I have a fear that this post may sound condescending, and that's not my intent. So I'm going to preface it by saying that I am not perfect either, and I just want everyone to be successful and I don't want anyone to shoot themselves in the foot. And that this post is definitely inspired by a lot of potential foot-shooting I've seen lately, which scares me.
The internet is kind of a new frontier for a lot of us, even if we've been using it for a long time. I advanced from AIM to forums sometime during college, and things like twitter are even newer than that. Forums are amazing for networking, friendships, so many other things. I've talked about it before, I won't go into it again. But there's also a downside. While you may feel like you're only chatting with your friends, anyone can see everything you type. Twitter, too (unless you're on private.)
I say this, even though it's been said many times before, because I worry sometimes. I lurk around Absolute Write a lot more than I actually post. I see the things people say. I read tweets, and can often figure out what they mean even if people think they're being cryptic.
And I'm not the only one.
Everyone knows (I think/hope) that agents visit Absolute Write. How could they not? At the very least, the Bewares and Background Checks subforum is going to come up for most any agent, if they google their own name, or that of their agency (I just googled 'Fineprint Literary Management' and AW is the first search result after Fineprint's website and blog). You don't think that once they find B&BC they might wander around the rest of the forum a bit? I would.
And on twitter. You know when an agent tweets something like 'omg this vampire ms is amazing' and you have a friend (or yourself) who has a vampire ms out with said agent, you start to excitedly speculate? You don't think agents can read into your 'cryptic' tweets of frustration just the same way? Sure, they're not necessarily following you. I'm certainly not being followed by every agent I've ever queried. But does that mean they might not look you up if they're curious? Do you want to scare them away prematurely because you come off as overdramatic, even if you aren't?
Not that you can't ever tweet or blog or discuss on forums how disappointed you are about rejection. No one likes rejection. It sucks, and it's one of those things that really never stops sucking. I don't think any human being on the planet could fault someone for feeling frustrated. But there's a difference between expressing frustration appropriately, and going into an all-out rage fest.
If you're feeling like doing a rage fest, there are appropriate places to do that--instant messaging programs, email to friends, talking to significant others or siblings or parents or whoever.
I think I've made my point. We all say dumb things sometimes, whether on purpose or by accident. (I mean, I say dumb things often.) But it is so so so important to remember that the internet is public. The whole world can see your words.
Make your impression a good one.