Writers have a long history of joking about what government agencies would find if they investigated us. We’re known for researching the bizarre and the suspicious in the pursuit of accuracy for our books. Recent news about the PRISM program and others like it across the globe have made this long-running joke more real than before.
This isn’t a political post about the right or wrong of such programs. However, this news did get me thinking about what any government organization really would uncover about us if they started analyzing our internet usage. *smile*
- Writers are more likely to have blogs than other internet users.
Government agents excitedly follow this lead, expecting to find a grass-roots organization for anarchy. Instead, they find diatribes on the usage of a controversial secret weapon called the “Oxford comma” and admonishments for their fellow cell members to put their devious plans into action with the motto, “show, don’t tell.”
- Writers are more likely to use multiple forms of social media than other internet users.
Government agents follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest, hoping to get the inside scoop on our next attack. However, they’re soon inundated with “Buy My Book” spam. With titles like JimBob and the Space Alien, they decide these must be poor translations of the original documents.
- Writers are more likely to maintain email lists off their websites or blogs than other internet users.
Undeterred, government agents sign up to receive our newsletters, where they receive secret documents called “book cover reveals” and “sneak peek excerpts.” They become frustrated by their inability to crack the code embedded in such communications.
- Writers are more likely to befriend strangers online than other internet users.
The agents decide to engage in conversation on social media. Their targets never break protocol, however, and their Twitter and Facebook conversations consist of “My muse finally told me what to do next! #Happy” and “Yay! I’m going to make my deadline. How is your word count going?” Agents scramble to understand the deadline implied by the code phrase, “word count.” The supreme leader, known as The Muse, rises to Public Enemy Number One.
- Writers are more likely to form “street teams” than other internet users.
Finally! Government agents have been invited to join our inner circle. The “street team” messages beg all members to take to the streets and spread the word on the release date. Release of what? Chemical weapons? More references to JimBob and the Space Alien are the only clue.
- Writers are more likely to publish books than other internet users.
Stymied, the government agents decide the answer must lie in JimBob and the Space Alien. The agency puts its considerable investigative powers behind the mission to find The Muse by purchasing copies of JimBob and the Space Alien for every available agent. Yet, despite thousands of extra eyes reading the code book, they’re no closer than before to understanding the threat.
- Writers are more likely to care about book sales figures than other internet users.
The ominous-sounding “release date” comes and goes with no attacks occurring. What did they get wrong? The agents see only wild celebrations about bestseller status in our communications. But just as they begin to relax, they receive another message: JimBob and the Space Alien Strike Back will be released soon!
Ah-ha, phase two is about to begin. That explains everything. They gather the investigative team once more.
There you go, a story plot free for the taking. Just send me a copy of the finished book and we’ll call it even. *smile*
Somewhat seriously, over the course of several books, I’ve researched plenty of bizarre and suspicious topics:
- bus schedules of faraway cities
- gun laws and manufacturing
- forging of documents
- the Albanian mafia
- the immunity granted by diplomatic license plates
- the security of a Tiffany’s jewelry store
- jewel thievery
- money laundering
- using satellite phones for complete anonymity
- the gold currency market
- shell corporations
- firebombing buildings
- the decomposition process for human bodies
- funeral customs
- the “No Fly” list
- how to charter a private plane, and
- private islands for sale in the Bahamas.
And that list is just off the top of my head. Er, put together like that, my research topics do look rather nefarious. *shifty eyes*
Yes, with all that, I’m bound to be on a list in some country, somewhere. But I’ll look at the bright side and hope it’ll lead to more book sales. *grin*
Join the fun! Can you think of other overall behaviors government agencies would uncover about writers? Why might our behavior look suspicious? What might government agencies do about it? What would an investigation on your research topics uncover?Pin It