Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Friday, April 20, 2018

The problem with social media...

Peter Clines posted in his blog the other day about people asking him to read their stuff for free or offer advice on their manuscripts... and not just writer friends, but complete strangers off of the internet... and doing that is a dick move if you ask me.

To paraphrase -
"Hey, Mr. So-and-so, I've read your book and I'm a huge fan. You've inspired me to write... as such, I feel you owe it to me to check out my things and tell me what to do... oh, and I want it all for free. I mean, you are seemingly pretty cool and take time to answer your fans on social media from time to time... so, how about it?"

I feel it is the same as asking your photographer friend to take photos of your wedding for free. Or the really great band you heard to play for "exposure." It's all fine and good, but you can't live on exposure, and wedding cake won't pay the mortgage. And all of the time spent learning the trade/skill add up. It's a job, not a hobby. And asking people to do work for free is just rude...

I feel the internet has made us all feel a little too familiar with people we don't really know. I am guilty of it myself at times - like right now, writing on here as if though my opinion matters to anyone other than myself.

Where do we draw the line, though? "We" as the public and "we" as the online personas of famous people (writers, actors, directors, presidents...). Social media is such a strange and relatively new thing, societally speaking, that it's a very awkward interaction between the two groups. Being on social media, unfortunately, means the good, fun commenters come hand in hand with the ones wanting that leg-up or that handout from the people they’ve come to follow online.

Personally, I've enjoyed my online interactions with people such as Peter Clines and Dennis E Taylor (he totally retweeted a link to my blog). They respond to comments and take the time to address issues such as this - which I think is great. If people ever think they're coming across as a jerk for it, my guess is those people don't see the amount of little red numbers on their "notifications" icon every day. The fact that they seem to look through those notifications is pretty cool.

I, as a non-famous internet dude, don't really have to worry about this - but lets look at the bigger picture. People like Donald Trump have a direct pipeline for the masses via Twitter. From this, I can directly tell the President exactly what think about him. I can be as nice or vile as I choose to be... but is this a good thing? Should people be so openly connected? Should I be able to go online and tell Chadwick Boseman if I like Black Panther or hated it? (I loved it BTW... amazing film)  Should I be able to go online, tag John Scalzi in a post where I say bad things about his books? (generally speaking - I love Scalzi's work) Or actors and directors?!  How many times does Mark Hamill have to ignore obsessed fans on a daily basis? - yet he still is a great person on Social Media. He answers questions, talks to his fans... it's pretty cool. 
And what do these people owe us? Not a damn thing really. They can choose to respond, they can choose to get into a debate... they can choose to block us or ignore us. And while they can take the time to say "Hey, Johnny from the internet - nice fanart!" - they don't have to. They don't NEED to... but when they do, it's fucking cool. Well, it is for me at least. 

I don't really remember where I was going with this now - other than WE as fans and whatnot need to remember that the people we like and admire on the internet ARE people. They work for a living. Being on the internet is part of their job to spread their wares... And they don't owe us a damn thing. We should stop trying to get that free hand out from them and just thank them for their work. 

1 comment:

  1. I think more along the lines of the legitimate journalism vs rumor mongers via social media. Likes don't pay the bills either unless you are perceived as an influencer and get sponsored content. It boggles my mind that people video their children opening presents and that's how they make their living. It seems pretty damn shallow.