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How Social Media Nearly Killed My Writing… And Why I’m OK With It

I was a prolific blogger for many years. I started dabbling in it in 2001, became pretty active in 2006 and kept at it until around 2010, then social media hit critical mass and suddenly my time was being split between blogging and posting on social networks.

Facebook hit the mainstream around the time my daughter was born, so that played into it as well. Suddenly, my time was split into smaller chunks as a parent, and Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were there to make posting quick and easy for me. So I started spending more time on them, and less time blogging. As a digital strategist, my job included exploring the latest and greatest social networks, so my work took me there as well.

For a while, I had a great system for pairing blogging with social networking, using them to support each other. But slowly, as my time became more fragmented and more social networks arose, I stopped blogging. Not completely, but enough that a month or two would pass and I hadn’t written anything. I had never been a daily blogger — I knew myself well enough never to force myself into that lifestyle — but going a month without blogging felt wrong… when I had the time to think about it.

When I signed my book deal in 2013 and began writing, that took all of my writing time, all of my working time, and as much extra time as I could find. It was amazing I wrote anything else at all until the book came out mid 2014. Since then, I’ve been out of the habit. I have no processes for blogging any more. At first, I felt despondent. It wasn’t like me not to be blogging. But I was writing. I was speaking often and every speech meant writing. And I had begun writing longer Facebook posts, which is really no different from writing short blog posts.

Earlier this year, I decided to give myself a pass and allow the change, for a while. I began blogging because I had so many things on my mind I wanted to write about. I still have many things to write about, but there’s less urgency now. I never wrote to gain an audience but I appreciate the readers I’ve had. That said, blogging or any form of writing online now has changed due to the troll ecosystem. That wasn’t there when I began blogging. And as a woman, I’m constantly aware of trolls. I don’t fear them; I just don’t have time to deal with them. I don’t even have time to deal with positive comments — reading, approving, responding. And I don’t have time now to write about solving that problem, although I have written and spoken about it often enough in the past.

What I do know is that sharing your voice in a variety of platforms is important if you’re someone like me who has a lot of ideas and thoughts and enjoys engaging with readers and various audiences. I like helping other people, giving them new information and things to think about. Tweeting is one way. Speaking is another. So while I’m not writing as much — for now — I’ve decided to be okay with it. I don’t love it. I truly prefer long-form writing to short-form. But this will do for now.