I remember being in the cafeteria at the end of an elementary-school lunch like any other, bringing my empty tray up to the front, when I suddenly became aware that other kids might be watching me as I walked. I knew it was unlikely that people were paying much attention, but I couldn’t overcome the fact that it was theoretically possible for everyone in the entire cafeteria—several hundred pairs of eyes—to be looking at me.Thanks so much for stopping by Andy!
The strangest thing happened: it became hard to walk. I didn’t stop or fall down or do anything so dramatic, and if people were watching I doubt they would have noticed. But I was conscious of the way my arms might look, the way my upper body moved, the length of my stride and whether I was bending my knees in some bizarre and embarrassing way. Like breathing, walking is such an automatic movement that actually thinking about it can throw your circuitry out of joint.
If you think about all the eyes on you at any given time, it’s easy to become obsessed with how you’re being perceived. So what does it mean to be social these days, when Facebook and Twitter make even the most inconsequential thought into an instant performance piece?
Maybe the healthiest way to deal with all this stuff is to brush it off. But it’s pretty hard to trivialize social media, to think of it as only a small part of a greater web of human interaction. Every time I try to tell myself IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING SO CALM DOWN, I come back around to the same realization: I enjoy broadcasting my thoughts too much to ever pull the plug, and I’m not sure it has anything to do with being social.
When I was writing Unison Spark, a novel about the all-encompassing social network of the future, I thought a lot about how online communities amplify and distort our emotions. This led to questions that don’t necessarily have answers, but are kind of fun to think about. I’ll leave you with two:
When a celebrity posts something designed to get a reaction from a million people, is this any different than when you update your status for the benefit of a hundred people, or are both instances just part of an ego trip that has nothing to do with anyone else?
Do you have a distinct persona that you adopt for social media, and has it changed how you interact with your friends in real life?
Now for the giveaway...I have THREE ARCs of Unison Spark up for grabs!
However, before I get to how you can enter, here's a little about the book:
Everyone is obsessed with Unison, the social network that knows you better than you know yourself. Everyone who can afford it, that is. Living beneath the vast ceiling that separates Eastern Seaboard City into rich topside and poor sub-canopy zones, fifteen-year-old Mistletoe can only dream of logging in and has to make do with technological hand-me-downs.
Worlds collide when Ambrose Truax, the privileged heir to the Unison empire, wanders into the dangerous sub-canopy streets and Mistletoe saves him from suspicious, uniformed men. They soon discover that they share eerily similar dreams, hinting at a significant past.
Together, Ambrose and Mistletoe begin to unravel the mystery of their identities and learn that they’re pawns in a bigger game: the Unison 3.0 upgrade, a whole new kind of Friendship.
To enter, fill out the following form.
Official Giveaway Rules:
~Must be 13 years or older
~Must have a US mailing address
~This giveaway will close on November 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST
To find out about previous stops on the blog tour as well as future ones, check out Andy's twitter!