The other day one of my friends posted this on my Facebook wall: "typing your name into google reveals lots about you haha you have a very large internet presence.."
My first reaction was to laugh and say, "Oh my gosh, Sam, you're such a stalker!" Then, of course, I ran over to Google and typed my name in. I've done this a few times before, because it's always fun to see if there are other people out there with my name (there's just one other as far as I could find). With 'Kristin Baker,' a lot of stuff pops up for this artist in New York. Okay, that's the reason I decided I might use my crazy Polish last name in my writing. 'Kristin Przybyla' reveals a bit more, mostly that I use Facebook and Twitter--and still haven't canceled my Myspace account. It's when I use both my maiden and married names that I hit the mother lode. This is what Sam did. Whoa Nellie. All kinds of fun tidbits popped up, mostly blog posts I've either done or have been involved in with other people's blogs.
Having a "large internet presence" isn't a bad thing when you're trying to get recognized as a writer, but I'm sure all of you can realize it can have quite the opposite effect of what you want, if you're not careful what you put up for the world to see. I've been to conferences where the attending agents and editors have warned us that yes, they DO search for writers' blogs and even Facebook and Twitter accounts. And if they don't like what they see, you might just miss out on a great opportunity to have that person ask for your manuscript. (This means I can't publicly complain with free abandon about the woes of rejection letters!)
What you wouldn't want your parents to see, should be something you wouldn't want a potential agent to see either. I'm not just limiting this to stuff we know we shouldn't be posting anyway; but unprofessional writing habits such as using too many emoticons and "internet speak." (I hate internet speak anyway!) There's nothing wrong with the occasional "lol," but like with adverbs, if you always pepper your conversational online speech with these and other "naughties" such as wat r u doing 2day?, that potential agent is going to close the window and move on to the next writer.
I was pretty happy with the stuff that popped up in my Google search. Sometimes I was amused. It's okay to let your personality show--in fact I would encourage it because agents are people too. And they want to know if they're going to click with the author they're considering.
If you don't see much about you in your Google search, that just means
For more fun, click on "images" after your Google search. You might be surprised at what pops up. The following picture of me was on the top row. Oh dear!
|The kissy face! Another internet no-no!|