What has not disappeared, however, is my urge to express myself on several different fronts. Today the subject is social networking. I established both Twitter and Facebook profiles some time ago, as all the writing gurus advised me that a "platform" is essential if one is to have anything published. This morning a respected agent, Kelly Mortimer, retweeted another of these harangues about how we writers who hope to be published must have thousands of followers on social networking sites in order to interest any agent or publisher to take us on as clients.
As an ex-businessperson I would say that this is probably a pragmatic way to look at things -- if your only aim is to make a name for yourself in order to reap the financial rewards. As someone who believes in writing as an art form, I would say it is bullshit. To me, writing should be about writing -- not frantically sending out friend requests on Facebook or collecting followers on Twitter so that one can garner 100, 1000,10,000 or whatever. Social networking sites can be very valuable, as they are proving to be in the crisis occurring in Japan right now. However, as I read the posts on them, I find that few are really worth reading. "Why is this?" I ask myself. Am I just a dinosaur who belongs in the last century, or are these sites as trite and superficial as they seem? Twitter has some interesting references from some of the agents I follow, but Facebook? I shudder inwardly at the concept of my grandchildren growing up on a steady diet of pap like what I usually see there. So why establish a presence there if I want serious readers for serious fiction? I know -- so agents and publishers will see all those followers. Sorry, agents and publishers -- not gonna happen! Maybe I won't get published because of it, but at least I'll retain my integrity.