Social media is a giant neon sign that flashes continuously, ‘LOOK AT ME,’ while it saps our time and leaves us empty-handed. – Nir Eyal
Being in the Writers Capital Foundation and its subsidiaries, where we communicate with hundreds of writers from across the world, we have an opportunity to read a number of works on a daily basis and mostly through social media. While some of the works create strong impressions, some of the works not only fail to exhibit greater standards but also leave a shock on how social media interferes with quality in literary works.
In the age of social media, it has become increasingly common for writers to post their literary works on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While this may seem like a convenient way to share one’s writing with a wider audience, the reality is that the quality of literature is often lost in the pursuit of likes, shares, and comments.
Many writers post their work on social media simply for the dopamine boost of receiving validation from others. In doing so, they often sacrifice the time and effort necessary to produce high-quality writing. The result is an oversaturation of mediocre content, drowning out the truly exceptional works of literature.
Compounding this issue are the fake Facebook organizations that have sprung up, purporting to support and promote literary works. In reality, these organizations are often fronts for self-promotion or outright scams, preying on the hopes and dreams of aspiring writers.
The effects of social media on quality literature are significant. By prioritizing likes and shares over quality writing, we risk losing the very essence of what makes literature great – its ability to transport us to other worlds, to challenge our assumptions and beliefs, and to evoke strong emotions within us.
It is crucial that we take steps to combat this trend. We must encourage writers to prioritize the quality of their work over the immediate gratification of social media validation. We must also be vigilant in identifying and exposing fake literary organizations that seek to exploit the literary community.
At the same time, we should not dismiss social media entirely. When used responsibly and in conjunction with traditional literary channels, social media can be a powerful tool for promoting high-quality literature and engaging with readers in meaningful ways.
Social media can have negative effects on the quality of literature and the industry as a whole. The emphasis on quick, easily-digestible content can lead to a decrease in attention spans and a preference for shorter, simpler works. Additionally, the pressure to constantly produce content for social media can lead to a focus on quantity over quality, and the proliferation of fake organizations and online scams can further erode trust in the industry.
A writer may not be a great influencer, however, an influencer can intelligently act as a great writer with the so-called technologies of branding and communication skills. However, the fact is that ultimately, only quality works remain here and the rest will be eventually discarded. Like that of the Sanskrit phrase ‘Satyameva Jayate’, which means “Truth alone triumphs,” only quality literary works would prevail in the ever-changing sphere of literature.
We must recognize the dangers that social media poses to quality literature, while also embracing its potential to support and elevate literary works. I eanestly believe that by striking a balance between the two, we can ensure that the literary community thrives in the digital age.
Preeth Padmanabhan Nambiar
Author-Poet, Educationist & Humanitarian
President & CEO, Writers Capital International Foundation