Face: To Book or Not?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A fellow writer recently suggested I spend some time widening my audience, which, in this day and age, means I should reconsider how I use social media as a means of publicizing my work. As one of my brothers once put it, "I don't book face," but I will consider the idea.

Naturally, the advice I have found so far seems to veer between the extremes of excessive time and energy spent on social media and near-total abstention. That said, each side makes some good points, such as the following, from someone who is drastically curtailing his use of social media:

These aren't the only reasons I killed my Facebook page. I also did it because nobody I know is able to actually consume what is offered via the interface. My primary need as a guy that makes things is UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. That is what I'm after, and social media is the LAST place you will ever find it. In fact, the volume of information, advertising, messaging and liking is so far beyond any realistically consumable level I feel you are in essence guaranteeing nobody will pay attention to whatever it is you choose to post. Informational heartbeats, lost in a lifecycle akin to the blink of a eye. Look at click through rates if you want evidence. I've posted links to essays and had "likes" less than five seconds after posting, which tells me the viewer saw the avatar, the name, probably said "I know him," and "liked" without reading or really thinking about the story. So I asked myself, "What is the point?" I also don't photograph myself. I find the "selfie" epidemic somewhat alarming, and I'm that guy still using a portrait a friend made over ten years ago. It is the only real portrait I have. [bold added]
The author has a point -- about the people who seemingly do nothing but log in to their social media accounts obsessively all day. But, even though I hold a dim view of the way most people use social media, I think he overgeneralizes. And furthermore, my audience isn't everybody or even most people: It's people with active minds. Surely, a few people fitting that description make some use of social media. I'd be happy to reach more of them, so whatever use of social media I decide to make, I will do so with limited expectations, and it won't be the only way I publicize my work. (I can see many such people not being on social media in the first place (like me) or having given up on it.)

The current reactions against social media remind me a little of those against online dating, which was a new thing back when I was divorced and in grad school. Both are just ways to meet people. Neither will solve all the problems (already known) about the other ways, and neither should be abandoned or discounted altogether just because of the new problems they have, known or unknown.

-- CAV

No comments: