Tag Archives: Facebook

Is Twitter an Empty Canyon of Self-Promotion?

Alright, I know there are a number of Twitter diehards out there, maybe you can help me see the light. While I get that Twitter is useful for connecting to strangers, it feels a little like Linked-In on crack to me. One week in and I’m still not sold.

For those of you who love it, how do you quiet all the irrelevant noise? Are you actually “listening” to everyone you follow or do you follow to get followers?

I feel a little like Twitter is a gigantic mob of people screaming into an empty canyon. People with tens of thousands of followers add me because they follow tens of thousands of people to get those tens of thousands of followers. How can they possibly listen to anyone if they’re following that many people? Do they care at all about what others have to say or is it entirely out of self-promotion that they hope to pick up a few more follows under their belt?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind if it’s entirely about self-promotion– that’s why Linked-In exists and Twitter seems like a much easier way to connect and glean insight. I also get that some people use it like a Facebook status update to connect with friends, and I’m glad that exists as a way for people not to make Facebook status updates every 2 minutes. I am just not sure I completely get it yet.

I’m picking up followers, I’m following people, but I’m not convinced anyone is actually listening to each other, (except maybe people who have a lot more time to spend on the computer during the day than someone like me who only uses the internet for an hour or two each night). I like that I have found a sea of literary agents to follow and research, so that, to me, has been the coolest part. Otherwise, I just feel like I’m yelling into a canyon.

Reminds me a little of this scene from Garden State, one of my all-time favorite movies, btw.

Reminds me a little of this scene from Garden State, one of my all-time favorite movies, in case you were wondering.

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Social Media, Politics, and “Friends”

It’s that time of the election cycle. Our feeds are full of political opinions. A friend of mine posted an article about how easy it is to offend our virtual friends on Facebook. This made me reflect a bit on how we project ourselves to the virtual world. I personally don’t mind all the opinions, even if I often choose to stay on the sidelines, piping in with likes and comments instead of starting the discussions myself.

The way I look at it, if someone wants to unfriend me or stop following me for my beliefs, that’s fine. Makes me wonder why I’d want to be connected with someone that doesn’t respect me for my differences in the first place. Likewise, I have shed a few connections over the years for their consistently hateful ideas, which has only left me feeling lighter in knowing that those people don’t belong in any facet of my life.

Instead of seeing the barrage of opinions put out into the online universe as overkill or offensive, I see the Internet as a useful, natural filter for deciding who I really want to have in my online sphere. Sure there are plenty of relatives and coworkers and old friends and acquaintances I do not agree with, but as long as the dialogue is kept respectful, I like that there is a place in this world where they can express themselves openly and I can know them a little better.

This whole idea that we should not have hard conversations with the people in our lives gets under my skin. If we cannot have them in real life, as the article points out is often the case, then I am happy they can occur, even superficially, in the virtual sphere. The only way the world changes is if we start to listen to each other and understand our differing perspectives a little better.

I know it may seem like all the political noise does not really change anything, but I think it does, little by little. When I was in high school, gay kids were beat up, and no one publicly said anything to stop it. Now, all those same kids are grown-ups with Facebook accounts, and suddenly it is pretty mainstream to speak up for gay rights, (even if some of these adults are still on the other side of the fence). This shift in dialogue is just one example of how putting ideas out there can make other people feel safer in voicing their opinions too.

So, as your feeds fill up with ideas you may or may not agree with, I encourage you to be grateful a space exists where people actually speak their minds. Maybe eventually it will make people brave enough to start having important discussions in real life too. And, if nothing else, at least it shows us where the people in our lives stand, whether it be on the left or the right, or in a space of wanting to say nothing.

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Sunday Scatterbrain: Networking & Writing

This week has been an interesting exercise in connection making. Where I have not succeeded in getting my book out the door, I have widened my social circle to include more writers and bloggers. First, I reconnected with a childhood friend who quit his job as a lawyer to restructure his time to better allow himself to write fiction. Now he works in tech from home and writes nonstop. Talking shop with him was one of the highlights of my week– so nice to connect with another writer.

Then, last night at a work party, I talked with a writer who is working to publish his memoir about investigative journalism. His take on the publishing world and the advantages of self-publishing were very interesting. I left the conversation feeling encouraged to find a writing group to push myself to the next level.

On top of this, I boosted my online networking efforts to prepare for those pesky query letters. I reached back out to my personal Facebook community to bump up my author page likes, and then, thanks to a fellow blogger on WordPress, I discovered Sacramento Bloggers. Major score! Turns out there are a lot of women with similar interests blogging in the area. Not only has this bumped up my Facebook likes a little further, but I’m also very excited to follow their blogs and make some more connections.

Remember my little attempt at a girls’ blogging club this summer? Sacramento Bloggers has me beat. Very excited to participate!

The only downside, all of this networking stuff has eaten up some of my precious writing time for the week, leaving me feeling a bit scatterbrained as I attempt to focus. So, time to revisit the dreaded action list:

1. Enter remaining changes for last few chapters from my lovely proof-reader.

2. Get my rough query letter ready for individual agents. Submit to all 31 on my list. This was meant to be my July activity, but now it looks like my October fun. Thankfully my fall break is coming up, so hoping to get this done sometime between October 4-14.

3. Pick what’s next! I want to give myself a few weeks for this, so my goal is to be ready to join the Nanowrimo crew by 11/1 with my next story idea. I have a few in the works, just need to pick. More on that to come, I’m sure. This time, instead of trying to get 50k words out by 11/30, my goal is just to write well, with focus, for the entire month and see what happens.

Now all I need to do is stop multi-tasking and focus…

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You Like Me, I’ll Like You Back!

Shameless plug time– like me on my writing Facebook page and I’ll return the favor wherever you direct me.  Gearing up to send out my queries in the next couple months, I am reminded of a conversation I had with David Henry Sterry of the Book Doctors.  He underlined the importance of developing a writing platform before contacting agents and a Facebook page was one of his biggest recommendations.  So, if you don’t have one, get one, and I’ll like you too!

Thanks and Happy Sunday.

Sharing is caring! (Pretty please…)

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Life Beyond the Computer Screen

Yesterday, I took a break from blogging, my first since summer vacation started.  After reading “iCrazy” in Newsweek while lying on Tunnels Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, I realized I have become too dependent on the public approval fed through Facebook and WordPress, the notifications popping up in little dopamine doses on my smart phone.

While I rationalize that blogging is at least part of my mission in establishing myself as a writer, the reality is that it has also become part of my greater addiction to the internet.  The number of likes and new follows either negatively or positively affects my mood after posting, (not to mention the compulsive checking of my inbox for feedback).  My solution, forced breaks, turned off email notifications, and only checking my blog when I post new material.

In just 48 hours of silence, I’ve already noticed that not receiving email notifications to my phone has made a huge difference.  Not knowing what activity I am receiving is better than the high or low of immediate reinforcement.  I no longer have the urge to pick up my phone every two minutes.  In fact, I left my phone off all day today and yesterday, save for checking for voicemails and text messages once in the morning and once in the evening.

Taking a day off blogging was also nicer than I thought, as I resisted the urge to complete my daily ritual.  That’s the thing, even on vacation, I derive satisfaction from the exercise of blogging, I am just trying to move away from it being an obsession.  So far, giving myself a little space is making it feel a lot less compulsive.  Best of all, a break made me hyper-aware of how often I think about being online or checking my inbox.  It was more often than I like to admit.  However, the more time I let pass, the less often I had the urge.

The important life reminder– I value time spent disconnected.  A big motivation in becoming a teacher was creating a life where I was not connected to a computer for work all day.  I have to remind myself this as I dive head first into the world of writing, an evolving world shrouded in technology.  If any of this resonates with you, I recommend reading the article linked above, although I’m not suggesting that it is a problem for everyone.

A few pictures below to remind you how beautiful life can be beyond the computer screen.  I look forward to reconnecting with you all next time I post!

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