I’m a writer, published author and nature photographer. I’m on Facebook and other social media whether I ‘like’ it or not. I’m on Facebook whether you ‘like’ me or not. The problem is I don’t like it, (social media and/or networking), for some very basic reasons.
Then there’s Twitter where I seem to have grown feathers and the inexplicable urge to ‘twitter’ like a bird. You are supposed to like my twittering so much that you then ‘follow’ me everywhere I go. The problem is, I can’t seem to find much to twitter that I think anyone else gives a flying double overhead flip about.
There are others, like Goodreads and LinkedIn and ironically, they are pretty much the same experience for me. For instance, I recently offered a FREE book, a collection of short stories, titled Shorts and Other Laundry, on Goodreads for review. I received one response.
The main reason I don’t like social networking is that you better start out with a large base of real world ‘social’ connections or you are already in trouble. A large family and a whole bunch of friends will get you off to a flying start on sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and a bunch of others crowding the field. If you don’t have both of those it is one of the most difficult tasks to make a bunch of people who don’t know you and who have never heard of you ‘like’ anything you do unless you post shots of you without your pants in a bar that you can’t remember entering last night.
Which brings me to my second problem with social networking. Intelligent content is not what cuts it out there when you’re looking for that one key ingredient which is most essential to the success of any heretofore unknown author, notoriety. I’ll give you an example or two…, or three.
In the last year, among the most popular posts on Facebook, there was 1- a wet cat, 2- an actress yammering about how crazy she is, 3- a sculpted banana and 4- a guy in a costume scaring the crap out of his own child. Go figure. I don’t know how to compete with that and I’m not sure I want to try.
The second example involves a late night TV talk show host instructing the parents in the audience to send in video to YouTube showing them ‘pranking’ their children by telling them they ate all their Halloween candy. The result was a digital torrent of thousands of videos from all-too-cooperative parents. The host proudly announces that the resulting video compilation received 34 million hits. THIRTY FOUR MILLION! Again, I don’t know how to compete with that, imitate it or do something equally stupid to gain the notice of THIRTY FOUR MILLION possible readers.
Actually, I take that back. I do know how to get the notoriety that will enable me to make an actual living as an author. I can,
A- Go to the local mall with a water pistol that looks eerily like a semi-automatic handgun and randomly shoot people who won’t stop talking on their cell phones.
B- Drive up to the local ski resort and film myself skiing, buck naked, down the slopes trailing a string of Christmas lights and then post the video to YouTube.
C- Prank my friend by telling her that her husband died in a motorcycle accident and when she keels over in shock, film it, post a twitter about it and of course, post it on YouTube.
I can see it now, fame awaits. I’ll get 3 million hits the first hour and YouTube servers will crash. Millions more will run to my Facebook page and ‘like’ me despite not knowing a thing about me. Eight thousand people an hour will ‘follow’ me on Twitter eagerly anticipating my next tweet about my nephew taking his first crap in his diaper. (With any luck, I’ll post a video of that too.)
Stupid is what seems to cut it out there in social media and networking and I’m having a difficult time with stupid unless I’m making life-changing decisions. I’ve even said that the key to getting rich is to come up with something stupid. Witness the slinky, the pet rock, the hula hoop or those machines that claim to shake the fat off without you having to move a muscle.
The impetus for this blog came from an affirmation, of sorts, about my thoughts on Facebook and it’s usefulness to those of us seeking the notoriety that is required to sell enough books to make a living. Find out what’s really going on behind the scenes at Facebook. It’s not a pretty picture if you are doing what all the so-called and self-proclaimed social networking experts say you should be doing as an author, writer, photographer or any other sort of creative person seeking mass recognition.
Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to do something I rarely ever do. I’m going to make a list, a list of all the stupid things I can do to get notoriety. And while I’m at it, I’m going to make another list of the top ten ways I can waste my time on social networking.
Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone. If you would like your free, no strings attached copy of Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, you will find it free at Amazon, Smashwords, or your favorite ereader/tablet formats.