Is Social Media for Writers?

Out of curiosity I decided to give Mastodon a look (although I did not log in per se or create an account for that matter). The Vivaldi Social site allows onlookers to peek into their system without creating an ID or logging into it. I agree that the concept is extremely novel with social media being freed from the chains of big corporations, with the user not being a target of random advertisements and the like, but I did not find much of a difference from the Facebook or Twitter layout. Mastodon in all probability restricts the user from writing long posts as we can on blogs. The characters are limited as it is on Twitter and therefore articles no longer remain articles but tiny posts suited for the convenience of a reader who would like to read as much information as possible within a short period of time.

My erstwhile experience with Facebook hadn’t really been up to my expectations. I believe that sites like Facebook and Instagram are primarily for photographers or for those who appreciate pictures more than words. My posts on Facebook seldom garnered the interest or the traffic that my photographs did. People were more interested in “selfies” and “dualfies” and “groupfies” than in matters of the mind. All this made me believe that social media sites, no matter how modern and updated they may be are not really meant for serious writers or poets and creative people who mainly deal with the words. I do not wish to sound critical over here, because each website (be it social or otherwise) was created with a purpose in mind and with a target audience in vision. I am sure when Orkut (Facebook’s predecessor), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and their kinds when they were envisioned, were probably not created keeping us writers in mind. Hence, we, the dinosaurs of this virtual world, can still safely claim blog sites as our own. We are akin to diarists of the past and nothing will suit us more than a broad canvas and a space for us to write unlimited words and characters.

Further, blogs seldom provide us with the instant gratification we need. The likes and hearts and other reactions are absent over here. We writers do not expect the instant dopamine boost that social media users are accustomed to. We may write and return in a day or two, or perhaps in a week or fortnight, simply with the desire to write more and nothing more complicated than that. Some of us blog in order to express our ideas, some of us to document our internal writing process, and some others to simply use this as a daily journal for literary or therapeutic usage. Sadly, social media (of any kind) is not able to provide us with the above-mentioned luxuries. We tend fall back into the quagmire of information influx, attention seeking algorithms and the like. So much for now. Till the writer/diarist in me returns once again.

Au revoir !

vehicle beside wall with graffiti

37 replies on “Is Social Media for Writers?”

  1. Excellent piece! You’ve hit the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned. Often, it appears to me that the whole social network (media) system offers nothing to any serious artist, no matter what his or her genre. Does it truly serve musicians, or painters, or sculptors, or ceramicists, or film makers etc.? I don’t think so. And it certainly doesn’t serve the novelist or poet. What it is designed to serve is celebrity and that alone. For the serious artist time spent trying to boost one’s celebrity is a waste of time and energy because we all know that celebrity is fleeting and ultimately leaves those who achieve it hollow and alone. I, for one, would rather write another novel that no ever reads than to seek celebrity. Yes, it would be nice if others read my work and found it wonderful but my time is just too valuable to me to spend it cajoling people to like me on the off chance they might want to explore my work.

    Thanks Lopamudra for this timely post.

    1. Thank you very much. I am glad you like this post. Maybe the social media does not truly serve musicians and actors etc, but somehow everyone seems to have taken a firm liking to it. Also it can be quite a negative influence wit all the trolling going on. Twitter seems to be the foremost site when it comes to trolling. Yes, you are right in stating that it does serve the celebrity and no one else in particular. I agree with you completely that being a celebrity is rather fleeting and it is better to do something worthwhile and creative rather than be “the flavour of the season” as the Victorians used to term it in England.

  2. “People were more interested in “selfies” and “dualfies” and “groupfies” than in matters of the mind.”

    Maybe that’s a bit crass.

    But basically you’re probably right.
    Jabber/XMPP is different, has none of these limitations.
    Especially “the better Facebook”, ‘Libervia’ based on Jabber/XMPP.
    You can also create a blog there.
    Unfortunately, it is not (yet) as well known as Jabber/XMPP as a whole.

  3. Always nice to read your texts.
    I’m already looking forward to the next one.
    I didn’t think you would publish so quickly one after the other.

    Maybe you’ll think about publishing excerpts from your old/new book here.

    Maybe it will work out with you and Jabber/XMPP.

  4. Posted another text of yours in our Jabber/XMPP poetry/literature room and in our ‘Literature Café 7’ with your name and the link to the Vivaldi blog.

  5. In our Jabber/XMPP rooms ‘Poetry/Literature’ and ‘Literature Cafe 7’, German is spoken predominantly, but not necessarily.
    It would be worth considering, if you want to read your texts yourself via ‘Jitsi Meet’, to organise a bilingual reading English-German, divided into sections.
    It might also be possible to find a female voice for German.

    1. Thank you very much for being a constant supporter of my writings I am much obliged that you have posted my blog link in your group. I guess I am a bit of an introvert when it comes to reading out my writings in front of an audience, but I will definitely take a look at your group and think it over 🙂

      1. @Lopamudra do you know Jabber/XMPP, have you used it before or would it be completely new to you?

        Have you ever used ‘Jitsi Meet’, the open source video conference?

  6. @Lopamudra ‘Jitsi Meet’ has a built-in Jabber/XMPP chat for text and also works with voice only, no camera/picture.

    You may also want to try Jitsi Meet in a small group first.

    1. I’ve used none of them. However, if I ever do reconsider, I will definitely give them a try.

  7. Hil, Lopamudra Not been looking on the Community pages for a few days as I’ve been busy organising a pre-Christmas trip back to Britain to see my family there, else I would have responded earlier.

    I fully agree with you and Dale about social media not really catering to creatives, except as you suggest snappers. I only use Facebook to stay in touch with my far flung friends and family, left LinkedIn when I retired four years ago and never used the rest. I haven’t looked at our Mastodon instance yet, as I’m not convinced I would find a use for it.

    As an experiment, earlier this year when I ramped up my This World, This Life blog (https://travellin-bob2, and decided to try pushing it through Facebook in a bid to boost audience, I opened a new FB profile under my Travellin’ Bob alias and linked it to a Page with same title as the blog. Then I invited a lot of my Friends from my main FB account to connect and like the Page, and started using it to place little political or Mr. Angry posts and anything specifically pointing to my blog output, while keeping all my personal Friends and Family isolated on my original FB account. I also announced new blog posts as and when I made them, with posts marked Public, to in theory go to everyone in the – er – metaverse.

    The result? Nothing. Dinada. Diddly-squat. Except more work to keep two accounts running. As far as I can ascertain it’s made absolutely no difference at all to the traffic to my blog. I’m still; posting weekly (another essay went up today: some of you may enjoy it) because it’s fun and I love doing it.

    But social media is totally meh, as far as I’m concerned!

    1. Congratulations on planning a trip to see your family 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family in advance. I can see that youv’e gone through the same experiences that I have. Yes, indeed all my writings fell flat on their faces when I posted them on Facebook. No one seemed interested expect my mother and husband…ha ha ha. My husband, who is an accomplished poet faced the same with very few readers of his creations and more likes on his photographs. I suppose serious writers should definitely stick to blogging or perhaps create a website for themselves at the most. AS Dale has mentioned earlier, social media is perhaps only for celebrities. We people (the writers and poets) who type away in solitude should stick to blogging and venture no further.

      1. @Lopamudra, sometimes maybe to spread good texts and comments.

        It might be better to look for a “good” messenger like ‘Jabber/XMPP’ and ‘Mastodon’. 😉

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. No, I do not use Twitter. I am over here on Vivaldi Blogs only 🙂

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  10. You have some very good points about using social media, and I once came to your conclusion. But then I read some books by Cal Newport and decided to be more intentional with social media as an art photographer (which is not much different than an writer / author). For example, instead of wasting time trying to be found, just have an account on one or three platforms where people might look for you. Then post something once every week or two to show it’s not dormant. At the same time, follow about a dozen other writers whom inspire you that you can check on every time you post something. I also agree that social media works best when you become a celebrity of sorts. Writers become celebrities when people have lots of questions for them ( like this one ) and that is the best use for creatives on social media I think.

    1. That’s a great idea actually. Kind of like your approach towards the social media. For me Facebook was the only outlet. I never ventured into Tumblr and elsewhere. Somehow that experience left me a tad bit disillusioned. Maybe there are better social networks out there tailor made for people like me. I just need to research and find out. Thank you once again for the idea.

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