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On facebook, narcissism and the nature of modern culture…

March 5th, 2011 by Peter

I was reading a post from Nathan Bransford the other day and in it he gave reasons, all of them sensible, why authors should have facebook pages. I’ve considered this question before and always resisted creating one on the grounds that it feels like asking people to become fans or some such thing, a notion that I am in no small way uncomfortable with.

I think this comes from my notions on the nature of modern culture and the narcissistic elements involved in it; I understand that if my work sells, if so much as a single person lists me as a writer they like or my books in their books they like, then I should have facebook pages. If I don’t facebook will create them for me and I will have no control over them. I would be thrilled if someone did feel that way about my work, it’s just the fact that making a facebook page seems to be like trying to create your own fan site. Then you’re expected to invite people to like you; woah, no, please, anything but that.

The idea of asking someone to like me on facebook is almost as alien to me as that of asking someone to read my books. I just don’t. If they do then I am pleased, but they should do so because they want to and not because they’ve been asked and feel obliged to. I want people to read my writing, but only because they want to. Unfortunately this notion seems very at odds with a society in which you have to push your work at people to be seen at all.

My solution? I have created a facebook page for myself and a facebook page for The Volga Ruby, I will continue to create them as and when I publish new books. I’m not using facebook to invite anyone or asking anyone to like me because, frankly, I’d feel awfully needy and more than a little undignified.

This raises the philosophical question: if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? If I don’t invite anyone then my page with have a pitiful zero likes, so I have decided to settle on the compromise of writing this post. In it I explain that these pages exist, but I make no effort to cajole you into liking them; if you read this post and don’t like them I will never know. If you do like my writing then I’d be very grateful if you did but it really is entirely up to you, the good reader.

With best regards, and inherent awkwardness,

Peter.

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