Monday, February 15, 2010

Facebook and poetry

I just posted a status update on Facebook about how it has widened my horizons, both in terms of poetry and friendship, and in making new friends among poets. A lot of people complain about social networking sites (mostly about Facebook) and how distracting it is for poets and writers. I have found it the contrary. It's so easy for me to switch between screens when I'm working on something and want to take a little break from the hard process of thinking through a poem or a scene. I take a little break with whatever's been recently posted at Facebook and find links to articles, poems, poets, essays, books, and groups. I may follow one for a little, read something that informs or inspires, and return to the work.

I have made many poet friends, swapped books, learned new techniques, found new poetry markets, and enjoyed a general sense of support and community.

Even if Facebook decides to change their interface every few weeks, or people post annoyingly repetitive things, it's worth it.

I've made friends there without whom I could not do. There's really been nothing like it before for poets and people to connect.


  1. Hi Rachel,

    Sometimes I wonder if I would be more productive without Facebook, but then again I get a great deal of enjoyment from reading my friends' status updates and links. I learned last week (thanks, Terry Hummer) that we might actually be living in a 2-dimensional universe (the 3rd dimension is an allusion created by the energy left over from the collapse of a black hole--ahem, I think I have that right). I love the comradery, the sharing of information. I like being connected. Writing is isolating; it's you against the page. FB makes whole process of writing a lot less painful. I'm a social person, for god's sake; FB let's me indulge that gregarious side without having to drive somewhere and meet up for coffee. I liken it to a giant cocktail party where you can abstain from drinking and "show up" in your PJs.

  2. I sometimes catch myself really wasting precious writing time on FB, so I have set myself time limits. I also heard of an application that alerts you when you've been on FB too long! But I would find that annoying on the occasions when I mean to spend a long time there. Yes, having coffee together in our PJs -- exactly! At midnight or 5 am (when I often can't sleep). Writing is isolating. I sometimes wonder if the great, depressed writers would have been less suicidal or psychopathic if they had had Facebook. It's fun to imagine Edgar Allan Poe's personal info and Wall, for example. I think Marianne Moore would have loved it. And imagine Dorothy Parker's status updates!

    Come to think of it, I think there's a short story in here somewhere, slipstream fiction perhaps. Keep that to yourself. Oh, wait ...

  3. Rachel, I completely agree with you! Facebook and blogging have both been wonderful ways for me to socialize with fellow poets who would otherwise be out of my reach geographically. Thanks for the post.