How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media
September 7, 2017 § 19 Comments
By Kathy Stevenson
This past November I took the plunge and jumped headlong into social media. Of course I already had a personal Facebook account for friends and family, but professionally I was way behind the curve. I didn’t have a blog, nor did I tweet. Whenever I had something published, I posted a link on Facebook, but that was kind of like the proverbial tree falling in the forest. My friends and my mom could “like” my link, but it was highly unlikely that an agent or editor would stumble upon anything I posted.
Part of the reason I was reluctant at first to start a blog or Twitter account, was that – like many writers – I am not so good at “tooting my own horn.” Even though I have published hundreds of essays and short stories, most copies of these languish as clippings in three-ring binders I store in my office closet.
One day though, after fretting and grousing about how out of the literary loop I was, I decided I would jump in, and I hired a young woman to help me set up a WordPress blog and Twitter account. It only took a few hours, and I was on my way. And, to my surprise, I discovered that I loved the whole enterprise! Here are some of the reasons why:
— I am very opinionated, and I am always right. (Just ask my family.)
— I’m old, in social media terms (or any terms, for that matter), but my online persona enables me to inhabit a new, witty personality, that – oddly – suits me very well.
— I can share and link to interesting essays, stories, books, and articles about the writing world with my “followers.” My family is happy that I now have an audience – other than them – for this compulsion to share. My mom has this same compulsion, which manifests itself as mailed newspaper clippings.
— I love making new “friends.” Even theoretical friends who I will never meet. And I can ignore nudists, religious zealots, gun lovers, and people who can’t spell.
— I can sit at home in my pajamas and act like I’m doing something in the literary world. I’m involved, even if peripherally and at third remove, with all these new people I follow: authors, editors, agents, publishers, and literary journals.
— Who doesn’t like being “liked” and “followed”? I’m all about immediate gratification.
— I can harbor delusional, but harmless thoughts that an agent/producer/editor will read my brilliant thoughts/tweets and “discover” me.
— I have something quiet and productive to do every day, when I wake up at 5:00 a.m. and everyone else is still asleep.
— Posting tweets and blog entries forces me to do something in the realm of reading and writing almost every day, or at least think seriously about doing something.
— It turns out that I’m really good at thinking up short, pithy random thoughts totally unrelated to anything else. Or, as I prefer to call them: aphorisms. Don’t laugh – Sarah Manguso recently published a book of aphorisms, 300 Arguments: Essays, with Graywolf Press, described on Amazon as, “A brilliant and exhilarating sequence of aphorisms from one of our greatest essayists.”
— Even though I know very few of my readers or new “friends” personally, I feel that I have found a group of people who are silently cheering me on. And that may be the be best part of all.
Kathy Stevenson’s essays and short stories have appeared in an eclectic array of newspapers, magazines, and literary journals including The New York Times, Red Rock Review, Chicago Tribune, Clapboard House, The Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer, the Tishman Review, the Brevity blog, and many other publications. She has a recent MFA from Bennington College, lives just north of Chicago, blogs here, and can be found on twitter at @k_stevenson01.
Tagged: Social Media, writing platform
It’s always good to learn a few new tricks, no matter how old the dog 😃😘
And we need ‘older’ wise women’s voices in the world, so Ageism stops making us invisible. I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Gabrielle in Australia
Thanks, I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
I read this and nodded, yep, yep, yep, and yeppers … 🙂 Here’s to social media, ‘liking’ (I just did, this post of yours) and ‘following’ (I do, this blog), and generally, to the relatively comfy learning curve of social-media in pajamas!
Yep to all of your yeps! Kathy
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Any excuse to write, I say! The wonderful thing about social media is that one can embrace it as simply another form of creative expression if that’s what suits one, if nothing else.
Magnificent piece to read. Having a social/political blog since 2011(?), I occasionally let those positive points of writing a blog and posting on social media slip my mind. Thank you for reminding me of the benefits; each one you list is a duplicate to the life I now live. A stranger from halfway across the world once commented on a blog I posted and said it made him decide to change the way he looked at life-he would strive to be a better person after reading that post. That’s powerful medicine to swallow. My blog started as more personal therapy than anything, and has blossomed into a mental yoga. Great piece, Kathy.
Yes! As soon as I saw this I thought of Manguso’s book as well! Kudos for embracing social media.
Good for you. An inspirational take on social media for writers. Maybe I took will take the plunge. Thanks for sharing.
it’s my first time reading your post. I love that you like writing so did I. That’s why i followed you right away.
I’m glad you did discover the joys of social media for your own sake as you describe, but also for your readers. For instance, you just gave me a happy hour and I’m sure there will be more, reading some of your delightful essays and also discovering journals I didn’t know about. I’m glad you made your writing so accessible for us and didn’t leave it in piles of notebooks in your house!
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Kathy, your article interested me, because I balk at blogging or creating a website brandishing my name. I agonize over turning out something as simple as a reply to an essay, so social media could swallow me in a week. How do you juggle production on social media while writing other projects?
You know, I didn’t think of social media as building a little club of silent peers, but that’s probably the healthiest way to approach it!
Reblogged this on Notes from An Alien and commented:
As regulars of this blog know, I’ve certainly had my share of angst about social media…
Today’s re-blog should be read critically (even though it’s humorous) because there’s much to ponder…
The way you put reasons as to why you enjoy your blogging and twitter experiences allows people to connect to how you feel about it. I like that idea because it will draw people into doing blog posts and tweets.
I am just like you when it comes to thinking that I’m always right. Social media would make me second guess my own thoughts about things and i didn’t like that because I never wanted to be proven wrong. Looking into the way you put things made me revisit my fearfulness of what I find on social media.
I am just recently diving into the blog world as well. I have long since been a social media “addict” and I have wanted to get my thoughts down for a long time. Congrats on getting your feet wet and letting others know what you’re all about!
Its interesting to found out that the blogging saga have not caughtup with me alone l appreciate your enrhusiasm