So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a microblogging and lifestreaming fan. Like many of us who live our lives online, I want to be able to connect all the various social networking, semantic web, and bookmarking services I use. One of my goals as a modern netizen (I have never liked that term, we need something else) is transparency, and if you are serious about making money on your blog, making money writing online, and being a part of this new stage in human evolution, then it should be your goal too.
The general trend in the web is towards what is sometimes being called “Web 3.0” or the “semantic web” is towards a distributed form of identity that has touchpoints all over the web that allows individuals and groups to share information, make social and business connections, and promote themselves. The primary thing to understand about the new web, and hence the new media for us writer types, is that it is bottom up and it is personal…people care about what other people care about.
Back in the early days of personal computing, a new genre of science-fiction came out: cyberpunk. It envisioned a dystopian world of transnational mega-corporations who essentially ruled the world and a class of information pirates and activists who were trying to claim the new technologies for themselves. They did all of this through cyberspace, a distributed system of computerized exchanges where information was the only currency. Sound familiar?
In these stories, people “jack in” to cyberspace and interact with a virtual reality. They take on an avatar, a virtual manifestation of themselves, that would interact with cyberspace and others in it. This is web presence. You exist in the net in different way than you do in the physical world. Here you are a series of touchpoints, points of web presence, and that is where social bookmarking sites, blogs and other forms of the semantic web come into play. They are touchpoints of web presence.
The first form of web presence, profiles, are now well-known. Sites like Facebook and MySpace allow for nodes of web presence in the net, places where your different touchpoints come together to make a picture of a person. People get led to these nodes by places like social bookmarking sites, forum postings, blogs, microblogs, and lifestreams.
Lifestreaming is the process of aggregating all of your points of web presence into a single web presence. This stream is, in a sense, you. The more accurate this stream is, the more “transparent” it is, and the more points of web presence you have, the “denser” it is.
Microblogging services such as Twitter and Plurk allow for a different form of presence than normal blogs. They allow for a connected and distributed form of personal exchange which is incredibly dense. A serious microblogger can tweet or plurk their whole day.
Web Presence and the New Media
Writers who exist and work primarily online are said to be in the “new media”. That means me, and if you are reading this site, that probably means you, too. We exist in a different way from writers in the past. Gone are the days of huddling over a typewriter penning the Great American Novel in isolation…now we are connected and working together in a way never possible before. This is an incredible opportunity for writers, because like no other field of work, we traffic in information. By having a properly dense web presence, we are constantly advertising our skills, creativity, and interests to other who might want to hire our services. To be completely mercenary (hey, even great writers need to eat) about it: for writers, web presence is ongoing advertising to everyone and anyone who might care about what you have to say.
The simple fact is that most of the world is on the internet now, the internet is mostly text, and most people can’t write. That means that writers are in high demand. People keep telling me there is a recession on, while I am swimming in work and offers for more work. I get that work not just because I am a writer, but because I am writer with a web presence.
For the Artiste
A properly dense and transparent web presence will not only allow for profit, but will allow for connections with other writers and people who can collaborate with you. If you are dead set on writing the “Great Internet Novel”, having a dense and transparent web presence will allow you to connect with the people who want to do the same. Writer’s communities like Sunoasis are springing up all over the place and are based on the same social networking principles as the rest of the semantic web.
If you want to write online and succeed in the new media, then it is necessary to understand and utilize the concept of web presence. If you want the work, build up your presence and make it both dense and transparent. If you build it, they will come.
Next post will contain a review of two new next-generation web presence applications, Profilactic and Ping.fm, as well as an Adobe Air Application called SocialAddict that brings it all together in a convenient IM like interface. Shoot me a message if you would like a Ping.fm beta key.