Anti-social social media, commercial need, and the storyteller

Shine that light

What’s a guy who hates networking going to do in an online world that demands of an indie publisher/writer/maker of things to be a relentless promoter? I have been a secretive writer published by Viking-Penguin N.Y. I’ve been an international promotional copywriter. I know both worlds; does the online world demand the same impossible blending of two separate skills and/or desires?

I have a native distaste I have for personal exposure in a public place. Even if it is the online world. Yet if you don’t jump up and down and yell, I Exist! – how will anyone know I exist… what to do, how to handle?

Background sentences. I am a writer, video maker, performer, and I since this year run an online indie publishing company. Yet there’s a bigger part of me that is a writer who does not want anyone to pay attention to me; to my work, yes, if time and interest interconnect. Mostly my life is paying attention. Selecting carefully what I pay attention to. Attempting to transform that attention into something that may interest other people in the form of some sort of story.

Much online social media exposes. Being interviewed used to be the modern expression of riding down the street naked. Now it can be one’s blog, or Facebook or Twitter account. Look At Me. Blogs & Twitters: I read this, thought this, ate this, and here’s what I’m doing while waiting in an airport. I’m mainlined into the social networks just mentioned: experiencing, deciding, finding my way and my own approach. So, is turning a constant social media spotlight on oneself and shouting and semi-nagging that I am worth paying attention the way to build a “platform” when the writer, the artist, should be collecting insights and stories and producing works and not calling attention to oneself? This sort of street performing can develop into a superficial narcissism that can take over the imagination producing a dangerously enhanced ego.

I have always been bad at what is called networking, that business-based leveler of using people in social situations with a commercial purpose in mind. “I want to know you because I want something from you and I want you to want something from me.”

Nobody has to know what I think about what I do. In fact it’s probably rather important for a writer to keep their mouth shut on many levels.

At what point is “keeping in touch with your audience” online like an over-friendly neighbor knocking on your kitchen window saying, “Hi. Just wanted to see how you are. I finished mowing the lawn. You?” This can easily become anti-social social media.

That is why, after months of watching and evaluating my participation in the online world, I will focus the majority of my attention on what I pay attention to. My stories, my videos, my bits and fragments of tales and story smudges. My publications. The noises in my house.

I will happily continue online but not as a sales person oozing monetary desires. If anyone wants to know what I ate yesterday, I just flushed it down the toilet and that’s where it is going to stay.

Again, I spent over ten years in publishing as an international marketing communications manager; I know all about this promotion razzmatazz. The thing I have always liked about this online set-up is, it isn’t about selling, it’s about offering.

The idea of success on the Internet is encapsulated byDerek Powasek , and it is simple :

Make something great.
Tell people about it.
Do it again.

If you want some stories, in words, images and performance, I have some. I offer.

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2 Responses to “Anti-social social media, commercial need, and the storyteller”

  1. Pete says:

    I feel identically. While publishing work that languishes in obscurity is unsatisfying, the efforts required to make any impact in social media are torturous.

    So it goes.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for reading and remarking. I knew social media was going to take hunks of time; then, through trail and error, finding out how I want to do it; then doing it that way, bringing a relaxed, almost anti-commercial tone, works. But it is a constant adjustment, and a thin line to walk between “Hello” and “Hey, pay attention”.

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