of scammers out there, so I totally understand people’s wariness, and I feel bad for confusing anyone.
Mostly, though, I’m proud of the progress I made after my initial panic. While I blocked this scumbag, I searched for and blocked the other guy who’d raped me a year later. In a way, it was sort of like typing the final sentence in a chapter.
I’m no longer afraid of these men. When I used to imagine running into them, I saw myself running away or freezing completely. Now I see these scenarios ending in one of two ways: me punching the shit out of someone, or me telling them to fuck off and stay away, and them walking away.
I’m going to be say this flat out: I need a break. I’m dealing with a nasty flareup of my autoimmune disease, which means every single one of my joints is in agonizing pain and stiffness and I’m beyond exhausted. Every day I fall farther and farther behind on my work load. I’ve been struggling to catch up on bills with freelance work and a GoFundMe. It’s almost December, which means I’m supposed to start my yearly inventory soon (updating covers, interior formatting, pricing, etc). The holidays are officially here, so my personal life is naturally more hectic. And pretty soon I’ll be starting pain management, which occupies a lot of time during the first month or so; hopefully I’ll also be starting Plaquenil or some other kind of DMARD.
Every aspect of my life is completely off track—including my marriage, due to my declining health and the resulting financial stress we’re under—and I desperately need to play catchup.
I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, and I feel tremendously overwhelmed. Not only am I too stiff to get right out of bed every morning, but I also immediately feel panicked because there is so much I need to get done in a given day and my body just won’t cooperate. Even simple things like doing dishes have become a serious challenge. It’s not a good feeling.
I love social media. I love blogging and I love sending newsletters and I love tweeting and I love doing Facebook takeovers. Most importantly, I love chatting with you. But if I’m ever going to catch up on my work and get my personal life in order, something is going to have to go.
So I’m going to go dark for a while.
I really hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings. But I’ll be using my time away to:
finish up some projects
update covers and pricing
rearrange my catalog
get my health in order
reconnect with my dear husband
spend time with my family
You won’t be completely cut off from me. I’ll be scheduling social media posts in Hoot Suite; I just won’t be able to respond individually or check DMs and messages. I’ll be releasing a special holiday novella starring Rowan and Matt from Just One More Minute. I’ll be checking my email every Monday; you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I’ll be sending out a holiday newsletter sometime in December with all my current happenings. (I may also be occasionally blogging, but nowhere near as much as I’ve been.) You might see some titles go unavailable on Amazon, etc for short periods of time while I’m updating, but please don’t worry. I’m just doing inventory to prepare for a rocking 2017.
And just to throw this out there, I’m not getting divorced or anything like that. Mike and I have just both been really stressed and I think we need to spend more time together to reconnect. We’re just as sickeningly in love as ever, if not very frazzled and overwhelmed.
I know I keep using that word but trust me, it doesn’t even begin to describe the state of Liz Land right now.
In the end, this will be the best thing for everyone. You’ll get things you’ve been long waiting for—like the rest of the Comes in Threes series—and I’ll (hopefully) get a diagnosis and start treatment. Not that my health hinges on the time I spend on social media; I just need to rearrange my priorities so I can focus on the most important things.
I hope this makes sense and I hope you understand.
I love you dearly, and I’ll see you in the new year!
For quite some time, I had a hard and fast rule: no social media on weekends. Over time I started bending it. After all, my life doesn’t stop on Saturdays and Sundays, and I enjoy sharing it (especially on Twitter). I still try to hop on as little as possible, using my time to just recharge. But this weekend, I needed a cold turkey cleanse.
I completely unplugged from both Twitter and Facebook—a feat that required gargantuan effort. Actually, Friday night I hopped on several times “just to see.” What I was trying to see, I don’t exactly know. Truthfully it was my way of getting another fix. I didn’t cut myself off from Instagram and Pinterest, but I used them only minimally. Mostly I relaxed.
On Saturday, I slept in until 2:30pm. My friends with children are glaring so hard at me right now, but in my defense I hadn’t slept Thursday night, and I’ve been fighting off flareup fatigue while juggling anxiety attacks. I desperately needed the rest—even if I woke up somewhat panicked because more than half the day was already gone.
Sometimes, you just need quiet time.
Because the last couple of weeks had been full of panic attacks, I really needed to calm my mind. Thankfully, my old therapist E gave me some really great tools. I used eucalyptus essential oil to combat my three-day tension migraine. If you put some on your chest, the back of your neck, your forehead, and temples, it really helps sooth the pain.
I also binged The Fosters. If you haven’t caught this show, you need to. Going in, I thought it was going to be a lighthearted family show. And for the most part, it is; no matter what happens, you know the Adams-Foster family goes to sleep with love in their hearts. But damn, do they tackle some heavy stuff. They do it in such a way, though, that you can’t help but feel good (even after they’ve played with your emotions and made you cry). I love the healthy relationships and choices they portray. No matter how hard things get, there’s always a chance for these characters to move forward. And the fact that this show is so pro-LGBT+ makes it even more of a winner.
In between episodes, Mike and I started Luke Cage, which is like a billion times better than those other Marvel shows. *cough* Daredevil *cough* Jessica Jones *cough* I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who doesn’t dig those shows. I tried really hard to like Daredevil, but I couldn’t even get through one episode of Jessica Jones. However, Luke Cage is kick-ass. Maybe it’s because Mike Colter is oh-so-damn handsome. Or maybe it just took some time for the team behind these shows to really hit their stride. But the acting, pace, story, and characters are just phenomenal. We’ve only been able to watch one episode a night, and I’m dying for more.
Side note: I recognized Colter from Ringer and The Following right away. I was super excited, because I loved him on those shows. He’s such an awesome actor. And did I mention how gorgeous he is? 😍
We also went grocery shopping, which ended up a bit more of an adventure than intended because we ran out of money before we could finish. Starving artist problems, sigh. I’m so looking forward to the day when we don’t have to worry about these things. But we have enough to get us through the next couple of weeks, and that’s all that matters.
On Sunday, I spent the entire day binging The Fosters and working on a project I’d thought I’d completely abandoned. Back in 2007 when I was in college, I took a crafts class as an elective. It was a difficult course because it was very hands on, and that was around the time when my arthritis first started. I had to get a doctor’s note to skip certain projects because they put too much strain on my wrists, and it broke my heart. However, there was one activity that I really fell in love with: embroidery.
A post shared by Elizabeth Barone (@elizabethbarone) on
Even after the semester ended, I continued playing with it, learning new stitches and working at my own pace. Though it is hard on my hands, I’ve found that using a hoop really helps. Frequent breaks, too. 😉 I’d started a project in 2012-ish, recreating leaves placemats that I’d seen in the Kohl’s store I worked in at the time. They weren’t even that pretty, and the store had jacked the price way up. I thought to myself, I can totally make those, and started… but never finished.
In fact, when I picked it back up again this weekend, I realized I’d made even less progress than I’d thought. I was able to finish my first one, though, and nearly completed a second. By the time I went to bed last night, I was so relaxed, I dropped off to sleep almost right away. And I didn’t even need the eucalyptus oil!
This weekend I also got to spend a little much needed time with my sister-in-law. We jammed out to this song on the radio, which I’d heard before but hadn’t caught the artist. Now I know and Kiiara is fantastic writing music. I just love how chill this song is, and her voice is angelic.
This weekend I learned something really cool about myself: No matter how hard things get, I’ll always work through them and move forward. In the past, my anxiety and depression have felt suffocating, like they would go on forever and ever. While my anxiety was pretty bad these last couple weeks, the key difference this time around was that I knew eventually it would pass—especially if I kept using my self-care tools. This time last year, I was so lost, but in the past twelve months I’ve grown in leaps and bounds. I’m a completely different person. I’m still me at my core, but I’m also stronger. More confident. Empowered, not ashamed.
In the quiet of my calm mind this weekend, I sat reflecting on all of this. It feels so good to be in this place, to be this version of me. Even though I still have my challenges to work though, I’ll always keep moving forward.
And when I need a break, I’ll keep making myself unplug, for fuck’s sake. 😉
This is three times now in one week that a page I like on Facebook has been incapacitated in some way. It’s frustrating for both the entity and fans. I too have had the Facebook hammer of doom fall down on me. My personal profile has been suspended for impersonating myself. And even though I requested a verified badge for my New Adult author page a week ago, I’m still waiting to hear back. It’s times like these that remind us how very much we rely on Facebook for our businesses.
We all do it. The thing is, relying on any one platform is not a good practice—specifically because if something happens to that platform, your business is crushed. For example, when Facebook changed the visibility of pages’ posts, a lot of authors I know panicked because their readers weren’t seeing their posts as often anymore.
I used to be a social media consultant for small businesses and non-profits, and I spent a lot of time coaching my clients to treat their websites as their hub and their social media as the spokes. Everything you do should be funneling your audience into your website. Your website is truly the only thing you control. Your content is 100% yours. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc can change their policies or kill your account at any time, for any reason.
So, if your website is the hub of your business, your spokes are:
social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
search engines (Google, Bing, etc)
email list (Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, etc)
and anything else you do to drive traffic to your site (traditional advertising, RSS, etc)
Arguably, you also have control over your email list (as you can always download your contacts and import them somewhere else).
If you’re finding that you’re greatly affected by changes that, say, Facebook makes, odds are that you’re relying too heavily on it and need to adjust your strategy. There are a few things you can do to change this.
Use several different social media sites and grow them equally. If one goes down, you still have followers on the others.
Incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) into your website. If you use a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, you’re probably already doing this without even realizing it.
Use every opportunity to encourage your audience to join your email list. Offer an incentive, such as exclusive content, a special service (like rounding up your best articles in a given week), or a giveaway. Send regular emails to your list.
Make your website a prominent part of your branding. If you hand out business cards, add your URL; if you run a radio ad spot, make sure you mention your dot com.
I’m sure I’ve missed something, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!