There are things I love about social networking, blogging, and the internet.
There are things I hate about social networking, blogging, and the internet.
Sometimes, they’re the same thing.
I was going to post some flash fiction, but got sidetracked by something and decided to post on this instead. Today you get another list. The things I like best and least about the internet as it relates to my writing life.
What I like:
- The internet (blogs, social networks, even visiting my local library’s web page) has allowed me to connect with other writers or fledgling writers much more quickly than I could have done without it. Thus, I am also learning more quickly. Without the internet, I’d have to take a class, put an ad in the paper, or try to find a “friend of a friend” to meet other writers. THEN, I’d have to find time to call, meet, or write in order to get their thoughts on things. This is plainly less efficient for learning and sharing ideas.
- I get to interact with people from countries I didn’t know existed. I’m not making this up. I suck at geography (but I’m not going to tell you which ones I didn’t know). Sure most of my readers are US/UK/Canada/Australia natives, but I get readers from all over the globe. I just counted, since they started keeping this data for us, I’ve had visitors from 30 countries. There’s simply no way I could engage all these different people without the internet.
- I can fit adult conversation into the nooks and crannies of my day. As a mom at home with young kids, this is a sanity saver. Got five minutes? Reply to an email and enjoy a topic that isn’t, “doggie goes woof.”
- I can email/message/tweet authors of books I’ve read… and they respond! We’re (probably) all old enough that when we were kids, the idea of talking to, even by mail, the author of a favorite book was nearly unimaginable. I’ve done it twice this month.
- I’ve learned whole new types of writing I didn’t know about before (turns out, I like flash fiction).
What I dislike:
- It’s habit-forming.
- It can be creepy.
- It makes me wish I’d been able to get through “1984″ because I sorta feel like that’s where I’ve been dropped.
- Repeat the last two a few dozen times.
- It can keep me from my work-in-progress.
I feel I should expand upon the creepiness factor here, since that’s what prompted this post. So, I’m going to share a story with you.
I have an account on LinkedIn. I check it about once every 2-3 weeks. I’ve got maybe 6 whole connections (and a couple of those are just group members I’ve not really met). One is my husband. So you can see I’m not really doing much there. Sure, my blog automatically posts there, but that’s pretty much it.
I logged in the other day and it had listed “people I might know.” Normally, I just ignore these sorts of things, but the first name caught my eye. Maybe since I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow it stuck out, but the first person was none other than… the woman who cuts my hair.
Okay. Maybe that’s a fluke. I’m sure they gather ISP information or something, and figured I live near her place of employment, I might know her.
Further investigation brought me:
- my mother (who lives several states away)
- a lady I met once, who did a landscape design for our yard (local business)
- several other moms from my kid’s preschool (localish, but in big companies I have no relation to)
- a congregant from religious organization I used to belong to (local, but I don’t even know what this person does for a living)
- my Realtor’s father (also local)
Aside from my Realtor’s father, I’ve actually met all these people. But, we don’t have much in common – at least not professionally. My mom is in an entirely different area than writing, I’m actually inept at all things “girlie” and am therefore completely unqualified for any work remotely related to hair styling, I don’t know any of the preschool people professionally, and aside from buying a few plants I don’t even have much interest in horticulture/landscaping/architecture/design.
So, I looked further. There were a couple of people from some LinkedIn groups I’m in. Otherwise, I had a real actual connection to everyone on that list. There were no random landscapers, no stylists for other salons, no other Realtors.
Honestly, I’m freaked out. I’m certain I’ve never mentioned my landscaper online. I know I’ve never discussed hair on any of my professional accounts. How the heck do they know who cuts my hair? My Realtor’s father? Seriously?
The internet and I have a love-hate relationship. Today, the needle points closer to hate.