Rahul Singh is doing some social media research. The other day he sent me a list of questions about my social media use. He consented also to my sharing my answers in a blog post.
In fact, he said he was fine with my replying in public. If you would like to help him out, you see the questions below, and he’d love for you to share your own answers with him. He is on Google+ here, too.
So to his questions, followed by my answers in “block quotes.” Enjoy! 🙂
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0. Age, nationality, profession?
Uh, 50 (Good grief, how did that happen?), American, novelist.
1. Why, and how do you use Social Media?
To share experiences, engage with readers, learn, and “meet” people. I tend towards chit-chat, relevant news and literary and travel stories, as well as my own doings, and I like to “talk” with others about theirs. (In order of importance, I use: 1. This blog, 2. Twitter, 3. Instagram, 4. Tumblr, and 5. Facebook. I’m on Goodreads also; but I am not as active there as I probably should be for a writer. I just can’t seem to get into it and don’t want to “waste” too much time there at the expense of other social media.)
2. How much time do you spend on SM/day?
1-3 hours. Mondays to Fridays I try to write a blog post here to open my work day. After, I “lock myself away” and work on my actual current novel manuscript for several hours at least. I return to social media later in the day and evening for a bit. I try to spend less time on it on weekends.
3. The best thing about it?
Its worldwide nature.
4. The worst thing about it?
The rudeness, crudeness and bigotry we see in too many. I believe most such people would not talk that way to someone’s face. But, then again, worryingly, maybe they do?
5. Real friends or Internet friends?
Both. I actually stumbled on a daughter of a former colleague totally by accident on Twitter. Without knowing who the other happened to be (she tweeted anonymously and I use a pen name), we’d followed each other purely due to shared interests. We had met just a couple of times 20 years earlier. She happened to tweet once about her late father’s book. I was stunned when I saw who he was. I messaged her: “OMG! I worked with your dad years ago at ______ university! Are you?….” She was. We had a huge LOL. Social media, it seems, can also be a SMALLER “world” than we often think, too!
6. Friends or Family?
I use most social media for non-family. I have a “private” Facebook account (under my real name) for my family and close friends.
7. How has SM affected you?
It has been a mind-broadening experience and proven amazingly useful for my writing. I have also made some friends through it. After a development of trust, they have been granted entrance into my real life, and I’ve been allowed into theirs.
8. Advice for people on the Internet.
Treat everything you write as if you would be prepared for the entire world to see it. The dopiest things can go “viral.” Never forget: a single thoughtless statement or tacky or nasty joke could cost you your job and even virtually ruin your life.
9. Answer in YES or NO.
A. Are you your real self on Internet?
NO. (My “Nello” surname is an altered version of my real one – essentially a pen name – but everything else about me on here is real, including my first name being Robert. I adopted that social media approach because much of what I wrote about in my first three books involved real people I know, or knew. All of their names and many details about them have been fictionalized as well.)
B. Do you read blogs or eBooks?
C. Do you feel Internet has made you more negative in any way?
D. Have you ever got involved in sexting?
NO. (I’m a married man! Not that I do, but if I do anything like that it is with ONLY my wife!)
E. Do you think most people here are fake?
NO. (Aside from the fact they may use pen names or fake handles as I do for privacy or personal safety reasons.)
F. Do you sometimes have anxiety?
YES (but I don’t suppose more than most people).
G. Do you get irritated easily?
NO. (Although, I believe I just heard my wife scoff.)
H. If you’re given a choice, would you “unmet” the people you’ve met through SM?
I. Do you like to troll?
NO. (I don’t do that because I don’t like it done to me. And it’s just plain rude anyway.)
J. Have you ever shared your personal data (phone no., etc) with anyone?
NO. (If anyone wishes to contact me, I have a publicly visible email address. Putting a phone number on the internet is daft.)
K. Do you share your personal troubles with your Internet friends?
L. Do you ever feel like quitting your life?
NO. (Well, not most of the time.)
M. Did I annoy you? (Please, pardon me if I did.)
NO. (Your questions were excellent, and I’ve enjoyed answering them.)
Last question, What has Internet taught you?
More than I could possibly relate in a paragraph. I will say that Number 1 has been crossing paths with more people than I had ever imagined I could and encountering so many more life stories than was ever before really possible. Great stuff for a writer. With a touch of a screen, we hear from people from everywhere in the world. Back, uh, “in my day,” not only were there cassette tapes and corded telephones, and Friends was produced in first-run episodes, but, well… we actually had to travel and meet living people in person! 😉