TeenBookHoots is the last stop on the blog tour- today I have a guest post from one of the award winning authors in the anthology, Katie Dale. She talks about her inspiration for her story in the anthology 'Trick or Tweet.'
Thank you so much for being part of the STORIES FROM THE EDGE Blogtour! I am so excited about this book and feel so honoured and thrilled to be included in an anthology with seven other UKYA authors I admire so much.
My story, TRICK OR TWEET is about a guy, “Bruce”, who is determined to meet a girl, “@Chlover”, he knows only from Twitter. By following all her tweets he believes he knows everything about her, including where she lives and what she looks for in a guy, and he has gone to great lengths to ensure their first meeting goes perfectly – you only get one chance to make a first impression after all, so he has prepared and rehearsed for ages in order to engineer the perfect first meeting. When he discovers she’s going to be at a Halloween masquerade ball he decides to gatecrash, as it seems like the perfect opportunity to finally make his move…
I wanted to write this story because I am fascinated by the way the internet, and social media in particular, has changed the way we interact with each other – much like wearing a physical mask.
We share more information with more people (even strangers) than ever before – photos, videos, even what we’re eating for lunch! – and consequently it can feel like you know your Facebook friends really well without ever meeting them. But it’s easy to forget that everything you see online is filtered – we design our own mask, post only what we choose to display, edit every comment, even photo-shop every image so that we give the impression we choose to give. Consequently, it can appear as if all our Facebook friends are all having wonderful, full, exciting lives – but it’s easy to forget that you cannot see what people do not choose to display, the flaws and problems we all have, but choose to hide beneath the mask.
Conversely, it’s very easy to be thoughtless online. Much like wearing a mask, the internet is liberating in its anonymity, and it’s easier to say things online you’d never say to someone in person – you can be braver and more honest, or meaner and more thoughtless purely because you’re not standing next to the person you’re talking to, and (in theory) you can switch off and walk away whenever you like with seemingly no real-world consequences. Tweets in particular are so short and so fast-moving, it’s easy to type something without thinking it through - yet they’re totally un-editable and once something’s online it’s out of your control…
Ultimately, social media is a universe of paradoxes:
We over-share, whilst concealing what we don’t want people to see;
You can switch off and walk away whenever you want to, yet it’s inescapable;
We project our best selves but feel enabled to say the cruellest things;
We are simultaneously self-consciously self-editing and utterly thoughtless;
You can be totally bravely honest or totally brazenly fake.
Consequently, in my story Bruce discovers that whilst he might have deliberately constructed his persona - or literal mask - to be exactly what @Chlover is looking for, @Chlover herself may not be exactly who she appeared to be online either…