Social Media Manifesto, 2024

My Take on Social Media

I have a love / hate relationship with social media.
I love being involved in a global community that supports my dreams while I support the dreams of others.
I hate that I can allow it to suck up every spare moment in my day.
I love interacting with friends, fellow writers, and fascinating people.
I hate how easily the "social" part takes a back seat to the "media." Automation is anathema to me.

On occasion, I reconsider how I use social media. I evaluate how much of my time I am willing to give it. How much of my creative resources. How much of me. My thoughts and policies follow. They may not be the same as yours. You may not even agree with them. That's OK. Write your policies in your own manifesto...

Going All in on LinkedIn:

At the moment, the only social media site I spend any time on is LinkedIn. Thanks to their "please don't show me any political posts" option, I am not inundated by hot takes, snarky comments, outrage buttons, or other propaganda. 

It is all quite lovely, TBH.

I use LinkedIn for business, and since I like what I do for a living, some of my favorite people are on there, which is nice.

I'm not a LI pro, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least when I'm scrolling through my feed, I don't feel as if I'm wasting my time. I'm networking. That's productive, right?

RIP Twitter:
I never wanted to be on Twitter. I was a Facebook fan (see "Facebook" below). But a writer friend set me up on Twitter and Tweetdeck while I was at her house one day and I was very quickly sold.

Twitter afforded me the opportunity to talk with people all over the world. I had Twitter friends in London, Sweden, Australia, Japan, and Scotland.

Twitter let me connect with other writers and with readers. It also graned me access to the innermost thoughts of agents, editors, and publishers.

Thanks to Twitter, I've discovered new writers that I love and new agents that I admire. I've also run across writers that I wouldn't read if you paid me and agents who are so vitriolic that I wouldn't want
them repping me even if it meant a quick, sure sale.

I was active on Twitter for more than 12 years. Last year, I deleted my account. I loathe the owner's cavalier attitude toward the platform and its users. I hated the perpetual outrage machine it had become. So one day, I asked myself:

If you'd never been active on this platform before, would anything in the current model attract you to join up?

The answer was a resounding "no." So I left. Since Twitter was a significant part of my online activity, I can't believe I'm saying this, but: I don't miss what it at all. Oh, I miss Old Twitter a lot. But X I can easily live without.

And then there is Facebook.  

Fifteen years ago, I was a diehard Facebook fan. I enjoyed reconnecting with people with whom I'd fallen out of touch. I had my fan page and my personal page and networked my blog and everything. And I loved it.

But I didn't love the constantly changing privacy policies. And I didn't love realizing that I'd just spent the past hour and a half reading status updates when I could have been -- should have been -- writing.

For me, the last straw of Facebook came when my child's 1st grade teacher took pictures of the kids in her class and posted them on her page. Soon, people were tagging her with my name and links to my FB page.

Now, I rarely put my child's picture online. To me, that just smacks of exploitation. And the paranoiac in me certainly doesn't want my kid's picture tagged with my name. I know there are a bazillion parents out there happily posting pics of every second of their kids' lives. Well, I'm not one of them.

So time-wasting and photo-tagging outweighed (in my opinion) staying in touch with a few people, I got off FB. Went cold turkey. Never missed it, found lots of other ways to procrastinate on my writing, and never looked back...

I use social media to stay informed and to stay in touch. I must constantly remember that it is a tool. It is not my reason for living. I was not put here on the planet to see if I can get the most followers, or blog readers, or fans. I love spending time online meeting and interacting with the wonderful people I meet there, but my life begins when I pull the plug and get down to the business of living.