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A Look forward to 2015: There and Never Going Back

2014 was a crazy year, and I mean that literally.  I spent most of the last quarter in deep depression, and I am glad to say that I am doing a lot better now.

I started out the year working on a Zine, technically a micropub magazine (dashPunk).  I wish things would have gone that way.  I was really excited about the project, even though I knew it would have been a lot of work. 

On January 29, I brought Project: Shadow back and started working on changing the nature of my work.  I wish I would have stuck with it, but more about that in a minute.

I didn't go ahead with the Zine because I felt like it wasn't a good fit for what I was trying to do.  It cost so much to do something that should be a lot easier, and I wasn't willing to charge people enough money to make it profitable.  I didn't want to loose money on the project, so I abandoned it.

I should have seen what was coming before I did.  On July 14, I noted in my journal that certain things were starting to freak me out.  On September 22, the depression hit.  It held on like nothing I have ever experienced before.  It smothered me in its embrace until December 16. 

I learned a lot while living under those shadows, important things.  I learned who my real friends are, and just how many people included me in their life as someone who could be useful to them.  My friends weathered the storm with me.  I am grateful to them.

As you know, I like to give names to important parts of my life.  I think I will remember this period as The Pruning.  I learned what was really important to me, and I cut away everything else.

On my Social Media life and Business

I want to start looking back by looking at the numbers starting with those from ThinkUp.

Number of Posts

  • In 2014, @cedorsett posted a total of 829 tweets. At 15 seconds per tweet, that amounts to 3 hours and 27 minutes. @cedorsett's followers probably appreciated it (ThinkUp).
  • This year, I posted a grand total of 963 times on Facebook. If each status update and comment took about 15 seconds, that's over 4 hours dedicated to keeping in touch with friends (ThinkUp).

I feel like I haven't been social and open enough about what is going on and what I have been up to.  While it sounds like I spent a lot of time posting, that came in fits and spurts. 

  • My longest tweeting streak lasted for 26 days, from August 4th to August 29th (ThinkUp).
  • I posted at least one status update or comment to Facebook for 57 days in a row, from January 1st to February 26th (ThinkUp).

Words per Month on Twitter

Words per Month on Facebook

As you can see from the graph, I started out the year strong, and had a increase around Shore Leave, but the general trend line was down.

Part of that was my disillusionment with social media, and part of that was the depression that crept up on me throughout the year.  I need to be more open, and I am looking for ways to share more and to be more helpful to you all.  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

  • I entered a grand total of 10,071 words into the Twitter data entry box, reaching peak wordage in January, with 2,650 words. If @cedorsett were writing a book, that would be about 37 pages (ThinkUp).
  • I tapped 17,031 words into Facebook's status update or comment box, topping out with 5,520 words in January. If Eric Dorsett were writing a book, that would be about 62 pages (ThinkUp).

The most interesting thing to me is that I talked more about writing on twitter and my books and books in general on Facebook.  I also talked more about movies on Twitter.

Moving forward

I need to go back to what I had originally intended to do.  I need to "think out loud" on the blogs and through my social posts.

On that front, I set up a Known site and I plan on making that my social hub, but I will repost from their to my other accounts.  I don't enjoy Facebook, and I really never have.  After 8 years on Twitter, I don't feel like I am getting out of it what I used to.  I am not leaving those services, but I feel like I need to build out a site has the social qualities I want it to have.  That is what I hope the Known site will become.

For now, I am the only one that can post there, anyone can comment and like.  Early on, I will invite others to post individually.  Hopefully, once it is up and running, I will open up the registration to everyone.  The reason is, when I first set up the site it was open, and it was flooded by spammers.  I locked it down, and am now looking for ways to fix that problem.

I want to get the podcast up and running again, but I need your help with that.  I need to know what you want to talk about, and how it can be of service to you.

This year will hopefully be a turning point in my life and my work.  I hope it is for you too.  I can't wait to see what we can do together.

Curation v Creation

From Entertainment Design

Steven Rosenbaum at Mashable wrote an interesting post claiming that curation is just as important as creation.  I have thought about this for a while, and I need your imput.

Defining our terms

  • Creation is the production of making original content.
  • Curation is coming through original content and promoting the best content to readers.

Is Curation important?

YES!  I read through thousands of stories a day, some from curation sites to find topics to share on dashPunk.  There is an enormous amount of content out there and some curation is important to filter through the noise so the average reader who doesn't have the time to read through the mountains to posts can still find information that is important to them.

For example.  Many Scifi blogs focus on rumors and hype, and frankly, that bores me more than Battle for LA.  I like to know what is going on, but the rumor cycle is crazy.  That is why we rarely write about rumors, and generally only post about rumors we hope are either true or false.

We also avoid posting most hype stories.  I am suffering from hype fatigue.  Yes, yes, your thing is the next greatest thing ever just like everyone else's is the next greatest thing ever.  The hype is almost always a lie. 

I feel like curation is one of the most important things I do, so in that, I agree.

What is the best form of Curation?

Some people claim it is Twitter.  I am not sure about that.  Until I started using Flipboard, most links in my twitter stream just flew by unchecked, and since I only check Twitter a couple times a day, many still do.

I think blogs are still the best place for curation, because I not only get the links, but I get analysis that I trust (or not, depending on the blog) and I find a lot more of the stories that interest me.

Maybe I am old fashioned by I like stories to sit unread until I go through them rather than floating by.

What do you want?

What are you looking for?  Original content, curation?  If curation, where do you want it, blogs, Twitter, FaceBook?

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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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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