Giving Twitter Another Chance

I’m going to try again.

About a year ago, maybe longer, I had a Twitter account, but I shut it down, because it got so snarky.

On social media, I’m all about finding my happy place, and Twitter, at that point, was definitely NOT my happy place.

Pinterest? Happy.

Instagram? Happy.

WordPress? Mostly happy, you just have to know how to use it and avoid the trolls.

But I couldn’t seem to navigate the Twitter World without running into snark. Every where I turned, and it didn’t seem to matter who I followed. So, I closed my account. It was just too much.

But now that I am an officially published author, I figured I’d dip my toe in the Twitter pond one more time and see what comes of it.

Through Instagram and WordPress, I’ve managed to find a fairly docile community. It seems we’re all trying to connect on in a positive manner, and I can get into that.

If you have an account that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments below. I’d be happy to find some friendly people to follow. Just click on the Twitter icon to follow me.

Here’s to holding my breath. Any advice for a Twitter newbie?

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Why I Said Goodbye to Twitter

About a week ago, I closed my Twitter account, and I don’t regret it one bit.

I never wanted to join Twitter, but if you want to get published, then it’s all about your “Platform,” right?

Well, here’s the thing. I never really got Twitter. I mean, I understand it’s another way for people to communicate and we all must have to figure out what works best for us. If it works for you, great. Twitter is not for me.

I admit that the reason I joined was because I know a lot of literary agents put their calls for submissions on Twitter. And what better way to communicate with a possible future agent then Twitter. But that also means you get to hear about their personal business as well, which I’d rather not do.

Also what I didn’t realize was what a hot bed of gossip Twitter is. You may have another word for it, but I think gossip pretty much sums it up. When one person Tweets a comment that someone may or may not have said regarding something that may or may not have happened and send it out into the social media-sphere, that’s gossip on steroids.

I also got tired of hearing so many opinions from people that I wanted to keep on a professional level. If I’m seeking representation, for instance, I don’t really want to know your political opinions. If I want to know something like that, I will search it out rather than have it smack me upside the head when I’m not expecting it.

Now I know some writers will say I’m shooting my writing career in the head if I pull the plug on certain social media outlets. And that may be. But as I wrote in a post recently about why I decided to serialize my novel, I’m not so obsessed with my “writing career” anymore. I just want to write. And if someone wants to read what I write? Thank you!

But I’m not going to be part of this perpetual gossip mill that churns day in and day out. I’m not going to jump on any bandwagon that seems to be nothing more than a time-stealer.

Please understand, I don’t have anything against people who use Twitter, so long as they’re using it for connecting people in a good way. It’s just not my thing.

Guess I’ll never reach my 2 million followers after all. LOL

“Returning the Favor” by Mike Rowe…Have you seen it?

If you haven’t seen Mike Rowe’s “Returning the Favor”  on Facebook yet, you need to check it out! It’s one of the few, if not only, inspiring things you will find on Facebook these days.

You might remember Mike Rowe from a show called “Dirty Jobs” that aired on Discovery Channel a few years ago (2005-2012). I’ve always thought that Mike was an upstanding guy, though I’ve never met him, and this show only does more to improve my impression of him.

“Returning the Favor” airs on Facebook, and seems to come out about one episode per week. The show features stories from around the country of average people doing extraordinary things for others. Get your hanky ready, because the show will tug at your heartstrings, in a good way.

There have been four episodes so far, and I’ve watched every one.

If there’s one thing this world needs, it’s to see fellow human beings helping one another because it’s the passion of their heart. Finally, something to make you feel good about the world.

Every episode, they surprise the designated “Do-Gooder” by giving something back to them. Thus, the name of the show, “Returning the Favor.”

The first episode, “Operation Combat Bikesaver,” profiles a former army engineer who runs a therapeutic bike building program for veterans. His name is Jason, and he gives his talents, and his time to inspire other vets, some of whom are suffering from PTSD, to be part of something bigger. You’ll have to watch it to see how they return the favor.

In Episode 2, “Donovan Discovers,” they profile a young boy, Donovan, who was at one time homeless, but now makes soap to donate to shelters. Its heartwarming to see a young kid use what he’s been through to reach others. No one told him to do it, he just does. Again, I’m not going to give away the ending.

Episode 3 is called “Girls Build.” It’s about a woman named Katie who runs a trade skills camp for girls. Katie is a carpenter, and saw the discrepancy in the carpentry workforce and how it was missing women. She inspires the girls to believe that they can build anything and gets them excited about creating things. They return the favor to her by…well, you’ll just have to watch it.

I just finished watching Episode 4, “Raising the Roughriders.” It’s about Brian, a retired Lieutenant in the police department and Vietnam Vet, who coaches a sled hockey team for intellectually and physically disabled athletes. The best part of his story is that his athletes never have to pay for a thing. He fundraises to get everything they need. Again, watch it to see how they return the favor.

I’m so glad to finally see something positive on social media for a change. Keep it up, Mike Rowe!

QUICK UPDATE: THE EPISODES AIR ON TUESDAYS.

 

What I Think of Twitter

I’m late to the “Twitter Party,” “TwitterSphereTwitter Craze…oh, whatever you call it, I’m late to it. And I have to say that I joined only as part of my “Platform” and because, if you want to be a published author, it’s what you’re supposed to do as part of “reaching your audience.”

So far, with the exception of a few entertaining people that I follow, including the Property Brothers who never have a bad thing to say about anyone, Twitter is awfully snarky.

I’ve been struggling with humanity lately, and feeling a bit like I want to bury my head in the sand. I won’t, because that isn’t a way to reach out to people. But I’m finding that Twitter isn’t a way to reach people either, at least not the way that I want to reach them.

Twitter is not a conversation and Facebook is not a conversation. A conversation is a meeting between two people to exchange ideas. It isn’t well-placed snipes and targeted jabs, which is a lot of what Twitter seems to be, in my experience.

I don’t follow politically affiliated Twitter posts, but somehow, while perusing through Twitter, I suddenly know that this celebrity hates this political party, or that personality would like to see such and such destroyed.

Twitter is riddled with poor taste and insults, and the fact that you can just keep sharing them over and over is really getting annoying.

The only positive thing I can say, however, is that I’ve never been part of a social platform where people “follow” you just for the sake of “following.” You don’t even have to Tweet and people just show up, not that they are necessarily potential readers or anything, but I guess they’re following, and there’s something to be said for that.

So, what has been your experience? Am I expecting too much?

In my opinion, blogging is so much kinder and gentler. And if I’m going to spend time on the computer, I really don’t want to come away feeling worse about the world. If I want that, I can just watch the news.

Think I’ll go hang out on Pinterest for a while. I don’t need to know your political opinion, to know how to make chocolate dipped wafer cookies.

Social Media Isn’t Fun Anymore

Social media has been slowly losing its appeal to me over the last year or so.

It started with Facebook. Facebook, for me, used to be a place to share events with friends, whether they were big or small, and support one another, or be sarcastic (I have a whole group of friends that relate sarcastically, but we all know it’s out of fun).

But then it started to turn. It started with the grammar police, but those comments are usually funny to me, so long as it’s intended that way.

Then it moved on to friends who felt the need to “educate” each other, even when it wasn’t necessary. Sometimes, I just want to comment on something that just happened or annoyed me. I don’t need your “helpful” advice as to why said event happened. Chances are I’m probably already aware of the why, I just wanted to blow off a little steam. For example, I spent the better part of the morning arguing with the bank over a mistaken transaction that was cleared up. I posted on Facebook that I had spent a frustrating morning arguing with the bank over something that was a technicality. I didn’t need a long, lost acquaintance to advise me that “it was bank policy…blah blah blah…” Don’t you think I probably already knew that?! I had just been arguing with the bank, remember? But hey, thanks for the education. Now we all know how “smart” you are.

And when Facebook turned political…dear God, don’t get me started!

Now even blogging, which used to feel like a “safe” place, is changing. When I first started blogging, about 5 years ago (I know, I was late to the party), the “blogosphere” was full of people sharing common interests and common ideas. To tell the truth, I started blogging because, as an unpublished writer, I was told I needed a platform, and blogging was the best way to do it, at that time. And I realized that I actually liked sharing ideas and making blogging friends.

But that, too, has changed. More and more bate and click blogs are showing up, and it doesn’t feel as genuine anymore. Especially when the trolls started showing up. And there are metrics and tricks to get more followers. It seems more and more like smoke and mirrors rather than genuine appreciation.

I just joined Twitter, and haven’t done much with it yet. Though I’ve noticed that people will follow you whether you “tweet” or not. Again, it seems like people are just trying to get followers. Why would you follow someone who never tweets? It’s flattering, but unexplainable.

It’s odd to me that while the internet is expanding, our social circles are shrinking. Something is wrong with that dynamic. We need people and conversation. No matter how you package it, Social Media is not really a conversation. Social Media is a vacuum of ideas that just get recirculated and never really discussed or solved.

In the long run, it hasn’t gotten me a platform, and quite frankly, I feel guilty making “friends” with bloggers and then asking them to buy my book. (By the way, I’m not published yet, so you have nothing to worry about.)

All of this is enough to make me want to close-up shop, and start making phone calls to friends, and writing letters. Remember those?

Has anyone else noticed the shift in Social Media? What’s been your experience? Are you in it for the long haul?

Is Social Media Uniting or Dividing Us?

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In 2008, there were 145 million Facebook users. In 2017, there are more than 1.79 BILLION users as of January 2017. That’s a lot of people…and a lot of opinions.

In 2008, people still had active MySpace accounts, Twitter had only been active for 2 years, and “meme’s” and propaganda was circulated through email.

I’ll admit, I was late to the game. I opened my Facebook account in 2008, I think. I remember being reluctant to do so, because I didn’t know how much of my life I wanted exposed to the public. Kind of ironic, eh?

But back in 2008, Facebook was a much friendlier place to be than it is now. I can’t speak for Twitter or MySpace, since I don’t have accounts, but I assume that they started out more friendly as well.

It was fun to connect with old friends. There were countless stories of families being reunited after having lost touch. We got to see pictures and video and share in one another’s life events. And it united us on a global level that the every day person had never been able to achieve before.

And then something changed.

Instead of being a forum to share what we have IN COMMON, and what we could CELEBRATE, it started to meld into how we are different. Instead of sharing EACH OTHER’S lives, we started posting pictures of ourselves in the form of “selfie’s.” We got more opinionated and more self-righteous and more self-centered.

And instead of “liking” things, we got indignant about people’s opinions, and felt the need to correct and admonish whenever we got the chance. We hid behind our screens and started commenting and saying things that we would never say to one another in person.

Instead of uniting, we’re driving a wedge between ourselves. Instead of building bridges we’re smashing them with a wrecking ball. Instead of celebrating in each other’s lives and telling one another “good job” or “congratulations” we’re uttering words that (hopefully) we’d never say in person.

NO OUTSIDE FORCE DID ALL THAT…WE DID THAT. And it’s got to STOP!

Social media will continue to divide us until we remember our manners. We can have discussions without being completely rude to one another. We used to do it all the time. We can disagree and still show love to one another. OR WE CAN NOT LEAVE A COMMENT AND MOVE ON. We can eat a meal without posting a picture of it on Facebook. We can celebrate our beauty without taking a billion selfie’s seeking approval. We can use social media for what it was intended – TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. But we have to get out of our own way to do it.

I love the human race. I don’t like conflict, and I want to change it when I can. This is something I can do.

You can do it. I can do it. We all can do it. But it has to start somewhere. Let it start with you and me.

Why I Shouldn’t Read the Comments

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When will I learn? Yesterday, I read a post that appeared at the side of my News Feed in Facebook, you know, in that “Trending” section. I really shouldn’t read those…I think Facebook has devised a way to only send me “Trending” topics that just make me angry.

The topic of this particular “Trending” post that I read was divisive and controversial to begin with. But I think the part that saddened me the most (aside from the topic of the article itself) was the CALLOUSED COMMENTS that were under the post. I couldn’t fall asleep last night because the part of me that wants to change the world wouldn’t stop writing (in my head).

But I wasn’t thinking critical thoughts as much as I was trying to figure out a way to stop the madness.

I am always shocked by how calloused and venomous the people who comment in an open forum seem to be. They attack one another, and criticize, usually without merit or knowledge. Fortunately, Bloggers don’t seem to fall in this category. Blog Commenters are usually supportive and thoughtful. #BloggingLove

But the comments in the public forums like Facebook, or at the end of an online editorial are different.

I think it must be a game to some people to see how much they can stir the pot and get people riled up. It’s like they only comment to get a rise out of people. They AREN’T trying to help, they AREN’T trying to solve anything, they’re just pouring fuel on the fire. And the media is egging them on.

I wanted to join in the comments, not to try to add to the fire, but to try to voice compassion, but I resisted. I even typed out my comment, but didn’t hit “post.” I didn’t want their ire to be released on me.

I try to stay informed, and we talk to our kids about what’s going on in the world. But sometimes, I just can’t take anymore. #mediabreak

So while I was lying there praying and trying to get the thoughts out of my head so I could go to sleep, it occurred to me that all of those commenters, all of those haters, are just a SMALL PIECE of the global pie.

No matter what the media tells us, no matter how they try to divide and terrify, I have to remember that the rest of the pie is probably more like me than I realize.

I have to find peace in the fact that people are human and, for the most part, want what’s best for themselves and their families.

We aren’t so different from one another. But the commenters…they’re what’s different. THEY are thpumpkin-pie-520655_1920e oddballs. They are NOT the majority. They are NOT me and my neighbors, friends, and family. They are NOT you.

Thank goodness blogs don’t have those comments, at least not mine. Thanks for keeping it real…and for staying in the bigger piece of the pie.