Social Media Stuff

I’ve been watching the turmoil across social media around the developments at Twitter. Although it isn’t something I make a lot of use of, a lot of my friends do, and it’s nice to be able to dip in now and then. I also tend to use it as another place to link to here when I post – and back in the day when Facebook allowed APIs to play nicely, I had a little chain of things set up that I could post here and see cross posting back and forth to my various other places without any intervention.

Now, just in case things go up in smoke over in that-there land of Twits, I’ve been looking at Mastodon as a decentralised alternative – mostly because most of the people I know are also heading there, along with various artists, authors, and associated ne-er do wells.

It took me a while to get to grips with it, but I’m now set up on an LGBT server (other servers, of course, are available) and am making links and getting used to the differences in how it all works – I refuse to call them toots, no matter how much they try. If anyone’s interested in wandering over – here’s a link to my profile to follow.

If you haven’t already got an account, it will then prompt you to set something up, but otherwise I’ll be able to follow you back (the usual mantra of these things – have we gone back to the noughties again?)

Hey, This Thing Still Works

Ah, yeah mea culpa, life’s been doing that thing it does, and run rings round me while I try to re-establish my footing. Between my brain being all over the place, a renewed momentum on writing the novel, work stress, and experimenting with other forms of social media expression I’ve not been blogging much.

You may have noticed.

I’ve been a bit sidetracked on a daily basis with the “My Day” function in Facebook Messenger, which allows me to broadcast photos in a pseudo-snapchat style to people who know me there, and write the occasional bit of nonsense on them. There’s a certain deadpan curiosity to seeing who looks at each picture as it sits there for 24 hours before evaporating into the relative ether.

It’s not particularly productive, or earthshattering, but it seems to tap that part of my brain that craves the validation of knowing something I’ve put up has been seen. It has been an interesting experience to observe and assess.

As for the novel, I’m trying to get down the key dialogue and elements of the next scenes so that I have all the final bones in place. I’m not giving myself a daily target, just that I write something so that each day gets me closer to finishing the elusive complete first draft at last.

I’m resisting doing any substantive editing until I’ve done that, following the lessons learned in Nanowrimo, and my own experience in getting too caught up in revising earlier chapters. This is the hard slog bit of writing, and I will get there.

So yeah, I’m still alive, more functional as a human than I’ve been in a while, and keeping going. Whimsicality and thoughtfulness shall continue here – I haven’t forgotten the site, merely let myself let go a bit while I get on with things.

Things In Common

I think one of the more difficult things to deal with sometimes, especially in this age of social media, is seeing evidence that life continues. Being poly has brought me amazing highs and lows and everything in between. It’s taught me things about myself, and introduced me to amazing people; it’s also reinforced that people are people, and we’re all as vulnerable and daft and sometimes dumb as each other in more or less equal measures.

Social media is just as double edged, especially when you see people you used to be close with posting pictures of the people now in their lives. On the one hand there’s happiness that they’re happy, but then there’s that little twinge. I think everyone gets that, no matter the genders or relationship models in question – further underlining the commonality that links us in Pride Month and in the face of those intent in driving violent wedges between communities.

Short Story: Worship Woes

It has to be said that having lesser gods take an interest in your picnic makes for a good story after the fact; but the actual experience in the moment is not all it’s cracked up to be. The problem is that they assume the spread of food and drink on the blanket is an offering to them. The thought that it might be your lunch doesn’t even seem to cross their tiny but specialised little minds.

If that sounds disrespectful that is entirely your right. I call it simply a pragmatic and empirical assessment of the situation. These small kerbside gods – the locus genii so beloved of the Romans – are basically elemental manifestations of their immediate surroundings. Unless you’re in a library – in which case the librarians are already annoyed by your bringing food near the books – most places aren’t intrinsically intelligent, self aware, or even cogniscent that there’s any difference between you, a sheep, or even the small pile of rocks by your feet.

They just want to be adored. Your implied worship when you admire the view is like bread and butter to these things, and when sacrifices are made, they positively glow. You might see it as a few dropped crumbs, or a spilled drink, but to a small god that’s fuel. With animist thought being pretty thin on the ground these days they’ve had to get creative in finding more.

They can’t control much of their surroundings – well, not usually, but please don’t go picking a fight with Father Thames to test that theory. It never goes well. But if you’ve ever wondered where the wasps come from that fall into your drinks, or the ants that spontaneously get into your fruit salad and clothing are doing there well perhaps the jigsaw puzzles are starting to fit together.

Whether you discard food that’s been ruined, or just knock it over while being divebombed, it counts as far as the small gods are concerned. It’s like being mugged by babies while they throw tantrums.

For the most part people can’t see them, which does spare some blushes as the more anthropomorphic small gods tend to not quite understand the concept of clothing, or indeed modesty. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, we did invent the concept after all. Every so often though, they try it on with someone who has the Sight, and that’s often when things start to get thrown around the place.

Kay really should know better, especially with her background, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the sight of an angry buxom redhead chasing a naked river god around our car to get her bottle of rioja back absolutely deserved to go up on Instagram. The river god didn’t show up in the picture, so it looks like she’s falling over her own feet to catch an airborne wine bottle. The picture has three hundred “likes” already. Here’s hoping the small gods don’t work out social media any time soon!

Promotions and Privacy 2

After posting last night, my mind carried on ruminating, especially about how post and blog promotion is carried out – at least in the context of WordPress, which forms the backbone of this particular site. I was actually asked for promotional advice recently, at least with regard to getting word out about new blogs, which bemused me until I remembered that many people still see the creation of blogs as a bit of a dark art.


For what it’s worth, on a simple level, it comes down to having an active presence on social media, allowing search engines to catalogue your site, and most importantly to be providing regular content. The social media comes in handy for setting up automatic cross posts when you hit the button. In the case of this blog, a link has been set up for my Google+, Twitter, and Tumblr profiles, with Twitter then bouncing content to my Facebook account.

In part, the reason for that two-stage promotion was to see if I could, back when I was setting things up, and partly because I wasn’t sure whether I intended to set up an Author’s page on Facebook. I’m still not sure about that, to be honest. My Facebook page is reasonably well locked down so that only friends can see the majority of posts and information. This way, if I ever do start a professional author page, I still have the option to cross post directly to there as a separate automated promotion, rather than having to manually copy any links. There is, occasionally, a method to my odd decisions.

In theory this allows me to preserve the privacy of my Facebook posts (something that always sounds like an oxymoron of the highest calibre), and control the information that I actively divulge. I’m aware that it won’t mean squat to intelligence agency dick pic interception capabilities, but it is the difference between my telling people here on the site a few of the things I like to cook, and publishing my credit card’s ingredients purchase history. (Not that I have a credit card these days; I got into far too much trouble when I was unwell and spent too much effort eliminating debt to fancy risking it again.)

The regular content provision really is important, but that’s a whole different battle. I’m not just talking about blog and website content here, but keeping those social media accounts active and relevant. There’s no point posting links to those accounts if that’s all you do. Quite apart from it seeming slightly rude, it seems to be a degree of diminishing returns if people are glossing past your account. If you’re engaging with people, reposting material and generally being active, then people tend to be more disposed to follow the blog links.

This seems supported by my statistics for referring sites. Those social media sites on which I’m active send far more traffic than those on which I currently have a token presence. If nothing else, that gives me an idea on which areas of activity I need to address next in my quest for world domination. I’m looking at you G+…