Antisocial Media

I’ve come to a conclusion: I’m not good at social media.

I don’t have an excuse. I’m not old. I’m not poor. I have the necessary equipment. I know how to use it.

But I’m still not good at social media.

I was in college when Facebook blew up. All my friends told me I had to get an account. So I signed up. I closed my account in less than a week after I read a post from a girl I vaguely remembered from high school regaling the universe with the funny thing her cat did that weekend. I didn’t get it. People, in general, just didn’t seem interesting enough to justify my paying any more attention to them than I already did, and I wasn’t vain enough to convince myself that anyone really cared that much about my actions or thoughts. So I tapped out immediately.

For a normal person, not being good at social media would be fine. No big deal. Whatever. But as a writer, it’s cardinal sin #1. Because being a writer in 2016 isn’t about being a master of language and storytelling; no, now it’s about “connecting with readers.” So being good at social media is actually more important than being good at writing…for a writer. Agents and publishers basically want you to already be famous and have a fan base BEFORE you get an agent or get published. The question then becomes…what the hell are you supposed to promote if you don’t have a book coming to market?

The answer is YOU. Or more accurately, ME.

I’d like to point out that I’m not complaining that this is how things work. I accept it. It just makes my road to publication more difficult because I’m not good at one extremely important piece of the puzzle. I know I have to improve, but it’s tough because one thing I promised myself I would never become is a salesman. That’s why I went into teaching. I never wanted to sell a product or lie about a product or service to make money, and none of that changes even if the product is me that I’m selling.

Even writing a blog post is difficult for me because it seems so meaningless and self-indulgent. I enjoy reading people’s blogs, but I’ve never read a blog and thought “I’d really like to read a novel by that blogger!” Blogging and writing literature are two very different skill sets. If I have time, I want to use it writing, refining my craft, editing and revising. I don’t want to promote myself. I don’t want to congratulate myself for existing. It seems so SELF-CENTERED and EGOTISTICAL…and I guess, really, it is! That’s the nature of the beast called social media. Me? I want to give the world something beautiful or memorable or disgusting or horrific…and I don’t want that thing to be ME. Writing, to me, should always be about the art, not the artist.

Could you imagine Hemingway sending a Tweet?

I’ve had three small (minuscule) independent publishers tell me that they enjoy my writing and the creativity of my stories, but my “platform isn’t strong enough.” I tried to explain that I’m a writer, not a carpenter (the joke went over as well as you might expect). I’ve hoped that what I was told in my grad classes would turn out to be true: That good writing comes first and the rest will follow. But the truth is, that’s bullshit in 2016. And I must accept this. And I must improve.

By the way, my short story, “Epidemic” will be appearing in the Fall 2016 edition of the Infected World Anthology later this year. Check it out and LOVE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

 

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~ by themoderntranscendentalist on January 26, 2016.

One Response to “Antisocial Media”

  1. […] wrote a post earlier in the year about being bad at social media (Antisocial Media). Being a writer is one thing, but what good is being a writer if no one ever reads anything you […]

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