Tuesday, December 29, 2009

For the Love of Pete...and Vortex Readers

Over the holidays, I read an article about the hidden traps of online communities. You didn't know there was a boogey-man lurking behind that phone booth, did you? Or, so I've been told, there is a strong possibility of contracting MacGyveritis around here if you are already of the female persuasion. Always, you could be Rickrolled. Okay, time to be serious.

Those who received RWA's Romance Writer's Report know the article. Most of the cautionary tales involved things we writers know intuitively: watch what you say, don't join a community/blog just to promote your books, beware the time-suck. But something the author, Corrina Lavitt, touched on was a more insidious problem: a community can become so comfortable, so familiar, that it forgets about its silent lurkers.

I'm the first one to stand up and say I'm guilty of alluding to jokes or commenters without giving proper linkage to catch my newer, silent visitors up. For that, I shall Rickroll myself. I do think it's easy for blog owners to become comfortable in the familiar and forget to nurture that which is growing. I see you, lurker Vortex reader, and I get that sometimes there's nothing to be said besides, "For the love of Pete, what is she talking about?" (and who, exactly, is Pete? Pete Thornton?). I appreciate all of you, silent or otherwise. My true "itis" is cliques. Hate them. Everyone is welcome here at the wacky table.

Speaking of wacky, I'm co-coordinating a writing contest for the next month and I'd be remiss if I didn't pass along it's shiny awesomeness. Aside from the fact that wonderful things happened to me the year The Night Caller placed first, the Great Expectations contest is often mentioned alongside the Daphne and the Molly in romance writing circles for consistent, high-quality critiques. The deadline is tomorrow, so what are you still reading this blog for? Go forth and enter!
Are there any hidden traps you've noticed in online communities?


Charles Gramlich said...

Mostly the time traps for me. I just can spend so much time in them.

Stewart Sternberg said...

In a few years, if I am still alive, I desperately want to try writing a romantic thriller, and use a pen name. Something like Estrella LaCroix.

Rick said...

Lurkers? That sounds kind of grim. But darn you, I clicked the link to see what being Rickrolled was all about (since my nickname is Rick), and now I won't be able to sleep with that song going through my head! I'm blaming you if I'm late for work in the morning.

Pamela Cayne said...

I'm still working on the filter between my brain and either my mouth or my typing. Sometimes it's not there and that's when I get in trouble.

Glad to hear Rick was infected with the Rickroll. Trust me, Rick--we've all been there.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@Charles...I've heard some use timers near their computer. Might work.

@Stewart...that pen name sounds like a mystery writer from the I like the last name though. You should do it. I'm sure it would have a goth twist to it.

@Rick...I feel SO honored I was your first Rickroll. It's true what they say--you never forget your first.

@Pamela...your filter is beautiful. I can't imagine you offending anyone :)

the walking man said...

*shrug* As previously noted I have tons of time to play about in communities. I just wish I could read faster so I could lurk in more of them.

Miladysa said...

Happy New Year! x