Regina Garson's Blog

On Life and Writing in the Age of Facebook

I’ve been doing a whole lot of thinking lately. For all those writers out there who complain incessantly about writer’s block – that has never actually been my problem, which is one of the things I have totally loved about Facebook. I migrated a lot of stuff there after my accident, meaning instead of the blog, or whatever other, I was posting on Facebook, especially the political stuff, which I normally would have published somewhere else or posted on one of my blogs.

The Facebook route made sense on some levels, various levels of disability post-accident and all that, especially since there was no way I was going to get everything done that I wanted to get done, much less used to get done, and write too. It can be a fairly good readership, from a writer’s perspective, and it seemed like a good choice at the time.

One day, you wake up and you are no longer as able or as fast, or anything else that you used to be. We all have little, and sometimes not so little, humps to get over in life. Mine was a little accident that jump-started me into a whole lot of the stuff that you don’t normally expect until you are older. I was suddenly a whole lot slower than my birth certificate would indicate I should be.

Life is still what you make it though, and after going in a lot of circles, instead of worrying too much about churning out articles and getting the blog posts out on such a regular basis, I moved a lot of what I would have normally done as an article to Facebook. It was doable.

For all kinds of reasons, moving my everyday writing and political commentary to Facebook seemed like a good idea at the time and, in addition to friends and family, I have a fairly decent following there as well. So it is not as if I was rolling up and calling it quits. It is sure not an end all though. But what I did not anticipate is that as Facebook friends tend to come and go, I ended up in the odd or maybe unexpected  situation of explaining to folks that I was actually a writer and this is what I have been doing for ever how many decades. And these are actually issues that I have written about many times and I have a pretty solid background.

A whole lot of my writing and editorial work has been politically focused and on various social issues, some government related something, from NASA, rockets and rocket science, where I actually worked as a contractor writing for the Ares Rocket program, to covering Department of Labor and workers’ rights and issues in another editorial gig, to doing a little writing for the DOD in yet another gig. When it comes to politics and the government, I am at the very least familiar with a few of the ropes. All considered, it could be that I could be doing a better job on the old elevator speech, and I am dead serious on that.

Elevator speeches for Facebook could certainly be a topic, because at a certain point, it was akin to questioning whether a 90-year-old mechanic knows how to change a tire. Maybe not as fast as he/she used to, but they sure know how to change that tire. That is about how dumbfounded I felt with some of the responses to my Facebook posts. It could be I should have not gone so hard with my personal page on it. That may need some thought as well but the personal page was actually doing better and getting a lot more traffic and engagement than the “like” and “fan pages.”

It wasn’t just that though, with my health, at the time, Facebook was just about the best I could do. Churning those articles (meaning my own stuff) had turned into some kind of something. Moreover, I was/am still actually working (writing and editing both), trying to maintain my household, and having some semblance of a life.

We all live and learn; whatever we do, we adapt and learn how to deal with the different phases of life and levels of ability. I am still in the game though and I do indeed realize that is the best part of it all. However, on top of everything else, life in general, and the Internet, along with everything popping up both on and with it – including social media – it is all constantly changing. Times change. And so do we. Therefore, from my little niche, I have to figure out how it all works as it relates to me, which we all have to do, in whatever business or profession we are in. A lot of that really is trial and error.

Being real though, if I lived two life times, I am still not certain that I would manage to get everything written that I really do want to put into words. So that has definitely been a lure of Facebook. We all feel that old biological clock in different kinds of ways. That is one of the reasons that I had started posting such in the first place; there is too much that I want to get written in the time I have to write, plus my political inclinations multiply that one exponentially, and a Facebook post takes a whole lot less time than a blog post. I think I am probably over that one though. Or at least half way.

At any rate, right this instant, my writer’s muse is apparently calling, more like screaming, make that – pitching a hissy fit to get off Facebook – in more ways than one – including the neglected blogs. It was good for keeping my writing going and up on the issues while I got through some of the humps of healing. But I’m still healing and change is in the air.

Make no mistake, I absolutely love Facebook. However, we all have to find a balance in whatever we do, both socially and professionally. Social media is indeed a new media and writers have been at the heart of whatever the media of the day was, pretty much since writing and various forms of communication were invented. Finding the right balance in how it relates to what we do is another matter all together. It takes some thought, trial and error with every change along the way, in both our career and social media itself. It could be that it is also going to take rethinking the old elevator speech as it relates to social media.

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