Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Back from Japan.
Did anyone miss me?

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

This is a post about partially disengaging from social media—primarily Twitter.

Lake Biwa, Hikone, JapanYesterday I returned home from a nine-day trip to Japan. We had Internet while there, but I didn’t post anything on Twitter or Facebook, and only briefly checked what others were posting — and it was nice to take a break.

Twitter can be fun, and it can be a fantastic source for links to cutting edge science, technology, politics, or whatever you might be interested in. For writers like me, with strong hermit tendencies, it’s also a means to interact on occasion with fellow humans…or perhaps just to lurk and observe the interactions of fellow humans.

But for me, more and more, Twitter has gotten to be about what it shouldn’t be about: measuring my own popularity — or lack thereof! 😉

Welcome to Insecure Writerland!, where the brain becomes absorbed with such critical questions as:

* Who’s following me?

* Who’s not following me and WHY? (Always the more important question!)

* Why has no one responded to my beautiful sunset picture? It’s been five minutes …. ten … thirty. Not even a like? WTF? I have over two thousand followers! Clearly I’m not on any special pay-attention-to-these-people lists! I’ve been filtered out! Maybe even muted!

* Should I take that sunset tweet down? (Yes, I have taken down sad and lonely tweets.)

Aside from social validation, the other great illusory promise of Twitter for hermit writers like me is that it offers a means of influencing the course of a career. Back in the old days, a book was published and either magic happened and sales took off or, more likely, magic didn’t happen and the book quickly went out of print. Sure, you could go to conventions and try to push the book to target readers and maybe that would get you some momentum, but from a return-on-investment perspective, money spent on conventions will never be made up in book sales, unless you are already a big-name writer. (This is especially true if you live in Hawaii, and have to fly to the mainland.)

So social media feels empowering because it’s a way to promote your work, and maybe survive as a writer, without emptying the bank account. I do think social media is helpful. For writers with skills at this social stuff I think it helps a lot. But you get what you give. (Maybe. Sort of. If you’re lucky.) In any case, growing an audience takes time and talent that might otherwise be spent writing.

So yesterday when I reappeared on Twitter and asked:

…it was something of an experiment, a means of checking my Twitter footprint — and at first it didn’t look like I had one! 😉

In the end though, I got some likes and some responses, and it’s all good.

Still, I am a hermit writer. I do better work when I’m focused on the work, rather than on whether or not I’ve managed to get a response out of Twitter.

So I’m going to try to blog a little bit more and check in on Twitter a lot less. My time away taught me that it’s at least possible to disengage from social media. We’ll see how it goes long term.

Oh, and expect a couple of brief posts on Japan!

Whining On Twitter Can Pay Off

Saturday, August 25th, 2012
Whining on twitter can pay off

Timezones

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Living in the Uttermost West, we operate on Hawaiian Standard Time (HST). Since we don’t do daylight savings in Hawaii, we are five hours behind the eastern USA in the winter, and six hours behind in the summer. The time difference with the west coast is two and three hours, depending on the season.

We are, for practical purposes, the last. There is another time zone beyond us, though I’m not sure if anyone lives there. Move just a little bit farther west and you cross the International Date Line and jump a day ahead.

One drawback of living here is when government or corporate reps forget there is a time difference and call at 5:30 in the morning. Business people will often have to be up for conference calls at 5:00am. And I’ve always thought stock traders must be challenged when they have to get up everyday at 3:30am for market opening.

One cool thing about living here that I’ve only recently become aware of is that our day overlaps in interesting ways with the days of other people around the world–something that’s become obvious to me by using twitter.

By the time I get up in the morning, generally around 6am, my twitter streams are full because people in the mainland USA have been awake for hours. It’s midday on the east coast and things are slowing down a bit. The Brits will soon be winding up their day.

Activity is pretty steady for hours after that. Very distracting! But towards evening here things can get very quiet as the mainland USA winds down. People from Hawaii seem to post a lot at this time. Ultimately, the Brits start showing up again. I follow a couple people in southeast Asia, but not closely enough that I’ve figured out their schedules yet.

Anyway, I enjoy the daily rhythm. And yes, I spend too much time online.