Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Social Media & Popularity = Recipe for a Creative FAIL?

Once in a blue moon, an ephiphany will come tumbling out of the clear blue sky, ricochet off of the dogwood tree in my front yard, crash through my bedroom window, and knock me upside the head - opening a portal to clarity and understanding.  Usually I spend my days winding through the maze of ideas, possibilities, emotions, and chocolate cravings in my head so when an epiphany presents itself I pay attention. 

This most recent epiphany came about while browsing facebook.  I found an article about the effect of Instagram on Middle Schoolers (which you can read here: here).  Even though the label 'Middle Schooler' no longer pertains to me (of which I'm thankful for - who misses those awkward, acne riddled years?) the phenomenom of popularity and social media definitely do.

I was that barely-there, smaller than normal, underdeveloped 7th grader you didn't see slinking behind you on my way to class.  I was the shyest and loudest (marinate on that) cheerleader on the black squad at Carrington Middle School but 'popular' wasn't a label I carried around.  Being 'popular' sounded like a lot of work and it was much easier to go home and read my The BabySitter Club books.  Unlike kids today, I didn't have people 'liking' my every picture or 'following' my every thought.  Thankfully, I didn't have people 'unliking' my every picture or 'unfollowing' my every thought, either.  It was easy not to care about being popular when it wasn't being tracked on a website...or six.

7th grade Kday didn't have a quantifiable way to be measure her popularity but unfortunately, 34 year old Kday does.  After becoming an author last year, I've crashed onto the social media scene with a vengence.  My end goal was to simply have readers enjoy my books.  Over the last couple of months, my end goal has gotten a little foggy.  Keeping up with the Twitterverse, Facebook, Instagram, and every other social media portal invented has created a sort of vaccuum that my self-esteem has begun spiraling down into - fading away into a chasm of insecurity.

Instead of concentrating only on ratings/reviews - I've found myself not only tracking the sparkly, new, tempting quantifiable ways to measure one's popularity but also comparing my numbers to other authors in an effort to see where I rank in the sea of wordsmiths out there.  Likes, follows, shares, unfollows, # of comments, and smiley faces haunt my dreams; mocking me in my sleep and laughing at me during my waking hours.  I feel as if I'm climbing the same rickety ladder as the other thousands of authors - scratching, pulling, and stomping my way to the top.

But I'm not a stomper or a scratcher!  I'm a writer!  Words, stories, characters, and creating a world that readers never want to leave - those are my passions!  And as easy as it is to forget that in the wake of 30 new followers, 7 new likes, 13 shares, and that dreaded unfollow - those passions are the reasons I began writing Daughters of the Sea in the first place.

So here and now I'm promising all of my followers, unfollowers, likers, haters, fangirls, and perpetual sharers: I will be the best Kday I can be, the best writer I can be, and the best cheerleader (of other authors and bloggers - not the 7th grade basketball team at Carrington) I can be!  I love you all and remember your worth as a person, blogger, or writer is not reflected in your facebook page stats, twitter followers, or blog shares.  Its in the smile your campy reviews evoke, the tears your heart-wrenching reunion scene has caused, and the giggles your random tweeter feed elicits.  Because bringing sunshine to someone else's life - that's what really matters, isn't it?


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