• Paul Serran

*In the Olden Days*

In the olden days, when a writer… - say, Truman Capote or James Ellroy - wrote a book, they usually re-edited a little bit or a lot, consulting with his editor or trusted friends and advisers, and BOOM. Out into the world it went.

Critics got to talk and or write about it, yes. Perhaps an interview. If you were a personal friend you may have the chance of a tête-à-tête about the oeuvre.

And, as a fan, you may bump into little Truman going out of La Cote Basque and try to say a few words to him about his book, hoping he was not stoned into oblivion.

Flash forward: the information age.

The writer is plugged-in from the get-go on an open platform. Feedback moves at the speed of hate. You almost get feedback before you write, as if it was even possible.

I will not deny - this is sometimes great. The help some people give me in the form of new information, new perspectives, is invaluable. There are knowledgeable people around us who are generous, caring and encouraging. Viva!

That's about 5% excellent contributions, 70% of heartfelt encouraging messages from people near and dear to me. 75% is very good, I agree. BUT.

On the days of launching my Godfather III thread, I had no less than 1,7K comments in my posts, in 3 days. Now, 25% of this amount equals 425 replies that I have issues with.

About a third of those in this group are ordinary trolls and shills - but that is not our subject, here. It's the many readers that are misusing their interaction capabilities.

* Questions: many people think you are their personal doctor Google. Many times the answer is inside the tweet that the person is commenting but has not read.

PRO TIP: do not comment if you did not read with attention.

* Armchair coaching: many people produce ZERO content, but find time and energy to constantly be commenting on others people's posts and telling THEM what stories or angles THEY should be pursuing. These people are always sending you insane videos of 2 hours that you *absolutely have to see* and they don't even explain why.

* Wise-asses: it happens often that I block someone even as I essentially agree with what the person is saying. It's the attitude. My posts are like my house: clean your boots, don't spit on the floor or curse in front of the children.

* Corrections: we work 36 hours a day, 8 days a week in this war. Eventually, I make mistakes. And friends usually alert me in the nicest way, and I acknowledge it and correct it. But strangers trying to grandstand or offend me because of that will of course not be part of the conversation anymore.

*False corrections: uninformed people come impeach what you laboriously researched, armed with nothing but their sense of self importance.

* Suspicious Minds: some people think EVERYTHING smells fishy. These are very dangerous people that will take away hours of your time demanding fact checks "or else"…

* "The-Nothing-is-happening-Lonely-Hearts-Club-Band": complainers can be deadly. They should spend the day looking at a picture of Ed Buck in a suicide smock foaming at the mouth, awaiting bail.

In the olden days, when a writer wrote a book, out into the world it went.

Nowadays, you can write to the writer. But should you?

PRO-TIP: for over a year, now, I have had the distinguished honor of being followed in Twitter by my hero General Flynn. And as such, I could send him DMs. But I never, ever did. Ask yourself why I would not abuse this privilege.

I may be getting feedback at the speed of hate, but I still operate like in the olden days.

"I will make the move to (electric) guitar, but the old rules still apply." Mark Knopfler

October 22nd, 2019

Paul Serran

© 2019 BY PAUL SERRAN - Rio de Janeiro / Brazil