The Online Persona for the Artist or, Online Forums are Minefields

First of all, I am not immune. I get myself into trouble ALL THE TIME.

We all use online public forums in one way or another to get our views, news, and opinions across to complete strangers. Most of the time, for the average Internet user, having such public profiles is for fun and a way to mingle – a digital and never-ending cocktail party.

Many of you, no doubt, enjoy an office party at your dayjob. You work with these people every day, and therefore it is always prudent to make sure not to ruffle the feathers of those around you – it could lead to … unpleasantness.

Many people feel that the Internet grants them some measure of anonymity, and some of these individuals love to spew confrontational, shocking, and often facetious comments. They feel immune to repercussions or consequences that their comments can create.

Such behavior can be DANGEROUS for the writer or artist who is desperately trying to establish a platform. However, a popular online profile can endear audiences as well.

I have many established and bestselling authors, for example, in my Facebook “Friendship Pile.” I find their posts frequently trite and pointedly inoffensive. Boring. If they are not pushing their wares, they are usually posting something mediocre and crowd-pleasing.

This safe practice is used on Twitter, but, Twitter is greatly influenced for sales bites and promotions. I no longer, myself, use Twitter for that reason. Everyone there appears to be using it to shout out their book, self-published or not.

Yet, an artist should also attempt to show character in themselves. To show they are human. This helps garner care from strangers who wish to connect with people and not a Spambot. Yet, it is easy to offend and cause alienation.

So, how should one cultivate a popular online persona? It isn’t an easy jungle to navigate, and there will be those who will not be pleased with anything one says or does. Consider:

1. Be honest. Show your personality, your views as they are; do not try to use a facade to slip into a mainstream. People in general can not be easily deceived and will know a snowjob.

2. Attempt good-natured humor with your posts. Beware of angry tirades all the time, especially when you do little to soften your personality. Yet, be careful of sarcasm. I often, myself, get into trouble because my humor can be very dark and not easily understood.

3. Do not TROLL. That is, do not be a mean-spirited online jerk who attacks everyone for whatever reason – especially just to be a troll. If you disagree with people, attempt to be honest WHY you don’t agree, and also, attempt to soften the edge with humor.

4. Show genuine interest in other people in your pile. I CANNOT tell you how many established authors live in an ivory tower online and do not interface with their fans or friends. These people typically are so self-absorbed, all you get out of them is a sales pitch. I usually hide them or unfriend them after awhile.

5. Post interesting things. If your comments and posts are typically regurgitation of some smarmy meme going around, people will get bored with you pretty fast. Always add a little comment with them to show your view.


About mciddangelo

"I write because I believe in literature; I believe that the art of words is louder than sound, more colorful than paintings. My novels are written not because of the pursuit of money or even success, but in the FAITH that they exalt our experiences; that not only do they give us enjoyment to read them, but they are meant to open worlds that a reader may not ever imagine." M Cid D'Angelo is published in Aiofe's Kiss, Calliope, Eureka Literary Magazine, Third Wednesday, Midway Journal, and many others. He is the author of Dead Reckoning (J Ellington Ashton Press, 2015), available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.
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