I hate social media, all of it. I spend a lot of time on social media and all of the time I spend, I am hating it. I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone telling me I have to be on social media because I am I writer and if I am a writer I have to be on social media. I am trying to earn a living with my writing and if I want to earn a living, people have to read my writing and if I want people to read my writing, I have to be on social media. Thus, I spend a good portion of my day hating social media.
The reasons to hate the various platforms are different and as varied as the platforms themselves. And there are more platforms than you think. And then there are the spaces I have to occupy if I want to keep up with friends and family, be pop culture literate and know what I need to know in order to make a living. There is Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr and Pinterest and YouTube and Google+ and StumbleUpon and Redditt and SnapChat and Kik andandandand. Where should I spend my time? How much effort for each of them? Each platform requires me to learn a new lexicon, a new etiquette, a new way of presentation, a new set of challenges. Unfortunately, it also presents a new forum for being judged inadequate, unattractive, uninteresting and irrelevant.
It isn’t just the grossness of Twitter or the banality of Facebook that drive me mad. It is the time I have to spend in all of these different realms. I could be reading. I could be reading Proust and Joan Didion and Nancy Mitford. But I’m not. On Instagram, I’m scrolling through pictures of latte art and an astonishingly enormous number of images of women’s legs, from the knees down, wearing socks, laying in bed, surrounded by books that I do not believe they are actually reading. Why? Why is this a thing? Why am I supposed to care? On Twitter, it is thousands of requests to click on something that is supposed to be ‘a thrilling supernatural romance’ or a listicle outlining the forty-seven ways I can up my game. I could be reading books on epigenetics and cancer recovery. But instead I am stalking publications across multiple platforms, trying to discern voice and audience reach.
And there are all the platforms I haven’t time or space in my head to contemplate just yet, like Tumblr or YouTube. There is probably an undergrad sitting in a student union brainstorming some other new way to do all of this and then I will have to think about that, too. And then, there is Redditt. I don’t know who thought Redditt was a good idea but good Lord, could they please not any more?
I’m not actually one of those old people who opine about the good old days and how we were better off before the Internet. I’m not. These things, this stuff we have thought up to do, the connecting and the communicating and the knowing, it is all kind of magical and wonderful and, combined, are a net positive in the world. I resent the time it sucks up. I resent the space it occupies in my head. I hate the misogyny. I hate feeling old and irrelevant.
Is there a hidden jackpot of editors out there? Why can’t I find them? Why can’t they find me? Where the hell are they? I don’t know. I know enough now to know that eyeballs on my pages is not enough for me to earn a living. If it were the case, the 10,000 plus hits on my most popular pieces would have already garnered me a paycheck or five. So, editors of the Internet, what the hell?
I spend a lot of time on social media and I hate all of it.