Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

779 Hideously Lucky Individuals

on April 25, 2013
Book cover, American Gods

Book cover, American Gods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. In general, his works are fantasy and incredibly witty. But if Lord of the Rings isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, his work is very modern and would better be described as urban fantasy, which is probably the best sub-genre out there (in my humble opinion). I’ve laughed out loud many times while reading his novels. He’s best known for American Gods, or at least it seems that way because that’s the book everybody recommends. And if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you do. It is definitely in my top 5, which you should know is a very selective list. And if you know the movie Stardust, well, it was based off his short book with the same title. He is also responsible for The Sandman comic series which I haven’t personally read but it seems pretty amazing.

I follow Neil Gaiman both on twitter and on tumblr. Really, his books are only part of the reason I love him so much. Seeing him on social networking sites, I’ve watched him give invaluable advice to aspiring writers like myself, as well as talk about his personal life, like his relationship with his wife, Amanda Palmer (they’re very adorable). And even beyond that, there was his recent, inspirational graduation speech. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend taking the time to listen to it. It blew me away when I did. I’m not ashamed to admit that it made me cry—more than that, it was the main thing that pushed me to continue down the path of becoming a writer. See, when you tell people you’re a writing major, mostly they just ask “What for?” It’s worse when I say I want to write books. I’m usually met with: “Okay, but what do you want to do?” Okay, I would think, I can’t be a novelist; it’s not realistic. What else is there for me? Quite frankly, there’s nothing I really want, and as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, this has been a great source of anxiety for me. But when I listened to Gaiman’s speech, it really hit me. Yes, writing is exactly what I want to do. I have to “make good art.” Nothing else will do.

Surprisingly, the actual point of this blog post is actually not to gush about how wonderful Neil Gaiman is. I’m actually supposed to be analyzing who he follows on Twitter, so let me do just that.

Gaiman follows 779 people as I write this. It’s nothing compared to the almost two million people following him, but it’s still a lot more than a lot of other famous people follow. Like many of us, a lot of the people he follows have that blue check mark of authenticity, although a greater amount do not. Much of the list consists of writers, actors, artists, and musicians, although mostly they seem to be writers of various kinds. Of the writers, most specify that they are fantasy/sci-fi authors. Very few of the bios I scrolled past did not make any claims at being an artist, and most of those had silly phrases like “A comedian from the 90s. Capable of almost 12 facial expressions though I rarely use more than 4 of them.” Honestly, I don’t think I’ve scrolled farther than two names without seeing another artist. There are a few fans sprinkled in, such as the girl with this bio: ”

  • I just love reading, that’s a fact… Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and Neil Gaiman are my favs…”

I can only imagine how she screamed when she saw him on her followers.

Gaiman’s “following” list suggests, very obviously, that he is very committed to the arts. This makes sense, seeing as how he is an artist himself. Yet, it would be very easy to isolate himself, but he doesn’t. The people he follows, as well as his tweets and tumblr posts, show that Gaiman participates with the writer community all around him. He seems to value this community, and he contributes to it while also showcasing the contributions of others. It is the embodiment of the writer as a social creature, and idea I’ve written about previously in this Intro to Writing Arts course. Also it shows that he cares about his wife, who he follows and retweets very often. Did I mention that they’re adorable?

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