Feb 17, 2023·edited Feb 17, 2023Liked by Julie Falatko

(Sigh) I discovered this a little too late.

A little over a year ago, someone I considered a friend sent me a message about me that was clearly intended for someone else, and suddenly I learned that at least two people in a group of friends I'd emotionally invested in, spent a lot of time with, and in some cases—including the case of the sender—helped professionally consult, were talking about me behind my back. Overnight, an industry that is consistently celebrated for being made up of "nice people" felt like high school, and I've been a little paranoid about investing in fellow bookmakers ever since. I realize that I'm generalizing and that not everyone who does what we do behaves this way, but a short time before the message I had a traumatic experience that affected my ability to trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt, so that exacerbated things.

I just want to say that I think this is quite lame, and I'm sorry you, a person who has been lovely and funny and great in the, albeit short, time that I've known you, had to deal with it.

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Loved this so much! And could relate a lot. It's part of what brought me to Substack too (though it may be its own form of social media...). I was seeking the more in depth conversations and exchanges that was part of the early day of social media... But I agree that nothing beats in-person connections!

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Nov 4, 2022Liked by Julie Falatko

I appreciate your honesty, Julie, and I'm really sorry about the FB bashing. I like social media in very small doses and keep my circles tight. If I don't have some connection to the person as a friend and/or writer, they don't make the cut. I rarely visit Twitter or Facebook. Social media is not good overall for anyone's mental health. I work with middle school kids, and I definitely see the negative effects.

I prefer trees and animals, actual beloved people, sunrise and sunset, and all the glorious real life in between. And I'm always happy when you show up in my inbox. Thank you for your words however they find me.

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Hello Maine neighbor! Your post is timely to me as I just deactivated my Twitter account after 15 years of being an active Twitter user. I'm not very active on Facebook or Instagram either and I don't do TikTok, Snapchat, Whatsapp or the rest. I completely get what you are saying about how social media can make you feel and how it might not be as rewarding as it once was. I watched your video and I get why you chose to not engage with the private Facebook group either.

I can't help but think that people are reevaluating their relationship with social media, especially in light of our collective COVID-19 experiences, political and social issues, etc.

More power to you!

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One of the best things about my last trip abroad was that I didn't take my computer and I don't have either LinkedIn or Twitter on my phone. It was such a relief not to see brag posts, hustle porn posts, the whining, the brown-nosing, the oversharing of meaningless achievements. I still feel I kind of need LinkedIn for work, cause that's where my clients check me out, and I have found new clients there. However, I don't think the benefits outweigh the costs. Twitter at least makes me chuckle time to time.

Another thing I hate about social media is how conscious we are about algorithms. "Don't put a link into your post, the algo won't like it". "If your last post tanked, your next one won't get much traction either". "If you use more than 5 emojis, you'll get penalised". And that information (basically social media bro science) changes every day.

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Julie, I just deactivated my Twitter account last night and this video from you is so affirming. I'm still elsewhere, but I am thinking hard about it. So tricky. I met my first literary agent on Twitter - it all seems so tangled up. But yes. Thank you for your clarity and your insight. Seeing you walk through a cemetery with your well dressed pup feels like fresh air <3

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It really feels like now is the time for it, no? Over the long run, I have gotten so much from social media, but it's gotten boring and mean and ugly and full of advertisers since the "heydays". I credit social media with getting to know your work, and so many other of my favorite writers and illustrators and other creative people. But it really feels like it's not about that anymore.

Austin Kleon posted a clip this week (https://austinkleon.com/2022/11/03/theyre-coming-for-every-second-of-your-life/) of Bo Burnham talking about how all the social media companies are after your every last second. Since they are beholden to shareholders, they are required to grow, and growing in social media just mean grabbing an every last moment of your attention, so they can sell advertising. It explains so much of how it feels to be on social media today. It's not FOR me any more, it's AFTER me.

I have gotten very quiet on my social media, but mostly by attrition, and not by decision. It might be a more satisfying approach to follow your lead and actively step away.

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First: I have to say, that FB thing sounds like my absolute worst nightmare. It's not the same, but I once was in an episode of PBS's Ask This Old House as a homeowner. I had family who wanted to see the clip, so I went to their FB page to get the link to send and the first comment I saw on the video was something like, "I don't know what it is, but there's something about that homeowner that really annoys me." (I can't remember the exact wording, and I don't want to go back and check.) Whatever it was, it wasn't even that bad (I mean, I annoy even my kids sometimes! So, it's not THAT big a deal), but I must have hovered on that line, mentally and physically, most of that day. I think I eventually just typed: 😐 and left it at that because I literally could not string together any words but I also needed to at least try to make that person see that, hey...I, a human person, read what you felt compelled to go to your computer and record for posterity about me after watching a few minutes of an Ask This Old House episode. You know? I mean, this was NOT America's Next Top Model, or some show you would expect the mean commentators to come out with sharp knives and snide barbs. And yet... people. Even PBS people! And...apparently also kidlit people. SMH.

Having said that, I currently still enjoy most of my social media outings. I do understand what you are saying, though, and I wonder if it relates in your case to the Austin Kleon thing about obscurity being a gift. I'm obscure. I can make bad puns on Twitter and it's like, I'm just a pre-published writer. And it's a good thing I don't mind it right now, because (for example) Twitter is literally the only place I can go to find out what agents suddenly opened themselves to submissions (in one recent agent's case...for only 24 hours!) So I need some of that professionally, and I also need to vent through my favorite creative form outside of picture books: ironic .gifs.

BUT you are The Author Julie Falatko. That sounds stuffy, and I don't mean it to, but I just mean...you are known. You do have more pressure, I know. But you also have a great agent (that you totally earned) and lots of editors who adore your writing (rightly...writely?...so) and you don't have to put up with that ish if you don't want to anymore! Maybe the gift of non-obscurity is that you can do what gives you peace now! Life is too short! And you don't have to decide really right now, right? You can try a week. And then let it roll into another week. And another week. And so on. Or, not! You can post, "I'm outtie...I've got writing to do, beyatches. See you in 2024, unless you wanna see me on SubStack (which you totally should)." No one who matters is going to judge any of path you choose, so it's just up to you. Which, for me, makes anything infinitely harder, but maybe not for others. 😂

It's so fuzzy for all of us, the wavy fine line between what we absorb just the right amount of and what we absorb too much of. Once you start soaking up what's around you, it's hard to stop--it just seeps into every pore, doesn't it?

This is all to say: I feel you. I really do. Thank you for sharing.

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LOL, joined substack to comment here.

Julie, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Social media does not come naturally to me, but I feel drawn (obligated?) to it to connect with, and lift up, friends and other creators in the KidLit community. And I find that hard to do in a manageable way wrt brain and time commitment - the rabbit hole is real. Wanting to pay it forward, and sure, a little FOMO, keeps me going back. My platform of choice as a writer is twitter, but it's problematic (unrelated to any of my issues), and I'm trying to decide if this is the excuse / reason I use to step away.

I'm curious your thoughts on the idea of having an obligation, or even just an opportunity, to support others as a reason to remain in the social media mix.

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I strongly support taking a social media hiatus. I did one a few years back and honestly don’t know why I haven’t done it again since. It was so needed and necessary for me--and good. I jus felt GOOD getting offline.

Does taking a break to you mean pausing SS too? You should do whatever feels right for you, but I’ve been enjoying your posts, so I’m just curious.

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