Social Media Gifts

Social Media Gifts

Ruth E. Walker

Recently, I attended a webinar put on by CSARN (the Canadian Senior Artists Resource Network.) The webinar was all about social media and presented by Sue Edworthy, a multi-disciplinary arts planner. Sue uses social media as tool for business but she admits limiting both her time and range of platforms to avoid stretching herself too thin.

I picked up some useful tips and ideas, some of which I’ve already put into practice but I’ll readily admit, social media – Twitter and Facebook in my case – is a big rabbit hole I approach carefully. I can disappear in there for hours. So I space out my visits to keep on track with deadlines and remain as positive as possible in my posts and shares. And besides, there can be a lot of negative energy on social media.

Despite knowing that there are so-called “haters” online, some of my best moments have come as a result of social media. For example, a tweet from a reader who missed the local book club visit led to a trip to Michigan for a luncheon presentation with a warm and welcoming women’s club. A Facebook question from a distant American relative led to a lovely book club session tucked away in the autumn-tinged hills of Stafford, Virginia. I’ve enjoyed other great experiences and support through social media.

So, I’m generally a believer in being online for the connections and for creative thinking. But the positive vibe of social media also nourishes others when we all keep that upbeat approach.

A tweet from BC author Frances Peck had a ripple effect that surprised and delighted me.

It started with a Thank You from Frances Peck on Twitter.

Frances was thanking me for my glowing review of her just-released book, The Broken PlacesIt was a well-deserved glow. But still, those comments from Frances made me smile. A lot.

And of course, I had to reply.

A snowballing effect

It could have stopped there. But my tweet reply garnered several “likes” – always a nice response.

And then my friend and colleague Heather O’Connor gave it all a boost by replying to Frances’s tweet. I especially loved the cheerful GIF she added to her post.

Once again, it could have stopped there. But as you likely figured out, it didn’t. And this next one was the nicest surprise of them all.

First, a bit of back story

Long-time readers of Writescape’s Top Drawer may recall how I’ve relished my time working with teens and young adults through the Durham District School Board. The energy and joy the participants of these creative writing workshops offered me can’t be measured. I watched wary students allow their shoulders to drop and their creative souls to escape onto the page.

And I don’t mean they all wrote like geniuses or even that words on the page would be their forever path. It was much more than that. For many of them, it was recognizing that being themselves and taking risks creatively was a doorway to showing them who they were and who they could become, what ever path they chose.

At least, that’s what I hope happened in those classrooms and arts camps over the years.

It’s this tweet that helps me believe that.

Of course, I replied with my gratitude. All the positive tweets from colleagues was, for me, a wonderful reminder that we may write in solitude but we never have to be alone. But this last one is precious: you never know how you can impact another person’s life. And that’s a gift of inestimable worth.

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6 thoughts on “Social Media Gifts

    1. Ah Deepam, that’s lovely to read. Thanks so much. All of us need buoys in our lives and I know so many have helped me through troubled waters. I’m honoured to think that I’ve been a support for you, my friend. Just as I know you’d happily do likewise for me. The community of writers is a full-sized life raft with room to support a whole crew of wordsmiths. Let’s all keep rowing and be excited to know that here, there be dragons.

  1. What a wonderful post Ruth. I’ve also approached and experienced social media in much the same way as you. Since retiring my cookbook series, Twitter no longer has its grip on me, but I do enjoy checking in with fellow writers and artists on Facebook and Instagram.
    When I’m in the thick of creation, I find disconnecting from the Internet the only path to a productive day.

    1. Thanks Deb. Your disconnection during creativity is something I also do. The trick is to disconnect first and sometimes I have a struggle with that. The brain candy on offer sometimes is irresistible. 🙂

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