As someone who has remained relatively active on social media on all platforms ranging from MSN Instant Messenger to MySpace to Facebook to Twitter and then to Instagram, I have always loved to interact with people I know. What I had not realized until my course this summer in which other students and I help make the Midwest Writers Workshop happen, though, was the importance of wholly immersing yourself into communities filled with those who also possess your interests and who remain active in pursuing, bettering, and encouraging others to participate in those interests.
When my newsfeeds on various social media outlets are filled with people I went to high school with, family, and the occasional person I befriended either on vacation or through an internship, my newsfeeds begin to lose both focus and purpose. When our lives also begin to lose these two imperative assets, we can fall victim to losing our paths, which will then possibly lead to a loss of identity.
During free time I used to spend on social media, I realized how much negativity I exposed myself to and how damaging this truly was for me. I sometimes felt misunderstood, different from my peers, and as though I did not necessarily fit in with any specific interest group. While I did have a slight idea this had happened, I had not actually accepted it until my first meeting with the aforementioned summer class's interns and director, Jama Bigger.
How did I fix this unruly sense of negativity? First, I deleted my Twitter account. It was not anything personal toward people I followed, but, rather, it was something I knew I had to do for myself. I needed positivity and belonging in an aspect of my life in which I felt as though I was not only welcomed, but in which I also felt as though I was encouraged to pursue my ambitions. I took this opportunity to divulge myself in a social media cleanse.
Even though I quickly began to rebuild my Twitter account, I assured myself I would have a focus: I needed a literary community in which I could build both personal and professional connections. While I still do follow my close friends and others who also use social media to spread positivity, my Twitter account now has a clear focus. I can talk with others about novels, share information about what I read (such as the novel to the left, which was a wonderful YA read, and it seemed to fulfill my wanderlust needs even if only for a short while), fangirl over authors and the Midwest Writers Workshop, and share both positive and funny quotes and memes about reading and writing.
Before my social media cleanse, I felt as though I was trying to butcher through leaves and trees in the middle of a dense forest even though I was simply only scrolling through my Twitter feed. Now, though, I can see a clear path. Even though it still might be a little rough, I can share my travels along this literary journey with my fellow literary citizens without a worry of getting lost along the way.
Lauren is a Ball State University alumna with a Bachelor's degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. She enjoys breakfast for dinner with a side of literary enjoyment.