©2011 Odilia Rivera Santos
I have spoken to writers who are reticent to use social media and fully understand how one might consider this kind of engagement burdensome. But to quote Heraclitus "The only constant in life is change."
I experienced Post Twitter Sleepy Disorder the other day after hours of feeding information into all my social networking sites. I suddenly felt an urge to go to sleep in the middle of the afternoon -- my body as fatigued as if I had run a marathon. My brain was suffering from information overload akin to that of postal office workers who had to read address labels at a speed not considered humane. I began to think of what kind of short circuits brains experience from this kind of overwork. The redwoods beckoned, but they are in California, a glass of wine would've been nice, but I'm allergic to alcohol. I may be the only person in the world who gets a migraine and vomits from two glasses of wine, but there it is.
I was glued to my seat, considering the possibilities. I watched the Twitter feed as if it were a river, but I refrained from throwing stones, knowing I would only shatter my Mac screen and add yet another expense to my life. My eyes did begin to twitch, and I decided to head out to Harlem to my favorite restaurant. At the restaurant, which is full of slow-living people -- you know the kind to keep the phone at the bottom of their bags, ignore how slow the service is and not even glance to see who's calling when the phone rings, I sat watching other patrons and the waiters came over to chat. The waiter and I danced to some classic R&B while waiting for my friend to show. A man sat next to me and told me his writer story and about his aversion to using social media, which stemmed from the tired logic of self-promotion being too much about oneself. Yes, he really said that. Self-promotion is a pretty self-explanatory term; his reasoning made me think of my public-school-in-the-ghetto experience in which students were loathe to be considered intelligent or gifted and God forbid anyone placed you in an honors class. To be a writer, you must be audacious. Somewhere in the ghetto of our minds, we must believe our ideas have validity and will engage an audience. Self-promotion means you are advertising your work; it does not mean you have declared you are a perfect being and everyone should aspire to be you. It just means you no longer hide yourself or your work from the world.
I had left the quiet of my apartment with the noise of Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Google+ to luxuriate in the loveliness of my favorite hangout spot only to be engaged in a Twitter conversation -- I spouted facts and figures so quickly he couldn't keep up with the feed. I then realized he knew nothing about social media and was one of those people who eschews anything new. I let go and let him hang on to his false beliefs -- a agent will do everything for you!
I realize you have to be very proactive to jump into the deep end of online living, OCD works well, but ADD will do you in. As I have said previously, you have to go online as one would enter a burning building: Know what is important, why you are going in and get out fast.
Many people develop monkey mind on the Net and others exacerbate this preexisting condition. I am online to promote my writing and to jump start my incarnation as a full-time artist.
I truly live in the land of possibility and often forget there are those who enjoy a sanguine outlook on life, their artistic work and the future.
Listening to myself attempt to talk the depressive writer out of his inertia, I suddenly stopped and thought who cares?
His negativity and defeatism was like a Twitter feed in real life for which I had no use. I blocked the user by shrugging my shoulders and focusing on my friend, Elizabeth, who had traveled a long distance to enjoy the real world with me.
We were offline and in a beautiful place. The waiter told me he had a great idea for a science fiction screenplay and a woman sat down next to me to tell me her story about being in love with two men.
I considered how my senses needed this breath of fresh air away from the Net. I left the Twitter feed running at home and nothing would be lost in the continuous stream of information just as nothing would be lost if I listened to this stranger without fully listening and believed without fully believing her story in real life.