I saw this awhile ago, then a few of my friends started to do it. I figured, why not start off the New Year with a little writing challenge. I have a flash fiction challenge coming up, edits on CHANGING ROLES to parse through, so why not add one more thing on top of the pile? I love lists and plans, and maybe even following through on them. So, for the first day of the 30-Day writing challenge. I'm supposed to write my thoughts on five problems with social media.
DAY ONE: FIVE PROBLEMS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
ONE: TIME SUCKER, TIME WASTER.
One of the major problems I find with social media is how it pulls me in, and when I lift my head and go back to what I should be doing, like writing or critiquing for my crit partners, hours have flown by. My LIST for the day (yes, I do love my lists) is still waiting to be done.
I run Facebook in the background and all those little bleeps urge me to stop, for JUST a moment, and see what's so important. Are people chiming in on posts I'm following? Are my chat boxes full of my friends well, uh…chatting about their day? What are they talking about? Oh, squirrel!, let me pop in for a moment and catch up on those 93 messages. And, while I'm there, I might check my notifications, because there's 54 of those, or read all those new posts. WAIT! WHAT? It's been two hours…oh, let me get back to writing. THEN PING! another notification brings me back for another round. AND NOW, I'm reminded I need to check my TWITTER account and the whole thing repeats in one endless loop.
TWO: DOORWAY INTO EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED TO KNOW
Yes, there are things you shouldn't google. I should know. In writing a book, I have so many questions. Some of these search terms might bring the overlord of the government down on me. Fellow writers you do know what I'm talking about. But, sometimes I need to know the best way to bury a body, how much of a person's skin can be stripped BEFORE they die. How a meth lab works, or how to evade the pursuit of authorities. When I'm searching security systems for a bank, I'm not actually planning on robbing one, I need that information for really legitimate purposes! My character whispered into my head what he was planning on doing…so, yeah, my search history is highly suspect and may get me into trouble.
THREE: SOCIAL MEDIA REDUCES REAL LIFE INTERACTION
This is never far from my mind, and in many ways I'm a hypocrite in some ways. My older son, Thing One, is an extreme introvert. He is beyond socially shy and truly has an aversion to social situations. What he does have is a booming social life in his online world. The interactions he has with the people he's come to know virtually are poignant and real to him. Never more so real than last night, when one of his friends was in crisis and needed to be talked down from a ledge of lethal proportions. We, the hubs and I, did step in to congratulate him on supporting his friend, but also to guide his friend to seek professional help for depression and suicide. YES! That is a real relationship he has, with a person he's never met!
Yet, I desperately want him to get out of his shell, and explore the world of REAL people. He's not developing that skill and it will harm him in the long run. So, social media gives him a social outlet, a circle of friends, yet it also cripples him when it comes to dealing with people in the world he must live in. Virtual is a much easier place for him to live…and that is a major problem.
Now, back to the hypocrite thing…while I say this about Thing ONE, I have done exactly the same as him. The friendships I have and am developing online are very real to me. I am closer to them on many levels, more true and less guarded in what I share. In many ways they know me on a more fundamental level that the friends I have in the world outside my home. I hesitate to say REAL world, because they do exist in THIS world with me, just as Thing ONE's online friends exist…So, yeah…
FOUR: IT'S A LOT TO KEEP UP WITH
My online presence extends across many platforms, where my interaction is REQUIRED to keep myself known…facetime as it were. I manage a blog, a demanding critique group, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Google, TSU, and a couple of others. To be PRESENT on all those platforms with any regularity is daunting. SHEESH! Just remembering to log in to all of them is daunting.
FIVE: VIRUSES AND MALWARE AND IDENTITY THEFT
GAH! WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE TO RUIN IT FOR THE REST OF US. AND I USE A MAC, TRADITIONALLY IMMUNE FROM VIRUSES, BUT IT'S A NEW AGE…
That's all I have to say about that. NO, that's not all I have to say to that. My very intelligent, MENSA level FATHER, fell prey to an online fishing scheme. He lost $5000 dollars as a result. These people are real, and they are smart, and they PISS ME OFF!
There are many other things that are GREAT about social media however…for example, I'm using social media to advertise my DEBUT NOVEL, CHANGING ROLES. It's not the first novel I've written, but it will be the first shared beyond my circle of friends and critique group.
If you're interested in reading my works-in-progress, or my debut novel CHANGING ROLES (A BDSM thriller) due out SPRING 2016, I encourage you to STALK me on social media. Come have a peek at some teasers for CHANGING ROLES here. http://elliemasters.com/2015/12/13/teaser-teaser-teaser-changing-roles-coming-2016/
And since you're here, I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below!
I love reading them.