I’ve been recently wondering if I need a pinterest or tumblr account.  One of the things writers get told a lot is build up your writer’s platform.  We have to have a web site.  A blog.  A Twitter.  A Facebook.  We hear that all the time and I agree with it.  To a point.  Kinda.

I was sitting on a panel about blogging and an author was going on and on about the six blog sites that she runs and writes for along with the cross promotional stuff she does with them.  All I could think (read: said out loud before I could stop myself) was “why?  That’s a whole lot of time you could be spending writing your next book.”

So, with the latest social media bandwagon pulling up, I would need more of a reason to jump on board besides it’s the latest cool and hip thing to do.  When I think about adding to the social media stuff that I already do, I keep two things in mind:

1)  Protect the brand.  There is a certain benefit to creating an account with my name if only to camp there so no one can use my name.  It’s one thing to have online billboards, another to keep a porn site from occupying a piece of cyber-real estate in your name.

2)  I love them.  Make no mistake, I love my blog, my twitter, and my Facebook accounts and use them for their own sake, not as a part of my marketing strategy (though I am mindful of their marketing applications).  For example, I blog a lot about writing, faith, and race related issues.  There probably isn’t a lot of audience cross-over between folks who are fans of my faith writing and my stories.  But that’s okay, I blog because I love blogging.

I also have a LinkedIN, a GoodReads, a MySpace, a Red Room, even a Xanga account (look, I probably have an Atari game system in my attic, too).  They basically serve as online billboards that point back to my site.

3) Have a unique purpose.  I need a real use of goal to accomplish with it.  I only have so much time in the day, and even less to dedicate to social media.  I actively use each of my main three venues in different ways:  my blog for my mental noodling, my Twitter for the gibberish of my life, my Facebook for more interaction.

I used to have a messageboard (back when everyone said you had to have a messageboard) and found that I had to babysit all the time.  It became a huge time suck often keeping me from doing the main thing I should have been doing.  My first love is my fiction and it comes first when it comes to how I divvy up and prioritize my time and energy.  Social media will come and go and will continue to play a part in my life, personally and as a writer.  Things is, you can have a successful writing career and do none of those things.

But at least have a web site.  Come on!