Updated: Jun 3
Written by Elias McClellan
Anyone remember their first breakup? If you’re lucky, (means old) yours occurred face-to-face with a polite reason. “It will never work, Idris. [Shut up, it’s my allegory.] My grandmother flew out of O’Hare yesterday to join the Mujaheddin, and I now have to tend her flock of hairless nutria rats.” You know, plausible.
Who cares if you saw the skank the following Thursday dancing the Watusi with a pre-prison major named ‘Brad’? She gave you a story you could hang your hat on. There’s comfort in that. Or, you know, so I’ve been told.
But ghosting? Just dropping out—no face-to-face, no call, no text, no story—just, like ~poof~ gone? That blows. It is also not the exclusive province of romantic relationships. And, ~sigh~ I type from experience. Sadly, just like waxing, it is quite painful for a man of my age and volume of ear hair.
Now, I’m not talking about in-real-life friendships. Or even basic social-media friendships. Truly, one of the benefits of social media is friendship—or unfriending—whoever, whenever without those emotionally taxing phrases like, “Jeez, would you put on some pants.”
Nah, I’m talking about friendships with fellow travelers on the well-inked path.
Long ago, when we thought the worst thing about Facebook was the lack of bouncing emojis, I joined a writers group. Soon enough, I met a cool writer, and we became writer friends (WF). There were family gripes, writing jokes, and kitten photos. You know, hardcore friend stuff. When WF asked me to like/follow the author page, I jumped to do so. I invited most of my Facebook buddies, (all three including that guy who blocked me).
Six weeks after WF’s book was published, WF made a post on the writer's group, (and I paraphrase) “Thanks, chumps but now that I’m published, and my author page is banging, I’m clearing the rabble off my personal page and taking it private. You Cretans can watch my success from the peanut gallery.” Just like you, I thought, “Whew! Good thing I’m from Houston and not Crete like those losers. They’re not BFFs with WF like I a—wait, what’s this ‘send a friend request to see what WF shares with their REAL friends, you dirty-south loser’ crap?”
Boy-howdy, did I become a little more judicious in my social media activity after that. In fact, I only friended/followed every other fun/cool/talented writer I encountered. Still, though there is writer karma and if you want a friend you have to be one. I continued to promote other writers.
As a result, I brought my wise, worldly experience to a little thing I like to call #WriterWednesday blog crawl and bellicose belletrists bookmaking banquet. No. No, I don’t get out much. To wit, I like to share blog posts on the craft from diverse writers—noobs to bestsellers—to inspire other writers, (and to avoid weeping myself to death from despair, but I digress). I have made multiple writer friends, and we commiserate about our journey and struggles.
One such fellow traveler I’ll call “new writer friend,” (NWF) wrote insightfully on writing as well as the benefit (and sometimes toll) on our psyche. I shared the blog posts, the cover reveal, and the book release. And, a few weeks after NWF’s book release I found that NWF had unfollowed me and a slew of other once-upon-a-time friends.
Sour grapes? Yes, please, we cool kids mash ‘em up and call it “joy juice.”
But my point, that is totally not visible with the new haircut is if you want to promote your career, do it. If you only engage in social media to promote your career, absolutely do it.
It’s not like you’re stalking Pam Grier or something. *cough*
Just know that there are a lot of supportive, creative types on social media who will share their experience with you and help you along your way.
A quick way to alienate them is to treat them like a cheap marketing tool.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta shepherd some hairless nutria rats into the sweater closet it’s almost Wednesday.
Elias McClellan is an accountant for a state agency never to be named but aspires to commi—write, write crime. You can find him on Twitter at @TuttleNTexas.