Once upon a time, I had a LiveJournal. Not the journal where all of my fanfiction lives, but a much older one from when I was in college. I had it locked down so only a few people could read it, and I used it the way LiveJournal intended: I wrote entries about my daydreams, and about how nervous I was to speak in front of my French class. I chronicled all of my adventures as an English tutor in the stuffy library on campus, and I wrote sentimental poetry about my boyfriends. I tossed out little tidbits of insight the way only someone in their early twenties can do without feeling satirical.
By contrast, if you look at my “social media” profiles now (a term that didn’t even exist back in the heyday of LJ), you might think I don’t actually exist. To a certain extent, that’s true— I have a day job that I have to keep separate from the rest of my life— but it’s also sad. There are geniuses on Twitter and Facebook who can write stories in the space of 140 characters, but I’m not one of them. Being longwinded is one of my many faults. Just ask my editor.
And lately I’ve started to realize that there’s no heart to my “online presence” anymore (that’s another term I hate). I don’t talk to my fellow readers, and writers, and mayhem-makers. I retweet their tweets, and I plug their sites, and I compliment their work, but we don’t have conversations like we used to: all those late night comment threads that went on until they were nested on the righthand side of the page.
I spend more time thinking about where to post a blog entry (Tumblr? LiveJournal? Which one will get more hits?) than I do about the entry itself. And when I do get around to writing it, I’ve got all these terms in my head that were never there before: terms like “SEO” and “page ranking” that I don’t even fully understand, but that “social media experts” have told me I should care about.
Did you know I was offered a free movie poster by Zazzle because Klout says I’m influential about pasta? True story.
It’s too much, and I’m done.
I realize that doesn’t mean much for you guys. It’s not like I’m headed into a media blackout or planning to disappear from Twitter (my god, Ireland would fall). But I’m cutting the self-knotted puppet strings that make me lie in bed at 1AM, wondering if I should post more content to my Facebook fan page. Because that’s what I’m doing instead of writing.
So I guess I’ve given myself a new resolution: to worry less about when and where to say things, and to worry more about what I’m saying. To spend more time sharing myself instead of regurgitated quotes from other people, and to encourage others to do the same. To engage more, listen more, and have conversations that bring all of us closer, because that’s what made me fall in love with the internet in the first place.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll crosspost this to LiveJournal.