In the Long Run, is Social Networking Bad for the Memoir?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka


Today’s lead story discusses how author Nick Flynn harnessed the power of Facebook to promote his latest book, The Ticking is the Bomb. What’s unusual is that Flynn’s book, a memoir, ranges over topics from fatherhood to the torture at Abu Ghraib. Initially reluctant, he was compelled to start social networking after someone created a fan page for Flynn on Facebook. So, he became a fan of himself…

For a memoirist, Facebook would appear to be the perfect medium of communication with fans, who may feel they already have something of a “personal” relationship with the writer. One might even argue that the popularity of social networking sites is an extension of our long love affair with the confessional, something that has made memoirs into one of the most popular book categories over the last decade.

But, the question is, does daily use of social networking — that instant publication and amplification of the details of one’s day-to-day life — dilute the raw materials of memoir? In the long term, will the memoirist merely have less left to reveal?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.