Not so secret

[ Caveat: this post is going to be all over the place. It is going to be a rambling, maudlin, disjointed first draft. It is guaranteed to lose me a large swath of Tumblr and Twitter followers and probably alienate an even larger number of people. So be it. ]

Let’s start this little screed by talking about who I follow on various sites and why, because there’s been an enormous amount of confusion and consternation and, sadly, venomous exchanges over this issue. If I follow you anywhere, it’s because I really enjoy what you have to say or contribute in that particular arena. I may follow you on Twitter, but not Tumblr. I may read your blog and look at your Flickrstream, but not follow you on Twitter. I don’t do it to be an elitist douche; I do it because I only have limited time to give to any one person’s creative output, and I would rather give my full attention to a smaller group of people than limited-to-no attention to a huge number of strangers.

In other words, I may love your photographs, but not be so interested in your 26 daily tweets about the dude in the cubicle next to you. I may laugh myself sore every time you tweet, but not follow your Tumblr because 99% of your posts are reblogs of things I saw last week. And so on. It’s not personal. If I’m following you anywhere at all, then I like you, and think you’ve got something awesome that I want to see on a daily basis. Let me repeat: It. Is. Not. Personal.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a small bunch of people I really should be following on Twitter but haven’t gotten around to just yet. Truth be told, if you get in my face enough and your content is good, then I will eventually follow you. If you’re one of the small group of people who I follow across all three sites (and/or more), then congratulations – you’ve hit the “tony_d trifecta”, and you clearly are someone who I admire, respect, and want to kidnap so that I may somehow drain the creative life force out of you and transfer it to myself. Actually, scratch that last part…

All of that being said, I come to my main point. I don’t think any of you have probably noticed, but for reasons I won’t go into, last week I went on a semi-declared “social media hiatus”. I planned on staying away from Twitter and Tumblr and Flickr and such for, oh, a couple of months at least. But even though I haven’t been contributing, I’ve still been reading your stuff (because, come on, you are all so fucking awesome), and the confluence of the “tumblr secrets” threads and the “OMG I love you guys” threads pulled me out of my cave and made me want to come and say all of this. I started writing a “not-so-secret” list of my own today, but then I felt it’d be unfair. How can I address a post to certain people, but not everyone? I didn’t think that’d be fair, and Jebus knows I’ve hurt enough people’s feelings on the internet already. So let me be clear: if I’m following you anywhere, at all, then it means I like you and care about you. Probably more than you know. I’m just absolutely terrible at ever expressing it. Every one of you, collectively, constitutes my “peer set”. Yes, I have other douchey writer-friends in “real life”, but they don’t hold a candle to you as a group. I don’t go to an “office” every day. I work from my home studio, and deal with editors and clients through the web almost exclusively. So, in effect, you are my watercooler advisors, my breakroom jokesters, the compatriots that I want to drink with at happy hour when we all leave the office building and loosen our ties. And I’m sorry if any of you have ever felt otherwise.

Lastly, a personal apology. Last week I was talking on Skype to a Twitterpal who I trust to “give it to me straight”. I was told, point blank, that people find me unapproachable. I expressed my shock at that, but was told, “Tony, people see you as important and busy and they don’t feel they’ll get your attention even if they tried.” Ouch. If I give off that impression, I am so very sorry. (Honestly, I think it’s my stupid avatar that does it – looking all aloof in front of a bookshelf. I need to change that ASAP). I know I don’t participate in @-@-@ threads on Twitter much, which is how a lot of people like to interact. And I don’t reblog as many of you as I should on Tumblr when you do great things. That’s mostly because unlike a lot of you who can kill some time in an office once in a while and still get paid a salary, if I’m not writing, I’m not eating. It’s that simple. I want to come out and play all day long with all of you, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Yet it in no way means I’m trying to stay at arm’s-length from any of you. I always reply to DM’s on Twitter and even though I get a metric shitload of email every day, I ensure that emails from any social media contacts get noticed right away, and I always respond. So even though I suck at reaching out to my friends, it doesn’t mean that I’m unreachable if any of you ever want to start a conversation. I consider each one of you, truthfully, a friend of mine.

So, um, yeah. That’s it. It was ugly and poorly structured and horribly, monstrously written. But it’s off my chest now. Let the unfollowing begin.

posted 3/30/09 at 7:10pm to Uncategorized · 0 replies · »

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« This couple walked past me on the beach this morning. Now, understand that because I’m a writer, I make up a backstory for pretty much every interesting stranger I see, ever. It’s a sickness, really. But these two were different. They were walking along the shoreline, and stopped right in front of me to pick shells out of the sand. I studied them. And in the short minute they paused there, there was no need to make up a story for them; they told me a story with their actions. I had them figured out. New love. I could tell right away. You can’t mistake it for anything else. He would pick through the shells, and then hand one to her, almost sheepishly. She would take it, examine it, and smile. Each shell he presented to her was just a token. A small gesture of something larger that he did not know how to articulate. But each shell she took from him was more than that. To her, It was a piece of his heart. Something he found, saw beauty in, and gave away willingly. When the shell game was over, they smiled at each other. His gaze stayed on her for a long while, as if he was afraid she would run away at any moment. Her eyes broke away, and she looked down at her feet, seemingly unsure of herself, or why this boy loved her so. They fumbled for each other’s hands, lacking the familiarity that comes with time. I hope they are good for each other. I really do. See, I thought it was Gratuitous Photo of Beachy Things I Saw Today And Yes I Am Rubbing It In That I Am Here And You Are In A Soul-crushing Cubicle Tuesday (GPOBTISTAYIARIITIAHAYAIASCT). What? »