Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making Changes In Consideration of My Mental Health

I am finding that certain aspects of social media (primarily Facebook, but some Twitter as well. Google+, not so much, since I barely go there) are really starting to get under my skin, to the extent that I'm having sleep problems and certain other issues, and so I thought I would lay out some thoughts about what I need to do to take care of myself. The end result will likely mean I am going to thin the herd, on Facebook at least, but such is life in the digital age.

But first, I need to lay out some ground rules:

1. If you and I disagree about politics or religion, but you post on your own wall, I have no problem with that, and hopefully you don't have one with me doing the same. If you choose to disagree with something I have posted on my own wall or Twitter feed and can manage to do so respectfully, then we can stay friends. If you can't, then I will pull the plug. No warning.

2. The exception to that is if you post something that is so over the top offensive that I can't find any justification for keeping you around. The most recent example is the putz who wished that Chris Brown would smack Rhianna back to where she was with her first album. Sorry, jokes about abusing women don't get a pass from me. Announcing you're sure a specific group of people are going to Hell for not behaving as you do is another way to lose me.

3. If you're a hypocrite, I may end up walking away as well, no muss, no fuss. I get to decide what makes a hypocrite in my mind. Which, ironically, could strike some as hypocritical. But there it is. Some hypocritical action (or rather, inaction) is going on on Twitter right this moment, actually, and I suspect if I don't see anybody step out and address the issue I'll say something and then stop following several people. Some of whom I know.

4. If you complain that I am posting too much about something to do with my life and/or my family, then obviously you've lost track of the "defriend" function, and therefore I will take care of that option for you. I am on social media partly because I am an author (see next point), but I am also largely here because of family and friends, and because we live far away from most of them, and they wish to know about what's happening with my family.

5. I'm a writer, and am therefore aware of the need for self promotion, but I tire of much of what passes for self promo on the web these days. When I have a book come out, I announce it. When good news comes regarding the book (big sales, great reviews, etc.), I announce that. If it's up for an award, or eligible for one, I may post a reminder about it. But here's what I won't do: I won't send a broadcast message asking you to buy my book; I won't do the same asking you to specifically nominate my book; I won't target you with a specific message asking any of those same favors; I won't expect you to buy my book just because I bought yours; and I won't by yours just because you bought mine.

Why? Because it all creates undue and unfair pressure. I know I could just choose to ignore any of these things, but it's not that easy. Human nature steps in and takes over in different ways for each of us, and while I can go a long time without getting uptight about any of these things, eventually I turn into a pressure cooker and feel like I'm about to explode. It's easier to just remove the problem at the beginning.

I also doubt that I will join groups that I am invited to become a part of. There may be exceptions, but it's just stuff to clutter up my email inbox, and again, it's a subtle pressure to belong, not to something that's about us, but more about you. Because it's you who posts, it's you who gives me the latest scoop. And I think, if we're friends, then I already get that elsewhere.

When I started thinking about this, I initially thought it would be easier to get rid of people who are FB friends or Twitterers and whom I only know online. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn't the case. I have two FB friends who approached me because of something I said or because we had a mutual friend, Chris Kaboombee Winchester and Ed Otter, who both post interesting stuff that doesn't lay anything heavy on me (Chris was an extra for The Hobbit! How cool is that?). I enjoy reading their updates, and am happy when my other friends are also interesting instead of relentless.

I know, I know. Mea culpa and all that. I've often been relentless, and I am sure quite irritating. I'll still have things to say, but I do promise to not be so overbearing. I hope. But in the meantime, understand that if any of this happens online, it does not necessarily mean things are bad in real life. I still hang with people at conventions, even if I don't follow them online. Aside from the putzes, of course.

Great post. I am so utterly sick of self-promoting juggernauts and politico/religious nutbars, it makes me want to haul out my big chef's knife, and not to chop some carrots.

That I was reading this post before 5AM and spent too much time day before yesterday unfollowing a couple of hundred people would suggest that I am in a similar state.
Good for you, Kathryn. I haven't worked up the need to start dumping people wholesale just yet, but it's coming. I can feel it in my bones.
my question has to be, how did idiots who think its appropriate to slap women or are religious bigots get on your FB list to start with?

The trouble with using social media to promote writing careers is one's life gets cluttered up with trolls and time wasting morons. In the end, I don't think I want these idiots reading my books...what if they liked them?

Idiots think it's OK to make jokes about it. Idiots who are young males, I gather. As for religious bigots, well, some are actually childhood friends and are very caring and loving in many ways. They know I disagree with them and we leave it at that. They also know I have a line they're not to cross while around me.
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