I used to pride myself on my “internet solidarity.” Having been “on the internet” since before there was a word for it, I always thought I was just kickin’ it old school or something. I resisted LiveJournal, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. At one point, I used LiveJournal and MySpace as RSS feeddumps for my website/blog. I had a “blog” before I remember knowing the word “blog.” What was cool, though, was that I could use those services to say “If you really want to get in touch, come over to my website.” Now, Facebook doesn’t even let you have a static status on your profile. I don’t even think people read profiles much anymore, anyway.
This is not some icky hipster rant about how I used social media before it was cool. I didn’t use social media even when it became cool. I’m still angry that the internet went public and let people advertise businesses and services on search engines! I’m not an “early adopter.” I’m a troglodyte! A troglodyte!
Even after it was really easy to put your writing out on the web, I resisted it because I didn’t want some twink high school student passing my fiction or poetry off as his or her work. Hey, I spent money on creative writing classes in college. Despite the fact that I should have been spending that money on “internet marketing” classes (which they didn’t teach when I was in college) or journalism classes, I still wasn’t going to just put my hard-won brain labor out there for anyone who can copy/paste!
Now I’ve been dipping my toes in, I can say with certainty that I AM DOING IT WRONG. How do I know? Because user created content sites get book deals, and I probably won’t get one in the next ten years if I start submitting this year. Because blog posts with the right keywords get more traffic than ones that don’t, no matter what their actual content may be. And because I’m too weird and my attention span is too short to actually build my own following. I had a bigger following as a short-order cook and bartender in New Orleans than I do online now. Which is strange, because you’d think after 18 years online I’d know how to interwebs with the best of ’em? Well, nope. I’m still doing it wrong.
For example, I can post my crap on Facebook for days and it might get shared. Might. But some fake spam crap about anthrax being in your Tide sample gets shared thirty bazillion million times. Now, if I had a “real following,” I might get shared 30 times. That might even get me some name-recognition somewhere besides my own living room, if I invoked it with the proper dance and the stars were in the correct alignment. But we’re still not even in the running with anthrax, and the LOLcats have two books out now. Two.
Some days those facts are enough to motivate me to try to get out there and be part of the online community. If my own health and happiness won’t put my ass in gear to socialize, then maybe the thought of achieving a childhood dream might do it? Other days, though, the same thoughts motivate me only to weep for the future of humanity.(http://www NULL.linkwithin NULL.com/)