Recently I tried to post some creative writing on Facebook, as sort of a writing exercise. Basically I’m trying to improve my writing skills using this addictive website. I don’t know if that happened but I think I learned a few things by this exercise.
There’s a “like” epidemic. One can like every single post and comment he sees on his feed and it would have no consequences at all. You can like pro life and pro choice posts, pussy riots and homophobic posts at once and nothing would happen. It’s like going to the casino with unlimited amount of money or voting for both candidates, there is no real value or anything to lose with the “like” button.
Yet, when I posted something, I checked how many likes I got, often obsessively. However good or bad my writing was, it never beat the amount of likes a photo of a cute illiterate baby received almost instantly. Therefore, the fact that a divisive and uneducated post about two food vendors in Beacon gained ten times more likes than a (I hope) thoughtful and interesting post about a tragic and symbolic massacre doesn’t mean that one is more important than the other. On the Facebook stage, however, that might be the impression you get. But how can one “like” a massacre?
Facebook is one of the main ways people communicate today. I don’t know of anyone who is in love with it, many people are a little upset to admit that they are addicted to it. I find that being more “active” on it, using it as a tool to improve a skill rather than to pass time, was actually quite gratifying. I have less complains about it now since I feel that by using it I actually gained something. It’s far from being perfect, I have no idea how and why Facebook decides which posts it will show me or which posts of mine others will see. I still don’t trust Facebook and suspicious about its motives.
Whether you see the world with a scientific, religious, artistic, Buddhist, optimistic or pessimistic point of view, Facebook doesn’t “represent” anything. It’s a mixture of thing’s people share and that you see some of them in order that was made by an algorithm that is like the secret ingredient of Coca Cola. It’s an obvious fact, but one that’s important to remember.
Usually only literature lovers will read literature magazines and only politics lovers will read about politics in depth. Facebook does offer an interesting stew where all of these melt into one feed, someone’s grandma and another one’s cat and the food industry and the war and the water and art and social issues and more. It’s interesting to think about it, I never saw such thing. It’s beautiful, humane, ugly and addictive at the same time, very different than the average news station.
I thought of gathering what I wrote into a blog post but I find it useless. Facebook posts, however good or bad, are just Facebook posts. Maybe it’s a writing genre of itself since I don’t know how else to define it. Many times I experience something and think in advance about how to phrase it on Facebook. It may be silly, it probably is, but that’s how it goes. What I wrote was meaningful to me, as any writing, however dumb it is, important to its writer. I don’t think I mastered the status genre but I do consider it a form of writing, like non fiction, prose or others. Probably a less noble one but still a genre or at least a form. I didn’t use to think that way before I started this exercise.