This past week I’ve been dialoging electronically with friends about the ridiculous amount of time we spend electronically communicating. It seems everywhere you turn there is a cyber water cooler, electronic living room or virtual coffee shop eager for your ears, your voice, your deepest thoughts, your most mundane jots.
The garden variety writer, at least the writer in me, is actually attracted to dialogue like this. That’s how we make sense of the world and find the grist for the word mill. We wouldn’t have much to say if we didn’t know what people cared about. The trouble is, and there is of course trouble, the electronic dialogue, though lightning fast, is pervasive and abyss-like. You fall in and there seems to be no end and no bottom. I could spend all day posting, reading and dialoging and never earn a dime to put toward the mortgage payment. And yet I’m told there is a reason for all these various cyber-efforts, beyond the mere chatter. If you are a writer, electronic networking and netsharing is seen as a powerful marketing tool.
So first there were the blogs (and I do see the irony here – that you are reading these ramblings of mine on a blog). Then came Facebook. And now I see colleagues turning to Twitter where they can post tiny updates called tweets to maintain a never-ending connection with the outside world. All in the name of maintaining a presence so that we won’t be forgotten.
I have to say, just the thought of coming up with a dozen tweets a day exhausts me. Twitterers tell me you have to do what works for you. Don’t tweet it you don’t want to. But I am wondering what is it about tweeting that “works?” How does constant electronic contact “work” for me? Writers who have the audacity to want to make a living at it give all their words away when they write for cyberspace, and their time, as well.
I have to ask myself if I blog and bum around Facebook because I want these cyber pals to “work” for me. And when it comes right down to it, I don’t. That’s not what I want. The books I write have to work for me or I should stop writing them. I don’t want the blog, the Facebook account, or any other cyber employee to “work” for me. I can’t judge their success as employees and I don’t want the pressure of monitoring their influence as employees.
This blog is a place for me to toss around my non-fiction thoughts and the Facebook account just lets me goof around with friends when I am not writing novels. Knowing this is knowing there is no pressure for either one to work for me. No pressure at all.
And man, oh man, how tweet that is.