Where the bloody hell are you?

When the internet first broke through the egg and pecked the datagoo from its downy wings, a lot of people (well, me at least) thought that the Web would be like a series of big rooms at a party. You’d put all your stuff in one room and play with it, and other people would come by with drinks in hand because they wanted to see and play with your stuff, and you’d have fun and get drunk and maybe accidentally sleep together, and when you wanted to check out their stuff you’d go to their room and hang out and maybe accidentally sleep with them and soon the party would be pumping and every room would be a comprehensive storehouse of one person’s presence and there would probably be fucking.

As you can see, this metaphor does not work. Although the internet is full of rooting, that much is true.

Instead the internet has become more like a network of swingers’ parties, where you leave a set of your keys in bowls across your suburb and okay fine I’ll stop with the inappropriate metaphors, spoilsports.

But yeah, the notion of the one-stop portal or the one site where you have your presence and that everyone comes to is pretty much cactus these days. Instead our presence is ┬ábalkanised, divided up into manageable, focused portions that do a specific thing and hopefully do it well. When I set up this site, I wanted it to be the hub of that online presence, and it’s serving pretty well as that, but I can also be found in a bunch of other social media/commentary sites, in case you wanted to stalk me. And you know, I’m okay with that, so long as you’re the kind of stalker who buys their target a beer rather than cuts their feet off.

Please don’t cut my feet off.

So anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we spread ourselves over the internet as I work on The Obituarist, and decided to do a run-down of the various places I’ve left a notable footprint. This is where I am:

  • Here. Duh.
  • LiveJournal – I blog as artbroken over there, and back in the day I used to blog a lot. Like once a day minimum since 2002. But the old grey mare she ain’t what she used to be; LJ started to fall apart under the weight of mismanagement and ugg boot spam, everyone pissed off to Facebook and I stopped being so goddamn angry all the goddamn time. Now I post something there about once a month, usually about gaming, negativity or why I don’t post much to LiveJournal any more.
  • Facebook – Of course I’m on Facebook. Everyone’s on Facebook. It’s practically mandatory. These days I mostly use it to help coordinate social events, pimp blog posts, check in with what my wife and a few friends are doing and post the very occasional cool link. I keep feeling like I’m doing something wrong, and it could be so much more if I let it. But stuff that.
  • Google + – I was a fairly early adopter, and like some early adopters I keep wondering if I should go back to the orphanage and see if they have a smarter kid lying around. G+ seems to be a Facebook alternative without the depth of social tools or significant audience, and all I ever post there is links back to posts I make here. Maybe one day it’ll shed its cocoon and become a beautiful butterfly.
  • Twitter – Man, I fucking love Twitter. I dragged my feet over getting onto it for the longest time, and since then I’ve racked up like 6500 tweets in two years. It’s a great place to explore brevity, for one thing; it’s about communicating effectively in a small space, stripping out detail to develop nearly glyphic forms of text. Or to dump links and make smartarse comments about politicians.
  • Amazon – I have an author page there, which has information on Hotel Flamingo, Godheads and a bunch of RPGs that don’t provide me with any royalties. But I can’t find it in my heart to let them go. The Amazon page is barebones, but if people leave positive reviews on things, that might bulk it out. Hint freakin’ hint.
  • Smashwords – I have an author page here too, with links for the ebooks and the various free stories up there. It doesn’t compare visually to the Amazon page, but there’s more of my own stuff to read.
  • Goodreads – Aaaaand I got an author page here too. Although I don’t sell any stuff through the site, so it’s mostly just a feed from this blog and a general request to please god help a brother out with some reviews and recommendations, pretty please man I need this homes.
  • LinkedIn – I really don’t know why I’m on here. I’ve never done anything through the site, and mostly get contacted by people I barely know who seem to just want to professionally network for the sale of professional networking, rather than because they genuinely want to forge business/editing connections. But hey, maybe one day it’ll pay off.
  • Flickr – I have some photos here. They’re pretty old.
  • RPGnet – I go there to talk about roleplaying. Which I used to do a lot, back when I was writing RPGs and had more spare time and was generally much grumpier. Now I just pop up occasionally to say something semi-constructive and then vanish again, leaving only the links in my signature block.
  • Obsidian Portal – Ooh, such a spooky name! This is where I write about my D&D game. If that doesn’t interest you much, I understand. If it does, go check it out. We have session writeups and a pretty detailed wiki.

That’s about it, I think, other than the various banks and online stores that make posthumously cleaning up someone’s online identity traces such a chore. If Kendall Barber was obituarising me I think it’d be fairly straightforward. And a bit freaking meta.

How about you? How thinly is your identity butter spread across the crispy toast of the internets? Where do you pitch your tent online? And do you have any stories about good ways to use LinkedIn or G+? ‘Cos I’m struggling with them, I really am.

2 thoughts on “Where the bloody hell are you?

  1. I use my own blog (link up there) and the Twitters. I shot my Facebook account in the head but I don’t think the squirrelly sonovabitch is dead. I Google+ under a pseudonymous gmail account that I create for a play-by-mail roleplaying game that never happened. And absent my own material for sale, I’m slowly putting together a collection of reviews that I more or less copy and paste across Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads.

    Of all of them I mainly expose myself to my audience-of-four-friends-and-my-mum through the blog. Twitter and G+ are mainly sources of trawling for interesting links and making occasional sarcastic remarks about politics or cricket.

    I have an idea that G+ would be good for having conversations too long or complex for Twitter, but I also have the idea that it demands the same commitment to immediacy that Twitter does. Which means that it really only works for people who can have it open all day and drop in a fast reply to keep a conversation going. Dropping in on it once every day or two like I do means that everything feels said and done by the time I get there.

    I might be wrong, but like you I don’t really see how it works otherwise (or at least, how it’s different from a tweet or a facebook link).

  2. LinkedIn is for professionals, but not necessarily professional writers. It’s not really designed for artists who love blogs, but 9-to-5ers who don’t really know what a blog is. Or care. Or think that FB is really all that cool. Tho they probably have an account. Still. I use LinkedIn for the job that pays the bills, and I do not add people who are not professional contacts at all – no friends, no relatives, no folks I met on another site.

    Twitter is great,but it can suck you in. It’s definitely good for what you said – short sweet and to the point. Also at getting news early. The me!-me!-me! posts or those that are too often and with links, always links, get a bit annoying and so turned off.

    Most of your presence seems drawn back to this blog. I haven’t set up a writerly presence on “the cloud” yet, but I would think that would be a webpage with a link to a blog, and a link to all the other things that make up the writerly world. For instance, under Writings or Books/Novels, you could put the covers of your books, your own blurb on it, any reviews you liked especially, and have them be links (pictures especially) to where they can be bought. If you want to offer separate sites for that, have it link to another page that shows the different options (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.).

    I like that you have written all the sites down. It helps to keep them from overwhelming and to keep them straight. I read that one agent liked her authors to have all those presences prior to her working with them. She thought for GoodReads that we should go out and if we liked a book, review it for another author. I just got my account. Haven’t done much other than said which books I liked the most so far. Writing a review can be intense. I wrote two recommendations for friends/coworkers/teammates on LinkedIn and feel I fumbled it there as well. Do not want to damn with faint praise or over-exuberance. Good points on how Twitter has to be open to be most effective. Good post.

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