I'm pretty new to the blogging community. In the past few months I've really enjoyed getting to know other writers and readers. I've experienced more support and encouragement here than anywhere else. However, there have been a couple instances where I was a little surprised. There have been times when blogs and Twitter explode with indignation and mud-slinging because of... what's the word, scandal? Disagreements?
Not everyone takes part of these, of course. Like me, there are people that avoid these situations like a plague. And then there have been a few posts that addressed the dispute with a polite opinion. Nothing wrong with that. I understand that even our fun community is part of the real world, full of real people, and there are going to be some debates and disagreements. But where my surprise comes in is when I see a comment or a post or a Tweet that is downright rude. I have to refrain myself from asking that person, What are you doing? When you send something out into the net, it's there forever, even if you delete it later. Bloggers aren't the only people that can see this. Agents and editors lurk this community, too, and some are part of it.
I've read that being rude won't ruin your chances of getting published or agented... but I do believe it can certainly hurt those chances. Beth definitely Googled me when we started working together. She probably wouldn't have wanted to send me the contract if she'd seen me throwing around insults or thoughtless comments on the forums. Even before I signed, I was always hyper-aware of what I was putting on this blog and on facebook and on Twitter. I'd share things about my day or my mood, sure, but I didn't make it obvious if I was experiencing some big problems. If we're serious about writing, then we need to be serious about our networking, too. It's a huge part of whatever career we're going to have, and first impressions are hard to change.