blogging

/Tag: blogging

Capitalism devours everything.

So hey did you ever notice that the decline of blogging not only seemed to coincide with the rise of more “informal” social media… but also with the advent of large media outlets actually, like. Paying for blog posts?

Funny, that…

Relatedly: So about six months ago I met my friend’s girlfriend, who normally lives halfway across the world from both myself and Friend, for the first time. I only knew Friend’s Girlfriend by her first name, but she nonetheless looked extremely familiar. Eventually, I got enough courage to ask, “So, hey. Weird question, but… did you used to write for The Border House?”

For those of you who don’t remember, The Border House was basically the first website to examine videogames through an intersectional lens. Nowadays it seems almost forgotten, in part (though admittedly not whole) because its market—and its writers—got gobbled up by commercial publications like Kotaku, Polygon, and so on.

As it turned out, Friend’s Girlfriend was, indeed, the person I thought she was, and we had a nice little reminisce about the site. And how it ended. Small fucking world, turns out.

2019-02-05T14:33:02+10:0018th July, 2019|Tags: blogging, social media|

1999.

As someone who, was indeed, “building it themselves” in 1999 (where “it” is “a blog”), I am totally all over this retrospective on early social media

(Also, man. DreamBook and Pitas… I’d totally forgotten about DreamBook and Pitas!)

2019-02-04T11:13:17+10:006th July, 2019|Tags: blogging, internet, pop culture, social media, tech|

FuturePress.

On the future of WordPress.

I’ve used WordPress technically since before it was WordPress, and I’ve used it as my main blogging system since about 2006.1 I like WordPress, and I still think it’s a better blogging solution than like 99% of its alternatives.2 That being said, I feel it is noticeably…. lagging, in recent years. I suppose radical change is difficult when you power like thirty percent of the internet, but WordPress’s lack of adoption of more recent blog technologies—anything and everything from inline comments to ActivityStream—make it feel kinda… old. And Gutenberg…

Ugh.

Maybe it’s just that I’m starting to want something different than what WordPress fundamentally is. The platform is still great for, say, powering my job’s largely-static corporate website, whose primary purpose is to be basically a glossy web brochure that can be readily updated by people with no webdev skill. And WordPress is still great for, say, the CSFG, which runs a combination ecommerce/forum website. But for my own website, i.e. this one, right here, that I basically use as a hub to all my other online presences, crossposting and interfacing as appropriate…?

I won’t lie: I’ve thought, more than once, about going back to something self-created.

Maybe. If there’s time…

  1. Before that, I used a spaghetti-coded homebrew abortion I’d taught myself to program on in circa 2001.
  2. Don’t even get me started on Medium…
2019-04-29T12:06:43+10:0017th February, 2019|Tags: blogging, tech, wordpress|

Better.

So here’s the thing:

  1. The blogosphere was not always better than the contemporary social web;
  2. The blogosphere felt like it was getting better in a way that the contemporary social web does not.

Jason Kottke on the old web.

So this post by and about Super Mainstream Tech Bloggers… but I also find it interesting in light of the conversations around platform fandom is currently having…

2019-02-04T08:35:04+10:0022nd January, 2019|Tags: blogging, internet, social media|

CSFG panel recap: Authors vs. platforms.

So as mentioned previously, last Wednesday I was on a panel at our local SFF writer’s group, talking about author platforms along with co-panellists Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Chris Andrews. It wasn’t a super-formal panel, and I didn’t take notes, but I’m sure some of the discussion will be of interest to some people, so I’ve done my best to recap the salient points below…

(more…)

2019-07-31T09:37:37+10:0022nd June, 2018|Tags: blogging, csfg, publishing, sff, writing, xp|

CSFG panel recap: Authors vs. blogging.

So last night I was invited by our local specific author’s guild, the CSFG, to be on a panel about Blogging For Writers. My fellow panellists were the wonderful and talented Ian McHugh, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, and Nalini Haynes, with the ever-prepared Leife Shallcross directing the discussion and keeping us all in line.

It was a pretty awesome fun night. I was there as the tech geek and “longest running longitudinal study on blogging ever” (I’ve been blogging, more or less consistently, since 1999), though I ended up digressing into a bit of neepery on publishing in general in the middle, mostly because it’s a topic my dead black heart finds endlessly interesting.

Anyway, I’m not going to recap the entire discussion, but have some summary thoughts nonetheless:

  1. Despite “conventional wisdom”, you do not need an established social media presence to get a publishing contract. This was one of those memes that was going around the industry a few years back, and has now (mostly) run its course. Having a big pre-existing following used to be attractive to publishers under the assumption it would allow already tight marketing budgets to stretch further (you don’t need to do much marketing on behalf of someone who already has a platform… right?). However, this has proved to be not as much the case as publishers originally hoped. Basically, the link between “follow someone on Twitter” and “buy someone’s books” isn’t as tightly coupled as publishers hoped. (It’s not nothing, but it’s not everything either.)
  2. That being said, yes, your publishers expect you to be an active participant in your own marketing, and that will include being able to write blog posts. Better start practicing now.
  3. Everyone on the panel used blogging differently. Elizabeth started her blog to promote her freelance editing services1 and then fell into the wonderful world of book blogging. Ian uses his blog as a portfolio and a platform to answer craft questions.2 Nalini runs Dark Matter Zine. I  blog because I always have and I like to fiddle with the tech. The point is, find your own use for your online presence, even if it’s just a single static page saying “here I am and here’s what I do”.
  4. Blogging (in the conventional sense) is kinda dead… but a lot of the industry still hangs around on places like Twitter and LiveJournal. There’s probably a broader discussion to be had in here about “social media for fan outreach” versus “social media for professional networking” that we didn’t get into last night, but… hmm.
  5. We didn’t really get too much into the different platforms, but continuing on the theme above: different blogging platforms reach different audiences. Know which one you’re going for and target accordingly.
  6. Never forget that, as an author, your online presence is your professional presence, and to act accordingly. What that means, in a nutshell, is don’t publicly trash-talk other people in the industry: editors, agents, fellow authors, publishers, reviewers, whatever. (Panel-agreed exception: Vox Day. No-one likes that guy.)
  7. Speaking of: controversial opinions, having them. Being outspoken on a particular social and/or political topic can be part of your online “brand”. If you can work it for you, then work it for you, but be aware that’s what you’re doing.3
  8. On the same topic, online harassment and blacklash sucks. The panel swapped some war stories and discussed their strategies for dealing with it. Mine, for better or for worse, is that I tone down my public persona quite a lot.
  9. Finally, it’s never too early to start any of this. In fact, start yesterday. Start ten years ago.

… And by the time we’d covered all of that, it was 9:30 and we got kicked out of the room.

All-in-all, it was a fun night and a good discussion, and I hope people got something out of it. Particularly all the new people (there were a lot of new people, which is rad). I’d especially like to thank Leife and the CSFG committee for inviting me to speak, and to everyone who showed up to listen.

See everyone next month!

  1. Which she’s awesome at, plug plug.
  2. Ian teaches writing short courses at CIT, which are also awesome, plug plug.
  3. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons I’m always… conflicted about writing publicly about diversity in books/publishing. It’s something I believe in promoting, quite strongly, but because it’s something I believe in it’s something I struggle with writing about authentically rather than as a marketing gimmick.
2019-04-29T11:41:09+10:0018th February, 2016|Tags: blogging, csfg, fandom, sff, writing, xp|