When the visual of my last post hit me as I logged in, it made me a bit queasy. No, silly, not Dean Butler. Manly could never do that. All the Twitter visuals. Have I become one of those people?
I've had a Twitter account for about two years. Tweet count as of this morning? Two hundred and ninety-four. There are no hard and fast statistics on this, but largely 80% of those are the result of the Vortex feed. I have tried. Tried to mine what could be fascinating in my moment-to-moment life to amuse the staggering 190 people following me because I followed them. Tried to elevate my awareness of the media such that it becomes engrained in my daily to-do list. Tried to fill those moments of waiting by whipping out my iphone and scrolling through people trying to fascinate me. Tried to raise it on my priority list of visibility and marketing. I have tried.
I'm tired of trying.
Apparently, I'm not the only one.
Forgive me for sounding like a ninety year old in a thirty-something body. What does all this nervous chasing of some nebulous social following get us? I can't attribute this to my recent theory about how somehow we've collectively skipped the track. That in Colorado, we are now teaching our kids that it's okay to smoke pot because mommy grows it in the kitchen window. That I have neighbors I barely know by sight let alone name or culture or history enough to respect them past a wave of the hand. That I am the only house on the street who displays an American flag-even on traditional flag-hanging holidays. That we again voted into office someone who can't be bothered to put his hand over his heart as a sign of respect to country and those who died so he can have that privilege. But I digress. This isn't about politics. I can't attribute my recent social media attitude to those things because I've been thinking about it for some time now. It's about chasing the wrong things in life.
Professionally, I have only to look to my favorite authors to have an epiphany. None of them have Facebook accounts. None of them have Twitter accounts. Guess how they're spending their days? Writing. Hopefully, hugging their children. Maybe taking a walk in the Autumn breeze. And writing.
Perhaps it's because I'm hard-wired to be introverted. Perhaps because Twitter just seems like a big, crowded room filled with only a handful of people I'd ever really talk to in real life. Perhaps because there's a guy in one corner screaming to buy his book fourteen times a day and a woman in the other talking about the Greek yogurt she had for lunch whom I only follow because she edits books in New York.
I don't wish this to come across negative. Rather, a call to action of a different sort. Authors, how many books have you sold as a direct result of Twitter marketing? How many of you could have written your next book over the past six months with those hours? How many of you are exhausted trying to keep up with social media because we're told we should by someone who seems to know some grand publishing secret we don't?
I challenge you to be more aware this week of how you're spending your time. Take a walk. Nourish your body so that your mind is ready to be creative. Read a book to fill the well or get more in touch with authors in your niche. Spend time with your loved ones, not the Greek yogurt lady in the corner, because tomorrow is no guarantee. Put your smart phone with the Twitter feed down at mealtime because your children want to tell you about the butterfly they saw at recess. Social media does have it's place, but only if we put it there.
And only if it brings me Dean Butler.