We’ve all got ’em, those little things that other people do that just drive us crazy. The list used to include things like cracking knuckles, picking at your teeth, chewing too loud, those little tics people have, a word you hate (want some nice moist cake anyone?), an overused or misused word even. It was that thing that made you growl or grit your teeth. Now, with internet and social media, the list is getting longer for a lot of people.

Bad grammar, bad spelling, intolerant opinions, having opinions at all …. I’m not even going to try to list them.

Personally, repetitive mistakes or multiple mistakes in an article or post can throw me off a little. I’m less likely to respond, less likely to take the matter or argument presented as serious, but if you want to present that persona, that face, to the world, that is your choice. I feel it makes you look and sound unprofessional but as someone who worked with EAL children I recognize some of the mistakes as being a sign that the writer isn’t a native English speaker. When I do correct people it’s because I know them and know they will take the correction in good humour.

I don’t like trolls but I do not stoop to their level. And I love opinionated people. So what is my internet pet peeve of the day?

Spamming.

And I’m not even talking those cheap sunglasses or the “promoted posts” that pop up on Twitter or even the “This site will promote your book and it’s free to join” thing that people comment on book links in ad groups. I’m not talking ad groups either. If the point of the group is to share links to books then share a link to your book!

I’m talking about people who use their social media accounts exclusively as ad delivery systems. Because that’s not the point.

I read somewhere about the “rule of 3s”. Not the photography framing thing – the proportion of ads to content in your posting. The theory put forward here is that you have 3 categories of stuff you should be posting: personal and project updates, article and meme sharing/recommending other people, and self-promotion. The theory further suggests that by balancing these three types of posts you build connections with your audience and they are more receptive to your self-promotion posts when they do pop up.

This isn’t a matter of counting and doing posts in order. It’s a matter of balance. Most people understand that as a project nears release date you’re going to do more self-promotion and during periods of intense creativity you’ll be reposting articles you find elsewhere more than anything else. I tend to mostly post and share memes, articles, other people’s blogs, reviews I write about other people’s books, commentary on issues I am passionate about … that sort of thing. When I have something interesting to say about a project I share it. I hope that people enjoy the content I share enough to at least glance at my self-promotion stuff when it does come up.

But I know people who don’t follow this type of online platform building etiquette. Facebook tends to group posts that share the same link so I can see when a person shares the same link every fifteen minutes for 2 straight hours. Facebook lumps them together on my timeline. When I visit this person’s twitter profile there is nothing there but the link to their book over and over and over again. Yes, the posts are only once or twice a day, but that’s all you ever see from them.

The online world is one of disconnect. We stare at screens instead of talking to people. And as a result we go looking for connections. The celebrities we admire most are not just the ones who are talented but the ones who interact well with their fans (JK Rowling comes to mind, as does Neil Gaimen). Honestly, that’s the type of writer I want to be, successful, sure, but with a devoted fan base who asks me questions, and I plan to answer them, to talk to them and converse with them. I don’t want to make my few fans angry because I’m bombarding them with ads for the same book over and over again. They won’t buy the book because I show them the ad a hundred times. They’ll buy it because they know me, they are interested in me, they trust me (perhaps) and are willing to take a chance on my book.

I think it really boils down to making a choice. Are you going to stand on your internet corner and scream at the crowds as they walk by, ignoring you? Or are you going to sit at your table, smile at people, talk to them about the weather, the government, the community, and maybe your book too? I’ve worked fairs and flea markets, I know what works better in the long run. And I’m in this for the long haul. I’ve got time to make connections. I know the choice I’m making.

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