Sunday, July 31, 2016

How I Use Social Media #1: Facebook

Starting a series of blog entries on social media use, at least partly as a reflection and self-examination of my social networking.

Platform: Facebook
Followers: 741 (plus four pages for my Dandelion Studios comics, with follow counts of 960, 583, 671, and 103 respectively).

Facebook is the starting point for social media. It's the site I interact with the most on a daily basis, and it's the site that is in most universal use among my friends and family. I doubt I'm alone in that. While occasional stories crop up about how Facebook is losing traction among younger audiences, it still has such universal market penetration that I have no doubt that it will be around and relevant for a long time to come.

Still, while Facebook is an essential part of my daily social life, in some ways, I find it to be less important than other social media for the growth of my creative endeavors. The main reason for this is that Facebook's culture is not geared toward interacting with strangers. Sure, it's possible to send friend requests to strangers, but that feels to me like a violation of the basic cultural norms of Facebook.

At this point, I tend to grow my Facebook friends list at about the same rate that I make new friends in person, which is generally pretty slowly. Facebook, for me, is not at this point a tool that is going to help me reach much in the way of new audiences.

That being said, my FB friends list does include most of the people in my life that I can count on to help me out or to interact with me when I post something. So if, for instance, I post on FB that I need some people to read a new story I'm working on to give me feedback, I know I am likely to get some volunteers. And since I've got a pretty smart and creative group of friends, I know I'm going to get good ideas and well thought out feedback.

I link most of the creative things I do on Facebook. My photo galleries on Flickr get posted there. I crosspost directly from Instagram, and I link my blog entries and reviews. I do a lot of check-ins, especially now that I'm living outside the US, and I post a lot of travel photos directly to Facebook in addition to using Flickr and Instagram. Facebook is where I tend to post more family photos, and more people-oriented photos in general. I also post a fair amount of basic going-here doing-this statuses.

Some things I don't post on Facebook: I really try not to use it as a place to vent or rant about things going wrong in my life. My life is generally pretty awesome, but when I do have negative feelings, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to spread them around to my Facebook friends. Some people feel the need to vent publicly (or to some subset of the friends list), and that's awesome if it helps them deal with things. It just was never something that I felt would work for me.

I almost never forward memes (they're almost always awful, even the ones I agree with), and I'm not really interested in posting my political, religious, or philosophical views for the world (or my friends list to see). There have been some exceptions to this, but they are few and far between for me.

I try to avoid posting about my day job, or posting too much about my son (although he does get mentioned a lot just in terms of those going-here doing-this statuses).

As far as my friends list goes, some people will cull just about everyone who rubs them the wrong way, while other FB user seem to have a philosophy of keeping people around who they disagree with on politics and the like, just to have some opposing viewpoints.

My approach is somewhere in between. It is, first and foremost, MY newsfeed. If there are memes or posts that are bothering me appearing there, I don't feel some obligation to keep them there. I have plenty of diversity of opinion among friends that I know well, and that manage to express their diverse opinions without degenerating into racist, sexist, or homophobic/transphobic garbage. I don't need hateful garbage to be what I wake up to when I go to catch up on my newsfeed in the morning, and I am perfectly willing to unfriend as needed, with a bit more hesitation if the person is someone I know off the internet. I'll also block the sources of the more vile memes if needed.

And while I'm on the subject of blocking, one of FB's better features is the ability to block app requests from specific people. I use this with pretty much anyone who sends me an app/game request.

As far as friends requests go, I used to subscribe to a "give everyone a chance" philosophy and automatically accept all friends requests. These days, I have been getting enough requests from people that are obviously spammers, that I have started to get a lot more critical about who I accept requests from.

As mentioned above, I have put together four pages for the four full-format comic book titles I was involved in publishing/writing. My comics projects have basically been on hiatus since we moved to Vietnam, and I seldom post on those pages, but I am planning to do more with them in the coming school year, as they represent a potential untapped source of readers for whatever projects I end up working on. I also want to keep that audience at least somewhat in place for if we ever transition the comics over to an online format, and/or get back to work producing more issues.

Like a lot of people, Facebook is part of day-to-day life for me. It's one of my main sources of information about what's going on with my friends, my family, and out in the world in general. While I don't consider it as something where I have a ton of potential for growth of contacts, it currently holds most of my very best contacts, and it will always be a place where I want to link whatever creative endeavors I'm working on.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Review Recap For July 24-30 2016

I'm trying to start up a new recap feature on this blog where I link the reviews I've written each week. I have a comic review column at Comic A Day. It is not really daily, as much as I'd like it to be, but I try to do a review every few days at least.

I also review books on Goodreads, and I've also started doing some travel reviews on TripAdvisor.

Here's what I've posted in the last week.

On Comic A Day:

The Incident Under Hill Farm, a minicomic by Benjamin Wright-Heuman.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1, from DC Comics.

On Goodreads:

Big Bad Best of Booty, a paperback collection of Anne Thalheimer's comic/zine, Booty.

On TripAdvisor:

Best Western Plus Robert Treat Hotel, Newark NJ, where we stayed during part of our summer visit home to the US in June.

Also this week:
I'm backing my friend Jim Henderson's fundraiser to help him get back on the road after his vehicle was totaled in an accident.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wrestling Moves That Are Puns On The Wrestler's Name

Random Pro Wrestling Thing... My favorite wrestling moves that Are puns on the wrestler's name! Ranked in approximate order of ridiculousness. (And no, I am not making any of these up).

10. AJ Styles "Styles Clash"
9. The Rock's "Rock Bottom"
8. Trish Stratus' "Stratusfaction"...
7. Sasha Banks' "Banks Statement"
6. Bayley's "Bayley-to-Belly"
5. Luke Gallows "Gallows Pole"
4. Sean O'Haire's "Sean-ton Bomb"
3. Emma's "Emmamite Sandwich"
2. Edge's "Edge-o-Matic"
1. Shane Helms' "Nightmare on Helms Street"