The beauty of social media is that it allows you to connect with other like-minded people. You can bond over the latest drama on Real Housewives, angst over the certain demise of publishing, share cat videos and dog pictures, and participate in NaNoWriMo together. Whatever it is, social media has become the new front porch. It’s where we gather to gossip, kvetch, cry, and laugh.
It’s not the crying and the laughing that make me nervous, but the gossiping and kvetching. The problem with the front porch is that after a while it gets a little too comfortable and we forget that for the 20-30 people we regularly engage with directly, there are 200-300 just watching and listening. And that’s when trouble arises.
When an editor is interested in the project I’m pitching one of the first things she’ll do is scroll the author’s social media and what she reads can make a difference. How bad does she want an author who has been complaining mercilessly about her current editor or publisher or who seems to relish in all of the latest publishing gossip, even if it’s not true?
Editors and agents tend to be stalkers, silently reading Facebook posts and Tweets to learn what’s going on with an author and whether or not she’d be a good fit. While I encourage everyone to be your real self on all of these platforms, I do think we need to remember that someone is always watching and if we don’t want them to hear what we have to say, it might be better to remain silent.