It’s been just over six months since I posted anything on my Facebook author page and about four months since I made a post on my Facebook profile – and that was something banal about the Harry Potter films.
I’ve also only tweeted and retweeted sporadically over the past year or so.
And it’s been nearly four years since I released a new book.
Now, I could give you the usual excuses I’ve been giving people for a while now and they’d be true. I could tell you how that work side of my work life balance has been so weighed down that to counterbalance it with the life side has meant having to sacrifice something to spend time with my family, watch my little girl grow up and see my boy blossom into a young man. And that something was Marc Nobbs.
And that would be true.
But even though it’s true, it’s no excuse.
Truth is, I just haven’t felt like it. I haven’t felt like dipping into Facebook or Twitter. I haven’t felt like writing blog posts or, indeed, writing anything at all.
But I’ve missed it.
I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed commenting on events cultural, political and personal. I’ve missed immersing myself in worlds of my own creation with people I’ve invited doing the things I dream up.
So maybe it’s time to get back at it. Maybe it’s time to start forcing myself to sit at a keyboard and just write – write anything, anything at all, so long as I write.
I don’t miss Facebook or Twitter if I’m being completely honest. I have ‘friends & family (and football)’ accounts for both platforms and I’ve been using them, but even that hasn’t been very enjoyable.
Twitter is a lot less fun that it used to be. It started out as a great platform that was almost a secret, where ‘ordinary’ people tweeted about their lives and interacted with each other and it was just fun. And there are still accounts like that, but they get lost in the mass of self-promoting, self-indulgent “Blue Tick” celebrities and warring political factions.
And yes, I know it’s completely possible to curate your own twitter timeline by following (or unfollowing) the right (or wrong) people, but that takes a huge effort and even that’s been spoilt by the company itself when they began to use algorithms to show ‘best tweets’ first rather than a simple chronological timeline or show you tweets by people you don’t follow just because people you do follow follow them or other such timeline destroying nonsense.
And that’s before you talk about all the trolling bots that infest the platform like a virus.
Facebook is no better. It also suffers from over-intrusive algorithms, although, as we learnt in 2018, most of its problems come from data-harvesting and the way the platform’s advertising program can be used to manipulate people’s feeds and, therefore, their political thinking.
And there, of course, is the real problem with both Twitter and Facebook. The toxic nature of public debate has only been made even more toxic by the semi-anonymous (or even fully anonymous) nature of both platforms. It’s far easier to say what you “really think”, the kind of things you wouldn’t say at work or a dinner party, when the people hearing it are on the other side of a 6-inch screen. Both platforms are also quite “immediate”, demanding a response to that post right now and that response is usually quite visceral and extreme rather than considered and self-moderated.
In essence, Trump/Hilary in the US and Brexit in the UK have broken everything, polarising the populations and not lending themselves to any middle-ground.
And this is one of the reasons, as well as those stated above, that Marc Nobbs has been absent for so long. Everything is toxic and staying out of those toxic arguments takes too much effort to be worthwhile.
But, like I said, it’s time I forced myself to get writing again. Writing anything. One thing that has occurred to me is ‘live reviews’. With access to so much TV and so many movies on demand though Sky, Netflix and Amazon, it’s completely possible to watch something at a time of your choosing and ‘review’ it as you watch it. This is something I thought about just last night when I started to re-watch Game of Thrones from the beginning ahead of the final season. Watching the very first episode again was a strange experience and one I thought I’d like to share.
So maybe that’s one thing I could do.
I could also share some more excerpts from existing books and works in progress as well as try and comment on interesting ‘non-toxic’ issues in the news (although that’ll be hard since almost everything is toxic right now).
Personal reflections, a bit like this one, are also something I should write more of.
But we’ll see. New Year, New Start, as they say. But given we’re eleven days into the New Year, it’s not been the best of New Starts to only be writing this first post today.
What the hell. That’s life. Amiright?