Social Animals

June 10, 2014

Guest Post by Lea (Reproduced from Queensland Writers Centre WQ Magazine, March 2014)

Social Animals

   The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote, ‘Man is by

nature a social animal’. Almost 25 centuries after those words

were written they still hold true. We are compelled to group

together in this thing we call ‘society’. The growth of today’s

social media society is nothing new. It is merely a modern

extension of this basic human need.

   As an emerging writer during the infancy of social media,

I had the choice to embrace this phenomenon or hide from it.

I’m glad of my choice to join in because the romantic notion

of the ‘non-social’ solitary author is lost on today’s readers. If

you think you can avoid social media, let’s look at some stats.

Facebook has approximately 1.23 billion users worldwide. More

video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the amount of

video that NBC, ABC and CBS combined have produced in 60

years. Vine, Flickr and Instagram took top spots in the bestselling

mobile apps for 2013, demonstrating the importance

we place on sharing personal information. Social media is a

phenomenon that is here to stay and with it has come a much

more demanding fan base. In a world where everything is

accessible at the tips of our fingers, readers want their authors to

be accessible too.

   Being an author in today’s society is about more than merely

writing a book. Editors and agents are attracted to authors who

have this thing called ‘platform’. Publishers will even demand

you have one. So what is all the hype about? You owe it to

yourself and your readers to find out so you can reach out and

give them not only what they want but what they need. Society

not only fulfils people’s basic needs, it also satisfies their desires

and aspirations, so grouping and partnering with like-minded

writers can also be a godsend in developing your skills and

achieving your dreams.

   So what do you do when all your dreams come true? You pay

it forward. Volunteering at festivals, schools and libraries, and

appearing on panels at writing events are not only wonderful

ways to share your learning and experiences with fellow writers,

but also ways to build your author platform.

   So step up on your platform and take a bow – it’s your new

stage.

 

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Lea Scott