A few weeks ago I saw Henry Rollins live, and I think he said more worth hearing in three hours than I say over the course of a year. In those three hours he never took a sip of water and never seemed to take a breath, because he spoke with such passion that it was almost as if he were rushing to get out everything he wanted to say before he ran out of time.
I want to be more like Rollins.
The Internet, and its children Blogging and Social Media, have made overshare the norm and have almost devalued the currency of written language. “They” say that people don’t read any more, or don’t read as much, referring of course to books, newspapers, and magazines, but I think it’s because in the age of texting and tweeting and Facebook updates and advertising printed on nearly every flat surface you’ll come in contact with over the course of a day, we can become overwhelmed with meaningless words. It seems like all noise, and no signal. I don’t want to be part of the noise.
While I was on vacation, I stayed away from social media and email as much as possible. I had to check email for business reasons, and I had to check Facebook because a number of people now use Facebook Messages as email. It was, for the most part, a beautiful thing, but continuing the trend is going to require a paradigm shift.
At the top of my computer monitors I’ve added two labels. The first reads “Who are you talking to?”. Rather than broadcasting a message on a social network that I really only intend for one person, or a small group of people, to see, why don’t I communicate with them directly? Sure, there’s the possibility that some stranger will see it, engage with me, and I’ll discover a new friend with a similar interest. That relies on someone, somewhere, finding my signal in the noise. There’s also the chance that the person that I wanted to see the message will miss it. It’s like putting a sign in front of my house in the hope that they’ll drive by.
The second label on the monitors reads “What are you putting into the world?”. Do I really need to “like” the article someone posted? Do I need to repost some article or infographic that supports my personal, political, or social agenda? As a writer, isn’t that being lazy? If I truly have heartfelt feelings about something, positive or negative, isn’t it worth taking the time to put it into my own words? Is clicking “share” or “retweet” or whatever really creating signal, or is it just generating noise?
So, I’m setting up pages on Facebook and Google+ for the Dire Blog and Asparagus Jumpsuit, and directing people who are interested in my ramblings and my published work there. I’m going to post very, very little on my existing social media outlets, using them mainly as forums for announcements and email alternatives. If you really, really want to know what’s going on with me, professionally, subscribe to this blog either via the email notification or the RSS. If you want to know what’s going on with me personally, contact me directly.
I am hoping the net result on my side will be more meaningful communication that’s worth your time and effort to read.