Tag Archives: Facebook

One Year Ago

One lovely year later, I have finished 2 whole semesters of my residency and 365 days with WordPress. I am happy to say that my year with WordPress has renewed my love of the digital world in addition to improving my writing skills. Over one hundred posts later, my need to share ideas and stories with everyone else is stronger than ever.

My initial reason for starting this blog was to gain a following for my impending writing career. My first semester at Carlow University provided a cornucopia of insight from those already “in the biz” of writing/publishing. One of the most tiring and necessary aspects of being a writer in the digital age is the need to make a brand for yourself. To have your name mean something in the world before you’re published can give the upper hand when it comes to developing a fan base.

SO, the first step is to sign up for a blog and begin writing–check! While I thought my issue would be that I didn’t have enough discipline to keep up with my blog, I soon found that I couldn’t stop. Not too long after signing up with WordPress I was writing two or three posts a day. I loved it–still do, actually. The insurmountable joy of pressing publish on an idea that you want to share with people who will argue, comment, and contribute is something blogging has made super easy.

In my third residency at Carlow (ending about two weeks ago), the concept of branding and marketing myself as a writer returned with a vengeance. It has never been more important for writers to join online writing communities, build blogs, and create a facebook page to promote the writer behind the books. One of the guest writers, Juilene Osborne-McKnight, expressed this need to blog and facebook, but she made it clear that if you don’t feel you would like blogging, you shouldn’t force yourself. While I agree that you shouldn’t make yourself do anything just for the sake of publicity, it is worth checking it out and trying it before you decide it’s never going to work. Sometimes the most unusual, unexpected things can bring a new perspective and style to your writing. And it guarantees you are going to be writing something, even when you’re stuck in the middle of a story or poem.

Any aspiring writer listening still? Go ahead sign up, it’s free, and you may find it is more helpful than just reading blogs about writing. Try writing a blog of your own 🙂

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Attack of the Procrastinator

One of my worst fears is that my procrastination will prevent my progress as a writer. It can be distressing for a writer to have a deadline looming over his/her head, but it is an occupational hazard. For most of my life, I have used deadlines and due dates as a way to push myself to write better. Procrastination is one of the worst detriments because it convinces you that you have the time and energy to get the job done later rather than sooner.

My confidence somehow enhances the more I wait to get my paper written. It defies logic that waiting until last minute will produce a good quality anything. As illogical as it seems, I follow it foolishly. This is my second critical paper for the practicum semester, and what appeared like an easy paper turned out to take a lot more time. I read Blackbird House  in plenty of time to complete the paper.

However, I am four days from the deadline, and only 2 pages into my critical essay. Am I worried? No way! Should I be? Probably. At this point in my academic/writing career, I should know better then to waste my time not finishing the paper. At the same time, I know I’m not necessarily wasting my time not doing my paper. Since I finished the book, I knew what I would write for the essay. I just haven’t been able to execute the whole thing. So, I’ve been spanning the work a little each day: brainstorm, outline, and actual then writing. Two pages down and around 3-5 pages more to go.

If I keep up a pace of 1-2 pages a day, I will finish it with time to spare. Is it procrastination to span out the work day-by-day? To me, it’s an unconventional way to get my paper done with a busy schedule. Maybe without Facebook and the allure of watching Man vs. Wild on Netflix, I’d be able to concentrate a little more. Hopefully, the procrastination will kick my adrenaline in gear to get my work done in time.

How does your procrastination attack you while writing? Does Facebook creep up every ten minutes? Do you search for activities to avoid doing your work? Share the ways you struggle with procrastination!

Happy writing/reading!

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Book Published Via Facebook. Wha Wha?

To all my Facebook Fiends, here is your chance to change the (forgive the pun) face of books by putting books on Facebook. Writer Alex Epstein has made a collection of short stories and poems into individual photos to place on Facebook. Within one photo album, Epstein utilized his knowledge of social media to bring in readers.

http://electricliterature.com/blog/2012/02/15/the-facebook-book/

For regular FB users, this may be the only exposure they have to good writing or any writing at all. It is a chance to show how beneficial social media can be. It’s not just about share minute by minute life updates. In its purest form, social media sites like FB help people share things that are lost in the culture.

It is much easier for people to read a book by flipping through photos constantly updated on their FB wall than to go buy a tangible book. The bibliophile/bookworm in me cringes to say, but not every one can love books like that. So this social experiment gives those potential readers a chance to see a book in a different light.

One of the most interesting aspects of the experiment is the readers’ reactions. Epstein was shocked at the immediate response he received. Similar to the reaction an author receives with a public reading, Epstein could see which parts of the book people enjoyed, what they shared with their friends, and what the readers thought.

It is instant gratification for author and readers alike. Although I have not seen the book, I find his optimism inspiring. If one man can hope to transform the exposure of the book into a social media experience through Facebook, then there is so much more in store for writing. The innovation has only just begun in this digital age, and it isn’t slowing. In fact, I think this will be one of many new ideas for sharing books that defies our previous notions and expectations. I give Epstein credit for his creativity. I hope he finds more inspiration for greater ideas.

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/author-publishes-book-as-facebook-photo-album_b47197

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Murder by Facebook. Wait, what?

As most of you know, there have been some negative effects to the innovation that is social networking. Websites like Twitter and Tumblr have made it easy for people to share their thoughts instantly across the globe.  People easily hand over  their privacy in return for connecting with people countries apart. It’s not difficult to give people all of the information they need to find your house and break in when you’re away.

Facebook has become one of the most used social networking sites in the world, but it comes with a price. Friendships, marriages, and lives have been ruined because of a simple post on Facebook. Although video games like Second Life and W.O.W. have managed to do the same, nothing can compare to the impact social sites  have had on our perception of reality. While a marriage can end because the spouse would rather live his/her Second Life, sites like Facebook and Myspace can tear apart lives as they are being lived. Cyber bullying and murders have stemmed from the trust and lack of privacy on these sites.

Say you have your address posted on your Facebook and your profile is not set to private. Then, you post that you’re going on vacation for a certain amount of time. Someone can very easily go to your house and break in knowing all the information necessary to never be caught in the act.

On this website, it details the 13 Craziest Deaths caused by social media sites.

http://www.ranker.com/list/the-13-craziest-deaths-caused-by-social-media/whitney-milam

The first is relatively harmless compared to others on the list.  A woman from New Zealand got bored  and decided to psychologically scar dozens of young men. She created fake profiles for young women and killed them through various, traumatizing ways.  And this as I said is a tame one. The next one immediately makes you drop your jaw in horror. A woman separated from her husband does the unthinkable and changes her status to single. Terrible huh? She separates from him and changes her status, OMG?! It seems normal, but her husband felt otherwise. His response wasn’t a nasty message on Facebook. Instead, he sneaked into her parents house and stabbed her to death. You’re thinking this only happens in nightmares, not reality, but no. He did it and then he killed himself. Seems just a little over reaction for a simple status change.

Now I know I used to care about what was put on Facebook and what I put on there. It was only after growing up a little did I realize that there was no sense in caring about what people typed about. It matters what people say in person instead. However, these people aren’t just teenagers, they are full grown adults.

As I read on the scenarios get weirder. A son kills his father for taking away his Myspace. I mean, come on, Myspace? It wasn’t even that great! It was cluttered and too many fake emo kids were on it. However, the kid was suicidal and this act of discipline drove him to the edge. Just a different one.

It’s not just limited to Facebook or Myspace. Twitter is a fast, easy place to threaten and kill people you don’t like. One pair of friends had just this happen. One guy killed the other, fighting over a girl, and tweeted about it later. To paraphrase Kanye West, “How could he be so heartless?”

The moral of all of these stories is not to care about what is posted on social networking sites. In the digital age, more social interactions are being transferred online.  However, not everything on there should be taken to the extent that it is. In the real world things can get out of hand pretty easily. Someone can be provoked to do violent things with just a few sentences. It has become a scary world when you can post something on the internet and physically suffer for it.

To me, being careful about the political or spiritual beliefs you have is important to survival nowadays. Sometimes relationships can change because people have become more sensitive to the things being placed on social networking sites. It’s important to take things with a grain of salt in your virtual world and the real one. Please be careful because the next post…could be your last… duh duh duhhhhhhh!

 

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To be or not to be: The Stereotype of a Writer

Stereotypes have plagued mankind since the beginning. It is a way to be comforted in each other’s silly likenesses and ridicule other people’s weird differences.

But where did stereotypes develop? Here’s one idea. Someone sat down one day angry at a person or most likely a group of people. He wrote down all the embarrassing or annoying traits of the people he hated and started sharing them with his friends. His friends began using these specific traits to mock and ridicule people they didn’t like and the idea spread.  Typically, a stereotype focused on a group of people with a common background or even coming from the same country.

Yet, stereotypes for writers have transcended normal reasons for grouping them together. We come from every spot on the planet, every ethnicity, every shape and size. Even what we write varies not only in type (poetry, non-fiction, fiction) to the genre in which we write (sci-fi, romantic, Latin American History, etc). The one thing we have in common is the act of writing. We all have a need to write something every second of the day either in our heads or down on the computer. So, how did someone find all of these things in common that we now associate as stereotypes of writers?

I don’t have an answer for that, but I decided to go through all of the stereotypes and see which ones I fit in and which ones I don’t. To be honest, my guess as to how stereotypes began is not how I view them now. Not all stereotypes are bad and sometimes they are true indicators of that person or group.  For me, I see the stereotypes of writers as funny misunderstandings as well as badges of courage we must push past.

Here is my list of the most common and funny stereotypes:

1.  Writers are alcoholics/drug addicts or both-Now see here, not every writer has to drink to get inspiration or be high to write. However, it is a pattern. Maybe it is the sensitivity of artists, struggling with questions about life that no one else bothers to think about. Or maybe it’s that the booze takes the edge off the fact that we have to work three jobs just to pay for bills and still have to make time to write the next chapter. Anyway you look at it, the greats have sometimes needed a shot of whiskey to get them ready to write and a group of writers are always more enjoyable after placing a bottle of wine (or several) between them.

2. Writers always drink coffee and smoke profusely–I don’t have either of these qualities, but I know many that do. I think this a vastly overrated stereotype because each person is different. I prefer tea, but the result is the same. You’re all warm on the inside and it tastes amazing. As for the smoking, I don’t smoke because I want to be as healthy as possible to spend the next 70 years writing.

3. Writers are loners- This one is mostly true, but we have to be. Because at the end of the day if you can’t have some peace and quiet to do the writing you need…you don’t get paid or get the voices of those characters out of your head.

At the same time, we yearn to be social butterflies. While social interaction may not be required during the writing process of a story, the process before and after allows us to interact with as many people as we want. In this digital age, publishers are doing less of the marketing side of publishing and are laying the task to the writer. So, we not only have to come up with the idea, write it all down in a creative way, and market it to billions of people in hopes of them buying it.

It isn’t always a bad thing. As my one writing friend just said, “The plus side to being a writer is that going on Facebook is part of my job.” And it’s true. Writers are becoming more social creatures out of a need to network. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs like these are important to creating a fan base before you are published and famous. I’m constantly checking Facebook and my blog to see how my work is being received. It is important to know that writers can come out of our shells and interact with “regular” people.  It’s such a different sight to see a bunch of writers get together because you would never imagine a writer being a loner after witnessing all of them together.

4. Writers are crazy-Yes, there is a stereotype that writers are insane. They have to be after writing things no one else can imagine. Bi-polar, schizophrenia, and depression have graced the brains and personalities of the most famous writers ever to exist. There will always be studies done until the end of time on the connection between creative minds and mental disorders. It could be the substance abuse or the isolation that creates crazy writers, but there is one fact that goes unnoticed. Even if a writer is 15 kinds of crazy, they still have a better grasp on the human condition than the completely sane readers that buy their writing.

Sometimes padded rooms are perfect to get that last paragraph done

We write because we need to write. Because something inside us compels us to tell a story no one else has come up with yet. Because our hearts say that the world needs to read this character, this situation and only I can write it. Whether we do it alone in a make shift office in the attic or have a bottle of Jack Daniels besides our laptop, the result is the same. A story or perspective on life that only sensitive artists can produce for the world.

No matter if you end up killing yourself like Sylvia Plath or live a long life like Ray Bradbury the need inside you to write will always push you to give the world what you have to offer. A story never told before from your eyes. So, I may be a loner who drinks too much tea and could eventually become bi-polar. At least I know my purpose in life…to be now and always, a writer.

Feel free to share other stereotypes of writers or which stereotypes you have. The more stereotypes we have means the more people we are affecting as a group, which is always a good thing. Bad press is better than no press. So stereotype away!

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What Being Social Is All About!

This post is inspired by some of the graduates of my M.F.A. program at Carlow. They detailed what life is like now for a writer and how he/she can appeal to the masses through social media. And guess what? They hit the nail on the head!

Now my idea to start a blog also stemmed from this idea to appeal to potential readers. However, I have found that making myself write every day on a site that people actually care about what I say is empowering. It gives me confidence, inspiration, and the courage to write more each day.

So, when the graduates of the program showed me the following video, I was changed. No longer do I just post on Facebook because I feel the need to say something funny or interesting. I made posts showing who I am, even in my private account. Talking about ideas I cared about and issues that are important for other people to read.

This change in how I view social media is what brings us to the social media revolution. The opportunity for our generation to alter how we communicate and create relationships all over the globe unlimited by boundaries and oceans. It is urgent, now more than ever, to support the revolution with the recent protest of SOPA and PIPA, which could ultimately restrict our freedoms.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present…THE SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION:

 

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