It is not the color of the skin that makes the man or the woman, but the principle formed in the soul. Brilliant wit will shine, come from whence it will; and genius and talent will not hide the brightness of its luster.
I started this essay with a question I have since removed. I changed the title at least three times, The original one said What Does the New Year Hold for Me? Or something similar. It was a non-starter. The second title was Social Media and Me in the New Year – UGH! The third possibility, Social Media and Me: My New Year’s Rant, was simply BORING, unimaginative… negative!!! And then I played with Social Media and Me: My New Year’s Sob Story…seriously? Untitled… Purposely works… it’s an accurate assessment of my on-going love-hate relationship with this ubiquitous yet inane medium of expression.
For the first time in years I am NOT starting the New Year by working on a manuscript. RELAX! I do have another novel in the pipeline! I am experiencing the very real feelings of coming back to earth after the heady acknowledgment of a MAJOR accomplishment. I am confronted by the challenges of a variety of next steps and how to implement them efficaciously in this age of social media and instant access.
I don’t know what this New Year looks like for me and I choose not to allow political or social prognosticators to steal my joy or mess with my hard-earned peace of mind by permitting a tintinnabulation of bleating, bloviating windbags unsettle me. Nope, social media with all its intricate parts will do the job all by itself! Frankly, I want, and need the gift of living in the moment, taking life day-by-day, moment-by-moment. I’ll miss something spectacular if I get caught up in the mundane routine of business as usual, whatever it means!
I self-published my first novel in 2019. I’ve taken time to read my creation in both digital and soft-cover formats. What an amazing journey! I savored the experience. Now I am identifying and evaluating my next steps with emphasis on social media. It is very much a part of many people’s lives and I am no exception. I don’t value the concept as a necessary, or important aspect of my life, I prefer social intercourse… I would rather connect with people personally than via Internet technology. Yes, it means my world is intentionally smaller, more intimate, and less contrived. I choose to live with reasoned dependence on technology rather than the convenience of synchronicity and mind-numbing artificial intelligence governing my time and electronic devices. I cherish the possibilities thinking for myself offers! It may seem like no big deal, but it is. I’ve disabled the auto-correct function on my phone; I don’t need help.
I’m tempted to use the phrase intentional dependence, as my intentions are key. I set up my website twenty-one years ago. It was meant to serve as a constant source of marketing, providing visitors with useful information and access, 24/7. Today Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter collectively wage a silent, sometimes insidious war against the recurrent web presence. I visit websites out of necessity; usually for self-prescribed retail therapy or to transact business. I would rather shop in person BUT internet technology offers me a seductive alternative when: (a) I don’t feel like leaving the house; (b) time does not permit; or, (c) the sale is too good to pass up.
Maintaining a digital presence as a marketing tool is altogether different. There are apps to help and I’ll have to take time to investigate those which have been recommended to me. One I recently checked out offers a thirty-day free trial, with my credit card attached. The monthly fee is reasonable but has to be paid annually, gulp! I’m not ready to commit! Several years ago, I spent a sizeable chunk of change to build a Twitter following. I believed my investment was worth the expenditure and eagerly parted with my funds. I was supposed to end up with a specific number of followers which would continue to grow. I didn’t succeed and four years later the dial hasn’t moved significantly! Here I am again, at the dawn of another New Year, thinking seriously about how to use social media platforms advantageously. It’s a daunting reality and one I grapple with. Writing material isn’t difficult, keeping up with rapidly changing technology is. Correctly interpreting tutorials, whether video or written, requires the patience of Job – something I don’t have! As fertile as my imagination is, social media dictates the use of graphic art, illustrations, photos, hashtags, and a minimalist approach. Short attention spans and clever, if sometimes meaningless cliché-style opening sentences are recommended. My interior wiring does not correspond, and giving up isn’t an option I’m considering. I suspect my relationship with this intangible source of marketing and promotion will always be conflicted.
I am disinclined to struggle to fit in… social media is evolving and so am I. I will continue to express myself as eloquently as I can… and I’ll use social media to the best of my ability. However, since I don’t aspire to be a social media maven, marching to my own drumbeat will remain one of my constants. I am committed to searching for meaningful ways to have my say and be heard. I don’t need to rant, rage, or wallow in self-pity. I have a voice and I’m using it. Social media and me…we’re an unlikely pair… what else can I say? I am not going anywhere!!!