In 2019, I am thinking about…

Hello friends, happy 2019 to you all.

I’ve been chatting with friends about our presences on social media — very highly mediated presences, where because of politics, fake news, noise, memes, et al, we’ve resorted to really editing ourselves down to the point of erasure.

Yes, this sounds dramatic, but I am saying it this way to make a point.

When I “found” other Pinxy writers and writers of color online, we treasured our semi-public spaces, where wonderful conversations were had in the blogosphere, where we utilized privacy settings and comment moderation to try to keep it neat. We’d get trolls, but for myself, it was easy to not approve those comments, and then just move on.

I loved how we all “found” one another, via our other writer friends, on blogrolls, in the comment streams, where comments were thoughtful and even painstaking. Some of us even formed meaningful human relationships as a result of connecting in blog space.

Transitioning to social media was another thing. Folks started migrating over there, in favor of “friends” only privacy settings; those blog trolls must have been so daunting that folks decided to migrate over to spaces where our input is quick and dirty and too short for even the kind of conciseness a poet like me loves. I resisted social media for as long as I could, until it became clear that my “author platform” required my presence and engagement there. The traffic of social media, the personae that surfaced there, I really dislike it. We lose our decorum there, “speak” to one another thoughtlessly there. I see a lot of ugliness in people I thought I knew, and I really dislike it.

And then ugly politics made people shut themselves off some more.

For groups of writers who come from silenced and marginalized communities, I don’t want us to allow this silencing to happen to us.

I come to this space to write outward and substantially, with a good amount of thoughtfulness. I used to think I was a dinosaur, for insisting on this space. But no, I miss those thoughtful conversations I used to have with other writers. No, social media is not conducive to thoughtful conversation; it’s a dick sizing up kind of place, and I am not down with that. Nor am I down with the meme-ification of words and ideas, stripped of context, often stolen from its proper author or artist. That is also a kind of silencing. I am sick of folks reposting the same articles and memes over and over again; that is not the work that needs to be done. That’s not work at all. That’s fucking lazy.

I maintain my presence there; it is a virtual reality palengke that may or may not help with book sales. You think you know who I am IRL if you follow my social media feeds, but no, you don’t.

So, in 2019, find me here, if you are really interested in what I have to say.


4 Responses

  1. Thanks for writing this, Barbara Jane. I’ll be blogging more this year on, and also supporting and reading more thoughtful bloggers. –Jean

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