There’s a fine line between self-promotion and narcissism. There are some writers today, too many, who should bear this in mind when they take to Facebook, etcetera. I won’t name any names, but their countless daily posts containing the dull minutiae of their work and/or extolling their own apparent genius guarantees that at least this reader will never seek out any of their work, no matter how good it might actually be.
These writers appear to forget that while a personal web page is their own domain, as it were, social networking sites do not exist for the sole purpose of their self-aggrandizement. It’s a fucking disease, people, and it’s spreading fast. Indeed, the more writers I add to my Friends list, the more I loathe Facebook and to some extent writing. It seems to have become a necessary part of a lot of writer’s lives – to sell and/or promote their wares on these sites. Hell, I do it myself – questioning the merits up to and then beyond the point I press ‘RETURN.’ What I do not do – or have stopped doing if I did do such things in the past – is post the following sort of things (note: these are examples only, I’m not directly quoting anyone):
I just happened to read something I wrote the other day and, you know what, it’s really rather good.
Sorry, no, you didn’t happen to come across anything. It’s been 30 minutes since your last post and you went looking for something to post about.
I wrote 3000 words today. Look here’s a picture of what I wrote.
Yep, the picture shows a piece of paper or a laptop screen with some words across it, either too indistinct to read or from a random page of the story. What’s the point? Does that get anyone excited – really?
Here’s a list of all the things I’ve achieved this year/month/day/hour.
Fine, good. But put it on your web page and let people who visit your page to read specifically about you and your achievements read it there. Besides – a little perspective here – if you have achieved something of real merit, do you really have to tell everyone about it?
Hey, I’m in this new magazine or book. It contains my story, [INSERT TITLE HERE]
So, what, it’s contains only your story? Not much of a book then, is it? Are there other writers in this book? Oh, there are? You wouldn’t know that, would you?
I could go on but I won’t. I won’t even say I’m not guilty of this kind of thing either. What I will say is I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the game and I’m tired of playing it. I hate Facebook, but it seems like a necessary evil these days. Without it, you are to some extent out of the loop. In addition, I see too many examples of nepotism, of “mates” publishing “mates” (Kickstarter has arguably made this situation worse), but that’s a whole other topic.
Writing used to be a solitary business, but in some areas, some, it is becoming increasingly social, political, and one-sided. As if the odds weren’t stacked high enough, right? I hate to sound like one of them – the conspiracy theorists – but it’s how I see things at the moment.
Of course, the easy solution would be to leave Facebook (my presence is minimal nowadays anyway) or delete people of this ilk, and I have, many, many times, but I suspect that if I continued down that road I’d have very few writer friends left. Indeed, I’d probably find myself deleted from some lists, too – and so on, until we’d reach a friendless conclusion, just us and our profile pages. Which tells you everything you really need to know about Facebook, I suppose. And people.
At least, some people.