"The whole duty of a writer is to please and satisfy himself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one." ~ William Strunk
The girl sits on a rock shelf in the creek, pen and notebook in hand, as she quotes the above words. The start of her entry for Write the World's latest contest: Unplugged, What Would Life Be Like Without Social Media? It's an Op-Ed, not her favorite, but she's going to try anyhow.
She squints at the blinding white paper, brushing deer-flies out of her tangles of wet, red hair as she thinks of what should be written next. What her arguments should be.
She's eighteen years old and has spent the first seventeen and a half of those years without any social media connection. A seventeen-and-a-half-year tradition she was loathe to break--until she stumbled onto WtW last year in a search for writing contests.
A slight laugh escapes her as she tries to think of the ways that social media site has impacted her life. Everything seems to have always been the same as far as she can remember, just a blur from one year to the next. Definitely not much of a testimony for her photographic memory.
The sun shrinks away behind a cloud, both making it easier to look at the paper and causing her wet clothes to seem more chilling.
"Life without social media..." she ponders aloud, her siblings taking no notice. Another laugh comes as she realizes that she's living life without social media right now. And every minute that she's not on WtW, or Twitter as she's expanded since last year. Most of her day is spent without social media, probably not something anyone could say.
Life without social media is really the same as life with it. No one notices her unless she does something drastic. She's playing how life should be played--for the enjoyment of an audience of one. Herself.
She'd get a brief response--notification--from her siblings if she stood up and said, "Hey, look at me!" the way she's seen so many people on social media do when they feel they aren't getting enough attention.
She'd get a prolonged response--many notifications--if she started telling them a story or played a game with them. An approach she'd always been more fond of.
As it is though, she's content to sit by herself, writing, enjoying her own company.
And is social media a bad thing? she muses. She's made all her friends through her WtW account.
No, it's not. It couldn't be unless life is. Social media is merely an extension of our lives, broadening our audience--unless we play to an audience of one.
She lays back on the rock, sighing happily.
Having her siblings not notice her is the same as logging into her WtW account and finding no notifications. How would it feel to live a life without an external audience approving or disapproving everything she did?
It would feel like this. Lying on a rock in the sun, happily soaked through, and writing in a notebook where no one else can read it; where her thoughts are safe from prying eyes and where bliss is disturbed only by clouds, insects, and the occasional obnoxious sibling.
It would feel like this. Typing on a computer with no one else to read it, letting her revel in her own words; her thoughts safe. Bliss disturbed only by bedtime.