Here’s the thing. I’ve got plenty of social networking accounts. I made them because writers are always being told to build their platforms, because without it agents and publishers aren’t going to work with you. Truth be told, these are probably the fourth or fifth iterations of such social networking accounts. The previous ones were deleted. I keep getting caught in this cycle of trying to build a platform and then deleting the accounts because I absolutely hate the platforms, abhor the fact that I’m sharing with strangers, and detest that I get addicted to checking feeds that I really don’t care about but make me feel like crap after looking at them. Was that too honest?
I’m an introvert and a private person. I don’t like sharing unless there’s some kind of benefit from it and even then, I’m uncomfortable doing it. That’s why I’ve repeatedly taken down content I’ve posted on this website in the past, as well as on social networking sites. Even now, posting my journal entries like this one weird me out but I’ve found that it’s something I need to do for me. And if people get enjoyment out of what I post publicly, great. But the truth is, not many people are going to see what I write here. There’s a weird sort of comfort in that. This is my little corner of the internet where I can say what I want and express how I feel. I don’t feel that way when it comes to social networking sites.
To me, this site is like a conversation with a friend in a public cafe. What’s said might be overheard by the folks sitting around us but otherwise, it’s more or less private. But social networking sites? That’s like yelling through a bullhorn in the middle of Times Square while being on a stage and having cameras trained on you. It feels very attention seeking, which I don’t like. Just take a look at Twitter’s #writingcommunity. If you pull up the hashtag, you’ll immediately see a stream of #writerlift tweets and random engagement questions. People just want more followers and more engagement, not friendships. It’s a numbers game, not a community. I feel no desire to participate in that garbage.
I would honestly love to delete all my social networking accounts permanently. I think they’re unfiltered cesspools of toxicity and ideologues. But for all their inherit evils, I’ve found that I can keep up with places and topics of interest in a way I couldn’t before and enables me to keep in communication with friends that aren’t otherwise accessible. Do those positives outweigh the negatives? I doubt it. But since they serve a purpose, as an instant messenger and an RSS feed reader for my interests, I begrudgingly keep my accounts. That may change later.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I’ve finally come to understand that I don’t have to post to my accounts. I can use them how I want; they’re mine after all. That means I don’t have to follow someone because they followed me first. I don’t have to fret about engagement. I don’t need a content strategy. Nor do I have to sink endless hours into trying to grow my platform and my connections. I can focus on what matters: my friends, my interests, and my writing. That might mean getting rid of my social networking accounts all together. Time will tell.
I guess I’m no social butterfly!
Music: Emilie Autumn – “Opheliac”