Hi there, and welcome to Day 2 of the A-to-Z Challenge! Today is the last day to sign up for it.
Quick note: If you're interested in writing flash fiction, check out the flash fiction contest on the Flash Fiction tab above. The theme is "Are you Devious at Heart?"
One way to go about it is choose one or two forms of social media to focus on then analyze, over time, what seems to be working and what seems to have little to no impact. If you're just messing around on one of them, and not accomplishing anything or finding any significant connections, drop it. If you feel you need more, try out another form of social media.
Set yourself a time limit for how long you'll spend on social media each day, which includes your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linked In, Good Reads, etc. I'm still pretty terrible at checking up on anything other than Facebook and my blog, and I can't say I'm unhappy about that.
For me, the less time I spend on social media, the more writing I get done. Each person has to decide what holds merit for them and what doesn't.
Now for a little information on Billy the Kid:
Born William Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid, aka William H. Bonney, came from New York. His exact birthdate is unknown, but it is speculated to be in 1860 or so. His mother came down with tuberculosis, so she moved her boys to New Mexico for the dry air. She died in 1874; his stepfather didn't want the kids, so he stuck them in separate orphanages, where Billy was forced to find work. He got in trouble when a friend stole laundry and asked him to hide it, but escaped from prison through the chimney.
He floated around for a time, making his way around New Mexico and Arizona. For a time, he was involved in stealing horses, but decided that wasn't the best plan and moved on. He made his first official kill (some say he killed someone at 12 years old, but there's nothing to back it up) at about 16 years old in a fight with Frank "Windy" Cahill. Billy the Kid was now officially an outlaw, and he fled Arizona to return to New Mexico.
When he got there, he joined a gang called "The Boys." They started working with James Dolan, of the Santa Fe Ring (you may recall this ring from yesterday - it consisted of property owners, politicians, etc.) He was trying to drive John Tunstall out of town, as he was competition, and he enlisted "The Boys" to steal Tunstall's livestock. Billy was caught and jailed, but Tunstall felt he was only a boy and took him in, requiring that he speak against Dolan and the rustlers in court, which he did.
Had things stopped here, Billy the Kid could conceivably have led a good life as a ranch hand. Instead, Sheriff Brady and "The Boys," working for Dolan and Murphy, shot Tunstall down. His ranch hands, including Billy, called themselves "The Regulators," were deputized and began to fight back, first legally, then with violence. They ended up killing Sheriff Brady and his men as they headed down the street to arrest Alex McSween, Tunstall's lawyer, and his partner in trying to fight the Murphy-Dolan faction.
The other side fought back, and full battle ensued. Billy the Kid and "The Regulators" hid inside McSween's house until they were burned out, with several of them being shot and killed as they escaped. Billy fled south, returning to rustling to make a living. When he heard there was a new governor (Axtel had been replaced by Lew Wallace), he wrote to the governor and asked to surrender. Wallace agreed, though he didn't have the power to fully pardon Billy, and Billy turned himself in. Unfortunately, the Santa Fe Ring owned the court at that time, and Wallace was making no effort to help Billy get pardoned, so he was forced to escape prison again.
Billy the Kid has been oft romanticized, but it all boils down to a young kid having been thrown into several bad situations. First, his stepfather abandoned him. Then a friend allowed him to be blamed for his crime. Ultimately, he ended up facing the Santa Fe Ring, a group that controlled much of New Mexico with their financial power and political clout. Though he made plenty of bad decisions in the mix, it's sometimes hard to remember that he was only twenty-one when he died (and research tends toward him being slightly younger than that). We don't trust kids with alcohol before that age, let alone expect them to make their own way in an uncivilized, violent and corrupt part of the country, dependent upon themselves for their own support and protection.
1. Billy the Kid was not left-handed, as is sometimes said. This confusion was a result of a reverse image on the tintype.
2. Not only could Billy the Kid read well, he also spoke Spanish fluently.
3. Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett weren't friends, but may have known each other superficially.
4. Billy the Kid did not, in fact, kill 21 men, as is claimed. Only four deaths can definitely be attributed to him, specifically, rather than to other members of "The Regulators" and others he rode with. A posse killed one of their own men via friendly fire and promptly blamed that death on Billy.
5. Most of what has been told about Billy the Kid is false, made up by newspaper reporters at the time. Pat Garrett's book also sullied the waters further, making Billy the Kid out to be much more vicious than he actually was in order to build his own image.
What do you think? Was Billy the Kid a bad guy or just a stupid kid thrown into a horrible situation? Is your social media out of control, or do you feel you have a good handle on it?
May you find your Muse.
*Letter B image courtesy of OCAL at clker.com
**Image of dandy Billy the Kid courtesy of Criminals
***Bob Ollinger stone image courtesy of Daniel Mayer (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
****Billy the Kid holding a gun image courtesy of Ben Wittick (1845-1903) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons