In a recent interview, actor Daniel Radcliffe seemed to suggest that celebrities using social media can’t expect privacy in their personal lives, particularly if they are tweeting fairly regularly. In the same interview he also said that actors should be prepared to attend events such as film premieres to help generate interest.
Daniel Radcliffe was fortunate enough to land a role in a film that had Warner Brothers’ publicity machine behind it, so didn’t need to do much in the way of personal promotion himself. But few artists get such a huge break at the beginning of their careers and so most have to promote their work. Social media is just another medium for doing this. It’s no more or less public than giving an interview, doing a photo shoot or a question and answer session at a book signing.
It’s not the medium that’s the problem, it’s the way it’s used. And it is possible to use social media and guard your privacy, just as it’s possible to give an interview and guard your privacy.
Tips for Guarding Privacy and using Social Media
- Ensure your social media platform is about your work, not you
- Blog about the subjects in your books or how you wrote a poem, not what you did last weekend
- Tweet about promotional events you’re doing, not about what you had for breakfast
- Create a balance between tweets/status updates about you and giving links to interesting articles, a book review you came across or more information about a topic you’ve written about, don’t just focus on you
- If you receive questions about your work via social media, answer them. It’s courteous and shows you’re not just using social media to broadcast and promote yourself.
- If you receive questions about your private life, don’t immediately answer but think about whether you’re happy for the answer to be in the public domain. A question about whether you enjoy the same breakfast as one of your characters is innocuous, but questions about your daily timetable might not be.
- If you post photos, think carefully first. Photos taken at promotional events or promotional publicity shots were intended to go in the public domain. Selfies might show you’re human. But photos that include others who didn’t plan on the photo being made public might lose you friends. Would you be happy for any photo you’re about to share to be reprinted in a newspaper? If not, probably best not to post.
- Think about your timing. Rather than posting at random times, consider creating a regular slot (at your convenience) when you update your blog or when you’re on a social media network. You can always post articles or updates in advance and schedule them to conform to your regular social media slot. This way you manage expectations about when you’re available so you won’t feel you have to be online 24/7 and people won’t expect you to be.
The big advantage in social media is that it’s your platform and you are in control of not only what you use it for, but when you use. Make it work for you.
By Emma Lee