Writing Ninja Meets Social Media
Ok. So nobody here wastes time on the Internet, but if we did…
I love social media. I’m not one of those people that opines how dumb social media is and then secretly stays up till 2am in the sickly blue glow of their screen, creeping photos of their exes. (You know who you are)
But, let’s be honest, that’s kinda fun. No other forum feeds this base part of ourselves, the voyeurism part. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be invisible. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are like invisible cloaks that allow you to spy on everyone else and maybe show an elbow or an ankle every now and then.
I have a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr and LinkedIn, (arguably the most useful on this list and where I spend the least of my time, making my priorities pretty obvious). And like I said, I love them.
Not necessarily because I’m addicted to social media. (Noooooo) And not necessarily because I like spending time on my phone (even though if I could attach it to my body so it went everywhere with me, I probably would. Like a body pocket. A Bocket!).
Beyond the base impulse of voyeurism. I love social media for purer intentions too. It is “one stop shopping” when it comes to keeping in touch with people I would otherwise have never talked to again, not because I don’t like them but because there is something weird about calling. For how much I’m on my phone, I actually don’t much care for talking on it so I’m not likely to call that old friend to “catch up”.
“Hey (insert old friends name). I have no reason to call but knew it was the only way to stay friends. Sooooo, (awkward silence) what’s going on with you?”
Painful. Truly, uncomfortably painful. Not to mention time consuming. When do I have the time to make an unproductive call to meander through topical conversation before it finds a vein? (Cold, you say. But secretly, you agree with me a little. Admit it.)
However, I do enjoy seeing pictures of their trip to Burning Man or that they’re growing a garden, cleaned their garage or got a pot bellied pig. That’s bite-sized socializing. Just my speed. I might even comment.
And social media is like the condensed soup of ideas. Inspiration used to be hard-earned or born-with creativity. Now, we have Pinterest, a Rolodex of genius-ness. Just pull up to the watering hole of tumblr. Your iPhone photos will be forever changed. We don’t sip information anymore, we big-gulp it by the megabyte and social media serves it economy-size.
So, as I do with vices I can’t bear to part with (like hoarding), I carve a little place in my life where they can sit in a corner and play solitaire while the rest of me gets to work.
Long ago, I learned a theory from my mother. If you divide your tasks by how much time they take, you can sliver them into your day. Sometimes I make lists in order so I know that I can make a certain phone call on a certain car ride or I can email someone while waiting at the doctor. Neurotic? Maybe.
Then there are the very important tasks, like posting a dog pic to Instagram or commenting on someone’s obligatory screenshot of the weather on Maui. (Sucks to be you, right?)
Fear not, these too can fit into even the busiest schedule! Just don’t give them more than five minutes at a time.
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is one of those things you can do in line at the bank or waiting as you nuke your cup of coffee for the third time. Instagram can be broken into 30 seconds increments and it wouldn’t matter. Twitter only allows 140 characters. If that’s not built for 30 second intervals, I don’t know what is.
You will never find the end of the Internet or see every Facebook status so just know you get to peek into that window every now and then, do a little voyeuring and get on with your day knowing that, despite your introverted tendencies, you are social. You just commented on like three statuses, while you waited for your lunch order. Boom!
And when you have 15 minutes, don’t scroll it away on cat videos and political rhetoric. Write!! (swap this word for your own particular project/hobby/lot-in-life).
If you can’t get to a computer, well look, you happen to have your phone in your hand and unless you’re stuck in the Stone Age (and therefore don’t gorge on social media anyway) you have a smart phone with a place to type, and even dictate, your thoughts.
Half the time, I write my first drafts in the Notes app on my iPhone. Is there a better way? Probably definitely. But Notes is simple, takes no time to load and manages to get every other word right in dictation. So, overall, a win.
I bet this saves me gobs of time. And even if it doesn’t, that’s not really the point. They say what gets your time, gets you. So if you call yourself a writer (insert lot-in-life here), the more time your head spends writing or thinking of writing and not stalking your high school friends’ status updates, the better.
But if you play Candy Crush or FarmVille (or any other _____Ville), you’re on your own. My snobbish attitude about social media has to start somewhere and video games on your phone are, well, a waste of time.