Coming up for air to announce I am in the last stretch of my bachelor’s degree. One of my final classes is, fittingly, Computer Mediated Communications. Fitting because this is how I am able to stay in touch with you, my reader.
Computer mediated communication is the process of conveying an otherwise verbal idea using technology. Because I do most of my own marketing, I rely on email, social media, my website and the occasional YouTube video to communicate using computer mediation. As a public figure, it is important to use the veil of technology to separate my personal and home life from readers and fans who do not know me on a personal level. The content I provide is carefully measured and strategically planned to be engaging with my audience while conserving the privacy of my family. Giving samples of my content as a mother, and author and super woman, allows my fans to feel connected to the process of my writing and see firsthand where my inspiration comes from. This builds buy-in from the reader and encourages them to continue contact with me.
Marketing is the study and exchange of relationships. With a marketing platform, consumers discover the product, sample the content risk free, and then choose to continue engagement with that product by purchasing, using, reviewing, and continuing loyalty. Readers are able to discover me and my books in a number of ways. Sale sites like Amazon advertise my books with similar titles. My social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all maintain the same easily identifiable headshot and matching profiles highlighting my work as a science fiction author. Within these platforms, I interact with people in a way that is consistent with my branding.
My biggest concern with having such an open presence through technology is my privacy and the risk to my children. As hard as I try to be cryptic, I know we are all at risk of the unimaginable happening. I am careful not to disclose our current location when posting photos of an outing or our neighborhood where someone could find their school. This is scary and I have posted my apprehensions before on my blog with a promise to wipe my children’s faces off the internet. Then I see famed mom and influencer, Rachel Hollis, posting photos of her sweet babies and reconsider. If she feels safe sharing her family, maybe I can too.
In the future, I can see how technology can continue to encourage storytelling, reading, and literacy. The literary industry has done well to adapt to the changing times and I believe they will continue to do so, keeping authors like myself well engaged.
Has technology changed my face to face communication? I surely hope so. Maya Angelou said, “ I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” While Oprah paraphrased this quote many times in different ways, I hold this mentality when learning. I have broken through some flawed thought patterns I would have never known were hurtful or wrong without the accessibility to technology and communication with people who are not like me. I have become more compassionate and understanding of other people which plays out, not only online, but in how I interact with people in my day to day life.
This is not my typical type of blog post, but I appreciate your patience while I lend an objective eye to my use of technology and communication.
Holmes, D. (2009). Computer-mediated communication. In S. W. Littlejohn & K. A. Foss (Eds.), Encyclopedia of communication theory (Vol. 1, pp. 162-164). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412959384.n64
Winfrey, O. (2011, October 19). The Powerful Lesson Maya Angelou Taught Oprah [Video file]. Retrieved from Oprah website: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/the-powerful-lesson-maya-angelou-taught-oprah-video