The Grand Deletion

My initial plan was to make changes to this site subtly, but visual issues with the theme required a new look, and when combined with the scale of the changes I’ve made on social media, that became more appropriate. So, in brief, let me relate what’s happening:

  • My Tumblr blogs are deleted. Every Damn CD is hereby inactive. I’m going back to listening to my music instead of reviewing it.
  • My Podcast, Thumbs Down/Thumbs Up, is undergoing changes. When I decide on a new format, I’m going to post it here, instead of through Podbean. The Shallow & Pedantic Podcast will continue without changes.
  • An ancient blog project, The Teacher’s Dictionary, which withered on the vine, has finally been executed. I may revive it in another form later on.
  • My Facebook Author page has also been deleted. It was more of a firewall than anything else, and my Facebook no longer requires a firewall. Posts will continue to be shared on my normal Facebook page.

Other things, of no interest to anyone here, have likewise gone the wayside. Whatever merit they had, they did not achieve the success I wanted. Reading Cam Newton’s Deep Work (a book I recommend) has made me consider concentration rather than multiplicity as the thing most needed in a blog. A million cross-postings are of no value if I cannot drive the traffic here.

I’ve been through these changes periodically in my long history of blogging; reaching for the new in order to combat the frustration of feeling like you’re shouting into a void. What I haven’t done is get the right content under the eyes of the right readers. Hence, quantity must take a back seat to quality. Nothing else matters.

Thus, what I intend as the final form of this web site, and my career as a blogger. I’m making this statement publicly, as a promise to hold myself to. This is a blog about writing, about content creation, and about aesthetics thereunto pertaining. Beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. And all that cal.

Read on, friends.

Facebook Should Be Broken Up, Company Co-Founder Says

Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg and others 15 years ago when they were students at Harvard, believes the federal government should dismantle the extraordinarily powerful social-media giant. In a 5,700-word New York Times op-ed piece published Thursday, Hughes argued that Zuckerberg holds “unchecked power” that is “unprecedented and un-American.” “Mark is a…

via Variety

I’m fine with this. The libertarian in me dislikes the notion of the government smashing companies with a hammer, seemingly as punishment for their success, but the more primitive mind says “Facebook isn’t my friend”. Principles of liberty are not a suicide pact.

On Publishing and Platforms in the Age of Trump

Basically, this whole post by Peter Grant at Mad Genius Club:

First, the publishing world, like the rest of the ruling class, just can’t even with the last election, and by golly, they’re going to react to it. And after noting how they think “Trump voters have created space in the political conversation for heretical ways of discussing class, gender and race” (by which they of course mean not the ways Trump voters want to discuss those things, but the way voices they like want to discuss them, because that’s what “heretical” means or something), Peter suggests:

If you ask me, I don’t think President Trump has so much “shaken up the book industry” as exposed the fact that it appears to have fundamentally departed from the essential foundation of commercial business – namely, to make a profit. If businesses don’t make a profit, they fail. Period. If we, as authors, write to make a living (as I do), and we don’t make a profit, we fail. Where do you see that realization in the views cited in that article? I don’t . . . and I suspect that’s the reality behind the publishing and book-selling industry’s (and many authors’) woes. Both appear to have lost sight of the reality that, first, last and always, publishing is a business. That’s why so many parts of it are failing.

Art is commerce.

Art Is Commerce.

ART IS COMMERCE.

Second, Affiliate Marketing is Going to Run Into Regulatory Problems. I don’t care, because I don’t have enough blog traffic to even get on Amazon Affiliates anymore. This is of a piece with Google and Facebook getting Big Enough to provoke grumbling about it being Standard Oiled. We love success stories in America. We also love watching them fall.

Third, Big Tech is taking a political side. As if I needed another reason to contemplate deleting my Facebook. Honestly, the only reason I’m ever on there is to post picture of my children and catch up with the occasional college pal.

If our perspective as authors, and/or the subject matter of our books, and/or how we cover other opinions, clashes with the point of view espoused by social media outlets or vendors, we may find ourselves censored, and/or our books “muted” in terms of public visibility. To name just a few examples:

  • What would happen if our blog platform (e.g. Blogger, WordPress, even many you may never have heard about) decided to “de-platform” (i.e. shut down) bloggers with whose views it/they disagreed?
  • What if book review sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. decided to ignore our books, or remove reviews of them posted by readers?
  • What would happen to our sales if a dominant vendor like Amazon.com decided to omit our books from the “Customers who bought this item also bought” lists that are included on the page of every article for sale on its Web site?

Those are some of our most important avenues to reach potential readers. They may become restricted, even closed to us, if their owners and operators decide to promote only (or mostly) products – including books – that meet their definition of “politically correct”.

The question isn’t “Will this happen?” If they’re that shaken up by The Trumpening, they’re going to pull out all the stops to keep us peasants in line. The question is, “What do we do about it?”

Anyway, Read the Whole Thing.

How to Remove Facebook From Your Life

Full Disclosure: This article on Medium is by the official account of Gab, the free-speech Social Network that grew up in the aftermath of the first round of Twitter going after conservatives. So, they’re not exactly a neutral observer, and if you don’t care about free-speech for people you don’t like, then you might find the opening paragraph tendentious.

However, it has useful information about what you can do to get control of your data, including pictures and links. It also has the Holy Grail, the actual Deletion of your Facebook account.

For my part, I don’t use Facebook very much (following the article’s suggestion, I saw the app page, and found precisely 4 active apps, one of which I decided to cull.

But you might find it useful, so I’m passing it along. (H/T: Ace of Spades)

View at Medium.com

 

How important IS Facebook to an author’s career? — Cristian Mihai

Originally posted on irevuo: Whether some people like it or not, Facebook is the world’s largest social network, which in turn means that it’s the most used app, the thing that people use more often in order to get in touch with friends and family, to discuss ideas, and to find new means of entertainment.…

via How important IS Facebook to an author’s career? — Cristian Mihai

In a nutshell, Facebook is a tool to use, not a substitute for your own corner of the internet. I know this because Mihai’s writing this on his own platform, from which he sells his own books.

Which is something I need to seriously consider.

One Must Engage to Get “Engagement”

At least, that’s the practical upshot of this otherwise jargon-free article about using Facebook to increase your awareness. Useful in that it advocates not trying to make Facebook into something it isn’t.

Facebook is an absolutely amazing platform to build and grow your business. What’s even better than that? It’s absolutely free to use! The problem I see all the time, however, is most people who are using it to build their home-based businesses are doing it ALL WRONG! I used to be one of those people…until […]

via 9 Ways To Get Insane Facebook Engagement — Create Success With Lisa

If Blogs are Dying, We Shall Miss Them.

Lileks at his profound best.

While most blogs weren’t deathless examples of great writing, there was the opportunity for individualism, and you don’t get that from a Pinterest page. You don’t get it from a feed of things snipped and reblogged and pinned and shoveled into The Feed. The web turns into bushels of confetti shoveled into a jet engine, and while something does emerge out the other end, it’s usually made impressive by its velocity and volume, not the shape it makes.

All web sites are becoming the same web site. They look the same, they swipe the same, they beg you for subscriptions the same. The noise has become so great that I took February off of social media and I haven’t missed Facebook once. Not. Even. Once.

Content is King, we are told. But the rat at which the content is consumed seems to make the consumption the point rather than the content itself. I can read a thousand articles on Medium in a day; how many of them will really stick with me?

The same can be true of blogs, of course, but whenever I found a blog I liked, I almost always wanted to read everything that they had. Whereas I couldn’t remember the name of anyone who’s “written” any Buzzfeed listicle I’ve gif’ed through if you paid me.

The medium is becoming the message. Which bodes not well, now that the FCC has made it a public utility.

Google and Facebook are Dead. Except They Aren’t.

It’s such fun to declare that the Gods are in twilight; you gain the status of a bold truth-teller even if your prediction’s flat-out wrong. Erick Jackson, writing at Forbes is taking just such a risk, point out that Google and Facebook may not be well suited to the new Mobile App world. Which is perfectly true, but as George Anders rebuts, hardly means that these two companies are dead. Rather the worst case scenario “would be to become their generation’s equivalent of Microsoft.”

Brand sizzle would diminish. Price-earnings ratios would compress. Yet they would hardly be headed for oblivion. Even at half its current margins, Google’s search-and-targeted-ads combo would be one of the most valuable business products on the planet. Facebook’s 900 million users have already shown that they can’t quit the addictive service, no matter how hard they try.

The same is true of Amazon, which Jackson accuses of never getting social networking right. Which again, is true, but so what? We don’t need Amazon to social network.  We need Amazon to ship stuff to our door, and as long as they keep doing that at prices we like, neither Web 2.0 nor 3.0 matter.

That’s why Google+ hasn’t taken off. When it came out, everyone said “Oh, it’s Google’s Facebook. I already have Facebook. What do I need this for?” Even if Amazon had been “good” at social networking, would we have wanted or needed it?

The tech gurus tend to overstate their own importance, to posit that everyone who doesn’t jump aboard every trend is a dinosaur choking on its own gas. The idea won’t stand up under thirty seconds objective scrutiny. The Internet has been undergoing revolutionary shifts every few years. But Ford still makes cars, Coke still carbonates water with corn syrup and caramel coloring; Amazon still sells books, and Facebook still makes random changes to our page without asking us.

Everything changes, except the stuff that doesn’t.