Posts Tagged ‘wiscon’

WisCon: Something Wrong on the Internet

May 24th, 2009

This is the panel on Something Wrong on the Internet. It is hosted by Liz Henry, Piglet, Julia Sparkymonster, Vito Excalibur. Panelists agreed to talk over each other.

(Reporting this as an audience member and reporting on what other says.)

Why harsh on people’s squee? This thing starts off on race!fail references and just kept going. “Really. It is just the Internet.” That it is discarded because we have these conversations in real life, at places like conventions. Internet can be a better place to have some conversations because you can walk away. And you can decide how much time you want to spend on it. Walking away is good because you can think and reflect better.

Some Internet conversations have offline components.

Piglet says she has learned a lot from online conversations. She has learned that she doesn’t hate her body because of these conversations. Don’t be discouraged.

Other people talked. Sometimes, it takes time to learn things. It might take three years before they get the point you made. They might not understand why you freaked them out at the time.

Panel had a hard time with internet conversations that changed their mind. (Then some one came up with that they learned about mock Spanish and changed their mind. )

One did say they learned how ignorant they are on some topics. Sometimes, that can be extremely helpful to learn.

Personal connections can help make learning easier when people are mean to you.

PoC hive mind does not exist. This was something that some one learned.

People learned how to respond when some one accused them of being racist or classist.

Panel discussed Heidipologies. Good example:”I am so sorry people are so hard to trust. I am sorry people are being so mean to me.”

Ruby!Fail is a guy who does porn slides at a tech conference and made people uncomfortable. Pearl Guy did the same thing but he made a good apology. He didn’t repeat. Ruby on rails people said “We need more porn in our slides.” They didn’t get why women were offended at comparisons to porn.

When you fuck up? Online, not comment immediately. Wait a while. Tell people you need to take a moment, stop commenting and formulating a way to response. Locked posts on LiveJournal are key to being an ass hole. Sit with discomfort and try to figure out what you did wrong. Then apologize and mean it, even if you didn’t get it. Don’t say you didn’t get it.

What happens if you do it wrong? Is there a pathway for apologizing? You can give them shit. You don’t need to accept their apology. It is okay. It depends on how people react when you do wrong. You need to shut up. Or you need to explain it and be done with it.

If you never shut up about things, then you will continue to be mobbed.

Can you participate in online drama if you don’t have time to dedicated to it? Answer is yes. You can digest chunks of it. You can toss in comments a few weeks or months after the fact because the Internet is asynchronous. You can also follow by tracking one or two bloggers who follow that subject.

When all your Internet friends are participating, you should participate in the conversation.

Internet Drama is, according to Liz Henry, a form of the news. Twitter is a good place to keep track of some drama online.

Failblog.com is already purchased.

What are the main dramas? (Reference to great blow job wars of 2005 in the feminist blogosphere.) Conversation around that question got derailed.

You have to know the right people in order to know what is going on online. Overlapping but non-identical spheres mean that you can totally miss things like Race!Fail. (And if you don’t know about some of this drama, people would explode.)

JournalFen, Fandom_Wank, Link_Spam on Dreamwidth, metafandom on LiveJournal can help you keep track of fandom drama online.

Asking people before going to a convention what is going is important so you can be prepared for events like WisCon.

Following Coffeeandink is good because you can follow the drama that is going on.

Recent Drama: WisCon picture posting with Rachel Moss was big. Rachel Moss and the_ferret both chances to talk about their experiences with the fail.

A feminist author said don’t talk about some one with out telling them that you’re going to talk about them. Ask them if they want to participate in the conversation. The act of doing that can help change your perspective.

Fail can keep you honest.

Then conversation back to listing recent fail.

Race Fail!

Mammoth!Fail.

Seal Press!Fail.

Seal Press involved publishing feminist bloggers. The publishing house then jumped the shark with their illustrations for the book. They had illustrations like spear chucking African women who were bad. The hero to save them was a white amazonian type female. The press was told all about this and how it was offensive. They didn’t change their behavior or modify their behavior. The press accused people of being jealous of her writing, her awesomeness and her having a book published. It was when she got defensive and whined about it that made the situation and made the whole thing explode a lot worse.

Another time, Seal Press told some black author that the book needed more white people. The publisher trolled comments to explain them.

Another awesome fail was digital colonialism.

Some one asked why white women would read anything about black women?

Seal Press has acted like a jerk face, claimed they were okay because they had a black employee.

Seal Press was weird because she could be an ally in many ways but disappointed people because she wasn’t.

How do you interact with people who fail in some ways? As a feminist, you should probably try to keep those allies, keep those connections even though it is hard. It can take a few months sometimes to get past though hard moments of fail.

How do you handle when say your Guest of Honor does major fail two weeks before the convention? Question from the audience. Conversation then got derailed.

Liz Henry wanted spontaneous panel for mammoth fail.

OSC was invited to a con. Orson Scott Card had done homophobic rants. People were upset. The ConCom realized they could not pull back his invitation. ConCom invited people to discuss it with them. ConCom had some one follow Orson Scott Card around so they could make sure he did not vomit homophobic comments at people. ConCom has to address it in some way. It should be dependent on the ConCom. (The bar is set that anything is better than say “People are over reacting.” It is pretty low.)

In many online conversations, only people who show up are ones that agree with you. This can be a huge thing to overcome. There are ways to do that if you can say find people who can respectfully engage.

Will Shetterly was mentioned. Will Shetterly’s name has an asterick. A panelist do not think that they could have a respectful conversation with him.

One panelist said that if they talk to you in non-macros, it means they think that they can actually engage with the person.

Part of the joy of internet drama is making macros and funny LiveJournal icons. Also great? Bingo cards.

Humor can be really important in defusing some of the major drama.

What do you do when you know and love some one who ends up being a major giant ass hole online? This is the part where one person hates principles and having them. It is really hard to handle that. Sometimes you can call them out. Sometimes you can’t. If doing it, reaffirm that you are still friends, that you respect them and that you are doing that as an act of love because you think they can handle being called out. (and people should be able to take that out. But more often than not, they can’t.)

How does it feel like being the actual target? Total strangers misunderstanding what you did is annoying. Calling out perfect strangers is the spirit of the Internet. How you do that though should be different than people you know.

Hint of a fail is when a person says “There is a mob after me!” Flail is different.

Audrey Lord discusses reuses of anger. People have strong reactions to people being angry.

You catch more flies with honey but who wants flies? Sometimes, there is no way to respond in a way that will make people happy. Even no matter how nice you are. Some people will just respond one way based on their perspective.

Is the goal that some people have zero fail? Are people afraid of fucking up? Do they remain silent for that reason? Do people hope for a fail less universe? If that is true, then it means that no hard discussions are happening. There is less of an opportunity to learn.

You see a gigantic fail happening. You sit on your hands and not post on it. Then you start thinking that yeah. Panelist said that you should ignore guilt. People don’t care. A panelist said that the questioner said that posting about your own ignorance and explain things and linking is just as supportive as many other things.

How not to burn out? This is an issue deepad has had. People are beginning to have conversations in protected spaces as a result.

Burn out happens in all progressive communities. (and with ConComs.) Link dropping can be a way to avoid burn out. You can just find some one else talking about a topic and then point people there. It gets the point across and you don’t have to have the investment.

Shetterly has given his friends an Internet safeword so that people can tell him to back off. That way he won’t be on top of it in an unhealthy way.

You, as an individual, need to be responsible for yourself. Learn when to back off and help your friends by telling them when you are afraid they are going to burn out. Make sure you have people at your back so that it is less stressful and you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Being angry in chat with a safe group is a good way of being safe.

Documenting things can be difficult. How do you document issues that can be contentious. Neutrality is hard. How you document can effect the community that you’re documenting. (No one looks at SF Feminist wiki except Kathryn Kramer.) It can be a challenge. No solution for how to deal with that other than figuring out as you go.

Being the lone voice in the wilderness can be challenging. sometimes, you just need to take a break. But sometimes you can’t take a break because of your job. Then you need a small break, flip out in a corner and then go back. Be aware of the costs. Know stuff that has already happened, talked to survivors. Figure out coping strategies. A good strategy is to bring in a posse but don’t lead them on about why you are inviting them. Warn your posse about the situation, explain that you are swarming and explain to the organizers that you need diversity which is why you are bringing people.

The lurkers will support you.

Understand that you are in it for the long haul when you are the only voice. Don’t think short term.

People get attacked for bringing in people to back them up. Bringing in a posse is different. What you’re just doing is bringing in other people who can provide their own perspectives and to see if the person really had a point or if you are wrong.

One ass hole theory of systems means that you need at least one ass holes so that you can direct shit in the way it needs to go. The point of the ass hole can be to show people what not to do. Deployment of where you put your ass holes can be important. Not at the top as it all reins down.

Suck it and deal with it ARE valid responses. (Course people don’t need to tell you to suck it because the universe will tell you to suck it all on its own.) It is better to have a discussion on why a person needs to suck it.

Having allies who disagree is good because you’re not all minions.

Fear is good.

Lots of articles about this drama in a book sold in the Dealer’s room.

Digital Colonialism. Some guest PoCs and women can be a form of colonialism as they are just co-opted and used. That was an argument in a fail. People were not referred to. They were not informed that this was coming when the blog post was made. They would not stop when told they were being offensive.

Moderate your comments can avoid fail. If Elizbaeth Bear had done that, none of this would have happened.

WisCon panel on self promotion for science fiction authors

May 24th, 2009

At WisCon panel on self promotion for science fiction author. The presenters include Madge Miller, Marrianne Kirby, Catherine Lundoff and Nayad M. They are either professionals in marketing or are published authors.

Advice they have given includes:

Do not rely on a publicist to do it. They work best when you help them with their job.

Self promote with a buddy. It makes you feel less self conscious.

Readings are not necessarily time wise. It might be better to try to do readings with other authors. It can help draw a bigger crowd.

Doing conventions can help make you a more recognizable name.

No one thing is the magic bullet. You need more solutions.

Don’t try to do so much self promotion at once. It can burn you out, especially if you don’t see results. Try to focus on one project at once. That is what professionals do.

Check out who has expertise in promoting. Get advice from them. Use your community to find good ways to promote.

Realistically, most science fiction authors are not going to get a publicist. Think about how you would present yourself at a job interview. Treat things like readings and panels as if they were that. This includes not showing up drunk to your panels. (People do it.) Don’t hog conversations.

Make an effort to fake an interest in other people’s work. Otherwise, you come across as being me me me and can be a turn off. You don’t get the personal connections that way. Personal connections really can help sell the book as those people may go out and tell people how fantastic you are.

If you can pair a book reading with a non-profit event, it can help generate additional interest and help sell the book. It generates good will.

You should almost put on a writer professional cap at conventions. You need to portray almost a different version, almost like acting but more like projecting yourself. This way you can get attention.

Women in American culture get told that self promotion is tacky and icky and they should not do. Women need to get over that. If you put on a professional hat, it becomes easier to self promote.

If you are going to do a reading for the first time, practice with people you like and respect. They can give you good feedback. Start out with something structured to help overcome your own fears. Ask your friends to tell you when you commit your own weakness like stumbling over words, rambling, etc. Non-professionals can give you feedback if you are being boring. Also think about timing of your reading. More than 35 minutes makes keeping your audience hard. Think about breaking up longer readings into parts. Practice your timing. Know when you can stop, look up at the audience and where to pace yourself.

Consider wearing makeup so that you look brighter than life and larger, to enhance your stage presence.

What are bad ideas?

People who do book forts at panels at conventions can be a problem. It is better to be graceful and just flash the book. It is a bit selfish to promote the book the whole time. (Though this may be depend on the panel and why you are on the panel. If you are on a panel because of that book, it can be different. A book fort may be overkill but a single book might not be that bad.)

Many people who feel insecure put others down. They try to stand on the bodies of other authors by putting them down in order to self promote. This can hurt you. It is better to be nice.

Don’t give a speech if you’re on a panel. Moderators should direct traffic and have questions to help steer questions. They should not read four pages of notes.

Advice for people starting out to increase chances of success?

At conventions, sign up for panels you are interested in. The more practice that you get, the more comfortable you will be when you become published.

Online presence is importance. You need a website. Determine where you want your name out. Have a blog. Look at what other writers are blogging about to get ideas for what to write about.

Realize that it takes a long time to build an audience. A year out is a good idea is when to start building. You have a chance to build conversations, to let people know you have a book coming out. Ask people questions. Always be authentic online and in person. Be authentic to who you really are.

Talk about things that you are interested means like minded people as they will likely like your fiction.

Working on a blog, creating a community, talking to reporters as a form of self promotional activity can help you get a book deal. Why? Because you get to make good connections who can help you accomplish your goals. It isn’t necessarily fair that we respond to the people we know but it does help getting published in the first place.

It is never to early to get online. You should get yourself associated with things that involve your audience.

Twitter, FaceBook, LiveJournal, GoodReads are all ways to interact online.

Twitter. Authors can tweet. Read up on the etiquette of tweeting before you start. If you do the wrong thing, people will snicker. Twitter is very real time. If you are going to be on it, you need to really commit to it. Follow people and respond to him. Personal details can really help connect you to your audience.

Twitter can go horribly wrong. Updating shop listings every time you do that can be a pain. Don’t over do the URL plugging. Twitter is an online service that allows you to send 140 characters. Twitter started off as phone but now is on the web. You should ReTweet interesting comments by people you follow. Be good to others who might be able to be good to you. ReTweets asking can get info out to a large audience that say your book is coming out.

You can actually talk to people on Twitter and make connections with people you might not otherwise make. Doing this may result in getting a follow back. Be authentic. Don’t become an annoying fan.

Anti-Twitter panelist prefers to blog. She finds it annoying. The information is not useful to her. Who cares that you walked your dog? Not enough info there to want to follow up on. It is a stylistic personal preference. Digest of Tweets on LiveJournal is annoying. If they didn’t follow you on Twitter, why would they want it in another medium?

Cross posting to Twitter and FaceBook can be annoying. There are different rules and etiquette. FaceBook tends to be less cluttered.

FaceBook is kind of nice as a networking tool. It isn’t necessarily great for blogging on because audience attention isn’t high. If blogging, post it elsewhere.

On a self promotional level, finding these services annoying is irrelevant. It is about trying to reach people in the most beneficial and effective towards meeting your goals. If your audience on FaceBook is helpful, then you might want to update there even if you are not comfortable. Find where you can compromise to self promote. This is what is comes down to. The tool is about getting results, not your personal feelings.

Consensus is that you really, really need to have a blog. Try to develop a readership. Mix up the content to help develop a broader readership: Personal life, professional life, writing life. Good to have blog attached to your website. Why? It helps with Google ranking. It means you can keep adding fresh content to your website. Twitter feed can help keep your content fresh.

If you are not going to engage authentically, then don’t.

One of the highest read blogs was that of a chinese erotic model who updated regularly. Try to update once a day to maintain the audience if you want to develop a huge audience. If you don’t want to blog, consider doing message from the author. Dead blogs are a turn off to the audience. People will drop you from their feeds.

Blogging is a big time commitment. When you’re doing fiction, you may not have the same correlation with blog success. You need to find balance. You need to find what works for your life. Penelope Trunk gives good advice on how to blog effectively. Though Penelope is extremely controversial so take it with a grain of salt.

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