Saturday 19 March 2022

Authenticity on Social Media


Icon Set, Social Media, Contact, Web

I was quite irritated by a post I read on Twitter the other day and I got into quite an argument with the person who posted. They said they had considered refollowing some people they had unfollowed. They had unfollowed them because it was important for them to have more followers than they followed. This was pressure from an agent.

I can understand several things here. An agent has to make money and they’ll make more form their authors if they sell well which they may indeed if they have a big following on social media. In my role as a publisher I’m pleased to see authors who are proactive on social media. And I will unfollow in some circumstances: for example if someone is being offensive or if they keep trolling.  But it seems to me immoral to unfollow if someone is not being useful to you.

But that isn’t the whole story and in fact I’d cringe if I saw one of our authors being inauthentic on social media. In fact, I might cringe so much that I wouldn’t publish them again.

Surely bottom line = you follow people because they are interesting and your ambition is to have people follow you because you are interesting.

There is a grey area; you want to follow back people who follow you.  You may be able to help each other. That was always true of normal networking. But it usually works better if you think in terms of what you have to offer rather than what you have to gain.

So what’s the difference between authentic and inauthentic?


Liking only what you genuinely like

Following people who seem interesting

Seeing social media as a tool rather than a master  

Limiting the amount of time you spend on it

Remembering your readers and brightening their day

Having the courage to raise something that may be controversial

Posting things other than the product or service you’re trying to sell

Posting different types of material on different platforms   

Remembering it’s “social” media not “marketing” media

Offering something to the world

Being generous in sharing, liking and responding to a post that deserves it

Not expecting all of your posts to be liked commented upon or shared but being grateful when they are

Tagging people because you are posting something you think they ought to know about


Liking a post because you feel obliged to and because you think you might gain something from it

Following someone just became they’ve followed you or in the hope that they will

Unfollowing people just because that don’t follow you

Tagging people as a way of showing off and making them aware of just how good you are

Becoming a slave to social media

Going into a sulk because people don’t respond to every post you make

Constantly screaming “buy my book, buy my book”

Putting exactly the same post on every platform

Shying away from the controversial because you don’t want to offend or be trolled

Expecting only to gain without offering something in return

Liking and sharing because you don’t want to offend the person who has posted  


There is possibly an argument that one tries to appear authentic in order to gain kudos. But is that actually sustainable?  


Recommended: be authentic on social media – it’s much more fun than being a pain.


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