Friday, February 25, 2011

A Contrary View of Social Media

There is no question that social media is a powerful communication tool not only in this country but around the world. My focus in "The Writing Life" has been on helping writers tap into this power to promote your books. To that end, I have recently posted a series of essays on understanding and getting around the giants of social media—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.

I am frequently amazed at the amount of time many of my friends and colleagues spend on these networking sites, as well as staying current with countless blogs, news outlets, and forums. To tell the truth, I often fail to keep up with "friends" and "connections."

Why? Because my daily life is a juggling act of responsibilities and to-dos, and social networking is just one of the many balls I'm trying to keep in the air. I know I have lots of company in this lament.

There is one blog I subscribe to: Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. While I am striving to maintain my personal juggling act, Babauta is urging me to get rid of some of those balls and simplify, simplify. What a neat but seemingly impossible idea. To underscore his message, he has made available his latest book, called focus. It's online and on Kindle, and it's free—not only free but uncopyrighted. Use or copy or forward any part of it he urges, but please attribute the work to its Leo Babauta.

His point is that social media, blogs, everything online, and especially e-mail are addictive. If you can't stay away and you feel empty when you're not online, you are addicted. Breaking an addiction is tough but possible. Babauta is not advocating that you trash your computer, disconnect your Internet access, or close all your accounts. He is simply saying that all this addictive activity is time consuming and counter productive to the creative process. If you are a writer, that is not a good thing.

focus is a practical little book on how to break addictions, shed the superfluous in your life, and get off the gerbil wheel. I think it's worth a try.


Erika said...

Bobbi, thanks for your post; I'm not on Facebook and been resisting for quite some time, despite urging from family and friends. I like to check out your blog from time to time and sincerely appreciate your time and messages. I also have a blog, Turtle Healing Energy, and your post reminded me of one of my own, which you may like: "Why I'm Facebook Free and Really Okay with It." :) The link is at Take care! ~Erika (Boulder, CO)

Bobbi Linkemer said...

Hi Erika,
I read every word of your post and really love your writing and your honesty. I particularly appreciated this line: "I still like e-mail, phone calls, even (gasp!) handwritten cards and letters, and in-person time. I sincerely aim for a life with reduced stress, and for as great as all of our technological advances are, I like to choose—and choose wisely, for me." Thanks so much for your comment. I'm on overwhelm (aren't we all?), but I am going to try to follow your blog. Please stay in touch. Bobbi