by Jill Amadio
New Year resolutions?
I have known mine for many, many months, as had a writer friend. Bombarded and burned out by social media ‘noise’ last month, she left her computer and iPad at home and fled to the forest and her grandpa’s cabin in Oregon, Bigfoot be damned. Alas, Hazel was unable to escape her addiction to Facebook and Twitter and she drove miles into town each day to find an Internet café where she continued to pollute the airwaves.
Linked In, Pinterest, Tumblr, Fomo, Reddit, WikiHow, Instagram and others jam our lives with clamorous demands to log on, read posts, share photos, and comment. The more timid of us comply.
I know dozens of writers who complain about the time it takes to respond to cute comments yet day after day we find ourselves enslaved to the practice, afraid to miss something someone has written. Did they see my latest awards photo on my FB site? Have they followed my Tweet link to my new mystery web site? While grateful for congratulatory messages online, and helpful tips on feeding hippos, how about admirers sending a snail-mail card instead or a basket of premium wine?
One can barely escape social media even without going to the sites. I receive email messages daily that someone has commented on my status (whatever that means – single, poverty-stricken?) or wants me to Like them.
We seem to be obsessed with spending hours online replying to friends’ remarks posted on social media sites, laughing at cartoons and jokes when we should be writing the next chapter or polishing an article. For some, it’s procrastination, an excuse not to tackle that elusive plot point, or figure out the murderer’s true motive; for others, perhaps, a means to make a mark upon the vast Internet audience.
Do the networking benefits outweigh the negatives? Many around the world have found long-lost school friends and relatives. Others bemoan the lack of privacy. I still haven’t figured out how to send a private FB message to my daughter.
Then there are the invitations to be a guest blogger. I was asked if I’d like to join a Blog Hop whereby ten mystery authors answered a series of questions about their books and their writing life. First, it had to be explained to me how the process worked, then I answered the host blogger’s eight questions, after which I was told to wait my turn for the right day. I was nudged the day before with three emails reminding me, and finally, I was asked to promote the entire Hop through social media for several days beforehand, and several days afterwards: “I am guest-blogging today on Santa’s site.”
It was fun but time-consuming. The new idea prompted other friends who were not included in the Hop to ask me if I’d invite them to be a guest blogger on my own site. After agreeing to two of them, I realized that probably no one checked out the blog page on my site anyway. More time lost.
How do we escape the trap and refuse to be manipulated? There are plenty of advice columns and seminars on how to overcome the addiction, even a 10-step program on how to recognize the symptoms and treat them. You can Google the subject and dozens of sites show up. Even the Times of India newspaper has an article on how to handle the problem.
Kim Fay, author of “the Map of Lost Memories,” was making a deliberate effort to stay “clean. She said that Facebook terrified her, and she wasn’t sure what to do with Linked In.
Longing for peace and quiet aside from social media noise and actual noise of traffic and sirens outside her home in Los Angeles, she accepted her parent’s offer to holiday in their house in the mountains of Arizona while they went out of town. Once there, she covered all the clocks, researched, napped, and wrote 50 pages of her next thriller without once logging on anywhere.
“Ideas had space to roll around in my head,” she said. “My thoughts were uninterrupted. It was divine. These days the life of a 21st century writer are frantic, a pressure cooker requiring one to write reviews, connect with fans and friends, and try to stay in the game. ”
Well, I gotta go. Time to check my FB page, and wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Jill Amadio is from Cornwall, UK, but unlike her amateur sleuth, Tosca Trevant, she is far less grumpy. Jill began her career as a reporter in London (UK), then Madrid (Spain), Bogota (Colombia), Bangkok (Thailand), Hong Kong, and New York. She is the ghostwriter of 14 memoirs, and wrote the Rudy Valle biography, “My Vagabond Lover,” with his wife, Ellie. Jill writes a column for a British mystery magazine, and is an audio book narrator. She is the author of the award-winning mystery, “Digging Too Deep.” The second book in the series, “Digging Up the Dead,” was released this year. The books are based in Newport http://www.jillamadio.com
This article was posted for Jill Amadio by Jackie Houchin (Photojaq)
16 thoughts on “A Writer’s Resolutions on Social Media”
Jill, I think part of the attraction of social media for me, especially Facebook, is that, since I work at home, it acts as my watercooler where I can share thoughts and comments about various things the way people who work in an office around the water cooler. So it’s my virtual watercooler.
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Paul, water coolers usually require one to get up from one’s chair, leaving the PC to doze, and stretch those legs, so no, your solution doesn’t count for everyone. So there.
Much like what Paul said, I just do Facebook and of course our Writers in Residence blog. I see what friends and family are doing and share a few things about my life. The rest of my time is spent doing what I need to do and then get back to my writing.
Gayle, your solution is a simple one and I imagine you keep a close check on time spent there. FB is indeed a great way to keep in touch with friends and family but it an be overwheling when they only want to tell you they had coffee with someone.
I can identify with a lot of what you said, Jill. And when I reach a spot in my writing that I’m not exactly sure what comes next, what do I do? Bounce over to social media for a break and let my subconscious work on its own for a while. Great post!
You’ve illustrated the reason I bypass Twitter, Instagram, and for the most part, Face Book.
Miko, great minds………………
I left a time consuming discussion forum about a year ago. I left facebook about six months later. I’ve dropped out of Twitter as well, about a month ago. I wanted to use my mind for productive thinking, not chattering or debating. I’m still going through a bit of withdrawal, but I’m getting a bit more done on my blog too.
Lester, congratulations, you win the Facebook Folly Award. It’s a coffee break at Starbucks but you have to close down your PC and drive over there. Take $$$$.
I spend time on Facebook to keep up with friends and relate what I am do to our church (mission trips, teaching, etc. ) I used to be a photo-journalist, and Facebook acts as my newspaper to write it. I do NOT engage in any debates or arguments. I try to connect with people and writers and try to encourage them any way I can. I get good encouragement back. People have told me my Facebook page is fun and friendly. I make no apologies for being there
My email accounts also keep me connected, educated, in touch, and give me opportunities to read what wonderful stories, devotional that are out there. Again no apologies.
I write on three blogs, and try to promote my friends’ work there and occasionally on Twitter.
No Starbucks needed, I just bought 2 bags of Juan Valdez Colombian Coffee brand from a shop here in Aruba. 😊
Starbucks is almost a half hour from here, but Tim Horton’s is between here and there. I’ve been in a Starbucks once or twice in the last decade. I can’t figure out their menu. 😦 Or afford their pricing. But I think FB is great for what you’re doing. But my productive hours per day have dropped to about five or so and I have to ration those….
Jill, thank you for bringing up this important subject. Social media burnout has become rampant and the so-called experts now advise focusing on one platform, be that FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I’m not nearly as active on FB as I once was, but I like to wish friends a happy birthday. I use Twitter in fits and starts. I manage my SinC chapter’s Instagram account—fun, and not too time-consuming. I feel bad when I miss posts, but I’m getting a lot of writing done. I understand Paul’s need to gather with co-workers around the water cooler—so when I feel a need to socialize, guess what? The FB water cooler will be there.
Great post, and something to definitely think about for many! It’s not too hard for me to limit my social media exposure because I have never really liked it–though some of the connections I’ve made are priceless–I’m a recluse through and through, in person and via the internet. Now that I’ve said all that, I’m thinking about the friends I’ve made on Facebook…
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Great post! Social media can be a blessing or a curse – as Monk would’ve said. LOL Like most things, it can benefit us as writers or, if we don’t learn to limit our time on the various sites, it can get in the way of our writing.
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Love this post, Jill! You have really touched a nerve. I hate Social Media and would much rather make a quick phone call or write a note. But I understand how much a part of promotion it is for our work these days. I find myself quite allergic to such distractions. Or maybe I’m just an anti-social grouch. I’m with Kim Fay: I get my best work done when I am cut off from it all… thanks, Jill…