Robot or Guru?

This doesn’t seem like something that can be easily confused. It’s a natural assumption that a robot wouldn’t pass a Turing Test [test your human/robot knowledge here], but how many humans interact the same way – especially in an online setting? When we remove the body language and tone of voice, we lose a great deal in our abilities to communicate. Add on top of that the pressure of being professional and trying to sell a product, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who runs into questions.

I read several different sources when it comes to writing, publishing, and the great ways to get your name out there. I ran into one this week that said (paraphrased) to channel everything you post on a social network to be focused toward your product/platform. I’m struggling with this – because while I do not post whatever I had for breakfast or every stop I made on my day of errands, I have heard from more sources that it’s good to have a dose of color in the blend of blogging and social networking.

That dose of color means part of my personality. Maybe not all of it. It depends on your audience and your platform, I’m sure. What I do know is that I appreciate knowing that there’s something behind the screen that isn’t simply parroting something at random intervals, and I believe that there are a lot of people out there that share my views.

I know I can link my Twitter and Facebook and blog and LinkedIn and a bunch of other sites together so when I post to one, it posts to all of them. Sometimes, when I see fifteen posts in a row about the same thing from the same person (yes, that has happened before) I wonder if each site pulls from the other and cross-posts to the rest in loops. Or if the person forgot all the sites were linked together and posted to all of them. Or if it’s really a person at all. So, while I will link a few things, I make sure they don’t go more than one direction. I’d rather spend a little more time posting, possibly catering to different sites, than look like a robot.

My other assumption is that if I only talk about my (published) book, my writing, and my platform – I’m going to bore everyone into blocking me to stop the madness. I’ll talk about my projects, especially if I hit a milestone like finishing a rough draft or finally figuring out how to fix a plot hole. Those are things meant to be shared. But if I also mention that I have a family and a job(s) and life outside of writing, I’m guessing that might be interest to some who venture here. The blog, the social networks, and all the other stuff are extensions of my bio, which doesn’t just include my publishing credits. I am a person and I’m not afraid to share that.

Found, via Twitter, a perfect quote from someone I admire: “Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.” NEIL GAIMAN

My question is to those of you who search online for authors of books you read (regardless of genre): What are you looking for? If you run into an author online, what makes you want to grab that book and read it? What would disappoint you if you did or did not find it in the search for that author?

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2 Comments

  1. Crystalee said,

    24 August 2011 at 08:22

    Amen. We don’t like robots! Like you said, I like to know that there’s a human behind the machine, not just a machine who only cares about plugging their books.

    This is going to sound bad coming from someone who promoted her own book online, but I rarely pick up a book just because I saw someone plug it on Facebook or Twitter of do a blog tour on it. I’m much more likely to pick up a book if it’s personally recommended by someone I trust.

  2. ransomnoble said,

    24 August 2011 at 08:26

    I think that’s tough for a lot of us that promote online. I really enjoyed your book and did my best to help promote it. The promotion was fun during the blog tour to find a different way to present your book, but it’s also hard to know the impact of our work.

    Still, I’m really glad you’re not a robot, too.


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