Amanda Luedeke

November 7, 2013

Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Overload


Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

When I first started using Facebook, it was really a member’s only type of site. It was a site for you and your friends and others like you. You had to be a college student with a college email address in order to register. I mean THAT’s how closed-off it was. Eventually, it opened up to high school students. And then in what I imagine was an attempt to not exclude homeschoolers, and other less traditional students, it opened up even more, allowing people to register using any old email account.

And now…

I log in to my Facebook account, stare at my news feed and realize that I don’t know half of the people showing up in it. I check my number of friends: 726. …and I can’t help but feel that I haven’t even met that many people on earth, let alone that I feel close enough to them to consider them “friends.”

I’ve noticed that numerous Facebook “Friends” have gone on Facebook sabbaticals lately. What used to be a thing that would happen maybe once a year to one of my “friends” now seems to be a monthly occurrence. There always seems to be someone who is announcing a FB break-up. Someone who has decided to take a day, a week, a month off. Someone who has had it with the weird sense of responsibility and addiction that social media can cause in a person’s life.

I’m not gonna lie: I used to think this was a bit silly. I mean who lets Facebook–FACEBOOK–spiral so out of control that they actually need to take a scheduled break?

And now…as I scan the pictures of faces I don’t recognize and read the statuses from people I’ve never met, I GET IT.

The core of the problem isn’t that Facebook is bad or that it takes too much of our time or that it makes it painful to communicate with friends. The core of the problem is that we have over-friended. We have over-connected. We have over-networked. And the result is a meaningless Facebook existence that leaves us feeling empty and drained despite our 726 (now 727) friends, when its original intent was to leave us feeling full and loved. It’s original intent was to give us a place to connect with our real-life friends.

If this isn’t strong enough of a reason to keep your professional online presence separate from you personal one, then I don’t know what is. Maybe you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself. Maybe like me, you’ll think everything is fine and then SEVEN YEARS later, you realize that your account is unwieldy, un-fun, and even a bit unwanted.

So before you become me…before you end up with the problem of figuring out how to backtrack without getting under anyone’s skin or coming across like a jerk, I have THREE MUST’S FOR KEEPING THINGS STRAIGHT ONLINE:

1. Keep your Facebook profile for FRIENDS and FAMILY. These are people that you actually care knowing what they ate for dinner and where they vacationed and what their babies look like (over and over). Keep a Facebook Page for fans, industry contacts, etc. Do the same, if you must, for Twitter. Maintain a private account where you can be yourself to friends and family, and then maintain a professional one where you adopt your author/writer persona.

2. Become a user of LinkedIn. Because a Facebook page doesn’t quite cut it in terms of professional networking, you’ll soon find that LinkedIn provides the perfect Facebook-like experience, except that it promotes an attitude of professionalism.

3. Recognize that taking a break is not as big of a deal as you may think. I get the feeling that when people announce their break from Facebook, they’re expecting some kind of response. Some kind of plea for them to hurry back. Or maybe a bunch of frowny faces. They’re expecting in some way, that Facebook just won’t be the same without them, and so it’s their responsibility to prepare everyone for this catastrophe. And yet…everyone else’s friend lists tend to be just as bloated. Just as time-consuming. Just as ridiculous. So you end up with people taking breaks and no one noticing (which is a shame, considering Facebook should

be a place for real friends and not replaceable acquaintances). While your statuses may be SUPER ENTERTAINING, I guarantee there are twelve more that are equally awesome, ready to take your place. So, let this be your Get Out of Jail Free card:  TAKE BREAKS MORE OFTEN. Don’t always announce it. Don’t make it a big deal. But do what you need to do to recharge and don’t overthink it. Maybe pop into your professional page every so often to make sure it doesn’t go dark, but other than that, sign off, and feel no regret.

I realize this may tick some people off. You may be thinking “Hey, I’M AMANDA’S FACEBOOK FRIEND! Does she hate ME?!”

It’s not a matter of hate. It’s just a matter of me realizing that I didn’t set boundaries when I should have. And now, I’d say it may be too late…and to be honest, my profile is so full of history, I don’t really feel like starting a new one! So this is what I’m left with, and it’s okay. But you…you can be saved.

For more marketing tips, check out The Extroverted Writer



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  • Responding late but enjoyed the post and I already book a 3 day digital sabbath most months into my schedule. It allows me to remove the constant social distraction and decide where I want to focus my productivity. Totally agree that all our connections sometimes simply are over the top and pointless.

  • T. says:

    I don’t have a personal FB profile and it’s lovely. Life still goes on and I still have actual friends. I am so glad I never joined! I do have a professional one, but I think it’s true that there is so much noise that no one really notices if I don’t post for 2 weeks. I have to remind myself of that when I feel like there’s pressure or I really should post. If life is busy and I don’t, it’s no big deal. People can enjoy what I say whenever I do actually have something useful to share.

  • J.A. Marx says:

    Yep. (to everything)

  • Peggotty says:

    Thanks, Amanda. I appreciate the settings that FB offers allowing me to limit posts appearing in my feed from those I don’t know well and even some I do. I have to say too that, being an introvert, FB has helped me get to know casual acquaintances better and discern whether I think we would be a good match in the friend department. As far as professional pages/blogs, I’ll take your advice and change them over to my writer page. As I have two email addresses, I’ll have two FB addresses.

  • Henry McLaughlin says:

    Great advice, Amanda. Thank you.

  • Heather Day Gilbert says:

    I hear ya. It’s hard when you can’t update on your kiddos to your close friends, because you’ve added a bunch of industry friends you don’t REALLY know. Not that I don’t like those friends–it’s just a different group who are interested in a different part of my life, you know? I’ve thought about doing a personal page and an industry-friend page, BUT I still have an author page to maintain. Three pages=too many. So I’m sticking with two, not posting many pics of the kids, and trying to offer statuses both groups will find interesting. Meanwhile I have no life. HA!

  • :Donna Marie says:

    Amanda, I know you’re focusing on Facebook here, but that is actually me least favorite place to be social. I CAN get caught up in posts, just like anywhere else, but there’s too much going on there and a lot of it is truly so trivial, I just don’t care and don’t want it taking up my time. I’ve become a big fan of Twitter, though, now that I’m on it. I’ve made so many good and unexpected connections and have been in fantastic scheduled chats that have been a blast AND great for more connections. I’m following some great blogs and am trying to network that way (I have no problem commenting!), but I’m still battling with the time it can take. I’m gradually figuring out where and how to be discerning and still try to be effective and successful with the purpose of all of it. Right now it’s a bit draining, but I’m getting there.

    I do feel for you, though, with the problem you’re facing. It’s too bad there’s no way to take all that’s there now and split it into two separate entities. It probably is possible, but a massive undertaking 🙁

    I know I’ve heard you and others say to have two profiles on Facebook—one personal and one professional—but this certainly drives home why it’s critical. Thanks for your warning!

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Thanks for sharing 🙂 I did want to clarify…I don’t promote having two FB profiles, but rather one profile and one page. Two profiles is just messy!

  • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

    I decided earlier this year to really trim my friends list down. There were a lot of ACFW people on it that I didn’t know, and since I’ve quit writing CBA and probably won’t renew my membership next year, I unfriended nearly 300 people.

    Now it’s people I care about, enjoy talking to, and I care about their lives.

  • Crystal Thieringer says:

    Amanda, thank you for this. I have often thought that social media can actually be anti-social, and recently wrote a blog post about it ( As a not-yet-published author, I’ve struggled with how to develop a platform that still keeps my personal life less public, while at the same time reaching the people that can benefit from what I have to say. I appreciate your insights!

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