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Who’s your audience?

I am a bit of a social media junkie.

I say a bit, as I’m not as connected/compulsive as many.  After all, I’m not on Facebook, I don’t have a Tumblr, and I’ve stopped using my Blogger site.  I only maintain three websites, two active blogs, and two Twitter streams.  I’m on a number of Nings and the like.  I am on Google+ but I honestly couldn’t tell you why.  Recently, my list has stretched to include Pinterest.

Have you seen Pinterest?  It is like a digital pin board, like the peg board of your dreams beside the tidy desk of your dreams in your spic-n-span work space of your dreams, the one that doesn’t seem to have to store documents or bulk boxes of stationery supplies or random bits of furniture that don’t fit in the house.  (Wait, that’s my work space)  It is a place where beautiful things live and get “repinned”, meaning people who see the beautiful pictures pin them onto their own boards.  They are all images that have been found on the internet and pinned onto boards you create – it’s like using scissors and a glue stick on the world wide web with Pinterest’s little widget “Pin It” that magically inserts itself into your browser bar.

I have four boards on Pinterest, because I’m still trying to figure out what it’s for and how I want to use it.  There’s one for Stuff, because I like beautiful things, too.  There’s one called Writing Spaces that are gorgeous pictures of seriously fantastic desks in the forest or cupboards that become tiny libraries.  There is one called I Could Write About This because I love photography and it seems a nice place to put shots that are filled with characters and stories.  The last one is called Work in Progress, and this is where I got into trouble.

My second novel is dealing with some pretty dark themes.  Right now, I’m writing about racial hygiene and all that is abhorrent about that from the points of view of people who do not think it’s abhorrent, because it’s only in the 20s.  The much-worse that it’s going to get hasn’t happened yet and I have to stay in the present of that time and risk any temptation to foreshadow.  So, Googling about, as you do, you find images and click Pin It and it seems a nice place to put an image I can use, especially if Scrivener isn’t open and I don’t want to just drag another jpg onto my desktop.  So, I click Pin It and this photo pops onto my board.  It might be hard to see, but it is a small girl posing before a shop window that is selling callipers used to measure heads, when Nazi phrenology sought to sort us all out by our shapes and sizes and colours.  I liked that this abhorrent tool was sitting up in a window, bold as brass.  I liked the little girl standing by it, as if she had placed herself beside a doll house and had no idea somebody had swapped it.  The picture made me think of Kristallnacht, when so many shop fronts like these, albeit without the callipers, would be smashed and paint-daubed.  But it probably didn’t belong on Pinterest, the home of beautiful images.

I don’t edit myself through social media.  I think you have to be yourself on your blog and on Twitter – unless you’re writing in character, of course, as so many writers choose to do.  I certainly wouldn’t limit my interests or fascinations out of worry I might offend a reader or follower.  Yet, I watched my fingers press the delete button over the image in Pinterest.  And I think it is because the audience there is looking at things, beautiful things, and this image is not that.  This image might make them wonder about the pinner, not understanding the context of my writing or of me.  So, I deleted the image because I’d forgotten who the audience is there and what they’re looking for.  So, I’ve decided to put those images here, on my blog, where they belong.  In case this is what you’re looking for.

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. This is very interesting. I quite fancy Pinterest but I’m still in love with my Tumblr – at the moment… I take it there wouldn’t be room on Pinterest to explain why you’re posting that image? Or maybe that’s not the point if it’s about celebrating beauty.
    There’s sometimes little point explaining yourself as the reaction of strangers can be difficult to trust and some social media participators love to be offended, just for fun – despite one’s original intentions.
    The picture does have a natural home here, given that it’s about your writing. It’s very disturbing and I can see why you are finding the work you are putting/have put into this novel so consuming.

    October 14, 2011

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