I have a love/hate relationship with social media, which I think is pretty aptly reflected in IN TWENTY YEARS. On one hand, I absolutely adore Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: I love how Facebook and Instagram connect me with old friends and allow me to keep track of their lives in ways that I’d never otherwise be able to. Watching their kids grow up, cheering on their personal accomplishments, finding common ground when the world at large has disappointed us or inspired us. I truly could spend all day “liking” their posts because I am so proud that these people are part of my life. Similarly, I enjoy Twitter a lot, as it keeps me company during my solitary writing days and keeps me informed about news and the world at large.
As reflected in the book, I think there are a lot of downsides to social media too, and I guess I balance my love for all of the things I said above with my equally measured view of the perils. I’m not a fan of the sugar-coated, overly-filtered presentation of, well, life, and how people use that presentation to, I don’t know, make others envious or jealous or what-have-you. I see these pictures or updates and just think…”that’s not real life,” and I hate how these so-called-perfect feeds have become normalized. Does that make sense? I guess what I mean is that overly-curated feeds feel very disingenuous to me, and I much prefer honest updates of imperfect lives. Because all of our lives are imperfect! And no one should feel like he or she has anything to prove to anyone else. That’s what binds us together: that we are ALL in this together! And trying to one-up people in social media is the very opposite of togetherness. So, I really do think there is a bad precedent set there, and it turns me off from social media, or at least from those feeds. I also think there is a danger to losing oneself to, say, Instagram. When you’re so concerned with capturing a moment that you forget to enjoy it. It makes me nervous for my kids’ generation: that every single thing has to be documented, and you get so busy documenting that you don’t experience whatever it is you’re capturing. I sometimes feel this way myself when say, I’m at a concert and am video-ing a song rather than allowing myself to get lost in it. Know what I mean? To me, there’s a real difference between snapping/posting a shot (which I love to do and which I love to see among my friends and their feeds!) and constant/endless chronicling. And it does feel like social media has taken away, a bit, of that present-time enjoyment.
But…while I may look skeptically at some feeds or some images, I really do, do, do love how it has allowed me to foster and strengthen ties with friends I’d otherwise have lost touch with. I remember when I graduated from college, long before Facebook was around, and hugging some folks and saying, “well, I guess we’ll probably never see each other again.” Ha! Now, I see these people regularly on my feed, and seriously, I’m so glad that I do! If you can find the balance between living your life for social media and just living your life, I think it’s a wonderful thing. Not a day passes that I don’t find joy from one of my friend’s posted accomplishments on Facebook (and Instagram), and as long as these sites continue to spark joy for me, I will continue to log on.
About IN TWENTY YEARS
Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.
But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.
Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.
Buy IN TWENTY YEARS: Amazon.com | Kindle
| BN.com | Kobo | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR
About Allison Winn Scotch
After losing a close friend to breast cancer, Allison Winn Scotch cathartically set out to write a story with a happier ending. While Winn Scotch is the first to point out that Natalie and her thirty-one-year-old friend shared very few similarities, her friend’s resilient spirit and courage in the face of an illness that took her life are felt throughout the novel. Winn Scotch has contributed to Family Circle, Glamour, InStyle Weddings, Men’s Health, Parents, Prevention, Redbook, Self, Shape, Woman’s Day, Women’s Health, and others. She lives in New York with her husband, her son and daughter, and their dog.