What’s Your Story? #socialmedia


Fishy thoughts

My thoughts on Social Media

Today, I had a minor setback. My first instinct– to go and share it on Facebook.

I don’t share much of my private life on my blog, nor on my Facebook or Twitter. But recently, I’ve noticed a tendency– or maybe a temptation– because I don’t give in to it, of sharing about my life on social media.

I recently read this article in the New Yorker by author Dani Shapiro, about exactly how damaging giving in to this temptation can be for writers:

I worry that we’re confusing the small, sorry details—the ones that we post and read every day—for the work of memoir itself. I can’t tell you how many times people have thanked me for “sharing my story,” as if the books I’ve written are not chiseled and honed out of the hard and unforgiving material of a life but, rather, have been dashed off, as if a status update, a response to the question at the top of every Facebook feed: “What’s on your mind?” I haven’t shared my story, I want to tell them. I haven’t unburdened myself, or softly and earnestly confessed. Quite the opposite.

In order to write a memoir, I’ve sat still inside the swirling vortex of my own complicated history like a piece of old driftwood, battered by the sea. I’ve waited—sometimes patiently, sometimes in despair—for the story under pressure of concealment to reveal itself to me. I’ve been doing this work long enough to know that our feelings—that vast range of fear, joy, grief, sorrow, rage, you name it—are incoherent in the immediacy of the moment. It is only with distance that we are able to turn our powers of observation on ourselves, thus fashioning stories in which we are characters.

There is no immediate gratification in this. No great digital crowd is “liking” what we do. We don’t experience the Pavlovian, addictive click and response of posting something that momentarily relieves the pressure inside of us, then being showered with emoticons. The gratification we memoirists do experience is infinitely deeper and more bittersweet. It is the complicated, abiding pleasure, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, of finding the universal thread that connects us to the rest of humanity, and, by doing so, turns our small, personal sorrows and individual tragedies into art.

I am given to Facebook updates and blog posts about the small things in life. Now I’ve begun to wonder whether that’s affecting my storytelling. Maybe I’m not building up enough steam over the years, by letting it out through my social media updates. Maybe the fact that I talk about small, impersonal-sounding details on my blog is affecting my storytelling abilities.

What’s your take on this? How much of your inner life/ rants/ life news do you share on Facebook and other social media? If you’re a writer, do you think sharing life experiences on social media detracts from an author’s ability to tell a story?

Who do you #Follow ? Who follows You?


Fifteen years ago, the question “Who do you Follow?” would have seemed strange, slightly vague.

A crazy reader like me would have said, Toni Morrison, I try to read all her books, or Alice Munro, or Garcia Marquez. And the list would have gone on. A religious person would have said, I follow Jesus, or Allah or Buddha…who else is worth following?

And then came Social Media.

Following on Social media

Who do you Follow? Who follows You? Photograph by Anita Peppers

You can now follow people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blog, Youtube, and a gazillion other sites.

You may also have a Social media Strategy.

I don’t know if I have one. I began by muddling on Twitter and Blogging, and my Facebook mostly consists of people I have met, where I post random stuff, links, writing experiences. Nothing private, really. (But then, what is private these days?)

The continuous feed of the thousands of folks I follow on my Twitter and Blogs tire me out– I mostly pick what catches my eye and ignore the rest. I have a list of specific folks whose tweets and blog posts I enjoy, and I try interacting with them whenever I can. I enjoy chatting with folks online, just as much as offline. I’m thankful for those who follow me on my Blog and my Twitter, and I can only hope I don’t bore them out of their skulls or tire them out.

For now, I’m happy with where I am, though sometimes I do consider quitting all social media. Imagine how much I could get done in all that offline time!

(Rant Alert) I don’t know if I’ll take to hawking my books (if I ever publish any) on social media– because frankly, most author marketing pisses me off these days: I don’t want to know about yet another book reveal or giveaway or sale. I’m sure the books are all lovely, but that’s just too much information crowding my timeline. My fault, I guess, for following back every author who followed me. (Rant Over)

What about you? Do you participate in Social Media? Do you have a Social Media Strategy? Do you hawk stuff you’d like to sell on Social Media? Do you buy a book you read about on tweets? Who do you follow? Who follows you?

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Blogs you must read!

Blogs I Recommend

I’ve been neglecting my duties as a member of the Blogging community, so here’s spreading some love. Bloggers I recommend visiting today:

C. Lee McKenzie : Fab author, awesome blog-friend. If you make one online friend this August, it should be her.

J. Gi. Federizo : But. Consider, please do consider making two blog friends this August. Meet the equally lovely J. Gi. She’s been one of my kindest visitors, and you’ll love her blog voice.

Bruce Goodman : I actually suggest you make three blog friends this month! I love Bruce’s stories, and you would, too. Besides, he leaves you the most awesome comments! What’s not to like? His blog is recommended reading.

 

Would You Consider #amwriting your #draft on #Twitter ?


If you’re a writer, at some point of time or the other you’ve been told you need to be on twitter. I joined in about two years ago (I’ve requested an archive of my tweets so I’ll know the exact date I joined soon. I’m weird that way.)

Twitter writing stories

Would you write a story draft on Twitter?

Recently I came across an article in the New Yorker (directed there via someone’s tweet, of course) by essayist Thomas Beller. It discusses everything from which classical/ famous author would have made a good/ bad tweeter, to twitter and privacy. What it also does is talk about drafting your work on twitter, and describes the author’s personal experience doing it:

I found the experience to be strange, exhilarating, outrageously narcissistic, frightening, and embarrassing. In other words, like writing. But also like acting, or playing a concert—something whose essence is bound up in the fact that it’s being done live. You can’t really see the auditorium and don’t know the size of the audience. It’s like throwing paper airplanes out a high window: someone may see their elegant dive, maybe a lot of people. The plane will be rushed onward and out of sight. Except there is now a record of it. I assumed my series of tweets was a draft. They were not pages crumpled on the floor, exactly—more like pages to be stacked up and put aside, where, like some gourmet dish, its elements might have time to blend.

A day or two later I assembled the tweets, revised them into a short essay, and sent them out for publication. I didn’t say how the first draft had been written. This is how I thought of those tweets, as a first draft, one which would lead to another draft and maybe another and another, until I thought it was ready to be published, which it was.

Would you consider drafting your fiction on twitter? Not #twitfic ( I love the series by Jocelyn Rish) where you have to write the entire story in 14o characters, but actually write the first draft of a story or essay on twitter, composing it in the Twitter window?

 

Five Weird OCD Twitter Rituals You Should Consider Trying


Twitter is my favorite social media platform, but I have to confess I am a little OCD and ritualistic when it comes to my Twitter experience.  Most of these processes involve ways to clean up my tweet stream, but others are the ways I engage and interact. It might seem a little odd to some people, but it works out well for me.

Here are five of my weird OCD Twitter rituals:

1. TwitCleaner

On the first of every month, I religiously run TwitCleaner to clear the noise from my stream. It’s the quickest way to unfollow suspected bots, people who post too many duplicate links, people who post only links, and people who have little or no interaction with their followers.

2. ManageFlitter

Every Monday morning I run Manage Flitter to see who unfollowed me so I can return the gesture and  unfollow those who have inactive Twitter accounts. I’m always able to weed out between 30-60 followers that way. Perhaps it seems petty to unfollow those who’ve done the same to me, but I am a strong believer in two-way interaction.

3. Morning Tweets

I tweet every morning from 7:30am-8:30 am with my morning coffee (excepting weekends and vacation). I like to be able to to catch up with anyone who personally interacted with me since bedtime the night before and allows me to keep  a strong level of engagement with my most active followers.

4. Evening Tweets

I tweet every night from 8:45pm-9:45 pm (excepting weekends and vacation), because I work a regular 9-5 job during the day and my “mom” job after school, and this allows me to catch all the tweets I might have missed earlier in the day. I don’t like my tweets to go unnoticed, and I know my followers appreciate a reply. Sometimes I miss a few people, because I have a lot of activity in my mentions feed, but I try to be diligent in catching up with everyone.

5. Retweets

During my morning and evening tweet sessions, I make sure to retweet at least 20 followers each during both times from my main Tweet stream. I specifically select followers I haven’t had recent interaction with in awhile to let them know I haven’t forgotten them and to show a little extra love to the followers who have helped me with retweets and website visits. I also spend this time reaching out and interacting with people I might not have tweeted with in awhile.

Of course, there are times I am able to tweet a little during the day, but it’s not often.  With my weird OCD Twitter rituals in place, I feel like I’m on top of things most of the time. I have different routines for Facebook, G+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc., but those are posts for another time.

How about you? Do you have any OCD Twitter rituals? Assure me I’m not too crazy by sharing them in the comments! :-)

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This post by Amberr Meadows has been syndicated with permission from her and Jim Dougherty , on whose blog the post first appeared.