Effective Bookish Facebook Groups: Featuring Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while know I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I’ve thoroughly outlined the reasons why it’s good to step away from time to time, but I haven’t delved into the main reason I always come back.

I’ve met amazing individuals online who share the same interests, obsessions, goals, dreams, and hobbies as I do. Whether they be reader or writer, they’re  wonderful folks I don’t have around me in real life. They get me, in all my word nerd glory, they support and encourage me in my endeavors, they enrich my life with their own unique lights and talents, and some of them even buy, read, and review my books. This is enough to get me through even the bleakest of days as an indie author.

One of my favorite places to find such people is the Facebook group, Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans. When I stumbled upon this gem in the sand I was mesmerized. There was something different, a magnetism, a life I hadn’t yet found in any other FB groups. Until that point, most of the bookish groups I’d joined were a conglomeration of spammy promo posts and other such noise that felt similar to being at a street market where everyone spoke different languages than me. It didn’t take me long to figure out that BOD was a special place. I’ve made tons of friends, gained readership, and had a blast being in this group, so I thought I’d get to the bottom of what makes BOD tick. The moderators of the group, Cheer Stephenson and ER Arroyo, have graciously agreed to lay out all the juicy details for your visual consumption. Enjoy 🙂

Hey, Cheer and ER! Welcome to A Spark in the Dark. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions about Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans. Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

Cheer: I’m an avid reader constantly on the lookout for my next escape. If I’m not reading, I’m a mom to three amazing kids and I work as a Dental Hygienist. Before BOD, I was a moderator for a group on Goodreads that focused on YA dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. I was able to connect and interact with some amazing authors, including ER Arroyo, which eventually led to the genesis of BOD. I guess you could say I enjoy promoting books and being a cheerleader for my favorite authors.

ER: I’m an author of young adult, dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic fiction (Antius Ascending Series, Prep For Doom, The Doomsday Chronicles). I created and edited Band of Dystopian’s anthology, Prep For Doom. I’m also a wife and mom.

~How did Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans come to be?

ER: BOD was the result of a discussion I had with a friend who’d encouraged me to join a dystopian book group on Facebook. At the time I couldn’t find a single one. I took the idea to start one to Cheer, and it all just fell into place from there! I’m pretty sure she came up with the title, too.

Cheer: I, for one, refused to believe that dystopian fiction was a fad on its way out, but no matter where I searched, I could not find an active community dedicated to the genres I love.  When ER approached me with the idea of starting a Facebook group where fans and authors could mingle, I jumped at the chance. From that moment on, we were flying by the seat of our pants.

ER: For the record, we are no longer flying by the seat of our pants. LOL.

~What do you love most about BOD?

ER: Camaraderie among the authors and the sense of community throughout the group, fans and authors alike.

Cheer: What do I love most? Oh, that’s a tough one. I guess I appreciate the fact that members come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and beliefs, but we are bonded by a common love for dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. Despite our differences, we are honest, yet courteous. So I guess that means I love the RESPECT I witness every single day on BOD.

~What’s the deal with zombies? Why the obsession?

ER: This was kind of a discovery on Cheer’s part. It was never really a big deal when we were starting out – it wasn’t, like, a goal of ours or anything to make a big deal out of zombies.

Cheer: A lot of apocalyptic stories involve zombies and the zombies refused to be ignored. Prior to BOD, I discovered authors like Carrie Ryan, Ilsa J. Bick, and Rhiannon Frater and surprise, I fell in love with zombie fiction. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, thus the birth of BOD’s zombie craze.  

~Why do you think people are so fascinated with Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic fiction?

ER: We’ve asked this question in the group before to see what people would say, and the reasons vary. I can only speak for myself in saying it’s because it allows me to imagine a world with a completely different set of rules, different set of stakes, but it’s still so grounded in our actual reality that it’s relatable (as opposed to fantasy genres or others similar). It’s easy to imagine ourselves in these dystopian, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic situations and settings. For some reason, our current society has kind of romanticized the apocalypse. I’m not sure why. I read an article recently that said young people identify specifically with dystopian so much because this generation of young people are more aware of social injustice than generations past. I think there’s something to that.

Cheer:  We see major changes happening in the world every day and fiction is becoming reality. We are experiencing terrifying world events we never would have believed possible. In part, it’s a reality check, but the fascination runs deeper than that. I think the idea that people’s values and motivations change when stressed, for either good or bad, makes for situations that are riveting and horrifying at the same time. What kind of person would I be in an apocalypse? Would my morals change as I struggle to survive? It just makes you stop and think.

~What’s the hardest thing about running a group this size? How on Earth do you manage to keep order in a group of over 3,000 people?

ER: With a dystopian-style iron fist! Just kidding. It’s a lot of work, honestly, but we divvy up. I tend to watch over the group during the day, Cheer does more so at night. We also have slightly different roles, Cheer being more of the face of the thing and me being the behind-the-scenes one. We have rules in our “about” section, and we do our best to fairly apply them. We are very attentive to what gets posted, and we keep an eye on conversations/comments. Basically, Cheer’s the party and I’m the gatekeeper. If you have ever had a post come up missing, it was most likely me who deleted it. I delete a LOT of posts (usually advertisements unfit for the group’s focus, like cookbooks for example). We are hyper-aware of the atmosphere in the group, and we work hard to preserve it, because we think that is the best thing we have going for us. But preserving that is also the hardest part – having to constantly keep an eye on things and delete posts that are out of pocket, and even worse, when we have to message people and ask them to stop doing something, or to change something they’re doing. Confrontation sucks. But we would much rather confront one person than allow drama to infect the atmosphere in the group at large. Our “culture” is important to us. Say it with me… “BOD IS A HAPPY PLACE.”

Cheer: Team work! Maybe it was just luck, but ER and I seem to strike a healthy balance. We have different talents, strengths, and weaknesses, but combined we are a fierce team. We also have an amazing line-up of assistants for which I am truly grateful.

ER: True that on the assistants!

~How would things be different if the number of members surpasses, say… 10,000?

ER: That’s tough to say! Maybe we would need more assistants? Maybe even stricter rules, hate to say it. We attempted to not have any rules at the start but as we grew, we had to add guidelines.

Cheer: Goodness! Let me wrap my brain around that number. Nope, can’t do it. We will embrace that challenge as it comes.

~It’s obvious you’re very committed to BOD. Are there ever times in which you feel you need to back away and breathe? If so, what do you do?

ER: I think our partnership is key (teamwork). No decisions are made that Cheer and I don’t discuss and decide on together. We help each other out. There are ebbs and flows in the group and in our lives. We do our best to support each other and help fill in the gaps when the other is spent. And as Cheer mentioned, our assistants (currently we have five). We definitely all need breaks from time to time, and the other members of our team are usually right there to jump in and keep it covered when we ask for a break or for help.

Cheer: We have incredibly busy lives outside of BOD and at times that can be overwhelming. We are really good at communicating when we need to step back for awhile. Luckily there’s always someone willing to take the driver’s seat for awhile.  ER and I try to always make sure our team isn’t overburdened. We want this to be fun, not just work.

~What would you say are the three most important rules for running an effective Facebook Group/Community?

ER: A lot of this depends on the intent of the group. A group with a different purpose would have different goals and therefore different rules. For BOD, I would say…

  1. Keep it FUN – People genuinely enjoy spending time in BOD. We don’t ever want that to change.
  2. Foster COMMUNITY – Real friendships have been made in our group, and many of us feel like a big family. You have to remember that we are united by a common interest that most of us don’t have people to share with in “real life.” BOD is a tribe. People should feel safe expressing themselves with us. And they can be as nerdy as they want with no recourse.
  3. Stay EFFECTIVE – We have learned what does and doesn’t work for us. We get ideas from people all the time, but at the end of the day, Cheer and I have to trust our gut and stay within the realm of what our experience has taught us will be most effective and enjoyable.

(We realize selling books is an intent of authors in the group, and it’s one that we welcome, but when we focus more on keeping people excited and having a good time, they find great books to buy and read as a byproduct that we don’t have to push for. It’s why we are so strict about promoting.)

Cheer: ER nailed it.

~Have you ever had to ban anyone? If so, why?

ER: LOL – yes. Spammers usually get removed or blocked (Ray-Bans, anyone?). We also remove people, without necessarily blocking them, for joining the group and promo-dumping stuff that has nothing to do with our genre guidelines. So help me, nothing will get a person booted faster than promoting a romance novel. Indie author promotion places are SWIMMING in romance titles. We created BOD so our niche genres could stand without being drowned out by the (many, many, many) romance books. We aren’t against those authors or those books, this just isn’t the place for them (of course this doesn’t refer to dystopian, apoc, or post-apoc romances; those are welcome, but it would help to include one of those keywords in the written part of your post if you share a romance-looking book). But seriously, go to literally any other non-niche Facebook group and see how long you have to scroll before finding, say, five titles that aren’t romance. We also get random stuff like cookbooks and self-help that we delete, and if the unfit posting persists we remove the user. And of course, if someone is nasty towards others or blocks an admin, we remove them from the group as well.

Cheer: Reluctantly, yes; however you really have to work at getting banned. We are fairly tolerant, to a point.

~What are your thoughts on adding people to a group without their permission?

ER: This isn’t something I’ve given much thought to, honestly. We haven’t had any issues that I’m aware of. But I’ve heard some people get pretty agitated about it.

Cheer: Yeah, I don’t like that at all. In the beginning, I would message authors and invite them to check us out. Invite, don’t add without permission.

~From personal experience, I’ve seen the outcome of your awesome release parties for your “BOD Authors.” They’ve helped me hit the Amazon bestseller list each time. I’d totally understand if you charged, and I’d also be willing to pay you, as I’m sure many authors would. So, my question is: Why do it for free?

ER: We’ve had this conversation several times actually. I think it’s because Cheer is so generous. Also, we spend a LOT of time focusing on our readers. We want authors to know we support them too. If we ever start to charge, it’ll be because it costs us money, and it costs whoever is hosting a lot of time.

Cheer: It goes back to our mission, we want to introduce fans to authors  and encourage reading. When money is involved, the atmosphere changes and we have worked hard to maintain a positive vibe.  

~Why do you think a lot of Facebook groups don’t “work?”

ER: I can only speculate, since I’ve not really been exposed to other groups with any sort of regularity. But maybe because it’s a lot of hard work – that would be my guess. This is a day in and day out burden of responsibility. Also, I hear drama is a big problem in other groups. We strive to be supportive and positive and insist our members behave that way as well.

Cheer: I’m guessing that groups without purpose, consistency, and dedication fail over time. In addition, I believe our motivation is pure and sincere, and members can sense that and want to stay.

~To sum up, what advice would you give someone who wants to create and run an effective, fun Facebook Group?

ER: Be ready to spend some money on prizes :). Figure out your group’s purpose in advance, create guidelines to help achieve it, and be proactive about pursuing your goals. Do your best to squash drama ASAP. Have tough conversations with people in private when needed, never in front of others. Keep a positive tone and don’t complain publicly.

Cheer: Respect your audience. Listen to their needs and ideas. Serve your fans and authors and in turn they will reward you with their loyalty. Keep it fun and real and leave your insecurities at the door. Recognize that you will never please everyone and that’s okay. Sounds like a checklist, but it’s not. It’s just about being kind while doing what you love.

~What should the person reading this do if they’d like to join BOD?

ER: Visit www.facebook.com/groups/bandofdystopian and click join 🙂

~I  BOD SWAG. Can you share some pics with us, and maybe a link to where we can get some of our own?

Cheer: We periodically have BOD tees up for pre-order, but merchandise, such as swag, is primarily for giveaways. We like to keep it special. I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out though. Fan loyalty demands representation.

Thank you so much for giving us your time and insight, ladies! I look forward to the amazing things BOD has in store for the future.

 

**What about you? Have any experience with Facebook groups you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Advertisements

‿➹⁀How to Sell More Books on Facebook‿➹⁀

computer-snoopingSo. You’ve spent the last four hours spamming twelve thousand FB groups that inhabit only others doing exactly the same thing. How’s that working for ya?

Have you ever bothered to go back into one of these promo-only groups and check the response?

Chances are, you just wasted four hours of your life you’ll never get back. No likes, no comments, and I guarantee no sales, for the most part. In fact, I’d say all you got from this ordeal was an achy click-finger, bug-eyes, chair-ass, and a sour mood.

Never fear. I’m here to help.

*Hangs top hat and cane on wall rack, straightens suspenders*

*clears throat*

Imagine for a moment that this is real life. And let’s say your book is a beautiful, rare, only-found-in-the-shark-inhabited-waters-of-Fiji fish called … Le Bookuri. So, there 8sassoondock croppedyou are in a crowded marketplace, telling everyone how great your Le Bookuri is and that they should buy it, but the problem is, they also have this rare, precious Le Bookuri. Why would they need any of yours? And why are you trying to sell it to them in the first place?

So what do you do? You go to where the hungry people with no Le Bookuri are. You must hunt these people down. They do not generally travel in packs, no … that would be too easy. They are rogue, traveling the vast plains of Facebookland, hungry for their next Le Bookuri … Will it be yours? Chances are, if you’ve taken care of the following items, your Le Bookuri will be exactly what they need to wet their whistle and whet their appetite.

Make your Le Bookuri stand out from the rest.

Everyone has it. You have to do something different. Shine its scales, season it, remove the bones, fry it up and serve it with some tar-tar, but whatever you do, don’t expect a hungry person to jump at some flopping, wiggly thing that’s still half-alive. Make sure it’s finished, prepped, and served up proper. Spend time on this—don’t rush. Seriously. If it takes a year or longer, then that’s what it takes. Just because the lady in the next stand over can whip up five at a time twice a week and sell them at half-price to the street beggars, doesn’t mean that’s what you should do. Create an exquisite dining experience that you can be proud of. As long as it takes.

Make connections.

You can’t expect to be hand-picked out of the crowd of Le Bookuri fisherman unless you have made connections. Those hungry folks are going to feed you in return, yes, so it’s important that you sell your Le Bookuri to them, of course. But make them remember you. Give them a free Le Bookuri, even. Because if they like it and they like you—because you were generous enough to give without expecting in return—then they’ll be more apt to go tell their friends and family about this wonderful Le Bookuri experience they had, and they will send more hungry folks your way.

Quitcherbellyachin’.

Nobody wants to hear your sob story about how you didn’t sell any Le Bookuri last week. It’s annoying. They have enough problems of their own. They have a sick kid or bills they can’t pay. Their igloo is about to get repo’d or their sled has a rusty runner. They can’t figure out how to get that stupid childproof lid off their meds and they have a bunion. And the like. You never know what’s going on in other people’s lives, and I guaran-flippin-tee-ya your lack of Le Bookuri sales is not a burden others want to shoulder as they navigate the icy slopes of Facebookland. (I’m not sure when it started snowing, either, but just go with it people—focus.)

Nextly and lastly,

Don’t be an asshat.

Nobody wants to be around somebody who obviously thinks their Le Bookuri is the crème de la crème and is not afraid to display an array of snobbery to prove their position as high above the rest in the Le Bookuri marketplace. Unless you are one of the few big guys who can easily sell their Le Bookuri to other, lesser Le Bookuri fisherman, quit being a jerk and be nice to people, even other Le Bookuri fishermen. They may take a liking to you and share some of their customers with you, and they may even be nice enough to point out that squiggly black hair protruding from the half-baked mess on tarnished silver resting in your lap, there. Get back to work. Get humble. Say thank you. And for goodness sake, put your hair up.

So in short: quit wasting time with the spam-bot promo posts, and instead, spend that time polishing up the most amazing Le Bookuri you can, and make genuine connections with other humans. It works. I’ve experienced this magic myself over the last year since I first published.

What about you? Do you have any experiences on this topic you’d like to share? Spit it out in the comments below, if you dare. 😉

And until next time, fellow Le Bookurians,

Write on ❤

★★★If you’d like to check out my mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror bestseller, “The Treemakers,” click the cover.  “The Soultakers,” (book 2) releases 12/3. You can check out some early reviews on Goodreads for now by clicking on the cover.

UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINES smaller

TST EBOOK at 50 percent

 

21 Reasons Why Life without Facebook is Totally Awesome

flower girl

So many things fall to the wayside when chained to Facebook for endless hours days months years. Some time away allows you to see the many ways it negatively impacts your life.

For the past two weeks, I’ve spent a total of fifteen minutes on Facebook, which is no easy feat. As you can see >HERE<, getting off for even an hour was once a near-impossibility.

If you are anything like me, you too, may be unhappy with the amount of time you waste in the vice-grip of status-updates, friend requests, and all the jingly bells and screeching whistles that go along with a life glued together at the seams with good old Facebook. Because I’ve enjoyed my break so much–I wanted to entice you to give it a try.

Here are 21 Reasons why life without Facebook is totally awesome, and why I’ll be limiting my time there to fifteen minutes, one day a week from now, until further notice. 🙂

21. Less chair ass

If you’ve experienced the torturous hell that is hours of writing, whilst fighting Facebook distraction (and losing), followed by the darkest moments of a writer’s existence–chair ass–you understand. Often times, this is accompanied by mouse-wrist and/or typing-elbow. (Yes, I am aware I just made these up, but these writer ailments should have names, shouldn’t they?)

20. More exercise

19. More time outside

18. More time with children/friends/family

First on any list of dietary restrictions should be Facebook: Serving size I’LL SLURP OUT YOUR SOUL AND SAUTEE THAT MOTHER WITH TWITTER BALLS AND PINTEREST NUTS SO JUST SIGN YOUR LIFE SAVINGS OVER TO CANDY CRUSH NOW AND CALL IT A DAY.

Last week, I walked a total of four miles. On purpose. And not just to get to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, either. I did it because, hello, I opened my eyes to the wide world around me and decided, what the hell, I’ll go for a stroll. Destination? Starbucks. There was a venti nonfat carmel iced coffee calling my name. Funny, I didn’t hear it when I had my Facebook earmuffs on. Who knew those things were soundproof? Distance: two miles. It was a beautiful, sunny, relatively warm, late-spring Dallas, Texas afternoon. There were bugs. And noise. I perspired. I pushed my son in his stroller as he experienced the wide world around us from little toddler eyes. It was beautiful. 

It’s common sense; less time playing kissy-face with Facebook leaves room for endless possibilities of fuzzy-feeling real life stuff like being active and spending time with family and whatnot.

17. More time to write

Okay, raise your hand if you’re guilty of using “platform” as an excuse to insert Facebook into your body intravenously?

Uh-huh. *gives you evil eye*

I don’t wanna hear it. Platform shmatform. You don’t exactly need platform if you don’t have a book to sell, right? And even if you do have a book to market, think of how many more you could have if you didn’t spend so much time stroking the Zuckerburg…. I have a lot of writer friends, and not a one of them has ever gushed about how Facebook sells tons of books. If you’ll check out your top NYT bestselling authors, you will rarely find them spending hours–if any time at all–on Facebook. They do what writers are supposed to do. They write.

16. More time to do housework and other things you’ve been procrastinating

I get it, I really do. Hunting down the perfect meme-of-the-hour is way more appealing than doing the dishes. But your significant other is tired of doing them while you harvest friends on Facebook. Or your kids are tired of wearing dirty and/or wrinkled clothes because surfing meaningless status updates and filling your little brainy with mindless chatter that means ultimately jack to you and your life–seems more important to you than doing their laundry.

And shower, cuz… damn. *pinches nose*

15. More time to do other (than writing) things you love

Facebook is a drug that should come with dosage information and a warning label. And certain people should really cut it out mostly, or entirely from their life. Being a recovered drug addict/alcoholic, I have an addictive personality. I get “stuck” on stuff if I’m not careful, and then hours days months years go by and I look up and realize EVERYONE IS DEAD AND THE WORLD HAS BECOME A DESOLATE WASTELAND IN WHICH THE UNDEAD HAVE TAKEN OVER AND I MUST NOW LEARN HOW TO SHOOT A CROSSBOW LIKE DARYL DIXON AND TELL TIME BY THE SUN’S POSITION IN THE SKY AND LEARN THAT MOSS GROWS ON THE NORTH SIDE OF TREES OR WHATEVER AND ALL THAT’S LEFT TO EAT THAT HASN’T BEEN LOOTED ARE THOSE LITTLE DRIED CRAWFISH THINGYS WITH EYES THAT YOU FIND AT MEXICAN SUPERMARCADOS…

Not a good scene.

Would I rather spend my pre-apocalypse moments on Facebook, stalking Daryl Dixon (well, actually…), or doing fulfilling things that make me happy, like making cool stuff with my hands?

Tough call.

*sighs*

*stomps foot*

I guess I’ll take the art. (As long as I can watch reruns of “The Walking Dead” after.) 😀

14. You see who your true friends are

I’ve made a lot of good friends on Facebook. Almost 3,000 as of last Sunday, actually. And every other Tuesday, we get together and go bowling and then go to the spa afterwards and I catch the tab on a few rounds of those little umbrella drinkys…

Yeah.

I can count the true friends I’ve made on Facebook on two hands. From what I can tell, most of them out there are looking out for numero uno. I am but a drop in the bucket, of which may as well be a toilet. Taking a step back, I was able to see who I miss, which is a surefire way to tell who you really care about. And most of those people have my email address and some of them have even acquired the much sought-after 10 digits of happiness, and I don’t mean fingers. Some of them even call me on the… phone. *GASP!*

13. You can address your festering narcissism and get some effing humility

If no one has told you today, you are a precious little snowflake and everyone on Facebook–all of the internet and the world even–should stare at the exquisite uniqueness that is your Facebook profile. They should soak up every single status update from now, until the beginning of time, memorizing the luscious deets and “liking” every post, every comment, every picture, and every single little marvel that is your totally real, unfiltered, un-photo-shopped real life. Really.

And if they don’t…

Gah, how dare they. The nerve.

12. No Facebook drama

Does this really need explanation?

11. No Facebook trolls

*please hold while I squeeze into my ranty-panties*

There is nothing that pisses me off more than those still-living-with-momma social outcasts that have never seen the sun rise nor fall, that tell me what sort of sunscreen to put on my poochy. And worse yet, even blatantly judge me for putting the stuff on his furry be-hind in the first place. Hey, buddy, if I wanna put a gosh-dern t-back and tap shoes on my dog, that’s my own damn business and I don’t need you or anyone else to tell me how to–or not to–do it.

*tosses ranty-panties to neighbor’s poochy*

*snickers*

10. No more constant marketing

If I see your book cover one more time I’m going to hang you upside down by your toenails from the ceiling fan in my mind and flip the switch to the “on” position. Then I shall pop popcorn and set my demon puppy loose to chase you around, snapping at your hair or ears or what-have-you. And I shall laugh.

9. No more creepers/perves

In case you weren’t aware, Facebook just recently became a free dating site for the uber creeps and perves and still-living-at-home trolls. If you have never seen troll genitalia, be warned… the sight of this in an unsolicited private message has been known to cause vomiting, insomnia, loss of appetite, and in serious cases, blindness.

(NOTE: If you experience an erection that lasts for four hours or longer, well… you may be part of the problem. Seek professional help immediately. And in the meantime, please, stay the bejeezus away from Facebook.)

8. No more game requests

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of every harp in Heaven simultaneously playing Queen’s “We are the Champions,” because we have done it. We’ve won. People, ONE. Facebook game-requests, ZIP-O-ROOONIE.

7. No more clogging your mind space with unimportant crap

No, I was not aware that the African spotted muskrat is endangered. Please, post that Upworthy video all about it so that I can lose four minutes of my life learning all about them, and what I can do to ensure their future safety.

6. No more depressing selfie sessions to find that “perfect” profile pic

Of course, I have no personal experience with this one… but I had a friend once that, um…

yeah.

Next.

5. You no longer have to pretend to care about things you don’t care about

Hear that? (Isn’t it amazing how much you can hear without your Facebook earmuffs on?)

It’s the sound of 2,500 people clicking the “unfriend” button as they learn that I wish (I really do) I had enough mind-space, time, and heart, to give two squishy turds about what you ate for dinner, or how your husband wants you to get a bikini wax, or how your new Ferrari unfortunately had to go to the shop today to get the problem with the vibrating seats fixed. Because you paid extra for those  damn vibrating seats and by-God, they better vibrate on “GO.”

4. You no longer have to bite your tongue to keep from being an asshat to other asshats

If you hang out in a barber shop long enough, you’ll either get a haircut, become a barber, or try to eat that thing that looks like a candy cane because you’re hungry and you can’t take the curiosity any longer…

(Note: It does not taste like a candy cane.)

In the same manner, if you hang out on Facebook around asshats for too long, you too may start to present symptoms of asshatedness. You must ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?

3. You get a new perspective on life

This isn’t my first Facebook-free stint. I actually deleted my account three or so years ago, for a whole year. My finger hovered over the “deactivate account” button for–I shit you not–a whole hour. I sweated profusely. I pulled my hair out and I cried. I banged my fists on things and broke many pencils. Facebook had taken over my soul, and was eating my family, my life, and my sanity away at the seams like greedy little blue termites. When I finally pushed that button, I literally grieved the loss of my intangible, fabricated cyber-life, and all of the “friends” who would no longer “get to” be a part of my life.

Notice the self-righteous asshatedness (above) than soon became apparent. Once I stepped back, a week went by and I realized the sun was shining… “Whoa, when did the snow melt? What day is it? June? When the hell did summer get here? Where is my family?”

I had to integrate myself, not only back into the lives of my family–relearn their ways, their schedules, their habits, likes, dislikes–but I also had to be integrated back into society. It was serious culture shock. When you spend five or six hours a day on Facebook, you may as well be spending five or six hours a day at a dope house. Some of you may not have it this bad, but some of you can drink alcohol without it ruining your life, too. Others of you, like me, may hit a wall, where you have lost control. We are powerless over our Facebook addiction and our lives have become unmanageable. Stepping away removes a dark shroud that you didn’t even realize was there. You will experience life anew.

2.  Live life in the ever-mysterious and spontaneously beautiful now

Without the distraction of Facebook, I remember to enjoy life right now. Instead of “building that platform,” “marketing that book,” “cultivating that following,” all of which are future-oriented visions and aspirations, I can just enjoy the awesomeness that is my life right now. I can sit on my back porch and look at the sky and quiz my third-grader about what type of clouds are out today. I can play. I can breathe in deep the official first day of summer because I am experiencing it firsthand, not because I saw someone’s status update reminding me of it. I can be present in my life.

1. Freedom

Facebook is designed to hold you hostage. It is a prison without walls or bars. Sure, there are some good things therein… there are bible scriptures scrawled on prison walls, too, but that doesn’t make me want to go to prison any time soon. You?

Without Facebook to tie you down, you walk a free human. Free from ego, from narcissism, free from garbage-in garbage-out, free from the poisons there, disguised as profit, prosperity, popularity…

Without Facebook, you are free to just be. And live.

Until next time, fellow humans…

Just be. ❤

 

You can check out my books on Amazon here:

 The Treemakers (Book 1 in the Treemakers Trilogy) (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror)

The Soultakers (Book 2 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Seeker’s Keys (Book 3 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure novelette)