I have a rather tempestuous relationship with social media.
I will freely admit to hating Twitter, even though I have frequented that portal way too much over the past few years (Christ - has it really been that long?!). As a marketing tool, I find it a rather desolate yet noisy wasteland where the majority of people desperately shout over one another and (figuratively) shove things in your face in an effort to be noticed. I've done it myself and I'm not proud of my behavior.
On the other hand, I have met some wonderful people through it and have engaged in a few meaningful conversations that I've really enjoyed (so I'm allowed out of the naughty corner right?). And, I have to credit Twitter with facilitating the first meeting with my literary agent and publisher and thus kick starting my career as an author. In itself, that was a pretty significant milestone. So I can't completely condemn it as a tool.
To be honest though, I really have no fricken idea about what it is I am supposed to do with it as a portal. I've started referring to it as #hashtag vomit.
Facebook presents rather a similar proposition. On the advice of people "in the know" I set up my author fan page as a means to promote myself and my literary works and I did a few things with it in order to garner more interest (aka "Likes"). But people (usually other authors) don't really want to interact with me there either. They "Like" merely in the hope that I'll return the favor and though I take the the time to personally reach out, thank them and open a dialogue that doesn't involve schilling my wares, rarely do I get any response. If I do, it's usually a smiley face or a BUY MY BOOK link.
Considering the metrics of effect, the posts I...post...on Facebook that "perform" better in terms of audience engagement are the ones that don't promote me or my links. They are usually the ones that are just me, dicking around with a momentary flash of comedic insight.
After all, I do believe that I am funny.
Let's not go there okay.
Last week, I chronicled (at ridiculous o'clock in the morning) a period of funk which was basically a bad dose of writer's block. Some of the feedback I received on that post were well meaning, if a little self defeating. Distracting myself with YouTube videos is probably not going to solve my dilemmas or...shopping...(actually, I don't believe that last one was mentioned but shopping is a diversion right...Right??!)
It was in that post, post period of contemplation that I realized, I do have a small yet oft-forgotten part of my social platform that does have the potential to help conquer my ceative sink holes.
I'd given little regard to Pinterest in the past because I felt that it was yet another one of those time wasting things that serves only to...well...waste time.
But it seems I may have underestimated it's value from a creative perspective. I won't go into a deep explanation of what Pinterest is - if you don't know what it is then what are you doing on the internet?
Some months ago, I created a folder there simply titled "The Recipient" and into it, I began uploading all sorts of random pictures and images that satisfied certain creative criteria that were beginning to foment in my mind.
As those criteria began to evolve into ideas and I wrote those ideas down in my journal, the images I began searching for became much more specific and, before long, I found that I was beginning to take this little Pinterest folder somewhat seriously.
In Thomas Harris' novel "Hannibal", sequel to "Silence of the Lambs", he wrote about the concept of memory palace when describing his protagonist's mental profile. I don't have the novel in front of presently so I am recalling this from memory (hah hah), but the idea went that we each have a memory palace - a place where our collective experiences and memories reside and we can access this place again and again in our lifetime. Hannibal Lecter's memory palace was a pretty fucked up place if I remember rightly but it certainly was an interesting one.
I have come to regard Pinterest in a similar fashion and am beginning to see its importance as a tool in my creative journey.
By adding pictures and images to it and cataloging notes about those images, I have been able to retain a lot of ideas that I might have easily forgotten about. it was to that Pinterest folder I returned last week and I have to say...it really has helped.
I am a visual person and, arguably, a visual writer. I respond well to what I see in the world around me and can draw ideas really effectively. I dream vividly too and often times, I'll seek out imagery that represents those dreams as well. My memory palace, as a result, is quite a place. My Pinterest folder "The Recipient" is proving to be quite a place too - not as vivid or as risky as my memory palace, but I intend to be a little more courageous with what I post there. I have a hunch that the project I'm working on will benefit from it.
So, what am I trying to say? Twitter sucks? Facebook shits me? The whole notion of social networking leaves me cold?
None of these really? I can't imagine I'll ever truly give those up even if they do drive me nuts. But Pinterest is something entirely different and, I have to say, a tool for creativity that I am quickly coming around to.
I'd be screwed if I was blind...