At a weekly author’s support group I’m noticing more and more authors are complaining that they have no idea what to say online anymore. Everyone is more sensitive than a baby’s bottom with diaper rash. Others feel the Internet has lost it’s mind. That the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously thin and almost anything you say can and will be held against you.
They came up with a list of do’s and don’t’s for authors online survival. They feel right now we are in a battle to save the Internet’s better angel.
The list of the 12 Author’s Etiquette are funny but they are true.
1. You can’t talk about your books all the time. (That seems the only safe subject online.)
2. Don’t say anything distracting or offensive even you’re joking. They wasn’t talking about sexist or racial jokes. Everyone could have better sense not to say those things. (Well, that can be anything. Some people get offended if you say, “Hi, how are you today?”)
3. Don’t talk about yourself too much. That turns people off.( But yet every five seconds someone is telling or showing you something you prefer not to know.)
4. Keep everything light, cheerful, and friendly. (In another word, be boring as watching paint dry.)
5. 99.9% of the times you’re going have no idea what someone is upset about. You’re expected to be Michael Nostradamus.
6. Don’t display intelligent. Again, that turns people off. (In another word, pretend to be dumb as rocks.)
7. Everything you say must have no depths. The shallower. The better. (refer to #6)
8. Because you are a writer everyone thinks their time is more valuable and more important than yours because after all, you don’t actually do anything important. Never mind if you don’t meet deadlines you don’t eat.
9. You must look at every person’s life with a fine tooth comb before you admit to admiring them for the things you know about them because heaven forbid if they did something 25 years before you were born and you haven’t checked them out with the fault-finding comb and it was bad by oversensitive’s standard then that’s a bad stain on you.
10. If your opinion differentiate from the majority. (Gasp! That’s one of the sixty zillion deadly sins of internet etiquette.) Keep it to yourself. Agree, agree agree. Always agree with the majority even if it is batcrap crazy.
11. Diversity will not be tolerated. Do not write about anything that is not the topic of the masses.
12. For women only: Do not dare present a strong, confident personality. Don’t talk about anything showing intelligence. You must always talk about issues like husbands, boyfriends, kids, depression, good or bad relationships, fashions, dieting, your eating habits, your weight, food, cooking. Don’t dare present a sense of pride outside these topics. Don’t dare act like a normal woman. You must either be a super bitch or a clingy doormat. There’s no in-between for you. (Sounds like the same things Virginia Woolf said nearly a 100 years ago. One would think we would be much further than the early 20th century by now.)
In short, became a robot.