Am I a good social media user, or a creepy stalker?Posted: January 3, 2012 | |
I’m a little weirded out. See, there’s this guy. A writer. A good writer. And he’s about six steps ahead of me at all times. I feel like I’m accidentally following him wherever he goes. I wouldn’t blame him for worrying he’d picked up a stalker in me.
(Do you think I’m stalking you Hunter?)
It all started when I was a lonely blogger, at a loss as to how to find like-minded individuals in the great-big-blogosphere. I wandered in the void until I found wordpress’ topic search. Of course I typed ‘paranormal’ into the little box. (And chickens into another, and retro into another, and home-school into another … I have an eclectic blogroll.)
But back to Hunter.
A writer, Hunter Shea, came up when I searched paranormal, so I went to his page. Hmmm. Interesting. Oh look, he does some paranormal investigating too. Except he’s actually completed a couple. Cool, a man with experience. I subscribed. I noticed he had a Facebook button in his sidebar – and because I was just starting my own Facebook pages – I clicked that too.
In truth, I didn’t pay much extra attention to him, until a familiar-sounding snippet jumped out at me from his ‘about’ page: “I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. Luckily, I’ve managed to make a love of all things ghostly and beastly into a career.” – Hunter Shea.
If you’ve read my Dark Touchstones page, you might remember seeing this: ‘As a child, I chose to immerse myself in an In Search Of ~ Ripley’s Believe It Or Not ~ Twilight Zone kind of world. I read Nancy Drew, “true” supernatural stories, and any horror novel I could sneak into the house.” – Renae Rude.
Okay, I thought. It shouldn’t surprise me that two horror writers of an age had an interest in the same kind of things when they were kids. No biggie. But I’m going to keep a closer eye on this dude. A few weeks later, he mentioned that he listens to music by Midnight Syndicate when he’s writing. Whoa! I thought I was the only one clever enough to do that. I broke my own rule, about not posting links to my blog into the comment section of other people’s blogs, because I just had to show Dark Touchstones to this guy – we had so much in common. There I’ve made contact with another horror writer. Mission complete.
Another few days passed. Then Hunter posted that Midnight Syndicate had given him a shout-out at their webpage. (Follow that link. Note that he’s the first author on the list. Now, weeks later, it appears to be a trend.) Wow, I thought. That’s so cool. Good exposure. … if I were a bit further along this road, that could have been me. Sigh. (Didyasee that little bit of envy creeping in? Yeah. It gets worse.)
Of course he continued to promote his new book on his social media sites. Curiosity made me look into his method of publication. Samhain Publishing, huh? ‘Wonder if they are the kind of market I’ll be interested in. Clickity-click. They have Ramsey Campbell?!? Oh yeah I’m interested. I should probably read this Hunter guy’s book … someday.
A while later, on Facebook, he offered to name a character, in his next novel, after anyone who bought his e-book, or pre-ordered his paperback, on that particular day. That’s a little weird, I thought. When I was driving home today I was thinking I should buy his book next Friday. I guess I won’t wait until payday, because – hey – who doesn’t want to be a character in a novel?
(Smart Hunter. Very smart. How many books did you sell that day?)
So I ordered Forest of Shadows. I started reading it – even though I was already half-way through a couple other books – just to get a taste. I thought, This is good. Dammit. Wait! … I mean, cool, right? … This should be inspiring … if he could do it, so can I. Right? … Oh shit, I’m now officially cowed*. Why did I follow this guy in the first place?
I flipped my e-reader to – Are You There Blog, It’s Me Writer by Kristen Lamb; I needed my social media mentor to sooth me. Sure enough, lesson seventeen – with it’s clear discussion of why we build platforms – snapped me out of my useless envy. (As did my vague memory of Kristen assuring me, somewhere else in her book, that writers aren’t in competition with each other. People can, and do, buy books from lots of different authors.)
Renewed, I decided to spend the evening tackling twitter in a more organized fashion. I began by popping into each blog I read, to look for a twitter handle. I followed everyone I could find. Then I turned my attention to some hashtag groups, where I cherry-picked folks that seemed interesting. Lists were made. Tweets were sent. I followed Kristen’s advice (be nice, promote others) as best I could.
About half-way through this process, something strange started to happen. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, you might not know that when you go to someone’s profile to consider following him/her, Twitter shows you who (amongst the people you follow) already follows the person you are considering. Guess whose name showed up on most every page I visited?
Hunter Shea had already been there, done that. Damn he’s good.
I’m on the right track, I thought. Cool.
*I wasn’t sure ‘cowed’ was the exact word I wanted, so – as I am wont to do – I went to thesaurus.com. I decided to stick to my first word choice, but the list of synonyms there was awesome.