Social media. Let’s talk about it for a sec.
When I started Facebook (my first attempt at social media) ten-ish years ago, it felt a little awkward at first. Then I realized that I COULD SEE PICTURES OF MY NEICES AND NEPHEWS and it became fun. I posted a picture of my kids, my sisters commented, vice versa, and it was so cool. This went on for a few years.
And then I tried to get my first publishing contract.
I didn’t get the first few contract attempts because I was told my “platform” (followers) wasn’t big enough, so I made it my mission to increase it by leaps and bounds. I posted two or three times a day. Checked on engagement three times more than that. Read comments, commented back, went down rabbit trails of liking all my commenters photos to be kind and considerate. This went on for a few more years.
Then I had my first book published.
Then social media became part of the job. If you have a book to sell, then you promote the book, and you promote yourself as an author, and you do that online, and so on and so on. You get the picture. So then the thing I was doing every day to increase my platform became the thing I did every day to sell my books. So I did it more. Faster harder more more more.
And then there were more books, so there was more social media. That’s how it works. Now I’m up to ten books with the eleventh coming soon, and I’m worn out. What used to be days spent writing for hours and checking social media in the off minutes somehow flipped into checking social media for hours and writing in the off minutes. But here’s the problem with that: social media stresses me out, while writing eases the stress. So I was spending most of my days stressed and a few minutes feeling a tiny bit better. My time was way off balance, and nothing was working out.
Still, I kept that routine going for a couple more years, all the while feeling my own self, my creativity, my productivity, my writing, my sanity, my brain…all of it slowly draining away while I sat by and watched it happen.
Social media has become a drain for me, guys. And I fear it’s causing all of us to slowly lose our humanity.
Over the past several months, I’ve lost a couple friends because of it. People are very enthusiastic to support their favorite celebrities, their favorite musicians, their favorite football teams, their favorite clothing stores—all of which get paid to run regular social media accounts—but not so quick to support their friends just trying to do the same job. It’s an odd dynamic. One I wasn’t expecting.
I’ve seen people pick fights because of social media, all in a ridiculous need to validate their own opinions.
I’ve seen an author end his relationship with his father—a Trump supporter—over Twitter…posting a long six-Tweet rant that ended with the words “Bye, Dad. We’re done.”
I’ve seen people make death threats at kids wearing red hats, forgetting the very real fact that they’re dealing with kids and letting politics outweigh rational judgement.
Last week someone posted a grief-stricken status update about a recent miscarriage only to be hit with several responses like, “Get over it. It was just a lump of tissue.” So now we’ve entered an era where personal grief is being judged through a filter where other people get to decide what’s worth being sad about. What’s next? Will someone say, “Hey sorry your dad died but was eighty and pretty much past his usefulness anyway?”
We’re losing our humanity, folks. Whether you agree or not—and I suspect a lot of you do—it’s what I believe. We’re hostile. We’re angry. We’re offended. We’re self-righteous. We’re hurt. We’re left out. We’re competitive. For no good reason. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. And just like me when I was watching my creativity slowly drain away, we’re all sitting around feeling powerless and letting it happen.
I’m not anymore. Practice what you preach, right?
For now, I’ve decided that social media will be used strictly for business. I’ve pulled down my personal Facebook page. Maybe I’ll bring it back up in the future, maybe I won’t. I’ll figure that out as the months go by. I’ve deleted Snapchat entirely. LinkedIn is getting ready to go; I don’t even know why I’m on it anyway. I’ve spent the past couple months muting most of my Instagram feed so that I have no reason to scroll. I’ve done the same thing on Twitter for the same reason. I’ve probably made some people mad for not liking status updates lately, but I don’t care. Because here’s the thing:
I like YOU. Whether I make a public declaration about your latest vacation or not, rest assured that I like you. So for now, if you have something you want me to see, tag me on it. I’ll like and comment away. Tag me and I’ll head straight to your page. Or better yet, call me, email me, or message me. Personal is always better than superficial in every single circumstance.
My 2019 goal: Negativity…out. Distraction…gone. Humanity…come back. Creativity…let’s be friends again. That’s my philosophy going forward.
P.S.—If you want to follow me, I’ll be on these for the rest of the year: