“Boredom is my greatest foe; I wallow in a well of woe.”
I guess I’ll put in my two cents in the great I’m so tired of social media bitch session we’ve been having around town.
I think I spend too much time on it, but blogging is the social media thing that I enjoy. I’ve always been a fan of the essay question. But if being a good blogger means maintaining a blogroll, visiting, returning visits, leaving comments… I’ve been in a fail zone on that for a while, for a number of reasons.
It’s getting harder and harder to find good things to read. Roni Loren made a very nice post the other day in which she very reasonably pointed out that we’re all at different stages, and the posts that I come across being promoted all over my Twitter stream that seem obvious and played out are shiny new epiphany-inspiring revelations of awesome to others.
In all it’s misery
It will always be what I love and hated” –Aerosmith
Things are a lot different than they were when I started blogging. I looked it up. That was five and half years ago. Seems like longer. I started out with a personal journal in which I talked about whatever I wanted, whatever was going on. I got a bunch of followers. More importantly, I made a number of good friends.
Also important: I learned how to be myself. In public. I don’t think that’s something that comes naturally to most people. It certainly didn’t for someone like me. Learning to be me, to accept what I am and be that out loud–that’s a huge personal theme for me. If you’re reading the Talent Chronicles, maybe you’ve figured that out.
That blogging experience was absolutely essential for me in finding the voice the I needed to write fiction. Not saying everyone needs that or would get that out of it, but it’s what I needed and what I got.
When I started this blog, this writerly, professional blog with my real name attached to it, I thought I needed to be something different. If you look back at old posts I think you can see me trying to be something different. But I was never very good at being what I’m not. At some point I realized that I really only reach people when I’m genuine. Like Dorothy, that was something I needed to learn over a bit of time.
When I started, things were a lot different. There was no Twitter. There was no Facebook. You just blogged and hoped that someone would find it and like what you said enough to respond and maybe even come back. Can you imagine? When I was a baby blogger, the purpose of blogging was sometimes to entertain, sometimes to try to teach something I had learned, but it was always to share and connect with others. When I was a baby blogger it was never about the stats.
It’s very different now. At the moment I’m taking part in a class to learn how to be a better blogger. I don’t seem to be at the same stage of things as a lot of my classmates, something I didn’t realize when I signed on. I don’t mean this to be in any way unkind, but there’s a sort of Headless Chicken aspect to watching this. Some of these people are very new. They are brand spanking shiny new. And they already seem to be worried about things I never had to consider starting out.
I mean sometimes I’m sitting here watching my classmates exhibit nerves over just posting. Why are they supposed to be worried about things like stats and loglines when they’re at a point at which it seems they might focus on things like…content?
This is what comes of hanging out with a bunch of writers. You see how crazy perfectionism really is, you know you’re like that, and it makes you nervy.
They all have to get this blogging thing Just. Right.
They all have to get this platform thing Just. Right.
And they have to do it all before they finish a book so that all will be perfectly in place to launch the book or query the agent so that phase can go Just. Right.
Yeah yeah yeah. I get this. I do.
Still, it’s this big, frothing cauldron of crazy in which I see myself all too clearly and it has rubbed my last nerve absolutely raw. If you hung out in the comments to Kait’s recent post on Social Media Ennui, you possibly sensed this.
It’s like a continuation of this snit I was in a few weeks go when I was asking, Does anyone really know what marketing works? I’m feeling like way too many people are more concerned with what marketing works to sell a book than they are about how to write a good book in the first place.
And that’s the same cart before the horsishness I feel about this blogging stuff. What’s important, learning to give good blog or looking like you give good blog by getting a lot of people to read it?
I mean, if you do one, the other should follow.
But what we’re being hyped at all the time is that we have to build these damnable platforms (which more and more resemble the kind of rickety-ass crazy tower Buffy leapt from and freaking died).
*Question: Are the platforms built of content or of bodies?*
That is my serious question. Because if we’re all about the follower counts and blog stats and the Klout scores, that sounds like body count. Reach reach reach. Is anyone else feeling a zombie vibe right now?
We’re all under so much pressure to publish content, any content, just to get it out there, on a regular basis, regardless of its quality. Okay, most of that’s pressure we put on ourselves because that’s what we do. But still, we’re not the freakin’ Borg and that idea’s coming from somewhere.
We’re going to commit to blogging three times a week. Doesn’t matter what we blog about. Doesn’t matter what our motivation is for typing the words on the screen, the important thing is just to get it out there and then go promote it. Do I know in my gut that this is a good post, that I wrote it for purpose, that I had something to offer? Screw that, doesn’t matter, promote that bitch and let’s get some numbers on that stats page. Because if we don’t, someone else will and we’ll be lost in the sea of social media noise. If we don’t stop moving we’ll die, DIE!!! and then this platform we’ve been struggling to build, body by b–er, I mean, plank by posty goodness plank of brilliance will be CRUSHED!
So I don’t have a conclusion right now. I’m just kind of sharing what I think I’m seeing. I’m questioning the value of how we’re spending our time. Of what we’re asking others to spend their time on when we tweet out every blog post we write 5 times a day under every imaginable hashtag. I’m questioning why we’re doing this, where our hearts and minds really are.
Because, in my opinion, it would be a far better thing to think of those people we’re shouting out at as people with hands to help us when we earn it, people to connect with and enjoy, rather than people to drag in and pile up to build our crazy tower.