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)