Social(ly Awkward) Media Part 3: the good, the bad, and the ugly

   It is time once again to evaluate the progress in my fight against my crippling fear of all things social media. We are now reaching the two year mark and much has changed, with mixed results, hence the subtitle. Let's begin with...

The Good
   I've finally worked up the courage to join a few groups on Google+ and Goodreads. Not many, mind you, but the ones I have found seem to be made up of kind souls who share my interests. Of course, that doesn't stop me from second guessing my every post and frantically worrying that I've said something that will offend or outrage someone. Some habits die hard, but I'm working on that.
   There are perks to each of these sites that I am slowly discovering. Both are great ways to connect to other indie authors and to bounce ideas off of one another. There are even groups out there specifically for us introverts. They might not have as many posts as say, promo communities, but it's comforting to know that I am not alone in my struggle.
   Then there is Pinterest. I am not on Pinterest, but every so often I see where someone has pinned one of my books. This, I like. Passive social media! To all the pinners out there who do this, thank you! I'm not ready to dive into a new and vastly different form of social media just yet, but I truly appreciate what you are doing.

The Bad
   Facebook continues to be my main source of self-promotion, mainly because I still haven't made enough inroads with Twitter to do much more than annoy my followers. But Facebook is a tricky animal. It seems that for every new follower, I lose actual views and participation. I don't expect everyone to like or comment on all of my posts, but I don't think it is unreasonable to expect those who have followed my page to have the opportunity to see what I have posted. This never happens. I am therefore eternally grateful to those who do like and share my promotional posts.

The Ugly
   Then there is my personal Facebook page. The one meant for keeping up with friends and family. This is an emotionally draining endeavor that I am considering stepping away from. Why? Negativity, plain and simple.
   Several studies have shown that social media, especially Facebook, has a negative effect on people's moods and I'm sad to say, I am one of those affected. It probably doesn't help that Facebook ran an experiment in which they selected only negative or positive posts to show certain individuals and used us as involuntary lab rats. I am not a depressed person by nature, but I am what I would call... rage-y. Seeing only the bad things that Facebook wanted me to see during their experiment caused me to block almost half my friends and family and withdraw further from participation in discussions where conflict could arise. This, I am pretty sure, was not the original intent of social media.

   I don't want to end this post on a downer, so I would like to stress the good. Talking to strangers is fun. Yes, it is scary. Yes, I still worry that I am being judged. But as I said, I have met some wonderful folks, authors, artists, and other creative types, who I get to help in my own way. In fact, I've added another artist to my dedicated art page, and I will soon be constructing a page where I will have a convenient listing of all of the Indie authors that I review for the Write On! segment of this blog. In fact, I may even begin conducting interviews if I can drum up enough participation. I still maintain that paying it forward and bolstering the careers of my contemporaries is the least I can do, and aside from helping others, it helps me. Nothing improves my own mood like knowing that I have this one thing, no matter how small, that I can do to help.
   Hopefully, one day I will amass enough of a following on this blog for these little spotlight segments to make a positive impact on the careers of all those involved. 

Comments

  1. Great article, Christina! I think your criticisms of Facebook are spot on actually. I've had one since 2007 back before it was quite so big and every time they made a change to it I groaned more and more. More privacy lost, more companies able to use your data to advertise on your page and other's pages. Once I saw one of those credit card companies use my closest friends name to advertise on my page I knew that Facebook and I wouldn't be friends for much longer.

    Fast forward to the beginning of this year and I realized how unproductive the site was. I could oftentimes spend hours doing absolutely nothing on the site. Everyone seemed to be posting negative things and no one seemed to be actively trying to combat worldsuck. So then I decided to get rid of my account, for good. No more half stepping with deactivation. I wanted that thing gone. Erased forever. I thought about all the photos, laughs, and passionate discussions I had with friends and the fact that they wouldn't be able to see my comments or tags from their old content and that saddened me for a little. But the thought of boundless productivity helped make my decision nearly 100% easier and so I plunged into account deletion. I contacted the site guys and gals through email and kindly ask them to delete my account(the only way you can do this) and they agreed to do so within two weeks, which is fair given people's massive second doubts on deleting so many precious memories. I waited the two weeks and bam! No more Facebook for me. Of course, my friends didn't understand. Most thought that I was either going through something or crazy. A few understand now, as they complain of FB suckage but they still use it. Crazy thing is that study about FB manipulating people's emotions came out months after I deleted my page. The only time I wished my FB was still active was to report thst story to everyone. It really angered me that they could manipulate people like that but I was glad that I wasn't on it.

    This is getting longer than I thought but I'll wrap it up. After FB I did join other social networks. I just hope that wasn't to fill some sort of needy gap. I started using Google+ much more seriously which I wish I did a long time ago because the people and information here has proven invaluable. I've also joined goodreads.com for the first time which is sooooo good, I wish I had done so years ago! It would have invigorated my desire to read more.

    Anyways thanks for such an awesome article, Christina! The best one's make you think. I wish you luck in all your endeavors and if your FB page continues to bring you down, remember, you can always delete it ;-).

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    1. Thank you! Yes, the lost productivity has to be factored in as well. I haven't yet gotten to the point of deletion, but I do find myself checking Facebook less and less often.
      Ah well, as long as the other social media sites don't start playing numbers games, I will keep using them more and Facebook less.

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  2. Love these observations! I too have been figuring out my way via social media and take comfort in your article knowing that I am not the only one going through the ups and downs of understanding this new virtual world. I find that if I just take it low and slow, eventually it all begins to make sense...

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    1. Baby steps. I still draw back every now and again when it gets overwhelming. :)

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