I finally did it. I broke down and started a Twitter account. Not that I have anything particularly poignant to say there, but it's the thing to do, right?
See, the issue is that I am a celebrity. Not in the way that you typically think, of course! Even the vast majority of people in "my" fandom of choice don't know me from anyone. In fact, I daresay that much of my work, even when it's seen, is not really associated with me. "Oh, yeah, I think I flipped through a copy of Jack Kirby Collector once and saw some Big Barda/Lainie Kazan picture. Was that yours?"
No, I mean that I'm a celebrity in how I need to approach my online presence. Over the past two decades (yes, I was logging online back in the late 1980s) I have developed an internet presence. In many ways separate and distinct from my presence in real life. I made a deliberately conscious decision to keep the same 'voice' in everything I do both online and off, but my focus is slightly different. Whether I'm telling some story about my family to my S.O. or I'm explaining a technical problem to my boss or I'm chatting with you here about comics, I relay what I need to in much the same manner.
Here's the problem with social media, though: each social media application is designed for a slightly different function. Twitter does short bursts of information rapidly. Blogs give you more long-form discussion. Flickr is great for graphics. And so on. There's some overlap, naturally, but individuals are going to be more suited to certain forms of social media over others, based on their talents and abilities. Which poses a dilemma for any creator (comics or otherwise) trying to work online. Which outlet(s) do you choose to engage, and in what capacity?
See, that's where the marketing is. You've created your book or comic or film or whatever, and you need to draw attention to it. But, if you're like most creators, you don't have a huge studio budget to pay for TV ads and whatnot. So you do online marketing. Mostly by yourself. Mostly with your personal finances. Guys like me with my one book, guys like Dave Gallaher who've got several noteworthy books under his belt, guys like Kurt Busiek who've got an impressive career's worth of books under his belt. We're all banging on our pots and pans, trying to cause enough of a ruckus to get you to look at our work long enough to garner some interest. But where to bang those pots and pans?
And that's where we start running into problems. If you're a Kurt Busiek, who's got a huge body of work and a legion of fans, those same fans are likely going to seek him out whatever platform he's using. If you're a Dave Gallaher, you don't have quite the same luxury. You've got to go where your audience tends to hang out. So that makes sense for him to be Tweeting more often because his audience is primarily very tech savvy. Gallaher's best known and most popular works are online, after all, and that's where he really made a name for himself. I see myself having a greater problem in that my work isn't tied to a particular media format, nor does my audience seem to congregate in any one location. Which "forces" me to take a multipronged approach. Hence, now I'm on Twitter.
What I have to do here is essentially make myself as available as possible. But then tie all my work together so that I don't have to run myself ragged keeping it all up to date. So here's the plan...
My trusty blog, Kleefeld on Comics, will remain a 'home base' of sorts. It's got a convenient RSS feed that you can pick up on any feed reader of your choice. I've also got that feeding my Facebook account, where you can read the full entries there, plus a handful of other odds and ends I post, mostly for the benefit of old friends and family. The same feed also kicks over to my Twitter account, but it only posts the title and a link back to the blog. (140 character limit, you know.) In both of these two cases, I've had to adjust my blogging approach slightly. For Facebook, I try to make a more deliberate point of not referencing the visuals of my blog or embedding items that won't show up in Facebook, without an actual HTML link back to the source. (This post from several days ago is a perfect case in point: although I embedded a movie file in the post, it doesn't get displayed within Facebook, but that's okay because it still reads/links fine without it.) For Twitter, I'm having to adjust how I title my posts. They have to be more enticingly descriptive than I sometimes have made them. Which is doubly true, in fact, since my Twitter account feeds my LinkedIn profile. I'll probably throw a few "bonus" Tweets out there from time to time so it doesn't look like I'm being a total schlep with Twitter.
I only just wish I had had a chance to set this all up BEFORE my book came out; I think I could've garnered more attention for it accordingly. But we'll see how much more traffic/interest I can generate about my book on comic book fandom now that I am using Twitter. (Did you see what I did there with that link? That's for the benefit of people NOT coming here via my blog.)
So, please, follow me around on Facebook or Twitter or wherever works for you. Spread the word, convince people to buy my book and I'll do whatever I can to continue professing whatever drivel about comics happens to be sloshing around in my brain.
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