alexandraerin: (Default)
When you want to playfully poke at someone who used to be really active in an online community years ago, and you look up their old profile and see that their last post there was saying they "aren't dead yet", creating a brand new Twitter account to send them a message that says "I am a ghost from communities past. You totally lied. You're dead as heck." is not a good idea even in the very, very best of times.

(Note! Read the first line again before you jump to a conclusion!)

Luckily for both of us, I knew the most obvious interpretation couldn't be more than shot-in-the-dark-bullshit intended to spook me, so I chose to remain calm and ask them to specify exactly what they meant, rather than taking it as a death threat. I thought I was calling the bluff of some troll.

I didn't even think it was a troll connected to Jack's attacker... there have been anonymous taunts that I believe relate to her, because they concerned things that she knows. But among the things that she knows is that I am telling the truth. Whatever she tells her friends and whatever she tells herself to get through the night, I don't believe she's so far gone to be able to say I "totally lied" to me and expect it to cut me to the quick.

So I knew it wasn't her, but I thought it might have been someone who thought they'd do her a favor by spooking me into admitting something. (Spoiler warning: there's nothing for me to admit to.)

But I woke up this morning(ish) to find out the real explanation... that being, once again, that this was someone who knew me on an old site and hadn't seen me for years, poking fun at the last post he knew I made said "I'm not dead yet."

I've since tried to gently let the person know how unwise it is to greet someone like this. Knowing the demographics of the site in question, they may be an adult but probably just barely.

Twitter's not great for nuance and I'm not sure they get it, because I'm really trying not to drag them into all of this... again, the demographics of the site skew young. I've messaged them suggesting it might be wise to delete the tweets in question, because anybody who's watching my Twitter conversations might see the first one and think the same thing I did.

I'm deleting my own tweets as well, because the most likely way for someone to stumble across the tweet in question is to see my side of the conversation and wonder what it's about. I -hope- they would be able to tell from the context that it was a lot more benign than it looks, but... well, people can be fierce when they're acting in protection of someone, and I don't want anyone accidentally being fierce at this random person on my behalf.

That's the second reason I'm posting about this: so that anyone who saw the exchange and didn't understand it will know what's up. And in a more CYA sense, so anybody who realizes something happened and got deleted knows I'm not actually hiding anything. I'm not trying to protect myself but a bystander with a reeeeeally bad sense of timing.

The first reason?

Because, by light of day... it's all really kind of funny, in an "I AM THE VIPER." sort of way.

(It's especially funny to Jack, because as a result of this he's found my old profile and is chuckling himself silly at my twenty-something self.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
Okay, so eagle-eyed readers spotted that I put a reference to the MUniverse equivalent of a Cracked article into a recent chapter of Tales of MU. This is actually something of an anachronism, as the MU timeline as it was originally conceived was a bit behind ours in terms of any parallels.... the year 222 M.E. was chosen because I went to college 222 years after the American revolution was kicked off.

I love Cracked for a lot of reasons, but me being me, one of the reasons I love it is because it's a great indication of how big a game-changer the internet is. When I was growing up, Cracked was an inferior imitation of the venerable Mad Magazine. I loved Mad for being a source of consistently awesome and well-constructed and hilarious puns (also known as the only kind of puns there are) and also for being one of the two sources of information about transsexual/transgenderism that was available to a small-town kid when I was growing up.

(The other major source was TV shows and movies. In both cases, the information was the same: "This concept actually exists, and it is both hilarious and creepy." But you know what? That was better than not knowing it existed. Thinking oneself to be a kind of freak that actually exists out in the world is better than thinking oneself to simply be a freakish anomaly of a freak. This, of course, is another way that the internet is a game-changer.)

Nowadays, of course, Cracked is not an inferior knock-off of anything. They're not the only daily update humor site. I can't point to any one thing they definitively started doing before anyone else. But they do everything they do so well. And their articles have actually enriched my life in a few ways.

But of course, even a... fixed clock... is wrong... once a... okay, this metaphor doesn't work. The point is that everyone gets things wrong sometimes. Cracked as an entity has no viewpoint, it's made up of individual writers and outside submitters. But the one of those individual writers who came up with one of today's offerings, a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the way news spread across the internet in the wake of Osama's death, missed the mark, I believe.

He's talking about how we all follow celebrities and such on Twitter, which increases the chances that we'll only get their viewpoints and their takes on the news. He says this:

When JFK was killed, Walter Cronkite broke into an episode of As the World Turns to tell the nation. Nobody breaks into your Twitter feed to tell you that CNN's Breaking News feed is going to be reporting actual breaking news for the next three days.


But you know what? That's pretty close to what happens. The person on your Twitter feed who follows CNN will retweet the important, attention-grabbing stories. If all you follow are celebrities, then when you see The Rock or some guy from the Jersey Shore tweeting a 140 character blurb about some major news thing, you're going to hit Google. There was a story in the news recently about just how much news traffic is being generated by stuff shared on Facebook. That same principle applies here.

I'm not trying to offer a serious critique of the Cracked article here. But it provides a useful-jumping off point for repeating something I've said before, regarding publishing: we're the new gatekeepers. Us.

Was there some problem with people finding about Osama's death? No. The whole industrialized western world found out about it, and as individuals a lot of us learned about it faster than we would have if we had to wait until we were within earshot of a television or radio.

And it's not just big stories that get channeled to our ears. It's "little" stories, stuff that's important to us but that the media would not position as a major story. To some extent that contributes to the online echo chamber effect, as we all funnel stories to each other that we know the recipients are likely to be interested in or agree with (or be outraged by), but anybody who's spent more than 15 minutes on a social network knows it's impossible to be completely insulated from opposing viewpoints.

There are a lot of things that can be critiqued in the way we collectively covered and responded to the coverage of Osama bin Laden's death, but the way the information spread through Twitter doesn't begin to "prove we're screwed".
alexandraerin: (Default)
Got a question on my Twitter the other day, in response (I believe) to one of my "prepping" tweets:

I have several "rituals" I do before sitting down to write; these help my subconscious muse get ready. What is your process?


Well, to answer that: I don't have a lot of "rituals", per se. My habits are too protean in nature... I acquire them quickly and drop them just as quickly.

But here's what I generally do. If I get up earlyish (between 7 and 9), I spend some time in the morning checking all the websites I would be wont to check during the day... comics, Cracked, blogs, etc. If I run out of stuff to do but it's still not time to "clock in" and write (I like to start things on the hour or failing that the half hour, because it makes it easy to keep track of stuff) then I might blog or I might put on something relaxing and just lean back for a while.

Then when it's time to get to work, I... do nothing for an hour.

This is what I call "prep time". Prep time might be spent brainstorming, it might be spent basically clearing my mind, it might be spent imagining in minute detail the conversation or narration I'm going to write. It all depends on which way the wind is blowing in my head... if I have ideas coming hot and fast a million miles a minute, I need the prep time to explore that so that when I sit down to write I can focus, and that's when I brainstorm. If I have other things on my mind, I need to clear it. When the stars are perfectly aligned and all my neurons are lining up to complete their appointed tasks, then I spend an hour thinking about what I'm going to write in my first hour of work... because I've found the results of doing that are better than sitting down and writing for two hours straight.

After prep time, I write for an hour. My writing posture would probably make some people giggle. I recline my chair and put my feet up on a footstool, and put the keyboard (and sometimes the mouse) on a lapdesk. I usually put on my headphones when I'm writing. What I listen to is going to be one of the following:

1. A single song on repeat. (Right now that's most likely going to be "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele, but I go through phases.)
2. Relaxation/meditation music, often with masked binaural effects or alleged subliminal messages. Placebo effect or not, I like these things.
3. Unmasked binaural tones. Again, maybe it's the placebo effect but they work for me... and they're also great for blocking out outside noises.

During my prep time I may be at my computer in this position and listening to similar music, or I may be lying on the floor staring at the ceiling, or I may be up moving around, usually fidgeting with something or throwing and catching it. Sometimes my brain works best when my body is being distracted. Sometimes I take a bath during prep. The important thing is that I find something that works for my state of mind, whatever it is at the moment. Trying to do the same thing all the time doesn't work.

Often during one prep period (this one, today) I just take a break completely and piddle around on the internet, blog, have lunch, etc. Sometimes when my "break" is over I find that I'm ready to sit down and start writing immediately, other times I find I need a proper prep period. A lot of the time it's the former case... when I'm on a roll even if I'm turning my conscious attention to other things bits of story still flash behind my eyes.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Finally wrote my sleep schedule has been, Wednesday's update progress - Something on my brain's slowing.

Other up to be finished late tonight. Okay, you need to be finished out the grace to write. Ack.

Chapter 2 chapter 5 construction here: I not half the real this time. : I wrote 2,000+ words today.

Was abducted for reptilefolk to write. Just posted first chapter finished, posting soon.

Another snippet of view coming up the sleep. is updated - Today is back into, and then back into, and all.


Above are the first five results I got using the My Next Tweet, an awesome "service" that blends your Twitter feed and regurgitates a random tweet based on your previous postings.

The one I've bolded is my favorite. If I hadn't just had new business cards made, I'd put "Was abducted for reptilefolk to write." put on my business cards.

Edit:

For extra fun, you can put in other people's names. I was going to make a sample list of the output for the celebrities I follow, but I don't think I could ever top the first result I got for the first person I tried it with -

@GeorgeTakei: "I am a comedy about prune juice."
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

A tweet by Tim Pratt yesterday:

When younger, it bothered me that my 1st response to any criticism of my work was incoherent rage. Now I know it's just part of my process.


Gives me some nice perspective. The world doesn't consist of people who take criticism with quiet dignity and grace and people who go all Scott Adams or Anne Rice with nothing in between.

I just might frame that tweet and put it up on my wall next to the picture of Office Productivity Manager Batman. The purpose of the quote wouldn't be to justify my anger. It would be to lessen it, by giving me something to smile at when I'm inclined towards anger.

Personal Assessment

My brain is so burnt from this weekend. I got to sleep late last night and woke up late today, and my brain is still in a fog.

Plans For Today

Pretty minimal. I'm going to post Tales of MU chapter 6 when I'm awake enough to be messing around with that sort of thing, which I'm going to estimate as being anywhere between 2:00 and 6:00. That, and posting a flash story from my file, is going to be about it. I might write a few flash stories today if the fog clears sufficiently... if I can get two or three of them, then with the built-up backlog of such stories I won't have to give another day this week over to Fantasy In Miniature and so I won't fall behind for the week.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I just removed a Facebook status I made about Rebecca Black's video Friday, which I'd been ignoring/overlooking up to this point. I don't really pay attention to music trends. Pop music's not my specific thing. I'm not one of the types who's scathingly critical of music for being popular or commercial. Sometimes I encounter pop music that I like. Again, I say it's not my specific thing.

But two people on my Wall were talking about her, so I Googled the original video and found it. The thing that struck me about it was that the lyrics and video matched up in a really obvious and banal way that reminded me of the "literal video" trend, where the bizarre imagery of a typical music video is described by parody lyrics. The best example (in terms of both quality and humor) of this that I know is the Total Eclipse of the Heart one. The Facebook post I made was a play on this. I took it down because however amusing this is to me, I don't care to be part of either the hype or the ridicule that's swirling around this young woman.

I do want to talk about the phenomenon, though, and to do that I need to start this post by mentioning two very important things that I learned approximately five seconds after noticing Rebecca Black and her video existed. I'm mentioning these things because six seconds after I noticed their existence, I realized a lot of people talking about her and the video don't know these things.

The first is that Rebecca Black is a thirteen-year-old girl, and no, that's not cause for mockery.

Or rather, it is but it shouldn't be.

To be a thirteen-year-old girl in our society is almost categorically to be the subject of cruel mockery. That doesn't change if you're "the popular girl" instead of "the outcast", if a Platonic School exists somewhere that these classes are absolute. The popular girls are being viciously mocked by the outcasts. I'm not trying to say that they go through equal amounts of social hell, but it takes a naive understanding of sociology and psychology to think that popular, conventionally attractive tween/teenage girls aren't harmed by the ridicule directed at them.

I'm also not saying that thirteen-year-old boys aren't the targets of scorn and ridicule. They are. Among the list of failures of the United States education system, the failure to provide a safe environment for anyone is pretty high on the list, and it contributes to the other failures. But this is a case of intersectionality. Intersecting pressures and prejudices don't add, they multiply. Young women are under more pressure from more directions, and bullying tends to hit the same pressure points that are already weakened.

So, no mockery of Rebecca Black from me. And none from you who are reading this. Not here. Not in space that I control.

The second important thing is that she didn't write the lyrics or direct the video, no matter how DIY it seems. These were handed to her by ARK Music Factory, which advertises itself as an indie record label but is actually a vanity press for would-be musicians. It's like those places in the mall where you can go and have a CD or DVD made of yourself singing a popular song in front of a bluescreened background or whatever (Do those places still exist? Did they ever? I've only ever seen them in TV shows.), except they charge you thousands of dollars and represent themselves as a place that can help launch a career.

The song is seriously shitty. The video is equally shitty. The reason for this is because they were produced by a company that exists to part people from their money as efficiently as possible, and you don't do that by spending a lot of money on songwriters and cinematographers. The verses of the song are blatantly filler. The refrains aren't actual refrains. They are imitations of a refrain written by someone who has heard many.

Now here's where it gets interesting to me, and this is the reason why I want to talk about Rebecca Black even though I don't want to add even my small voice to the firestorm around here. If I just felt bad about the status update I would have deleted it.

But as I said, here's the interesting thing.

Like Douglas Adams's "holistic detective" Dirk Gently, ARK Music has managed to accidentally deliver on their scam. Thanks to the magical intersection of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and assholes on the internet, Rebecca Black's a star. Sure, she's getting reamed by the interneluminati and panned by critics... but hey, so are lots of legitimate musical acts.

And in fact, while we can pinpoint how and why the lyrics suck so badly, the fact is that it's hard to find anything bad to say about Rebecca Black that isn't a focused microcosm of the general criticism that pop music tends to receive.

So here's the question: her utterly manufactured celebrity, her fame that is utterly divorced from whatever creative talents she may or may not have... is Rebecca Black somehow a less legitimate sensation than the Spice Girls, or the Monkees, or any number of boy bands or girl bands or pop stars who were manufactured on purpose, by people on the inside of the music industry making deliberate and cynical use of its apparatus?

Please don't jump in to tell me about how talented members of the Monkees were. I'm not saying they weren't. I'm saying their talents didn't make them famous. Men in suits made them famous. Their genuine talent was incidental and in fact a little inconvenient.

The difference between those examples and Rebecca Black? Well, apart from the fact that the full extent of her talent has yet to be seen, the main difference is she doesn't have the men in suits backing her. ARK Music, yes, but they probably didn't expect more than from her than any client whose check they cashed, and that would mainly be the check and some more referrals from their friends and relatives before the shine wears off the dream. They aren't savvy insiders in the business of creating genuine stars. It's like the difference between being an actual kingmaker and being the casting director for a community playhouse production of Richard III.

If Rebecca had been positioned for stardom by insiders, she might have slightly better lyrics... or at least lyrics that are awful in conventionally acceptable ways. The overprocessing in post-production of her voice would be better done, but it would still be just as overprocessed. The video would probably be horrible in ways that go way beyond being banal. And the same corners of the internet that are eviscerating her now would be eviscerating her. Given the number of "how did she get a music deal?" comments I've seen while writing this post, it seems likely that a good number of the people tearing her down don't realize she's not actually a typical pop starlet. There are plenty who do know at the very least that her video is "an internet thing", but be honest: if you heard the song for the first time on a Top 40 radio station, would you be thinking "Clearly this is some internet nobody's song that somehow was played by accident here." or would you be thinking it simply reflected the state of the pop music industry that this sort of thing can end up on the radio?

I don't know if radios are playing it, but her song's on iTunes, and I have to believe that some people are buying it, given the number of people talking about it. Some people are enjoying it unironically... as I've said in a previous post, the thing that you think is the shittiest thing in the world is somebody else's favorite thing. Yeah, more people are listening to it for free on YouTube or downloading it from a friend or peer-to-peer network, but the thing about iTunes and similar services is that they're cheap enough and convenient enough that they twig as "practically free" to a lot of people on the level where snap decisions are made. (Shades of the e-book price discussion here.)

She's now performed her song on Good Morning America. And much like a pageant contestant stripped of 17 layers of makeup, her voice turns out to be a lot better without all the autotune. Not what you would call "professional quality", but careers have been built around worse voices. Will she have a career as anything other than a novelty act? Don't know. Could she have managed to start a career some other way? Don't know. But it's too early to say she's a flash-in-the-pan.

Tori Amos started out with an 80s hairband. Natalie and Nicole Appleton started out as members of All Saints. Hanson started out as Hanson. Musicians overcome their roots and re-invent themselves all the time. I don't believe... and this carries the caveat that it is based entirely on watching two performances... that Rebecca Black has the chops right now for a "serious" career, but it's worth repeating that she's thirteen and "wouldn't be able to get a scholarship to a classical conservatory based on a singing audition" or "wouldn't impress Simon Cowell" aren't the same thing as "doesn't have a voice worth listening to" or "couldn't establish a musical career".

I'll put it in very simple terms: her voice is good enough that if she were singing something I thought was worth listening to, I would listen to it. Unless you're a choral music snob or something, the same is probably true of you. I like some musicians with amazing vocal talents and ranges, and I like some who have throats that get the job done while they sing songs that I like and they sing with emotional authenticity and passion. I think this is probably true of all of us.

And yes, this echoes what I said about writing the other day. You don't have to have a "good" voice, for any objective measurement of "good" that anyone wants to propose, to be a singer. A voice that is interesting and/or inoffensive can be enough if your music speaks to people.

(More on the significance of gender: I believe that audiences are more forgiving of men who don't have "good" voices. I'm not saying there aren't women who built their careers around a distinct and unconventional sound, but society is loads more superficial when it comes to women in the spotlight than men. There are a lot more gravelly-voiced male singers than female ones. If a woman is going to sound bestial or grungy, she's also got to sound sultry while she's doing it.)

And even if this is the beginning and end of her career as a musician, she's had this experience. She's got her 15 minutes.

Now, if you're a musician trying to launch a career, I don't recommend that you seek out ARK, or anonymous assholes on the internet who will tell you to kill yourself. (You don't have to seek the latter out, anyway. They come with the gig. Anonymous internet assholes are the 21st century equivalent of "groupies".) The point of this all is more to simply say: take heart, social media exists and it is mighty. It's mighty enough to turn a scam into reality just by existing.
alexandraerin: (Default)
...and they are things about the realities of a movie business in which a $4 million film needs to make $50 million in profits to break even.

It was a massive screed on Twitter, apparently, but The AV Club has a compilation of them. I don't have the spoons to dig into this at the moment, but I see interesting things in there that apply to other creative endeavors.

(Though it's worth pointing out that people who aren't engaged in endeavors that have multimillion dollar backing already have to find ways to do their own promotion in ways that are remarkably similar to what he has in mind. So maybe the post I would be writing here would be less about how Kevin Smith's movie distribution model can lead the way for artists in other media and more about how artists in other media are showing that Kevin's idea should work.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
Me: Hey, Levar Burton's live-tweeting his first taste of absinthe.
My Housemate: Are you serious?
Me: Yeah... but you don't have to take my word for it.

...and now, my life is complete.
alexandraerin: (Cake)
Jack tells me that today is Alan Moore's birthday. As we all know, there are three appropriate ways to celebrate this:

1. Sacrifice a cake to a farcical Roman snake god.
2. Have your name removed from something.
3. Post random facts about Alan Moore on Twitter with the hashtag "#moorefacts"

Come on... you know you want to.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I had a post about Amanda Fucking-Palmer of the Boston Fucking-Palmers that I was working on the other day, which I accidentally closed out (and then bungled the "restore saved draft") thing. It was all about a blog post of hers that [livejournal.com profile] ephant tipped me to, where she reproduced an email she sent someone about her experiences using Twitter to interact directly with her fans... and how she's made more money doing this than she made off her celebrity-produced studio-backed album.

(Her blog post is here, but you have to scroll way down to find the relevant passage.)

I don't follow Amanda Palmer's career that closely... I'm only one state away from Neil Gaiman and I can hear him just fine from here. But it really is amazing what she's done for herself.

At the moment I'm writing this, she's answering randomly tweeted questions to kill time while in flight to the west coast. Warren Ellis, observing the goings-on, had this to say:


The level of determination @amandapalmer shows to engage directly with her audience is fascinating me. Post-Mystique Pop Life.


That's a brilliant phrase. "Post-Mystique Pop Life". It's been a while since I bothered to engage with anyone who really feels this way, but I used to argue with people who had what my dad called the "High Priest" mentality about the writing and publishing industry... they wanted the mystique, they wanted the separation between author and audience, because layers of insulation come with the barriers to entry they had to surmount and the golden gates they had to gain admittance through in order to get where they are today.

Amanda Palmer had this to say, possibly intended as a response to Warren's tweet (and working well as a response even if that wasn't her intent):

... it's safer to run into it. like turning and accelerating into a curve when drag-racing. your audience should be a friend, not a foe.


De-mystification puts a lot of high priests out of jobs. It opens a lot of doors. It doesn't mean that everybody gets to be famous and successful but it means that anybody can be... it means that nobodies could be.

Amanda F. Palmer is somebody. She was able to make a relative killing on Twitter in a few hours selling t-shirts spontaneously because she's got a huge following as a result of her music. That's not a feat that could be easily replicated. Not everyone could just jump on the internet and do the same thing... but then, neither could Amanda have done so. She had to put in the work to get to where she is.

But I think a lot of her career has been driven by the following she gains through the internet, via word-of-mouth and word-of-mouse. I don't believe it's necessarily true that you have to have the record deal (or the book deal, or whatever) first and then you can go on the internet and start using your fans to make magic happen. I think you can find your fans that way in the first place.

It's not necessarily easy and it's not necessarily instantaneous, but achieving success never is.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Along the lines of my post about not trying to work all the information you have about a world and its characters into the story, there are things I know about MU that aren't necessarily going to find their way into the story. So, I've started using Twitter to slip out a tidbit about MU or the MUniverse.

I've also put out a Twitter call for people to remind me of characters they'd like to see at the Veil Ball. There are a lot of characters who have been defined on campus... and there will be 2-3 more installments revolving around it, so I'll have plenty of chances for characters to be encountered. Students, teachers. It's a party. Whatever.

You can throw your suggestions out here, too, but the main reason I'm making this post is to call attention to the fact that I'm doing fun stuff on Twitter, for a certain value of "fun". Feel free to join in! (And if you want the random tidbits but don't want to set up a Twitter account, bookmark the search I linked to.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
1. Before joining a round table discussion on Twitter in which you're apt to post approximately eleventy billion tweets, turn off the thing that echoes your twitter output to Facebook.

2. Wordpress's QuickEdit feature lets you change the title slug (for making unique URLs for each post) of each posts with a single click and a carriage return, which makes the tedious chore I've been dragging out all day a lot less tedious. I just finished fixing volume five of Tribe: Fantasy In Miniature in like two minutes.

But on the other hand, if I hadn't been doing the first four volumes the slow way, I wouldn't have been desperately bored enough to watch what was happening on Twitter, so I would have missed a lot of potentially valuable connections with like-minded individuals.

C'est la vie.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The interesting thing about the Twitter chat (she said in between actually working on the website) is how it's forcibly democratic and egalitarian.

For those whose Twit Fu is even weaker than mine, everybody on Twitter is broadcasting on the same frequency. People simulate topics/channels using "hashtags", which is a hash sign and a keyword, and then you can run a search on that to see everybody who has tweeted about it in the last little bit. Some people use client programs that do running updates, like an auto-refreshing chatroom, but unlike a chatroom there's no way to keep people out of the discussion... anybody can run a search and anybody can type the tag on their post.

I only found out about this because someone I'm watching on Twitter posted and the #writechat tag interested me so I searched it, and jumped in when I saw the topics of discussion were Of Interest to me. I think I pulled a few other people in, in a similar fashion.

Anyway, because anyone can see the tag and join in, the conversation's not restricted to a single viewpoint. The individual who "hosts" (really, jumpstarts) the writer chat circle seems to represent a very by-the-book industry oriented viewpoint: if you want to be a writer, you pay someone to edit your manuscript before you try to hire an agent and then the agent gets you a deal and so on. I'm sure that works for some people, but as another person pointed out, there are agents who don't want to see edited manuscripts, they want to know exactly what they're dealing with in the raw.

There is no universal approach that will work for every person in every case, and so a diversity of voices and viewpoints is a good thing.

I did get the distinct impression that not everybody thought so, though. I got a distinct vibe from some people that they felt applecarts were being upset by the presence of radical dissent. (Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!) But the nature of Twitter is such that even if they don't like it they can't do anything about it.

Anybody who wants to take advantage of its open nature is going to have to cope with everything that openness entails. And if they really can't coexist with the conflicting viewpoint, well... they're probably not going to stick around themselves.

Twit.

Jun. 28th, 2009 03:22 pm
alexandraerin: (Writing Dirty)
So, in order to get the comment system to work on Tribe and Void Dogs, I have to provide each story item with a unique clean URL, much like the other stories. It's not hard, just takes a lot of repetitive work.

So of course I joined in a writer chat circle on Twitter.

:P

And when I opined that first person perspective is unfairly deprecated by trained writers when it honestly can be more engaging for readers, another author popped up to say that writing first person requires discipline you won't find in a novice. I replied that I disagreed, that it should be done in a natural and easy style (if you're not writing noir) and that it should thought of as drawing freehand: keep a loose grip, easy motions, and don't be afraid to show mistakes.

His response was:

publish something, then I'll be interested in why you disagree


(I'd link to it but it appears he's since deleted it.)

I responded as well you may expect me to have responded, if you read my blog. But then I got curious. I figured from what he said that he was a Published Author himself. So I went to his website and looked around.

Here's his book.

Note the URL.

Now, I'm not about to badmouth anyone for self-publishing on Lulu. Obviously not. After all, I'm not a hypocrite. I say a dozen times a day that self-publishing is a viable and valid approach. It's the one I use.

But usually when somebody tells me "Publish something before you try to talk about writing," it can be assumed they mean, "Convince a publisher that your work is worth spending their money to print and try to sell to the public", not "Go out and actually personally publish something yourself."

(For bonus lulz, look at who left the first review on his book.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
Okay, so, I've received some mixed feedback on my renewed and reinvigorated Twitter presence. Some readers like it when I'm more engaging, but some people just want something they can watch to get a convenient notice when an update comes out or when something is delaying me. I tried having two Twitter accounts for a while, but it proved to be a bit of a hassle and the result was that I pretty much neglected both of them. What I'm doing right now works for me, in a very real way.

But, I'm improving my twit-fu and I'm learning about the benefits of hash tags. Every time I post an update or an important update-related piece of information to Twitter, I will tag it with "#ae_stories". So if you bookmark/watch this search page or put that tag into your fancy Twitter client, you'll get just the goods without being subjected to any inane chatter, retweets, shilling for my friends unbiased editorial reviews, etc.
alexandraerin: (Default)
When Kilgore Trout, Kurt Vonnegut's extra-crochety alter ego, sees a bit of bathroom graffiti that reads, "What is the purpose life?", he answers it, "To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool!"

#iranelection on Twitter.
alexandraerin: (Free Speech)
...for the times, they are a... you know the rest.

This Salon article popped up on Twitter, repeated dutifully by [livejournal.com profile] shadesong who is spending her day echoing the revolution in Iran so that there will be one more voice to add to the volume and help carry it to further audiences.

The whole situation there is making Warren Ellis and Transmetropolitan seem very prescient: violent government crackdowns caught on camera and broadcast around the world, information slipping in and out of holes that move around the internet faster than they can be closed. AmazonFail showed us how quickly things can blow up on the internet when information spreads organically and virally across distributed clouds of people. Iran is showing us just how much difference this can make.

The article linked above has this to say, from someone on the ground:


Either way, have no doubt, the IRI, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is over. A leading cleric has already announced that we are no longer ruled by the Islamic "Republic" (jomhuri e Islami) but the Islamic government (hookoomat e Islami). Whether now or in a few months or years, the game is over.


The government of Iran can no longer claim to represent the people. The claim of Republic is thus no longer useful. But how well will the government be able to maintain its power now that this pretense has been cast aside, now that they're attacking their own people with electric batons and machetes with the whole world watching? It's that last part that's key, because this is far from the first time that people in power have done horrible things to people without it. The Islamic Republic is dead, but what will replace it is far for clear-cut.

The world is changing. The birthing cries of the internet have been interpreted as the deathknell sounding for many things: the profitability of music and movies, the proliferation of basic literacy, the skills of social interaction and human empathy, and... as someone noted on Twitter (there's so much ReTweeting right now I wouldn't know who to attribute it to originally)... civic involvement. [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna said something along these lines in one of her recent posts:


People say the internet alienates people, isolates them. I have no idea what they're talking about.


She was talking, of course, about the response she received to her announcement about her Fairyland project and the circumstances surrounding it.

The internet doesn't make people stop caring any more than it makes people stop reading or enjoying other entertainment media, and it doesn't make people stop fighting for what's right. It just gives us new ways to do these things.

It's up to us to seize them.

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