Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Diaspora

The Courage To Move Forward . . .


My previous post about seriously reducing the time I spend on Google+ and Diaspora revealed a huge decision for me.

The best I can affirm about it right now is that it just feels  right

Joel Friedlander said it best in his recent post, The Parable of the Little Book of Stories:

“Often, we can only guess at our own motives for what we do. Standing up, where we can be seen by others in a completely new way, takes a certain kind of courage.”

The post is about a woman who’d written enough short stories to self-publish a volume just for her loved ones.

Or, so she believed

She’s ended up releasing it to the public. Do read Joel’s post for the story but let me add this further snippet:

“…my friend started out with no intention of ‘publishing’. She had no ISBNs, no marketing, no distribution, no publishing company name, nothing. She did it just for the enjoyment of doing it. ”

I’ve already published my book and I’m preparing to write its companion volume. Still, moving away from common social networking and investing more time making friends in Second Life is definitely something I’m pursuing, “just for the enjoyment of doing it.”

The anxiety I’d been feeling over the time spent maintaining communication in the popular social networks, while realizing the connections made were mostly shallow, is slowly ebbing away.

That anxiety was robbing me of the spirit I need to maintain the friends I already have in Second Life.

In a post I wrote back in January, Publishing Progress ~ the Highs and the Lows…, just before I’d published Notes from An Alien, I said:

“Kicking my Social Media Pre-Publication Networking into high gear was mostly a high with many low troughs that had to do with sifting the wheat from the chaff—an ongoing slog through oceans of mundane trivialities to find and connect with sources of creative and progressive relationship.”

Relationship

Back in March, in the post, Do Pre-Publication Promotion And Sanity Go Together ?, I stated my basic philosophy of Book Promotion:

“Let people get to know you, share your goals and philosophy, give them support in what they’re doing; then, maybe they’ll be interested in your book…

“And, even if they don’t want your book, they may know someone who does.”

The common social networks were not letting me follow that basic philosophy—I persisted for six months till the anxiety was so great I had to admit a few things to myself:

* Second Life lets me really get to know people and they really get to know me.

* The common social networking platforms demand, from me, an inordinate amount of effort to produce, at best, limited relationships.

* I better be sure I’m doing what helps me maintain deep relationships or I’ll go crazy

So the pain from six months (much more actually) of panning for gold in the wrong streams has called out a measure of courage—courage to go where I have the greatest odds of finding good people who I can really get to know.

It may help book sales but that’s quite secondary since I , even though the book is for sale, still give it away :-)

Check out my post, Free = Sales ~ Give It Away & Sell More…
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My Cure for Social Networking Anxiety


There are many reasons to pursue social networking.

There are as many reasons to not pursue it.

One thing I’ve learned is that social networking can induce anxiety

Readers use it to find books.

Writers use it to find readers.

Publishers use it to make money.

I’m a self-published writer who would like to make some money but would, at least, like to have folks read my books.

I’ve been involved in social networking for over ten years and heavily involved for the last year and a half.

I’ve written quite a few posts about it. Here are just a few:

Social Networking and Insanity . . .

Social Media and Authenticity

The Author’s Platform ~ Community of Interest

Selling Your Soul With Social Media

Book Promotion & Social Networking Frenzy ~ Pondering Google+

I’m the last person to tell anyone they should use social networking sparingly or, perhaps, not at all.

I’m the first person to tell everyone that social networking can cause anxiety

It began for me when I started acquiring “friends” on FaceBook. I think I stopped at 1,500. I couldn’t keep up with what they were posting and what they considered important enough to post was, to me, trivial.

Yet, I had a book that would be published and I needed people who knew me and, eventually, my book.

I added the task of acquiring “followers” on Twitter; tried to make the work easier by incorporating my FaceBook stream into an app called TweetDeck–had four columns of mostly trivia pouring down the screen.

Yet, my book was near publication and I needed to attract folks to it

Eventually, because the interest I was generating was less than overwhelming, I stopped using both of them.

That’s when Google Plus became available.

I fooled myself into thinking it would help me more

Then, I discovered an open-source social network called Diaspora.

It only took a couple months for me to experience the same lack of interest and notice the same lack of deep response.

Two things to keep in mind:

* I still feel there are valid and productive reasons to use social networks.

* I know there are some wonderful people on social networks.

Still, my book was published five months ago and sales are still slow.

I should point out that I consider this blog a social networking platform–less obvious, perhaps, yet more capable of in-depth engagement

Please understand, there are a few “passive” things going on, too. Mostly, this blog feeding into GoodReads, Amazon, and a few other spaces.

Then there’s my work as Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

EDIT 10/7/13: [I no longer work on Book Island but am still very active in Second Life]

If you’ve never created an avatar for yourself and walked down a street full of shops run by authors, editors, publishers, and artists; never sat your avatar down in a virtual cafe, ordered a cup of espresso, and listened to a poet, then engaged with them in discussion; never stood in front of a group of people from many different countries and shared your written work; never just hung-out on the beach or at the houseboat or up on the mountainside and chatted and laughed with friends; if you’ve never experienced the Reality of a virtual world, you’ll find it hard to understand why Ive made a firm decision to halt my attempts at interaction on the familiar social networks and use that time to visit more places in Second Life, make more real friends, let them discover, naturally, that I have a book they can read, with another to follow

Of course, my new wanderings in Second Life will be mostly as an “ambassador” for Book Island. I work there, I love it, it has value for Readers, Writers, and Publishers, and it has more capability to generate lasting friendships and memorable experiences.

I let the prevailing opinions of the value of common social networks invade my planning, upset my life, and keep me from the activities that can help me find worthwhile interaction without the anxiety of sweating out ineffective attempts to engage in what, to me, has become the most raucous, disrespectful, tiresome, and time-wasting Space on the Internet—FaceBookTwitterGooglePlusDiaspora………

I’m going to shift gears–from overdrive to cruise–settle back and enjoy the ride–right here on this blog and in Second Life :-)

I certainly don’t disrespect anyone who finds value in social networking. There is value there but, very personally, I can’t take what comes with it
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Social Networking and Insanity . . .


Do you care about the people you’re connected with online?

If you answered Yes, how deep is that caring?

I ask because we often need a shock to wake up to realities—to bring us to our senses—to cure us of electronically-induced ills.

Recently, a well-known social networker committed suicide. Those he was connected with thought they knew him………

Certainly, there are cases of folks in non-electronic relationships who shock their friends with actions completely unexpected but I would venture they’re fewer than the shocks from social media “friends”.

Jay Baer recently wrote a blog post, Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy, in which he talked about that social media suicide.

Jay is a man who proudly displays his book about social media at the top of his blog and says, in his profile, that he’s a “hype-free social media strategy consultant and speaker” and “a digital marketing pioneer”.

Yet, in the blog post linked-to up there, he says: [There is] “…the underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people. I have always believed this to be true, and in fact have delivered the lines above in presentations and on this blog. But today, I’m no longer convinced. Instead I wonder, what if we have it ALL wrong?”

A bit later in the post he says: “Maybe we should be focused less on making a lot of connections, and focused more on making a few real friends?”

Ever since I began a push to connect with more people on-line, well before I began to write my recently-published book, I wondered about the quality of the connections.

As I was digesting all the information about “building an author platform”—working to increase my “friends” on FaceBook and my “followers” on Twitter—I struggled with the lack of Relationship in the connections.

I finally dumped FaceBook and Twitter, joined Google Plus. It didn’t take long to feel the struggle against what felt like wasted time.

I’ve most recently joined Diaspora and I’m still struggling

I’m an author (a poor author) with a book to promote in a world that publishes over 2,000 books a day and I need to make connections.

I may eventually dump Google Plus and Diaspora if the Relationship Factor declines much further

I feel more comfortable right here, inside this composition box on WordPress, writing  from my heart and knowing that, of the 50 or so people a day who arrive here, a few of them read what I write and Relate to it.

Naturally, I post teasers with links to my posts on Google Plus and Diaspora—sometimes they spark discussion

In Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results.

I’ve tried to do Google Plus and Diaspora differently than FaceBook and Twitter but I’m starting to feel the signal-to-noise ratio is still too low.

Perhaps this blog is my most sane response to making on-line connections, even if I may not know I’m connecting due to the fact that most folks who read a post never comment, even if they liked it

I’m actually finding more meaningful connections in my work as Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

Curious how the most “unreal” thing I do gives me the most Real Relationships………
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

How Many Ways Are There To Write A Novel?


The “powers that be” in the worlds of the novel–those folks who set themselves up as “experts”–might tell you there are two ways to write a novel, or definitely only four, or as many ways as there are novelists.

When the “experts” disagree, it’s time to make your own decision

Wikipedia’s opinion of what a novel is: “…a book of long narrative in literary prose….Further definition of the genre is historically difficult.”

Of course, the word “novel” comes from roots that mean “new”.

And, if you plunk the words how+to+write+a+novel into Google, you’ll be able to lose yourself in the sea of, sometimes not so novel, opinions

Sophie McCook, one of my new friends on the open-source social networking platform, Diaspora, is writing a chapter a day of her novel and posting it on a blog, tinychaptersontherun.

BTW, if you want an invite to Diaspora, which is in Alpha-testing-mode, send me an email at amzolt@gmail.com and I’ll make sure they invite you :-)

Here’s what Sophie says about her novel:Tiny Chapters on the Run  is the story of Miriam Short, told in bite-sized chapters, published once a day (except weekends – the author is only human!). Miriam has no tact, delicacy or grace. She lies, steals and inadvertently kills.  But she did also get her brownie badges in ‘basic mental adjustment’ and ‘innate self-worth’.  There will be ups and downs, loves and down-right dirty lies.”

As of the time I posted this, there are 53 chapters–they’re short, remember :-)

I’ve read the first two chapters and am having a time-schedule-freak-out—-prep for writing sequel to Notes from An Alien, 30 hours a week being Events Manager on Book Island in Second Life, attending to various social networking and other Webby tasks, wondering when to carve out time to read Don Quixote, and very necessary amounts of meditative zoning-out—-but Sophie’s novel has sucked me in…

DO  go read it.

DO  come back and let me know what you think.

I’ll pass your comments along to Sophie :-)
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)