Whispers in the Wind

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I’ve had a number of people tell me over the past couple of months that I seem different, more relaxed and chill. This is true for a large number of reasons, some of which are diet-related, and others due to the fact that I’ve gotten closure on a number of long, drawn out situations that had been going on for a number of years. You’ll forgive me if I don’t expound on that last, but one of my coping mechanisms to having a public profile is that I need a buffer between me and Ye Olde Internet, so I tend not to post about the overly personal. Also: onions have layers. And, I’m related to Shrek in some fashion. I can pretty much guarantee it.

There are some things on my mind I do want to quickly address and share with you, so let me get right to it. Shanna Germain had mentioned on Twitter and Facebook that we should start proposing panels to cope with online harassment and negativity. I remember, many years ago, someone told me that Neil Gaiman had talked about professional PR training. (Like with many things in the sphere of the big “G”, I can’t confirm that as I don’t know him personally and didn’t find the exact quote, but I felt it was worth posting the original comment anyway, as it’s great advice.) I’ve been on the hunt for PR training ever since that time, and they don’t offer this service in my area. Panels, on the other hand, are a fantastic and welcome substitute for specific issues related to this topic. Having these conversations, I feel, is something that can help both new and established professionals who have a public persona and often find it difficult to cope with the eroding line between fan and creator, troll and victim. Many of my coping mechanisms are related to anchors that I do behind-the-scenes, so if you’re hoping for some things you can do in terms of sanity checks, let me know and I’ll draw up a post about it.

The second thing is that I’ve come to terms with the fact that, as I mentioned a few years ago now, I’m not the person to blog about contemporary topics or online kerfuffles. I’ve since come to terms with the fact that this is decidedly the case, as I do not feel a) qualified or b) able to keep up with the ever-changing nuances of particular issues. In addition to the time investment, I’ve realized that reading about these sorts of things does the one thing that I cannot allow — it impacts my work. When I was attending RWA meetings on a regular basis a while back, I remember Christine Merrill talking about how important it was to Protect The Work. I could see how Life, The Universe, and EverythingTM can get in the way of the work to some degree, but I didn’t grok that what’s happening online is a big part of that as well. For me, words are music. (It’s one of the reasons why I can mimic voices fairly well on the written page.) When I’m online, I hear dissonance. I hear vocal gymnastics and fireworks. I rarely hear the soft lullaby or the chirping of crickets during twilight. It’s always loud on the internet, and I need the exact opposite of that when I’m creating. I need that breathing room to stretch out and be safely free to roam.

There are, however, people that are doing amazing work and I’m going to try to shine the spotlight on them more often. My friend Emily Care Boss is one of those people. She was doing things in game design ten years ago that are just now starting to become more important. You can read more about her perspective on Gaming As Women and in this interview with Emily, here. The second person I want to mention today is Alethea Kontis. (Her name is pronounced Ah-Lee-Thee-Ah.) She’s recently put out a new collection called Tales of Arilland. Check it out!

That’s all I have time for today, since I just got back from CONvergence. I had a fantastic time, and there’s a lot of great things that came out of this show. Additionally, I had two firsts for my Build-a-World game show. (Three, if you count it was the last panel of the show!) First, some of the participants were so inspired that they now want to write in the world they created. Second, one of the participants, Martha Wells, did this fantastic write up about Build-a-World. Thanks to Martha, Catherine, Tex, Carrie, Paul, and John for participating, and to all the audience members who came out. It was a blast, and I’m happy to answer that “Yes!” There’s more on the horizon. Can’t wait to share all the news!

    Mood: This is my Chill Face
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Convention recovery.
    In My Ears: Crappy rendition of Nothing Else Matters. Hey, you asked…
    Game Last Played: Ashamed to admit I have a new addiction. Kingdom Rush
    Book Last Read: [Research-Related]
    Movie Last Viewed: Ascension from SyFy
    Latest Artistic Project: Coloring!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Gods, Memes, and Monsters
    Latest Game Release: Dread Names, Red List for Vampire: the Masquerade and Ghosts in the Black for the Firefly RPG.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. A new one coming soon!


What Do the Words “Online Community” Really Mean?

Yesterday I had appeared on the IndyTalk WI Radio Show discussing online reputation management, strategies for creating content, etc. with a Web 2.0 lens. (Special thanks to Wayne who invited me on the show.) Even I have a few posts planned as a follow up, to show you “how” I manage my content with the tools available, I find myself asking a very, important question. “What does ‘online community’ actually mean?”

You see dear readers, the challenge that I have with the words “online community” is that I have experience with what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that everyone will automatically be respectful, open-minded and kind. Of a community that involves 1,000 people, you might get a few in the bunch that create some tension. This, to me, is not a “good” thing or a “bad” thing — it’s how people are. In an ideal world, we would all get along with one another and be supportive. It is not an “ideal” world, however. It’s the real world, one that you and I have to navigate in order to maintain healthy relationships and further our professional and personal lives.
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