Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Privacy and Blogging

Last week, Carrie blogged about the juxtaposition of maintaining privacy while also putting yourself out there on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The topic of privacy is fascinating, because I am inherently paranoid. Putting out my bloggy thoughts for all and sundry to see is really alarming. I mean, I am someone who bought a copy of How to be Invisible.

Then Roni posted about making sure you act nicely on your blog. We already knew that agents will Google you and possibly reject if you're really nasty or unclever on your blog, and Roni linked to evidence of this. My thinking is that you really must treat everything you put out on the tinterweb as a writing sample, if you hope to market yourself as a writer.

Naturally, after reading Carrie's and Roni's posts, I became more paranoid than ever. How badly written have my posts been here? How arsey have I been? What about my posts about certain New york Times Pulitzer Prize-winning reviewers, whose opinions I disagree with? So I went through posts and re-read a few months' worth, and was relieved to see I hadn't been badly behaved. (Whether I write like a monkey is a different subject.)

The tinterwebs are fast, peeps. People find you. Companies you mention in your blog find you, often immediately. Sometimes sweet, smart authors whom you provide links to contact you privately. They know. Everyone knows. So be careful and follow these guidelines (unless you blog anonymously, in which case you already know you can say what you like):

  • Remember that everything you write is a writing sample. Go back and correct your typos on published posts. Don't smack talk publishing professionals and authors. This doesn't mean you can't be personal or informal. Just don't be rude and sloppy.
  • Resist posting overly personal information. The scale on this can range. I would never post pictures of my whippersnapper, but some feel more comfortable with this. The one time I bent my rule on this is last Monday when I posted about a fairly significant life event. And as it wasn't harming anyone else, I felt it was safe.
  • Post with people in mind. Post with agents in mind, your mom in mind, and your ex in mind. Mind what I said above--people and companies that you mention on your blog find it and read it.
  • Don't be afraid to be real! But just think about the way you say it. If you post that you are having a really hard time with your current WIP, or that your search for representation is tough, those are not bad things to say! Just don't be stinky about it.

What else can you add?


Tina Lynn said...

As usual, I have nothing useful to add, not because I'm a total loser, but because you are so good at covering all the bases. Great post. Hmmm...anonymous...

Lt. Cccyxx said...


My only other observation is that I think it's a bit unfair for people to treat every blog post as a writing sample. To some degree, a person's blog tells you whether people can write, but a point I realized early on in my own blogging (and explicitly made in one of my blog's first posts) is that posts are first drafts. It is unrealistic to expect bloggers to sit around and proofread/rewrite/cut mercilessly and etc. as one would expect good writers to do in work for other contexts. Therefore the quality of one's posts just won't match the quality of, say, a submission that's been gone over 100 times by several sets of eyes.

Julie Dao said...

I'm paranoid too... I've gone back over my posts three times to make sure I haven't been behaving badly. (shifty eyes)

Melissa Marsh said...

Good stuff. :-)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Yes but Lt. C, I don't think people expect blog posts to be Pulitzer-prize winning examples of journalism. But there's a line...when your posts and comments are sloppy and full of errors, then that's no good. Nobody here who reads this blog has this problem.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

Fair enough. Just so long as people's expectations are realistic. Of course, your off teh hooke eff yr anynomouse like me!1!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Thanks for the linkage. I think those are great tips. I'm still not stressing over my not perfect blogposts, but I do try to make sure I keep things appropriate. :)

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.