I deleted my Facebook and Twitter account a while back. I even recommended deleting these accounts to my readers because, as a writer, I found that deleting Facebook and Twitter helped to dramatically increase my productivity. It turns out that I was right: eliminating a couple of social networking sites does wonders for your focus and creativity. But then, after my 25th Birthday, I made a commitment to do more for my writing career, and that’s when I realized that I was also wrong: eliminating a couple of social networking sites does a lot to hinder your writing career.
So how is it possible that I can be BOTH right and wrong about deleting Facebook and Twitter?
The answer: As a beginning writer, I have to wear two hats. I am both the author of my book and its promoter. So, one day my author self told me: “To get the book done fast, you got to get rid of all those social networking accounts! They’re too distracting!” I listened to my author self and deleted my accounts. Then afterward, my promoter self said: “You do realize that you are alienating supporters who prefer to use Facebook and Twitter to connect with you, and not WordPress, right?”
It turns out that, in the end, BOTH my author AND my promoter self were RIGHT. And BOTH were WRONG. It was clear that if there WAS an answer to the above question, it was certainly not black and white.
I think we all have our reservations about Facebook and Twitter. Much of our unease is not the result of stubbornness, rebelliousness, or paranoia, as some may think. Some would say that not having a Facebook profile is like not having a laptop and insisting on using a chisel and a slab of stone. But these people are ignoring real, reasonable fears that the people who don’t have Facebook profiles have.
One example: people fear losing real-life connections. In this increasingly isolated world, where people are getting more and more busy, it’s hard to get some real face time with people. It’s hard to stay focused, present, and aware of the world around you. These “anti-Facebook” people are asking a very valid, reasonable question:
Is Facebook and Twitter really enriching conventional face-to-face interactions? Or is it REPLACING these interactions entirely, with something more shallow and superficial?
I admit, there are so many wonderful things about Twitter and Facebook, but there are so many awful things as well. I’m not going to be like other Bloggers who will paint both Facebook and Twitter as The Holy Grail for writers, or small business people, or anyone else trying to break into their ideal careers. Then again, I can’t say that Facebook and Twitter are Pure Evil, as a whole other group of Bloggers would contend.
I think that the elements that are missing from both Twitter and Facebook are a sense of mindfulness, consideration, and thoughtfulness. You get a lot of those three in the Blogging world. Why? Because you can’t build a blog readership without being mindful, considerate and thoughtful. It just ain’t gonna happen.
You see, words are powerful. Writers know this and we work every day to make sure our words encourage hope, love, pragmatism and positivity. Now, with the advent of Twitter and Facebook, everyone in the world has become a writer. But I’m still not sure that the whole world understands how much power this new status carries with it (pun intended). With the power to send your words across the world at a moments notice, also comes the power to influence the world at a moments notice.
I don’t think enough is done to encourage people on Facebook and Twitter to be more mindful about what they say and what they share. The internet can be so alienating to the point where some people still feel like they don’t have to suffer the consequences for their words. The internet is also so fast that some people don’t have the time to even think about the consequences that might come of their words. One accidental slip of the tongue that goes viral, for instance, and suddenly, because of that one little mistake, your career and your reputation could be on the line–everywhere. This is an entirely new phenomena. One that none of us are quite sure how to wrap our heads around yet. It is both an astounding and dangerous reality, and so we need to tread lightly forward.
With all that said, I’ve still come to the conclusion that there is no more use trying to avoid both Facebook and Twitter. It’s the only way to empower my fans and supporters to do what they keep telling me they would like to do: share and visit this blog in the way they feel most comfortable.
Another way to put it is this: whether I like it or not, Facebook is still going to host the boxing match. Leaving the ring while the fight is still going on without me just ensures that my opponent is going to win by my forfeiting. So, leaving the ring doesn’t help me any.
Therefore, I’m back in the social-networking ring, my friends.
But I didn’t return without setting down some important conditions: First, I rejoined both Facebook and Twitter for purely professional reasons. (Sorry, I’m not gonna share pictures of me getting drunk on the 30th floor of that boat-shaped building in Dubai.) Also, my profiles on both sites will only be extensions of Courage 2 Create. That means that if you are on these sites you will be informed of updates to my blog, including an occasional “heads-up” on what kinds of posts I will be writing, and what special guests I will be featuring on the blog. However, you will still find the vast majority of the details concerning me and my novel right here, at www.thecourage2create.com.
Finally, my last condition: I am still uneasy about broadening the definition of “friend” to a title that can be earned with a simple click of a button. So, from now on, I’m not going to ask strangers or acquaintances if they would like to “add me as a friend on Facebook.”
Instead, I’m going to ask if they would like to “add me as a-new-acquaintance-who-hopes-to-after-some-time-spent-together-and-after-gaining-your-valuable-trust-will-(hopefully)-one-day-become-your-friend.”
It’s long (and a bit awkward) but I’m still gonna try it.
much “awkward turtle,”
Is it just me, or do you also have an awkward and uneasy relationship with Facebook and/or Twitter? How do you limit these services without letting them interfere with your work and social life? I’m curious to hear what you have to say.
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