Many people live their lives online. Social media users enjoy sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Many people, not only freelance writers, turn to blogging to document their lives or personal interests. Many online writers maintain a number of blogs, including personal, professional, and guest blogging.
I no longer use Facebook. I grew increasingly tired of looking at pictures of peoples dinner, pets, children, selfies, new sofa etc. People would update their status every five minutes. ‘I’m getting a bath’, ‘I’m out of the bath’, ‘Am all dry now’…. I don’t care! The sad truth is that many people live a life online and their lives are literally on display for all others to see, most often the tedious aspects of their lives that surely nobody else really cares for. People often use Facebook (and other social media) to complain about others, to bully or to antagonise others. Its a danger prevalent to all, and not, as the media suggests, a teenage problem.
As a freelance writer, be careful how you use social media. If you want to make a name for yourself you need to be respected. Other people, including future employers and publishers may consider your online presence when hiring you. To be able to social network is fantastic but not if you behave badly or recklessly on it. Never comment on your employers or colleagues. Do not criticise others with disregard to their feelings. Never rely on gossip to write a status or comment on somebody else. Rather use social media in positive ways particularly if you want to be taken seriously. Share links to your work. Network with other writers. Gain a fan base. Make social media work for you.
Blogging, particularly personal blogs have another danger. The opportunity to share your life on such a platform is a hazardous one. Blogs are generally open to the whole world to see and there are issues within your life that need a level of discretion, including your employment, marriage, relationships and family. Some writers blog about their children. This isn’t a bad thing but be careful not to shame your child in the words you use about them. Bullying is already a major issue for many young people and you do not want to instigate it by a blog post about your child’s personal life and habits. Share your milestones. Encourage family and friends to read your blog. Be aware however that many other people may have access to it as well.
As we live more of our lives online, the less people see of us offline. You may have 1000 friends on Facebook but how many of them do you actually know well. Connect with the people you know and trust, not only on your computer but in real life as well. Don’t be a stranger to conversation and friendship. Not only will you become more sociable but you may also find inspiration in your writing from the lives of other people.
Blogging is an excellent way for the freelance writer to have an online presence without the need for an editor or publisher. Social media is a brilliant way to connect with people who share similar interests to the writer. They are both platforms that have a lot to offer. However, think before you write. In the same way you communicate yourself to people offline consider the same online. What do you want people to think of you?