Monday, April 19, 2010

They're watching...

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.


Amanda Hannah said...

Definitely something we all need to keep in mind!

Kathleen said...

Dude, AMEN.

One of the best things that could happened to me, internet-wise, was being contacted via Absolute Write by an agent.

Every time I'm tempted to post something overly dramatic, it helps me to remember that anyone might be watching.

Becca said...

OH GOD. You're talking about my melodramatic moments, aren't you?


But seriously, I guess some people never think about agents having time to track you down and read what you say. They do and they can.

*goes back to being paranoid*



Marilyn Almodovar said...

My mom gave me the same advice! So of course I think you are a cool cat like her. :)

Kate Hart said...

Something else to think about-- even private accounts can be RT'd.
*insert scary music*

Also, my word verification is "login" and I was really, really confused for a minute.

Kaitlin Ward said...

REALLY good point, Kate.

Kathleen said...

Oh gads.

*have just realized that Kate Hart has enough blackmail material to sink me*

Pam Harris said...

That absolutely needed to be said. And as I've seen quite a few rejections lately, thanks so much for the reminder. :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent point. This reminds me of when my Dad found pictures of my brother, then in high school, drinking on MySpace. So busted.

Agents won't ground you -- they will ignore you. And that is much, much worse.

suzie townsend said...

All true. Most agents have google alerts set up for their own name and the name of the agency.

hmm... my word is "imaturd" - interesting.

Kate Hart said...

Kathleen: BWA HA HA HA HA... wait, you have a ton on me too. Crap.

erinjade said...

good post. i think about this a lot when i see what people put out on the web. thanks for saying something.

TheGotYA said...

I'm still lmao that Suzie's word is "imaturd"--that's awesome.

Great post, Kaitlin, and so true. Email and IM is great for ranting.

Plus, be careful if you flail too much in excitement on twitter too--people are going to jump all over you for news you might not be ready to release (d'oh). :D

(houndrat aka Debra)

Kirsten Hubbard said...

somehow, I missed this post! it's a great one, and it never hurts to remind and re-remind and re-re-remind people about this. hardly a day goes by that I'm not shocked/second-hand embarrassed my something someone's posted on twitter or a forum -- and I'm not just talking bashing. more foot-shooting than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I'm surprised by what people post, which makes me wonder if I post tmi. But I never go into detail about the industry. I remember posting anonymously on a forum many years ago, and I just knew that it was best that I didn't put my name to a question about agents when I was looking for one. I wasn't badmouthing, but inquiring, and I still couldn't put my real name out there.

Krista Ashe said...

I didn't post the first time I read this b/c I was pulling a Becca on paranoia of "Hmm, have I said something?" LOL. It's being an only child, thinking the world revolves around you, snort. I think coming from the background I do where we let it all hang out and air our stuff, it's hard to remember to censor yourself. It's also tough when you see things like Twittergate, as I'll call it, happen, and think, "Oh well, they can do that, and I can't?" But yeah, rules are different for different people, and it still doesn't make it right whomever does it.

I also came back to this post b/c of a faculty meeting we had on Wednesday. B/c of someone else's careless and thoughtlessness, they're really coming down hard on teachers with Facebook's. Something was said to the effect they really didn't even want us to have them. I freaked since I have a ton of family on there and writing buddies I wouldn't always get to talk to. It's such a weird world we're living in right now, lol.

But good post!!!

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

Excellent post.