What does it mean to have an effective writer e-presence? This is one thing I’m constantly thinking on, and then this weekend, Lisa Hsia, one of the participants of Anthem Salgado‘s “Art of Hustle” wrote this in her PAWA blog post: “How can I consolidate my scattershot online presence into something coherent that has a following?” I was really glad to read this, and of course, her entire post. She also wrote, “it’s only recently hit me that if I don’t pare away the inessentials and focus on the core of what I’m doing, I risk mediocrity at everything.” And this is great, and totally worth another separate blog post. Sounds like Anthem’s workshop is a necessary eye opener.
So back to online presences for now. I’d heard or been told that however many e-presences you have, all should direct back to your core website. I get this, and then I wonder, if I am Google-able, and my name is my domain, then how many other peripheral sites do I really need? Moreover, I am still at a loss for how so many sites can/will enable me to participate effectively in so many various communities, versus falling into another timesuck.
I’d heard that it’s important to generate content, and I believe I do this here, discuss things that are important or interesting to me. I make sure to link to various people and places in my blog posts, and I respond to readers’ comments. I try my best to comment on other folks’ blogs. I try my best to comment in ways that contribute to the dialogue at hand.
This blog RSS feeds into my She Writes, Bindlestiff Ning, KSW Ning, Pinay.com and Goodreads pages. I still do not think of this RSS feeding as participating in those communities. My stat counter tells me no one clicks over here from those various sites except Goodreads; people do click over from there, and from their own various feed readers. I don’t have the energy to generate content unique to each of those sites. Red Room can’t RSS feed this blog there, so that’d be double work if I really wanted to post there. I Tweet, and that feels smaller than a fraction of a raindrop in the ocean.
Anyway, a compilation of all of my e-presences is at my Google profile page. I share interesting items from my Google Reader; my Tweets, my shared Google Reader items, and all the PAWA blog posts are compiled on my Google profile page as well. I am only really active on one listserv, the PAWA listserv, and both of these PAWA venues are meant for me to forward to everyone news about everyone. I also am not so much a fan of listserv because the forum is not open to everyone, I am not a fan of the non-open forum, and we do not have control over where these non-open communications end up.
All this to say Lisa asks very good questions, which I think many of us could afford to be asking ourselves. I am glad to read her blog post on her Satsumabug’s Art blog, outlining what she will be doing next. I am especially glad to see her open the forum to include promoting others’ voices. Kudos to her for recognizing the importance of generosity! For me, an extension of Lisa’s questions would be: As artists, what do we want from online communities? What are we contributing to our online communities? What do we really need from online communities, and are our needs being met?