beanstalkshoe2

I recently delivered a short session (with Christina @CongoMuse Fonthes ) on social profile for NWCDTP researchers. It focused on how to set up and use wordpress, twitter and facebook accounts – their different strengths and weaknesses. There were a few questions that had me hesitating. One from a creative writer was: if we put our poems or fiction online, are we shooting ourselves in the foot?! (PS. this foot metaphor will run and run  ) Placing work on a blog or website may stop you entering competitions since blogging can be interpreted as a form of publication. The other issue for creative writers was, will it lead to theft, since once something is online, people have access to your work and can reproduce it without your consent. Finally, if you put something up online would it not be seen as ‘soiled goods’ by a prospective publisher, having already had a life in the public eye on your blog or website?
These were smart questions and I’m not sure there are any neat answers. For my own part I tend to place only extracts from my novels and fiction pieces online. (Poems always seem to suffer from layout problems unless scanned and loaded as jpegs). That way, viewers get a flavour and may be encouraged to buy the full text when it comes out.
The upside to publication on web/blogs for me is that placing a succession of good fiction pieces online may increase the likelihood of getting a publisher interested, especially if you can show your pieces have gained a following.
Another intriguing conversation with a film maker centred around having any profile at all – the idea of your privacy being invaded when you set up a social media presence. Again I felt it an inescapable truth (colloquial meaning, lawyers may sit down!) that some aspect of your personality and background will become apparent.
Those who want minimal leakage may consider having a professional blogsite and twitter account and using it for reviews of work in your field or descriptions of your progress on your project. The most popular page on my own website (peterkalu.com since you ask) is the Book Review section which is highly depersonalised.
Describing what park you took your dog for a walk in last night or your shoe size or whether you chose to wear mules or espadrilles this morning may be a step too far for many people, and I understand that. I guess in the early stages of building a social profile we all flounder as we find out what works for us. There is no one right way. Find the walk that works best for you.