Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Representation and Misrepresentation

Theoretically, I can say whatever I like, and some of you probably think that’s exactly what I do.

I open a document every day and I spew out whatever happens to be in my head, whatever happens to be getting my goat, twisting my gut, pissing me off or occupying my mind.

I have no career to speak of, not yet any way, so my blog is unlikely, at this stage, to have any effect on sales of my work.

That’s true, I suppose, to some extent, but I’m always conscious that I don’t want to misrepresent myself. I’m always conscious that my views and opinions aren’t always consistent, and I’m always conscious that I don’t just represent myself.

Take Monday’s blog, for example.

On Monday, I more-or-less doubled traffic to my blog, and there’s a very good reason for that. On Monday, I wrote about Doctor Who.

I wrote about Doctor Who, because the new Doctor was announced, so it’s topical, although, personally, I wouldn’t actually call it news. I wrote about it because I have an opinion, and I wrote about it because my opinion might prove controversial, so there was, potentially, some fun to be had with that.

It could be that traffic to my blog doubled because Doctor Who is a popular subject, but it could also be that the audience thinks I’ve got some sort of inside track on the subject, which I absolutely haven’t.

This is where it could get dangerous, because while my thoughts are my own in this blog, and while I don’t represent any but my own ideas or opinions, there is a danger that some readers associate me with the husband, add two and two, and come up with an answer other than four.

Funnily enough, though, it isn’t the blog that worries me the most when it comes to these sorts of problems. I can say what I want in them, and I do, for the most part, and that means that so long as the text is transparent, there needn’t be any confusion, there needn’t be any problems about who thinks what, and no one need ever confuse my opinion for the husband’s. After all, you can always go and read his blog.

My biggest worry is being asked to retweet stuff on @VincentAbnett on Twitter.

The husband and I share this Twitter account, which we mostly use to let people know what’s going on in his professional life. I’m included in the account, because he’s a busy man, so I post a lot of his publicity tweets. It all works pretty well, for the most part and we’ve built up quite a decent following.

A consequence of being visible on Twitter is that we’re often asked to retweet stuff. People use Twitter accounts with decent follower numbers to disseminate and get publicity for their own pet causes. I get it, and it’s fine, but if we retweet, we’re putting our names, or, more importantly, I’m putting the husband’s name to someone else’s cause, and that might be an issue. 

A lot of the causes that pop up are political, and many of them are taken very personally by the person tweeting. This can lead to the original tweeter being extremely emphatic, exaggerating claims or being borderline irrational in his or her statements about that cause. It can lead to an emotional rather than a measured response to a political situation or a moral question.

I understand all that emoting, I do it too, regularly, over here, but always and only on my behalf, and it’s my emoting, it’s not me adopting and forwarding someone else’s thoughts and words. I also don’t go around asking anyone to endorse my viewpoint, and I don’t ask anyone to retweet my blogplugs or publicise my blog, although lots of lovely people do those things, and I appreciate it.

My Twitter Avatar designed by the dort
I love that she thinks I look like this!
I’ve more or less made it a rule not to retweet these pleas on Twitter, not on our joint account, on the grounds that it is a professional rather than a personal account, and that it is intended more for the dissemination of information about what the husband is, and to some extent what I am, working on rather than a general social interaction. I’m just not convinced that the husband’s followers want to be involved in our reactions to political subjects.

Of course, if you want to follow my personal account @N_VincentAbnett, I’m much more of a loose cannon, and I do respond more readily to that sort of thing. And, if in doubt, you can always read my opinions here.

The husband is a more private person than I am, and don’t think for a moment that he agrees with everything that I say on any given subject... Hell, I don’t agree with everything I say on any given subject on any given day of the week. If he ever wants to share a political view in public, I’m sure he’ll do it on his own blog, but I’m guessing you’ll have to wait for a cold day in Hell.

1 comment:

  1. Your daughter thinks you look like a superhero; you must be doing something right.