Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Do you see yourself here? - by Nicola Morgan

First, an admission: this post is really an excuse to use these pictures, because I paid for a licence to use them for some recent talks, and the licence includes website use. And I like them :)

(FYI, this evening I'm using them at a before-dinner talk to "senior women in publishing" and one of the things I'm going to suggest is that publishers sometimes ask too much of writers when they expect us to spend so much time blogging and tweeting. So, let's hope they don't throw bread at me when I say that.)

Anyway, these pictures represent different people's attitude to or behaviour on social networking sites such as Twitter. So, writers, which one are you? And readers, do you recognise yourself here, too?

Are you (or were you at first) reluctant, negative, grumpy? Dragged kicking and screaming to the party?

Plain terrified and absolutely no way were you going to get involved?

Or did you throw yourself into it with all sorts of hysterical OMGs and LOLs and <<<>>>> and far too many SQUUEEEEES and general exclamation-marky behaviour? 

Or regard it as a totally splendiferous way of promoting yourself, a platform to announce all your good news, sell gazillions of books by forcing them at the rest of us and generally punch the air at your own supreme awesomeness?

Were you eager puppy, keen to learn, wanting to be led to all the delicious smells but needing a bit of protection as you did it?

And now, having tried it (and possibly having had a bit of help from Tweet Right - The Sensible Person's Guide to Twitter), do you feel like superwoman (or man), ready to conquer the world, boldly, positively, and yet with a healthy dose of charm and common sense?

There's possibly a little bit of several of those characters in many of us. And I'd argue that success and happiness while using social networking media come from getting the right balance between them all. Though I'd rather leave awesome-guy out of it.

I do apologise that my recent ABBA posts, and my own blog posts, have been so predominantly about this platform stuff and not about writing, but I've been asked to talk about it so many times that it's been taking over my mind. But this is now (after tonight's talk) going to STOP! I am writing. I really am. I promise. I have had some absolutely lovely bits of writing-related news this year and they have put me right back on track.

I am a writer, not a tweeter.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

Nicola Morgan is an author - oh yes, really - of quite a lot of actual books, not just tweets and blogposts, though she's done a lot of that, too, in her wicked past. She regrets to admit that she wrote and published a little book called Tweet Right - the Sensible Person's Guide to Twitter, which people are welcome to buy, for only £2.25 on a certain site and similar elsewhere. She promises never to write such a corrupting and insidious book ever again.


Susan Price said...

But thank goodness you did write it Nicola - many of us are deeply grateful. We're putting your advice and wisdom to good use over at Authors Electric, and our hits and members are increasing all the time. I'd recommend your advice books to anyone. (Indeed, I do, all the time, when I see students as an RLF.)

Lynne Garner said...

I didn't get this stuff a few months ago - now I do. Have started two blogs in the last three months and discovered tweetdeck. But yes it does impact on 'proper' writing time and do start to feel guilty when that manuscript is sitting there waiting to be edited and I'm playing with 140 characters (tweet characters that is not an epic novel).

Stroppy Author said...

Are 'senior' women in publishing old people or people with responsibility? Or both?

Marina Sofia said...

That was fun - and very accurate! Yes, sadly, all this social media stuff takes up a lot of time, can become addictive and fills us with a false sense of being loved/understood/appreciated.... which might be completely misplaced. I do love it, but I am learning not to place too much faith in it.

Jan said...

Oh, yes, I'm sorry. I'm pictures One and Two. Only less photogenic. Maybe in time I'll prgress to picture Three. But not yet. Or I'll never yet that book written.

Kit Berry said...

Lovely blog post and wonderful images! And on the subject of images, I'd like to ask please - how come so many people's blogs contain images that aren't credited or paid for? (Present company excepted of course). I can't believe that on all the blogs I read, the blogger has actually paid for or even asked for permission to use the images. I've wondered about this for ages. I only use my own photos (which are never brilliant) or ask permission from and give a credit to somebody else. It does seem that many people ignore this, which makes me wonder if image-piracy is really rife, or am I just being a bit old-fashioned and actually it's okay to use anything you find on google-images. Please, O Crabbit - some pearls of wisdom on the subject?

Nicola Morgan said...

Kit - you are entirely right to worry about this. And the latest source of concern is Pinterest, which is ALL about finding pics you like and sharing them. Having said that, it seems that Pinterest is taking the issue seriously but artists and photographers are looking understandably worried about it. I am scrupulous about only using pics that have been cleared for public domain, or which i've bought a licence for (as above) or taken myself. We need to keep plugging the importance of that. A writer/illustrator friend, Teresa Flavin (Teresa, are you there?) is planning to blog about this, I think.

Teresa Flavin said...

I'm here! Thanks, Nicola. Kit, that's very good of you to think about the source of the images on your blog and to give the creators credit. You're doing the right thing! I know some people make a point of using images that are copyright free (see Wikimedia), which is fine, too. And if someone "pins" one of my images on a Pinterest board, I would request them to link straight back to me so I can get some traffic from it. It's all too easy for people to re-pin something that's several steps away from the site it was originally found on and the artist or photographer's name is lost.