Our lives in the world of Social Media are much like our characters’ lives in our novels. There are protagonists and antagonists as well as supporting characters and even those who only appear for a few brief scenes and then they’re gone . . . never to be heard from again.
Our audience consists of those who read our blogs, friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, and they’re just as discriminating as the readers of our books. Our actions online determine whether they root for us when we appear or groan and boo us off the stage. Beyond that, if we’re honest and steadfast, they’ll forgive us our shortcomings, sticking with us to the end.
Not sure who you are yet? Here’s my guide to the characters who inhabit the online Storyworld of Social Media.
Hero/Heroine—this character has a goal. It’s one that resonates with the reader. He has faults, but is willing to admit when he’s wrong and grows through his mistakes. His motivation is selfless and genuine as he battles obstacles to right wrongs, teaches and inspires.
- Online Characteristics: He puts others before himself and is willing to share what he knows and be honest about the journey he’s taking. He’s steadfast and true to his word. If his blog says he’ll post three times a week, he does. Occasionally, he stumbles and misses a deadline, but comes back strong, owning up to his mistakes and forging ahead.
Villain—this character is essentially selfish. He wants what he wants no matter who has to pay the price. He knows what he deserves and will stop at nothing to get what he sees as rightfully his.
- Online Characteristics: His posts are full of boasting and pride, and he frequently hijacks the twitter feed to show the world how valuable he is. He would never waste his valuable time bragging on someone else . . . unless there was something he could gain by it.
Supporting Character—She is the stalwart friend, growing and learning. She isn’t as fully developed as the hero, but the reader won’t be surprised to see her as the heroine in her own story some day.
- Online Characteristics: She is learning and growing. She makes valuable contributions to the online community, and although she may start off as a minor character, one day she’ll have her own story.
Walk-on Character—This character is often no more than window dressing. He may be interesting for a scene or two, but the reader seldom misses him when he’s gone.
- Online Characteristics: This social media character is inconsistent. He may have something valuable to say one day and then nothing to contribute for weeks or even months. He’s hard to follow because you never know when he’ll appear or whether he’ll have something valuable to say when he does.
Consider these as you’re developing your own story in social media, and become one of the good guys. Remember, we all have a role to play, but unlike our characters, we have a say in how we present ourselves.