Random Thoughts: Recent Internet Kerfuffles

So in recent days there have been a lot of authors chased off the internet and out of genres due to an increase of internet hostilities to creative folks. It’s sad and disappointing. It has always been true that the second you do anything in public you open yourself up to criticism, but there’s a kind of cruelty about it that is disheartening. It’s particularly disheartening for those of us who have yet to garner enough attention to make bank on our books. We use the internet, partly, to get the word out about our work. It is necessary, not just for authors and creators, but all businesses to engage in some sort of internet signal boosting activity.

Folks are not getting chased offline for advertising their wares.

They are getting chased offline for having conversations.

Self-imposed rules about what is okay to talk about online, personally, won’t save you.

Having a lot of friends online in your corner won’t save you.

I don’t know what the answer is to keep this kind of thing from happening. I do know that without some of those bolder authors willing to have earnest conversations about serious issues, the quality of my online reading is lessened. Most of the time, I like to be silly, or talk about writing (which is serious but doesn’t seem to be as rife with conflict). But when other folks are working to unpack serious topics I pay attention. I sit on the sidelines a lot, taking it all in. It’s part of my personality to observe and assess and take the time to gather my own thoughts before weighing in on something. Sometimes, what I see prevents me from saying anything at all. Caveat, if I am honest, serious conversations are something I would rather do in person, not in front of a blinking screen. That isn’t new to me either.

But it might be new to some other folks whose first instinct is to dive into the fray. This bothers me, because I gain from their discourse. I think we all do, if we absorb it thoughtfully.

As an author, I have yet to reach a level where I have a ton of strangers paying attention to what I’m doing. I’ve been lucky, not faced with the hostility or melodrama that some of my friends have had to deal with in the online sphere. I hear stories that verify it makes no difference what level you are at in terms of making your creative work public.

It’s making me think about how to go forward with what I’m doing online. I probably won’t change too much. Silliness and writerly check-ins, book-talk and enthusiasm about music shall continue. But I do think about when that will change. If it will have to.

But I’m not sure there’s a way to prepare. As knowledgeable as story tellers are about the power of words, I’m not sure there’s a tried and true strategy to use against the hurtful ones.

Some of this, for me, comes back to the whole etiquette of gift-giving. When someone whose work you love is willing to engage in this sphere as openly and earnestly as some of the authors who have been targeted, that is a gift. These are busy people, some of them do not have to do this.

And there are some folks who like to poop on gifts.

Pooping on gifts = gross.

Thank you, that is all…

…for now.