Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Drawing the line, ONLINE

I will be the first person to admit I couldn't live without the internet. Not only is it my go to spot for work, research, writing etc, but I also get phone numbers, directions, movies... pretty much any and everything I go to the internet to find. I've met some awesome friends online. People who I don't know what I would do without. When I've been buried in my work in progress too long or spent to long with only people who are under the age of eighteen, I know I can click online and find the conversation or the distraction I need.

All this being said, I think it's easy to forget how wide open the internet is. I see people post personal information that makes my cringe for them. Millions of people have access to what you say. It's always there. Rumors spread like wildfire online. One little misprint and it spreads from site to site until you can't escape it. Every one's talking about it before anyone knows if its true or not.

It's kind of scary... Almost like high school, but on a much bigger level.

I think we all start to feel so comfortable online that its easy to forget nothing is private here. Sometimes, for me, I know its hard to find that line. The internet is my solace, but in a way, it's also my "office" of sorts. Co-workers are online, bosses, readers, etc. It's hard to draw that line between being professional and just being...well me. Just relaxing and kicking my feet up and talking just like I would with a friend in real life.

There's been a lot of talk about what is and isn't acceptable online lately. Is it okay for writers or aspiring writes to review books on their blogs? How much is too much to share personally? The list goes on. I'm curious though, how do you draw the line while online?


Harlie Reader said...

I'm online all the time. I post comments to blogs and email all day long. I draw the line at actually typing my husband and son's names. I used to blog for a website and when I signed up, I told my husband that I would only refer to him as hubby/husband and our son as son. I'm an open book but hubby and son are not. I will share bits and pieces but I keep them out of it. I also don't talk about my EDJ, either. I work 8-5, Monday thru Friday but I don't want to bore people with what I do every day.

I'm on Facebook but I'm extremely careful when I post to someone's wall. I don't completely trust Facebook with their security policies.

Thanks for a great blog today. It made me think.

Madison Scott said...

Harlie, I don't use my kids or husbands name either. I'm always nervous I will/have slipped up somewhere, but I try not to.

Glad you enjoyed the post.

Tess MacKall said...

I don't use my real name online. Pay extra to keep my website protected from anyone finding out who owns it.

I do have some issue with authors reviewing books. And of course some do it very very well and never cross a line. But there are others who will intentionally give out bad reviews to authors they don't like or who a buddy doesn't like too. We've discussed that a bit here on the blog before I think.

What makes me cringe is when an author talks about their personal life and they reveal things I'd personally take to my grave if I'd done them. lol

I think it's funny, too, when you see an author suddenly cleaning up their act when they get contracted with a big publisher and you're sitting there thinking: Uhhh, yeah, I remember all the things you said--which may just come back to haunt you some day too if you ever do hit the NYTBSL.

Great subject matter, Madison. Very thought provoking for sure.

Regina Carlysle said...

The fact is we never know who is reading and what they might do with the information we put out there. Information that goes out there can be used as evidence in court too. And pics? That's just soooo dangerous. I just shake my head at the pics people (especially teens and young adults) will post. So very dangerous. As an author, I try to present myself in a professional manner because we never know who is reading.

flchen1 said...

Great reminder, Madison--how easy it is to post these days lets us forget how public it all is!

Talina Perkins said...

I practically live on my computer. From blogging with fellow book lovers and writers, to writer's workshops and facebook. Much like you, I find everything online.

I also review books on my blog and for NOR while I work towards writing my own. Is this damaging to my writing career? Jeeze, looks like I need to do some research then! I had no idea that it could impact it in any way other than provide me a way to offer something back to the writing community.

Tess, are you serious! I have run across some reviews that are less than honest to put it nicely, but to intentionally sabotage the review for their own benefit or satisfaction is blessed crazy!

I whole heartily believe in presenting yourself in a healthy SAFE way online. Like everyone here has said, my future publisher might be reading what I say or stopping in on my blog! YIKES!

I will remain mindful of everything I post or comment. thanks for this post!

Madison Scott said...

Tess, I agree. I'm very careful about what I share personally.

Madison Scott said...

I always try and be professional too. I think we have to. Like I said, this is like our office, IMO.

Madison Scott said...


Madison Scott said...

On the reviews, who knows. Some people think its not a big deal at all while others think writers shouldn't do it. I think you just have to be careful of what you say and do what you feel comfortable with.

C. Zampa said...

I'm all for authors reviewing books on their sites. Authors are readers, too, and have as much right to review as anyone else---as long as they are as they're fair and respectable and not using it as a podium for dissing others.

I ran my blog long before I received a contract, and always tried to maintain in professionally and respectably. I hoped to be published one day, and didn't want my blog to come back to haunt me, as you said, Madison.

As far as getting to personal online? I've shuddered at some things I've seen some people share. Extremely personal things that should never be 'broadcast'.

Good post, Madison!

Delaney Diamond said...

I don't see anything wrong with authors reviewing books on their sites. I review books on Goodreads.

If I read a book and I don't like it, I don't post a review. If I can give it at least a 3, which means you at least liked the book, then I will post a rating or a review.

As for sharing personal information online, some people definitely go too far. Especially on Facebook. I can't believe some of the things I read. Privacy is very important to me. It always has been. I also try not to say anything negative about anyone online.

This is the way I look at posting. If I'm not sure--if I hesitate--I won't do it. Better safe than sorry.

Jen B. said...

I am struggling with this question. I started following blogs to learn more about social networking because I have a teenaged son. I think people do share too much info but I understand their motivations.

Madison Scott said...

C. Zampa,
Thank you!

Madison Scott said...

Delaney, I agree. If I hesitate, I don't know it. Love the name, Delaney, BTW.

Madison Scott said...

Jen, I am the same, I can understand some of it.

Anonymous said...

I try not to say anything on line that I wouldn't say to someone face-to-face. Politeness is so easy to let go of when you feel anonymous,and trying to tell can-you-top-this-one? stories is the way to revealing far too much, and the source of a lot of embarrassment, I think.

Harlie, I think you're right to be leery of Facebook -- there are settings that allow someone to mine right through your profile into your friends' information. Lifehacker has a post on how to prevent that.

Natalie Dae said...

I feel authors reviewing is ok--I would say that because I do it--so long as they don't upset the author because of personal beefs. Thankfully I run a review site that allows no negativity whatsoever.