Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Social Media as White Noise

I am about to write heresy.

It's occurred to me social media and networking has become little else than white noise.

It's hard for me to write that, because as a publisher at a indie press social networking and media are alleged to be the lifeblood of marketing. Certainly it's what all the marketing gurus keep yelling. Tweet it. FB it. Boost your SEO ratings. Create Google Ads and FB ads, and Goodreads ads. Create a profile on LinkedIn, and Google+, a professional page on FB.

Engage people in groups on library lists and book club sites. Join Empire Avenue and create hype. Get yourself a YouTube channel and go viral. Podcast and go Apple. Go. Go. Go.

But while you and thousands of other indie publishers and authors are out there beating your own bibles, who is really listening? You have 1000 friends on Facebook, and 2000 followers on Twitter; your Goodreads account has maxed out your friend allotment, and you stare at all these invitations and notices flooding your email and scrolling by like ticker tape on your TweetDeck feed, and you wonder, what does it all mean? And who reads all this stuff?

You're not. That's for sure, because you're trying desperately to edit that next manuscript in the editorial line-up, or (faint hope!) trying to bash out a few hundred words on your own work in progress.

So who's reading all this stuff? Is anyone? Is anyone even reading this blog?

We call this the Information Age. I'm thinking maybe it's not so much about information as it is about people just blathering. Blah, blah, blah, and it's all like listening to spring peepers in May. It creates a music of sort, a song of fecundity and hope. But no one voice rises above, stands out. It's all just one, homogeneous voice. And if you wanted to be part of the symphony, well, you would have joined the symphony. But you had dreamed of soaring, like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, beyond the flock, beyond the music, into something unique and remarkable.

So, is anyone listening?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

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