Reining Your Horses: Writing and Social Media

Hot on the heels of Colleen's announcement that she will now become a superhero in order to complete her next book on deadline (go GIRL) and our discussion of time and its limitations, I rise this morning to find yet another friend of mine has abandoned social media (Twitter and Facebook, in this case).  "I just don't have time to interact," he wrote.  Interaction is of course the hallmark of truly engaged social-media use.  It isn't enough to tweet or read a few tweets now and then; you must converse (so the mantra goes), and in a natural and unforced way, with people you are taking the time (slowly) to build a relationship.  I've done this and made some lovely friends on Twitter and Facebook, writers I would not otherwise have known, artists, photographers, even a woman who rescues horses.  But all of this comes at a price, which is of course less time to write, and even when one writes, less energy.  The decision to pull out of the social media experience can be a wise one and necessary.  There are only so many hooves you can keep in the air all at once.  There is only so much hero in the saddle.

Still: I question the conventional wisdom that dabbling in Twitter and Facebook is getting little out of these sites, and that our social-media use needs to be full-bore or nothing.  These experiences are ours; we have full control over them and how we use them.  I've had no trouble at all reining in when I need to.  Friends have not abandoned me (at least not any worthy of the name) when my stream has gone silent; they've been kind enough to still click and read when all I have a minute to do is post some quick news about my work; they've let me back into their lives, warmly, when I have had time to sit down and "interact," which is just a cold way of saying "stretch our fingers out to touch each other's hides."  I feel sad that my friend has left Twitter; I liked seeing him there, and though we've exchanged email addresses to stay in touch, emails take even more time--which was one reason social media were invented.  Sadly, I know we will now meet less often.  Yet I respect and understand his decision fully.

For myself, I'll keep riding out in company when the weather is clear and I can.  And feel no qualm when it is time again for me to ride alone.

Like my Twitter and Facebook friend Colleen.

Fly, my friend.  Fly.


Right back at you, Mylene! Thanks!

In stolen snatches I'm now reading your THE DEADWOOD BEETLE and really into it. Can't wait to snatch a few solid hours the soak in the warm bath of language and characters you have going in that book.

Off to have my books hero doing something, well, heroic. Something that will finish up this manuscript so I can move on to the next!
Mylene, this is great and very timely, as for one of the first times ever, my facebook status is silent. I just get tired sometimes of the inane comments from people, and especially from some of the political discussions. I just don't have time to become embroiled in every intellectual/political conversation, but when I see something I disagree with, the activist in me rises up. So I made a decision last night not to check facebook as often, and not to put up too many statuses. We'll see, of course, how well this works. Right now with the beginning of the semester, I'm just feeling the need to squirrel away as much as I can. Will emerge again, though!

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