The New Future to Social Media and Blogging

Brian Andreas thinks social media fragments us more than brings us together. And since we’re all here through a form of social media, I want to examine this room we’re in for just a second and then offer a small solution for what I want to do about it. Because I really want to do something about this:

Being constantly inundated with our social updates tires us out—we’re fatigued and we’re annoyed with each other. Here’s why: while it is true that no one care’s about your trip to Mexico, your weird tastes in music and the dinner that you just made, we still want to be involved. But we hate the self-serving. We’re re-pinning and re-tweeting without context, without collaboration. The Internet will always suffer from social media fatigue until it allows for seamless collaboration among multi-platforms, multi-dimensions, and multi-media. This may be idealistic view but it’s not impossible.

I feel like social media is a dark room in which I throw into it things I like and things I create. And then I expect something to happen. And I get disappointed when nothing happens. I am fatigued with it. I hate having to constantly add new platforms. Pinterest? A Facebook Fan Page? An email newsletter? Those are all things I’m considering adding to my repertoire in order to better “connect”. And I’ll do it. But I won’t like it.

So I’m not doing any of it (except maybe the email newsletter after the summer). None of it at all. I refuse (except that one thing.)

This is what I’m doing instead…

During the summer months because of the “Bereshit Bara” Blog Series on Creativity my writing won’t be featured here as much, which is a good thing because other more talented writers will be. But since I won’t be at the forefront of my own blog I thought it makes the perfect opportunity for a new approach that will keep me writing.

I’ll still write my blog, but instead of posting it here I’ll send it to you on a Postcard.

That’s right, through the mail system. I know it’s sort of old fashion but who doesn’t love receiving mail?

This doesn’t immediately address “seamless collaboration through multi-platforms.” Not yet anyway.

But I want to do better. And not just better writing, but better community building.

And you help me do that.

By writing a Postcard to you it will help focus my attention and force my words to be precise and my heart to be true. I’m not kidding. I’ll get more out of this than you.

If you want into this “Blog by Postcard” then email me your mailing address at rossgale4 at gmail dot com.

I’ll do it until it’s unfeasible, or my wife gets frustrated I’m stealing her stamps, or I’ve got to pay thirty bucks to mail a postcard to Greenland or something similar.

I’ll do it as long as I can really, truly connect and really, truly write well. That will make it worth it and maybe merge the many fragments.

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42 thoughts on “The New Future to Social Media and Blogging

  1. Good one Ross, I use social media pretty much (partly due to work…) but I still love an old-fashioned letter/card. I write a lot offline too – it’s a little more privacy, and I do a lot of craftwork. It’s like getting back to basics and knowing people on a more personal level :)

  2. Great points, Ross. I also fear our genuiness is getting watered down in this ocean of social media. It’s even more difficult for an introvert like myself who gravitates toward fewer, more intimate relationships. Right now I’m following some advice I read from Michael Hyatt. He suggests sticking to the social media you use the most and enjoy using. For me that’s Facebook & my blog. I may eventually get a Twitter account, but it just seems like I’m duplicating my efforts and spending huge amounts of time to connect. I don’t know about you, but I have other things I want to do with my time, like getting outdoors & spending time with my family. God bless.

    • You are onto something Ross, and I like what Scott has to say. I am working on simplification and balance and now use FB as primarily a means of letting my friends (and I try to choose them judiciously) know of my blog (which is only about things I find interesting, useful and valuable and not about the minutia of my daily activities), and generally just use Twitter to follow time-sensitive information (like tornado chasing).

      I have family members mired in inane and pointless digital activities. I have a friend obsessed with FB who’s so stressed out keeping up with posting on her topics that it has become an unhealthy addiction. She can’t live with or without it and seems to fear that if she doesn’t keep swinging that she will somehow fail her friends/followers or her cause. Getting a grip on or reducing our use of the digital drug would benefit us all for we risk entertaining ourselves to death.

      I like the idea of resurrecting face-to-face communication and paper that other people have touched and physically written on. I have even taught my children penmanship because there is a value in receiving something both well-written and legible. E-mails can be duplicated ad infinitum, but written communications are unique and often saved and cherished.

      As physical beings it is essential to keep in regular contact with the physical world – of flesh and blood, of organic (in the old sense) things that grow and change and give us life, and all that does not disappear with the flip of a switch, the push of the button or loss of power. If we must use his new medium, we need to maintain perspective and balance. We only have 24 hours a day, so let us judge each action, each post, each “game” or video against the eternal value of the people in our closest circle of relationships.

  3. There is a whole world of people out there who want to connect by mail, lots and lots of interesting, thoughtful, creative people… You have been on my blog http://www.heartseasecottage.wordpress.com, but I also have a blog about letter writing and mail art: http://www.artofaletter.blogspot.com If you are interested in connecting with letter writers, check out my blog and follow some of my links. If you post your idea in the comment block of mine and others I am sure you will find some people who will be willing to participate with you. A warning though, letter writing/post card sending is addictive so proceed with care, also you should probably lay in your own supply of stamps to stay in good graces with your wife :)

  4. Ross (by the way, when I first typed your name, I typed it “Rossy”), I really really really enjoyed this post. I really struggle with this issues. I love connecting with friends and family through social media, but there is a point at which it feels like it becomes a little absurd. There’s a great Shouts & Murmurs piece in the New Yorker this week titled “I Am An An Article About The Internet That You Repost On The Internet,” and all I could think after I read it was, “I can’t wait to post this on Facebook. (You can find it here: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2012/05/14/120514sh_shouts_wayne). Anyhow, I think it’s great that you spend time thinking about community-building, and I applaud your supercool idea.

    • Dyana, I just read the article all the way through and then and realized I’ve already read it and tweeted it. Although the date for the article is May 14th. So maybe I read it in the future.

    • Mary, It’s true, there are lots of benefits to social media and I guess that means there will be an equivalent of downsides as well. It’s also nice to virtually meet you!

  5. My husband and I were just talking about this last night. The problem of social media fragmenting people rather than truly connecting them. We can spout off (or in some cases vomit) our thoughts, opinions to empty space not really thinking about who is or could be reading it. We “interact” with people from a distance. We might talk about deep things, but we are really missing that deeper connection that comes from face-to-face relationships.and conversations. But on the other hand, social media does have its benefits and I think it comes down to balance and how we use it. by the way, I love old fashion snail mail. I still do it, not as much as I used to though. Your post card idea is an interesting concept. Do you want people to mail you a post card back with comments?

  6. A very nice idea – you know I recently was lucky enough to work with an archive of letters written by famous writers like Faulkner–touching a letter actually handwritten by someone like that is amazing! And you are right about the exhaustion of social media. K.

  7. Ross, you bet. I’ve been trying to write more snail mail letters but not, if I’m honest, with any grand community building thoughts–I’m just getting more contrary with every passing “like” and update. I’ll send the address.
    D

  8. I’m curious about the handwritten aspect of your project. As you hand write postcards, I wonder if it will impact or influence your writing or creativity.

    I occasionally wonder if something’s been lost because we don’t express ourselves “freehand” anymore. Or has the time we save using word processors and computers freed us up from the mechanics so we can be more creative?

    This is what happens after a glass of wine on a rainy night– I start pondering.

    • Dawne, I’m a relentless self-editor. Even articles are improved upon every time I look at them; 5+ hours end up going into a blog! As a writer I find only 4 minor differences between handwriting or typing. Nothing psychological or philosophical about how we write. It comes down to mode of communication for SENDING it. A typed letter by mail is just as wonderful and keepsake-worthy. It is my goal to convince folks: preparing a letter is as easy as pressing “print” instead of “send”!

      For my novel-composing I solely notice:
      (1) No hand cramping or staining. -Pro-
      (2) Ease of editing and safely storing. -Pro-
      (3) Would be nice to write outside or in another room. -Con-
      (4) The PC is a temptation to check e-mail. -Con-

      P.S. I have never ceased sending real mail to this day (anyone calling it ‘snail’ must get e-mail replies faster than from anyone I know)! I’ve never failed to send trip postcards to family, my Christmas list hovers at 100 (begun at age 8), and I created my own line of local greeting cards in 2006. My cats are adorable. hehe

      • It sounds like our writing habits are very similar, and my list of pro’s and con’s is exactly the same as yours, except I also need to resist the temptation to check Query Shark’s blog after checking my email.

        I can be very impatient and when I write by hand my thoughts outpace the writing. But I wonder if something’s lost in the speed of typing. I guess I’ll just have to try writing an entire blog post or story on paper.

  9. Hi! I wrote an article about this. I refuse to sign up for facebook or twitter and an e-card is an empty birthday/Christmas wish! But I value technology (direct e-mail, blogs) for propagating good ideas, meeting all of you, educating a cause… and confirming arrival of REAL mail! We DO care about trips, personal achievements if we become friends. Typing without purpose to scarcely-acquainted masses is different. http://cmriedel.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/good-ills-objects-technology/

  10. Your postcard plan is brilliant. Social media is useful in many ways but there is something satisfying about writing and receiving proper, handwritten post.

  11. Good luck with this plan, I think it’s a lovely idea. I live in France though, so I’m not sure you will want to send a postcard that far. You just made me realise that I used to send handwritten Christmas cards, Easter cards and postcards from the summer holidays, so all my friends would be sure of receiving something from me at least 3 times a year. Now, with email, I sometimes forget to email them for probably far longer than that. However, the downside to that is that so many people throw away postcards and letters, because they have no room (but they still keep old newspapers or ‘Runners’ World’ magazine on the off-chance that they might turn into a runner some day after all…).

  12. Good day Ross, Dawne, Marina, Elle, MBewe, everybody! :)
    When creating a piece I lose nothing typing. Go as slow as you like (my first novel is glacial!) or flow at the same speed as I think. Your query Dawne skews to creative juices. For value of communication mode, I’d love everyone’s take on my related blog that got missed: http://cmriedel.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/good-ills-objects-technology/
    What’s valuable is how we correspond: sending mode. Dollar stores have lovely printer paper. I have a ball making pretty return address labels (ready before I travel). If I touch a letter and it physically travels to get there, that is the magic. Not whether penned or typed. Everyone’s scrawl must be neater than mine! hehehe Know what? I always find guys’ handwriting is GREAT! Intriguing.

    I assure you the mode is currently operational, not old-fashioned. {GRIN} Nowhere in the world will ‘standard lettermail’ (30 grams) cost $30 CDN/US. Some countries go lower for postcards. When you do Canada -didn’t think I’d miss out did ya?- we neighbours aren’t ‘international’. Sellers injure us on ebay like we’re a faraway planet. For me 30g overseas is $1.80. Thus your kind words to France (salut Marina!) and Greenland will be economical. I support this and will reciprocate from the prairies!

  13. By the time I update all of my blogs, wade through my e-mail, check out Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, etc., etc., hours have gone by, and I feel like I’ve wasted the whole day. Plus, I feel overwhelmed by so many people trying to get my attention, sell me their books, send me their thoughts, etc., etc. I just want to run and hide somewhere.

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