Writing Memoir in the Age of Social Media

Everyone writes memoir. If you have ever posted online, you have written about your life. Do you journal? You also write memoir.

Writing our truth impacts us differently than speaking our truth. Both are important. But seeing what we think and feel in black and white gives us greater awareness of what makes us uniquely human than when we simply speak what’s on our mind.

There are several reasons for this. But first, I want you to think about your personal journey. If you are human, you have lived a nuanced and unique life unlike anyone else. Humans are wired to interpret and interact with their environment coupled with language in a way other species are not. Being conscious about your interaction wherever you find yourself is key to your human experience. Living consciously needs to be one of our top priorities in our personal journeys. Writing is a key to that consciousness.

In the age of the tweet, we get to choose how we express ourselves with the written word in a variety of ways. We can write our story in soundbites, bullet points, or deep dives. One of the ways social media has brought the power of writing into the collective is to show us that writing for an audience can be powerful for those who don’t even consider themselves writers. While I do think video will become more and more ubiquitous, the ability to write our truth whether in a text or a longform article is important because it’s all a reflection of what we choose to put out in the world. Everybody writes.

With social media, we write for an audience. Being seen is important to all of us, though obviously, some of us are more comfortable being visible than others. Some of us are working hard for eyeballs and attention in a sea of content choices. But in a world of Instagram influencers, it’s healthy even for those who want to stay more hidden to write for an audience. Writing memoir, on or off social media, can bring you great reward. But the key to writing memoir and receiving the benefits of it is that someone you don’t know in another context reads it. Social media makes it very easy for us to let go and release our grip on trying to protect our reputation and this is a good thing!

If we are committed to living consciously in our personal journey, we need to write things down and share them, especially to strangers, because they reflect back to us what we ourselves cannot see and our best friends don’t want to tell us.

In Natalie Goldberg’s book, “Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir”, she writes, “"Writing is the act of reaching across the abyss of isolation to share and reflect.". She also says writing uncovers the emotional truths that drive our lives. Because of social media, we no longer have to see writing as a completely secluded activity. Granted, we’ll never write with any depth unless we do tune out Facebook and get down to business. But in the age of social media, choosing to write for an audience has never been easier. What’s important to realize is that it serves a unique purpose by reflecting back to us ourselves through others eyes.

Do you consider yourself more of a content creator or consumer on the world wide web? While you probably won’t comment, if you are still trying to protect your identity by not engaging on social media, are you willing to share why? Feel free to contact me through my contact button above.