“Your ignorance is stunning!”…That line got one of my Twitter followers muted recently. And she has stayed muted. And she will stay muted. I only regret that I have but one chance to mute her. Despite this follower’s flattery — I’d never speak of my own ignorance in such vaunted terms — she is one author I will not deal with again.
She’s a type of Twitter personality you may know, too.
She never uses the link you carefully place in a tweet: she never reads the material you’re quoting. Instead, she latches onto whatever snippet from that article or blog post you’ve quoted in your tweet, imagines that she knows what you’re talking about, decides (inevitably, it seems) that you’re wrong, and snipes at you for it. Never mind that you have not said what she thinks she thinks she’s objecting to. You’re quoting someone else. Doesn’t matter. She pounces, rudely, rashly, relentlessly.
Until you mute her.
I’m asking Twitter to create this function for us IRL, too, in real life. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.
While waiting for that to happen, I was delighted to hear the author Jonathan Maberry turn to just this sort of problem in his keynote address to the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference in Los Angeles.
There, this multi-time Bram Stoker Award winner and New York Times-bestselling author of YA, horror and thrillers had pretty much pulled a welcome fast one.
He’d gone from talking, as one normally does at a novel-writing conference, about his experiences in the craft and business of writing a novel every two or three months — and two monthly comics — to how “more doors will open if you go into the business with happiness and joy and optimism.”
His audience of hundreds was sitting right up, newly attentive.
“Why go to great lengths to be a jackass?” he asked.
“Why let negativity lead your social-media presence?…Part of the job is working within the community of writers…doing it with an open heart..once you set a tone for your social-media presence, that becomes how people know you…it’s kind of hard work to be a continual depressive presence in your own life.”
In case you’re not getting around to many writing conferences these days, this is not the normal focus of a keynote address. Maberry had perceived something a lot of us are starting to understand — that there’s a serious problem in how many people relate to others online, a problem of abusive, angry negativity.
And, as Maberry was saying, you may find it to be an acute, virulent issue with writers, authors. Some of them seem particularly given to making online assaults and throwing tantrums. They’re the ones he was talking — and maybe to — in LA.
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By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
The FutureBook: Night of the Social Media: #PorterMeets Jonathan Maberry
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