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Is Social Media Necessary to Be a Writer in the Modern World?

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I believe that’s the case with most people. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m on the tail-end of Generation X or that my career is smack-dab in the middle of technology, but I am wary of social media. This is especially true after the recent revelations around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. I knew the data that Facebook had on its users was immense; anytime I’ve had to build something with Facebook’s API, I am astounded by the amount of data that comes when a user connects the app I developed to their Facebook account. For this reason alone, I’ve never had a Facebook account (I use the company’s Facebook account when building with their API).

At various times, I have had Twitter, and Instagram, and Vero, and various other one-hit wonders of social media. One of the perks of being a software engineer is that I often hear of new products or services before the general population, which includes social media. It’s also expected of software engineers that they have an online presence and are active in those services. But, I’ve become less enthralled with all these different apps. Maybe it’s getting older or the dialogue that happens on the apps, I’m not as involved or excited about it all.

So, it was with trepidation that I created Instagram, Vero, and Twitter accounts for Wild Mind (I still abhor Facebook and refuse to open an account). I thought it was necessary to establish my online persona as a writer, a want-to-be author. I’ve heard in various podcasts or read in articles that publishers want authors who have a large following online. Look at Chuck Wendig; he seems to be killing it in that space.

As I started following more people on these accounts, I began to get sucked in. Waking in the morning, I’d find myself scrolling for an hour looking at the latest posts, following links, and my emotions would escalate before I even had my first cup of coffee. Instead of writing, I wasted time in a sort of haze of other people’s thoughts and best versions of themselves. Comparing that to me, still in PJs with a stinky pug’s breath in my nostrils, I came up short.

The recent disclosure of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, as well as the State Department now requiring all visa applicants to disclose their social media usernames for the past five years, were the last straws for me. Why am I worrying about a social media presence when I have yet to even write my novel?! About the only thing I keep up with and brings me value is here on WordPress. I follow a few other writers and a few exciting and inspiring blogs. I’ve had the chance to interact with them. Reading them inspires me to continue writing. Mindlessly slurping up Twitter and Instagram only makes me feel less than or bored with my own life.

I am an all-or-nothing kind of gal (have I said that on here before?). I’m awful at doing things half-way, partially, or incomplete. Kind of how Yoda states, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” This is another philosophy of mine. Yet, I don’t know where I fall with social media. I’ve deactivated my Instagram account. I’ve left Twitter alone but no longer have it on my phone. I still sort of use Vero. I’ve turned off the Google Assistant on my phone, disabled location tracking, and stopped all kinds of notifications.

Is it necessary to have social media accounts if you are a budding writer? If I removed them all, would it harm my ability to write? I believe the answer is “No” but maybe that’s not true. It’s easy to make the excuse to use social media as a way to stay informed and up-to-date with authors or as a way to galvanize my will. Maybe the daily reminders from various Twitter users kept the fire on my ass (my favorite was Daily Death Reminder).

But, none of those reasons will put words down on the screen or pen to paper. Masked in my New Year’s resolution of writing every day is that I want to stop being a content consumer and become a content creator (I know, I know-way to use the buzz phrase du jour, Selene). Creating content is more meaningful and is active instead of reactive. I don’t want to add to the noise of social feeds; it all gets lost anyway. I find writing here once and a while more fulfilling. I find writing about Peri and Hyde and Jane and now Gray a more exciting way to spend my time (these are characters in my budding novel, if you weren’t aware).

So, I may just remove all the social media accounts. If some publisher is thinking about buying my book after I finish writing it, I doubt it’ll come down to whether or not I have a Twitter account. Then again, that may be the case. I’m not going to make decisions on something that has yet to transpire, though. I’ll remain content by owning my little virtual slice of land here at Wild Mind and call it good enough.

I’m curious as to what everyone else thinks. Has social media been helpful? Do you find value in it? Does it take up too much of your time?

Photo by ALP STUDIO on Unsplash.
Filed under: Thoughts

About the Author

Posted by

Hey there, I'm Selene. I'm a software programmer by day, and a bumbling, fumbling fiction writer in the early mornings. I have published one story in my life, in sixth grade. Wild Mind is a blog about the painful and joyful process of becoming a writer.

4 Comments

  1. I tried Facebook as a writer and hated it. It was so stressful and I got nothing out of it. Finally deleted my personal account last week. Instagram I don’t find very help, but I don’t have the patience to set up photos every day. I’m slowly getting into Twitter purely for the writing community and it seems to be a good place. WordPress so far is what I enjoy the most and it’s not stressing me out. I think find the site that works for you without it being all about you just working for it.

    Like

    • Kudos to deleting Facebook! I like Instagram and don’t at the same time. I feel like my photos aren’t polished and pretty enough to be on Instagram.

      I agree with finding what works for you as an individual without working for it. I hadn’t thought of it that way (because boy did Instagram feel like I was working for it!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m, at the age of 70, just getting into this stuff. I started WordPress March 1,2018 and can at least try to express myself. I started a Twitter account March 15, 2018 and I find it useful for article attachments that I wouldn’t necessarily have known about. But you’re right on the point that you can get sucked into more reading than writing. I find twitter very confining when I try to express myself, but helps me to be creative. I hate Trolls along with mosquitos and other nasty irritants. I’ve been on Facebook for five years but never use it except for what’s happening to family in England and Ireland.

    Like

    • Oh, don’t you hate the trolls (and other irritants)? I’ve never understood where the desire to just be combative or mean for the sake of being combative or mean comes from.

      Like

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