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Social Media

One of the things that all professional writers seem to have to do is be active on social media sites.  God, that terrifies me.

Today we get to look at one of the most ironic neuroses that I have, which is that I am terrified of being a narcissistic asshole and consequently I don't ever do anything social, choosing instead to talk about myself to myself.

I've always had the attitude that I should wait to be spoken to before I join a conversation.  Partly this is because I don't want to speak unless I think I'll actually add something of value, but mostly this is because of a paranoid fear that other people will think I'm being rude and insensitive by butting into their conversation with my own problems.  "We're just over here talking about Syria, dude," they'll say, sloshing around their martinis in a half-sober circle.  "We don't need your opinions, man."

And I'll sheepishly step away, cheeks red, and say, "Sorry, guys.  I just thought you would know where the napkins are."

I don't want to ruin anyone's time, I don't want to sound like an idiot, and I don't want to just go up to random people and start talking about MY opinions and MY day.  So I'm generally content to just sit quietly and listen to other people talk about their experiences.

But then somebody invented Facebook - I don't know who, just some random guy, probably he's penniless and washed up now - and suddenly there was this whole new approach to socializing.  You could go online, right?  And instead of publishing, say, a website, where you might have to think about content and organize your notes and write articles or something, you just write a couple sentences about what you're doing.  "I'm filing my taxes today," you might say.  And then you'll think long and hard about something witty to add to that, such as , "I don't like them."

And then you push a button, and suddenly your little sentiment is live to the world.  Everybody on Facebook can see that you are doing taxes today, and that you do not like them.  And now they can talk back to you and say something equally important, like, "I also do not like taxes."  And then somebody else can be the asshole with annoying opinions who comes in out of nowhere and says, "We wouldn't have any taxes if it wasn't for the EPA!"

And now look at what you've just done:  you've sparked up a conversation on the Internet with various people about the merits of the EPA, and you don't even have to contribute anything else.  You can just go back to doing your taxes.

Millions of people have no problem with doing this every single day.  And yet I - supposedly a writer, supposedly somebody who wants to be read - have a crippling phobia of posting on Facebook.

It all goes back to the anxiety mentioned above.  Better to be a quiet fool than speak and remove all doubt, as they say.  Although in this case, it's more like, "Better to be a fool in your own damn part of the Internet where you can disable comments if it gets really bad instead of arbitrarily texting your grandparents and all of your cousins your desire to have sex with various celebrities."

I just don't really get Facebook, I suppose.  What am I supposed to write?  If all I had to say was, "I just washed the dishes," then why bother?  That's not interesting.  And if I do have something interesting to write, I'd probably want to write more than just a sentence or two about it, and that's probably no good for Facebook.  And even if I do have a thought that is both interesting and concise - why Facebook?  Why a site where all of my potential readers would just be friends and family instead of possible new readers of an upcoming book?

So, I end up never posting on Facebook, and apparently it's something I might need to do more of if I ever have to self-publish or do any marketing for my books.  I guess I'll just be that asshole that keeps inviting people to join the "Give Josiah Money" group.