In his comment to yesterday’s post Alex said
you really have to wade through the muck to find someone with something interesting, or purposeful to say.
I suspect the flood of trivia, junk, dirt, spam, ads, and promotion has only just begun. Businesses have discovered the goldmine of marketing through bloggers. And people like me who want to create buzz about a particular something (in my case, Christian fantasy) will undoubtedly proliferate.
So do we all just jump on the spam wagon and ride it for all it’s worth? I don’t think so. Having something to promote does not mean I have to become a spammer.
If I have a product or know of a product that I think someone else might be interested in, then it’s worth talking about. That’s a far cry from a) lying about a product and saying it’s good when it isn’t; or b) pretending that everyone I know will be interested in it, when I know they won’t.
In my mind, what separates legitimate promotion from spam is this: honest evaluation and care for the consumer.
Believe me, I’ve read posts and emails and status updates that turn me off because no matter what the subject, in the end the person ends up telling us about his latest work or her latest book. Sometimes those are appropriate and fit in well. But sometimes those kinds of comments simply sound self-serving.
It reminds me of the complaints that were bandied about regarding Christian fiction being preachy. If the writing comes across as propaganda, then it ruins the story. I don’t see any difference in writing non-fiction—blog articles, emails, or tweets.
So what is propaganda? From Wikipedia: “propaganda in its most basic sense, often presents information primarily in order to influence its audience.” There’s the thing—the purpose of propaganda is actually to manipulate others. It goes beyond information. Here are examples of each.
Information: I like this, and I think other Christian women my age might like it too.
Propaganda: This is the best one yet, and your life won’t be complete unless you too, all of you, buy now, before the price goes up or they run out of the autographed edition (or hardback copy or accompanying tee shirt … )
Propaganda: Yellow Labs and Golden Retrievers are popular dogs, which reminds me of how popular my book has become.
😀 Yeah, promotion can morph into propaganda, and as I see it, that’s not a good thing.