I discovered the online writing community, Fictionaut, through Travis Kurowski, the founder of Luna Park Review. I’ve occasionally participated in other writing organizations, formal and informal, and sometimes exchange work with friends. Fictionaut has definitely impacted my writing life. I’ve met other writers whose work I admire. I’ve discovered literary magazines that I love (like Northville Review!). There’s definitely a balance, however. When I first joined, I admit I was seduced by the appeal of getting feedback for my work. It was instant gratification. But, just like getting a publication, it doesn’t change the day to day challenges of being a writer, and has, at times, distracted me from writing. I think, like any social media outlet, it’s important to ask how/why/and what your level of engagement is. Is it to feel less lonely? Make friends? Network? For me, I want to remain “professional” in terms of my online presence, which is another way of saying that I value my privacy and want some distinction between myself as a person in the world, and my writing self. I struggle sometimes to navigate between the two, like many I’m sure who find themselves locked in online. But on the whole its been a positive experience. My main concern about the future of online literature and writing communities is a question of sustainability. Who is making money? How can I make money as a writer? It will be interesting to see how these communities will evolve in the future. I’ve been watching Red Lemonade as one site that’s poised to change how we think about publishing, but again, in the end I hope the writer will get paid.