After a thorough scouring using different search engines, I find a very light footprint for my particular strain of Santos Maldonado. The name is common, so there are multiple returns, few of those referring to me. LinkedIn leads the list with my personal account. White Pages tells me there are over one hundred individuals that share the name. My Facebook account does not appear unless I add the name of my employer. Six images, including those of a body a builder and a pretty good looking female adorn the top of the page like a celluloid strip. My mug is sandwiched between the girl and a very young guy with a dazzling smile.
After adding my employer I have better luck. The organization’s web page is listed with “Meet Our Staff” prominently displayed as well my blog sites and Valencia’s Alumni Association, of which I am a member. Right after Zoominfo, the pickings get slim, and what we see are entries for liability lawyers and the like. The yield, with employer name added, is a mere two pages of search results. I have little online presence on social media with the exception of Facebook and Google+. I don’t tweet nor do I Instagram, and am proud of it.
Profile of A Writer. Ryan Boudinot
I have chosen to research Ryan Boudinot’s online persona for several reasons. He was one of those suggested by the professor, his genre is satirical science fiction, he is not widely known, and a New York Times article describes his book as “a bracingly weird new novel”. That’s my guy!
Ryan Boudinot, within the literary world, is something of a one-hit wonder. In this case, his one hit was his novel “Blueprints of the Afterlife.” However, while this work was not Boudinot’s only work, it was by far his most well-known, and examining the man behind the book allows us to find the motivations and concepts within his novels, especially “Blueprints of the Afterlife,” and to make them clearer.
Boudinot maintains a relatively modest online presence, both in the sense that it is small and that he does not tout his own accomplishments as an author, but rather prefers his works to speak for themselves. One of the most obvious examples of this is Boudinot’s own Twitter account. Twitter has increasingly become a platform for networking, especially among creative professionals. While many Twitter pages for artists focus on upcoming events, Boudinot takes the simple approach, utilizing his account to simply update the public about his current novel “Blueprints of the Afterlife” as well as provide interviews and reviews for it. Essentially, Boudinot is giving his fans the tools to gain more insight about both himself and his book by providing links to external sources. This simplified approach goes a long way toward making Boudinot appear modest. Whether or not he is actually modest in reality is, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant, as his Twitter presence radiates modesty.
Similarly, Boudinot’s Goodreads profile expresses a “showing by doing” approach. On his profile, Boudinot lists a great number of books that he has read or is currently reading, and each one has a relation, in some manner, to his other works, especially “Blueprints of the Afterlife”. For instance, “Religio Medici; A Letter to a Friend, Christian Morals, Urn-Burial, and Other Papers” contains strong themes of religious symbolism that is similar in tone to that found in “Blueprints of the Afterlife.” In fact, many of the works that Boudinot lists on his public media pages are similar in tone to his own works, including the somber yet slightly playful tone found in “Blueprints.” These marketing tactics are subtle, to the point where it almost seems like they are not marketing tactics at all, and, indeed, they might not be. However, the fact remains that many of the books that the author has read, as well as many of his posts on Twitter, seem to circle back to his most recent novel, so Boudinot’s media presence may be described as subtle and down-to-earth, yet practical.
Boudinot does not maintain very many online platforms or websites. For instance, he does not seem to maintain a Facebook page, nor does he have an overwhelming presence on any major social media (even his Twitter account is fairly small, by author standards). Much of this is likely because Boudinot is simply not popular enough to warrant an entire social media ecosystem the likes of someone like James Patterson. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that Boudinot’s lack of self-publicizing is intentional, as many of his own beliefs can be found within his own novels. In “Blueprints,” for instance, Boudinot writes that “the world was full of precious garbage.” While it might seem a bit presumptuous to assume that his writings represent his true feelings, it serves to reason that there is a connection between Boudinot’s lack of a real social media presence and his repeated decrying of social constructs, which “Blueprints” largely centers around.
One of Boudinot’s most extensive biographies is buried away in the website of Goddard College, where Boudinot teaches and, at one point, achieved a Master’s degree in Creative Writing (Ryan). This biography describes Boudinot’s experience with teaching, as well as his personal experience with writing. Perhaps most importantly, this personal biography describes one of Boudinot’s most prominent beliefs: a belief in creative freedom. Although it might seem obvious, given his degree in Creative Writing, Boudinot believes strongly in establishing a connection to the reader through the freedom allowed by creative writing, and it is this belief that keeps Boudinot going strong. This biography focuses largely on Boudinot’s own accomplishments as a writer, citing the numerous compilations and anthologies that his works have been featured in, including textbooks and numerous journals. In this respect, his touting of his own accreditations as a writer almost reads more as a resume than anything else, since it shows his readers exactly how well-known he himself is as an author. Despite his self-believed reputation as a prophetic writer, he still does not enjoy much in the way of popularity, but it seems like Boudinot actually prefers it that way. Establishing an empire of books, as many authors do, would diminish his own personal philosophy, which centers around the creative spark, which has the potential to turn into a raging inferno, given the right readership and a desire to read.
In short, Boudinot’s online presence is small, but effective. He is an author who believes in freedom and self-discovery, and his online presence, as well as the general tone found in his works, reflects this mentality. This also helps to explain the (perhaps intentional) modest following that Boudinot has acquired. This is not so say that Boudinot does not network, nor advertise his own accomplishments, however. In fact, his Twitter account seems reserved for talking about his book and posting reviews and articles about his latest works, taking the rather conventional steps toward fame, as many budding writers do. Given his reputation and talent, it seems to reason that his social media presence is used as a tool for longer-term goals. That is to say, Boudinot plans to keep writing for years to come, and his social media presence is designed to allow him a degree of sustainability so that he may continue his writings and be as profitable as possible. At the same time, he also wants to make his mark as a writer, and his social media presence, which also stresses his core beliefs, does an effective job toward that end.
After researching Boudinot’s online persona, I would agree with Jaime Poissant’s advice that “it’s better to use a couple of platforms well, than many half-assed.” If someone were interested in following me, I’d like to narrow it down as much as possible so as to dedicate limited but quality time to maintaining the platform. Much of the time spent slaving over a hot Facebook page, can be traded for the mental energy necessary for successful writing.
As far as a plan for expanding my online presence, I would opt to create a GoodReads account while maintaining my current blog site. Other than that, I’d dust off and update an old website I created a long time ago and try to keep is as simple as Paolo Coelho’s. http://www.paulocoelho.com/
My timeline for the above would be short, since it would only involve cloning my YouTube account and creating a personal blog. I will take the minimalist approach and hope to draw a following by way of limited social media platforms. I see no use for a Twitter account. I am simply old-fashioned and the idea of the one hundred forty character straightjacket results in the deterioration of the language. Pretty soon we’ll all be speaking in blurbs rather than full sentences. I get the idea. I just don’t like it.
Santos was born in New York City and can be described as eclectic in his tastes, travels and literary style. He is a freelance writer with a penchant for expressive essays and the occasional social commentary newspaper column. His publications include a travel column on the Caribbean and several contributions to local newspapers in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. He has written widely on the social dynamics inherent in homelessness and works for a non-profit organization that provides help to the needy. He contributes frequently to the company blog and revels in storytelling, sarcasm, humor and the supernatural. Although not a science fiction writer, Santos enjoys the styles of authors such as Dean Koontz. On the social commentary side, he gravitates toward the style of Ta-Nehisi Coates. His works include “Pretty Pink Poison”, “Bridge & City”, and “Shattered Fragments of a Troubled Life”.