Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why I Left Facebook

Well, I haven't completely removed myself from Facebook, but I, at least temporarily, deactivated my primary account late this afternoon.  It's not that I have anything against social media...  On second thought, maybe I do have a little something against social media.  In many ways, I think it encourages some of the poorest dimensions of our already bankrupt modern culture: shallowness, pettiness, and meaningless busyness--the antitheses of reflection and substantive work.  So much of Facebook to me really boils down to pettiness and silly acts of pointless reciprocation.  I'm friends with some authors who seem unaffected by it, always upbeat and positive.  With my particular personality, though, it seems less than a positive focus, encouraging an unhealthy dynamic and distracting from the important things, the eternal things.

I found, for instance, that I was talking about writing more than I was actually writing--a sure sign of trouble for an author.  Yes, marketing is a necessary evil when it comes to writing, but I think the correct balance between timing and saturation is critical.  Not that I was over marketing or promoting myself (well, maybe sometimes...a little), but the content has to come first.   If the content becomes secondary to the marketing, you might as well be selling air.  While it can certainly bring people together, Facebook also has a way of focusing us far too much upon ourselves.

That's why I thought it'd be good just to step back from a lot of that stuff and concentrate on what I'm good at: writing fiction.  When I've finished the final page of revisions of the novel, I'll consider giving it another crack.  Until then, please pardon my absence on Facebook for a while.  Now, be sure to "like" this post....

Update: Yes..., it is true.  I did grudgingly return to Facebook in January 2012.  I still dislike it for all the reasons I mentioned above (and more), but, for the time being, it seemed an important way to connect with my readers.  There may, however, come a point when I can't stand it anymore.  So, don't be too surprised should I vanish someday soon from social media--Facebook, at least.     

Jill Kransy's recent piece brought this issue to my attention again.  Hope you can check out her article on this fascinating topic!

(Two of my other reflections on social media (and its dysfunctional relatives) may be found at Connection Illusion and Internet Ramblings.)

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