The social media author conundrum
The social media author conundrum is a serious obstacle to our goal of writing books which transform lives. When attention span is measured in nanoseconds, there’s a real problem.
So with the limited time left, how can we write tales which will get the attention of people who live online? How are other skills doing it? I found myself looking to music. I’d more or less stepped out of that world because of my wife. She was classically trained and always did have trouble with the frenetic music.
She never found it satisfying. I can understand that. When I was in my twenties [in the sixties and early seventies], the group I started with my friend, Daniel Knudsen, thought nothing of doing rambling instrumental breaks which ran for many minutes. We were the first acid rock group in Minneapolis—not very good, but we were trying. Fifteen minute songs were not uncommon. What did we read? LOTR. All of us were good readers. We were all filled with the mantra, “If you can’t read, you’ll never succeed.” That’s still basically true.
The social media author conundrum requires a different approach
The Holy Spirit has convinced me that we need to contact the online social media addicts with our books. With the state of entertainment, I remain convinced that Christian superheroes are the way to go. I wrote about that in January—a year ago, before Biden was sworn in. I wrote seven novels which are filled with them. But I’m still missing the mark.
I think the Lord has shown me part of the answer. As I mentioned I’ve been listening to a lot of modern Christian music. I’ve been developing Pandora stations to fill my needs. When I’m working six twelves a week, with Sunday off, I hear a lot of music. Can’t use video—it’s too distracting. But one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed it is that, on my iMac, I get the lyrics to read.
I can play it loud enough to hear them, but that’s distracting to my writing and designing. But in reading the lyrics and listening, I’ve run across a couple superheroes. TobyMac, especially, allows me to see what he’s going through. Tait’s got the same thing going to a lesser degree with the new Newsboys. There are other younger singers with promise, but they haven’t lived long enough to prove themselves, yet. MercyMe has done some powerful stuff, though. Of course, I’m still a sucker for dc Talk, Petra, and Keith Green.
Let’s not get sidetracked with critiques
I do not want to waste our time discussing different musicians. I’m old enough that my group was patterned after Buffalo Springfield—to give you an idea. My friend, as we started, was a young man who could finger pick a twelve-string guitar and grab your soul. I had little talent, just the requisite ego.
But how do these men do it? It’s obviously a gift, but you can hear Toby has had wild rides in the spirit—then he loses his son. But the anointing shines through. For them a looong song is five minutes. Most are barely three. There are very few instrumental breaks, though what is there is well done.
The reviewers talk about how they produce the hooks, the rhythms, the attitude, adding powerful ear worms for the radio. It’s powerful, usually positive, instructional music which builds up the listeners.
So how do we break through the social media author conundrum?
Short stories seem to be an obvious ploy. Quick tales with transparent Christian superheroes seems the obvious take on the situation. I suspect a Vella tale, with a compelling world of supernatural truth bringing down the enemy on his own ground, could work powerfully. What kind of Vella tale would an author with the personality of Toby write?
I doubt I have the skill to pull that off. Fashion and hip have barely made their acquaintance known in my life. But I know several of the people who follow my writings who could do a superb job. No, I won’t name names. But, I’d be surprised if the Holy Spirit was not already leaning on you a little.
Use a pseudonym if you’re under contract
The Lord can show you how to pull it off. He’s really good at stuff like that. Get busy. If I had the authority, I’d make that an order. But I don’t, so you’ll need to talk it over with Jesus.
I’ll close with a quote from my posting a year ago.
The surprising nature of Christian superheroes appears when you realize they’re not happy meal action figures. What’s the number one characteristic of a Biblical superhero? Think Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, Paul, John, Peter, and more. Then, of course, there’s Jesus—the ultimate superhero.
If we write about superheroes, we don’t talk about their doubts or fears, we talk about their powerful acts. In the Kingdom, these are powerful acts of faith. They are performed because of the close personal relationship between the hero(ine) and the King.
Please ask the Lord if He has a place for you in this work. We don’t have much time left. I expect the church to be pulled out within the next couple of years. If I understand things, we leave as soon as the Bride is complete—heading up to be with our groom, The King—forever. I can hardly wait. But we have work to do, people.
This is a seriously good opportunity to use our skills for the Lord.