So you can read my books

Sunday, November 20, 2016


There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness.

I won't go into the dangers of sharing your political opinions on social media 

since all of us have been bruised by waves of bitter attacks on both candidates on FB and Twitter. 

As polarizing as politics are currently, I can see employers passing over those job seekers with opposing political views, 

 or current employees being passed over for increases in salary.

 We’ve been told that it’s important to tend to your so-called social media brand, 

as this provides you access to opportunities you might otherwise miss.

 In this culture, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. 

Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. 

Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article. 

The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value activity,

 it will somehow add up to something meaningful in your success seems to be highly dubious. 

 Steve Martin used to give this advice to aspiring entertainers: 

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

The ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks 

is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated society. 

Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be addictive. 

The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used:

persistently throughout your waking hours,

the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.

Once this mind-set is solidified, it becomes hard to give difficult tasks the unbroken concentration they require, 

and your brain simply won’t tolerate such a long period without a fix.

 There is this fear that these services will diminish our ability to concentrate:

the skill on which we make our living.

NaNoWriMo illustrates this:

We are unable to motivate and concentrate on writing a novel 

unless we make it a group social media event.

If authors or other creative people cannot make writing or creating a daily habit, 

their focus and creativity will wither within them.

Writing, or any other creative endeavor, is a solitary affair.  

Leonardo, Mozart, nor Hemingway created their masterpieces by committee or in a rush.


  1. I couldn't agree with what you've written more if I'd written it myself. I've always been No No to NaNo. I can't imagine my entering that fray and producing anything of value. I'm a lone writer, and I'm out in this "connected" zone because my publisher insisted. Of course, I admit that if I hadn't jumped into blogging and all the rest, I wouldn't have met great people like yourself, so I don't regret this way of communicating. I just make sure to keep out of a lot of the noise and remember that I have other things in my life to do.

    Thanks Roland. Loved the post.

    1. I've been praying your rotator cuff is giving you less pain. You and I are much like the child who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, right?

  2. I think social media is highly overrated.

  3. I want all my imaginary friends to meet me on Facebook.

    1. LOL. I think most of our listed "friends" on FB are indeed imaginary!

  4. Hi Roland - I've never got into Social Media - helps not having kids ... on the other hand I could do with someone around to sort the techie bits out for me ... but only the parts I need. I've always hated doing what everyone else does ... it's never suited me ... and social media just makes everyone 'everyone' ... unless it's used properly ...

    There are a few bloggers, who do that ... and I don't (personally) think blogging falls into the direct social media thing.

    It's like the internet thing as a whole - I don't go dashing looking at what's going on ... what for - if I need to know something yes ... but otherwise it passes me by.

    I went to a talk last night ... two chaps in their 3rd age (I'd guess) had their phones out til the chap came on to talk ... I cannot believe they were engaging with anything that important - just scrolling through.

    Cheers - and definitely glad I'm on your side!!! Happy Thanksgiving - and I do hope you can enjoy some of it - even resting up ... take care - Hilary

    1. Like you, I usually stray from the path everyone else is taking. Blogging is a special community unlike FB where folks are "friends" with complete strangers.

      Burying our faces into our cellphones as we walk or talking on them while being checked out in the store just seems ... sad. :-(

  5. I see nothing wrong with social media, but with the exception of gratitude, there’s always the risk of too much of—or misuse of—a good thing. That folks neither do due diligence nor consider the polarizing effects of what they choose to post publicly tells me they lack discretion, and a respect for truth and the opinions of others. These are people I would not want working for me, over me, or with me, and it’s just possible they deserve to be passed over for that promotion or raise.

    As for those who post their opinions with respect, dignity, and an open mind (regardless of their social/political leanings), most are smart enough to realize they are taking a calculated risk in putting themselves out there. Still, they can’t ethically shrink away from what they feel in their heart is their moral responsibility.

    As for me, I check Facebook several times a day (maybe ten minutes total on a heavy day), rarely post anything political, and only carry a smartphone so I can call Uber if I get in a bind. I’m a firm believer that social media only works for building brand if you already have a significant following. Sure there are the exceptions, but aren’t there always? We writers in particular spend too much of our time focused on being the exception while the rules of publishing squeeze the life out of us.

    VR Barkowski

    1. I believe our concentration is being damaged by our constant need to be in touch with our emails, texts, and FB. Just my belief. I could be wrong -- I have been so often in the past!

      I carry my cellphone for work and for the reason you mention -- if I get into a bind.

      Social Media reminds me of bank loans -- you only need it if you already have the attention or money you need!