Friday, August 23, 2013

Likes, Upvotes, Views, Re-tweets and Shares - Social Media and You

Long, long ago, my fellow nerds boldly went where none had gone before.  The interwebs...

I know.  I know.  Nowadays everyone is on social media - all the time.  In order to maintain social cred, you must Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Reddit, Pinterest, VineTumblrInstagramGoogle+ and more!  There really aren't enough hours in the day to be as social as you have to be.

Not to mention more specialized sites - like GoodReads (for literate types), DeviantArt (for peeps who like pretty pictures) or YouTube (when you need moving pictures and sound)

It looks like the web, once the sole province of the socially disinterested and the technically elite (nerds), has been taken over by teens posting selfies, numerous cat videos, and the NSA (Hi Guys!).

So what's a nerd to do?

  1. Stop - just breath and realize you don't have be into everything.  You're a nerd remember.  It's ok to be really, really into your thing.  
  2. Find your community - believe me, whatever you're into, it's on the interweb (See Rule 34 - NSFW!).
  3. Sign up and lurk - watch forums and blogs.  Follow interesting people/topics.  You don't have to contribute
  4. Contribute - if you want, when you have something to say.  And try to be nice - we don't need more trolls!
    From Munchkin Card Game - Use with as much adult supervision as you can find
  5. Schedule - if you're running a blog or posting to some social media site and you want a ton of people watching/following you, schedule your posting times.  Around 6-7 Eastern is when most people are online, so you have the most chance of people seeing your stuff before it's lost in the shuffle if you schedule your uploads.

Does that make the interwebs a bit less scary?

Remember, my dear nerds, the interwebs is ours!  We had it first and we know it best.  Make it work for you.

What are your tips for surviving the social media jungle?

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Word on Worldbuilding

One of the wonderful things about nerds is their creativity.  In my recent post I listed a number of traditionally nerdesque stories and ideas which have gone mainstream.  One of my friends from Writers' Bloc asked me about how my creative process works.

From talking with other writers/creators I've found there tend to be a few different approaches to story creation.  There are the Outliners and those who fly by the seat of their pants, also known as Pantsters.
Whether you're a Outliner or a Pantster, there are a couple of approaches to how you arrive at your main story.  Some use a character based approach.  Others start with a world.  A few base their story on an idea - usually a "What if...?"

If you've done a little writing, you might already know - am I a Pantster or an Outliner?

I am definately a Pantster and so, it seems, is one of my favorite authors, Stephen King.
“There’s no outline, nothing like that. That freezes it, it takes what should be a liquid, plastic, malleable thing to me and turns it into something else. Hey, to me it’s the difference between going to a canvas and painting a picture and going out and buying a Craftsmaster paint-by-the-numbers kit.”  - from “Digging Up Stories With Stephen King” by W.C. Stroby, March 1992 WD
If you've done more writing, you might also have an idea of how the story comes to you:

  • A character who whispers in your brain, demanding their story be told, as Robert Jordan claims Conan did to him
  • A world, complex and rich, full of mystery and wonder, like Dune, or the London Underground of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere
  • A 'What If' idea - What if soldiers where deployed overseas at the behest of evil corporations run by vampires, seeking blood, not oil?  - What if a man sat in a jail cell and waited, stocking footed (the image Stephen King says inspired his screenplay for Storm of the Century).
Maybe you're some combination of all of these.  What gets your creative juices going?

Here's more info on worldbuilding:

On Worldbuilding - Ilona Andrews

YouTube - Brandon Sanderson