Blogging

But let’s not lose sight of the real issue

Today I found the kids watching an episode of Arthur titled “Muffy and the Big Bad Blog,” in which one of the kids started a blog. The blog initially becomes very popular, but soon enough, the episode devoted itself to teaching kids that social media will ruin their lives as it inevitably becomes a conduit for gossip and the destruction of their privacy.

However, between the two main plot points–between the blog having its first bloom of popularity, and then turning into an instrument of gossip in order to restore that flagging popularity–there was a brief moment when Muffy ran out of things to say, encapsulated by Arthur exclaiming, in a combination of bewilderment and disgust, “Now she’s blogging about … blogging?

I don’t know whether it was conscious or not, but I loved it: a brief moment before we get to the designated “lesson” of the episode, during which the writer slipped in the real reason to be wary of blogging (or microblogging): the inherent, narcissistic self-involvement so many of us seem prone to when we sink our teeth into the medium.

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Welcome (back)

This post marks my official transition to my new home on the web, IanCRacey.com.  With A Traitor’s Loyalty coming out, it’s time I have an actual dedicated website.  My old blog at I, Ian will no longer be getting updated, and in fact, anyone trying to get there should–if it’s all working right–find themselves redirected here.

If you’ve been following I, Ian through a Reader, there shouldn’t be any disruption for you–the feed has been forwarded, so you’ll continue to receive all my posts.  (In fact, I’m posting this from the new site, so if you’re seeing it now, that’s exactly what’s happening.)  And all the old content from I, Ian has been imported here.

I think the new site looks really great, and big thanks to Brendan Kelly and Kelly Web Solutions for putting it together–and for doing it so quickly after I’d dragged my feet way too long on getting the process started.  You’ll notice that a lot of it is devoted to A Traitor’s Loyalty.  I’d hoped to have it up for 1 May, to coincide with Traitor’s publication, but it’s worked out all right considering that Traitor’s been delayed a few weeks.  (That’s a spoiler for the topic of my next post.)

Hi everyone!

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The Doctor Who Rewatch: all grown up and moving out

The Doctor Who rewatch posts are heading on out to their own blog. With a book coming out in May, one purpose of this blog in the near future is going to be outreach, and I really don’t think it can be at its most effective for that if half of the posts any new visitor finds on the front page are in-depth summaries of forty-year-old televised science fiction.

Of course, everyone’s welcome to follow us on out to the new digs at The Great Doctor Who Rewatch. (This also means the rewatch posts will no longer be automatically imported to Facebook, though I might still post links to them.) Back here, we now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

(I originally moved the rewatch to Doctor Who Rewatch dot Blogspot dot Com, until I saw the string drwhorewatch.blogspot.com appear on the screen.)

D’oh!

Mary IISo it turns out thinking of a new topic to blog about every day for a whole month is hard. Really hard.

So hard, in fact, that I don’t think I can keep it up anymore. I know we’re so very close to the end, but I’m going to have to state, reluctantly, that today, the last day of NaBloPoMo, will see no post on my …

Damn. Wait.

Dammit.

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NaBloPoMo

So I’ve decided to give National Blog Posting Month a shot. Thirty posts in thirty days. (This is the second post, after yesterday’s “new music purchased last month” post.)

I complained shortly after Girl’s birth about being worried about finding the time to write once I’m at home alone with two kids–and today, incidentally, is my first day home alone with them. Anyone who cares to scroll a little further down the page can see how well I did with that in the month of October. It won’t take long.

So hopefully the next 29 days will get me into the habit of writing even while handling a pair of kids, beyond just the little private doodles I’ve been doing in my spare time the past week or so. So get ready for four weeks of ramblings, lists, and armchair discussion of Manchester United or the Florida Gators. Diane and I agreed that we’re going to motivate each other to keep going, so if you notice me flagging, you should probably head over there and complain.

Speaking of Diane, I’m going to steal an idea from her. I’ve been stockpiling ideas for posts for a few days (there’d have been another post or two at the end of October if I hadn’t known I was doing NaBloPoMo), but I still have only around ten. So what do you want me to talk about? Questions you want me to answer, topics to discuss?

See you tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

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Those people who couldn’t get jobs at Barnes & Noble

Borders employees are claiming they are being pressured into signing a non-blogging contract.

Also, this post is from infoI Work at Borders, but it’s just as perfect for anyone who’s worked at a Barnes and Noble, too. I laughed.

Though in light of the article linked to at the top of this post, it’s fascinating what a huge majority of comments on the post are anonymous. You rarely see any anonymous commenting at either of LJ’s two B&N employee communities.

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The Klingon Wore Ralph Lauren

Kirk-on-Kirk book coverFor anyone who, like me, could fill shelf and shelf with their old Star Trek tie-in novels, this isn’t something you can miss. I have actually read most of these (under their original titles, obviously) and have them all packed up in a couple of boxes out in our storage closet.

Though I’d never before noticed one of them was written by Laurell K. Hamilton.

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ABC-Across

Edmund IronsideAs you’ve probably gathered from some of the posts I’ve been making over the last couple of months, I’m on a kick right now about expanding both my iTunes music library and my musical taste in general. Actually, I’m always looking to expand my music, but recently I’ve been a bit more active about it.

To that end, then, I’m going to play the Alphabet Game, a la Slacktivist, with my iTunes playlist. Perhaps people will be interested in playing along; perhaps I’ll be met with deafening silence.

How it works: I set my iTunes library to alphabetise by track title, then post a short listing–ten or twelve songs–of consecutive tracks. You compare your own songs over the same range and let me know if there’s anything I’m missing that I just have to have–or should avoid like the plague. I want to emphasise here that I’m interested in any response people might have.

Maybe I’ll do this weekly; maybe biweekly; maybe more sporadically. Anyway, where better to start than with the first ten eleven songs on my playlist?

ABC” by the Jackson Five
“Above the Clouds” by the Electric Light Orchestra
“Abraham, Martin & John” by Dion
“Absence of Fear/This Little Bird” by Jewel
“Absolutely Zero” by Jason Mraz
Achilles Last Stand” by Led Zeppelin
The Acid Queen” by the Who
Acquiesce” by Oasis
“Across the Universe” by the Beatles
Across the Universe” by Fiona Apple
“Across the Universe [Wildlife Version]” by the Beatles

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A macrotweet

Edward the MartyrI’ve now been on Twitter for about three weeks, and I’m having a lot of fun. I feel like now I’ve been on long enough to form some firmer impressions than I had when I first started.

There’s a bit of nervousness when you first start on Twitter that you’re just being vain–or at least, there was for me. Why would anyone honestly want to know the number of bowls and wooden spoons we own keeps mysteriously dwindling? (Evidently they are, since that particular twitter* garnered a specific response.)

What helped me overcome that, though, was realising that those twitters that seem trivial and self-obsessed to me are exactly what I find interesting from the people I follow myself. Wil Wheaton actually summed it up perfectly in a post he wrote just yesterday: it’s not what are you doing right now, as is often claimed, but rather what’s on your mind right now? With the people I follow, I really do feel that “sense of connection” Twitter advertises, and it comes from them sharing both, yes, what they’re doing right now, and also what they’re thinking about right now. The whole thing takes on a stream-of-consciousness quality that really separates it out from things like Facebook.**

So my philosophy for what I twitter myself essentially became, would I find this interesting if someone I follow twittered this themselves? And overwhelmingly the answer has become, yes.

Consequent to that has come the liberating feeling of not worrying about whether my twitters are boring or too self-absorbed, because the only audience I’m worried about is me, as opposed to things like this blog, where I do give thought to how interesting a given post might be.***

Related to that is something else I think is critical to my enjoyment of Twitter–I don’t care about being followed at all. Right now I’m following eighteen Twitter users (or as I sometimes call them, Tweeple, derived, obviously, from the words Twitter and sheeple), who can be roughly sorted into two groups: celebrities and people I know, whether from real life or the Internet. For the most part my real-life/Internet friends follow me back, while the celebrities don’t.**** (Stephen Fry famously will follow anyone who asks, but I haven’t asked; I doubt there’s much point in becoming the latest of the more than thirty thousand people he follows.)

Now, I certainly appreciate my friends following me, but honestly, if one of them decided to drop me, I’d be okay with that–I assume they follow me for the same reason I follow everyone I follow, because I’m interested in what they have to say. So if my twitters aren’t something someone’s interested in, I’m not bothered by that. I do also have some followers who fall into that group of people who follow hundreds of others in the hopes of getting followed in return, but honestly, I just ignore them.***** [Is that too many asterisks?]

So. My most recent twitters can be found down the sidebar on the left side of the page. Feel free to follow along. Or not.

I

*We’re supposed to describe the act of using Twitter as tweeting, and the products of that act as tweets. I shall not be doing that.

**For whatever reason, the most common response I get when I try to explain Twitter to people is, “Oh, like Facebook.” I’m not quite sure why, though; beyond both falling under the “social networking” umbrella (do we still describe things as being Web 2.0?), I don’t really see much commonality between them myself. Both are fun, but both serve very different functions.

***Stunned though many of you might be to learn I worry about whether or not my posts are interesting before I post them.

****I’m not entirely sure if I should put Grayson in both groups. At any rate, I follow him not because of any celebrity he has–the only one of his news broadcasts I’ve ever seen was the very first, on the campus PBS station–but because he was my sugar daddy for a time in college.

*****I genuinely can’t see any point to that. If you’re a legitimate user, what’s the point of clogging up your feed with God only knows how many irrelevant twitters just to raise that number in the top right hand corner of the page? And if you’re not a legitimate user, why would you care?

I’m gender neutral

According to the GenderAnalyzer there’s a 55% chance this site is written by a male, but overall it’s pretty darn gender neutral.

I’m curious as to what criteria they use.

I

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