Social Media TMI- Finding Balance Between Professional & Personal Online

Social Media TMI—Finding Balance Between Professional & Personal Online

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Edie Melson: Social Media TMI- Finding Balance Between Professional & Personal Online

Edie Melson: Social Media TMI- Finding Balance Between Professional & Personal Online

Hey, y’all. So, check out the awesome circle button on the right side bar. See that? Contributor, The Write Conversation. Yup. That’s me. But here’s the fun part. I get to reciprocate. In bloggy terms, that means while I have a post up on Edie’s site, she has a post up here at FMD. Kinda nifty how that works out, yeah? Okaaay. We may have planned it. But still. It’s cool.

You’ve heard me talk about Edie before. You can thank her for the growth at FMD over the last few years. She’s been a great teacher, mentor, friend, guidance counselor . . . You get the picture.

So check out my post at The Write Conversation, and check out her post, well, now.

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For an author, building an online presence that’s both professional and personable can be a bit of a tightrope walk. After all, we’ve all cringed at some of the intimate details shared in ill-considered tweets and Facebook posts. We want to connect with our readers as honestly and as genuinely as possible. But we also want to present ourselves as the professionals we are. I’ve had a lot of writers ask for guidance on where to draw that line.

The good news is that there are some guidelines you can follow. The bad news is, there are exceptions to almost every rule. Each author relates differently in person and to be authentic, we must carry that personal bent into our online presence.

Things to Share

There are some things we all enjoy sharing, whether or not we’re directly involved. That’s where this list fits. It’s not an exhaustive list, but I’m including enough suggestions so you can get a strong idea of what’s good to share. These things shouldn’t make up the majority of your social media updates or blog posts, but sprinkling them in can make you more approachable and even fun.

  • An engagement or a wedding. This can be yours, or a close family member. You don’t want to take up space about a second cousin once removed, but engagement pictures are always fun to see.
  • New baby or grandbaby. Again, we all like to see this occasionally. New life is a reason to celebrate. But with this type of update, like the previous one, a little bit goes a long way. If you want to post an album of photos, that’s fine, but don’t share photo after photo after photo in your news feed.
  • Pet photos and stories. People love their pets. More than that, they love people who love pets. This type of personal update can give you some good visibility through social media.
  • Exciting news that’s publishing related. This might be a book cover reveal, signing a contract with a publisher and/or agent, even winning a contest.
  • A recipe. Recipes are popular on social media. But if you’re not writing a cookbook, or incorporating recipes in your platform, share sparingly.
  • Prayer requests. I purposely included this at the end of the list because you must be very careful here. First, you need to be aware that people will share what you share, so make sure it’s not confidential and you don’t mind if everyone knows about it. Second, you’re opening a door. Once you share a prayer request, your friends and followers will feel free to share with you. You could be opening a floodgate. That’s not always a bad thing, but it’s a decision you need to make before you share.

Things NOT to Share

  • I hate to even have to say it, but anything that might trigger a gross-out response should always be off limits. This includes everything from descriptions of medical procedures, accidents, trips to the personal facilities and spiders. Yep, spiders. There are a lot of people out there who will freak out at the picture of a leggy arachnid, so post at your own risk.
  • Anything negative about a specific person or company. This doesn’t include rants about generalities, such as taxes. But I’ve NEVER seen an instance where calling someone out publicly ended well for either party.
  • Any update that lets people know your home is vacant. This isn’t something that will offend your followers, but is a danger for you personally. Posting vacation pictures, while you’re still away, is an open invitation to burglars.
  • Any update that shows you checking in someplace. If you want to endorse a place, share why you enjoyed your experience. But for all our sakes, disable location settings that pop up with a map of where you are in your social media feeds.

Bottom Line

Navigating online socially is a lot like attending a large party. All the same rules apply.

  • Don’t hog the conversation.
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much.
  • Don’t share things that make others uncomfortable.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Don’t bash someone’s reputation.

Trust me, you do not want to be the person everyone at the party avoids. Being personable and sharing bits of your personal life online can enhance your overall image. Staying upbeat, encouraging and positive whenever possible will make you someone people want to know, online and off.

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Like I said, Edie is a font of information when it comes to social media and staying safe online. Check out her other posts on FMD and TWC.

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear…: #SocialMedia TMI-Finding Balance Between Professional & Personal Online @ediemelson @realmojo68

With a Southern drawl and security system,
~Molly Jo

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!

Paige’s Plantation, Part One

Paige’s Plantation, Part One

by Jacqueline Patterson @jacpatterson

Buckets of sweet tea! Knowing I live vicariously through her, Jacqueline (also known in our inner writer circle as Paige) documented her recent visit to a private plantation for Frankly, My Dear . . .

Paige's Plantation

Paige’s Plantation

Now, there’s a whole list of reasons this thrills me, but mostly because, as y’all know, we’re heading back to Blue Ridge next month which, as it always does, has inspired me to amp up the blogging yet again. This is it, folks. I am claiming my inner Southern Girl for y’all. And Paige is part of the process. Stay tuned as we continue to swap stories from the rocking chairs and let you in on all the adventures us belles are about to have.

But first, sit back and grab a julep. Paige is about to take us on an adventure.

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The gigantic oaks towered like sentinels as I slowed my car outside the gate. Moss, like clumsily-held swords, dangled from the branches just inches from my car’s hood in a mimicry of a challenge.

I inched my car closer and the gate finally began to open . . . into a world fastened to the past.

Endless rows of oaks lined the curved avenue, partially obscuring the Manor on the edge of the marsh. Green fields opened to my left—a former playing ground for horses but now inhabited by wild birds and broken dreams. Sparsed along the avenue, refurbished slave cabins sat half-hidden behind the trees, their presence casting a shroud of silent condemnation.

Paige's Plantation- Cabins

Paige’s Plantation- Cabins

As far as my eye could see, I was the only human being in sight.

I’d been invited by my caretaker friends to spend the weekend at this Lowcountry plantation. Two days for my history-loving heart to explore and dream my way into the past.

I already knew I would have a hard time returning to the real world.

My friends were waiting eagerly on the porch of the Overseer’s cabin. The following hours became a traipse through history as we took a prolonged tour of the plantation grounds. We explored winding, woodsy trails and when I closed my eyes, I could imagine I was a Southern belle riding out to inspect my property. At home. At peace.

Paige's Plantation- Marsh

Paige’s Plantation- Marsh

Peace? Ha. That blissful illusion dissolved the moment my friend Rhene suggested a jog through the marsh in search of gators.

Let’s go ahead and be honest here.

I took every step with the panicked awareness that a gator would crawl out of the marsh any moment and chomp off my leg as some kind of gator-courage-award trophy. And I wasn’t in the mood to donate my leg.

Paige's Plantation - The Alligator

Paige’s Plantation – The Alligator

Talk about an incentive to keep jogging.

Rhene laughed at my fears and assured me it was too cold for them to come up on the paths. She said what she thought was comforting. “Even when it’s warm, I can’t sneak up on one if I try. They can smell us coming.”

That wasn’t the comfort I was looking for.

She pointed down into the marsh-grass on the bank and explained it was a gator hole. Apparently that’s where they come up out of the marsh. She said, “Sometimes you’ll see them laying in there when you go by.”

Cringing, I bent down for a closer look. In the center of the marsh-grass was a perfectly shaped hole, like a giant spyglass, allowing me to see down the bank and into the water. No gators visible. Phew.

I eased back slowly and tried to smile, like gator hidey-holes didn’t scare me in the least.

Halfway around the marsh we slowed our jog to a walk and Rhene pointed out the various landmarks.

A flock of birds flew out of the grass at our approach, their pink wings startling against the blue sky. She told me that although born white, they turn pink from eating all the shrimp in the marsh. Imagine!

We paused to watch the birds disappear beyond the outlying woods. The sun was warm against my back and the fingers of the wind brushed across my sweat-soaked face, cooling me with the scent of the marsh. We turned down the path that divided the marsh, still checking for gators, but by now I was relaxed. We had yet to spot a single gator and I was confident that I would be able to keep my leg after all.

Until Rhene grabbed my arm, whispered, and pointed. “Look. See it? Out on that little island?”


My leg was about to be claimed.

“Where?” My gaze dropped to a gator hole on the bank, checking frantically. Rhene’s hold tightened on my arm until I was forced to look up, following her gaze until I saw it, almost hidden in the high grass of the island.

Paige's Plantation - Hidden Alligator

Paige’s Plantation – Hidden Alligator

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I know. I’m a Scarlett for stopping the story here. But if y’all read it in one sitting, there’s no reason for you to keep coming back now, is there? No worries, sugar. Paige has more photos, and the ending, in her next installment.

So stick around. Y’all might just enjoy a little more Southern hospitality.

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear…: Paige’s Plantation

With tall boots and a willow wisp,
~Molly Jo

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!