Worship yourself online? That’s a bit vague, but I like the funny, with serious undertones, nature of the idea. Funny since its posted online, on a site affiliated with you, but also serious in many ways. This whole The Googles has come on us fast, and I’m not sure our brains are around it yet, what we are doing, or being done to us, etc., even on a neurotransmitter level.
One thing I’ve noticed is that most online/small press community people try to keep a ratio, maybe 10% pushing their own work and things, and then 90% pushing things they value, work and sites of others, etc.
Years ago it dawned on my how obnoxious it was to have a blog with my name as the url. So, this issue has to be addressed. And, to me, working hard to get the word out about others you authentically feel are glow is one answer. Others do the same. I guess I don’t actually see that much online worship, in the indie/small press thing, with some Facebook exceptions. As for Twitter, I don’t follow. Fuck twitter.
But worship is abstract. I can’t imagine anything more human that to occasionally google the self.
I feel like I might look like a fukk from “liking” my own posts on Facebook. Is that fucked up? I get a sense that it is wrong but I do it anyway as it kind of works as a repost for those who may not have seen it the first time. I mean, I have no idea why every single one of my friends did not “like” my Fuck Bears piece on Vice. It’s not like everyone in the world isn’t into bears. Everyone is super into, and also gay for, bears. I think. I’m almost sure. I’m pretty positive.
I just googled “the self” and and first it felt really human. Then all of the sudden I lost my sense of self and sort of had this struggle with the Other. I kind of feel that my self has been othered. Can anyone help me out? I need some mutual recognition or something.
Feeling chagrinned at using your name is a URL is something that feels a little anachronistic to me. 25 years ago using your name as the name of your small press – that’s lame. But today I think it makes sense. You pick up the first volume of Transmetropolitan, love it, and want more. But you’re not good at computering. You want to google Warren Ellis, but instead just type warrenellis into the address bar – bob’s your uncle you’re right there. Koreanish still has Alex Chee’s name in the page title. Koreanish
| Alexander Chee
I do agree that the 10/90 ratio is pretty golden. The web is about content. URLs are just good indexing, and would make Claire Minton proud.
A lot of writers think they’re special (me included, at times, though I’m trying to get over that), and it helps to have lots of friends who aren’t in that game…. If one would call it a game, etc. If you need to know if you’re any good, or jockey support from fans, you may be in it for the wrong reasons.
Writers can be lazy self-promoters. If you want to promote yourself, be interesting. Talk about interesting topics and people will find your work. If you have an online piece, then, of course, link it, but…
Don’t just shout about your latest publication–you look like the guy on the street corner hawking junk. No one cares or wants to buy stuff from people who are just hawking product. Hawking literature doesn’t change this simple fact.
I don’t get writers thinking their special? How so? Maybe it’s because I worked as an RN for years. I sort of see nurses as more special than writers. I have the opposite feeling. I think reading a lot does this. Sometimes my students ask to use my work in class. I say no. I say, “Anything I would want to teach you about fiction in this class, I can find a MUCH better writer than myself to give you an example of the technique.”
Having said this, to keep going you of course do need a healthy ego.
i like my own posts all the time — my girlfriend says its like highfiving yourself in public and i mostly do it because it feels absolutely hilarious to me everytime i do it and I chuckle to myself like a little goddamn idiot every single time. it’s the small things like this that matter, correct>
I agree…. I think there’s a tendency to jump all over whatever is fresh or off the press or getting good reviews, but it’s important to maintain a sense of judgment.
The best thing a good friend ever did for me was burn his copy of my chapbook. I’m serious. I think (again, this is a critique of markets) that it can be difficult to be honest without separating oneself off from the ads, etc. Ads without products….
Not to totally go against what the market says, though, or to be antagonistic to reviews, but there’s so much that just has to be decided through an encounter with the work.
And if everyone is talking about it, there’s part of me that tends to want to back off a little. I mean there’s curiosity and then there’s a sort of reading experience that is often unexpected and surprising, and not at all what one would look for, or from presses that one would expect to find it “with.”
And also: I went to school to write poetry, but I rarely read much that
moves me the way prose does, or that satisfies some sort of intellectual
appetite I have. So there’s that. And yes, nurses are great.
writer’s don’t think they’re special? nah, they do, just like most anyone. the big trick writer’s like to pull is to say that they aren’t special, which of course is just hidden way of saying they are special. the difference between a nurse and a writer is that a nurse believes he is special but secretly or unconsciously doubts it while the writer thinks she’s like everyone else while secretly believing she’s special while secretly doubting it.
one can worship someone else’s work or push it or show it off and it can still be all about oneself. here is my great friend who is my great friend.
to be in the publishing world one needs a healthy ego, one needs to be a writer, to be an artist, an author. to really write one doesn’t need to be anything at all.
Oh… yeah, just made me paranoid. I try not to comment too much. Or be too emo online. Or be less emo. I just commented on the “novel post”, and asked if people would click my link to read excerpts from a novel. Is that ok? I think so, right?
Brian, something remind myself I get self-conscious about the Internet is that you are talking to a bunch of floating avatars with words next to them. That’s why you see me commenting on this site like a manic asshole.
Oh this is such nonsense, all this tongue-in-cheek debasement, I’m not special, I loathe promoting my work, blah blah blah. Either you are the most…. bizarrely evolved people in the world or you are insane. What’s wrong with being special or thinking you’re special? When did self-esteem become a bad thing? There’s a difference between thinking you’re special and thinking you’re the most special twinkle in the brightest star to grace the universe. I mean, come on. “I hate Facebook.” “I hate writers who self promote.” Boo hoo. STFU. Who cares? People want to talk about their writing. Some of them do it too much. Magically, the world keeps on turning.
Yeah, it’s weird, in real life, I’m not too self-conscious. But online, I’ve made comments and then had anxiety later regarding them. Before 2008, I never really used the internet too often. I didn’t even know abt blogging platform until springs of 2010. I thought all websites had to be built.
Speaking for myself, I don’t “hate” writers who self-promote at all. I just think there are effective ways to self-promote, and not so effective ways, and I think many publicists would agree. There is often this assumption that access to the Internet gives one a larger audience, meaning that it doesn’t take much effort or originality to self-promote, but there is almost too much to sort through online for me to really care about people who only post things like, “my story, What We Think About When We Think About Thinking, will appear in the Battered Vintage Lunchbox Review.”
I wouldn’t put you in this category because you maintain a blog where you talk about stuff other than your writing, unlike some writers who only use an online presence to announce stuff or kiss ass and appear to have zero personality.
I hear you. I wasn’t coming from a place of defensiveness. I’m a. in a bad mood and b. I just grow weary of conversations about promotion and writers complaining about promotion and then writers getting involved in some kind of race to the bottom to prove how removed they are from promotion like writer ascetics who wish to live in a windowless room writing with invisible ink so their craft remains pure and untainted by having to share it with the world.
i thought blake was pretty clearly not saying “any talk about yourself or your work is bad” (that wouldn’t really make sense as an HTMLG post unless it was his resignation) but just that it’s bad when you start buying into your own hype.
like if self-esteem/self-promotion is having a healthy appetite, self-worship is when you eat everything indiscriminately and never stop eating and even eat your own shit. or something. i’ve been up for 25 hours.
Got it. I’m def. pro-PR–just annoyed w/ some of the laziness I see out there, which means, really, that I’m pro-PR because I want to see people do it right and really engage people, rather than use the Internet as an announcement board.
where is anyone saying any of this? except maybe the facebook thing. seems like most everybody who posted wrote something like ‘some self-promotion is okay as long as it isn’t obnoxious.’ also, what is right with feeling special? i would say there is nothing wrong or right with it. it is simply a truism that most writers like most people do feel special or unique or whatever.
what is wrong with having a high self-esteem? nothing. we have been told to have a high self-esteem since we were children. however, there is a point it goes too far. there’s a great article in the atlantic right now about how we’ve created a society of youths who have such amazingly high self-esteems that they cannot take criticism, are lazy, expect to be praised, are overly self-concerned.
who said be an ascetic? i don’t understand. might it not be worth a try at hiding something you feel is worth hiding in order to make it grow. when one wants something to grow, one essentially hides it. think of a seed. one when shows something off too much it withers and dies.
how is this: i would like to be published one day, but try not to think about it much. is this alright or am i an ascetic?
blake is hitting something here while tanked. i don’t
really though, it feels obvious that twitter, facebook, blogs (and yes, i have one), etc are all products of a culture that is driven by self-centeredness. it’s staring right at us and everyone’s saying, no, no, that’s not it, it’s about sharing with friends. but who has 1500 friends?
I don’t see anyone whose saying, “It’s about sharing with friends.” Sure some people believe that but I know maybe 40 people on my FB account. The rest are people who friended me because they wanted to or that I friended because I wanted to, all out of mutual interest. Or indifference. I don’t really care. Self-centered? WHO CARES? There are worse things. As I noted in my response, I’m crabby, and also, this conversation is an ongoing one and some of the comments here are part of that and yes, some of my response stretches beyond this thread. I think there was one comment about, “I no longer think I’m special,” that just made me think, “OH come on.” It’s not personal. I just reacted and this has evidently been on my mind. I hear what you’re saying and all that’s fine. I teach college writing and its absolutely true that today’s youth are incapable of handling criticism but you know, most people are shitty about handling criticism. Some just hide that inability better than others and some are truly okay with it but most of us take it, sulk about it, and then, accept it. The sulking, though, is there. Hide what you grow, so on and so forth. It’s all good. I get that. Your outlook works for you. This is just my opinion.
But that’s a big left turn. Was the initial post about promotion? The abstraction of “worship” is what makes the comment thread work. It could mean most anything. I stick by my guns. Have a ego, naturally, just have some goddamn common sense. It’s like tipping. Fucking tip. Get your book out there once in while fine, then start talking about something else, like the world, big-ass world outside your book. Who knows? I’m saying, online, or in front of me, don’t be an ass. That’s it. Just bring that rule online, and the whole question will be irrelevant. My 2.4 cents.
I think many, including myself, read the post as somewhat “about promotion” because Blake discussed something similar on his “22…” thread (in regards to promotion and online presence and how no one really cares if you just tell them, “I have published this”).
Really, I’m not sure why some writers have a hard time figuring this one out. Do companies advertise by saying, “Here is some laundry detergent that can be purchased at Wal-Mart” ?
This might sound cynical, like I’m suggesting that writers should become Madison Ave advertisers, but it is true that successful advertising promotes a product by talking about something that’s completely unrelated to the actual product.
I think writers can borrow this concept in more meaningful and honest ways.
i was being hyperbolic with the friend thing. i don’t know who cares about self-centeredness (wait, no, a lie; someone like david foster wallace, i guess, etc); we are two people talking about it so i guess we both sort of do. or maybe you don’t and that’s okay. i’m just making a comment on a blog post about something which i find fascinating, pervasive, and the cause for much neurotic-ism in our culture (to me to me). in any case, have a nice evening.
i wish i could remember the article (maybe it was even the atlantic story you’re talking about), but i read somewhere that by disconnecting praise from specific accomplishments you create this confusion and sort of free-floating anxiety, like “if i don’t know why this was praise-worthy/how to earn more praise, then it can go away at any second, and i need to get as much possible of it while i can because who knows if i’ll ever be able to again in the future”
and the same way that having 24 hour cable news outlets means we have to come up with more and more sensational stories to cover, having all these social media tools creates a vacuum of, “is my day good enough? was i entertaining today? yeah i had a good tweet last week but that was LAST WEEK” and you can’t ever stay on top of it, so what started as a way to feel good about yourself ends up being a way to feel bad about yourself while over-estimating the goodness of others because you’re only catching their self-selected highlights
That’s cool, Chris. Your small world is big to me. I don’t know any of the people on here, so it’s easier for me to not take them seriously, and if I don’t take them seriously, I don’t get hung up on what people say to me or think of me.
Even if you’ve never met any of these people, they still exist. I don’t get that people have this idea that the internet “isn’t real life.” As long as that mentality exists, the internet will remain a piece of hell.
Here’s the thing though: I don’t really go around using the Internet as some sort of tool to project my day to day frustrations on people. I treat avatars just the same as I would treat people in real life, which is, uh, friendly. I try to refrain from negativity as much as possible.
I do, however, know that other people might not carry that same sort of restraint. And having been victim to floating avatars on the Internet in the past hurting me in really unreasonable ways, I know a good way to not let any sort of (potential) attack bother me is to remember how ridiculous the thing I am doing is.
If a person is mean on the Internet I find it good practice to think of them not as a human being. If a person acts like a human being on the Internet I find it good practice to treat them like a human being, maybe make a friend. So yes, it’s not a uniform practice, you’re right, but I am not gonna pretend it isn’t effective.
WHAT ARE YOU SAYING I SHOULD TEAR DOWN MY SHRINE OF MIRRORS ON WHICH THE WORD ‘CHITTYCHATTYBINGO’ IS SCRAWLED OVER AN OVER IN PINK LIPSTICK & WHICH IS CONNECTED TO A 56K MODEM WISH THROWS OUT SPARKS EVERY TIME DEMONCAT RUBS IT UP AN DOWN MY PINEAL GLAND LIKE AN ASS-BATON MADE OF TINY DOG DICKS? WHY THE FUKK WOULD I WANNA DO THAT IT’S LIKE THE BEST THING I EVER DONE