Publishing using social media is fundamentally different from what I am going to call “traditional media publishing.” In the last twelve years a number of factors have altered the dynamic of being a writer in ways that are not sufficiently clear to those of us who were writing before we had Internet connections. Writers who have grown up with blogs take the capacities of social media publishing for granted. A clear indication to me is the legitimacy of the genre of Gmail chats. In this genre, two writers will trade random associations on Google Chat with the transcription enabled. The resulting text becomes a finished thing. Writers of them pre-Google era find the idea that such an object would be presented as a finished work vaguely appalling. Clearly there is a divide between writers who came of age after the rise of Google and those of us who learned to write via longhand, with typewriters, with dictionaries bound in paper, with phone books next to our telephones. I would place this divide as happening sometime around 2001. For those of use writing before 2001, as the years went on, we added new tools to our writing practice such as a word processor, e-mail, online searches using Yahoo!, Google, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. I think most writers have continued to write essentially unaffected by is turning out to be a radical transformation in the practice of writing and publishing. The page of the book is becoming a social space; no doubt this sounds cryptic, but I am going to get to what this means. I’m going to look at the process of traditional media publishing from a high level and then very low level. And then I’m going to look at the same process in social media from a high low level to identify where these changes have occurred. And then finally I’m going to present the process and some specific tools that you may find useful in building your own social media publishing process. Publishing in social media requires a fundamental re-imagining of your practice as a writer. It is not enough to merely add some a Twitter account and post a few pics to Flickr and be done with it. Nor is this re-imagining a dangerous thing, but rather an opportunity to expand your source of inspiration, find collaborative partners, like-minded communities, meet, engage, and connect with the audience of for your work. Writing used to be a lonely business, now it is social, and the problem is less about how to meet fellow writers and readers but how to manage them and how to find that isolated time so you can get on with just writing.
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