Writers need connections on social media to help find critique partners and places to share knowledge about the writing industry. But sometimes those connections are not helping advance your creative needs.
I think we’ve all been there: you see a closed FB group, whose focus is an area writing you interested in. But you can’t see any of the posts unless you’re a member. So you ask to join the group, and the moderator accepts.
Then you watch your FB stream.
Sometimes it’s great! I have 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, and on and on and on.
Sometimes, the FB stream makes your jaw drop open. The culture within the group is just a really poor fit. Maybe the focus is on too much negativity. Maybe you watch as members excoriate someone who posts a particular question or lectures them. Maybe it’s too much political garbage that you were hoping to finally escape for the day. Some groups leave newer members afraid to post, so they become stalkers- watching the feed, hoping to glean knowledge from posts, but not interacting. Sometimes, in groups such as these, the writer’s hold on, hoping they can still make use of the contacts on the days when links to a self-published book page or author page are allowed.
In the meantime, the negativity of those kinds of groups could be adding to the already emotionally difficult journey of writing.
I’ve posted previously (here) about the impact of negative social media, and concerns about the potential impact on a writers overall view of themselves and the creatives with which they interact. It is really, really important to know that if a particular group on F is a poor fit, it’s OK to leave that group and find connections that more align with your creative and social needs- groups that make you feel like a participant with worthy input, or a place where information is shared to help each other become better craftsman.
I have seen pages that have posted negatively about members that leave the group. If your worried about that happening, it is probably the wrong group to be in anyway. And the lifespan of memory on social media is about a click-away- whatever flurry of negative rhetoric is there will likely be forgotten soon enough. Usually, the negative rhetoric is brought on by some nasty remark by the person, themselves, right before they leave the group. I would strongly urge folks to avoid this step and just leave the group quietly, with dignity.
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 are insistent on focusing 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.
Consider what you’re forcing yourself to be a part of. Consider cleaning house, to stay connected with those resources that truly build you up as a creative and remove yourself from those that tear you down.