60 Comments
Apr 17Liked by Meg Oolders

Recipe for failure: mixing "attention" and "economy" in the same phrase. Might as well have a chocolate covered cockroach.

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Agreed. I feel icky every time I hear it. Attention economy, I mean. Chocolate covered cockroach is slightly less offensive. 🪳🍫💜

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OMG. Truth in what 400 words? I Noted.

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🙏🏻💜

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I do not believe people are failing in their attention. If many are , it is the fault of their parents and teacher. Many parents dont have a clue about " SPENDING QUALITY TIME " one of my least favorite clitches and READING ALOUD with their kids. And READING ALOUD is free.

In out schools too many teachers are not aware of new books of the last fifty years FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, that can grab and hold people's attention. Inmy 20 years of teachng at Northampton High School,, I brought in poetry, fiction, and essays from al over theworld.

And EnglishDepartments across the nation ( and it's probably true n other countries too) continue working in psuedosacred Idol In Idle known as the canon, a tight oblviious fiefdom where each lord has her or his very tightly established "curriculums " consisting often of their own interpretations often fairly afar from the author's original intent.

but when I and others have given our young women and men the works of Toni Morrison,, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Ann Sexton, Gwendolyn Brooks,, Frances Chung, and

Arundhati Roy they have welcomed these and other works with open arms.

There is currently a genocidall Gaza show in Palestine-Israel. You want to help students, ffriends andfamily the poetry leaders of the last fifty years in the Middle East, MAHMOUD DARWISH- the Pablo Neruda/Robert Frost/TS ELIOT/EMILY DICKENSON of his time.HAD HE NOT BEEN IN AN ARAB, HE WOULD HAVE WON THE NOBEL PRIZE DECADES AGO.

Many of my students have done remarkble projects related to their own penchants: paintings in the styles of Van Gogh, Kathe Kollwwiz, blues songs forcharacters in stories and novels, re-endings of novels ( To Kill A Mockingbird's Scout and herbrothr spring Tom Robinson from jail and form a new civil rightsgrooup.v

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Very inspiring! I think this should be widely shared.

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Thanks, Andrei!

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Meg! I feel this so hard. Kyle Chayka wrote an article in The New Yorker about the slow, steady rise of “dumb phones,” so who knows? Maybe we’re all starting to feel weary of this exact thing, prompted by smartphones and social media, where it feels like we have to sell ourselves all the time. As artists it starts to feel real existential because we primarily don’t create art for money or market performance anyway (although some of that would be nice). Anyway - such truth, thank you thank you

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Thank you, Tolly! As a parent, I am VERY grateful for the building movement against smartphones. My oldest will be starting middle school next year and I would be thrilled to see "dumbphones" become the norm just in time for his "difficult" years. 🫣Hell, we used to use payphones when I was in middle school. And that was just to call our parents to come pick us up from school. 😂 As for the selling ourselves to sell our art, it has become very overwhelming. And distracting. When we believe capturing an important moment or experience just so we can dress it up and share it with an audience to build a following is somehow better than living the moment for what it is, something isn't right. At least in my gut it isn't.

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Somebody had to write this 🙌 [Going back to juggling while I ride a one wheel bicycle on a thin rope dressed like a 🐻]

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Cheers, Claudia! And nice bear on a unicycle highwire juggling act. 👍🏻⭐❤️🙂

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Haha, I see you gave my comment a little makeover! I guess even bears on unicycles need a stylist sometimes. 😄

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One Wheel Bicycle would be a cool band name. 😂

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I’ll trade mark it just in case!

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Apr 17Liked by Meg Oolders

I pressed the “Like” button because there’s no “Uncomfortably Impacted” button.

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Apr 17Liked by Meg Oolders

The thing is, I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to be ok with failing in the attention economy.

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My hope with this piece was to suggest that failing to "win" at social media is the richer path. At least for me. I sometimes find myself putting so much time and energy into just THINKING about ways to earn more "likes" or "clicks" or "followers" because I'm being told I need grow those numbers to be (or appear) relevant. But it's not true. We're relevant in the ways that really matter already. And we're brave because we make art and share it. That's crazy brave all by itself. And we should remember that. 💜💜💜Thanks for reading! (Not sure if this is Bethany or James, but grateful for you both!)

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Apr 18Liked by Meg Oolders

Hahah yes we share an identity now :) (it’s Bethany though). I agree enormously about the strain and potential “enshitirication” of work that can come though writing for the likes and external perceptions of relevance.

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Thank you for writing this, Meg. I know I’m guilty of the above, too. It can all be so damn exhausting. We need to remember to savor the normal, mundane, everyday moments of our lives.

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Thank you, Justin! When I ignore the pull to show up in those spaces simply because it's expected, I feel better all around. And not surprisingly, I find myself with more time on my hands to do meaningful things when I don't engage with social media for the sake of engaging. It's hard to resist, but I'm hoping with practice (and intermittent juggling) I can find a good balance.

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I hear you completely. We’re better off limiting our time. Our health (mental, emotional, you name it) isn’t worth compromising! On Sunday my iPhone gave me its weekly update and told me my usage had decreased by 60 percent. And I said to myself, ahh…so that’s why I was 60 percent happier.

Happy spring, my friend! 💐 🌞

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💜

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Meg, just terrific commentary. Loved it. It is very easy to be consumed while chasing the consumer. I spent an entire career in Sales and Marketing. Traveled constantly, worked basically 7 days a week - for years and years. Had very large customers and retailers. It paid well, but the price I paid was too high. It was soul crushing. I'll be damned if I'm going to repeat that, doing what I love, writing. Just yesterday I thinned my subscriber list (I have zero paid and probably never will) and it was the right thing to do because it was clear there was no interest by either party. They subscribed and I subscribed them back without even wondering what their interest was, if any. Basically, just like a couple of junkies sharing a dirty needle. I'm sure there are substack experts who would never do that and would 'strongly advise' against it because of losing exposure or eroding some other bullshit growth strategy. I honestly don't give a rat's ass what they say, or chart out, or recommend. Thanks again for this absolute gem. - Jim

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Thanks for reading, Jim! So glad you survived those years in the sales game. And that you came away from them ready to embrace the best parts of a creative existence. Happy writing!

I also hate charts. 😉

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I’m sensing frustration, Meg! LOL. Great post, and how I feel most of the time. We are performing like circus clowns, trying to have a meaningful presence on each and every social media site ever created while not doing any one of those sites well enough to make a difference. There are gatekeepers and algorithms and a few really talented people who suck up all the attention with their crazy skill or what they pay for followers. But here’s the thing… your writing IS unique and AI can’t create what you create. Focus on one or two things on the social media/ promotion side - hopefully with things you already like to do. Write your books, submit your manuscripts and do what you do on substack…continue radio & podcast promotion - You are a great interview - and your readers WILL find your fabulous writing. Do all of the other things you love to do and your have more material for your great writing.

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Aww. Thank you, Claudine. I want to hug this comment. I am doing my best to lean into the spaces I'm the comfiest. When I do that, it matters less to me how I "perform" because I'm having too much fun to care. 🙂

Did you happen to see I launched my own podcast?? https://stockfiction.substack.com/p/talk-fiction-e3

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Yes, exactly and Ohhhh! I am following your podcast right this second. I can't wait to listen!

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See this is my complaint about most platforms, and it is why I like Substack a whole lot more than others. I don't need to make videos unless it is about topics that interest me, and when I write poetry or stories I can basically publish them here as 'content' without ever having it feel forced. My fantasy serial novels are doing well enough, and my lit analysis essays are fun to write and there's always a sense of upward growth even as I just have fun with those i like and read what interests me when I can.

Honestly, I've come to kind of detest youtube, and other video sites, because they are exactly as you described herein this excellent article.

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Thanks for sharing this, TBK. Oddly enough, it was an announcement made by Substack to add video sharing to Notes that sparked this rant. I don't want Notes to become Instagram, which is exactly what they're inviting it to do by allowing flashing lights and sound to enter into our experience in there. Bummed out that they made that move. But at the end of the day, they're a business trying to make money, and people who can attract attention make them money. It's a wacky system, and it doesn't favor art or the work it takes to create it. But Substack has provided many of us a space to share our art in a way that allows real people, who REALLY love what we're doing, to find us and support us. So, as long as Substack doesn't find a way to mess that part up, I'll stick around and keep writing my write here. 😊🥂

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Apr 19Liked by Meg Oolders

Meg: Great piece. Thought you might like to read why I quit all social media 10 years ago and never looked back:

https://sassone.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/thoughts-on-social-media/

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Thanks, Bob. I'll check it out.

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Excellent read! And Bravo on your successful departure from the madness. I think you particularly nailed the performative aspects of the culture. And the whole business of connecting without actually connecting to people. In the spirit of sharing relevant creations - you might enjoy listening to my pilot podcast discussion with fellow Substacker J.E. Petersen. We talk A LOT about the subject of what he calls "digital dope" and how we can ditch it before it does our creative minds in. https://stockfiction.substack.com/p/talk-fiction-e1

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Ahhh, Meg. Thanks for “confirming humanity.” Needed this today, and I’d restack but somehow that seems…wrong?

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Haha! I know, right? Well, if you did take something away from it, you could always go the old school route and "forward to a friend." That way at least one other person can have humanity confirmed, at least for today. 😊 Thanks for reading!

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Apr 18·edited Apr 18Liked by Meg Oolders

The top bullet list is a recipe for an unrewarding life and burnout. The bottom is recipe for a good life, joy, and contentment. It seems like an easy choice…

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Mark gets it. 😎

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WRITE! Crap. I mean right. Hahah! Yes yes and soooo yes!

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WRITE, RIGHT???

Thanks for reading, Alexx. Hope all is well with you in your creative life. 💜

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Right!!! 😜 Yessss…things are finally stabilizing again which leaves so much more time for it. Speaking of Platforms and Playing The Game… have you written much specifically about your experiences writing fiction on Wattpad vs Substack? If so, I shall do a hunt of your stacks. (Or gratefully dance a jig if you’ll point me in the right direction.)

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I have not written much about it, though I've talked about it quite a bit on my podcast as well as others'. Would also be happy to email with you about it if you have specific questions. :-) Or you can direct message me here, cuz that's a thing now. 😊

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Shweeeet! It is! And I shall. 😻

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To be honest, posting to please others is very energy draining in the long run.

Better to just make stuff we like to do and post. Someone out there might enjoy the same thing 😊

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Precisely!!! 💜🥂Thanks for reading. 😊

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