Of course I use social media, but it still basically sucks. Before discussing its uses (and misuses) as commercial and political conduits, let’s just look at what most people post. From my perspective, I am a small market horror writer and rock reviewer who loves metal, so my Facebook and Twitter pages have “friends” and “followers” who are fellow writers, musicians, and horror enthusiasts. I suppose it is a different story for someone who happens to be on one of my pages ( I have personal friends who fall into this category) for the sole purpose of sharing pics and thoughts with actual friends, but I just happen to scroll past such dumb shit every day (the minute or two I spend going through the feed) that I just have to speak out about it.
First off, we should all check the grammar. I see posts that are basically illiterate. You are allowed to edit yourself before posting. Do it. Posting stuff like, “Do anyone used Gibson les pauls anymore?” is similar to handing in a college paper done the night before. When can we learn that “drafting” isn’t necessarily good writing? You don’t need an MLA or APA guidebook to know when a sentence is goofy. Fix it.
The addition of the word “Go!” after requesting some sort of favorite list must end. Now. Since when does anyone think it is cool to say “ready, set, go” to adults, as if we are in kindergarten? I realize I have bitched about this before, but it is actually so annoying it deserves second mention.
I see a lot of trolling on music group pages, with set-up questions that are idiotic because of their obvious subjectivity. Not to start one of those psuedo-intellectual discussions about art versus craft versus garbage versus innovation, but really…how many times do we expect people to participate in ridiculous contrasting ultimatums, like “Anthrax vs. Slayer?” or “Priest vs. Maiden?” If people throw money at it, the shit is good. Music isn’t just math. If it was, I’d still be reading geometry textbooks for fun. If it gets you in the heart or the hips, it’s fucking good.
I see a lot of requests for prayers. Yes, I mentioned this before, but I think it is incredibly inappropriate to spill your hardships onto the net. Yeah…ok…you’re in the hospital…a loved one is sick…you’re down on your luck. This is PUBLIC (like this statement). Some things are not anyone else’s business, especially if they don’t know you personally.
Comedians. Yeah, I guess…Some pictures and little film shorts are, in fact, funny. A ton of them aren’t, and they reflect that we have become a film-clip generation who would rather see a chick fall into a basement stairwell staring into her phone than read a good book.
Sayings. Yeah, again…I guess. Quoting someone else’s “cute” saying doesn’t make you a prophet or modern day Ben Franklin. If you quote someone else’s quote, cite it. If it ain’t yours, don’t plagiarize. Here’s a thought. Why don’t YOU invent one?
Rap-metal just sucks. I listen to metal so I don’t have to listen to assholes like Kanye West. I like Drake. I like Eminem. Time and place. Leave my fucking metal alone.
Pictures of animals. Cute, yes. But we are spending our precious time when we could be working, creating, innovating…looking at…cats.
Politics. Hmm. I’ve never seen so much dumb ass shit, especially from the right. Conservative racism should not be tolerated and never given a voice. The biggest problem I have is with Fox News, which is not news at all, but hate rhetoric delivered in ridiculous snippets of bad propaganda containing such obvious logical fallacies, that viewers should be ashamed of themselves. Fox’s purpose is to divide the country and make Americans hate other Americans. Period. I have friends who are conservatives, and while I sometimes disagree ideologically, we have all come to the agreement not to post on FB our anger at the twisted current politics of the world. I am happier that way. I don’t watch CNN either.
The Internet as a conduit for sharing artistic endeavors is a slippery slope. Some may think posting about a new book we have out or a new EP we’ve produced is shameless promotion, but that is why I got on FB and Twitter to begin with. I certainly didn’t start up these accounts to post selfies or ask for comments answering kindergarten questions, prompted by the condescending, pretentious word, “Go!” I like seeing what people are creating. I think the problem is that book publishers nowadays, especially in the small market, look at my number of friends and followers and make an immediate assumption (and judgement) about my aesthetic process. I am fifty-seven years old. I’m not the best looking guy in the world, and I am no good at clever little puns and pics. I’m proud to say that I am a college professor, horror author, and rock reviewer, but a fifty seven year old writer doesn’t get the same kind of likes-quantity (and I honestly am not trying for them) as a twenty-year old country singer with long flowing hair, short jean shorts, and cowboy boots. Hey…not complaining. I write horror, and it is a small market, niche game. It just pisses me off that publishers and literary agents nowadays look at my likes and don’t give a solid read to new work. Social media is not the game. It is the mouthpiece FOR the game, and many are caught up in a blurry perception of this basic fact.
Showing the food you are about to eat. Ok. Still, it usually it looks gross. Sometimes it looks cool and gives me an idea for the kitchen, but I would rather watch the cooking channel.
On the other side of this, there are some cool things I’ve seen on social media. Pictures of families, cool vacation spots, sports headlines, music videos, links for cool new books, movie shorts, nifty guitars and other musical instruments…all these are interesting. I also like the idea that through social media, I can actually talk to people I wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. I connected with fellow horror writers Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross through FB. (Tamara wrote the introduction to my second collection and gave the front cover blurb for the electronic version of my first novel, “Alice Walks”). I saw guitar goddess Sophie Lloyd first on FB, and after a brief (and very cool) communication w/her, I wrote an article for Metal Heads Forever. Through Twitter, I met DJ Metal Angel, and we created a music podcast. I also communicated with a number of bands as well as the awesome guy running the deathcore label Eclipse Records, Chris Poland.
I get it. Seeing “likes” releases dopamine in our brains. But altogether, what are we looking at? A public conversation creating a new awareness? Or is it just space-vomit? Personal graffiti advertising how low our standards have become…