It occurred to me that a good way to supplement my income as a writer/teacher was to become a pop culture social media pundit. A Canadian pop culture social media pundit. Why not? Besides the fact that:
1) Really, the www could not care less about pop culture opinions from Canadians.
2) I'm working on a P.C.
3) I'm only a few steps away from being a tech-luddite.
4) Did I mention I'm a Canadian?
The dream is fast losing its charm. I live-tweeted the Academy Awards and the Canadian Screen Awards. The latter was impossible, as the show was pre-recorded! Posting my comments gained me a new Twitter follow though: CBC. I was thrilled.
For one week I live-tweeted The Jimmy Fallon Show. Yesterday, (Friday) I wondered if I'd make it to the end of the hour. I was exhausted and said so, which led to a comment from some sucker whose Twitter handle is something like "ILUVJIMMY' to refer to me as 'elderly. WHA - ?
The charm of social media is rapidly fading. My greatest concern is that it's a waste of time, career-wise.
And I'm losing steam on this live-tweet thing.
Here's the big problem with Twitter: these megastars are among us and we get to follow them if we want to and Tweet stuff to them. Some, like Margaret Atwood, who is a Tweetfreak, tweet right back. It's so great! Others, like Stephen King, post a comment and never engage in the ensuing discussion.
King's first post was: I'm a Twitter virgin. Be kind." I know he and Atwood are friends so I suggested he consult Margaret Atwood and added her hashtag. She was there a minute later. I kind of felt like he should *thank* me. At the time he'd been on Twitter for about ten minutes so I was one of his first followers.
Joyce Carol Oates is another Twitter regular. Most of the time she's posting esoteric stuff I barely understand, but one time she complained that her husband wanted to put a big Buddha head in the garden. I suggested a reclining Buddha, the skinny, Therevada type with the elongated ear lobes. A few days later she posted a picture of their compromise and there it was! The Buddha I'd suggested. Again, I was a bit miffed. No thank you from Joyce? Humph.
But the one who actually drove me crazy, early in the game, was Steve Martin. He pops in, says something funny and "chats" with followers, usually correcting their grammar. But I could *not* get him to notice me. I actually had to be talked down by a Tweet friend. I had to unfollow Steve for awhile but as he brilliant (sadly, pretentiously so) and so hysterically funny I started following him again, without ever attempting to join in the fun. And you can watch a fan get ANGRY because Steve won't acknowledge him. (mostly guys get angry while girls suggest Steve make love to them.) Once I removed myself from the fray I saw how quickly the idolization turns to personal attacks. 'You're not even funny, Martin!' etc.
I think this comes back to the whole 'global village' thing. Everybody's writing a book, making a movie, starring on a reality show. Everyone can be a star! Just like real celebrities. So people think that because their celebrity idols are on Twitter, and they are on Twitter, they equals. And the stars have indicate that they're accessible; at least, the ones who actually monitor their own Twitter sites. Really, like Atwood, they *should* be accessible. Else why BE on Twitter at all?
But who are fans, who are they *really*, to think that by the simple act of following a celeb, they should be noticed? Thanked? On fb we have 'friends' but on Twitter we have "followers." That's all fans are to celebs. Followers. Followers who are so quickly disillusioned because they're not being acknowledged. So they become haters.
What will happen if Steve Martin laughs at one of my jokes, or Jimmy Fallon follows me? More Twitter followers for me, I think. But what does that mean? I only know of 2 people who follow me and have read my work.
A part of me strongly believes that using social media to become more popular is a waste of time. I suspect a billion dollar industry is keeping this truth from us. Yes, people who are already big shots probably sell more work because of Twitter, but the rest of us? I'm far from convinced.
Twitter has true value. During the disaster in Haiti, the exact location of Aid workers was known in hours, not days, because Tweets are such small packets they get out more successfully than e-mails or posts. Twitter can save lives. It's also an exercise in brevity, one I can really use! How much information can you pack into 140 characters?
But it's main usefulness is in free entertainment. Anthony Robbins said, "We aren't in an information age, we are in an entertainment age." It's astonishing how many funny people there are on Twitter; just regular folks with regular jobs who are hilarious. Twitter is *fun.* But is it a promotional tool. Is Facebook a promotional tool? Blogs? Even websites? Most of the time an author's contest is won by another author. (Unless, again, that author is already wildly popular.)
All people need, if they want to interact with an author, is an e-mail address. Here's mine: email@example.com
Did I just save myself the expense and time of maintaining a website?
Am I actually achieving *anything* on Twitter but getting and giving a few laughs? Here, on Facebook, I have "friends I've never met" and they're invaluable. But they're authors, for the most part. This is why I've used my fb page and my blog, to a lesser extent, to publicly suffer when I can't stand suffering alone anymore. Writers, perhaps because they are in touch with emotions, and knew Michael as well as me, and *know* me from conversations, e-mails, shared posts etcetera, get what I'm going through. I need that.
But that's not what I'm talking about right now. How many of us actually buy and read each others work? After all, we can access our short stories in the anthologies we appear in and as free reads on websites and blogs.
I really suspect that social media in its entirety is an addictive source of laughs and hooking up. And being a sarcastic hater, of course. Easy access to what is probably, but not guaranteed to be, accurate information. Ideas.
But is it a successful promotional tool, worth the time and effort? I have grave doubts.
- Madeline Moore
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Wild Card, 2006. Winner of "best oral sex scene" - Scarlet Magazine. Amanda's Young Men, 2009. Excerpted in Scarlet Magazine; Juicy Bits. Sarah's Education, 2009. Hit the #1 spots on Amazon.co.uk adult fiction & adult romance best seller lists. Jade Magazine bestowed the best cover art, 2009 award on Sarah's Education. "Get Up, Stand Up!" which appeared in The Cougar Book (Logical-Lust) won me the title 'Story Teller of the Year 2011' at The Erotic Awards, London, UK. Sarah's Education took the #3 spot on a list of the 30 most titillating titles of all time, as reported in English Daily Mail ;Female; Nov. 12, 2012. Debutante, a petite novel for e-publisher Imprint Mischief, (Harper-Collins) pubbed in 2012. I tutor writing students and am a member of the WGC. D.M. Thomas said: Madeline Moore writes great sex without metaphor and that's not easy to do. Kris Saknussemm said: You're a good egg, Madeline Moore. I am a good egg who writes great sex without metaphor! Yippee!