Tag Archive: Facebook


Copyright 2013, Patrick Lemieux & Adam Unger

Copyright 2013, Patrick Lemieux & Adam Unger

BNL cover art (with text)

Copyright 2014, Patrick Lemieux


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Strangely, I find myself defending my dislike for being active on Twitter to an inordinate number of my friends. Here’s the best explanation I can give:

I don’t feel I belong there.

I was slow to join Twitter, but when I finally did, I did so enthusiastically. I followed a bunch of people, everyone from internet cult celebrities to big-time famous people and a lot of folks in between. I engaged with some and replied to friends and strangers alike.

Several things happened in a short period of time to change how I felt. The interactivity turned sour and negative. I’d heartily agree with things I agreed with and debated points I felt needed debating. These would sometimes turn into full-blown arguments and hurt feelings with friends. Or if it was with a stranger, both sides simply defaulted to the “what an asshole!” view of the other and if we were lucky, we both walked away from the argument. Occasionally, neither side was lucky.

The 140 character limit is just that, limiting. It doesn’t allow for nuance, subtly or irony. Nor does it allow for proper expression of ideas, which didn’t help (and sometimes caused) many of those arguments.

I also found myself unfollowing people for a host of reasons, from the aforementioned arguments, to TV series spoilers, to simply not being able to relate to their Tweets.

I also discovered that the creativity I was spending on Twitter left less for my actual creative endeavours. Time was part of it, but it was the need to direct that energy to creating, to writing, to painting, that forced me to look at how I spent that energy. Artists and Writers are not bottomless wells of creativity, or at least most aren’t this side of Leonardo. We must focus the creativity judiciously and then work our asses off to turn that idea into an actual, tangible thing.

For me, Twitter was an enemy of that, a draining, distracting force.

So, there was that, and there was the death of Roger Ebert (a Twitter force for good if ever there was one), getting into an specific argument with a good friend, and getting into an argument with an internet celebrity. In a short span, I lost all desire and motivation to be a part of Twitter.

I create for a living and my family and friends seem not to grasp that the Twitter they view as the bastion of freely exchanged ideas and information is not the Twitter I experience. Is it me? Is it Twitter? I don’t know. It’s a social media relationship that fell apart painfully. I’m still active on Facebook and I dabble a little in Instagram (the jury is out on whether I’ll remain on that one), but I’m told over and over, “Twitter! It’s such a powerful thing! Millions of people…” and so on.

All true.

I still don’t feel welcome there, nor do I want to be more involved than I am.

I’ve written books and as each launched, I tried to do my best to blitz social media. I Tweeted and Tweeted. There were reTweets! New followers! Fantastic! But they don’t last. I would Tweet about the book, I’d Tweet about non-book things, I’d share interesting online posts by others. The reTweets lessened to nothing, followers fell away to pre-book levels. That was it. I was told it takes work and dedication to build a following, it takes time! Well, sure, okay, but when exactly do I write the books or paint the pieces I’m supposed to be promoting? No one has an answer to that, tellingly.

Another thing bothered me about Twitter? Its focus on the immediate, on what is happening right this second. TV show plots, social injustice, news-worthy events, all vital or relatively vital information flooding Twitter up to the second, literally. My new book comes out, great, people Tweet about it, some people buy it, then the next big thing comes along and I’m left Tweeting either “Here’s my new book!” or about non-book things. And we’re back to square one.

It’s not all Twitter’s fault either, I accept some of the responsibility for this break up. I’m not capable of being interesting in 140 characters or fewer, it would seem. The things I want to share aren’t those things people on the receiving end care enough about, it would seem.

My main literary works are based on Queen, Mike Oldfield and Barenaked Ladies, and I find other ways to engage those fanbases. I write articles and guest blogs. I have Facebook pages for each book. I meet fans there. Twitter, for me anyway, was not the magical button I press to receive instant fame and recognition, nor was it an invest in time and energy I was willing to make. Others have and if they can make it work, so be it.

I’m not that guy.

Please stop trying to convince me.

I’m not going to forget about Twitter and when my next book comes out, I’ll try it again, so you are all absolved of the responsibility of extolling upon me the virtues you see in Tweeting and what it can do for my career. I appreciate the advice, but please stop.

🙂

Here are my books, by the way:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-lemieux-and-adam-unger/the-queen-chronology-the-recording-release-history-of-the-band/paperback/product-21232518.html

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1213854

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Spoiler Alert: He's Leia's father, too. Copyright 1980, Lucasfilm

Spoiler Alert: He’s Leia’s father, too.
Copyright 1980, Lucasfilm

I was going to title this piece “Spoiler Alert: Am I The Only Sane Man?”

It’s probably a battle I’m going to lose to the excited, the enthusiastic, the ignorant and the selfish, but I’m going keep fighting as long as I can.

I’m probably going to be accused of being a cantankerous fogie who needs to just get with the times and embrace what social media is or just stop using it (as if those at the only choices. Also, I’m only 38).

It’s already been suggested that I lighten up, they’re only TV shows, so who cares?

I do. I also have greater priorities in my life, but the desire to simply not have TV series I like spoiled from week to week should not be too much to ask.

I feel like one of the people in the line up to see “The Empire Strikes Back” as Homer Simpson walks out ahead of them saying, “I had no idea Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father.” Of course, every time I suggest to my Facebook Friends that they refrain from spoiling an episode of a show before I see it in the days after it airs, several invariably joke that Vader was Luke’s father. Yeah.

A good friend says by internet consensus 24 hours is the grace period. After that, apparently spoilers are allowed to roam to free. I couldn’t be bothered looking this “rule” up, because even if I find 20 other sites disagreeing, that single citation of an arbitrary, made-up rule is enough for some people.

I don’t get it. I honestly, truly don’t. We gave up one of the basic, most fundamental pop culture courtesies, that of not spoiling the latest show, for what? So we can prove we’re on top latest thing? Because we’re just so damned excited we can’t keep to mentioning that awesome line that character said? I guess there’s the argument that social media is, well, social, and that people do discuss these things in real life. Yeah, they do, but in real life I’m not standing in a room full of people presenting me with a stream of information on their interests. In real life, we ask, “Did you see the new Walking Dead?” If I answer no, my friends refrain from spoiling it. Yet, the same people, the very same people on Facebook or Twitter joyfully post teaser images, quotes and spoiler-filled posts without checking if everyone about to receive that information is as up-to-date as they are. In person, I can put my hand up and say, “I haven’t seen it! Stop right there!” I can’t do that to an image you decided to show all your Friends.

So, why don’t I just unFriend them or stop following them or get off Facebook or Twitter? As I noted above, why are those the only choices? Why can’t people control themselves and show a bit of discretion? For Facebook, I want to know of other aspects of your life and interests, that’s why we’re here, just show some mercy with these kinds of posts is all I ask. Better yet, don’t discuss anything plot or character related on Facebook. I don’t. It’s easier than you think. As for Twitter, I’ve un-followed people for spoilers. I stopped following one of the producers of The Walking Dead because she revealed several seasons ago that an actor was returning to their role in the upcoming episodes. That was all it took.

Am I Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud? I don’t think so, but I’ve had that joke made, too.

I do feel like I’m the only sane man here, yet to be consumed by the here-and-now mentality of popular culture that drives so many posts.

Everyone’s doing it, so it must be okay, right?

[sigh]

If you know who wrote this, send them to this blog post. They should hear what I have to say, too!

There’s a growing trend on Facebook that I’ve started to take exception to. The sentiment presented on the left demonstrates my point and it should be obvious why it has to stop.

If it’s not so obvious, allow me to explain. As we all know, Facebook is the biggest online social networking site on the planet and unless something really better comes along, this won’t change in our lifetime. If you don’t have a Facebook page, I’m sure you could list ten people you know who do (probably more). We share thoughts, life details and images with Friends and Family, Liking what we agree with and Commenting on that which deserves our attention.

For some, we share interesting news articles and tidbits, the occasional YouTube video and maybe a sincere sentiment about something we care about. For others, that’s not quite enough.

Here’s another example:

Like the earlier post, this presents a moving thought that I’m sure everyone would agree with. A little girl with cancer would appreciate a bald Barbie she might identify with and the girl’s parents would appreciate the toy company acknowledging that “Pretty” is a relative term. In the second example, pausing to remember those who fight and fought, won and lost, the battle with cancer is probably a universally good thing to do. I don’t disagree.

What I take issue with is the part about how few Facebook Friends will repost or Share this post. I know the people who repost these kernels of moral superiority did not necessarily write them, but by passing it on, you also accept the role of emotional blackmailer which originated with the author. You’re presenting your Friends and Family on Facebook with the awkward choice of either Sharing the post out of guilt or looking like they don’t care about cancer (or baby seals, or the environment, or whichever meaningful subject these posts address). I confess, I’ve passed one or two of these on because I believed the first part and hoped my Facebook Contacts overlooked the guilt-trip embedded in the second part, but I will do this no more and with a clear conscience.

After the most recent example appeared in my news feed, I posted for all to see that I resented the “[X amount] of people won’t repost/Share this” portion of these things. It was then that I decided to write this article.

No one should be made to feel morally inferior because we chose not to pay forward someone else’s feelings on an issue, whether we agree or not. If the people who write these things feel they’re cleverly exposing some truth about the apathy of others, they are mistaken in a most insulting way.

I don’t blame my Friends for sharing an otherwise positive intention. The targets of my resentment are the holier-than-thou authors who would pass judgement on our choice not to advertise our views and beliefs on Facebook or anywhere else.

For what it’s worth, I absolve you all from feeling guilty about not Sharing these posts when they come up in your news feed.