On Community II

So I have actually written a post on the idea of community before, but I wanted to use a more specific example to illustrate its necessity and power. Unsurprisingly, this example also relates to and uses the NaNoWriMo community.

Currently on Day 5 of NaNoWriMo and somehow managing to keep up on word count. Let’s see how long that lasts. Coffee seems to help.

It really is.

It really is.

Anyhow, I was writing on Day 2 (Sunday) of NaNoWriMo and I hit a slump. As I usually do when this happens, I decided to listen to some music, but didn’t know what to go with. Since I knew that there were several other NaNo participants working on the forums and keeping in touch through Twitter, I sent out a massive signal requesting “writing music” suggestions.

I expected a couple of responses within a day, instead I was inundated with suggestions for the next 48 hours. Seriously, complete, random strangers were telling me their preferred music for writing, why they liked it, where to go and find some good tunes all because I added a hashtag to a tweet.

Not saying that now these people and I are friends or that we will ever be more than strangers, but for a brief moment we were connected and aid and advice was altruistically given without conceit. It still might be corny, but there is something oddly beautiful about the existence of these moments and the communities that are built around them.

Also, it’s not too late to try your hand at NaNoWriMo. If you ever felt like writing a book, sign up and start. There are a bunch of us along for the ride.


On Social Media

I am starting to believe that I may have a slight addiction to social media. You know, the standard sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, that we all peruse daily by which I mean constantly looking at on virtually every device I own. I know it might sound hyperbolic but honestly I consider days in which I was retweeted, favorited, or liked on Twitter and Facebook as good and productive days. Obviously, there is no real value to these things happening and are ultimately meaningless, but I feel an odd sense of validation from these inane virtual moments.

Yes! Tell me I'm pretty!

Yes! Tell me I’m pretty!

In the end, these are not legitimate measures of my existence, but they do provide a temporary boost of ego. As well, social media isn’t without some benefits. I am able to keep up with friends whom I otherwise would have lost contact with ages ago. (Phone calls to other countries can be quite expensive) And the boon to independent creators is without question. Who knows if artists like John Green or Amanda Palmer would be anywhere near the names they are without the advent of social media.

At this point, I am noticing that this is one of my more rambling posts. Still, this might also be some sort of meta commentary on the nature of social media in its constant stream of consciousness with little to no qualifying reasoning or analysis…yeah, I don’t even buy that one. However, I do think my lack of a central thesis in this case demonstrates the dual, dichotomous nature of social media in general. After all, it is essentially a tool created by humans for humans. And like any other tool we have become complacent and needy to its allure.

Are they my umbrella or am I under their weight?

Are they my umbrella or am I under their weight?

So, I suppose, like with everything else, the best method is moderation. Frankly though that is so boring and I just want to figure out how to rule the Internet with an iron fist! However, that is probably not going to happen, thus I’ll remain satisfied with the occasional new follower to my random corners of the web….for now.

How do you guys deal with social media? Do you find it useful, a nuisance, somewhere in between? And how do you guys manage to generate interest without sounding like a broken record or a blowhard (people still use that term, right?)?