theferrett: (Meazel)

I think, before I can blog one word further, I need to discuss the definition of “self-promotion.”

The reason I do this is because Seanan McGuire has been accused in some quarters of “excessive self-promotion,” by which people apparently meant “she mentioned that she had fiction eligible for various nominations.”  Not a whole lot, mind you: twice.

Twice, among a welter of probably seventy lengthy blog posts and literally a thousand silly Twitter statuses.

And then, when I talked with her on Twitter about the irony of seeing her blog post linked everywhere but from her Twitter status, she said, “I know, I just feel …ishy and wrong tweeting everything I say on LJ. I try to do it only on special occasions.”

Which, as someone who followed her on Twitter, struck me as being insane.  I clicked that “Follow Seanan McGuire!” button because I specifically wanted to hear what she had to say. It’s not like Seanan followed me home, broke into my laptop, and signed me up against my will for the Spammin’ McGuire around-the-world newscast – no.  I’d liked reading two of her books, was curious about her as a person, and so I said, “Hello, Seanan, please tell me about yourself.”

Is Seanan telling me what Seanan is doing in the Seanan-specific area of the Internet self-promotion?  I say thee nay.

I call it providing the service people signed up for.

Now, if Seanan was running around forums posting “YOU KNOW WHAT POUNDS THE PISS OUT OF MARTIN’S LATEST DOORSTOP?  MY NEWSFLESH SERIES, AVAILABLE FOR A MERE $3.79 ON KINDLE,” then I’d have a problem.  Or if she was shouting down panels to say, “You know what happens in my book?  Something way better than that Neil Gaiman shit you’re yammerin’ on about!”  But no.  I specifically went to the Seanan McGuire Museum of Fine Filk and paid my entry fee, and by God I expect to see some fucking Seanan McGuire.

Which is how I treat my blog.  I cross-post most of my entries to Twitter because I learned a while back that about 70% of my Twitter and Facebook followers don’t read my journal regularly.  It felt weird, but I came to think, “Well, they followed me on Twitter because they presumably wanted to hear what I was writing about, so… here’s what I’m writing about.”  And people have responded positively.  Traffic’s been up.  I suspect many former blog subscribers actually prefer the Twitter service,  because this way they only get the entries I deem significant.

Is that self-promotion?   I guess, in some sort of saggingly flabby definition of the word.  But my logic is, people asked specifically to tune into the Ferrett Channel.  They did so because they want to hear what I’m doing – which includes my fiction, my blogging, my polyamory, and my personal life.  And maybe after it turns out that they don’t actually like all of that, at which point they can feel free to unsubscribe without one whit of malice from me.  (I’m a depressive.  I hate myself two months out of the year.  Why should you be any different?)

So I’ll say it here: telling the world what you have done is not self-promotion in the world of Twitter.  Or blogs.  It is when you go abroad to other places to tout yourself, or to beg your followers “Please RT” a billion times, or to carve your bibliography into the flesh of willing fans.  But mere informational service?  Fuck that.  People signed up to get a glimpse into your personality.  And maybe if you do Twitter or your blogging wrong, then your personality is nothing but a stream of “HAY GUYS I PUBLISH DIS,” in which case the problem will automatically solve itself as people wander away, in which case you’ll be promoting yourself to an increasingly smaller subset of disappointed people.

But for the rest?  Please, Seanan.  Talk.  It’s why I showed up.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

A friend of mine seemed distressed by the fact that I usually don’t reply to comments on Facebook.  Or LiveJournal.  Or Twitter.  And I started to reply, explaining to her why most of my comments go unreplied-to, and why that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate comments (I read every one, sometimes obsessively), and after I’d doped it all out in my head, I figured I mise well deconstruct it here.

Thing is, I do reply to an awful lot of comments, or so it seems when I get ’round to them.  But the problem is that, for me to reply, I feel like I have to have something of interest to say back.  And while I get some beautiful comments, very personal and outpouring, by the time they’re done I don’t have anything to add to them.  They’re complete thoughts, intriguing – but I always feel that if I’m going to leave a comment, it should contribute to the discussion rather than just being the empty space of a “…Yeah.”

(This applies everywhere, by the way.  It’s why I rarely comment on other people’s blogs, either; I’ll link to multitudes of them, praising them highly, but you’ll note I hardly ever comment on the blog posts I paean.)

What triggers my “that’s interesting enough that I have something to say back” is a mystery to me, just as I’m never quite sure what thought is going to inspire a blog entry, and like the blog entries, it waxes and wanes according to some mysterious inner tide.  Sometimes I’m inspired and everything seems like a dialogue, other times I feel like I’m just wasting space on the Internet.

I know, I know, people like acknowledgement.  So if a comment is particularly clever, I’ll leave a “Well said” if I think my readers should note it.  (Or I’ll like it on Facebook.)  But for me, a page full of “Thanks.  Thanks.  Thanks.  Thanks.  Thanks.  Thanks.  Thanks.  Thanks.” feels kind of empty, the sort of thing you do for the sake of politeness than out of interest.  And if I did that, then my blog would turn into even more of a chore than it is, and I’d write less.

And it would mean less, I think.  I was absolutely thrilled the day that Joe Lansdale retweeted me, until I doped out that he seemingly retweets anyone who mentions him for any reason, presumably on the advice of a publicist.  Joe’s one of my favorite authors, but when he responds to me, I want it to be because I’ve said something that caught his eye, not just because he rubber-stamps everything.  And so when I see him replying to people, I don’t think he’s entertained by us, I think he’s just following some arcane law of social media. I don’t judge Joe for his choices, but I do know I don’t want to be that guy.

Sadly, and I know this is a failing, the best way to get me to respond is to be wrong.  A comment that’s dunderheaded in a sincere way will get me talking back to you, which some folks have told me just encourages the argumentative.  That’s true, because I’m argumentative.  I like debate.  I like new facts.  I like getting in there.  But I also do like quiet reflection, and it’d be nice to provide incentives for more of them, but again, I don’t know what to say that wouldn’t ultimately be meaningless.

Thing is, your comments entertain me mightily.  I read every last one, sometimes to Gini if they’re funny enough.  And I’d say I probably respond to 20, maybe 25% of them.  But I get a lot of them, and many lie fallow because I think I owe it to my audience to be just as entertaining back to them as they were to me.

So you might not get a response.  Sorry about that, Hoss.  But like Frasier, I’m listening.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

I don’t consider myself a ‘Bad Dude’ nor a ‘Nice Guy’ but I can spot a bruised ego and bad writing when I see it. I hate labels because they put limits on people. Your premise that ‘Nice Guys’ don’t get sex is ignorant. Then again, I consider the source. By the way, 1990′s Hawaiian shirts, a goatee, fedora, fingernail polish, and back hair don’t make you a ‘Bad Ass’ dude. What they do make you is just like your writing? Out of touch and needing to be noticed…

Now, that’s the sort of comment that leaves me a little stung, but not for the reasons you’d think.

It was left on the FetLife cross-post of my “Why Nice Guys Don’t Get Sex: Reason #1 In An Infinite Series” essay, and that sort of furious essay reminds me of middle school.  Now, I don’t begrudge a few angry comments; after all, that post was about a behavior I find odious (and took aim at), and made some generalizations that could sting if you were caught in the cross-fire, so I don’t mind a few slams back. It’s only fair, after all.

(My favorite is the guy who claimed that women are having sex with all those assholes only because you’re such a wonderful guy, they know they don’t deserve you, and so they close their eyes and fantasize about you guiltily the entire time they’re banging jerks.  Um, I’m sure that happens often.)

But the angry comment here, when analyzed, is pretty detailed.  See, my default profile pic on FetLife doesn’t even have me wearing a hat.  Nor does it display my sad, thatchy abundance of back hair.  So to leave this comment, the guy had to go through all of my pictures, specifically taking stock of all my many flaws, just so he could leave a comment that was meant to be personal and cutting.

He failed, sadly.  They usually do.  If he’d read any of my writing or my status updates (which he probably didn’t do because that would be too time-consuming), he’d have known that I don’t consider myself a Badass at all.  I’m a neurotic train wreck who occasional partakes in ritualized acts of violence for sexualized pleasure, sure!  But note that I don’t call myself a Dom, or a Master.  I don’t swagger much, except occasionally when it comes to rejoicing in my fireplay skills (and even that’s mostly out of a vaguely surprised “I did it!”).  In fact, most of my writing is about me fucking up in some way, using it as an example to talk about How Not To Do This.

So it’s like, “Dude, if you were going to do the research, you should have done it all the way.”  There are plenty of ways you could have hurt my feelings – you just didn’t dig deep enough.

(Which is what most insults are, weirdly.  If you look at what people are picking on you about, it usually reflects what they’re most terrified of being.  Dude is probably very concerned about his badass status, and as such thought that trying to remove mine would be devastating.)

What wounds me is the time.  I see a lot of dipshit writings on the Internet that I disagree with.  If motivated, occasionally I’ll even argue them in the comments.  But it would take a lot to get me to do research to try to find personalized ways to insult them. I’ve spent time looking up links to defang someone’s argument, absolutely, but spending time rooting through their profile to try to find the things that I think would hurt them?

That’s mean.  And yet here’s the guy, taking time to do craft a personalized insult to a stranger.  The actual insult doesn’t hurt; the intent does.  It makes me wonder whether what I wrote was actually that bad, causing a self-reflection that’s troubling… And yeah, I probably could have written it better.  I’ll get ‘em next time, tiger.

Yet there’s that pathetic attempt.  Someone took a shot at me, and missed.  And I wonder if that’s how Superman feels as the bullets bounce off him, going, “Do they really mean to do that?  Do they know what they’re trying to do?”

Not that I’m Superman, of course.  More like Jimmy Olsen; occasionally lucky, given more adventures than he truly deserves, but a little too cocky to be a true hero.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

Twitter has had a weird effect upon me; it’s made my blog less fun.

Because for Twitter, I have these weird little toss-offs that I put in there – things like wondering at Mitt’s airplane comments, or discussing fall’s inadvertent gift-giving, or delighting in wretched combinations of alcohol that shouldn’t work but do.  They’re fun, they’re often goony, and they’re in love with the world as I am. I think my Twitter feed is reflective of my personality; an odd mixture of strange takes on life and political links.

My blog has become where I put my “big” thoughts, and those tend to be weightier.  Also less funny.  Looking back over the past two weeks, it’s all “Here’s media bias!  And forgiveness!  And Republicans!”  Not a laugh in the bunch, I tell you.  It makes me appear even more bloated and gasbaggy than I tend to be.

I’m not sure how to deal with that.  It doesn’t help that LJ’s app is terrible, whereas Twitter’s app is very good, so if I have a weird idea on the fly or in the bathroom, I just fire up the Twitter client.  But it has segregated my thoughts into Big Serious Thoughts and Fleeting Silly Thoughts, which makes this appear ponderous and lumbering.

Dunno how to fix that.  I used to post four, five times a day, which drove many nuts.  Now I just flood Twitter, but that’s normal there.  So how does this site feel more like me?  Do I just post seventy times a day here, with silliness? I don’t think so.

There’s all these weird things I kind of want to do with the blog, but haven’t.  I kind of want to start an advice column.  I’d like to review magazines again, but I’m too sporadic to do that regularly.  But whatever I’d do, I’d like to make this feel a little lighter than the collapsed-souffle feeling I get when I read my archives.

Ah, weird problems to have.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

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