As writers, we need connections on social media to find critique partners and places to share writing knowledge. But sometimes those connections are not helping advance creative needs.
I think we’ve all been there- finding a closed FB group, whose focus is an genre or writing focus of interest. But the posts content is for members only. So you ask to join the group and the moderator accepts.
Then you watch your FB stream.
Sometimes it’s great! I’ve learned so much being a part of some groups. There are writing groups related to detective plots, fantasy plots, trauma, geek trivia, how to self-publish, query edits, pitch contests, and on and on and on. I can find people willing to give critiques and my I can contribute what I have learned from my manuscript submissions to agents and pitch contests.
Sometimes, the FB stream makes your jaw drop open.
The culture within the group may be a really poor fit. Maybe the focus is on too much negativity. Maybe members excoriate someone who posts a particular question or lectures them. Maybe it’s too much political garbage you were hoping to escape. Some groups leave newer members afraid to post, so they become stalkers- watching the feed, hoping to glean knowledge but not interacting (I may have done that!). Sometimes, the members hold on, hoping to eventually make use of the exposure on days when links to self-published book pages or author pages are allowed.
In the meantime, the negativity of those groups could be adding to the already emotionally difficult journey of writing.
I’ve posted previously about the impact of negative social media (here) and the potential impact on a writers’ view of themselves. It’s really, really important to know that if a particular group on Facebook is a poor fit, it’s OK to leave the group and find connections that more align with your creative and social needs- places to help build your craft up and support your creative journey.
Some groups post negative rants about members that leave the group. If you’re worried about that, it’s probably the wrong group anyway. And the lifespan of memory on social media is about a click away- any flurry of negative rhetoric will be forgotten quickly. Often, the negative rhetoric is brought on by a nasty remark by the person leaving the group. I would strongly urge against posting your rebuke of the group and just leave quietly with dignity. You never know what bridges you may burn.
Honestly, there’s enough negativity these days, that I have come to the point where I leave groups or unfollow people on FB/Twitter that focus on negative posts for the sake of RT or likes. It isn’t about ignoring people with opposing opinions. It’s about not surrounding myself with angry negativism or becoming a social media target for someone else’s bad day/attitude/need to carry on the negativity. It’s about finding other authors wanting to share and grow our craft.
Consider what your social media exposure is doing to your creative self. Protect your creative journey by considering cleaning house, staying connected with resources that truly build your writing journey and remove yourself from those that tear you down.