Misfit Monday: When Facebook Sucks

I’m such a Looooooooser!

Have you ever felt like this: You’re cruising around on Facebook, clicking links, Liking posts, catching up on all your hundreds of friends’ statuses–oh, look, over there on the right, your friend just Liked something else. Your brother made a funny observation. Your friends’ baby said his first word–and it was “daddy,” your sisters’ kid just got a full-ride scholarship to an A-list college, your cousin just sold a novel–to a big, NY  publisher, in a three-book deal; your friend over there just sold a zillion copies of her self-published book (which means she’ll be making a cool three-zillion dollars come Amazon Payday), your friend from high school just hit the lottery…

and you’re ready to pick up your computer and toss it through the window??

While you’re sneaking that look at Facebook as you take a short break from the same job you’ve had for years, after getting the upteenth rejection from a publisher on the book you wrote that you were sure was IT, while your self-published book molders in the five-millions in the Amazon rankings, and your kid brought home a report card full of C’s, your other kid needs to be picked up from detention, and the electric bill’s past due because it was buried in the pile of crap that never leaves the kitchen table???

Yeah, I know, me too. OK, things aren’t quite like the above paragraph, but definitely not like the first!

And it’s not just Facebook–it’s Twitter, and blogs, and Tumblr, and Pinterest…


I’m not talking simple social media overload, I’m talking when it seems like everyone but you is doing great things, having great things happen to them, their perfect family, their awesome tons-of-money-making job, you name it. While you’re pretty much standing still.

In the old days, this could have been called Holiday Newsletter Syndrome, you know, when it seems every other Christmas card you open contains one of those newsletters where everything is wonderful and while you feel happy for your friends, you can’t help but feel like you’re a big, stagnant LOSER.

Of course, we don’t put the bad stuff in those holiday newsletters–or if we did, it’s something we gloss over and that was, of course, no fault of the writer’s–a death in the family, perhaps, “we miss her, but we’re getting through it.” And we don’t usually put that stuff on social media either, because who wants to read a whiner? “(Sigh) another rejection” or, “my publisher’s dropping me because I didn’t even come close to earning out my advance,” or “well, that’s nice for her; I sold a whopping three ebooks last month on Amazon.” It’s easy to tell ourselves  people don’t post stuff like this, but it’s still tough not to feel like a big, stagnant LOOOOOOOSER.

In the 2004-6 or so, I read a lot of blogs–industry blogs, and a lot of authors’ blogs, which back then, were “Follow me on my road to publication!” And over those couple of years, many of those authors did indeed sell to publishers. So many, eventually, that it seemed everyone was writing something like: “Oh, look! My contracts arrived today.” Or, “Squeeee! I got cover art and it’s beyoooooootiful!” or “I hit the best seller list again this week!”

It got to the point that with each blog post like that I read (and it seemed most of them were like that, for a while), I got more and more bummed out. It wasn’t that I begrudged those authors their succes; I just wanted a little of something like it for myself.

Finally, I realized it had to stop–not the successes, or even the blog posts, but me reading them. I unsubscribed from one blog after another, until I stopped reading blogs altogether.

Most of the blogs I read now are either strictly industry-focused, or they’re authors blogging about something besides writing. Some of them are further along than me in their careers, some are just getting started. Their blogs are fun to read, and it’s fun to cheer them on. Some of them come to my blog and cheer for me, too, and that means a lot.

And guess what? Facebook’s the same way. Sometimes it’s one big cheering section, other time’s it’s better to just step away, sometimes because of time constraints, sometimes when Holiday Newsletter Syndrome threatens. But I don’t stay away for long.

What about you? Do you ever get Holiday Newsletter Syndrome? Ever need to step away from Facebook, blogs, Twitter, whatever? Or does it roll off you, no matter how far along you are(n’t) in your career? Please tell me I’m not alone! And if you haven’t already, maybe Like me on Facebook? 😀

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

24 Responses to \

  1. ‘Holiday Newsletter Syndrome,’ great term, Jennette. I can sure relate to that. It’s so true that people don’t put the ‘junk’ in those letters, and everyone’s family sounds perfect while mine would be dealing with too much ‘stuff.’ And the Amazon ratings, yep, sure can relate to that, too. And there are times when I have to step back and take a break from the social media and times when I’m not just standing still but seem to be going backwards! You’re far from alone. And you’re one of my favorite writers. Ultra talented, so hang in there during the low times, because your day on top of the mountain will come. I have no doubt about that.

  2. I enjoyed reading this post. I know what you mean. You’re right. Sometimes it is best to step away from Facebook. My biggest annoyance is the political posts that have continued despite the election being over. Some days, I do just click the close button on Facebook. And leave it closed.

    The holidays depress me a little. My family all lives two hours away. My husband only gets Christmas day off. If I want to spend Christmas Day with my family — which I will not be doing this year — we have to drive up there Christmas Eve and come back Christmas Day. For my husband, it feels like he didn’t even get a day off.

    I could say a lot more, but whats the point? The bottom line is I know how you feel, sister.

  3. Who has time for Facebook? I’m usually on there Sunday afternoon, while watching football games (when I can’t write). I also limit my blog reading (or at least try to). I’d rather be writing. Probably why I don’t have that many followers.

    As for my Christmas letter, which I do send out annually (after polling whether or not my readers wanted it), I try to share the good and bad. I like writing letters and that’s how I TRY to make mine. I did have one relative who was struggling with life and didn’t appreciate my “bragging”, which prompted the poll. Apparently, she was the only one who felt that way (whew!). Of course, if it voted the other way, it would certainly save me some time during the holidays!

  4. Yeah, sometimes I love social media, sometimes not so much. I typically take a break from it for the first part of the weekend. Or if I find my plans being “turned” by the good news/bad news swings. I can get bummed by either super amazing news or the negative stuff. It’s so easy to get bogged down. But like you, it makes it easier to focus on fun blogs and new friends. 🙂

  5. Thanks so much, Lynn! You totally made my day!

    Oooh, Catie, I didn’t even touch on that one, but you’re right – all those visions of “perfect” holidays – whether from people we know, or even on commercials – can really be a bummer to someone who can’t have that for whatever reason. Thanks for sharing!

    LOL Stacy – I don’t have much time for it myself, except Facebook is one of the few social things I can hit at work. 🙂 Polling your Christmas newsletter recipients is a great idea – the fact that your votes were overwhelmingly positive means yours must be a good one!

    Coleen – yes, the industry news can be a bummer, too! So many bloggers (none of my peeps) are so negative about Amazon, Apple, whatever – it’s like the sky is falling every week. I try to skip those posts!

  6. You know, it’s natural for people to compare themselves to others on facebook, but to be honest, sometimes I feel like I need to weigh whether certain people are actually a toxic influence. You know the type! They brag & brag ad nauseum, or they appear to have no “real” life outside of social media. In the old days we called them attention whores. Nowadays? Kardashians? I don’t know, but if someone constantly perpetuates a bragathon, I usually find myself edging away from that person because it seems a bit unbalanced. No one’s life is all sunshine, and the people with good character try to support others to spread the glow : )

  7. Boy, did this hit a nerve with me! I was just thinking yesterday how I have a couple of Facebook friends who are always boasting about their kids’ latest accomplishments. It starts to feel like, “Look at me! I’m the Best Mom of the Year!” It’s the Facebook equivalent of the “My Kid is on the Honor Roll” bumper stickers (which I always thought should have added “and your kid isn’t. Nana-nana-boo-boo.” LOL).

  8. I don’t go to FB enough to get mired down by it. I guess that’s a plus, but then again what might I be missing? It’s tough to find a happy medium.

    It is nice to cheer on your friends when they have those successes, but it’s also nice to see them cheering me on when I need cheering. It’s a two-edged sword really.

    What I hate is when I spend hours going to blogs and commenting and offering support and encouragement time and time again and it is not reciprocated. Or when the authors of the blogs don’t even acknowledge that I’ve left a comment on their blog. That irks me. I took the time to stop by your blog and leave a comment, in the hope that it’s offering something of import, and you blow me off. (Not YOU mind you, but the figurative “you” as in everyone.)

    But I digress. I just figure it’s everyone else’s loss, not mine. If someone doesn’t have time for me, that’s their loss.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. You have much to offer too.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  9. Diane, yes! Those are the kind whose blogs got me in a funk all those years ago! None of my blog friends now are like that. 🙂

    Julie – great analogy! It is the same sort of thing, isn’t it?

    Patricia – oh boy, you hit a sore spot with me too. There are blogs I like that I don’t comment on any more because those authors never had time for me. I know we’re not supposed to keep score and I don’t, but I need to use my time supporting those who support me, first! I’m looking forward to when you post more – and thanks!

  10. I can relate to this so much it isn’t even funny. I usually have to force myself to post on social media. My first instinct is to run the other direction. I see it as some kind of popularity or pissing contest. I don’t like to play games and that’s what I feel like I’m doing when thrown into that arena. I was happiest when I was writing with all my free time and almost never step cyber foot on any social media platform. I also pump out my best work then because I can totally immerse myself in the story, never pulling myself out till I’m ready to come out.

    I’m sorry you feel that way on FB, but I totally get it. I almost never see you post anything. Do you post or is it FB messing with what I get to see again? FB can be so irritating.

  11. Debra – actually, I don’t hate Facebook, I was more using it as an example. But you’re right, I hardly ever post a status (other than blog links) because I hardly ever have anything interesting to say! That’s why I make stuff up. 😀 Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Oh, boy can I relate! I try not to compare myself to all those people who have perfect children, have fantastically successful books and blogs and . . . . Argh! My world is definitely not that smooth and perfect.

  13. I didn’t mean to infer you hate FB. I meant that all the other posts on social media make you feel like you’re standing still, or worse yet, moving backwards. I get that. And I totally understand not having things to say. I often feel the same way. Even within our little group.

  14. Lynette, yes! I really try not to compare myself to others – after all, we each walk our own path – but it’s really hard not to. Thanks for coming by!

    Debra – good to know! And yes, me too. 🙂

  15. Years ago, when going through a tough time, I decided to temporarily halt my annual holiday newsletter. The following year, laziness kicked in, and I never wrote another one. I do LOVE reading holiday newsletters, though. (I haven’t clicked with FB.) Sure, there’s bragging in those newsletters, but I prefer of think of it as putting a positive spin on the year’s events and rewriting family history to highlight good times and downplay the bad.

  16. Pat, I actually like getting the holiday newsletters, too, especially since only a couple of my friends still send them. I think it’s the combination of all kinds of things, plus email lists (I forgot those!) that add up to that “everything’s wonderful for everyone but me” feeling. I used to write one too! And the reason I stopped? I’m lazy, LOL!

  17. fscinating post, Jenette. I totally know what you’re talking about. and I’ve been at this for a long time. can be crazy making. But I’m learning to step away until it can be fun again. and then to jump back in. thanks for a great post and the reminder that im not alone.

  18. This would be an issue if I still checked my author Facebook account…

    Hmm… That might be why I haven’t sold anything in six weeks.


    (Nobody ever posts that to Facebook.)

  19. Thank you so much for this post. I found myself feeling that way very recently. And I’m genuinely thrilled for those other people, but it’s hard not to wonder “when will it be my turn.” (And of course, then I have to remind myself that other people are looking at the good things that happen to me and feeling the same way.)

  20. Jennette, I can relate–I think we’ve all been there:(. Social media is a fun way to connect, as well as convey good news (for cheers)and bad news (for prayers). My biggest problem is the time it takes to keep up. I’m not nearly as active as I used to be because I lose track of time.

    Btw, thank you so much for the Goodreads rating! Seeing that was a nice way to start my day yesterday;).

  21. Louise, that’s the key! Stepping away until it can be fun again.

    Jim, LOL! If people posted that to Facebook, I probably wouldn’t Like them, either! And yeah, my author page is pretty neglected, too.

    Marcy, I’m so glad it’s not just me – and good point about others probably lurking, thinking we’re the ones with all the luck!

    Maria, exactly! The time aspect is another difficulty. And you’re welcome re: Goodreads – I really enjoyed Escape!

  22. I get that feeling too. Sometimes it seems like the loudest people are Stepford wives and nothing bad ever happens to them. Too much negativity is lame but real people have ups and downs, and it would be nice to see them both.

    I don’t share much of my personal life in Facebook because, well, not much is happening. Like you said, our fictional worlds are much more interesting.

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