Monday, January 12, 2009

Social Networking Failure

I think I'm going to start the actual writing part of revising the NaNo book. I've worked out the first few scenes, and I suspect that there's no point in planning too intently what happens later on until I've got the feel of those first few scenes. It's almost going to be a complete, from scratch rewrite, though there are a few scenes I think I'll be able to salvage. Meanwhile, I'm still straining my brain to come up with a good title for The New Project (which may need a new code name). This is less of a quirky comedy, so the pun-type titles I've been doing won't work, but it's also not deadly serious. It essentially has a lot of the hallmarks of a classic epic fantasy, but in a different setting and a lot of twists. So, I need a title that gives some of the flavor of the epic fantasy, but with a clear signal that it's also different. And this is when yet another neighbor is doing some kind of work involving very loud power tools that operate exactly in the frequency range that seems to make my bones reverberate. I'm starting to have vivid fantasies of remodeling my house extensively and connecting the power tools to amplifiers.

I suppose eventually I will have to tackle the backlog in my inbox, which seems to be mostly Facebook notifications. I have a shameful confession here: I seem to be utterly clueless about social networking.

I get blogging. I started on LiveJournal, because that's where so many of my friends already were. Then I had to get a Blogger account to be part of a group blog I used to participate in, so I thought I might as well copy and paste the same blog there (I've been informed that it's the site that isn't blocked as often by corporate filtering protocols). And then I heard about this newfangled MySpace thing, and every author had to be there, so I got an account there and started posting my blog there. I resisted Facebook until I met some people professionally who use that as their primary personal communication. So, I set up a profile and arranged for it to get my LiveJournal blog feed.

Perhaps because I started there, I get LJ. It makes sense to me. You post and people respond, and the responses go in threads, so it reminds me of Usenet (ah, I used to LOVE Usenet). The friending doesn't have to be mutual, so I can friend the people I want to follow, and people can follow me without me having to follow them, which is nice when you're kind of a moderately public figure and the idea is to have a lot of people following you. I almost never make a friends-only post, so you're not missing much if I haven't friended you back, and the only friends-only posts go to an even tighter filter for people I actually know on some kind of personal basis. I can use LJ for promo type stuff to stay in touch with readers, but also for keeping up with my actual friends.

Blogger I guess I understand, but I don't respond to a lot of comments there because I don't get many and because they don't thread, which I find annoying and frustrating. I'm sure I'm not using the full extent of MySpace. As many friends requests as I get, and with it being mutual friending, it's pretty much useless for really keeping up with people. There are a few people who use the messaging there to stay in touch, and I guess that kind of works, but it's more of a pain than just using e-mail. Blog commenting is a real pain, probably because they make money off of page hits, so they make you go through as many pages as possible. I have it set up to require approval on all comments, since I was starting to get a lot of icky spam, so I'll get an e-mail telling me I have a comment to approve, then I have to go to the site to approve the comment, but I can't reply right then and there. That requires going to the blog page, and then that brings up another page or two. So I have to really, really want to say something to reply to a MySpace blog comment.

Facebook utterly terrifies me. There are so many little applications, and I can never tell what they actually do. It seems like the only way to find out what they do is to accept them, which bugs me. So I only seem to go there when I get a message from someone I know that I have to reply to or when my in-box gets full of notifications I need to deal with. I haven't really publicized myself there, so while I do seem to be getting some reader friend requests, my friends there are mostly the sf writers clique, friends from the regional con circuit, local friends, people I knew in high school and my best friend from fourth grade. I think there's a way to group friends into clusters, but I haven't found any documentation about that. Is there some kind of Facebook for Dummies resource that explains the stuff you can do there? I understand that there's some kind of status update feature, since I've seen the parodies of popular books or TV series presented Facebook style, but who has the time to update what you're doing at every given moment? Most of the time, I can't even remember to add a mood to an LJ post.

At any rate, I am not ignoring you, personally. I'm pretty much ignoring everybody. I also have a policy of only commenting when I have something to say, and I'm trying to spend less time online and more time writing, which means that figuring all this stuff out and what to do with it is very low on my priority list at the moment. Now I have to return to my title brainstorming. And couldn't you know, just when the metal cutting stops, the city landscaping crews go to work on the corner behind my house with weed whackers and leaf blowers.

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