Friday, November 6, 2015

Lessons Writers Can Learn From Social Media

by Bruce Brady @BCBrady007

With the right focus, we can learn a lot from the comments our friends post on social media.

There was a time when reading about someone being stuck in traffic or the contents of their grocery cart annoyed me. My internal response would be, “Why do I care?” Then it hit me. Okay, God hit me with it. He showed me I was looking at these posts from the wrong point of view.
While I’m still not particularly crazy about helping someone pick out the right shampoo or clothes, I am interested in learning the motives behind their comments. After all, my social media contacts are potential readers of my work. Or at the very least, people who might help me promote my work.

Now don’t get me wrong. My social media friends are people with wants and needs, like all of us. And I don’t just see them as things to be used for obtaining my goals. I truly care about them, even though I don’t personally know most of them. So if I’m unwilling to invest myself in their lives, then I don’t confirm, add, link, or connect with them online.

I love their posts because they teach me how others think. They also expose me to different cultures because many of my contacts live in other countries all around the world. Their lives are witness to the fact that we’re all God’s unique creations, but alike in many ways.

Does this mean we should use our new found information to manipulate our writing to fit certain personalities? In most cases, no. We must remain true to our stories, only using our recently acquired knowledge to reach a specific audience when that is the intended purpose of our words.

I find increased awareness of our similarities and differences is most useful in creating characters with greater depth—characters whose personalities draw our readers into our stories because the readers can relate to them on a more intimate level.

Maybe you enjoy the sport of people watching. If you’re like me, you find observing others to be the most interesting part of shopping or dining out, or even traveling. Think of social media as a great way to increase this activity. We can use the internet to incorporate all the citizens and cultures of the world into one of our favorite pastimes.

The use of Facebook and similar sites is a wonderful way to meet new people and experience new places. And it’s a marvelous vehicle for traveling on a limited budget. But, what I believe most important is that it’s a great way to expand our understanding of human psyches. Then we can apply this awareness to developing more complete, believable, and lovable characters. Characters our readers will enjoy reading about.

Do you agree? I really want to hear your thoughts. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Lessons Writers Can Learn form #SocialMedia – @BDBrady007 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Studying #SocialMedia updates can teach authors about their potential audience - @BDBrady007 (Click to Tweet)

Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family,, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”


  1. Bruce, Never thought of it that way. Thank you so much. I do learn a lot about my friends posts. One posts many of her dinner creations. She is a fabulous cook. One posts pictures of cats, dogs, horses and any animal in need. No doubt that she is an animal lover. thank you for a fresh way to look at posts.

  2. You're welcome, Cherrilynn. And thanks for stopping by. I think if we focus on why someone posted something, we can glean a lot of useful information for our characters. We can also learn how to slant our writing, without changing it's purpose, so that we connect with our readers on a deeper level. Have a blessed weekend.

  3. Good insight, Bruce. Since social media brings both positive and negative aspects into our lives, as with anything in this world, gleaning for writing purposes is an astute idea.

    1. Thanks, Karen. Hope you and yours are doing well. It did take a while for the Lord to get this idea through to me.

  4. Thanks for hitting me with a viewpoint quite contra to my own. I have actually enjoyed saying "I don't do Facebook" because I saw it as yet another distraction from writing. And I'm a long way from Tweeting. Seeing this as a way to add character depth is a fresh idea. Thinking back, I've had some most interesting conversations with a total stranger on a train, plane, or ball game. Let me offer one more - watching the people watchers. They're everywhere.

    1. Thanks, Jay. Happy to be of service. Love your idea about watching people watchers.