Online Presence

edited July 2013 in The Toolbox
With the address of my web site about to be published in "about the creators" paragraphs in a couple of anthologies, I figured it was high time for me to overhaul the site into something sort of professional looking, and I did that with WordPress.  There are static pages with info and/or links for stuff I've done, and a blog section on the main page where I can just post stuff, keeping it current but with more permanence than FB updates that no one will see again after a few hours.  In the process, I'm trying to turn that site into a hub for my online presence.

Aside from participating in a handful of forums (including this one) Facebook has been my main presence, so I'm trying to integrate my site with that.  In particular, I want a status update posted there every time I post something on my blog.  Which is easier said than done.  I've found a few ways to do it (in theory):
  • Facebook has an official plug-in for WordPress that adds FB features to your site.  For example, you can include a comments section that uses FB's system, links on pages/posts for people to Like them, and so on.  It will also do what I was talking about: status updates for each new item you post.  In theory.  In practice, I can't seem to get it to work.  At its best I got it to post status updates to FB that no one but me could see.  And getting it to work at all requires wading into Facebook's app-development tools, which are maddening.  If I weren't familiar as a user with the clusterfuck that is Facebook's own "process" for developing their site, I'd find this astonishing. Instead it's a head-shaking "figures".
  • There's a third-party plug-in that doesn't have the deep and wide integration of the official FB plug-in, but is supposed to do the same thing with status updates, called "Add Link to Facebook".  I haven't been able to get it to work, but that may just be my fault, or the fault of my slow web site.  It also requires some mucking about with creating a FB app, but apparently not as much as the trainwreck that is the official FB plug-in.
  • A more versatile solution is the web site  That's short for "IF This Then That".  It's a point-and-click system that allows you to select from a wide range of web sites and services, and link them using pre-built actions and "recipes" such as "If [a new post on WordPress] then [post update on Facebook]".  Or you can have it tweet something to Twitter, or a whole bunch of other things.  And it works.  Based on the recipes you have active, it scans for the conditions in your recipes every 15 minutes, which is a perfectly acceptable delay for this sort of thing. The thing that bugs me about this option is that it depends on a third web site to make it happen, and (a corollary of that) you have to give them your login credentials for every site involved in your recipes.
So that's what I'm doing so far. I don't use Twitter (though I'm thinking I'll start, by echoing my WP posts thru it) but I take it you can have tweets automatically posted on Facebook, which would be worth looking into if I weren't doing things t'other way 'round.

What are y'all doing?


  • Yeah, we were talking about this in your work log.
    And to be bloody fucking honest, I am rolling with the punches and not very well.
    The Image forums, Facebook and Twitter and that's it.  Which is REALLY sad.

    Last week I started to look at LinkdIn again, and again I wondered... why?

    I have a website, but it's more of a placeholder than anything else.
    I am hoping to ramp up my store front and drive it through my website.

  • I can't think that LinkdIn is all that useful a networking tool for a comics creator. Perhaps if you're an editor or marketing person, but then again, this is such a small industry with opportunities to connect at cons. I have a Linkd In account and I mostly just ignore it while people endorse me for things I have no skill at like Visual Merchanding and MC Office.

  • The only reason I can see for using LinkedIn would be for professional networking, rather than keeping a profile for (potential) readers.  I need to use that more in my non-comics-creating life.
  • Twitter, Facebook, G+, multiple websites... all of which I handle badly. I have a Tumblr and a DeviantArt page that are largely ignored. I just started a writer-centric website for myself that I'm hoping to use as a hub. We'll see. I gotta set something up for the web novels as well as the new comics. I need a nap.
  • I'm kinda wondering how much will it help?
    Especially in an ever-changing battlefield of social network sites.
    I'm not advocating against it, but I am wondering what has it done for others?
    Or is this one of those things that actually works out great... but it's hard to see the results.
  • Linkedin, as has been said, is for connecting with people in the industry, not for finding readers/customers. I'm convinced of that much, at least. As for the other sites and social media...
    They work well if you participate by not just promoting, by making the feed a bit personal, at least if your content is online and to a lesser extent if it can be bought easily online. Doubt it drives much traffic to brick & mortar retail. But I haven't tried because comic shop customers and my readers tend to be mutually exclusive. Also why I haven't applied to ComiXology yet. But I have applied to - so we'll see what happens. 
  • Basically, my thought is that you need to know who do you want to see your online presence? @GregCarter touched on it just now, he is going where his audience is. Who do you want to network with? Once you've figured that out, you need to use what network tools they use.
    I've seen so many network places online claim to be the next best networking tool, but if the people you want to network with aren't using it, even if it's targeted to their interests, it doesn't matter. This is where websites are so very important.
    The networking tools would be what you use to communicate with, like a big internet cocktail party, you mingle, you meet new people, say hello to old friends, whatever. Your website is like your homebase, your office, your home, however you are presenting yourself. It doesn't necessarily need to change consistently, but it does need to reflect what you are trying to portray in your online presence. When someone visits your website, they should come away with a good understanding of what your online presence is.

    Having said all that, I've tried Linkedin...The only people I've seen on there (aside from some local friends) are new comic creators or people who are working for the big three, and basically their boards are a bunch of new people asking the others "how can I break in?" Not helpful to me.

  • I don't know, honestly, if it's just the theme I'm using (Catch Box) or just the latest version of WP, but I've set my site to automatically send a link to FB and Twitter whenever I publish a new post. That took just a few minutes to set up.

  • edited July 2013
    Here's a related question. I logged onto my website this morning and found this comment (excerpted) waiting for me:

    your site is professional looking (if a little minimalist)–very important if you want to win customer interest and confidence–with one glaring exception: your Twitter posts, laced with juvenile, look-at-me-I can-swear-in-public profanity, immediately suggest an immaturity that might put some people off, and when you’re trying to get established in the business world it’s just plain dumb to act up that way. Puerile behavior on Twitter is a common problem which you’ll no doubt outgrow as you mature (especially if you have kids, which is where you can really begin to appreciate why adults need to set standards–if only to give teenagers something they can rebel against without doing any real harm), but it might be a good idea to lose the Twitter link until that happens. I know it’s a “but all my friends do it” scenario now, but it’s really out of place if you’re trying to look professional in the business world.

    This comment has really gotten to me and I have no fucking clue why. I think this commenter (who is virtually anonymous) doesn't understand that the business world is not monolithic, and that as a writer, the product I'm ultimately selling is myself, my 'voice.' 

    But maybe I'm wrong. Do occasional swears online in public tweets or Facebook status updates betray a lack of professionalism? Should I dial it down?

    (I did look back through my twitter feed and found maybe 2-3 instances of profanity, one of which was a retweet of something said by an Eisner Award-winning comics creator. Does anyone want to accuse Rantz of puerile behavior?)  
  • I swear all the fucking time on twitter. That comment is trolling gibberish, and can be ignored.
  • I don't know, honestly, if it's just the theme I'm using (Catch Box) or just the latest version of WP, but I've set my site to automatically send a link to FB and Twitter whenever I publish a new post. That took just a few minutes to set up.
    I've got the next-to-latest build of WordPress (a new bug-fix just came out), so that feature isn't built into the main software. I'll have to take a look at Catch Box and see if they built it into that theme.
  • edited July 2013
    Hmmmm... I don't see it, Eric.  I installed the theme on my site, and it has places to put social-network addresses but not login info for them, and it doesn't seem to update those sites when I post.  You sure you don't have a plug-in installed for it?
  • edited July 2013
    Oh, shit. 

    Jetpack plug-in. It's an official (and free) plugin available directly from the Wordpress site.

    I forgot that the 'publicize' function is controlled by that, not the theme itself.

  • It didn't sound like trolling gibberish to me, Eric, but some sincere if unsolicited advice. You can take it or not.

    Artists can get away with a more... bohemian image than bankers and engineers can. Coarse or vulgar language is always best suited to using with ones peers/cohort, and is best left behind outside of that. Most of us are more cautious bout that sort of thing with older and younger relatives, for instance. So it becomes a matter of who your twitter audience is.
  • I've been offered LinkedIn invites from several quarters, and I am extremely wary of accepting any of them given what seems the intent of that service's operators to make its users define themselves in terms of a single professional end goal. Seeing as I've got my feet in several doors at once (office work, reportage/journalism and comics), and have to pursue what leads I have in them all or else...accepting a LinkedIn invite could be inviting the disaster of Death by Poverty all the sooner than might otherwise happen.

    DeviantArt, I have different issues with, which explains my lack of presence there.

    G+ has been recently forced upon me, seemingly as a precondition of continuing to use Picasa at all.

    Most comfortable in the Livejournal venue, and I'm in a bit of a conflicted mind about Facebook despite having a wider reach there than on LJ.
  • edited July 2013
    I should've known to keep looking for an official plug-in from WordPress instead of trying to use an official plug-in from Facebook.  Not only does Jetpack work, and without a whole lot of effort, but it also recognizes the existence of other social networks, so it supports automatic posting not just to Facebook, but also Twitter, Tumblr, and (if one has a use for it) LinkedIn. It doesn't do everything that Facebook's plug-in+(cr)app combo does, but it does enough.  Thank you, @EricPalicki !
  • I've got facebook, twitter, two websites (,, linkedin, mayspace (never update it), as well as a number of guest strips other people have tagged me in.

    When you google my name, unless there's an election in Canada, and fill the first 2-3 pages of search results. But, I've also been doing the webcomic thing for almost 11 years....
  • So if we can turn Canada into a dictatorship, you'll be better positioned online? 
    On it.
  • So it's Quest's fault? 

    Some of us currently believe we are under a dictatorship... waiting for elections to be suspended in 2015. Kidding of course (though on partially, sadly....)

  • Remember kids: vote for Trevor in your upcoming Canadian Dictator elections. ;)
  • Trevor, our new evil overlord.....has a kind of a nice ring to it.
  • I'm waiting to see who else is up for the job.
  • Keep an eye on 2015, is all I can say on that score.
  • I've quit Livejournal as of last week. The servers got moved to Russia. In the wake of the whole Trumputin/Elections-Tampering mess...well, things were getting quieter than I liked at LJ anyway.

    My new home for blogging:
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