Whose Space?

December 27, 2006

MySpace has become the hot marketing tool among climbing writers lately. But is it worth it?

Like most decisions, it’s a completely individual decision. Writers like JA Konrath think it’s a great thing. Read his ideas on it over on his Dec. 17, 2006 blog entry, here. They’re excellent points, and something to take into consideration as you create your self-marketing plan.

While he has a lot of good arguments, for me, right now, I don’t think My Space is going to help me, and this is why:

I don’t have a book out.
I have manuscripts circulating, I’m in a bunch of anthologies, but until I have something for people to buy when they light on the space, I don’t think it’ll do me any good right now. I don’t expect them to come back if they’re simply surfing.

I don’t think my readership is the “My Space” kind of crowd
Plenty of writers are going to counter this with “everyone’s doing it.” Ah, but remember, in my personal case, the only thing that was ever forbidden in my house growing up was “everyone does that” or “everyone says that”. The type of reader I attract and the kind of friends I have – and I mean friends in the true sense, not the My Space Friends list – aren’t the kind of people who are hanging out at My Space. Where are they? Reading a book; scouring bookstores; in museums; traveling around the world to write a book; painting; having a LIFE.

Yes, I understand that a successful writer’s life is built beyond people one can count as friends – one needs the general public. I just don’t think many of the type of readers who would be interested in what I have to say hang out on My Space – they’re busy living their lives. They’re looking for unique, not the kind of different that’s actually conformity under another cloak.

I have a different definition of “Friend”
I know a lot of people; I have a few friends. The people I call “friends” are actually there for me, through thick and thin. They don’t always agree with me, and they set me straight when I’m wrong – but they’ve got my back, I’ve got theirs, and they are there through good and bad.

I don’t like to use the word “friend” loosely, and certainly not as a marketing tool.

I don’t want to be a “brand”.
I’m an individual, and that’s the way I intend to stay. That’s why I write under a variety of names – so the uncreative marketing people can’t ghetto-ize me. Creative marketing people can sell ANYTHING.

Rupert Murdoch owns My Space
I won’t go into a tirade about him here; let’s just say that, in my opinion, the only thing the NEW YORK POST is good for is to line the cat box when I run out of litter. And that, while My Space seems loose and free now, it’s only because the profit’s made in that form, and if more profit can be made by making changes, by censoring content, etc., I have no doubt it will happen.

I deal with enough spam. I’m not interested in Triple XXX offers or adult-content chat. I can get PAID to write that stuff – no busman’s holiday for me. I’m not interested in talking or having sex with underage anyone. I have a personal life and I quite like it, thank you very much. I don’t want or need cyber sex. I’ll have the real thing with another consenting adult, and we’ll actually give a damn about each other. And, with the new virus that’s being spread via the My Space bulk mail thing . . .let’s just say I’ll wait awhile to see if they actually try to solve these problems before I sign up. I have enough computer problems as it is.

Read through arguments, pro and con. Spend time on the site. See if you think it helps your unique type of work. If it does, go for it, and more power to you. If not – there are plenty of other ways to build an audience. There are ways to reach an audience that reads more than what’s on a computer screen, and is literate enough to communicate in complete sentences with fully written out words.

Will I ever join MySpace? Probably someday. Definitely if I sell a YA novel. But it’s going to be with a cynical marketing eye and a keenly focused purpose. It’s not going to be to hang out and make “friends”.


One comment

  1. There’s no doubt that the random friend requests are incredibly annoying on myspace. I really don’t want to add any self-proclaimed “gay studs” or web cam kittensto my contacts.

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