Can you remember your world without Facebook? Without Twitter or email or blogs?
I can. In fact, I think about what that life was like all the time.
I was thinking about it last night when I was watching the Golden Globes and one of the actresses was promoting the fact that she’d be posting pictures on Instagram and tweets on Twitter about ‘behind-the-scenes’ happenings at the event. Bah.
I pushed away my body’s actual, physical urge to grab my phone, post a FB comment then open my Twitter account and search for her tweets and photos. What is that? What is that urge, which I cannot deny that I have, to tell people what I think or how I feel or what I’m doing…?
I fought the urge and did nothing but watch the show. In fact, I realized that I hadn’t looked at my inbox nor my Facebook since Friday. I made it through a whole weekend without making a post.
So, what is it about social media that grips us internally and urges us to post, post, post? I’ll admit I was late to join the Facebook world. I’ll admit that there are several people I know who are still not members. The hubby gets red in the face if he happens to take a boo at my news-stream and read what people are writing. He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t want to get it.
Look, here’s why I use Facebook.
1) Every single article or blog I read about writing and what ‘publishers’ and ‘agents’ are looking for includes a fat ‘must’ when it comes to social media. I must have ‘presence’ on the web. Whether it’s via a blog, Facebook, Twitter or any of the myriad ways to ‘exist’ on the internet, I must have a presence. And to boot, a presence that has some solid, plentiful stats. If I google my favourite authors they have Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter accounts, etc.. Now, they may not be personally posting or tweeting, but their on-line presence exists. This is why I remain on the internet. This is why I’m writing this blog and continuing to build and uphold my online ‘identity’.
2) I originally started Facebook so I could share photos and fun family stuff to friends who live far away from me. It was a free, fast way to post photos and tell stories and write notes to friends who live in places it would take literally weeks for snail-mail to get to. Don’t get me wrong, I still send actual mail. There’s nothing like receiving gifts in the mail, especially now.
3) I used it to help promote and sell my book, Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy. Indeed, although it’s taken two years for me to understand how to get ‘likes’, and how to use this mode of sales and promotion, I have to admit that it has worked. I have sold several books because someone has found my Facebook page or a friend has told them to check it out. And this year, I’ve committed to posting snippets from my book on my Facebook page Monday through Friday. I can’t tell if this is changing anything statistically, but I’m told it will.
4) When it comes to Twitter, I can barely be bothered. I don’t have time to tweet. I don’t have time to read everyone else’s tweets. I don’t wanna read everyone else’s tweets. I don’t like the fact that I have a character cap. I can’t take the challenge on! I’m not witty enough! But, I have a Twitter account and each post I make on this blog auto-posts to my Twitter. Does anyone read it? I don’t know. I’ve started tweeting snippets of my book since I’m already doing it for Facebook…but it’s all a bother. It’s another way for me to feel…well, statistically challenged.
I know I can’t complain when I’m totally a part of this ‘this-is-what-I’m-doing’ frenzy and technological overload. Does it matter what my motivations for using social networking are? Does it matter if I only post Monday through Friday? Am I skirting a very massive, very deep conversation about existentialism and social interaction? Yes indeedy.
But I wanted to point out that it really feels good to take breaks. To not look for ‘likes’ or tweet ‘connections’. My ‘friends’ were my friends before Facebook and Twitter, and they’ll be my friends if I decide to leave. People will still buy and read my book. We all know where a library or bookstore is. Let’s just hope we don’t lose these in all this ‘advancement’…I don’t think we will. (And again, there’s another conversation I’m skirting.)
I have to tell you that taking a break makes me feel quieter, slower, calmer. And these ways of being are all part of how I’m choosing to live life now.
Someone suggested that I stop all forms of social media in general. No blogging. No Facebook or Twitter. Just stop it all. How much time would that open up for me to do what I always say I don’t have enough time to do – write?
It has taken me about forty minutes to write this blog. I could have been used these forty minutes to work on my novel.
My truth: I’m scared. I’m scared to disconnect. I’m scared to miss out. I’m scared that someone will like me less if I’m not a part of this ‘internet’ world. I’m scared that when a publisher or an agent does like my writing, he/she will google me and see that my on-line presence is weak or non-existent. And then what? Will I not get the gig? That’s scary. It’s really scary.
That same ‘someone’ said that if my novel is great it won’t matter what my blog or Facebook stats are. The words will speak for themselves.
Maybe someone is right. But right now, I’m not brave enough to quit it.
Gotta go work on my novel now.
How does taking a break from social media affect your life?
image:http://betterfacebook.net/no_facebook.html *pls note while I got this image from this link, I am in no way attached to its promotions.