Can we talk about social media for a second?
Lately, I've been taking a sort of sabbatical.
I kind of need to, because I've had to make some hard decisions about my writing, and to be honest, another need is to put some space between me and the whole " I just signed a book deal and I'm so happy!" thing that seems to float around Facebook...usually when I don't want to see it.
DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I AM NOT ANGRY ABOUT ANYONE'S GOOD FORTUNE.
I just struggle, on occasion, with the green-eyed monster. Thus, I choose to fight that monster by limiting the time I spend on social media. It also helps to keeps the pursuit of publication in its rightful place, instead of at the centre of my universe.
And yes, it's a time-vacuum, so I'm trying to manage it better.
That, and I put Scrabble on my phone and holy cow, I need an intervention!!!
But lately, a few things have happened that I've mentioned before on this blog, but not for a while.
Which is? Well, there seems to be a resurgence of what can be described as "Lola McCola added you to her group People Who Love To Shop In Kona, Hawaii" type of behaviour.
Okay, listen carefully...there IS a difference between inviting and adding.
I'm honoured to be invited. An invitation is always appreciated.
I'm annoyed to be added without any inquiries to me regarding my interest in the subject at hand .
So unless you and I go WAY back? Or we've discussed it? Don't add me to anything because I will not join. I won't respond, either.
In the last couple of weeks, people with whom I am Facebook friends, but with whom I have never communicated, like, ever, have invited me to like their professional pages. Okay, fine. I might take a look, but if it's for a shoe store in Kentucky? Uh, no.
Why? Because a) I don't live anywhere near that part of the woods, and b) if we have NEVER chatted on Facebook, I can sort of put together the clues that point to the fact that I'm just a number to boost your "likes".
I'm accepting waaaaaaaaay fewer friend requests lately. Why? Umm, mostly because if I'm purposely not engaging as much with people that I do know, then people I've never heard of won't be getting my attention.
Is that mean? Nope. Put it in a real world perspective, if I am maintaining a quiet social life, then I'm not going to have a bunch of new people over to my house.
Another thing about new "friends"? I got a wee bit tired of friends of friends adding me as a friend, then when I responded, 13 seconds later getting a request to like their professional page and to follow their blog and be "invited" to invest 300$ in their non-essential oil business. Yeahno.
One more thing to remember about any social media platform is that the days of expressing an opinion and not getting shot down by total strangers is long gone. Believe it or not, there are people who actually start trouble with the intent to hurt the feelings of others. I gave up responding to those types a long time ago.
And , YES, I want to respond. But no, I won't feed their fire, because that is their whole goal.
With that in mind, remember that anything said on any social media platform can be used against you in a court of public opinion, at any time, in any place.
Basically, unless what you say is something that you can defend at any given moment?
Don't say it.
Oh, and this should be obvious, but for some people it isn't...don't ask super personal things on social media, for all the world to see. File that one under "Duh?"
Don't expect someone super famous to respond to your "can you get me tickets to your show?" questions. Yes, I saw that, on Instagram.
And here's a big one... people, DO NOT preach hellfire and brimstone on someone else's social media page!!! That is just so awkward and so impolite.
Keep your mouth clean, and if need be, shut.
If what you say, post, rant about, or share, cannot be seen by a child, a grandmother, or a person checking you out because maybe your job interview went well? Then go back and read this whole thing again.
Basically, slow down, breathe, decide which 2 or 3 social media platforms work best for you, and that you enjoy, and stick with those. We cannot do it all.
And if your agent or colleagues tell you that you should be devoting 2 or 3 hours per day to your social media platforms? Then you need to re-think who you listen to.
Find and anchor your boundaries, but give yourself permission to move the stakes if you feel it necessary.
Most of all, remember that engaging on social media should be a conversation, not an argument. Open your heart when you want to, but always remember to close the doors and lock them if you need to. Your platform is yours. But you have a responsibility to people who know you not to make them a part of your daily/weekly/monthly foray into the Interwebs unless they've given you permission.
Maybe do what Cinderella's mother said...have courage, and be kind.
Definitely do what Jesus said, love one another.