So, a good bit of my writing over the past year or so has been… On Facebook?
That can’t be quite right, can it? I can’t stand Facebook the company. I don’t want to support them. So… Why?
Partly a rather mundane reason I grew used to hearing a lot. I have family there that don’t get onto another network, and many friends who do network hop. I’m missing out on some fantastic stuff in other networks, but I’m overloaded and overcommitted as it is.
The other reason is that I fell in with a couple of specific communities that, while they have representations in other sites they’re largest here. And they’re vibrant and encouraging. And I made friends that, even when I wasn’t participating in the other groups some of the friendships remained strong or even grew without the group discussions, as asides or as their own thing.
All this, I noticed, came at a toll of something. It’s like whispering in the corner with a friend. Cozy, but it is interesting that in just these past two weeks I’ve encountered many retractions of an idea I’ve been having. Call it being visible. Call it having a voice. It’s speaking aloud here.
Artwork, too, I would share only privately, only but rarely here. Sometimes not even shared at all.
So I’ve kind of drifted away from public space and withdrawn somewhat. Not entirely certain why but perhaps a particular variation of writer’s block? A bit too afraid to put something out in public, a circle of friends in a social network feeling less like I’m personally at stake if I manage to get it wrong somehow or my throwaway comment is easier every to make.
And those who’ve seen me in action know that’s especially ironic, I rarely if ever make throwaway comments, once I start into something it’s almost always a short letter in length. Or if it is short, I’ve agonized over it and tried to distill it down into either some kind of comedy gold, some succinct wisdom, some carefully phrased pithy remark, or a very compact burst of love. The comments feel approachable as if I imagine them being throwaways, but then I throw my full heart into them.
So, really, I’m just pretending my social networking comments are more casual than blogging. They’re not. And on some level, they’re always public by default. Even if there are “privacy controls” — someone determined to repeat a conversation has several means at their disposal. (Usually a screen grab.) I’m just depending on social mores to keep things nice and low key, but there’s no great guarantee.
And on another side of this, I’m probably just suffering from being lazy. Not lazy as in not doing useful things. Lazy as in not doing the things I mean to do, choosing to get going on them. It’s still a kind of procrastination that’s going on.
And I think that, while I say having a voice is important to me, claiming that voice publicly is what I’ve been procrastinating doing. It feels… Vulnerable.
Probably because it is. I’ve seen what has gone down over the last year, too. More on that another time. Let’s just say death threats against women bloggers don’t exactly impress me in terms of social adaptation, but I’ve been letting them do their work on me — keeping quiet — and that has to stop.
That said, I’m not leaving these social networks. I do, even, need to reconnect with friends that deliberately,many with good reason, eschew Facebook. But part of the balance needs to be writing aloud.