Feminist Friday Summer Wrap-Up

This week we wrap up our longest run of Feminist Friday discussions so far. We’ve had discussions for eleven consecutive weeks on nine blogs, and this project is still going strong. We’re planning another, shorter run for later in the year.Feminist_Morpheus_Quickmeme_by_GeneO

L.M.’s post from the Lobster Dance, “Ask a Bisexual: Can Women and Men Ever Just Be Friends,” was recently published at Feministe. Luther Siler of Infinite Free time joined us for this round and hosted an awesome discussion on teaching girls as a guy. We have a page at Part Time Monster to archive our discussion posts from here on out, and Diana’s announced that she plans to make feminist content a regular staple at the Monster on Fridays.

I’ve missed a lot of the chats this run, and I’ve not had time promote them the way I did during 2014 and in the spring. Yet both attendance and the discussions have been good. All this is bodes well for the health of this project.

It’s amazing all this started as a conversation between three bloggers in 2013. You can read the backstory in my very first discussion post. These discussions have meant a lot to me, personally. They’ve not only made me a lot of friends, they’ve made me more sensitive to my own privilege, and they’ve improved my advocacy skills.

I’m happy with what we’ve accomplished — and we’ve accomplished a lot. We’ve produced 42 posts so far. We’ve collected last year’s into an essay collection which is available for free on Smashwords. Sabina wrote a follow-up to one of her discussion posts that ended up being Freshly Pressed.

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I’m hoping we can keep it going. I’d like to continue finding new bloggers to host these posts and to join in the chats. I’m looking forward to this year’s collection. Seems like these discussions are shaping up to be an ongoing thing, and they’ve proven they can survive without the sort of micromanagement I did during the first year. So, uber-planner that I am, I almost tossed out a couple of project-related issues today.

Decided to do something fun instead, and save the project-y stuff for another day. I have three questions for you. Respond to any, all, or whatever combination suits you.

  1. Feminism_freeWhat’s your favorite post this project has produced so far?
  2. What’s the most memorable discussion thread?
  3. What topics do you think we should discuss in the next series of these?

If you’re just joining us, scan a few of the posts and threads from Part Time Monster’s Feminist Friday page and chime in if you like. I’m interested to know what grabs people. And feel free to answer item #3 even if this is the first you’ve heard of us.

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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!

Weekend Coffee Share: Scooter Punks and Other Madness

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about a term I coined several years ago now:

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

“scooter punk,” (n.) — A skater punk who isn’t old enough to ride a board yet.

I coined it for my grandson when he got his first scooter at the age of three, and I don’t consider the word “punk” pejorative here. Here are some ways you can tell if you have a scooter punk on your hands.

  1. When they see older kids riding boards, even before they can talk, their eyes light up. They point and jabber and get toddler-angry if you don’t stop and let them watch.
  2. Give them a scooter and they do tricks like bunny hops, riding backwards, sitting on the handlebars, and riding off the edges of sidewalks just for the fun of it.
  3. They often attempt feats with their scooters and bikes that are either too difficult, or just plain impossible, and wipe out in the most spectacular way imaginable, then get up laughing and bleeding at the same time and try it again.
  4. If you’re busy, or worn down from keeping up with the little person to the point that you slip up and allow them to ride their scooter without shoes or a helmet — no matter how flat and unobstructed their riding area is — you are almost guaranteed a trip to the ER.

So basically, if you view your job as keeping the young’un safe and doing what you can to help them live up to their potential and make it to adulthood, you’re in for a few nerve-wracking years once your scooter punk gets his or her wheels. And it only gets worse from there. Because eventually they get coordinated enough to graduate to a board.

Photo by Gene'O, 2015.

Photo by Gene’O, 2015.

And I’d tell you this is the second post I’ve written today. Since I haven’t been up that long, and it isn’t even noon, I am hoping to finish several more that have just been sitting as drafts for the last couple of weeks. I’ve finally got my Facebook set up not to suck away large amounts of time and run kind of like the blogs do — I post on my timeline on a schedule, and answer the threads and notifications when I have time.

The secret is an app called Buffer, which you can find here. I am using the free version right now, and have gotten several extra queue slots by referring new users through that link I just shared with you. Last time I loaded it all the way to full, I was able to schedule afternoon tweets three days in advance, and Facebook shares four days in advance.

I’m definitely getting the paid version soon. I wouldn’t have made it through April — at least not while maintaining the steady Internet presence I have — without this awesome app. Have a great week! The A to Z Challenge is almost done.  It’s been fun, but exhausting, and I haven’t done as much visiting as I’d hoped to do, but I have done plenty and it’s definitely been worth all the planning and effort.

Happy Saturday, and don’t forget to add your coffee share post to the linkup at Part Time Monster (who is calling for guest posts, btw), and share it to #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.