I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet. More time than I should. There are many reasons for this, of course. Mainly, I get every shred of news that I read over the Internet. I don't read newspapers anymore and I sure as Hell don't waste my time watching corporate-centric TV news. So there's that.
In addition, I do a lot of research for my novels online. I still do some from reference books, but mainly if I need some information I'll look it up on the Internet or get in touch with a friend via email who is knowledgeable about a subject I need to investigate.
Also, I've always done a good amount of networking online. This was most fruitful in the earlier days of the various online communities. In those times it wasn't unusual to open my email and find an invitation to submit a short story to a magazine or anthology; or to find an offer to make a pitch to a comics company. Such days, alas, are over. Most of the print magazines are dead, and I don't know any anthology editors these days.
But the networking continued, even though it did me precious little good and sometimes some harm. In recent months I've had accounts at MySpace and Facebook. Then there was Twitter. I drew the line at Twitter. I've heard of it, but I'm determined to let it go no farther. For personal reasons I canned my Facebook membership. I'm seriously considering doing the same to the MySpace account. I still have a group of friends and professional contacts with whom I communicate online, but I tend to do these things via direct emails and on my personal blog.
That's where I think it will end up, though. I'll keep this blog for one very good reason: it keeps the creative juices flowing. I tend to write more and write more effectively when I've been most active on this blog. So I'm very close to shutting everything else down and leaving just this one online presence standing. We'll see.
But no more online instant messaging boards. No more palsy-walsy fellow professional writer websites. Goodbye to all that.