Poets & Activists & the Social Media Backdrop

One morning earlier this week, I woke up early, had time to snooze, and thus ended up lying in bed typing a weirdo pseudo-mini-essay Facebook post on my phone about dead raccoons, the perils of Miami traffic, performance art, and my ambivalence toward social media.

Every time I post something on Facebook, I get an immediate response. People like it! Oh wow! But this, of course, is an illusion. It’s engineered. Nevertheless, for me, getting an immediate response on a piece of writing is like a drug. There’s something really satisfying about the immediate appearance of readers.

As I’ve quoted here before, Sarah Schulman recently gave a speech about how there is no correlation between artistic merit and critical reward. I’m not saying that Facebook “likes” equal critical acclaim, but when you are used to the feeling that nobody is listening, it can make a big difference. When I made that impromptu micro-essay Facebook post, I happened to be days into the depths of working on a guest blog post for Trish Hopkinson’s blog A Selfish Poet.

If you haven’t checked out her blog—especially if you are a poet yourself—I highly recommend it! Trish regularly posts on the blog about fee-free calls for poetry submissions, but she also features guest bloggers (for instance—shameless plug—Risa Denenberg and Margaret Rozga). When I saw that Trish was looking for guest contributors, I knew that I eventually wanted to pitch her a post, but I wasn’t sure about the topic.

I’d just published a chapbook, but that didn’t really qualify me to discuss the in’s and out’s of publishing. I had just started my MFA program, but didn’t yet feel seasoned enough to publicly post about the experience. Then, the story about Cambridge Analytica happened, and somehow, it taught me something about what it meant to me to be a writer.

I’ll send you over to my post on Trish’s blog to read more about where I ended up landing on this.

No one will find this ironic, but when I posted a link to my blog post on my social media, I got far less response than I had with the pseudo-essay-raccoon-roadkill post. Which, I guess, helped drive home the point of the whole thing to me.

Merit is not correlated with reward. This is true for awards, for reviews, and yes, for Facebook posts.

—     —     —

I send my thanks again to Trish Hopkinson for allowing me to publish “Poetry, Social Media, and Activism” on her blog. I’m very happy to have a guest post on a blog that really is a wealth of information. Thanks to Twitter (ha!), the post was picked up by the Poet Bloggers Revival Digest, a very interesting project that places blog posts against each other for some intriguing contrasts and textures.

CC Image courtesy of Eric on Flickr.

One thought on “Poets & Activists & the Social Media Backdrop

  1. I feel this is so true. Such an addiction correlates to a need for validation. As a creator I am soooooooooooooo not excused either, so deep in the perpetuation! Especially when you are your own boss.

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