Yesterday, we talked about the bad parts of social media: the narcissistic quality to it, Humanity's inability to Just Say No, small children getting adults put on Watch Lists and stuff. I will also confess to you social media is one of the (myriad of) reasons my marriage went into a death spiral. Nothing I said or did on social media; just the fact I'm on it. And C is not. And C does not approve of social media or me being on social media. And I no longer wish to do things or not do things solely based on gaining someone else's approval, no matter how much I love them. This has been a point of contention, for a long time.
So social media is a tricky rope to tightwalk, yes.
But it does have its good points. For example, Connections. When I think of the good aspects of the power of social media, the one that immediately jumps into my mind is connections. Here is how connections on social media work: When Jason Isaacs retweeted a link to this blog's DIG page, I met some nice, new people and got a few nice, new readers because he did that. When I started attempting to live tweet DIG, I met a very good new friend who eventually helped get me a writing job on threeifbyspace.net. When I go to a discussion forum on the Internet about anything, I try to be very nice and kind and honest and just be myself and whenever I do this, I usually come away with some sweet new contacts, which occasionally evolve into real friendships.
On this blog, I write a lot about my life--good and bad things I'm going through, life experiences...and I have always done this when writing blogs, as well as on any social media I'm on. I open myself up and make myself vulnerable to other people not because I'm desperate for attention and validation (okay, fine. I actually am) but because I know how important it is to know: you are not alone. Other people go through this. Other people feel like this. We are all in this together, sweet readers. Life is tricky.
I can't tell you how many times since I've started blogging I've heard from people--family, friends, complete strangers--who let me know they, too, went through what I wrote about or said. Or: thank you for writing that, because I agree. Or: thank you for saying that, because me too.
Do you know that's why we're all here, why we're navigating through the Milky Way on this gravity-filled rock? We're here to meet each other half way, to connect, to support, to lift up, to cry on shoulders, to be cried on. I cannot stress enough how important it is to feel connected. To feel heard, to feel understood, to feel loved. And, for some people, social media is how they meet those needs. For some people, it fills a void they can't fill offline.
Somebody out there will read that and go: well, Amy, that's pathetic. Those people are pathetic and need to get a life. And if you are one of those people? With all due respect, fuck you. How dare you judge someone else's approach to life so harshly? How dare you have an opinion about someone else's methods of connection.
That's the positive aspect to social media. (That, and maybe being told by a stranger on the internet to eff off for being so judgmental; that's nice, too.)
It's also excellent for getting the news out. I don't know about you, but I can't read or listen to the News news anymore. My head says: Oh, you must. You need to know what's happening out there, Amy! But then my heart whispers, oh please. Please, don't. I find Twitter is excellent for knowing what matters most to the world--trending hash tags and all that without too many gory details or misleading company-bought news articles. And Facebook. I have a lot of very right wing friends/family, so I always get to see what matters to the right wingers thanks to what shows up in my Facebook news feed. It depresses me, and sometimes I end up saying something to a family member that blacklists me from future family reunion invites, but I always know what crap FOX "News" is feeding them now.
And if you're a creative of any kind, social media has become essential to connecting with your audience. Which, one hopes, will sell more of whatever you've created. Doesn't always work out, but that's true even offline. Who knows why some things just resonate with lots and lots of people and other things don't? Social media is one very powerful aspect of maybe hitting the soft spot that will resonate with many, many people. Which, if you're a creative, is hopefully why you're creating--to connect to others (as opposed to becoming rich and famous or just rich or just famous) (because if you're creating art for fame or money, stop now--you're doing it wrong).
Speaking of creatives and positive connections and spreading the word, guess who I'm going to connect you with right now, via social media aka this blog? Cas Anvar. Do you know of him? I heart him. He's swarthily good-looking and excessively talented, but more than that he's super duper NICE. What ultimately made me love Cas, though, is when I found an article he wrote for a blog called THE IRANIAN, about a mistaken identity thing he went through regarding a role he played in a movie called SHATTERED GLASS. Not only did it clue me in on what a great writer he is (gets you in good with me every! time!), he handled a really sticky situation with such humbleness, aplomb, honesty, and graciousness. I've written here before about how I have a list of criteria I consult before placing someone on any heroes/favorites list; this article he wrote got him on my list, like, immediately. Plus, he's another actor who talks storytelling in ways that make me happy.
So! If you want to interact with a swarthily good-looking, talented, supremely nice actor, you should go visit Cas on Twitter. He's been in a lot of things you've probably seen: ARGO, LOST, 24, MEDIUM, NCIS, the movie SHATTERED GLASS (about journalist Stephen Glass' plagiarism), DIANA (he played Dodi Fayed to Naomi Watts' Diana, and was most excellent in this--I was surprised to find out Cas isn't British, he was THAT good in this), and currently he's starring as Xerxes on SyFy's OLYMPUS (a most excellent show--I just caught up on most of the previously aired episodes. Like Greek mythology? Like intrigue and double crossing? Like watching ancient Greeks have steamy sex? This show is for you!), and in December I'll get to review his work in THE EXPANSE as Alex Kamal (THE EXPANSE is based on a series of books by James S.A. Corey--I've started reading LEVIATHAN AWAKES and I assure you, it's super awesome and well-written...and this is coming from a girl who usually reads books from the high brow Literature sections of libraries).
So I connected to Cas via Twitter, and let him know: I think you're rad. And Cas (super sweet, super friendly Cas) let me know: Thanks! That means a lot to me!
And herein lies the power of social media: I connected to DIG via Jason Isaacs' tweets about it, I connected to a new very dear friend via DIG's tweets, I connected to threeifbyspace.net via a new very dear friend, I connected to THE EXPANSE via threeifbyspace.net, I connected to Cas Anvar via THE EXPANSE, now guess what? YOU'RE connected to Cas Anvar via Amy! Go learn about him and be amazed. Find him on social media and tell him he rocks, and let's all have a storytelling love fest. Okay?
But do it all on social media. So I can keep this blog on topic and we can inject some positivity into an Internet sphere which can be terribly fraught with the opposite of peace, love, and happiness (if you do social media of any kind, I sense you know exactly what I'm talking about).