Farhad Manjoo: Tooting your own horn online.
Emily Yoffe: I'm Emily Yoffe, Slate's Dear Prudence advice columnist.
Farhad Manjoo: I'm Slate's technology columnist, Farhad Manjoo, and this is Manners for the Digital Age.
Emily: Today's question is from a listener who wonders about the etiquette of promoting yourself on social media. The listener writes, "Dear Emily and Farhad, I have a question about promoting one's own accomplishments on Facebook. I think I can best ask the question this way. Farhad and Emily, when you have an article you've published on Slate or elsewhere, do you link to it from your own Facebook page or do you assume that your friends and colleagues who are interested know where to find your work? What do you think of other writers who post about their own work?" Signed, A Timid Self-Promoter.
Farhad, this applies to many people in many lines of work, but as a writer, what do you do in this situation?
Farhad: That's a good question, Emily, but before we go into that, I just want to know if you've seen my latest column on Slate.com? It's a great column.
Emily: I check your Facebook page minute by minute, Farhad, so I'm completely up on what you're doing.
Farhad: This letter writer obviously hasn't seen my Facebook or Twitter, because I'm posting about my stories all the time there. I try to do it in a way that I think is not overload. I post lots of stuff that I find on the Internet, and then I post maybe two links a day from my own stories. Well, not two. Maybe that's too much. Maybe one a day.
Then I post a lot to other Slate columnists, including you, so that's a kind of self-promotion, promoting my own magazine.
Emily: It's so good I didn't go into PR. My own personal Facebook page is rather more quiet. I do have a Dear Prudence Facebook page that I try to post to once a day, and then we have a Digital Manners Facebook page I try to post to.
But I'm not generally tweeting my own horn, my own thoughts. I leave my work on Slate. And given that where everyone is supposed to a brand now and constantly promoting themselves, I'm probably not doing that good of a job.
But as far as this letter writer is concerned, back in the olden days of Facebook, I think it was considered rather obnoxious to use your Facebook page for so much self-promotion. Now it's expected.
Unless you feel you're really overdoing it, go ahead. Everyone else is doing it, and probably no one is listening considering all the cacophony.
Farhad: It's hard to be a writer and not be promoting yourself these days. That's part of the job. Even if you're a writer of serious fiction, you're expected to talk about it and go on talk shows, just be in the promotion business. I think it's really hard to avoid.
I think one of the things people assume about Facebook is that when you look at someone's profile, you're kind of seeing a representation of their life for themselves.
But when I look at my Facebook page, it's really my professional face. It doesn't much reflect my personal life. There are pictures of my baby on there, so there's some of that, but it's really one of my professional homes on the Internet.
If you think about it as kind of a professional outpost and not a personal place, then it seems less bad to be promoting yourself there.
Emily: I agree in the evolution of Facebook. I think it has become more corporate. It's accepted to promote yourself. All this self-promotion is probably canceling itself out, and just go ahead and hope someone hears you.
Farhad: Send us your questions about shifting etiquette in the online age. Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily: You can also join our new Facebook page, which we update minute by minute, where we carry on the conversation throughout the week. Go to Facebook.com/digitalmanners.
Farhad: And we'll talk to you next time on Manners for the Digital Age.