My Love-Hate (Mainly Hate) Relationship With Social Media

This post was inspired by Anne R Allen’s post celebrating her 10year blogiversary, which, like all her posts, has a wealth of information, especially if you’re a writer who blogs.

(Image by LoboStudioHamburg - Pixabay)

(Image by LoboStudioHamburg - Pixabay)

I’ve never been a big fan of social media. I’d say it’s my age, but I’m aware of enough people in their mid-50s and above who’ve embraced things like Facebook.

I’m not saying social media is the spawn of evil. It has good moments, like helping people/families connect regardless of where you are in the world, keeping on the pulse of breaking news, helping to highlight injustice and cruelties. On sites like Twitter, it allows fans to connect with celebrities they admire, gives people the chance to ask questions of experts…

For writers, it’s apparently a good way to connect with their potential readers. That may well be true, but it still isn’t my cup of tea.

My first foray into social media was signing up to Facebook. The only reason I did it was because that was the way our home-schooling group kept in touch. Trust me, I’d rather have had a tooth pulled without anaesthetic.

As time went on, I allowed myself to get pressured (all self-inflicted) into doing what new writers were advised to do to build their platform. As I was already on FB, I set up an ‘author page’. Suffice to say, it didn’t go well.

The thing with most of the ‘advice’ on the internet, it’s to do with building a business where you’re selling product. It does not translate into anything workable for authors wanting to connect with their readers. Yet, the ‘experts’ always say, almost as a throw-away comment, of course it’ll work for authors too.

I realised I was spending way too much time worrying about numbers and how much I should be paying for ads instead of writing. That, and the whole Cambridge Analytica hoo-ha, resulted in me bidding FB goodbye. I deleted my account.

Can I just say, FB does not make it easy at all to delete your account. I, literally, had to hunt high and low on the internet before I could find pointers as to how to do it. It’s well hidden. And, at each step, you’re asked if you really do want to delete. Yeesh! I do not miss it at all.

To be honest, I’d rather not be on social media. But I felt, as an author, I should. So, I decided to give Twitter a go. I’d already set up an account a few years ago but hadn’t done anything with it. Taking a deep breath, I dived in early last year.

I dutifully followed other writers, historians and people who were suggested whom I found interesting. Not having a clue about what to post, I tried things like quotes and historical facts. Over a year later, I still haven’t settled on the sorts of things to post.

After a while, I realised what really caught my interest was wild horse advocacy, and many of my retweets are about that. That’s what I tend to do more than anything else – retweet. With the occasional personal tweet.

And therein lies my problem with social media. I’m too private! Obsessively so. Apart from thinking surely no one wants to know anything about my life, I’m not at all comfortable sharing personal stuff, apart from surface-level stuff.

I know I’ve shared personal things on my blog. But the blog feels more like ‘my own space’, unlike Twitter, where I feel like I’m on display.

Having gone on Twitter to, hopefully, connect with potential readers, I find I’m not following or being followed by any. Don’t get me wrong. I have connected with a few lovely people. On the flip side, though, I’ve had a couple of not-nice interactions, which I’ve found upsetting and off-putting.

Lately, I find I’m not going on Twitter that much for various reasons. For a writer, I actually find I don’t have much to say. And, like FB, its distracting me from writing.

But unlike FB, I’m not going to get rid of my Twitter account. I’ll still drop in every now and again.

Instead, I’m going to focus on my writing and spend more time here, on my blog. The one social media place I’ve always felt comfortable.

(Image by pixelcreatures - Pixabay)

(Image by pixelcreatures - Pixabay)

Make that my blog and Pinterest. It’s a good place for an introvert to hang out – lots of pretty pictures and very little interaction – especially when one has had a day of too much ‘people-ing’.

One of my Pinterest boards

Since reading Anne’s post, I’ve rethought my approach to blogging. I’m no longer going to angst about having to post a certain number of times a week to be noticed. Yes, I’d like more people to visit and, hopefully, enjoy my blog. But, at the same time, it’s also ok if only a few people drop by. Instead of blogging three times a week, I’m dropping back down to one or two – some weeks, I might post Tuesday and Saturday, other weeks, just Tuesday.

After all that, you’re probably thinking I hate social interaction. I assure you, I don’t. I do struggle with surface-level interactions, much prefer getting to know people and building meaningful connections.

So, please feel free to leave a comment; I always reply. But if you’d rather just read, that’s ok too. So long as you’re enjoying the content, that’s fine with me.

Baby Kito and Rosie the unicorn

Baby Kito and Rosie the unicorn

Childhood Holiday Memories

When I was little, my dad worked for the railways. Our holidays involved either going to Singapore or to the holiday house owned by the Malayan (now Malaysian) Railways, or KTM as its now called in the official language of Malay, which stands for ‘Keretapi’ (which means ‘train’) Tanah Melayu (‘Malay land’).

KTM Holiday house, Port Dickson, Malaysia

This was the gorgeous house. It’s in Port Dickson, which is just over 30 miles from the capital of Kuala Lumpur, where we lived. I don’t know if it’s still standing and, if it is, whether KTM still owns it.

The Port Dickson holiday tradition started in the 1950s, I think, before I came along. I remember the wonderful holidays we had there as children. It was so easy to escape into ‘fantasyland’. Up to two families would stay there at any one time, and we always went with friends. We never had to do anything ‘domestic’ as there was a caretaker and cook/housekeeper.

I wish I had photos of the inside. I remember it being very roomy and open… though the fact that I was little might have something to do with that memory! The upstairs lounge area was open to the elements, in that there were no windows, only roll-up ‘blinds’. It was lovely sitting there, reading or just looking out at nature with no buildings to interrupt the view. Though it would get a little scary during stormy weather.

The house was on a hill overlooking the sea. Just past the bottom left-hand corner of the photo was a path that led down to the beach, with steps cut into the hill. The best part – we didn’t have to share that section of the beach with anyone else as that, too, was the property of the railways.

These photos were taken in the 1980s, apologies for the low quality.

The view from the top of the path leading down to the beach

The view from the top of the path leading down to the beach

Partway down the path

Partway down the path

The end of the path, right by the sea

The end of the path, right by the sea

Despite going to the seaside for our holidays, I never learned to swim. The initial reason stemmed from something that had happened to my mum before I was born.

My dad was a very good swimmer, my mum not at all. She and the other ladies and children would paddle about in the water close to the beach. What they didn’t realise was there was an area close to where they’d paddle where the seabed fell away quite steeply.

My mum had gone close to it only to find there was nothing under her feet. She disappeared under the water. The other ladies created enough of a racket that my dad, who was swimming further out, realised pretty quickly what was happening and came racing back. He got to her in time and pulled her out of the water.

That experience scared my mum enough that, when my third sister and I came along, she never let us venture too far out into the water. And we always had to have an adult with us.

Once I reached adulthood, there was nothing stopping me having lessons. But I never got around to it. There’s still time; who knows? I might yet learn.