Monday, January 23, 2017

Brains? Yum!

For January's IWSG post, I talked about potentially expanding my social media presence, and you all were so helpful in sharing what you do and how you use social media. I noticed many of you mentioned being on lots of different platforms but feeling badly about not really utilizing them to their fullest. Then blogging buddy Patricia Stoltey mentioned this great post by James Scott Bell, where he asks about social media, "Are you using it, or is it using you?"

My biggest takeaway from Bell's Social Media is Eating Your Brain? I'm not crazy. 

"Here's the truth: social media is eating your brain, affecting your ability to concentrate and work deeply, and sabotaging the quality of your fiction - which is the one thing you cannot afford to have sabotaged if you want a long-term career!"

I've noticed over the last few years that my ability to concentrate has deteriorated. I thought it was just a fact of getting older or something like that. I used to write and/or read a book for hours. Now I'm lucky if I get through half an hour before becoming fidgety and reaching for my computer, my phone. 

"I noticed that I'd only get through a few pages in a book before I'd feel like checking Twitter or Feedly or some news sites. I was losing the ability to "get lost" in a book, one of the main pleasures of reading."

If I'm already struggling to concentrate on my writing and my reading, do I really want to add another social media platform? I don't think so. Bell recommends going with the one platform you really enjoy. So I'll be sticking with blogging and just stretching myself a bit over on Goodreads. Hmm, writing about writing and talking about books? Those are two social media outlets I can totally get into.  

*****

Are you rethinking how you use social media? Have you been using it more, really getting into it and enjoying it, or have you been dragging your feet, like a kid going to the dentist? Have you read James Scott Bell's article in full? I recommend it!

38 comments:

  1. Oh, I know that fidgety gotta grab my phone feeling. I try to stick to just blogging and FB. Anymore than that would be overwhelming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rarely ever felt so antsy as I do anymore. Ugh. I am totally going to work on that.

      Delete
  2. I use social media to share my posts and events of my life, but I read it primarily to connect with my friends and their lives.

    I draw the line at political posts though. I have zero interest in other people's political leanings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rarely read political posts, let alone comment on them.

      Delete
  3. I'm upping Twitter and reducing Facebook. It's not intentional, or expected, but it's now. I'll probably go back the other way at some point. I'm going to have to remember the part about it sabotaging the quality of my work - I can't afford that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really all about what works for us and when, and maybe that changes and evolves with our careers and our lives. I am definitely going to be more aware of it in terms of distraction though, especially in regards to my writing and reading.

      Delete
  4. That's why I'm only on a couple. I can definitely see how it would eat away at concentration. I think it already has for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You totally utilize the ones you're on, Alex, especially the blogging. I think the distraction thing is happening to so many people, even though they might not be aware of it.

      Delete
  5. Well, now I'm rethinking how I use it. :)

    It's true, though, that my attention span is pretty spotty. Some days, it's not too bad, but others...I have to check Facebook and/or Twitter every ten minutes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! :)

      The article really hit home for me, and it made me feel better that I wasn't alone in my edginess and distraction.

      Delete
  6. I'm definitely checking out that article. My focus, too, can be spotty through checking twitter or email.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a really good article, Christine. I bet you'll see some of yourself in it, as I did. Kind of a wake up call for me.

      Delete
  7. I can still get lost in a book, but I don't read anywhere near my computer. When I am writing and get stuck or tired, I am always tempted to zip over to YouTube or somewhere else to waste time. I have been thinking a lot about the time I spend blogging. I wish I could discipline myself to blog at night and save the quiet day time hours for writing. But then I'd have to give up Netflix binging. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't usually read near my computer, but I used to have my phone and iPad nearby when I read book - not anymore!

      Delete
  8. I'm getting more writing done since I do more pre-scheduling of post and tweets. And I mostly avoid Facebook. I tend to my blogging during Mondays and Sundays with a few visits to others in between. It's been working for me in 2017. I don't get itchy to get on social media. I mostly dread it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I set a posting/visiting others' blogs/social media schedule for myself as well. I keep it a little flexible and it's working for me so far.

      Delete
  9. I use mostly twitter and my blog. I have a FB but it's under my married and maiden name and I use it mostly for keeping in touch w/ family. Google+ is there somewhere too, but I don't do much there either and tend to forget it. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you enjoy the ones you do use then that works! :)

      Delete
  10. This is a wise, wise post. Stick with what helps you. Perhaps, when publication day comes, you'll need to expand your resources, but for now, focus on the writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Focus on the writing" - that's what I'm aiming for now. I have enough social media presence for the present. :)

      Delete
  11. I've wondered why some people stop what they are doing to tweet instead of enjoying the moment. It never, ever, occurs to me. I'm lost in the moment.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really know anything about Twitter, but I wonder if tweeting about something that's happening in the moment - an event, a vacation, etc - is similar to taking a photo? Trying to capture what's happening, like a snapshot but with words?

      Delete
  12. So glad I read that!! I have been kicking myself for my lack of social presence. It seemed like if I was doing well with the writing, I was failing at networking, and vice versa. Now, I realize my brain just doesn't like switching back and forth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear this helped! :)

      I find that having a system re blogging, checking other blogs etc, allowing for flexibility, is helping me tame the social media beast.

      Delete
  13. This is so interesting! And also scary. But I have been thinking about how I have such a hard time focusing lately. I wonder if it is a coincidence that it started when I got my iPhone and immediately added all the social media apps! I check social media so much more now, even though I don't even like most of it. I'm going to try deleting the apps and just check in once and a while on my laptop like I used to do. I'm curious if that will help my focus. Thanks for sharing this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome!

      I realized the other day that I check my phone for calls and voice mails but also for the time, the weather, etc. Once it's in my hand and on, it's too easy for me to check my email, my To Do list, etc as well. I'm trying to pick the phone up on purpose with the aim of doing a certain thing or two on it then putting it down/away.

      Delete
  14. Since you don't want to do a lot of social media I'd just suggest having a Facebook author page. It's not that hard to maintain and having a space where readers who don't blog or use goodreads can find you is important. Plus FB is just about the most popular social media there is. Even among young people despite twitter and instagram. I too have lost my ability to be absorbed in a book for long periods. In part though it is also my freelance work which with all the extra writing I do, I believe my brain is just sick of absorbing even more words. I have a more friendly relationship with my Netflix account now. Woo me shows, woo me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love binge-watching shows! I do find though that I watch less TV now. At least I think so. It's more purposeful, rather than flipping through channels, and more contained. So at least I don't count TV as one of my many distractions. :)

      Delete
  15. To get the rest of the story, Madeline, read Deep Work by Cal Newport. It's the best book I've read in a long time about being a better writer in this crazy new world of distraction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making a note of it! It might already be on my TBR list or my husband's, but I'll make a note anyway. :)

      Delete
  16. Yup. I've heard that before. My problem is, I'm already on so may social media platforms...although most of them are somewhat dormant. I guess it really boils down to doing what you're comfortable with and making it work for you, eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That seems to be what's happening - people are on a lot of platforms but not really using them. I'm sure some people make it all work, but I'm not one of them! :)

      Delete
  17. I think I have read that article in full, and I'm guilty of being on social media too much. I try to use a timer these days so at least I'm keeping track of it and stopping before overdoing it (as much).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A timer is a great idea! I didn't use a timer but I noticed how and when I was reading blogs, etc then scheduled my new system accordingly.

      Delete
  18. Social media sure is a distraction. I've cut back, but I still do what I can. I just don't spend so much time on them anymore. Really, it's just to stay away from drama. Blogging and Goodreads are two of my favorites. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've stopped reading certain social media outlets, including some Twitter feeds because of drama. I'll stick to blogging and Goodreads - writing, reading and books! Oh, and tortoises, of course. :)

      Delete
  19. Very thought-provoking! I'm trying to limit my stints on social media to certain times a day, but it is a hard habit to break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was an excellent article, Yvonne. Good luck with limiting your social media!

      Delete