8 Life Lessons Gleaned From The Internet

by Molly Greene

Internet_OpI’ve spent an enormous amount of time online in my quest to become a successful self-published author. A naïve newbie at first, now I feel like a somewhat jaded, slightly-more-experienced version of my newly hatched online self. And of course, I’ve learned a LOT …

1. People may not “get” your digital personality

When we meet folks in person and get to know them, they see our expressions and body language and hear the tone of our voice – and we see theirs. Audio and visual cues impart meaning to our words and communicate  information. But these signals are missing in a digital world, and this creates an environment where others may misunderstand our intentions. Rough language and sarcasm especially don’t come across well until peeps have a chance to get familiar with our “style.” Lesson? I try to be myself, “light.”

2. Speaking out has consequences

My blog has the most awesome readers. I can recall only a handful of times someone has been an ass by leaving a caustic comment. And after four years of blogging weekly, I have little patience with troublemakers. Most of the time I manage to do what I’d do in person, which is smile and nod and say, “unh huh.” But a couple of times I’ve lost control and replied in comments with what I really felt. Once, the person was offended by my honesty and immediately left a very bad review for one of my books. In retrospect, I’d do the same thing, but now I’m very aware that speaking out may have consequences. Lesson? Be prepared to pay them.

3. Spelling and grammar matters

Never before in human history have grammar, vocabulary and spelling mattered soooooo much. And I’m not just talking about books, I mean email, Facebook posts, tweets, articles, guest posts, and blog comments. Sure, we have spellcheck, but despite its help boo-boos happen – I laugh about my own. Bottom line, really bad, consistent error-makers stand out. Check out: 10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them. Lesson? I think you get it.

4. Negative Nellies are everywhere – don’t be one

Everybody knows that ranting on social media is a turn-off and won’t gain you fans. In spite of that, one of my favorite bloggers – who I don’t know personally but followed religiously – launched into a months-long rant about stuff I won’t go into, and even dedicated fans told them to stop. Lesson? If you have social media followers who are readers and fans – not just personal friends – DO NOT post about rejections, unhappiness, jealousies, murdered animals or political positions – unless those philosophies are the basis of your message to the world. People want happy and upbeat. Give it to them. Choosing joy might just make it happen for you, too.

5. Gaining tech skills is a must-do

This is one of the biggest challenges in building an online presence: there is so freaking much to learn. Add a constricted budget to that and the end result is we’re doing much of the work ourselves. Website creation, website maintenance, learning different social media platforms and etiquette, blogging, not to mention actually honing writing craft AND creating ebooks AND finding vendors – cover artist, editors, blah blah blah – who have time for us and do a great job. Lesson? It’s overwhelming but it matters. One new thing at a time is the best way to tackle it.

6. Google is a portal to the world

Quality information is now incredibly accessible. I seldom ask humans questions anymore and choose instead to Google whatever it is I’m wondering about. That includes but is not limited to vendors, book promo sites, blog topic ideas, people, and word spellings and definitions. I use Google Maps to view the streets my protagonist walks down and the places where she wants to vacation. Google changed everything for me. Lesson? Google it!

7. There are fabulous people online, too

This has been the most fulfilling lesson: the people I’ve met who have become friends. My beta readers live in Greece and Australia. I’ve Skyped and exchanged email, Facebook messages, and Google-chatted with friends and blog clients in Australia, Germany, England, Canada and the U.S., and other places too numerous to name. This is the best of online interaction, and it’s made us all global citizens with access to people and cultures everywhere. Lesson? Too cool for words.

8. Our work has a global reach

Just as we can reach friends around the world, potential consumers for our writing are everywhere as well, both book and blog. It’s pretty wonderful that readers in countries like India are gobbling up self-published authors’ books – and this is only the beginning. Lesson? Self-publishing is a global business – to infinity and beyond!

To close, here’s a fab Pinterest board that says it all: What I’ve Learned From The Internet.

Readers, what have you learned? Leave a comment and share!

All original content by Molly Greene is copyright protected – did you enjoy the article? You can show your support by checking out my Amazon Author Page – and hey, buy a book while you’re there! Or, subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss my weekly posts. Your email will NOT be sold, shared, abused, or rented – that’s a promise. If you’re not already, follow @mollygreene on Twitter Mwah! Thank you so much.

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28 Responses to 8 Life Lessons Gleaned From The Internet

  1. Garry Rodgers May 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Great points, Molly. One thing to add is always think before you post something as once a comment gets out of your hand it can live on the net forever,

    • Molly Greene May 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

      So true, Garry! I’ve been known to write the odd mean-girl reply that I never intend to post. I just wish others would hit the delete key as often as I do 🙂

      • Elizabeth Ducie May 12, 2015 at 2:59 am #

        It took me a while to get into the habit, but any less than friendly responses are always sent as emails or PMs rather than public messages. And even then, I sleep on it before I hit send.

        • Molly Greene May 12, 2015 at 7:15 am #

          An excellent philosophy, Elizabeth, and one that will keep you out of trouble 🙂

  2. Anne R. Allen May 11, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    All great insights, Molly. Especially about staying positive. And I love it that I work with people on four continents every time I put a book out!

    I agree about deleting the nasty comments instead of responding to them. Anything you say to a troll can be used against you. But if you just delete them you can blame it on your spamblocker. 🙂

    • Molly Greene May 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks, Anne. I haven’t gotten many really nasty comments, just a snide phrase here and there. I turn the other cheek 99.9% of the time. And I love that the world is getting so small!

  3. john May 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    Molly I have enjoyed and learned from your postings. I do both appreciate and like your writing style on your blog, and have followed many tips and hints you have shared and find this current posting both useful and telling! It speaks that once in a while the bloggers and readers of your site could give back a little encouragement that is maybe more than a compliment or a friendly response, sort of filling back up the well so to speak.
    Here is my allotment of well water….. I have been encouraged and enriched by your sharing, professional caring, absence of tearing and most of all sparing…us by coming directly to your point. Thank you.


    • Molly Greene May 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

      John, your lovely comment made me smile. I, too, appreciate bloggers who get to the point quickly. THANK YOU for taking the time to perk up my day!

    • MM Jaye May 12, 2015 at 3:08 am #

      I loved John’s comment so much, I had to, well, comment on it. You see that’s exactly how I feel about Molly.

      But as one of her betas I’d like to point out that to-the-point writing is what she does in her books, as well. That’s what makes her even more awesome. Which, by way of association, means that if a blogger rants or needs a thousand words to get to the post’s point, one can only imagine how their books read. Which might not be the case, and that only shows how important your writing style is when you’re blogging as well.

      (Comment not well structured, but I’m at work and shouldn’t be doing this, anyway. Shhh…)

      • Molly Greene May 12, 2015 at 7:15 am #

        Maria, I love you SO MUCH.

  4. Dena Jo May 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    I have learned that pleasant and polite never get old.

    • Molly Greene May 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      EXACTLY! Thanks, Dena Jo – that’s it in a nutshell.

  5. Kim Wenzler May 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    Hi Molly, I’ve learned that there is always more to learn. This whole endeavor is overwhelming but I have to say, your posts are so helpful. Thank you!! I really enjoy your writing.

    • Molly Greene May 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

      I agree Kim, the learning curve will never end – ackkk! Thank you for your kind words, sharing actually lightens the load!

  6. Judy Hudson May 11, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    As usual, right on the mark. Thanks for the reminders.

  7. Loraine Tulleken May 12, 2015 at 12:56 am #

    I recently launched my own blog and really appreciate your generous input

    • Molly Greene May 12, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Thank you so much, Loraine, and best to you with your new endeavor!

  8. Sue Coletta May 12, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    So true, Molly! I’ve gotten misunderstood on more than one occasion, and I always wish I’d said nothing. It’s difficult, as you say, to sound funny or quick-witted without body expression and tone of voice. I did make the mistake of commenting to a troll, disguised as a writer. He had commented on one of my excerpts (on my blog) and it really stung. I didn’t realize he was a troll until he responded to my comment. He even followed me to another site and made a snarky remark about my comment there, too! That’s when I smartened up and deleted all trace of him, blocked him from my site and alerted the other site. He seemed more like a stalker/troll. *shifts eyes* Did he follow me here too?

    • Molly Greene May 12, 2015 at 7:18 am #

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Sue. I’d chalk it up to jealousy – and you may feel as I do, that the mistakes we make in life sometimes teach us more than the things we do right. How awful of a fellow writer to feel the need to critique someone they don’t know! Shows more about their character than ours.

  9. michaelphelps1 May 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi Molly,

    Great lessons you have learned, the ‘hard way’, I am sure and your kindness in sharing will save many from
    frustration and despair . . . and make us all better Writers,

    Thanks for sharing.

    Mike Phelps

    • Molly Greene May 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

      Michael, thank you so much!

  10. Dannie May 13, 2015 at 5:25 am #

    You are right on in all your lessons, Molly. Enjoy this post very much. I know I’ve written even in commenting and after the ‘post’ button is pushed I see a error and cringe .

    • Molly Greene May 13, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      Dannie, I’ve sent some of THE most garbled Facebook messages ever – talk about cringing! – and I’m the worst at including words in email that don’t make sense. It’s not the one-off error that defines us, it’s how we come across on a regular-type basis. Don’t worry! 🙂

  11. Laura Zera May 14, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Re: #2 – Yes, yes it does. I only get really fired up about something controversial once in the odd while, but when I speak out on it, I see the ripple of the impact.

    Re: #3 – Yay for Grammarly!

    Re: #8 – “to infinity and beyond!” – LOL! Can we get our books into outer space? That’s what I want to know.

    • Molly Greene May 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      Ha ha – that was my reference to my alter-ego cartoon persona.

  12. Ken Preston May 16, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    The main lesson I have learned? Show restraint when dealing with mealy mouthed, negative people. Because I once experienced what happens when you try and engage with these people, when you try and point out the negativity of what they are doing.
    Sure, sometimes people need pulling up on their message. Most of the time? It’s better just to ignore.
    Because I tried to engage I wound up being cyber stalked for a short while. It was scary, to say the least.
    Good post, with lots of sensible points.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Molly Greene May 16, 2015 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks Ken and I agree – it’s better just to turn the other cheek. SO sorry to hear about your difficulties!