Once upon a time, there used to be an understanding the Internet is a good place to research, but be cautious of the information you got because it was only as knowledgeable as the person who posted it. For instance, I once discovered a very nice website with history about King Henry VIII of England. The information was correct, but it wasn’t a site I would want to list as a resource since the site was built by a fifth-grade class.
In this new day of blogging, it seems that people have forgotten the basic concept of “Let the buyer beware!”. The out-n-out nut cases aren’t that hard to identify, but it is the honest blogger who often set off undeserved firestorms based on misinformation or misinterpretation of facts. And once an inaccurate fact is on the ‘Net, it is there forever. Even worse, the fact becomes like gossip…distorted, twisted until it no longer resembles the original.
So what does this have to do with writing? As authors, we are in effect, public figures. Oh, not like actors and, thank God for that or else I’d have to get a face lift. But even before we publish our first book, we should be building our public brand. And how do you want the public to see you?
As a shrill voice in the firestorm? Or the voice of reason? As a piece of fluff floating with the wind or the anchor against the tempest? Remember, every reader has a platform and you can’t stand on each one. So how you blog or respond to another’s blog puts a face on your writing.
Am I saying you can’t respond to injustice? No! The writer is one of the front line against tyranny. But remember, there are always authors who support dictators and there are writers who complain about the saints. Be the kind of author that readers know produce books that match their public face…someone they can trust to give them value for their buck.