I think, before I can blog one word further, I need to discuss the definition of “self-promotion.”
The reason I do this is because Seanan McGuire has been accused in some quarters of “excessive self-promotion,” by which people apparently meant “she mentioned that she had fiction eligible for various nominations.” Not a whole lot, mind you: twice.
Twice, among a welter of probably seventy lengthy blog posts and literally a thousand silly Twitter statuses.
And then, when I talked with her on Twitter about the irony of seeing her blog post linked everywhere but from her Twitter status, she said, “I know, I just feel …ishy and wrong tweeting everything I say on LJ. I try to do it only on special occasions.”
Which, as someone who followed her on Twitter, struck me as being insane. I clicked that “Follow Seanan McGuire!” button because I specifically wanted to hear what she had to say. It’s not like Seanan followed me home, broke into my laptop, and signed me up against my will for the Spammin’ McGuire around-the-world newscast – no. I’d liked reading two of her books, was curious about her as a person, and so I said, “Hello, Seanan, please tell me about yourself.”
Is Seanan telling me what Seanan is doing in the Seanan-specific area of the Internet self-promotion? I say thee nay.
I call it providing the service people signed up for.
Now, if Seanan was running around forums posting “YOU KNOW WHAT POUNDS THE PISS OUT OF MARTIN’S LATEST DOORSTOP? MY NEWSFLESH SERIES, AVAILABLE FOR A MERE $3.79 ON KINDLE,” then I’d have a problem. Or if she was shouting down panels to say, “You know what happens in my book? Something way better than that Neil Gaiman shit you’re yammerin’ on about!” But no. I specifically went to the Seanan McGuire Museum of Fine Filk and paid my entry fee, and by God I expect to see some fucking Seanan McGuire.
Which is how I treat my blog. I cross-post most of my entries to Twitter because I learned a while back that about 70% of my Twitter and Facebook followers don’t read my journal regularly. It felt weird, but I came to think, “Well, they followed me on Twitter because they presumably wanted to hear what I was writing about, so… here’s what I’m writing about.” And people have responded positively. Traffic’s been up. I suspect many former blog subscribers actually prefer the Twitter service, because this way they only get the entries I deem significant.
Is that self-promotion? I guess, in some sort of saggingly flabby definition of the word. But my logic is, people asked specifically to tune into the Ferrett Channel. They did so because they want to hear what I’m doing – which includes my fiction, my blogging, my polyamory, and my personal life. And maybe after it turns out that they don’t actually like all of that, at which point they can feel free to unsubscribe without one whit of malice from me. (I’m a depressive. I hate myself two months out of the year. Why should you be any different?)
So I’ll say it here: telling the world what you have done is not self-promotion in the world of Twitter. Or blogs. It is when you go abroad to other places to tout yourself, or to beg your followers “Please RT” a billion times, or to carve your bibliography into the flesh of willing fans. But mere informational service? Fuck that. People signed up to get a glimpse into your personality. And maybe if you do Twitter or your blogging wrong, then your personality is nothing but a stream of “HAY GUYS I PUBLISH DIS,” in which case the problem will automatically solve itself as people wander away, in which case you’ll be promoting yourself to an increasingly smaller subset of disappointed people.
But for the rest? Please, Seanan. Talk. It’s why I showed up.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.