Sunday, June 21, 2009

Connecting on the dark side

Has it been a month since I posted? Gasp. Well, I've been busy. Mostly up to no good.

Yes, the rumours are true: I've lost my mind and gone over to the dark side. I've entered the Twitterverse. An evil scary place with glowing green faces and random beeping sounds and constant updates 24/7. Just what a pressed-for-time, easily distracted writer needs, right? Um, yes actually.

Twitter has become a significant part of what is called "social media." The persistent buzz in publishing lately -- where is that flyswatter when you need it? -- is that writers need a presence in social media arenas. Publishers and agents increasingly expect writers to find their own "fans" and market themselves and their books, not just after publication, but before they're even under contract. Before they're even done writing the damn book.

One agent went so far as to comment recently that she was seriously considering not reading submissions of any writer who did not already have a significant social media presence. I'm not going to get into how short-sighted I think that is, because this does seem to be the current reality for writers. Especially those as-yet unpublished. A fiscal sign of the times.

So I researched the likely alternatives: MySpace and Facebook. By "research" I mean I asked my 21-year-old daughter whether she'd "friend" me if I had a Facebook page. Her answer was an emphatic NO. Then she warned me about the dangers of MySpace and how no one even goes there anymore.

So I'm Twittering. I feel foolish just typing that. The tweeting itself isn't time consuming. I'm having fun with that. It's the following that's going to kill me. There are an awful lot of funny and informative Twitterers out there, linking to articles or people I'd never have found on my own. I did stop following one person, not because he wasn't interesting, but because he updated EVERY TWO MINUTES and I couldn't keep up. I have limits. Really. Trouble is, I could easily wander around, lost in information intake mode, for days.

But the really odd thing, which I'm having trouble reconciling, is my dual, er, triple identity. My Twitter ID is "BCB_" because it's short (plus I've kind of grown attached to it) and my name over there is "w/a Katherine James" (w/a = writing as), which will be my pseudonym once published. But I'm following people I know and who know me only by my "real" name. A couple of them are now following me in return and I have no idea whether they know that I'm, well, me. It's weird. But my real name is reserved for the day job, the one where I'm a responsible adult in charge of other people's money. I don't want the two linked, and certainly not out here on the intertubes.

It's a dilemma. Because it leaves me feeling somehow fraudulent. Yeah, I know, I'll get over it eventually. And really, I guess it's just another instance of being a writer, making stuff up and hoping people enjoy it.

So, want to follow me into the darkness?


9 comments:

GatorPerson said...

Sigh! Are they really saying anything good? Seemed to be an infinite streams of conscience.

BCB said...

Well . . . some of it really is wasted words. But maybe because I'm following people who are writers or talking about writing-related things, I find most of it interesting. Though there are times I want to tell some of them to stop tweeting and go write fiction. ;-)

Just think, GP, what if you could connect and twitter with a bunch of math geeks! Or master gardeners!

Slave Driver said...

"Social Networking" and an "Internet Presence" are just newest ways of the oldest profession...Selling.

The idea being that if, like you and I, one builds a following while writing their masterpiece, then at that magical moment you get published you are sure to sell at least three copies: Two to your Mom, and one to some person you "Friended."

I am on every social networking site ever built. Why? I don't know, it's possible I was drunk. BUT, as a double facebook user( I have a LOT of aliases)(also, does that make me "Two Faced?" Nyuk nyuk. Sorry)And a Twit-er-er and MySpace person, I do either stay in touch with people I already know, or meet new folks. Either way, my personal policy is not to lend any of them money.

So, ah, what whas the question?

BCB said...

Your mom would buy TWO? Wow. I think I need to have a talk with mine.

Yeah, not sure I see how networking with other writers is going to increase sales potential. Maybe a few of them buy books on occasion. :-)

Rosina Lippi said...

I confess I've signed up for Twitter, but here's a bigger confession: I can't figure it out. I have hand coded big websites and I'm very internet savvy, but somehow it just doesn't make sense to me. Or maybe I don't want it to.

BCB said...

LOL! Rosina, I've been using it for a week and I'm still not sure I've got it figured out. For all I know, I'm sending my tweets to some distant planet. Just hoping aliens don't decide to come investigate. ;-)

Scope Dope Cherrybomb said...

I admire your courage Bcb but I'm really afraid to try it. How did you find other writers? I don't understand how this works. I heard you are restricted to few words. Me? Restricted to few words? I'm sure you see my problem.

orangehands said...

I'm not a fan of twitter because I find it limiting, time consuming, and not easily followed. However, I can see why others enjoy and use it the same way I use blogs, and that plenty of people think the same way about blogs as I do about twitter.

As for the identities:

People usually only show a certain side of themselves to certain people. Each identity I have online represents one of those sides. Sometimes two of my identities have a cross-over among people, in which case I may point out that I'm those two identities.

orangehands said...

Oh, and its true that I have foudn a personality online that I enjoyed, followed them back to their site, found out they were a writer, and bought (ok, the majority of time I borrow from the library, but that's not always possible) their book