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Being social

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read

You’re a writer, right? And you’ve got your own blog about writing? Of course you do. Everybody is and everybody does. So you need a profile. You need to spread the word about your work. You need to do social media. Or something.
You’ve had a Twitter profile since 2006. You were an early adopter before being an early adopter was even a thing. Twitter was fine back then. You talked to Mike for a couple of days. Mike talked back. Online and off. You worked with Mike. If you reached out, the both of you, you could touch fingers. If you leant a little, you could high-five.

You stopped using Twitter, but now it’s nearly 2009 and time to try again. There are more people on there and it makes more sense. It seems more interesting. More useful.

The best thing about being on Twitter in 2009 is that you have something to talk about. You have somewhere to point people towards. A creative hub. A home for your thoughts. A website on the internet. You can talk to people who are not Mike. Such possibilities.

First you need to get your profile in order. No more messing around. You’ve read blog posts about this sort of thing. There are rules and regulations. You can dominate, if you want to. If you really, really want to. Domination, you’re told, is desirable.

You should start with the bio. The trick is to write a bio that makes you sound awesome. Not totally awesome, exactly. Not too awesome. Too awesome might put people off. You need to sound somewhere between really very awesome indeed and actually quite a nice person really. And you have to include a link to your website. That’s very important.

The picture. A good picture is essential. First you need to appear normal. Normal is an excellent place to start. Many people are perfectly happy with normal. If you can somehow look writerly too, that would be perfect. You could hold a pencil, perhaps. That oversized pencil you’ve seen in the office. That’ll do. That’s ideal.

And so you are ready. Ready to be social.

Time passes.

It is 2011 and you have been extremely social. You have followers. Many followers. Your website has subscribers, not followers. Not too many, but more than you could have hoped for. Things have gone well. Really, very well.

So you must update your profile. You absolutely have to. It needs to sound better. It needs to look better. You need to start taking these things seriously. Far more seriously than you did before. Because now you have an audience. People follow you.

The bio needs some work. You need to tell people how brilliant you’ve become. But you can’t sound too brilliant. And it can’t be too personal. Just give them the facts. This is who you are and this is what you do. This is why you’re brilliant and this is where they can find you.

Your picture. Normal is not something to aspire to. Not any more. And no holiday snaps or silly props, which means the oversized pencil has to go. Your new picture must look professional. You need to seem intelligent. Handsome, if possible. Handsome on a plain background. And smiling. Smiling is vital.

Because this is the new reality. Image is important on the internet. What you look and sound like makes a difference. It has impact. A name, a bio and a picture. That’s all people have to go on. You have to get it right. Exactly right. One chance only. Domination.

So what you should do is this.

To avoid embarrassment, wait until no one is around. Make sure that the house is empty then find your favourite pullover. The black one with the old-fashioned collar. Put that on and tend to your haircut. Assemble it as best you can. Take off your glasses. Put them back on. Handsome. Intelligent. Find a balance. Make a decision.

Take the picture from the wall to create your background. Use the expensive camera that you have never learned to operate correctly. Leave it on auto-shoot. Stand in an appropriate position and hold the camera back to front at arm’s length. Begin to point and click. Look into the lens. Look into the middle distance. Smile an imaginary smile.

When happy or satisfied, upload the images to your computer. Deliberate. Pick a favourite. Crop and crop again. Make black and white. Renew your profile.

Next year, in 2012, you must do all this again. You must also worry less.

Iain Broome Twitter

I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.