Saturday, January 23, 2016

Internet Introvert

Is there a term for someone who becomes an introvert on the internet? If not, I'm totally calling it. Maybe I'll call it something like being an internert.
Ever since I comprehended that self-promotion online is now an accepted, if not required part of being an author I've hated and avoided it. Seriously. I loathe self promotion. I'm not an internet social butterfly. I'm not a member of fifty million interest groups on Facebook, haven't joined a thousand genre-based groups on goodreads, I only follow people on Twitter I either know or am actually interested in, and don't do linkedin or google plus or booklikes. My tumblr and instagram accounts have pretty much never been touched, and don't even get me started on joining snapchat.
I've actually never thought of myself in terms of introvert or extrovert, because I kind of think I land somewhere in the middle. At a party or conference where I don't know anyone, I'd prefer to keep my own company. I find it hard to walk up to strangers and start a conversation, but not impossible, and if I see someone I think looks friendly or has no one to talk to like myself, then I'll make the effort to strike up a conversation.
Yet I've also never been shy about getting up and talking in front of crowds. I actually kind of enjoy it, especially when I know people are interested in what I have to say.
But on the internet, I don't know how to be sociable. I don't like the idea of joining groups where the members are nothing more than a name on the screen. I find it hard to talk with people when I have no idea who is on the other end of the conversation. Its not that I think all faceless people on the internet must be either sinister trolls waiting to trip me up and abuse me for the fun of it, or pets who hijacked their master's iPad. I'm just not sure what to say, because the typed word can be taken a different way to how you intend it, and I have been badly burned by that candle before, and kind of recently.
Its actually taken me a while to work out why I avoid self-promotion like the plague, coming slowly to the realization that I am not anywhere near as active on social media as many of my contemporaries, which some would argue is in detriment to my career. I just want to write my books, and I've had enough of stressing over the fact I don't do enough promo, and probably don't do it right even when I try.
So this is my moratorium on self-promotion. Not that I was doing much in the first place.
I am declaring myself an internert, I don't know how to act naturally on the internet. If the internet was a party, I would be the person sitting in a corner wearing my pjs with a bowl of m&ms saying totally weird things like "did you know there were over one million feral camels in outback Australia, until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program, which aims to keep the pest problem under control?"
Yeah, that's a social goldmine right there. 
Since I made it to my 30s, (because, you know, I'm so wise and old and stuff now) I came to the rather mundane conclusion that I am who I am, and there's no changing that. And actually, I don't want to change that. Sure, I'm not perfect, but who is?
I'm better off spending my time being myself and doing what I like to do, and if that doesn't include going on Twitter or Facebook or I-don't-even-know-where-else site to post blatant or thinly-veiled messages that say "hey YOU buy my BOOK GODDAMNIT" then that's my prerogative.
I'm not a best-selling author (yet) and I've got a long way to go before I get there, but however the journey plays out, I can tell you it won't be because I spent countless wearying hours on the internet pushing my wares.
Oh, and just a disclaimer. This isn't meant to be a post bashing those authors who enjoy and are good at promo. We all have our talents and things we relish doing, and for those of you who count successful promo among them, I am in awe of your skill.
For myself, I'm going to stay in my corner, eat my m&ms and hope they get those feral camels under control.

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