In my career I’ve gone from lead type to Google +, and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s been an improvement.
The lead type was at my first newspaper. Everything else is on the Internet, which, if you’ve ever wondered, is located in a janitor’s closet on the thirteenth floor of Moore’s Law Towers in Elko, Nevada.
You haven’t heard of Google +, as opposed to plain old Google? Neither had a I a few weeks ago, given that I’m a technical troglodyte struggling to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and on and on, all of them mildly confusing and all, perhaps, vitally important to my goal of becoming Almost Famous as an author.
In the old days, authors aspiring to become a brand read at bookstores and waited for the New York Times to take notice. Nowadays I read at bookstores, am still waiting for the NY Times, and share myself via website and addresses such as ‘authorwilliamdietrich’ on Facebook.com. I need more kitten pictures.
The theory is that if you burble to the surface often enough in our webby world saying things witty and wise (no problem there), someone, somewhere, may someday read your book. (A book is an ancient artifact of wood pulp and ink, used in Pleistocene times but now available electronically.)
I take the effectiveness of Social Media on faith, much as I do atomic theory, restaurant kitchen cleanliness, and belief I’ll see my suitcase again when it disappears on an airport baggage ramp. Even the latest AARP newsletter says we all have to be on-line. Crikey!
I’m one of those Seattle residents who didn’t think to invest in Microsoft in the 1980s and who thought the early Internet was slower than going to the library. My fashion sense pretty much ran aground in 1983. I write about Napoleon Bonaparte, the Roman Empire, and 1938 Nazis. So much for SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
This Brave New World can be an incredible time suck – what were people doing before they posted all this stuff? – and confusing, even after decades on computers. The Tech industry still doesn’t write English very well, and every time I actually figure something out they “update” it, like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.
I bet Mark Zuckerberg a billion dollars that even he gets confused by Facebook, but is too embarrassed to ask for help.
Mark can afford the wager because I tried a tiny ad on his Facebook company and spent about $400 for what wound up as 150 new “likes” on my Facebook page, which I’m told ain’t bad, or at least cheaper than hanging out at Starbucks and hoping for the same action. I’m dubious, but who knows?
Klout.com tells me I now have an Internet “klout” score of 27, considerably below President Obama’s 99 but better than the 10 they gave me a few weeks ago. Now, if I can just get Zillow to make my house value go up.
Does all this get in the way of real writing? Yes. Would J.D. Salinger or Harper Lee stoop to posts and tweets? No. Can I make time go backward? No again.
I better get crackin' on Yahoo and Bing.