Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Professional

Professional behavior is important even online and it's something we shouldn't forget. While it's easy to get carried away online, to think that what we write won't matter in the future, that is not the case.

Professional behavior has many facets. It's more than just posting personal attacks on Internet forums or lewd pictures on facebook. And it affects every social media site. Any page that can be found through a search could potentially be used against a person if they let too much get out of control online. Yet in the moment people seem to forget this fact.

Now, this doesn't mean you can't be yourself. You don't have to be rigid and bland in order to avoid an "unprofessional" presence online. It's more of a matter of being conscience of what you post will say about you to others and whether you want that image attached to you in the future.

It's okay to talk about your personal life to a degree. Talk about the pets. Because guess what: agents and editors often have pets too. When I was at my first conference, one of the main things a lot of the writers there (including the big name fantasy ones) talked about their cats.

So go ahead. Talk about little miss kitty. But maybe lay off on the bowel movements unless you're bringing up jokes about Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.

What I see the most and why I'm doing this post is the complaining. I've seen people complain in forums or blogs or on twitter about the industry. These vary from "oh the publisher/agent takes too long to respond" all the way to "these word count limits suck, why can't I write whatever length I want" types. Which we all understand, however, when you then go and submit, that message might pop up and it doesn't look good.

It also goes hand in hand with building your band. So every fight over a book review, every post about how bad others in the community are and every questionable picture may have an impact on the brand you are creating for yourself. But how professional you look is up to you.

What is professional behavior to you?
Do you watch the impression you leave online?


Damyanti said...

Absolutely agree with this post.

Can't stand folks who don't take pride enough in their profession to present what they write in a professional way, which as a writer, to me means well-formatted, free of errors, objective writing.

Megan said...

I try to be very careful with my professionalism online. These days anyone can look you up, you don't want to make a bad impression!

Robin said...

Here's the thing about complaining: I have found that people don't much like to listen to it in real life. Why would they want to read about it in your blog or on any other social media? People generally tend to avoid negative talk, especially if it is persistent.

Susan Kane said...

I believe professional behavior means that you behave as if you are being watched all the time, and adjust accordingly.

Kate OMara said...

Actions always speak louder than words. For writers, are you writing?

Dawn Embers said...

Damyanti - Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it's odd to see those who want to be professional writers but don't take their online presence seriously.

Megan - It is good you are aware of things online.

Robin - That is another good point. All the complaining. People don't like listening to it and yet so many do it often. My dad complains about work all the time but he just likes to complain about it because he does like his job too.

Susan Kane - Interesting observation on professional behavior. I think some forget others see what they do online because it's a somewhat anonymous approach (more so than in person).

Kate Omara - Actions do speak loud but online words can get pretty loud too. Good question. I need to get writing.