Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Secret War with Social Media

"I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end." Kahlil Gibran

In the underground world in which I live, I rarely see the sun.  I barely keep warm but use a space heater, and due to social anxiety, I fear dealing with others, even when it is dealing with people I know, or doing things I've done many times before.

I've been told that I am shy. Yes I am.  I have a personality that is deeply introverted.  I draw strength from solitude.  My circle of close, intimate, friends is very small.  On the Myers Briggs personality test which considers the way in which you think, feel, deal with others, and experience life, I am considered an INFJ.  Here is a link to the test.

I have not meant my life to be played in front of others, and yet it is. When social media became available I didn't know what to do with it. And then I realized that was how other people related to one another.  So I went forth, and put on my jester's hat, my bell toed shoes, and made a fool of myself.  I am not saying some of it wasn't fun, but almost none of that was me.  So now I stare out over the last 10 years of my life on the web.  I haven't made any money due to my hijinks and commentary.  My books don't sell. I have made friends, but many are friends with someone they will never meet in person.  And some people, perhaps not many, are just sticking around to see their friendly neighborhood fool crash and burn.

Make no mistake though, no one forced me to be online, and my presence is my own choice.  So no blame is intended, nor is any given. 

“One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all.” Sun Tzu

In order to build a readership on social media you need to have many friends and commit to writing comments, and then replying to comments you receive.  It is a game really, you give a comment, you get a comment.  If I did that I might get more readers, I might get people to buy more of my work, but I'd have to live with my being a slut.  And I can't do that.  No one else is a slut, I am not referring to anyone but myself.  If I did that it would be solely to get something from other people, a transaction if you will in exchange for a comment, or cash for a book.  What other people do, and why other people do what they do, is not my worry or concern.  I honestly don't care what other people do, short of causing pain to others or illegal things that harm others. While I am a Christian and have a set standard of beliefs and ethics that I follow, I also believe that people have to live with their own choices and behavior.  So I am not only not judging others, I am not saying anything is wrong here, for anyone but me.

“to be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its’ best, night and day, to make you just like everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”  E.E. Cummings

I am on Twitter, and it is ok, there are many people I will never meet or want to meet.  Many people simply exist there to promote their work, and really, while it is true poets might buy poetry, I think it is rather amusing when poets follow other poets thinking that it might result in sales.  I have no money.  If you follow me there, Hi.  If you want me to buy your work, well it looks nice I am sure...

I was on Myspace and found some great friends there, but the anonymous posting and online chatting or so called meeting of people was all rather naughty for me.  I could post a great deal of things, and outside of the occasional troll who I'd block or report, Myspace was a lot of fun, and, if I were someone else, I could see being in deep trouble years later from the mess I'd have made there.  Fortunately, it was just a moment in my life, and then the website became impossible to use due to crashes, and changes that made things nearly impossible to use.

Facebook is the home base now for social media.  And I don't much like it.  I think it is run with rather draconian rules, by unimaginative people, for the lowest common denominator.  But I am there, my friends are there, so I am going to remain.

The point of this isn't to say there is actually a war going on.  But at times I feel as if I am going mad from the demands from certain people, demands to conform by social media, the lack of success because I don't fit into any category that people would like, the lack of marketable tools, the lack of interests in developing marketable tools, and lastly, the desire not to fit in but to be something that I am not, be rewarded for it, and then be happy.  As you can see, my trying to succeed in this social media world is hard but even living in the "normal" world for me isn't the easiest thing.  There are people who might point to my many flaws as the reason for failure.  Ok good, gotcha.  Some people might argue that I am unpleasant or untalented.  Fine by me.  But the reality is, I just don't fit, for whatever reasons, and social media demonstrates that, in public, and everyone can see it, including me.

I am tired, and worn nearly through, but I will keep fighting.  I really have no other choice.  Until such time as you see me lifting the white flag of surrender, I am in this fight to win.

“In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?” John Steinbeck

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