MeWe Fantasy Group

In the past few weeks I’ve significantly limited my social media presence. I deleted the Twitter dumpster fire, limited my facebook to close family and required work contacts, and gave up on reading Reddit. 

But I do miss the larger discussion about books that was had across the different platforms. For the most part I enjoyed the Fantasy page on reddit until it became the personal domain of liberal activists who ban anyone who holds an opinion  left of Mao.

So I followed a lot of the G+ crew to MeWe and decided to start this group. If you want to discuss Fantasy in all its incarnations please join up and get to it. 

Click here to join!

Networks of Power

biggest changes in history are the achievements of thinly documented, informally organized groups

 Niall Ferguson, The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Around the same time I deleted Twitter I started reading Niall Ferguson’s latest book, The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook. Not as good or concise as his The Ascent of Money which I read earlier this year, nonetheless it had a few interesting parts that made me think about historical causes from a different perspective. 

From Boston to Bordeaux, revolution was in large measure the achievement of networks of wordsmiths, the best of whom were also orators whose shouted words could rally the crowd in the square and incite them to storm the towers of the old regime.

Niall Ferguson

The personal application of understanding and observing networks in everyday life is fascinating and exceptionally interesting. For example, myself, and most of the readers of this blog are part of a lateral network of right-leaning conservative readers and writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy. A lot of us are also networked through different social media and share memberships in some of the same groups. A few of us have published work in the same magazines.

I would love to see a network analysis that plotted all of the connections and correspondence. It would be fascinating to see where the main nodes of communication and transmission lie. Looking at myself and how I fit into the network my guess would be that one of the biggest common nodes a lot of us share is Jeffro Johnson, closely followed by Cirsova. 

Understanding networks and subsequently focusing and harnessing their power is critical to success in a hostile environment like SFF writing. The traditional publishing world is made up of a series of interconnected networks and the last few eventful Hugo awards illustrate that fact. It’s no secret that a lot of the traditional publishers are very homogeneous in thought and style. You can map a lot of the publishers and writers through different nodes based on writing programs and writing workshops.

Networks are powerful. Building and cultivating a network of like minded readers and writers is critical. Supporting and being active members is critical. Comment on blog posts, share blog posts, encourage others to read works by independent writers you respect. 

Actions that help build trusted networks serve your cause

It’s the way to power. 

Toxic Infinity Pools

My last post was the triumphant deletion of my Twitter account. Turns out it was rather timely for numerous political reasons. Alex over at Amatopia, was one of the loudest voices that set me on the path away from that toxic mess, and in his post Join the Exodus! he outlines a lot of political and social reasons to quit the psychic vampire of social media. 

The Pool outside Moria

Oddly enough the final decision towards deletion, and severe re-adjustment of my social media was my daily walk to work listening to Lord of the Rings.  The scene outside the entrance to Moria, the one with the evil dark pool filled with tentacles, reminded me of a podcast I listened to a while back on The Art of Manliness. This guy John Zeratsky was talking about his book about making time and described this concept of infinity pools. 

What are Infinity Pools?
Infinity Pools are always-on, effectively infinite sources of information and entertainment.

Twitter is the ultimate infinity pool, but unlike some that can be beneficial, Twitter is a toxic soup of bitter hags, simpletons, and hucksters. But, it’s an addicting toxic sludge and one that kills productivity and happiness. I’ve caught myself numerous times getting irritated over some imbecilic post because I was on Twitter while eating breakfast. 

Of course the big fear is that without it I won’t sell any of my stories, the ones I never write because I spend my writing time being angry on social media. Here is the deal. I’m going to write, then I’m going to advertise. Too many writers advertise nothing but their political views and opinions on pop culture. 

So I’m done. I’m going to become selectively Digitally Amish. I will continue to build my house here, and if you want to be my neighbor I will welcome you gladly. But I’m done standing on hills made of shit shouting nonsense at the world.