This phenomenon comes up a lot when I talk about Twitter (or—really—any new media tool).
People don’t use it. They haven’t tried to use it. And they decide not to use it often because it’s too much trouble. This reason, in and of itself, is fine. I understand when people have other priorities, especially when it entails meeting writing deadlines.
However, what often happens is, after deciding not to use a tool, they further justify their decision by saying:
It’s a waste of time.
It’s a fad.
It doesn’t really work.
So many marketers and spammers are on there.
Don’t people just talk about what they had for lunch?
Something else will take its place.
We all know exactly what’s at work here. No one wants to be missing out on something that could be valuable. So whenever we hear something negative about a particular tool or service we don’t use, we remember that detail (never the positive stuff!), and parrot it later. We want to believe that our avoidance is not just about perceived low value, but actual low value.
But we really don’t know what we’re talking about because we have no experience to rely on, just hearsay and rumor.
First, let’s stop spreading bad information.
Second, let’s admit that we don’t have time for some things due to other priorities. That’s OK. We all respect people for that.
Third, consider that we all face resistance when faced with a new tool or technology. It usually takes hard work, patience, practice, and experimentation to figure out if a new tool or technology will benefit us. There’s a chance it won’t work at all. We may risk wasting our time. (Though I don’t think this is possible. But that’s another blog post.)
Until you learn what’s something’s about, and get over the hump, you’ll never really know the truth.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has nearly 25 years of experience in the media & publishing industry. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses (How to Publish Your Book), she is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as Digital Book World and Frankfurt Book Fair, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.