Monday, December 30, 2013

The best argument I have read for staying away from social media

Avid reader and seasoned journalist Aakar Patel, writing in the year-end issue of Mint Lounge, says social media is for those looking to be distracted by an inexhaustible supply of material — and not those for whom reading is a serious affair.

I don't agree with him entirely, but a couple of points he has made are right on the button:

As a writer, I personally find social media off-putting and not useful.

Writers must be insulated from feedback, particularly of the immediate kind. One has no option but to be exposed to this on Facebook and on Twitter, and such things always carry the expectation of a response. ... [The comments section] is meant to be a conversation, and I accept that at times it is an intelligent one. But having comments on your work published alongside it is the equivalent of talking from atop a soapbox at Hyde Park.

The hooting and the cheers and the heckling is all on display, and apparently for the benefit of the writer. All of this is fine, and legitimate I suppose, and certainly it adds to the reader’s experience. But why subject yourself as a writer to it? Unless the idea is to bask in your popularity or infamy, there is little point.

And here is the other important (and just as valid) point:

[Comments by Indians] tend to be tangential, personal, often abusive and mostly irrelevant. I must also say that the quality of the comment is poor and that of the writing poorer. This is an anecdotal observation, but you know what I mean. It infects the other strain of social media, which is user-generated reviews. I don’t think it is wise to pick a restaurant here through what people have written about it on the Internet.

Read the column in its entirety here: "Why I’m not on social media".
  • To know more about Aakar Patel, go here.

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