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Social Media Is Not About Followers, It Is About Getting Read – Lessons From Susan Orlean

Here is author & journalist Susan Orlean on why she engages in Twitter and social media:

“I didn’t say ‘I want followers.’ I am a writer, I write because I want to be read. Because the private act of writing doesn’t feel sufficient to me. What is sufficient is for the circle to come around, and to feel heard. I am excited by the idea of being heard. Of making someone think or laugh.”

So often, I hear the objections about social media from writers: that it steals away time that they could be writing; that they are writers, not marketers; and that social media is merely a waste of time.

But I love hearing about writers who value getting read more than getting published, and who see connecting with their audience as a powerful effect and opportunity, not some “obligation” that only takes their precious time.

Susan Orlean gave a wonderful talk at Boston’s Grub Street recently, which they graciously streamed and archived online. I have embedded the video below. Susan has slowly developed an audience of more than 230,000 followers. I rounded off 1,034 followers there, which is a follower count that most people would be thrilled to have.

In the video, she explains how she grew her audience, and you hear her perspective as to why a busy and successful author & journalist would consider engaging in social media every single day.

Here is the full video of Susan’s talk:

Thanks to Grub Street and Susan Orlean for sharing such a wonderful talk!


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