Fear the Forums – Part 3: Blink

Recap: I want to expand the audience for my books and games. Marketing is an essential function of being a writer and publisher in the 21st century. This means getting better at social media. For tabletop roleplaying games, it also includes participation in groups and forums. While this appears to be conventional wisdom, I question the objective validity that this approach is a necessary task.

Going to forums and groups also fills me with dread. While long ago and far away I participated in several online communities, the world has changed and I have changed. There’s a lot of pointless drama and hate out there. My time is valuable, and I need to be frugal with how I spend it. There are also issues of introversion and anxiety disorders that I have to account for.

In Part 1: Deep Work, I did a cost/benefit analysis based on the anecdotal evidence of my own past experiences, as well as the lack of hard data to support the direct correlation between social media presence and success. This led to questioning why I still feel compelled to pursue communities, bringing us to Part 2: Tribes. We’re now up to the conclusion, so in Part 3 I attempt to pull it all together.

Fear the Forums – Part 3: Blink

The next book that I need to re-read soon is Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. I hadn’t intended for this series to turn into a massive book plug, but the three titles serve as perfect metaphors and illustrate the concepts that I’ve been wrestling with. Let’s get down to what I’m really concerned about, and one of the things you’re probably thinking as well: that I’m overthinking this entire thing.

While I do subscribe to Gladwell’s notion of the adaptive unconscious, that we can made decisions quickly because our brains process a ton of information and experiences faster than we can consciously keep up with, I have doubts. For lack of a better term, let’s call my adaptive unconscious an unreliable narrator.

Neither the snap assessment that I dislike internet forums and social media groups, nor the idea that they could be beneficial to me personally or professionally, are objective. My experiences, and the weight that I give to some outside opinions while dismissing others, is subjective. Which brings things back around, once again, not to the question of how to solve my problem, but to what problem I’m actually solving for.

I desire social interaction with like-minded people, as well as people who can articulate disagreement in a civil and constructive manner. This is for both my personal edification, and to be able to market my books to a wider audience. That much is objective. Whether internet forums and social media groups are the answer seems to be my conundrum, yet I have approached things thus far from the perspective that they are, but I need to find an approach that would be both effective without becoming odious.

And in this moment, I realize that my problem has already been solved. I’ve already founded my solution to social media and deep work by recommitting to blogging, something that is non-interruptive and that can be done according to my own schedule, freeing me to do deep work. The seeds of a tribe already exist in the people that have bought and ready my work, and who have taken the time to come here and read this series of posts. My snap assessment led me to write these posts, which really boil down to my asking you, dear reader, for recommendations.

The answer, or at least my conclusion, is that I need to work on building my website back up into a community in and of itself.


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