Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Midwest Office IL
Why do we talk about connecting with people virtually through the Internet in chat rooms and social media places in the same way we talk about face-to-face conversations? How much time do we spend connecting with people we know and don’t know on the Internet compared to in person encounters? A comScore (www.comscore.com) report indicated that in 2010 Americans spent an average of 32 hours each month on the Internet. Ten of those hours were devoted to e-mail, on social networks, and playing games. The rest of the time was spent surfing, purchasing, and watching videos.
If these numbers are accurate—and I hope they are—it means we spend an average of one hour a day in the virtual world. Does that sound about right to you? It’s lower than I thought, and I’m encouraged by this news. We spend a lot more time on our computers writing or at our jobs. (Although for many, processing work-related emails goes into the equation as well.)
What are the implications for authors? First, I think it explains why word-of-mouth marketing continues to be the most effective method to promote your books. Although a lot of thought and emphasis is placed on Facebook and Twitter for your book promotion, and rightly so, they still take second place.
Second, authors write to real people, about real people (or characters who seem real), who have a multitude of emotional responses to complex, real-life situations. Your experience in real life helps you to understand these dynamics and apply them to your writing.
Can you envision a time when the scale tips in the virtual direction? How might that affect your writing? Your character development and plotting?
This is a far-out thought, thankfully, but not impossible as new technologies make the virtual world ever more accessible. Let’s celebrate real life today and hope and pray that our children and grandchildren will always feel this way too.
How do you think your writing would change if the virtual world were the majority of the way we experienced life?
How do the stats on time spent “socializing” online match your experience?