2013 – Week 14 and a Social Media Gripe

facebookWelcome to newsletter number 14. Don’t get too close. That’s it – back up a little. You don’t want my virus, trust me. This one’s a bas**rd!

So, what have I achieved this week, besides using a record number of man-sized tissues for completely the wrong reason? Um… let’s see.

Writing – slow. I mean, really slow. Like… a few hundred words a day slow, and that was on the days I didn’t fall asleep half-way through typing a four-letter word. Not that four-letter word! What are you like?!

Anyway, I want you to know that if we don’t make the deadline with the release of Eternal Immortality, it’s entirely my fault. I’ll do all I can to catch up. I know Kristie will forgive me. I’ll crawl on my knees all the way to Arkansas if I have to. (Think very carefully, Kristie, please, before you ask me to do that.)

Editing and beta-reading. One thing that doesn’t work when your brain behaves like mashed potato and your head feels submerged is the editing business. So editing and beta reading have stalled. I’ll pick them up as soon as I feel human again. I didn’t have deadlines on these, other than my own self-appointed ones, but needless to say, they’ve had to shift by a week.

Reading is doing well – mostly because I couldn’t breathe, so I couldn’t sleep at night. No sleep = lots of reading. See? There’s the silver lining. I’ll have two or three reviews for you this coming week, and one new entry into my Awesome Authors Gallery. 2012 produced three worthy names, and 2013 brought three more in just three months. Look out for the new addition – clue: I’ve already reviewed this author once this year.

Only downside of my late-night reading is that my kindle now stinks of eucalyptus. I’ve washed and sterilised everything I touched, but I can’t get the smell out of that leather cover that came with my kindle.

Remember my new item last week? I was going to explain more about Wattpad. It seems limited, but on the plus side you can upload stories to the site, an option definitely worth considering. I got distracted and registered with a few professional sites instead, as short stories are not really my thing. Trouble was, in my illness-induced befuddlement, I must have clicked on something that required one of them to invite my friends over to join ReferralKey, and the whole of my address book got swept up in one fell swoop. A few people rejected the email as spam, some reported it, and the rest wondered what exactly it was I was asking them to do. The answer is – nothing, really. Have a look at the site, if you like, but there’s nothing special about it that I could see.

And that brings me neatly to my Social Media gripe of the week! I was in the process of choosing a radio channel that suits my mood when I tripped over a news broadcast. Apparently Facebook are starting to charge for sending messages to people outside your circle of friends. Yes, true. 71 pence per message (about 90 cents), although this fee will be much higher if you want to message a celebrity.

I guess this is the point where you turn around and say ‘What, you didn’t know?’ No, I didn’t. I’m slow, like that.

But doesn’t this seem to you a little like cutting the branch you’re sitting on? How limiting would this be in terms of making new friends? Interaction? What interaction? Soon, we’ll be turning into a bunch of isolated cliques with no reach other than our already-friends. Not that I don’t appreciate the friendships I’ve developed on social media – that’s how I’ve met the people who have changed my life, people who continue to support and inspire me every single day. But facilitating interaction is social media’s primary function, is it not? Charging is not the best method of ‘facilitating’ anything. Charging is deterring.

A few of my readers got in contact by messaging me on FB – people I didn’t know, genuinely interested in details such as when they could get their hands on the sequel to the book they were reading. I suppose that’s it with such contacts, now.

Of course, we’ll find other ways around it, perhaps move to a different, less limited platform which does all that FB does, plus some. Perhaps we’ll finally figure out how draining social media actually is and get back to a more fulfilling activity. I know I have a lot of writing to do, not to mention the fact that I can barely remember what my kids look like, or what it’s like to walk the dogs on a beach.

So, besides pinning a post to the tops of all my FB pages with contact information by any means other than FB, my job next week (in those rare idle moments) will be to figure out where I’m going next. Twitter and google+ are clear favourites right now. And this blog.

What about you? What’s the solution? Do you have a better suggestion? Am I misunderstanding something? I’m sure of what I heard, but it seems… well… incredibly stupid.

5 Replies to “2013 – Week 14 and a Social Media Gripe”

  1. I’ve tried to message people on FB to thank them for ‘liking’ my page, and I receive a pop-up telling me it will cost $1 to send the message. I think that’s ridiculous, so I just post a public thank you on my page from time to time. Crazy.

    Sorry to hear you’re still sick. Hope you get better soon!

    1. Beyond crazy. Celebrities – I understand. But there are options for avoiding spam, which has been named the ‘reason’ for introducing these charges (see full article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9977718/Facebook-tests-new-payment-system-to-charge-users-for-messaging.html )
      In my mind I see Zuckerberg standing behind the bunch of us on a high rise, and shouting loudly ‘Cool it, guys!’ – ’cause that’s what is going to happen.

      My cold is just a rhinovirus – is that the real term? – which is taking advantage of my tiredness and probably a bit of stressing over work deadlines. I got a good night’s sleep now, so I’m good to go. Won’t waste another day on something as worthless as a virus. Thank you for your get-well wishes. 🙂

  2. I guess we should have seen the writing on the wall. You know, the tiny fine print!
    I’ve been locked out of my facebook for a while until I can match faces to names. Now they want my ID faxed to let me back in. Since it’s been so long since I’ve used it, I’m probably going to say, Nope. I’m used to not having it now anyway.

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