Friday, February 24, 2012

The Power of Social Media

You might think it's odd for someone who makes a habit of writing blog posts to wonder at the power of social media. Now, blogging is not quite social media; a blog is about a good deal more than making and maintaining social connections. As blogger Ben Davis said yesterday when he visited my campus for a literary festival featuring Arkansas writers, a blog isn't about keeping a diary of what you did in your day but "sharing your intellectual capital with the world." In fact, that is exactly how I view my own blog. That said, it's undeniable that one benefit of blogging is that you do make social connections, even if those connections are purely internet ones. You can be read, potentially, by anyone anywhere in the world. And you, conversely, are able to read the blogs of anyone else anywhere in the world. It's impossible for that give and take to not render real, direct, personal, and important connections. So it's no surprise that most everyone who blogs also uses Facebook and Twitter, along with a host of other media platforms.

True confession. I've never tweeted in my life. But I'm sure I should and will learn to do so. Because a recent development with my Van Gogh novel has proven to me, if ever I doubted it before, the power of social media. As you know if you read this blog, I recently concluded a mysterious and befuddling relationship with a New York agent who had worked closely with me on preparing my manuscript for publishers. My friend and UCA colleague Robin Becker (the author of the zombie novel Brains) tweeted about my post, sharing a link to it. What do you know, within hours an agent who follows Robin's tweets read my post and contacted me, asking me to send her a query. Of course I did, and at present the manuscript is in her kind, capable hands. I can never scorn Twitter again, which was precisely Robin's reaction when I told her that the agent had contacted me. You are right, Robin. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

So thanks to Robin. And thanks to Twitter. And let's (meaning me) never doubt social media again.

Little lagniappe: Given how nice one writer was to me, I feel I should pass on the good will and suggest that you check out the new blog of my colleague Garry Craig Powell. Garry Craig will soon be publishing a fascinating collection of short stories, called Stoning the Devil with Skylight Press, a British outfit. The book details the lives of both natives and expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates in the early 00s. On Garry Craig's blog,, he provides background about the settings for the stories, including pictures he took during his years living in the middle east. Cool stuff. Check it out.

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