community

What is a gaming community?

Chistina Kelly put together this great presentation on what makes a gaming community, and it really made me think:

 

 

I think the problem that we are all facing an issue about how to bring in people in a way that they contribute to the project, without clouding the issue of copyright and ownership to the point where no one can make money off it.  This presentation is a great start.

Fandom, for Community and Fun

Jeffrey Carl Faden posted his thoughts on fandom, and I have to say, I understand were he is coming from, and I feel like he just missed the point.

His main argument is that being a self identified a fan gets to enjoy the benefits of community, but are discouraged by the label to create stories and worlds of their own.

I couldn't disagree more.  I am a fan.  I have always been a fan, and I participate in multiple fandoms, and that has not stopped me from creating my own worlds and stories.  I would even argue that this exposure forces me to figure out how I can be more original.

I started writing fan fiction, and it was a great place for me to learn some of the fundamentals of story.  I will not repeat my old "fanfiction is what culture is" sermon again, but I still feel that way.

Fandom is the a world of like-minded people who help me discovery new fiction, music, and games.  They expose me to new ideas, and challenge my preconceptions.

Fandom is, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.  /rant

Community Issues

Community Management Twool
Image by 10ch via Flickr

I've talked for a while now on Fandom Today, about our dreams to build a community site for you all to talk to each other in the same way you talk to us via email, Twitter, and FaceBook.  For a long time we used Ning, but there new pricing model makes that impossible... (sigh)

For the last month we have been playing with BuddyPress with mixed results.  While it add most of the function you all have asked for, it does not allow us to set up a dedicated video upload section, and the Profile and Group Avatars are broken.  Over the last several days, BuddyPress has started causing random crashes on the site, so I disabled it until the next update.

We are thinking of adding VideoPress to the site for our vidders to continue adding videos to the site.

You all are what makes dashPunk worth the time, effort, and cost, so we want to make you as happy as we possibly can.

I am sorry for any inconvenience our recent issues have caused.  Let me know what features (or services) you would like us to have, and we will do our best to bring them to you as quickly as we can.

Passion = Life

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Emerald Fest - Meet Emerian Rich

Emerian Rich will be signing books and selling art prints

10a-12:30pm Saturday, May 15th, 2010 At the 8th Annual Emerald Fest Community Benefit Gala

10:00am- 5:00pm at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center 611 Village Dr., Suisun City, CA

Exciting outing for the whole family! Vendors, poets, authors, dancers, singers, and other performers!

Admission: A donation of a canned food, new clothing (especially bras), or toiletries and/ or $5.00. Proceeds will go to Feed the Children and the local homeless Mission Outreach.

NBC Community Gets Awesome With Modern Warefare

Community is one of those shows that started out bad.  I almost gave up on the series but I kept watching because the last 5 minutes were entertaining.  Then by the Halloween episode the show got better.  Still not owner - re-watchable better but to the level that I looked forward to see the next episode. Last weeks episode Modern Warfare is brilliant.  I watched the episode 3 times over the weekend and it's probably an owner for me.

Watch the trailer below.

This episode is a what if Abed made an episode.  Abed is a fanboy character who lives by, breaths and eats his beloved show.  He is constantly quoting or comparing instances to other shows and movies.  I loved what he did for Batman on the Halloween episode.

In this episode they quote, reference and do homages to so many different things.  Starting with a 28 Days Latter homage to set the scene and ending with Die Hard.

I love how they did the set up for The Warriors running homage.  It didn't help that Wolf ran around all weekend calling out "Warriors!"

For those unfamiliar with The Warriors it was an 1979 movie that was hilariously bad.  probably worth watching once or at least no regrets of having seen it once.

Watch the trailer for The Warriors below.

Can you name all of the references made in the show?

Watch Community streaming below.

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Rebuilding a community

Leadership Lessons from Star Trek TNG
Image by Krypto via Flickr

Every group goes through 5 stages of group formation:

  1. Coming together
  2. Defining the Task
  3. Unrest
  4. Cohesion
  5. Interdependence

These stages do not always occur in the same order, and they often loop back on themselves, but the first 4 have to be completed for the community to enter the final stage: Interdependence.

1. Coming together

The first stage is the most difficult.  Starting from nothing, we have to find enough people who share a common interest in the project to make it possible.  When starting something new, there are few places to go to gather these people from.

This is why the first and the second stages form a symbiotic circle.

2. Defining the Task

As we discussed earlier, nothing brings people together like a shared dream.  The group leader needs to start defining tasks for the group to accomplish.  These tasks should be simple and doable.

The group cannot wait for members to rise up to accomplish these tasks.  The leader as well as the others who have already signed up for the task need to start work.  Nothing gathers a group like success.

3. Unrest

Unrest is natural.  I have had many people sign on the Project: Shadow Manifesto, start working with us, only to either become disillusioned by the magnitude of the tasks before us or get frustrated by my focus on what’s best for the community.

There is only one way to handle unrest when it inevitably comes.  Listen to the criticism, do your best to answer it and choose the best course of action moving forward.  If schism is inevitable, allow it to happen, but try to make appropriate compromises.

The well being of the community is more important than the ego of the leadership or existing group.  Be ready to apologize or stand your ground, which ever is the most necessary.

4. Cohesion

Cohesion is a worthy goal.  When the community sees the goal, and begins accomplish its goals, it will begin to move as a unit.  Individuals will start to see tasks that are not on the agenda, and working on their own to achieve the community’s goals.

This is the most dangerous stage of group development.  As new leaders emerge within the community, they will be tempted to set out on their own.  If the group does not understand that it is only through working together that their goals can be accomplished, it will fall apart.

5. Interdependence

If the group survives this stage, then they will begin to rely on one another, and success is within the communities grasp.  All they have to do it keep their eyes on the goal and values the group has established for itself, and keep moving forward.

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Pursuing a Dream

Cincinnati - Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum...
Image by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr

I think a lot about how to find and follow our dreams.  At times, I feel like a self-help writer, and I wonder if I am really saying anything that matters.

The Problem with Self-help

American society is rooted in the idea of picking ourselves up by our bootstraps and achieving impossible dreams.  We are a frontier nation, young enough to remember the struggles of our founders and frontiers men and women, but finally old enough to start grappling with some of the realities of forging a new world out of one that existed long before we got here.

Our real problem is the stories we grew up with about people who set out on their own to create a life for themselves.  It was all a lie.  None of these people did anything alone.  They only accomplished what they did with the help and support of their community.

Unfortunately, this self-made person myth infiltrated every part of our cultural psyche to the point where we have entire industries built on the lie that if you get your act together, then you will be able to do anything.  The truth is, only when we build a community around ourselves will be we able to accomplish anything.

Dreams Unify

While many of us believe we are alone in our dreams or that we have to achieve our dreams on our own, we are never really alone. Thousands of people want to write a book, or make a movie.  The trick is to find other people who share your specific dream.

Blogs and podcasts have helped a many people, but the means is not important.  What is important is the connections we make to keep our spirits up, share our knowledge, and support us through the lows and the highs.

Without a strong connection with like minded people, it is difficult to navigate the treacherous waters between us and our goal.

Never Alone

The path to our dream starts with us sharing:

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. What steps do you see between where you are to where you want to be?
  3. What mistakes have you made, and what have you learned from them?
  4. What are you doing right now to achieve your goals.

When you start to share, you will find others willing to share with you their experiences.

Following your dream

Now, you need to make you steps know, continue to share your experience, and work with others to achieve your goals.

Start a Blog over at Project: Shadow, and let’s get the community together.  As a group, nothing can stand in our way!

Being a part of something special makes you special

An example of a social network diagram.
Image via Wikipedia

Community is a base essential.  Even loners like to pride themselves on being part of a proud tradition of mavericks.  We all want to belong.  The question is: Belong to what?

There are two schools of thought:

  1. Belong to something popular
  2. Belong to something meaningful

Often, we feel like we have to choose one or the other.

Belonging to something Popular

The easiest choice to make to sign up for what your friends are doing.  I read a lot of blogs that discuss techniques bloggers can use to create this sort of peer pressure among your readers to bring their friends in.  The whole Web 2.0 phenomenon centered around this idea.

  • All my friends are on My Space, so I should be on My Space
  • Now the majority of my friends are on Facebook, I suppose I should join that.
  • Wow, all these people I want to keep up with are on Twitter.  I guess I need to join that

On and on it goes.  Each of these sites give us metrics to make us feel popular: Friends/Followers/Subscribers.

The problem with fame is that the more you have (real or imagined) the more you want.  It is a drug.  Social acceptance is the souls most addictive narcotic.  Like with any addiction.  Our priorities start changing.

My breaking point came when I was promoting Shine Like Thunder.  At one point, I was “participating” in 19 separate social networks on a weekly basis, and 7 more every other week.  Add that to my blogging, podcasting, and I didn’t have any time left to write…  You know, the reason I started this mess to begin with.  I had contact with a lot more people, but made few friends. I was hooked on the drug.  I fed the addiction while letting my passions wither.

Belonging to something Meaningful

All I really want, and I think all any of us really want is the sense that we are a part of something meaningful.

A meaningful community feeds us with enthusiasm and purpose.  That is the cost of popularity.

My favorite band, Kiss, and my favorite show on TV right now, Glee, understand this.  They preach and practice the celebration of difference.  We need to do that too!

Personal Checklist

I realized that in my personal life I need to ask myself some basic questions:

  1. What am I doing that fills my life with a sense of purpose and meaning?
  2. How can I better connect with people to make friends and not just followers.

Social Checklist

And on a broader field:

  1. How can I push the social networks I belong to work together better?
  2. How can I be more social and less promotional and vain?
  3. What can I do to fill my own life with more meaning and purpose?

I am still working on answers to these questions, and I am sure I missed quite a few that should be on the list.  What did I miss?  Do you have any suggestions?

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If I Close My Eyes Forever

It's funny how music can touch you in such a deep way.  I was sitting at my desk listening to music, and "If I close my eyes forever" by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne came on.  I know what the song is really about, but it resonated in me intensifying my feelings of confusion, and focusing me on the future.

Is it love that's on my mind or is it fantasy?

Baby, I get so scared inside and I don't really understand Is it love that's on my mind or is it fantasy? Heaven, is in the palm of my hand and it's waiting here for you What am I supposed to do with a childhood tragedy?

The future is the topic de jour at the HQ lately.  We have a lot of plans, hopes and dreams, and we are trying to find ways to make them a reality.

I have written stories since I was in the second grade.  In fact, when I was in the third grade, I wrote the third and fourth grade plays.  I even wrote the commencement for my fifth grade graduation.  In sixth grade, I started my first novel.  I wrote my second and third in high school, and my fourth after graduation.  Liquid Sky was my sixth.

I know what I want to do with my life.  I always have.  I know a lot of you feel the same way.  We talk in email about your dreams and ambitions, and how to achieve them.  That is the real problem.

Heaven, is in the palm of my hand

That line is literally true for me.  Writing is my heaven!  I fall into my stories.  I feel the characters highs and lows.  It might be impossible for me to call myself a great writer, but the letters I get about my books show me that they do the most important thing: They connect with readers.

Isn't that what we are all wanting?

  • To connect with others.
  • To feel like we are alive.

We need to find ways to help each others dreams come true.  To keep our dreams alive!

Sometimes, its hard to hold on

Hold On!
Image by Rampant Gian via Flickr

Sometimes, its hard to hold on, so hard to hold on to my dreams It isn't always what it seems when you're face to face with me Like a dagger you stick me in the heart and taste the blood from my blade And when we sleep would you shelter me in your warm and darkened grave?

It isn't always easy to hold on to our dreams.  The reality of what it takes to achieve our goals can be daunting.

If I had known when I started writing I would be plunged into convention politics and foisted into a position of leadership in a GLBT fan group, I probably would have stopped.  Honestly, sometimes, the thought still overwhelms me.

I have to remember: this is about more than just me.  The group needs an advocate, and if it is not me, then who will it be?

Realizing our dreams/following our bliss is a full-time job.  Most of us already have one of those, and it is not easy to add on a second.  We have to remind ourselves that we are worth it.

Taste the blood from my blade

The harder it is to live our passions, the more important it is to do!

Life thrives on the survival of the fittest.  When we get knocked down, we can either stay down, or bounce back fighting.  Stand up, laugh at the pain, taste the blood on the blade!  That is your life blood.  No one can take it from you without a fight.

Be proud of your dreams!  They course through your veins for a reason.  Passion is life.  If you feel like you have lost your passion, you are wrong.  Someone took it from you.  You need to take it back

Would it all remain unchanged?

If I close my eyes forever Would it all remain unchanged? If I close my eyes forever Would it all remain the same?

If you close your eyes, and leave your passions to the mercies of others, don't be surprised by the vacuum it leaves in your life.

Wake up!  Find some friends who have opened their eyes too (or help them to open theirs) and start moving forward.

The one who leaves the pack is always the one the predators come for, so build yourself another pack.  If your friends put you down, find new friends.  Find a community where people will support you.  You deserve the best life has to offer.  Hunt it out!

Wipe the cobwebs from my eyes

Beauty in the beholders eye.......
Image by ANDI2..too sad to flickr via Flickr

I know I've been so hard on you I know I've told you lies If I could have just one more wish I'd wipe the cobwebs from my eyes

Standing strong, we have to move past the lies we told ourselves.  It is time to walk forward.  We can get where we need to go together.

With eyes wide open

  • What is your heaven?
  • What challenges do you face?
  • How can we help?
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Free Ebooks boost Sales, but How?

Random House, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Victoria found this interesting Fact about giving away a free eBook of your novel.

... a doctoral student, John Hilton, is collecting data on the sales impact of ebook giveaways...

...While four of the five Random House books Hilton identified showed an uptick in sales post-e-version, 20 of 24 Tor titles showed a decrease. Why the difference? "One possible explanation is that by making the free books available for only one week a different dynamic was present [for Tor] than when the books were made permanently available [by Random House]," Hilton says. "The opportunity for word-of-mouth to spread about the free book may have been significantly diminished in the model used by Tor (Writer Beware Blogs!)."

Permanently Free= Word of Mouth

The study is finished but the difference between permanently giving away a free eBook increases sales while a limited time free eBook didn't.  The trick to building any audience or community is word of mouth.  My question is, how much do you giveaway?  I am not talking about whether or not to give away the whole book or just a sample, I am more interested in when is a good time to start giving away the book.

Writing in public

I have been toying around with the idea of writing a book in public.  I am in the process of developing a new novel, and I have been thinking about making the development and the writing public.  The question for me is how.  I can see a couple options:

  1. Set up a free blog and allow anyone to read and comment on the ideas, outlines and drafts.
  2. Set up a paid blog and allow anyone who preorders the book to read and comment on the ideas, outlines and drafts.

I like the second model best because it would weed out people who do not like my work at all, and it would allow my fans to be a part of the the writing process.  I do not usually release hardcovers, so maybe I could make a signed hard cover the preorder book.  Maybe I could even set up a gold membership that would offer an exclusive copy of the prewriting in print too.

What do you think?

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Free Ebooks boost Sales, but How?

Random House, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Victoria found this interesting Fact about giving away a free eBook of your novel.

... a doctoral student, John Hilton, is collecting data on the sales impact of ebook giveaways...

...While four of the five Random House books Hilton identified showed an uptick in sales post-e-version, 20 of 24 Tor titles showed a decrease. Why the difference? "One possible explanation is that by making the free books available for only one week a different dynamic was present [for Tor] than when the books were made permanently available [by Random House]," Hilton says. "The opportunity for word-of-mouth to spread about the free book may have been significantly diminished in the model used by Tor (Writer Beware Blogs!)."

Permanently Free= Word of Mouth

The study is finished but the difference between permanently giving away a free eBook increases sales while a limited time free eBook didn't.  The trick to building any audience or community is word of mouth.  My question is, how much do you giveaway?  I am not talking about whether or not to give away the whole book or just a sample, I am more interested in when is a good time to start giving away the book.

Writing in public

I have been toying around with the idea of writing a book in public.  I am in the process of developing a new novel, and I have been thinking about making the development and the writing public.  The question for me is how.  I can see a couple options:

  1. Set up a free blog and allow anyone to read and comment on the ideas, outlines and drafts.
  2. Set up a paid blog and allow anyone who preorders the book to read and comment on the ideas, outlines and drafts.

I like the second model best because it would weed out people who do not like my work at all, and it would allow my fans to be a part of the the writing process.  I do not usually release hardcovers, so maybe I could make a signed hard cover the preorder book.  Maybe I could even set up a gold membership that would offer an exclusive copy of the prewriting in print too.

What do you think?

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Project:Shadow 2007 December Newsletter

Hey everyone!

Are you concerned about keeping up to date on the latest Speculative Fiction, Culture, and Tech news? Would you like to talk with other like minded fans of sci-fi fantasy and horror? Then join us at the Project Shadow HQ at  http://hq.projectshadow.com/where you can share with us your favorite finds or talk about your latest fascination. The conversation is here!

 

KILLER REVIEW  

***Eric received a great write up for his novel Legends of the Jade Moon Book One: Liquid Sky here is an excerpt for your enjoyment.

Downwarden com Review by Nick Crabowsky

...What we have here is indeed science fiction ala Dune, though less detailed but just as vividly portrayed. Dorsett deserves praise for the execution of a story less intimidating for one more inclined to read other genres which require far less brain power to understand, breaks through those barriers and develops a narrative which renders a glossary needless and pretty much explains itself as is without asserting its vast mythology in explanatory rhetoric.

I enjoyed the damn thing. I think C.E. Dorsett is one powerhouse of imagination, inspired obviously by the greats of his craft. Liquid Sky is full of mysticism and spirituality, of themes centered on the search for one’s inner self and the meaning of the universe around him, where a youthful monk with adopted parents finds himself catapulted into an interstellar journey fueled by the death of the one he called Father and driven at odds by the results of saving him, by mysterious truth-sayers who aren’t what they seem and personal intuition telling him he’s destined to amount to something greater than himself and the savior of worlds. Ianus’ adventures and intrigue are entertaining and don’t smother us in the sort of over-explanation I’d read in other novels like this one. Liquid Sky is an extremely intelligent, very readable and delightful piece of work, and I’m glad to recommend it...

 

A TEASER

***  We at Project:Shadow have been working hard on completing PROJECT X.  We hope to have an announcement later in the month with a date when project X will go live.  For now all I can advise is to check back regularly for updates.  All that I am allowed to tell you is that Project X is an entire site rework that will bring some really cool things to the community.

 

# 1

***Black Moon Rising is out and is a top seller at amazon.  We want to thank all of the members who have already got their copy of the latest installment in C. E. Dorsett's series Fates Harrow.  If you haven't already got your copy then visit www.ProjectShadow.com/shopping.  

Get your one stop holiday shopping with us at Project:Shadow.  We set up a store so that you can get your holiday shopping done in one stop, stores include Amazon, Hot Topic, and Sharper Image.  We also have cool t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise available.

 

WACHA WATCHING

***Share your favorite video clip with the group:  We now have 112 videos available to members at the ProjectShadow HQ at http://hq.projectshadow.com/.  Its a great way to share your great finds with everyone and also a great way to catch the coolest, neatest new videos that are out.

 

MOON SPOTTING

***Brian posted a review of the Story Black Moon Rising here is a copy of it.

Wow! This is a great story!   5 stars (must own)

The story picks up from where we left off with Adir Radd in the hospital tortured by his visions of the future. I was caught up in Adir’s haunting vision.  It is written so viscerally I could almost hear the screams and smell the stink coming off of the battle field. This heart felt tale took me through the events and choices that led Dov Lavan to become the famed villain I knew him to be from reading Liquid Sky: Legends of the Jade Moon http://astore.amazon.com/projectshadow/detail/0595369162/.  The choices and motivations of Dov were very compelling. Reading his tale turned him into a compassionate and sad character. I could empathize with his frustrations and found myself thinking that if I were caught up in the same situation I would probably make the same choices. The conclusion was extremely rewarding even though I knew how the story would end I still found myself shocked, surprised and brought to tears with a beautiful, rewarding ending. To be cliché for a minute I literally laughed, cringed and cried while reading this.

Dark Moon Rising is the second installment of C. E. Dorsett’s Fates Harrow series which covers three historical characters in the Barren’s End setting. Their tale was first told in the book Liquid Sky: Legends of the Jade Moon but from the Jade Moon’s perspective.

In this episode Dov Lavan fears loosing his friends and culture, longing to save the ones he cares about he takes on a new master who promises to help him lead his people into a safer future. Dov rises to power, forming a new group, encouraging others to join him and stand for freedom. But, his childhood friends Tien Shaa and Adir Radd are concerned with the fire in Dov’s rhetoric, so they set out to try and stop the coming war.

We Love Net Flix!  We have been a member of Netflix for more than five years now and it is great!  Before that we would spend one to three hours in the video store every Friday looking and trying to decide what video we wanted to rent (a large chunk of this time was spent trying to remember what videos were out that we wanted to see), spend all that money on the rentals, and then have to go through the hassle of trying to watch and return the video so that we would not get charged a late fee.  This terrible experience was flipped with Netflix.  Now we have a list of videos that we want to see set up.  Whenever we see a trailer for a movie or show that we want to rent we just add it to our list and when it gets released to dvd about a year latter the video just arrives!  Now every week we get excited waiting for the mail to arrive so that we can see what new videos arrive.  We watch them when we get time to watch them.  Then when we are done watching it (in some cases this can take several weeks to accomplish partially due to some hectic event that takes up all of our time and in some situations it's because we end up watching it over and over again) we just drop it in the mail.  If you don't already use Netflix then go to www.ProjectShadow.com and get your videos today!  

 

PS INFORMANT

***Listen Live, daily, to our new podcast Project:Shadow Informant:  We are doing a live podcast Monday through Friday at 1:30 est on talk shue http://rurl.org/a8j.  You can also subscribe to the podcast by going to www.ProjectShadowInformant.com.  On the Project:Shadow Informant we cover news and topics related to the speculative fiction culture.  Its great fun and a nice way to keep up as per what is going on, join us!

Help support Project:Shadow and get your holiday shopping done at the same time!  Visit our store at www.projectshadow.com/shop/.  From there you can get anything from am azon, Lucas arts, Star Trek, Sharper Image, Hot Topic, Emusic, and your very own Project Shadow Merchandise.

 

What is on YOUR mind

***Have you shared with us your latest comments?  We now have over 60 forum topics up on the HQ.  If you have a forum topic that you would love to share with the group then go to the HQ and add them!  Comments are also back up in the Project Shadow Symposium.  Members may now put comments on any blog post that we post in the symposium.  You will need to use your Project Shadow HQ log in id to have access to the comment ability.  To read the blog posts go to www.ProjectShadow.com/symposium

Thank you for your interest! Supporting Project:Shadow helps us to bring you more and better content! Your support can take a variety of forms like doing your Amazon shopping http://www.projectshadow.com/shop/index.htm through us or making a donation http://www.projectshadow.com/supportus/index.htm! Read our support us page http://www.projectshadow.com/supportus/index.htm for more information and programs.

 

Eric

Project:Shadow

http://hq.projectshadow.com/

www.ProjectShadow.com

www.BarrensEnd.com