Twitter Terrified

In Backspace’s STET! column, I ask:highline

Can a Writer NOT Embrace Social Media?

My name is Christina. I’m a published writer and a blogophobic. I’m also Facebook-averse and Twitter-terrified.

I’m a long form writer, I subscribe to egghead literary journals and ten thousand words is about the right length for me to read about or explain a complex issue like the financial crisis or the AIG bailout. I used to be a research analyst, author of in-depth executive white papers, and find that the quick take on an issue is usually a dumb take.

I don’t like chatting in public, I’m paranoid about people spying on me and listening in. When I’m on Facebook I feel like I’m stuck in a stalled New York City subway, a crowded elevator, or my high school cafeteria, looking at and listening to things I’d much rather block out.

There’s a comic I love called Andy Kindler who does a nice riff on what he calls “Fritter.”

I’m a person who’s always had a very few, tight friends with whom I communicate deeply and at length, and I hate small talk. Small talk and mean talk is what I find on many blogs and some online communities. (Yes, I understand the irony of me saying this online .)

The writers I hold in greatest esteem don’t even have web sites, let alone Twitter their every thought. I tend to lose respect for anyone who promotes themselves a lot online. If someone’s sending me a Twitter and FB update every day, I think: pathetic. Monthly is fine, but daily or weekly? Unless they’ve just discovered a cure for global warming looks desperate.

I don’t like airing my work and its aims too early – because it changes. It changes every day. Nor do I think it’s useful to share my, or read about another writer’s creative process. It’s a mystery, and I like to keep it that way.  I’d rather get more and better fiction from my favorite writers than an ode to their cat, or a riff on their back garden. I want the magic, not an explanation of how they did the trick.

An essayist and author I great admired — please note the past tense — has fallen on hard times, and blogs her every misery: an ugly divorce, homelessness, bankruptcy and just plain bad attitude. I wish she didn’t. I wish she could sit on these thoughts while she works some of her problems out, instead of spewing them into the world unprocessed.  I’m not her shrink, I’m her potential audience, a future buyer of her books, If she’d only stop blogging and get back to work.