About five years ago I famously* said, “Social media is about as social as sitting alone in front of a computer screen clicking hopefully on the enticing faces of people you’d kill grannies to be friends with, but who turn out to be entirely imaginary or secretly evil.”
Five years on, and after several rounds of intensive counselling, I’m coming out of the virtual closet holding a finger to my lips. A handful of social media sites, particularly Twitter, have grown on me like non-toxic mould. Twitter is a catchy one – informative in its own quirky, flighty, bite-size way – and I get hooked in every time I twist my own arm to view it. I’ve built up a steady following of all kinds of interesting people on there who love the crazier things in life and who spend time reading the same sorts of books that I do. And people don’t seem to mind following me. No threats yet. Guess it’s because I provide stuff about books, photos of libraries, the occasional bit of subversive art, lots of sick humour, a few cracking short stories from cool writers and a bit of stuff about my own fiction – maybe a quote from one of my books, a free short story that’s doing well in competitions or some background about what inspired a certain character or whatever. I even send out the odd word game, weird collective nouns and a few links to recent posts on my blog that might interest people if their only alternative that night is clipping their toenails or, if they’ve drawn the even shorter straw, someone else’s. What I don’t do is share or trade cat photos, breast photos, cock photos, arse photos, football scores, breaking news, celebrity gossip or political insults (even though my life is literally filled with those eight things). I would hate to do what so many other people do (plus, if I started on Trump, I might never be able to stop).
A few followers comment on the fact that they see repeated tweets from me. Yep – well-spotted. The reason you will occasionally see repeats of tweets is because, when I write any tweet, I always schedule several repeats to go out later that day or week for followers in other time zones. It’s all about making sure people who’ve bothered to follow me in the first place get to enjoy some of the stuff I can’t write at three in the morning because, unlike everyone else using Twitter, I do this weird thing called sleep. (You lie in a cocoon of soft white or cream material, close your eyes, sing the theme tune to the A-Team in your head and slowly drift off into a realm no human being has ever fully understood.) So, anyway, if you’re interested, follow me @carlahkrueger. Find out what makes me tick as a person. What flavour of donuts I like. Which hair gel my dog uses. Important stuff like that.
And by the way, if you’re one of those people who are fine with not leaving the house for a month at a time, Goodreads is also worth an hour or two (or ten) a week. It’s essentially an online bookstore brimming with well-stocked shelves and well-read book fiends – people that are so obsessed with literature they make the average writer look like they wouldn’t know a Dickens from a Dostoyevsky. The only downside is the massive TBR list you inevitably burden yourself with after only three minutes of joining the site. (Want to know the meaning of daunting? Just take a look at my literature luggage. Note, this is a relatively small collection on GR. Yeah, these days, book-browsing heaven can quickly become brain-seizing torture. Still, how many hobbies would be mind-numbingly dull if a slight risk of death wasn’t compulsory? Take the obvious example… knitting.
* It became a legendary phrase in my house, okay?