If A Tree Falls…

photo credit: El silencio, su mejor refugio via photopin (license)
photo credit: El silencio, su mejor refugio via photopin (license)

After placing my author social media accounts on hiatus, I realized that Twitter in particular had become an integral part of my life. So I opened up a new account, placed it on private, and sent tweets essentially to myself. At first I was uneasy: isn’t the point of social media to be social? To find your tribe online through mutual interests (usually discovered via hashtags)? And as an author, you should be out there, mingling with your peers and potential readers!

My unease quickly disappeared when I logged back into my normal Twitter account. The million and a half conversations, the links, the hashtags, the memes, the gifs, all zooming across my screen, felt like noise. The wrenching, shrieking violins from the shower scene in Psycho started playing in my head. Catching tail ends of twitter convos suddenly exacerbated FOMO syndrome, and I had to stop myself before I started down the path of clicking profiles and hashtags in order to keep up with what everyone was discussing today.

I’ve grown very fond of performance studies over the past year. Identity formations and role playing based on a standard repertoire for how X people are supposed to behave fascinates me, likely because I’ve always felt out of sync with how I am supposed to perform based on the intersections of my physical appearance, my ethnicity, my gender, my socioeconomic background, my religion, my education/profession, and my age. Having been a “member” of Romancelandia for a little over ten years, I am well versed in the performance of being A Romance Author (and A Romance Reader) when Online. Despite the shift towards digital spaces as a primary place for connection, the performance remains the same: you exchange enough social currency to build a new link in your network, thereby increasing your chances for success (e.g. a community of friends to share your book covers, new releases, etc).

But what happens when you don’t perform?

What if I never tweeted, Facebooked, or Instagramed ever again?

Is social currency like actual currency: it accumulates and collects interest when you don’t touch it? Or is it like the stock market: it rises and falls based upon exterior forces and demands (aka other people)?

If an author removes themselves from the flow of conversation, do they continue to exist to the community?

Author: Evangeline Holland

Evangeline is a public historian who brings her academic skills to fiction, in order to fill in the gaps in the historical record. Her love for history permeates just about everything she does, going so far as to "suffer" for this love--as the bruises and stuck fingers from fencing and sewing costumes to understand life in the past firsthand can attest.

2 thoughts on “If A Tree Falls…”

  1. I firmly believe you are still a member of the community. In the days before social media, writers and readers were a member of a community, even if it wasn’t a strictly defined community in terms of Facebook groups or Twitter followers. I still believe that to be true now.

    There are days when I don’t want to interact with anyone on social media, and then I wonder, will people get bored if I don’t tweet out my normal WW2 pics? Will they stop following me? And a sort of panic ensues and I hurry and post something. Social media is a catch-22 in every sense of the word. I long to escape it sometimes; other days, it is my sanctuary and my refuge. I’m still working on trying to figure out a healthy balance.

Leave a Reply