Weekend Coffee Share: In Which I Say, “Fine”

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that when my Saturday post publishes, I will be covered in bleach, because I am washing my house down today with the help of my Father.

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And I would tell you I am thinking about what is good for Gene’O — not what is good for Gene’O but is also good for everyone else. I would tell you, bluntly, that it is time for me to be selfish, and I don’t give a fuck whether anyone likes it or not.

I’d tell you I finished up with work very early in the day yesterday. I spent my commute dreaming up Sci-Fi Saturday things I could write for Sourcerer, and wondering if I should go ahead and do a coffee post over there.

I’m obviously NOT doing a coffee post over there this weekend. And I am also not doing a Sci-Fi Saturday there. I’m not doing anything at Sourcerer this weekend, unless I find a sliver of free time that I do not know about at this point.

My family, bless their southern hearts. Do not actually understand what I am doing here. This Internet thing, as far as they are concerned, is a hobby. I am trying to put us into a position to build something reselmbling a business here. But as far as some of the people in my life go? I might as well be building model airplanes. Or paper airplanes.

This is probably all, for the whole weekend, as far as the words posted on the blogs goes. It’s hard to do spur-of-the-moment writing when you’re surrounded on all sides by chaos and people with expectations. Especially if you want the spur-of-the-moment writing to be decent and have art.

I would not rule out interactions in other media, though. It only takes so long to wash a house, and as for dealing with the rest, well. I am accustomed to that.

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Weekend Coffee Share: In Which I Finally have a Good Week

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m feeling more myself this weekend than I have in a couple of months. Things have mostly settled down in the family sphere, even though we STILL haven’t got all the boxes unpacked. I’ve almost got a huge work project off my plate. Fall is coming, but it isn’t here yet and I have a week or two before I really have to start gearing up. Life is good.

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And I’d tell you I am pondering where to go with my blogging from here. A certain amount of my blogwriting has to be pop-culture related because my blog Sourcerer is all pop culture, all the time. But I have other interests, and things I’d like to write about that don’t fit there.  And some those other interests are political.

I could publish political things here, but I’m not sure it really fits here, either. Not sure how well it would be received, and really, this blog has been so all over the map over the last couple of years, I’m not sure about shifting the focus *yet* again.

I’m also questioning the wisdom of having two blogs on WordPress.com. WordPress is working well for Sourcerer, but here’s the thing. Because I built a blog specifically for contributors and separated the personal one, I have limits to work within here.

I’m not able to generate slow and steady audience growth by posting frequently here. Once a week, and the occasional piece that I either hammer out quickly or take a couple of weeks to finish, is about all I can manage.

I’ve got no search traffic, because I’ve never been good at writing for searches, and this blog in particular, up to this point, hasn’t let itself very well to content that people are actually using Google to find.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

What this means, in practical terms, is that I get readers from two places: From the #WeekendCoffeeShare linkup, and from sharing things I post here with friends. The potential audience for any given post here is only 25-50. I’ve had much better days than that, but never consistently, and not since I cut back to once-a-week posting.

This blog is hampered by the fact that every like I give and every comment I leave leads people to Sourcerer. That’s by design, because growing that blog is my top priority. But the ability to leave easy links when you interact on other blogs is one of the biggest benefits of blogging on WordPress. And using two separate accounts doesn’t work for me, because then I have to constantly be checking both accounts for notifications.

So, in short, I’m questioning the wisdom of having two blogs on WordPress, and I’m thinking about opportunity cost. I can generate 25 to 50 page views every Saturday no matter where I do the posting I’m doing on Just Gene’O, and a blog on another network, or just on the Internet as a whole, might mean the potential to find readers who would never otherwise find us here.

I’m thinking about standing up either a self-hosted site or a blogger blog in the late fall when the back-to-school madness settles down. Not bringing the complete archives with me. Just the stuff I need to keep my projects going.

But I’m only thinking about it at this point, and in the meantime, I’m wanting, very badly, to write about the problems of the U.S. penal system, various forms of privilege, and some other social/activist issues. So you may see an uptick in politically-oriented posts from me here.

Happy weekend! Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Weekend Coffee Share: On Metaphors and Liminal Spaces

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m glad to be chatting with you again. I don’t know what all I’ve missed and I don’t have a lot to say about how things are going in my life because I said it all earlier this week. So I’ll just get weird today.

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Diana and I have used a lot of metaphors for social media interaction over the last couple of years. I framed my kickoff posts as a startup announcement and played it for laughs. I often think of Sourcerer as a ship — that’s why all the pirate humor. When we talk about building a social network while we figure out how to get big web traffic and make things go viral, it’s a plan for world domination.

These metaphors are important, because they allow us to communicate serious ideas in non-serious ways. They turn what could just seem like a big bunch of work into a sort of game that anyone can join in. They help us stay (somewhat) organized without an actual organization.worlddomination

Since I’ve got a background in political science and I’m also a fantasy geek, I tend to think of social media networks most often as territorial units. In one sense, a social media account is just a communication tool. But they often feel like places. Here’s how I conceptualize my three favorite social media networks.

Facebook is a huge dystopian metropolis ruled from above by a remote, arbitrary government. Personal timelines are domiciles — glass-fronted tenements that lots of people can see into but few people actually look. Because when everyone’s living under glass, the transparency becomes part of the background. Groups, depending on how they are constructed, are like neighborhoods, clubs, or in some cases, venues for public events.

Standing on a streetcorner and yelling at everyone doesn’t get you much on Facebook, because every streetcorner has dozens of people standing on it and screaming. The communication on Facebook that matters happens in out-of-the-way places. Foggy alleys, dark corners, closed rooms.

Twitter is almost entirely exterior. It’s like a massive arena or a noisy commons. It’s also governed from above, but the powers-that-be on Twitter either rule with a lighter touch, or are a lot better at hiding their manipulation. A Twitter account is more a persona to be worn than a space to be inhabited.

Image via Suzie81's Blog, 2014.

Image via Suzie81’s Blog, 2014.

There are no streetcorners on Twitter, and being noisy there will get you a lot more if you do it right. But there’s a catch. Because of the character limit and the way tagging works on Twitter, the more people you try to communicate with in a single tweet, the less you can say. This is one of the things I like most about Twitter.

Blogs are all sorts of spaces. The potential for diversity in the construction of blog space is limited only by the imaginations of the people building them. A blog can be a kingdom, a city, a commune, a salon, a meeting hall . . .  The possibilities are endless.

And blogs have borders, oh yes they do. Part Time Monster, Sourcerer, and this blog are contiguous territories. Well, this one is probably an island in some small body of water bounded on all sides by the other two. There are shared borders with Comparative Geeks, Infinite Free Time, Things Matter, and several other blogs there somewhere. And all those other blogs have other neighbors. Given enough time, I could put several dozen blogs on a fantasy map, and it might be pretty cool to look at.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

During our first year of blogging, I thought of Part Time Monster as the crown territory of a larger unit. Not an empire — a confederation, perhaps. Sourcerer was the one and only duchy. My personal blog has never been anything more than a private estate, and that’s probably all it will ever be. Sourcerer has since emerged as an independent state, but what sort of unit it is, I can’t say. It doesn’t feel like a kingdom, but it’s more than an estate.

And every blog can be conceputalized this way — in terms of neighbors, friends, allies, visitors, antagonists. It’s an interesting metaphor, and it only gets more interesting as you push it logically toward absurdity. What this has to do with anything, I don’t know. I just felt like sharing a little geekery with you today, and I am interested to see what, if anything, you think about my metaphors.

It’s good to be back to the coffee share. Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter. And if you’ve not noticed yet, the Monster has a new look. Do take a minute to poke around and let Diana know what you think of the redesign and the new logo.

Have a great weekend!