I’m happy to say Facebook is long gone and I don’t even miss it.
I have five Instagram accounts, but I’ve only spent 5 minutes in the last month looking for a picture of my granddaughter decorating the Christmas tree.
Pinterest? Not Interested.
YouTube? For research and my nightly guided meditation.
Then, two weeks ago, someone told me that a crapload of writers hangs out on Twitter. I opened an account to see what the fuss was about.
By the end of this week, I will have 1000 followers. I guess you could say I’ve connected with my people.
I’ve made a big deal here on Medium about how I dumped Facebook and am no longer a slave to social media. After Facebook, I vowed never to let anything have a death-grip on my attention again. I enjoy not being tied to notifications or spending all my free time on an infinite scroll.
I’ve read more in the last month than I have in the last five years put together. Most of it has been on Medium, but I’ve made a considerable dent in my Kindle backlog as well. I finally read The Alchemist and was glad for it, and started The War of Art. I’ve read science fiction & fantasy (my favorite genre) and nonfiction about politics, racism, LGBTQ issues, marijuana, and writing (of course).
I even got a chance to sit with my wife and watch The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. I don’t watch much television or catch many movies, but I have to say the hours I spent with the series were terrific (even if the ending was a bit abrupt and clunky). I haven’t enjoyed being scared so much since I was a kid.
I’ve written at least one article every day (except for my lost week where my illness got the better of me), and one day I wrote four, for a total of 6000 words! I’ve never been this prolific in my life, and even today, when I thought I didn’t have time to write anything — I sit pounding out this story!
You wouldn’t think with all this much activity going on that I would have time for Twitter, but I do. From the beginning, I’ve been spending quality time with other writers, learning about their lives, their processes, and their successes — one tweet at a time.
I do find most writers I come in contact with are book authors. They are actively working, editing, revising, pitching, or thinking about books. If not, they are querying or looking for an agent. Some have self-published and are busy promoting their work.
I’ve also found freelancers, bloggers, and a few others like me who have made Medium their obsession.
I’ve been regularly tweeting advice for other writers who may be looking to build their own blogs or websites. I’ve been asking questions — either for my curiosity or for research purposes. I’ve even tweeted things that serve no purpose, but they tickled me, and I had to share.
I’ve been having fun, but it hasn’t become an unhealthy obsession. I check for notifications a couple of times a day when I’m not writing. Sometimes if I need a break, I’ll sit and read tweets for 15 or 20 minutes.
I don’t feel anxious or upset by what I see on my feed. Unlike before, I don’t take what I see personally, even though there have been quite a few inflammatorily items. There have been trolls everywhere, but I don’t engage with them. I use the block function often. I like to read opposing views, but if someone is downright hateful, they are gone.
I’ve approached my Twitter activities like I should have my Facebook all those years ago. I don’t let it control my life. I’ve turned off all notifications except Medium and email. I don’t carry my phone with me everywhere. If I am sitting down spending time with my family, the phone is absent. I don’t look at it when I sit for a meal.
I have too much good going on in my life for me to allow myself to let anything potentially harmful try to control me. That includes Twitter.
With That Said
If you consider yourself a writer, I would say that spending a little time connecting with the #writingcommunity on Twitter will be worthwhile. If you are already on Twitter, connect with me. If you don’t have an account, get one, but be healthy about it.
I wouldn’t even advise getting an account if I didn’t think I got value from the time I spend there.
Take the leap — but be smart about it!