Self-Promotion: Notes from Convolution 2013

photoIf one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get your ideas and products out into the world, then you might find my notes from the self-promotion panel at Convolution to be helpful.  Here’s my notes!

Self Promotion for Everyone: Ric Bretschiener, Surya O’Shea, Chad Peterman, moderated by M. Todd Gallowglass

One of the panels I attended at Convolution was “Self Promotion”.  The panelists were Ric Bretchneider (a software designer), Surya O’Shea (a visual artist), and Chad Peterman (radio production assistant).  The panel was moderated by the author M. Todd Gallowglass (author).  So – lot’s of perspectives, and lots of points!  My notes seem to fall into two categories:  stuff on social media, and stuff on the importance of generosity.  Here’s some highlights:

Social Media

A lot of the conversation involved how to use social media effectively.  All the speakers emphasized the need to be honest, and be yourself.  They also pointed out that “there is no privacy on the Internet”.  Many harrowing tales were told about people who either intentionally or accidentally vented their ire at someone online and lost credibility and customers because of it.

So how can you be yourself if you shouldn’t be negative when you’re upset?  First of all, the panelists weren’t saying that you should never be negative.  Rather, they were saying that you should be judicious.  Don’t be a whiner, and don’t vent about someone without thinking it through.  That’s different from calling attention to a problem that you truly think should be public – and anything you say online can become public.   When it comes to venting irritation, M. Todd Gallowglass pointed to Wil Wheaton’s technique.  Whenever Wil Wheaton is annoyed or upset, he posts something about unicorns and rainbows.  His followers know that’s code for him having a sucky time, but it’s not specific.

M. Todd Gallowglass also said that it’s important to use Twitter and Facebook to tell your story and to invite dialogue.  “Be a person, not a linkbot”.  He also reminded the audience that “The ‘share’  button (not ‘like’, but ‘share’) is the most important button in social media.

On Being Generous

Much was said about being generous – with advice (when you are asked for it), with resources, and with pointing people elsewhere if they need something from you and you know that someone else can do a better job of filling that need.  M. Todd Gallowglass talked about science fiction and fantasy as being a very open, supportive community, and pointed out that not every genre of writing is typified y this kind of openness.  He encouraged writers to help each other, because “People who see everyone else as competition don’t grow”.

M. Todd Gallowglass also talked about the Law of reciprocity.  This law states that people respond to kind or positive actions with kindness and positivity.  Not everyone is like that – M. Todd Gallowglass pointed out that some people will take advantage of the Law.  But, he said, “in general, if you do cool things for people, you get a reputation of doing cool things for people – which makes you cool.”

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