Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why Social Media is Important, or Not...


At the beginning of this month my twitter account was hacked. Not just hacked, but royally f'd by some Portuguese jerk that changed the profile, name, picture and LANGUAGE. It was horrible. Beyond horrible. He changed the handle to @vaginatron horrible.
I felt like my identity had been stolen and as far as my twitter identity went, I guess it had been. I couldn't tweet, people couldn't tweet to me and I could see anyone's tweets.
Twitter took a week to fix it and by then my account felt dirty and disgusting and I started over.
Here's the thing about starting over. I had 5,000 followers. I was following 3,000 and all of that was gone. Poof.
A YEAR of building that account- GONE, with a stolen password. Gone by some jerk who just felt like ruining my day because he could. Gone by some ass that couldn't be more creative than to come up with the handle @vaginatron.
I was upset, but not for the reasons you might think. Over the last year, I have become friends with a lot of awesome tweeps and all of them were out of my life- like that. Gone. It was sad, I felt like I had lost my life-line. The way I dealt with the loneliness and stress of being a writer. (If you are a writer you know there is a lot of loneliness and stress). I had no way to contact them, except to look them all back up and well, that was insane to even think about.
I was NOT upset that I lost my "platform". See that's how twitter started for me and I think most writers- we're told we need a platform- a way to let people know about our books. In an instant I had lost 5,000 possible people who could buy my books, but that wasn't upset me, what upset me was I missed my friends. I missed the bloggers and readers and writers and authors, who over the past year became my friends.
Being a debut author has been a definite learning curve and there is a lot of information about what you SHOULD do.
You need: A Facebook, A blog, a twitter, a pinterest, a Tumblr. You need to post to all of these a lot, but not too much. You need to get followers, a lot, but not too much. You need to talk about your book, a lot, but not too much.
I was doing all of this. I was following the rules, but none of that matters when there are people out there who feel like they can take that stuff away from you for fun.
None of that matters when a password can take your whole cyber-life away.
So, I started over. It was scary as hell, but also amazing. AMAZING- almost 1,000 tweeps followed me again within a week. People are still re-finding me and I have faith that people will continue to.
When I first started on twitter I was so focused on the AMOUNT of my followers, but what I've learned through this is that numbers don't matter. People do. Friends I've made and readers I've touched have found me again. They are who matters.
So when people tell you to get a social media platform, they are right. About the "social" part.

If you want to follow me on twitter, I'm @LisaBurstein


  1. What a horrible experience, but you're absolutely right. The numbers don't matter - the people do. I've met some amazing people on Twitter and would hate to lose those contacts. So glad your original followers are finding you again!

  2. This is another wake up call about how vulnerable we are when using computers. I don't get what's wrong with people who waste time and energy doing this kind of thing. Thanks for sharing. I'll be sure to follow you.

  3. Hi, Lisa! What happened to you was one of the risks of engaging in social networking. But I believe what matters here are your followers who didn’t forget you. Just keep that sociable attitude and continue the way you relate with your followers. I know that there’s a reason for that unfortunate incident. More power to you and your writing!

    Parker Murillo

  4. I can see here that social networking sites, especially Twitter, have been a huge part of your social life. I still haven’t experienced being hacked, but I know how it feels because I gained lots of friends via this site. Some of them are from another country, while some are just neighbors. These friends that I have met are those whom I want to treasure also, since they support me in my writing too. :) I hope things are getting better now after that incident. :)

    -- Emilia Loza

  5. With those people who have followed you again, it’s easy to say how much they have valued your presence. At least, something good still came up after the hacking incident – you were able to know who your true friends are in the online community. This also shows how important our online identity is. Anyway, I wish you more followers!