Thoughts of BookCampTO are still funneling around my head, and one in particular -- Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) (much quoted and oft-called upon) after stating a very obvious fact that authors should come to their online presence with a strategy and not feel they need to jump into every social media avenue available to them, said something akin to: "What does it mean if you've only got three followers on Twitter? You suck."
By definition then, little old me with my barely 130-odd followers, sucks. My teeny little book blog has never exploded or made me rich. It's never gotten me a book deal. I barely have 6 followers (I think). So overall, does my online persona suck balls in his eyes? Is audience the only thing that matters? Is my platform over even before it began? I was having a crisis of online consciousness after hearing that because deep down I've never put the words up here for anything other than the pure pleasure of typing one letter after the other.
Maybe that's short-sighted of me. Another friend at BookCamp TO mentioned that she was going to spend the good part of the upcoming year just 'getting her name out there.' And I do recognize the importance of putting yourself forth as an expert, as someone with valuable opinions to share, as someone with thoughts that are worth expressing, and I did some of that this weekend.
However, I've been hiding behind a "pen name" for years, never wanting my online life to converge with my offline life. I enjoy the bliss of anonymity. But it's been years since I published anything under "ragdoll" -- it was a holdover from the years of recapping at Television Without Pity. And then came the Boss From Hell incident where I did a lot of complaining after I lost a job I wasn't all that fond of anyway. The need not to get sued (as dooced was no longer an option) was foremost in my mind. Now my online life and offline life are so mixed up there's no easy way to keep them separate.
I was afraid of speaking up at BookCampTO simply because I like being a little behind the scenes. I like thinking what I think and sharing those opinions with like-minded individuals who love me for who I am not what I do. Anyone who was there knows that I got over that rather quickly and couldn't quite help myself but to open my mouth and let some thoughts spew forth. So maybe I need a bit of a retool, a bit of a rethink, maybe I need a 2.0 or a 3.0 version of myself that's not afraid to step from one side of the internets to the other worried that people will find out that I type more often than I think.
But then, Sassymonkey's intelligent and thoughtful post "Can't we just stop with "right" and "wrong"" also got me thinking yesterday that maybe Mitch Joel, as smartypants as he is, perhaps spoke a bit too quickly -- that there's nothing wrong with having three followers if you're happy and pleased with your online life. That if you enjoy using the technology and its ability to add value to your life, that's all that matters. Not all of us are here to find a way to do much more than say what might be on our minds. Even if it is behind a cloak of a poorly conceived moniker that came out of hearing a truly awful Aerosmith song that was stuck in one's head for far longer than it should have been.
So, I don't think I'll take the "ragdoll" off the site any time soon. I mean, truly, all I want to do here is talk about good books. And I think that's probably okay, right?