I have realized this in the past:
Painfully. I have painfully confronted this in the past. I’ve had to confront it again. I never seem to learn.
Social media and especially Facebook is like a dream come true for people like me who are basically hyperverbal. I have a power-bulge over whatever lobe of my brain is involved with putting out words. I don’t call it the “language center” because that would imply some measure of quality that sometimes I feel just isn’t there. But generally, I’m rarely at a loss for words.
A Facebook friend of mine who seems in many ways a genuine pain-in-the-ass occasionally posts writing prompts. He’ll put up a challenge like “Write a story where someone learns a dark secret. You must include an umbrella, a banana, and a harmonica.”
Ten minutes later I hit “post” on a short story about a travelling salesman who leaves his umbrella at the cafe, returns to get it, finds the place deserted, notices a banana on the counter, decides to pilfer it and is attacked by savage Amway thugs who beat him to death while one of them plays a harmonica in the background ala Ennio Morricone.
Ain’t no stoppin’ me. I think up stuff and write it down. That’s what I do.
The trouble with Facebook is that it sucks you dry. I’ve caught myself getting pulled into too many dramas concerning people I know I’ll never meet. Facebook groups are always one step from being interactive soap operas anyway, and I’m as weak against the drama as is anyone else. I recently trimmed my group memberships by about 90%. I had to finally admit that I didn’t care which 20-something member of the psychology-test cult was going to take the plunge and fly to Australia only to discover the love of her life has severe adult acne and some spare children and wives lying about. I tried to warn her. It’s a long plane ride in each direction–even longer with a broken heart.
So, no — if you’re Facebooking you’re not really writing. That’s not to say it’s not helpful in ways. You might be observing human nature and storing up concepts and images for later use. It’s also a handy way to stay abreast of the way people talk these days. If you do it right, you might also be building a following. But those followers need something to read and buy.
See? There’s a conflict.
I’ll keep my Facebook active because I need to — just as I need to keep Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tsu, and God knows what other services I’ve given my personal information. Life happens on the net these days, though often enough work still happens offline.
But yes, duty calls, and I need to spend more time writing, and less time Facebooking.
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