Wikipedia and Social Media

If you find yourself waiting on a bus today and while away the time looking me up on Wikipedia, then you won't find me. I've been removed.

After eight days of deliberation, Wikimedia's Arbitration Committee ruled in my favour and agreed to delete my entry. I stated my case, arguing (probably to the dismay of every publicist everywhere) that I'm not in fact notable. Those on the other side of the argument stated theirs, and I should say that they did so with respect and professionalism. I welcome and appreciate the debate.

I also figured I should explain why I chose to take this action in the first place.

I like to write stuff and, happily, people like to read it. Some of them even think it's not dreadful. But simply because my work has a wide audience, I personally am not a notable person. Lots of people are served by Mary at my local Tesco but she's not a celebrity (more's the pity).

Authors and other "creative" people have a strange place in Wikipedia and society. You probably recognise our names. In fact, you've only stumbled upon this terrifically insightful blog at all because you've found yourself on a website bearig my name. But just because you've seen my name lurking on a book cover, that doesn't make me a public personality. In fact, you might know nothing about me except that I sometimes lurk on book covers. I am, in fact, a very dull individual.

Celebrities, or 'celebrated personalities' to give the term its Sunday name, are those who have a profile beyond (or in some cases, despite!) their work. Ian Rankin is a wonderful ambassador for his genre and Val McDermid is a noted commentator on current affairs. They are, rightly, recognised as high profile public figures as well as talented writers. I have never pursued a career in the spotlight; I prefer to cheer on those who do.

I'm not a fan of social media for a number of reasons. I accept it has its benefits, but in my experience it has far greater downsides. Although I am always humbled and flattered to hear from anyone who has enjoyed my work, the internet is sadly a safe haven for cowards and bullies. To have a platform on these channels is to expose yourself to such individuals, and by extension, to expose your family to them. I am not famous enough to need such profiles, or vain enough to want them.

I am happily and peacefully secluded. Writing invigorates me and knowing my work has been read amongst the vast choice of literary wonder on offer is a high compliment indeed. Anybody who has spared me a moment of their reading time is always welcome to use my contact page to get in touch. Meanwhile, I respecfully decline 'celebrity', and leave that to those who do it best.

Thank you for being my readers.

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