Thursday, November 12, 2009

new mediums

I really got to thinking about blogs and selling yourself as an author/writer. It stemmed, mainly, from the conversation that we had in class. People seemed really surprised that I did not have a blog. The conversation went in the direction of being able to market oneself on the internet. Someone said to me “yeah, it was a bad thing if you were on the internet five years ago. But today, in this day and age, it’s a bad thing if you aren’t.” So fine – I signed up for a blog. I envision my blog posts as being sent out into the big white space of the internet as a sort of bait. Come, click on me and I can prove how creative and witty I am!

I did google this – “author blogs” – and there has been some discussion about this. The New York times posted an article about an author being able to communicate with fans through blog posts. Maybe blogs are becoming so popular because they are so much closer than fan mail? We never really know if a hand written letter makes it through an agent or a publicist to get to an author, but if there is a blog with actual posts written by the author on it, we feel more connected to them?

I think that Twitter ties into this, too. I was very skeptical of Twitter at first because I didn’t think that people needed to know what I was doing every second of the day. (I am on the toilet. I am eating yams. I am making ice cubes.) However, I had a conversation with Kevin Spenst regarding Twitter and creative writing, stemming from my asking about his iPhone and what he was always using it for. He explained to me that he posts a poem a day, using the mere 140 characters to convey a message. Throughout the day, he makes edits to it, improving it. People like this – he has had exchanged with other writers via Twitter. The creative aspect of this surprised me. I, being a stubborn person, had never even considered Twitter as a tool to market yourself and your writing skills. To me, it had only been a way for pre-teens to pretend to communicate with Miley Cyrus.

So there we have it – Twitter being used as a platform for exquisite verse, blogs used as a springing board for writing. It’s not what I envisioned when these technologies were first introduced. Does the writing lose anything by being translated into these modern mediums? I don’t know. I guess that is up to the audiences. Maybe – instead – it gains a new brevity and cadence that we would have never discovered without adapting to these new mediums. That is also for the audience to decide.

I guess the 21st century is trucking along, with or without me in its wake. It will be interesting to see what other tools writers will end up using to market themselves and get their writing out in the world.

1 comment:

  1. i saw your blog! like it!

    i just started a blog (not ready to share yet) and a twitter. i'm wondering a little about the blah blah blah burnout though -- all of these things require upkeep. i suppose you can use a blog to explore ideas that you'll include later on in stories, poems, etc.

    others who've kept a blog for a while: do you update religiously? do you use it like a diary? do you still keep a paper diary? is there any connection between your poetry/fiction/non-fiction & your blog?

    i am also a little worried about the backlash that can happen when your potential employer/publisher/reader googles you and finds out you've been badmouthing canadian politicians and yammering on about your yeast infection all over the internet. to me, twitter & facebook & blogs feel like places where you should get to yammer -- should not half to self-edit so carefully.

    others who keep blogs: do you construct your public persona carefully? do you yammer?

    as a reader, there are some twitters & blogs i love to follow -- some authors and public figures (& friends) are really engaging. and the more dirt, the better, as far as i'm concerned. i like things to be as confessional and embarrassing as possible. in fact, it's really the only kind of thing i can take in from a screen -- i'd like to say i'm on the internet for all the in-depth political & social commentary you can find, but it wouldn't be true. truth is, i can only digest things in tiny, bite-sized pieces.