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Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Author's Good Name

Something strange happened on Tuesday. I have my blog setup to auto-tweet to Twitter and Tuesday's post was how I convey character emotion without saying outright how they feel. My agency retweeted the post, thinking it would help other writers.

Everything is normal so far and then I get home from work and see that someone retweeted my agency's tweet, only they did it in such a way that it appeared as I were endorsing another author's book. She also deleted the link to my blog post and replaced it with a link to someone else's blog.

I had to read the tweet multiple times because I couldn't believe someone would actually do that. She did put MT (Modified Tweet) in front of the agency's Twitter name, but left it as an RT (Retweet) in front of my name, reinforcing the appearance that I was endorsing the book.

In this case MT does not cut it.

MT is for when you shorten a tweet to make it fit within the 140 characters. MT doesn't allow you to rewrite the tweet in such a way that it misleads others.

I replied to the person who did this and told her that it wasn't cool. My thought was it was an honest error by someone who just didn't realize how her tweet could be misconstrued. I expected to receive an apology and to hear that she'd sent another tweet out correcting the misconception.

That's not what I received in reply.

What I got back was that it wasn't her fault. It was my agency's fault and excuse her for only trying to help.

I checked my mentions stream on Twitter and her original misleading tweet had disappeared. However, I do know how to take screenshots. I don't anticipate ever needing it, but hey, I have it if I do.

The reason why this matters is something I learned shortly after my first book came out in 2002. I'd blogged about some product--I don't even remember what it was now--that I just loved and I got a question back: Do you really like this thing or are you being paid to endorse it?

It never occurred to me before this that my mentioning something I liked was an endorsement. When I recovered from how stunned I was, I realized I had a responsibility to be as honest as I could be when I talked about what I liked. If I blog about something or tweet about it or mention it on FB, it will be because I honestly recommend it.

It's called integrity and no one gets to trade on that.