The Noise of Social Media: An Introvert Cries Uncle

Noise, noise, everywhere noise. I’m so saturated with it, even my pores are shouting.

new years me

But do you want to know the worst part? It’s completely under my control.

Because I voluntarily put myself out there. 

What do I mean by “there”? The online world, of course.

Twitter

Facebook

WordPress

Goodreads

Google+

Forums

Internet link after link after link

And everything under the sun

Build a brand, they said. Make yourself visible, they said. Eat an M&M for every blog post you read, they said. (Well, maybe that last one’s on me.)

So I did. Or at least I tried to. You know, that book promotion and all. And the positive? I enjoy it. Communicating with people from all over the world is an amazing online gift, and I’ve gained so much in the process.

But perhaps I overdid things, because while I was doing it so was everyone else, and now I can hardly keep up.

Yep. She's going down. (Image from Microsoft Clip Art)

Yep. She’s going down.
(Image from Microsoft Clip Art)

What prompted this post?

1) A fishy follower: 

Recently I was followed on Twitter by seven “different” accounts, all of which retweet the original follower’s content. So basically all seven followers are the same user, just dressed up in different Twitter clothes.

Sure, I don’t have to follow back, and I didn’t. But the whole issue left me chapped. It reminded me of all the noise. For example, my Twitter timeline and lists are so full of retweets, promotional spam, and linked content that my up is down and my down is up. In other words, my head is exploding.

Don’t get me wrong—I am no innocent victim. I spew plenty of noise too. As a result, I’m trying to be more conscientious about what I tweet and retweet, so I hopefully won’t clog up other people’s timelines. Fortunately, I have wonderful tweeps who do the same, and I always enjoy their content.

I don’t mean to blame Twitter alone. Facebook is just as bad, if not worse. Are hourly updates really necessary? I’m lucky if I have something worth saying once a week.

2) A simple yet profound tweet:

The second thing that triggered this post was the above tweet.

For a long time I’ve been more mind full than mindful. If I want to enjoy life’s moments; if I want to finish my third novel; if I want to keep my head from exploding, I’m going to have to cut back.

But I’ll still be on social media. There are so many people out there whose words and pictures I love, whether in the form of tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts, or holograms (ha, wouldn’t that be cool). I just need to learn to do it more judiciously. If I miss a blog post or tweet, life will go on, and I’ll have to trust the online friend will forgive me.

But for a perfectionist like me, it isn’t going to be easy.

And now, for the opposite of social media…

My treat for the week? Eating Bull got a book review in a real-live newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal. What a nice surprise to find.

abj EB review

Are you feeling the online noise? What was your treat for the week?

*     *     *

Rubin4Carrie Rubin is the author of Eating Bull and The Seneca Scourge. For full bio, click here.

370 Responses to “The Noise of Social Media: An Introvert Cries Uncle”

  1. Nicole Roder

    Well for Simone who’s overwhelmed, you sure hide it well! Fwiw, I don’t like Twitter all that much either. I use it solely for the “maintaining an online presence ” thing you mentioned, and I only look at my feed for a few minutes a day to make sure I have some kind of activity going on.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      The thing is, I actually like Twitter. It’s one of my favorite sites. I love the brevity of it (which is why I’m not happy they’re going to increase the tweet character count to 10,000!). But it’s spiraled out of control for me. I need to clean up my lists, I guess. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Carrie Rubin

          Yes, there’s talk of it. The tweet itself will just show the usual number of characters and then there will be a ‘read more’ tab. I always feel like I need to ‘read more’ so I’ll never get off Twitter then!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. L. Marie

    I don’t know why I keep missing your posts on the week they land. (Probably because I check at a weird time on Mondays. If I don’t see it, I forget to check back until the following Monday. I have got to get out of that habit and at least check on Tuesdays.) Anyway, I totally hear you, Carrie. I’ve had some fishy followers pop up on LinkedIn recently. I didn’t follow them back, because I have no idea who they are, and they aren’t connected to people I know or companies to which I applied.

    I’m kinda tired of social media even though I hardly ever tweet and never update my status on Facebook. I usually private message people or respond to posts on the one Facebook group that I’m at least somewhat active in.

    I think I’ll try the M&M idea! Now I need to buy a bag. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I often wonder who’s the face behind the curtain when it comes to fishy followers. Since I wrote this post, that Twitter follower I mentioned has followed me with four more accounts, all retweeting the original follower’s promotional spam. You’d think they’d get the message when I haven’t followed any of the accounts back, but apparently not. Maybe they need some M&Ms. 🙂

      Like

  3. Christi

    Congrats on your book review! That’s some exciting times. Also, I’m going to need to try your M&M for every blog post read rule, not a bad idea…

    As for internet noise, I’m sure I’m contributing to it every time I post a sunset photo on facebook. But really, who doesn’t love a good sunset photo?

    And I’m just, finally, getting back into the blog-o-sphere, so hopefully I’ll be contributing more content and less noise. We’ll see. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Sunset photos are always nice! In fact, pictures are great content because they’re quick and don’t have any links. 🙂

      Have fun jumping back into the blogosphere!

      Like

  4. Coleen Patrick

    I RT a tweet recently that said, “I’ve never run a marathon, but I spent 3 hrs being social last weekend so I’m pretty sure I know how tired people feel the next day.” It’s exhausting being an introvert. 😉 Congrats on the book review in the paper!!!!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! It is exhausting to be an introvert, no doubt. But I imagine even extroverts feel the squeeze of social media. 🙂

      Like

  5. Sue Archer

    I realized I just congratulated you for the review on your other post. Guess the noise is getting me all discombobulated 🙂

    There are wonderful things out there on social media. The challenge is to weed out the rest! Still working on it. Meanwhile I’m trying to only post the good stuff!

    Like

  6. Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE

    First off, Hearty Congrats on the book review! 👍👍. Secondly, thank you for the reminder to be mindful vs mind full. We are all subject to sensory overload these days, from social media, so practicing mindfulness is key. Your thought provoking post has given me reason to pause, and be more mindful myself in my travels through cyber space. Thanks, Carrie! 😊

    Like

  7. Jacqui Murray

    It takes a lot of time to keep social media relevant. I check each person before I Follow or Friend because I want my stream pure to my subject. I want it to be a community that stays on topic. That’s difficult. One of the guys I’ve loved reading on FB used to post spot on stuff. Now it’s all personal. I sure don’t want to I friend him but I’m tempted.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I think there’s a way you can stop seeing FB updates from people without unfriending them. Kind of like muting people on Twitter. That might help you out.

      Like

  8. Nancy of Practically Wise

    From a reader’s perspective, I’m amazed at how much authors have to do in terms of self-promotion and social media…on top of the really hard work of writing!! Even after a day of tech writing (the dry, unfrosted cake version of “real” writing haha), I’ve got no brain power left at all for witty social media banter. Well, good luck finding your “happy medium” this year! 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! I’m trying to find it. So far so good. I think…

      And I hear you about the lack of brain power at the end of the day. It’s easier just to veg. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jennifer J. Chow

    Yes, I’m starting to be overwhelmed by social media as well. After taking that trip to Taiwan and getting a forced break, I realized that I liked a quieter mode. (But I still like to keep in touch with online friends like you!) Congrats on the Akron Beacon Journal review!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you!

      That’s one of the nice things about distant travel–it usually means a forced disconnect from the Internet. We all need that from time to time.

      Like

  10. hilarycustancegreen

    Total sympathy, Carrie, and I don’t do more than look in on Facebook and glance occasionally on Twitter. So I only have the blog to worry about/play with/enjoy. I have been making myself only deal with recent posts and delete ones that have got lost in the in-box. I feel bad, but an insane blogger is no use to anyone and i have a book to publish… never mind one I still dream of writing and talks to prepare and…

    Good luck (I find 20 mins meditation a day using a desktop app Headspace* works wonders).
    *This Headspace, https://www.headspace.com

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      “an insane blogger is no use to anyone”–Ha, I love that. Very true!

      Thank you for the link. I appreciate that. Off to check it out now.

      Like

  11. Curmudgeon-at-Large

    CR:
    You correctly cite the fact that you put yourself out there in the world of social media. And for what I consider a justified cause – the promotion of your books. (Congratulations on the book review.) The adjustment to the social media noise is a part of that promotion – better noise than total silence.

    Regarding comments/complaints about online noise, I have two:
    1. Those people who feel the need to comment on every single e-mail sent to them, regardless of how irrelevant. Moreover, they feel the need to “reply all.” As Lincoln said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool then speak out and remove all doubt.”

    2. The people who give out every single fact of their life on Facebook – when they get up, when they go out of the house, when they go to the bathroom – and then wonder (on their Facebook page, of course) – why they are being mocked or stalked or harassed.

    C-a-L

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      “better noise than total silence.”—Ha, yes, that’s definitely true when it comes to book promotion.

      I agree about the ‘reply all’ emails. Ugh. Same goes for group text messages. Getting everybody else’s responses is not what this introvert needs.

      Thanks. 🙂

      Like

  12. Vanessa-Jane Chapman

    Is that you in the New Year picture? If so, you look like a teen! Really I’ve always (well, not ALWAYS because I haven’t known you for always) been amazed at how active you are on social media, I’ve commented on it before, I can’t believe how you keep up with it all, so I’m not surprised to hear that it’s become a bit much. Fab to get that “proper” review!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! I guess you could say I took social media by the horns and got trampled. 😉 But it’s all good. I’ll quiet things down a bit.

      Yes that’s me on New Year’s Eve a few weeks back. My kids were teasing me because of my little head. The hat kept dropping over my eyes.

      Like

  13. Kourtney Heintz

    Congrats on the review! 🙂 Your doing fantastic with all the social media work. I do try to be more mindful of retweets and shares. I don’t want to overload people. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Kourtney Heintz

        It’s hard to find that balance. And some days I just have nothing to post. Then other days I have 5-6 things that pop into my head that I want to share. I try not to put a ton of pressure on myself when I’m writing. I do social media a few times a week. I try to respond to everyone as quickly as I can too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Inion N. Mathair

    As a fellow introvert, I can completely understand where you’re coming from, Carrie. There are times (during our most strenuous writing spells) when Mathair and I will actually ban social media and refuse to even visit the sites. There are times when the utilization of such sites are beneficial even fun, but most of the time the noise is too overwhelming for someone like me to withstand. Great post, Carrie. Have a great week. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      You guys do a good job of stepping away and then reentering from time to time. And you’re probably getting more writing done too!

      Thanks, and you have a great week too!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. N. E. White

    Great review (from what I can read of it)! I have Eating Bull on my to-read-pile and I hope to get to it next month or so.

    I read this article before I posted my time management post, but after I had already written it. I decided sometime late last week that I would visit social media sites when I felt like it, and I wouldn’t feel guilty about missing stuff or “doing it wrong”. Also, when I do go on Twitter or Facebook, I try to make a point of just responding to a post or two rather than trying to catch up on everything. I figure, the world spins with or without me. (But then, I’m *proud* of being an introvert.) 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      You’ve got a great approach to things. I’m going to try and be more like that. It’s easier for me to do that on Facebook and Twitter, but I feel some guilt if I miss too many blog posts. But it is what it is. We can only do so much.

      Thank you for your interest in my book. My to-be-read pile grows exponentially, as I’m sure yours does too!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Kate Johnston

    I get it, Carrie, and I wish I had an easy solution. I haven’t found a good rhythm to stick with. My blog has always been my main source of communication, but even that has taken a hit. Because I do so much writing all day long — not just working on my personal projects but doing the freelance story coaching and freelance writing for clients — by the time I think about writing a blog post, my creative juices have dried up.

    Maybe it’s easier for people who don’t write all day long. Maybe it’s easier for people who work in a cubicle all day long and their only connection to the outside world is social media. It’s got to be easier for extroverts and Chatty Cathy’s and people who can talk about anything and not feel self-conscious.

    Regardless — congrats on the article in the newspaper. That is so awesome!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you!

      You’ve got me thinking now–I assumed it would be harder for people who have full-time day jobs (that don’t involve writing) to maintain a blog. But maybe you’re right–maybe it’s not as difficult because they’re expending a different type of energy than they did during their day job. I’m sure the limited-time factor is the same, but maybe they can better keep up since their creative juices aren’t tapped.

      Like

  17. Zen A.

    Congrats on the review! How awesome is that, to see your name in an actual paper! 😀

    That said, I totally understand what you mean by noise. I have very limited presence on social media. I know I should be out there and follow more people, but I can barely keep up with the 66 people I follow on Twitter, haha. I get a lot of people who follow me and then unfollow when I don’t do the same; the whole “follow for follow” concept really ticks me off.

    I’ve long since abandoned Facebook, and I’m only relatively active on WordPress and Instagram. Already feels like my hands are full.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      And you work a full-time job too! That’s a lot to keep up with.

      If it wasn’t for my book promotion, I would really limit who I follow on Twitter. But I follow most everyone who follows me, and I’ve gotten better about predicting those people who follow you, wait for you to follow back, and then immediately unfollow you so they can make their followers to following ratio really high. That kind of bugs me.

      And yes, it was really nice to see my book in the paper. 🙂

      Like

  18. Bumba

    Congrats on the review. Yes, our compulsive networking is a problem. I personally do without it, but then I don’t sell too many books. Congrats and hats off for responding so thoughtfully to everyone’s comments – and I suppose you do that on a number of platforms. You’ve certainly established a rich network of your own, which may not change your fare on the bus, but which is a fine accomplishment. All the best.

    Like

  19. Shel Harrington

    Soooooooooooooo relatable! I never did figure out Twitter – which is probably a good thing considering how much time two FB pages and two blogs consume. In addition to trying to get to the writing which the whole social media bit was suppose to be merely a platform for (how did the two get so switched up?!). And then there’s that pesky day-job thing that requires my attention. It sometimes hinders my social media fun!

    WAY cool on that review, Carrie – congrats!!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! You have two blogs? Wow, I don’t know how you pull that off, especially with a day job. But you’re right–blog writing can take away from our creative writing.

      Loved your last post, but though I commented that I was going to start the good-moments jar that night, I haven’t yet. Oops. But I’m going to tell my husband about it tonight!

      Like

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