My first editorial received generally positive reactions last week and, like every other sensitive human, I wanted to follow him with a worthy sequel. There is nothing more deflated than a disappointing disappointing effort. Write a disappointing second editorial and lose my readers, my publishers' support and maybe my six-digit signing bonus. (Note: all figures are arrived after the decimal point and were zero).
Looking for inspiration, I looked through my Twitter feed and thought it would be interesting to write something about interacting with celebrities through social media. I've been retweeted and replied by celebrities a few times, and really hilarious (in a very ridiculous way, in the end embarrassing, "Never been kissed" in a sense).
I think I probably could have put together something decent, it would have been good even for some RT or "Like". I made requests on Twitter and Quora for the best "celebrity" stories of the people, and I actually had some interesting answers (a friend told hilariously the profound doubt and despair he usually feels when they send him a tweet in vain) .
When I started creating the first draft of the article, I realized something was wrong. Something was … off. My writer's sense was buzzing (as happened after writing "sense-sense" and giggling). The writing was pretty solid but, well, I was completely bored from my own words. In the same way that musicians want to hear their voice in the monitor to know if they suck, I always reread my writing to make sure it doesn't bore me to tears. This article did.
But what was it? Here I am, writing about what seemed to be a small, interesting and often overlooked aspect of social media. It seemed ripe for harvest; an easy article of 1000 words. A quick Google search revealed that not much had been written on the subject yet. An excellent plan, in addition to the fact that it was as exciting as reading an article on "how to feel for the best avocado" of my grandmother (who rested in peace and refrained from any explanation of the product in the afterlife).
Here is the truth that I soon understood: a boring article for a social media blog because it is a boring article in real life.
We often forget that all this digital social sphere is a small microcosm for our real (carbon-based) lives, and we might even forget that one day we cautiously move into singularity. How much would you be entertained if you had written a piece on how to get in touch with celebrities in the real world? It would bore you to tears. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure the soulless paparazzi have practically put their backs to the market.
This phenomenon – this misunderstanding of human interest and of basic attention – deeply rooted in the world of social media. There are so many people forgetting something very important – social media is not one magic box . Don't put boring stuff in the magical social media container and get something interesting out of it. If what you're telling me on the phone boring, even my boring Twitter feed. If I need a second drink to pass your story to a cocktail party, even depressing on Facebook (and could even make me have a drink at home). If you were raising funds for your association in the streets of New York City – rather than in front of your computer screen – would you convince me by reading an explanation of 1500 words (with footnotes)? No? So don't do it online.
Let us all stand up for a second. Social media makes more fast . It makes it more close . It can certainly make it more bright and more vivid . But only you can make it clearer. Only you can make it worthy of my time. We all need to ask ourselves: if I had seen what I just wrote, would I care?
Yes, we are all guilty. Me too. But let's try more from here on, okay?