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My growing indifference to social media
I'm just so bored.
I keep starting my planned topic for the newsletter only to be derailed by something that’s got me fired up. This is one such post.
A gripe. A vent. My "And another thing!" grumpy girl post.
Another thing about social media. I’ve said things before, and I’m saying things again.
A reel, followed by a related image. This was my Instagram double whammy Friday post plan. It took me a long time to get to this winning combo. And far less time for it to fall spectacularly to pieces. My latest art process reel of a hockey barbie - BARBIE - took 8 hours to crawl to a sad number of double digit views. I know, I know - who cares about the numbers, Meaghan? Not me. I don’t. And you shouldn’t either.
There’s a minimum threshold one expects to cross to make the effort worth it. For me, the number on this reel was a real bummer. It wasn’t just the number - it’s that no ones talking. The friends that once showed up aren’t commenting any more. And I haven’t seen work from them in ages. I searched some, individually, wondering where they've been and lo - new posts my feed never showed me.
"Hey friend, this looks amazing! Sorry I didn’t comment sooner!"
"Hey you! Where’ve you been?"
Here. I've been right here.
But for some reason, we can't find each other. Perhaps I'm not making enough reels. Perhaps my song choices aren’t trendy enough. Perhaps the reels are too long. Too short. Perhaps I'm not using the right hashtags. Or too many. Too few?
I don't have any idea what pleases the insta gods (though I suspect its connections to Oscar wining cinematographers, Lucasfilm and the occasional ritual sacrifice) and I....don't have bandwidth to care. Because social media is a tool - a tool that only makes sense to use if it helps me build what I'm building as an artist. To connect with readers and other writers and artists. To share what I'm working on. Find work by others that inspires me.
And I'm not confident social media can do that anymore. The friends I made and community I interacted with are hidden beyond ads and strangers, nearly invisible without searching everyone’s names individually. The algorithms are a mystery I don’t have time to unlock. And everything is just so....quiet. Tumbleweeds blowing across the screen. Everything is quiet. Slow. And dull.
In short - it’s boring.
But that’s the gram. Perhaps I've just run my course on this one platform.
But the scene on Twitter - well, you know. ...But do you know? I didn't really. I'd been checking less and less over the last few months since the new boss, posting professional news into the void with little hope of interaction. I never 'got' Twitter, so the recent upheaval was all the excuse I needed to let it slip away. But I checked it for the first time in a couple weeks - actually checked the feed to see what was up. The chaos was immediate - so many random accounts screaming political extremes. Who were all these people? I had to scroll for a while to find someone who I actually knew, a name I recognized - I found a well known writer posting a farewell to twitter message. I closed the app and made no plans to return any time soon.
In the spirit of investigative reporting (that’s what this is, right?), I even opened up the book of face for the first time in.......years.
HOLY HELL. MY EYES.
My feed was swollen with junk accounts - scammers, extremists, fake organizations - all of them blasting graphic and hideous images that I am now doomed to see in my nightmares forevermore. What happened here!?!?! In leaving my account untended for too long did I inadvertently allow the growth of toxic digital weeds? Yes, it appears. I did.
So now what? Social media is a lot of work - companies have whole departments dedicated to it, there are people who's entire job description is nothing but dealing with it. What’s the point of maintaining a social media presence if no one can see your posts and you cant see theirs? I can’t find one. So I come back to where I landed months ago, when billionaires started changing everything and views took a plummet - I come back to looking to see what’s next.
At the time, my thinking about what comes next was embarrassingly small. I was looking for what warring social platform would emerge from the battleground bloody and victorious. Now, I'm starting to think the issue is bigger than that.
It’s not about what’s next for social media.
Increasingly, I think the question is what’s next for the internet? In a world where AI bots scam and spread misinformation like wildfire, where clickbait listicles are written to serve algorithms more than people, where shareholder appetites force everything to be cheaper, thinner, watered down - where do readers turn for sustenance?
Substack and Patreon offer a neat possibility, places where writers and artists have a little more control and don’t have to worry about appeasing algorithms (I don’t think they do, anyway. Maybe there’s some algorithm hack somewhere I know nothing about). Maybe the future is less about mega corporations and billionaires controlling our consumption and more about readers finding exactly what they want directly from artists they love at the quality they've been hungry for. Wouldn’t that be great?
Either way, I've arrived at a simple truth - I don't have to hustle on the soshe meeds. I give myself permission to step back, slow down, take a break, and focus on the writing, the art, my development as a creative. That’s what social media was supposed to do - support what I was doing as an artist. If it doesn’t do that, who needs it?
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WHAT I’M WORKING ON
Lots of Inktober prep! It’s almost here and that means I need to get serious about planning for the official Inktober prompt list (for those who don’t know, Inktober is an art challenge where participants draw an illustration every day - or not every day - using only ink!). I think I’m going to go all fountain pen ink - but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the markers are calling my name.
I had a great worldbuilding workshop with a group of young writers recently, discussing the worldbuilding of The Bear House. Planning on making more worksheets for students to access on my website.
Hit a recent milestone on my Middle Grade work in progress which has given me new energy to move faster! Hoping to have it complete by December though that may be ambitious.
What I’m Reading
I keep trying to find a second to crack open the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale (which I LOVED), The girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. I will find that second, darnit!
I really loved this post about AI from
Still thinking about this great post fromabout how to talk about your book.
What are you reading?