When I made the decision to become published, I knew there would be drama in my social media world. On my personal profile (the one where I keep my real-life family and friends) on Facebook was pretty chill, but I could see the potential. There has been drama on social media for as long as I can remember. I love drama, but I hate it. On TV, I want all the drama you can throw me… if you can scare the hell out of me while you’re at it, that’s even better. In my personal relationships, I’ve spent my entire life attempting to rid myself of drama. It hasn’t always been easy, as I’m sure everyone has noticed.
The amount of drama on my “professional” Facebook is staggering. Finding your perfect circle of five thousand friends has turned out to be more difficult than the “culling” I’ve done in real life. I’ve noticed though, it’s difficult to get people to talk to you without the drama. I’ve fallen trap to it, even though I spent so long avoiding it. I go through my feed every day, deleting those that only stir it up, but tomorrow I will wake up to more. Where all the funny and cute memes used to be, now have personal arguments and accusations in their place.
I get the point of Facebook. There is no limit to your posts so that you can get to know people. Bad things happen in everyone’s life and I don’t mind the occasional post. I usually just post the “sad face” emoji and keep scrolling. When it looks like someone is being bullied, just like in real life: I want the bully gone. This is especially true if the bully is targeting a friend that doesn’t deserve it. I’m used to drama in real life, actually, because there has to be a reason all of our paid programming is based on it. I actually didn’t even notice it for the first few months. For the first few months, though, I only had a couple hundred friends: the same amount as I have on my personal profile. It’s not that the people I went to high school with don’t fight back and forth from time-to-time. I just have learned to block it out.
I’m not sure why I thought that being an author could just be about writing, sharing your stories (poetry, in my case), and reading each others’ books. I will always write, and I plan to self-publish all my work eventually. As the drama clouds my news feed, I have no chosen to ignore it, all of it again. It’s time-consuming to get wrapped up in something you weren’t actually a part of. Unless I interact with a certain person often, any sort of drama won’t even get a reaction anymore. When I started a year ago, I just wanted a feed that was full of poetry, music, video games, and art. I don’t tell people every time I have to delete them, but the rant has been inside me for a long time. I don’t get too many messages, but when I do they’re usually from men that think Facebook is a dating website. They usually get no response, unless they are especially rude.
I have had a few over the last year that want to “save” me, swap free (stolen) books, or peddle diet supplements. In real life, I don’t care what strangers think about me. Even though these people, my friends and social media followers are the people I’ve chosen to share my art with. After watching how people treat each other some days, Facebook quickly changed from my favorite place to chat with friends to a shark pit that’s not that much different than Wall Street. People scream at each other without listening to anyone else’s words. People read headlines and never open the article before posting their opinion. Their opinion, by the way, usually agrees with the article, they just couldn’t waste the time to read it. Authors tear down other authors because they don’t agree with their genre.
I think I’m finally getting closer to the friends list that works for me. It’s different for everyone, but there are some people that I literally cannot be friends with until elections are over. If their opinion is strong or extreme enough, we’re not fit to be friends ever. I don’t want bullies in my circle, but that’s what happens when you blindly accept people into your life. I’m someone who asks questions because I like to grasp the situation. I ask a lot of questions in general because I like to get to know people and understand different cultures. There is hope, and I’ve found some friends that answer them and even ask some of their own. For awhile, though, I was afraid that the art of conversation had been lost…
If I have to, I’ll just scale back to the two or three hundred friends that rock and we can live in our bubble of positive vibes and constructive criticism. I don’t mind being told that there is something wrong with my work as long as there’s actual assistance mixed in with the name calling. In real life, it’s easy to tell when my best friend is kidding as he calls me a dirty name. This is how we interact with each other. At the same time, we can tell when the other is serious. Social media does not allow for this change in tone. For that reason, everyone sounds sarcastic to everyone else. In my next round of communicating with the book world, I’m going with the approach that we’re all getting along, until we’re not. It’s not because I can’t see what’s going on, but that I don’t want to be a part of the drama. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a friend.