The Black Hole of Social Media

I reached out to a former professor for advice on developing a career in writing and one of her main pieces of advice was to avoid social media as much as possible, it “eats time like acid”. This was something I started to accept months ago. I would open up YouTube with the intention of watching one video and end up spending 10+ minutes travelling down the black hole of related videos. I would open up Instagram with the intention of posting to my accounts and leaving, and end up spending another 10+ minutes scrolling through one account or page after another.

I began using Instagram within the past year in an attempt to build my following but I am not sure if it has been as helpful as I hoped. Twitter already taught me that people can like or even retweet your content without really engaging with it e.g. clicking a link and reading a blog post. I worry that the same thing is happening with Instagram. I have a small following but I know those followers and likes are not worth anything when it comes to them reading the content I create on this blog.

Part of the issue is that there are so many accounts and so many people wanting to gain their following. I try to engage with the small group of people who regularly like my content and checking in on 15+ accounts daily can still eat up a lot of time. As I complain about my need to return a favour I can understand why it can be difficult to go to someone’s site and become a regular visitor, even if you want to.

I have considered deleting my Instagram accounts but I am wondering if I need them simply because it looks good to have them. One day when I (hopefully) get an agent, will she see my lack of an Instagram account as a disadvantage for my marketability. At that point will a few hundred followers be better than none? Maybe it will be worth it then but right now all I truly see is a drain of data. I blame myself for the lost time since it is my attention span that causes the issue.

I have now made a resolution to spend my time on the bus either writing or reading. No more listening to music and I will allow myself ten minutes to post to my two accounts. The current book I’m working on, “Alive: Part II” began with a short poem I wrote and I hope to generate some more roots while I spend time travelling to a place I hope to escape soon.

Reading Comprehension Is A Dying Art

Yesterday, I received the first legitimate comment on one of my blog posts. By legitimate I mean that the post wasn’t spam. I got the notification while I was uploading yesterday’s post and was initially excited to engage with a reader. Unfortunately, this comment apparently came from an idiot: David Sirmons at davidsirmons07@gmail.com.

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His comment was in response to my article on Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. In the article I criticized the perception that an attractive woman has to be a dainty one. To this day, I still think Gal Gadot could gain at least another ten pounds for her role as Wonder Woman, but this mindset gets criticized by those who think we want Wonder Woman to be too “brutish” and “unwomanly”. I used Jessica Biel as an example of a more muscular woman who lifts weights, while also remaining “womanly” and very attractive. I said Biel was brutish as a sarcastic statement that accompanied this picture. If David read the whole article he probably would have realized that, but he is likely one of the people who only skimmed it before posting a comment and making a fool of himself:

“Jessica Biel? Brutish?!? You have a slim view of what constitutes ‘brutish’ in a woman. Google is your friend for enlightenment. Biel is fantastically in shape, and is far closer to the bodytype needed in WW. Your entire article above speaks out how Gal needs to put on more weight. I fully agree. But if you think Biel is oversized……jesus. You don’t get out that damn much it seems. She’s great, and her body type is right in line with WW. Odd how you prefer the actually stocky and oversized Carano over Biel. Get your dipshit eyes checked.”

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So even though David says exactly what I was saying, that Biel’s body is closer to what WW should have, he doesn’t realize that is what I was saying. David is probably one of the dim-witted people who will retort to an argument by writing “TL:DR(too long, didn’t read)”. Sadly, this post that David commented on wasn’t even one of the longer ones. It is about 1000 words, but is also broken up with plenty of paragraphs and links. I guess that was still too much for poor David to get through, and he had to resort to posting an idiotic comment. Hopefully this blog post isn’t too long for him.

I was hesitant to call him out originally, since David is not the only person involved in this kind of stupidity online. This is not the first time that an argument has been completely misinterpreted online. There are plenty of longer articles on independent blogs and sites like medium, but many of those posts are broken up with images and short paragraphs. It is a shame but it seems like this is the world we live in now, where we need to accommodate for shorter attention spans instead of trying to fight them. Fifty years from now, maybe articles will all need to be under a certain length for anyone to bother reading them. If the attention cut off point is 1000 words now, maybe it will slim down to 500 words in another twenty years.

I am not saying I am immune to a shortened attention span, I am only saying that I try to be mindful of it and fight against it. I avoid staying on apps like instagram or sites like YouTube for too long. Over the past few months I have made an active commitment to watch tv and play video games less, substituting that time with reading physical books. I meditate, I exercise, I do a host of things in the hope of clearing my mind and staying more focused. Basically, I do all those things to be less like David. Thank you for commenting David, and for showing me what I could turn out to be if I am not careful.

Update: I received an email response from David after I called him out on his mistake. Below is his articulate retort:
“True, I didn’t read it all. I only read the area that I was presented with regarding the image. Still, you called her brutish, did you not? Yes, you did.

Fuck off.”
I can respect him for admitting he didn’t read the whole article, as I suspected. What I have no respect for his is child-like defense. Yes, I did call Biel brutish, sarcastically. Context is king and for this idiot to latch on to the “oh you did say it though” excuse… his mom probably tried to balance too many things in her hand at one point. Welcome to the new normal of the internet.