By: Anne R. Allen
When I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the importance of commenting on blogs to raise your social media profile, I forgot to say one essential thing—probably because I figured it's something your mom told you—but for those who've forgotten, here it is…
If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it.
That's true even in a thread where a lot of people are being snarky and you're simply going along with the crowd. I've done it myself and ended up hurting good people's feelings. Remember when you're online, you're "in public" and anybody can see what you've written.
If you're planning to publish traditionally, the reason to follow mom's rule is simple. Editors and agents will Google you (often before they decide to read your pages) and if they find a bunch of nasty Tweets, forum flames, and bullying blog comments, your career is going nowhere.
Why do they Google you before reading your writing sample? The same reason any prospective employer Googles you. Most people prefer to work with level-headed, rational human beings who are not prone to drunk-posting, dissing their co-workers, or dancing naked with tighty-whiteys on their heads. Just the way it is.
Remember, "free speech" means you have a right to say what you want in public (not necessarily on private property) but it does NOT shield you from the consequences of what you say.
Even if you self-publish, or are planning to—establishing a reputation for being nasty, closed-minded, or self-centered can still damage your career. The indies who do best are the ones who respect fans, guest blog, do joint promotions, and generally play well with others.
It's fine to disagree and/or add new information to a discussion—in fact, that's a great way to raise your profile—but do it like a grown-up, civilized human, not an entitled adolescent with a vocabulary limited to barnyard words.
The tech world was invented by young, rule-breaking types, mostly males. So an early Internet culture evolved that tended to be adversarial, snarky, and intolerant of newbies—more like posturing teenagers than adults doing business.
But the publishing world is the opposite. It's a business that has always been powered by the gentlemanly art of the schmooze.
Making people angry may drive people to your blog, and you may hear that "troll posts" and creating controversy is a way to get traffic. But it's probably not the kind of traffic you want, even if you self-publish.
Remember everything you do or say online is public. That includes your snarky @tweets to your BFF (DM instead) and those party photos your idiot friend took at the Mardi Gras party and posted to FB (ask him politely to take down that tighty-whitey photo, or "untag" you.)
So here are ten tips for online behavior for people planning a writing career. (Unless your life goal is to be a professional extremist ranter—then ignore everything here. Being a person people love to hate can make you rich and famous—if you want that kind of fame.)
But for the rest of us, here are 10 basic rules: (This is not meant as dogma. My Moses impersonation is done with tongue firmly in cheek):
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Read the full article HERE!
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
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- Anne R. Allen's Blog: The 10 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette for Writers http://ow.ly/vL8nV
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- Inflections in English http://ow.ly/vL9Ge Daily Writing Tips
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- Case Study: Heroes and Villains and Readers Who Can’t Tell the Difference http://ow.ly/vL9UT @Storyfix
- Seriously Write: Turning Your Life Conflicts into Your Story Conflicts by Katy Lee http://ow.ly/vLa6f
- What is a Marketing Plan & How Do I Make One? - Melanie Duncan http://ow.ly/vLaAd
- When Trolls Attack! | Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors http://ow.ly/vLaGl
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- Jeff Bezos to Amazon Payments Team: Move Faster | The Passive Voice | http://ow.ly/vLbbG
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