10 Things I’ve Learned as an Online Publisher
- Trolls exist everywhere (not just under dark bridges).
- Millennials are driven and inspiring.
- You can OD on coffee. Green tea has magical powers.
- Online reading will never replace the smell and feel of a real book.
- Inspiration only comes in the middle of the night.
- I have OCD. I can’t live without punctuation.
- I’m a nerd. And always have been!
- Being online disrupts one’s ability to feed and relieve oneself.
- We can all learn from each other (even the trolls).
- Writing isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am.
Losing my virginity to online publishing has changed me in unexpected ways.
Today I awaken from my short relationship with PUB101. A little longer than a one night stand, but short enough to leave me yearning for more. And yet, somehow I know everything will be alright, because there’s so much more to come. This term has stripped me of all unnecessary layers, exposing my vulnerability and opening my eyes to the things that really matter in my life.
They say that once you lose your virginity you can never go back. And who would want to. Sure some innocence is lost, but I would argue some wisdom is also gained. Nothing has ever been gained from moving backwards, except perhaps for reflection; a method of moving forward in a more positive way for personal growth.
Online Publishing – Developing a Vision and Voice
As I reflect on this term and my experience with online publishing, I take my place among other coffee goers. Seated comfortably, latte in hand, with others who’ve found some time in their busy day to leave the confines of the office or classroom, construction site, household of children and dirty diapers, or wherever else their job takes them. Becoming a student again and following my dream of becoming a writer and publisher has been both terrifying and empowering. This term PUB101 has given me a vision and a voice to share online. The ability to talk more openly to strangers educating, inspiring, empowering others to make positive changes in their lives and the lives of others.
Finding my voice online has allowed me the freedom and outlet for self-expression that I could never have imagined. I’ve struggled throughout my life to find this outlet. Public speaking was always too terrifying. In my early twenties art school provided some creative expression, but only until I discovered teaching. This was quickly replaced by motherhood. This restlessness can only be described as a constant biological need to keep moving forward, creatively and intellectually expressing myself in any way I could.
Becoming Comfortable with an Audience
Before my blog nicolejameskestila, everything I’d ever written had been either hidden discreetly in diaries and journals or torn apart before others could read it. When I began my blog in January I struggled with the permanency of it. At first I wrote in a separate journal, transferring assignments and articles only after they had been edited and re-edited. As I became more comfortable with my writing I began sharing more of my personal thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, expanding my audience to include more than just my classmates and devoted mother!
Honesty and Authenticity
One of the most important goals for me in online publishing was to develop a blog that was as honest and authentic as I could make it. With false news, the exploding phenomenon of self promotion and branding (van Dijck, 2013), and clever corporate marketing techniques consuming social media, I wanted to educate, inspire, and empower readers using the publication of my “true” self in everyday life.
According to Erving Goffman (1959) self-presentation is nothing more than a performance we put on in our daily lives; public and private masks we deliberately wear in different social settings to shape our identity and achieve particular social goals (van Dijck, 2013). This may be true of certain groups or individuals, especially concerning status or elitist ideals, but it certainly can’t be said for everyone. I’ve met plenty of people I admire and respect for being true to their selves in both everyday life and on social media. It believe it depends on the individual. With that being said, authenticity may be more difficult for minorities who continue to struggle for equality in a world still contaminated with racism.
For me, choosing my name as the title of my blog and refusing to remain anonymous in my publishing was intentional. Not for the purpose of promoting or branding myself, but more for transparency and authenticity. I continue to support the idea that social media can be used for self-expressive, creative, educational, inspiring, and empowering means; especially concerning social change in a world so desperately in need of it. Will I eventually use marketing tools like “Adsense” to support or develop my blog as a business? It’s hard to say.
As a professional and mother of three, privacy in my personal life still has a lot of value. According to one study, what you publish online can be open to judgement by future employers. As someone trying to make an important career change to support my family, this will always be something I need to keep in mind.
"A 2011 Reppler survey among 300 hiring professionals showed that 91% of employers somehow screened prospective employees through social network sites - almost 70% of these recruiters...admitted they had rejected candidates on the basis of what they saw." (van Dijck, 2013 p.212)
I also need to keep in mind that while expressing myself and communicating authentically with others is important to me, the safety and privacy of my family’s life will always take priority.
Losing my virginity to online publishing has been a turning point in my growth and development as a writer. I would encourage anyone searching for a way to express them self or considering a change in their life, to give online publishing a “role in the hay” (for lack of better words)! Jesse Thorn’s article, “Make Your Thing” is an inspiring article driven by just this kind of empowering climax.
Thorn, Jesse. (2012). “Make Your Thing.” http://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/
van Dijck, José. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn.” Media, Culture, & Society 35(2). http://www4.uwm.edu/c21/pdfs/events/vanDijck_oneidentity.pdf
Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books.
“Crysalis” by Loui Jover