One of the most time-consuming elements associated with my 365-essay-a-day writing project has been the social media promotional element that goes with it. In the last 162 days, I maybe have spent at least 162 hours (that’s almost a solid week of 24/7) Tweeting and posting and sharing. It has been overwhelmingly easier to share with strangers on sites like Twitter and Instagram than with the real people you know on Facebook.
I wonder what will result from all this time I’ve dedicated to reading other blogs, articles about social media and publishing. Will this self-procured “expertise” ultimately pay off? What will I do with a degree from the School of Google? Will it have been valuable time rather than the time I could have spent on my stories?
Today I got to use my newfound experiences when I participated in a live Twitter chat connected to an article I wrote for BlogHer, “Writing Online When Your Family Opposes It.“
I took this responsibility as seriously as I would have a Q&A with The Today Show. I prepared my answers thoughtfully – having twitter replies in triplicate (requiring three tweets to answer one question) ahead of time. When the chat went live, I realized I forgot to account for the @username I needed to include at the beginning of the Tweet. Rookie error. I was a singer whose microphone went out but I pulled it together, editing on the fly like my NYU journalism classes so diligently prepared me.
It felt like a business conference call, only so much better. I was the one spewing the advice, which is my favorite thing to do, and from a keyboard with no one watching. I was in sweatpants with terribly unkept hair, no makeup and Nutella smeared on my face from eating and typing at the same time. Let them imagine me to be a professionally astute writer easily professing words of wisdom.
I was a big fish in a very small sea and I jumped in and out of the water in excitement. Twitter Chat # 1 in the books. Cheers to more to come.
Here’s the Twitter chat transcription:
Q: What kind of response did you get from your fam when you started publishing very personal essays?
I think their original intentions were to be supportive of my writing career, so if they read something hurtful, they became passive aggressive. My mother focused on pointing out inconsistencies in the details of my stories. My father stopped reading and my step-mother deleted me from Facebook. It’s sad to get better reactions from strangers.
Q: How do you manage your family’s reactions to your essays?
Sometimes I use their words on them; my mom first said I had a right to write anything I want when it was about my stepmom. I remind them “this is how I cope with life.” They didn’t ask my approval for their coping methods so I feel justified. Also, I cry…and write more stories.
Q: Is it possible for writers to share personal stories involving others w/out making folks mad?
Have someone read your post 1st. My hubby is my nightly editor du jour & he’s a logical, disconnected reader who tells me if I’ve crossed the line. Otherwise, change names, ages, & details to disguise.
Q: Is there ever a point where the story is more important than someone else’s feelings?
It depends on the story & the person. It’s easier to tell stories when I felt like a victim because writing them gives me a sense of empowerment and control over my life. Shitty things happen & at least I wrote an entertaining story, giving it validity and worth.
Q: What’s your best tip for writing a story that involves someone else?
Definitely have another reader review your post to ensure you’re fair. To avoid conflict altogether, change names and details!
Q: Is there any story that you absolutely WOULDN’T share?
Yes, there are many intimate moments I will never share – especially online. But I probably will in my novel!
All my Tweetin’ Gems: @heartseverywher