Let Down Your Hair…

Been thinking about this for a little bit, especially since the topic has come up on several mailing lists I’m on and it’s made me curious how people feel.

The theory is that in the old days before Facebook and Twitter and the Internet and all that, authors often seemed to be in an ivory-tower of sorts. There was a mystique involved in the creator of the written word.

These days the veil is a bit more transparent. Authors tweet what they had for breakfast, where they’re going shopping, what they’re reading these days. Facebook allows fans to see pictures, get instant updates and possibly discover where the author lives. (Depending on security settings.) Blogs, GoodReads, LinkedIn – all of them are portals into everyday information about a person, but is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Obviously security is one thing that shouldn’t be compromised. I’ll admit I probably haven’t been as cautious as I should be, even here on this blog.

But with that in mind, I can see how from a reader’s point of view, getting in touch with an author of a favorite book can be a nice way to connect to a beloved story or favorite characters, at least in a small way.

Still, I tend not to worry about the day-to-day issues involving it, but I do have to wonder how much info is too much info? I don’t talk about every subject here, but for example, take LKH – she’s been blogging for a while, and her writing is so polarizing that there’s actually an entire LiveJournal blog dedicated to shredding the stuff that she says and does.

I’m of two minds of that. On one hand, if it’s a book review, then I don’t think the author’s personal life should come into play. You can dislike an author but still enjoy a book, or judge it on its own merits. On the other hand, if the author in question tends to tweet and blog about his/her sex life and sometimes semi-outrageous declarations of ego, is is open season? One could say that success is having a group dedicated to your “haters”, but I’m not sure that’s where I want to go.

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6 Responses to Let Down Your Hair…

  1. Kelly B says:

    That's a good point and one I have never thought of.  I think that most people don't start tweeting and facebooking with the idea that one day they could be famous or even that one day these very unsecure social portals could be used against them in a negative way.  I have never read the author you mentioned here but I would not want to worry about something I blogged about coming back at a later date, which is why I try to limit what I do and don't put on facebook(which I neve use any more) and twitter. 

    Great post.

  2. mynfel says:

    And there's one part of me that wants to just "own" whatever it is that I've said. If people want to make fun of me for it, well, that's their issue. Hell, some people probably do now.

    On the other hand, is it fair to judge someone on an innocuous comment they made like 6 years ago?

  3. mynfel says:

    Right. Perfect example? I tweeted about going to The Melting Pot on Saturday (via FourSquare). Yesterday @MeltingPotDC started following me. And tweeted me to ask how I liked the meal. And then congratulated me on getting my hedgehog. 

    Okay. I get they're probably watching for that sort of thing, but still. Kinda creepy.

  4. mynfel says:

    Yeah. Well, I can see people come and go from the website via Woopra, which you know. However, it's a tad disturbing when I see IP addresses from *where I work* and watching them search on phrases like "vagina" and "penis" and "sex".

    Maybe they're just looking to make sure I'm not doing anything that could shame the company. Or maybe it's just a perverted co-worker. 

    In either case, yeah – a tad disturbing, and I don't usually talk about that sort of thing here.

  5. Jennifer Hoffine says:

    Interesting topic! I agree that reviewing should be about the book only.

    Before Facebook and such, authors sold books. Now they're selling a brand that includes their books and an online persona.

    I do feel sorry for those authors who put personal stuff out there before realizing what the fallout could be. Then again, maybe it's true that there's no such thing as bad press.

  6. mynfel says:

    Yeah, there's a lot more to it these days than just "writing a book." So much of what we do is self-marketing and I think there is a fine line between giving readers tasty tidbits and just throwing it all out there.

    On the other hand, when I started this blog, I hadn't even finished my first ms yet and I didn't really plan on it being anything but for personal use. (Which is why I'm keeping my "official" website and blog a bit more professional.

    Hopefully. 😉

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