It’s been real and it’s been fun. I aim to keep it that way :-)


This is my last regular post from this address. At the end of the week, I’ll replace the front page here with a static page. The blog will still be accessible and all the archives are intact, but the address has been replaced on my other social media by

Photo by Gene'O

Photo by Gene’O, 2014.

justgeneo.wordpress.com

My archives through last weekend have been uploaded to the new blog, so everything that’s here is also over there. This blog isn’t going away. It’s just disconnected from my publicize network and I am no longer updating it with fresh content. From here on out, it’s for experimentation, development, and reblogging. Eventually, the theme will change, but it will sit for awhile once I’m done with the transition.

Thanks to everyone who’s read my work and encouraged me to keep blogging. Thanks, especially to those of you who have followed me to the new site and given me helpful feedback on the design and the art. Your input has greatly reduced my setup time, and time is something I’m short on right now, so I appreciate it. Thanks, also, to everyone who joined in my linkup over the weekend. The response was gratifying, and I was happy to read your posts and share links to them. If my schedule permits, I’ll reblog a few of those posts here this week.

Aside from posts already in the archives, the art at Just Gene’O is entirely my own from here on out, or else verified free to share and use. No exceptions. The new one also has a Creative Commons License – something I should have done from the very beginning. For now, you can expect one good written post there a week, photoblogs, and something fun on Saturdays as often as I can manage it.

I chose the new address with the idea of eventually purchasing the domain in mind. I already have Tumblr and Twitter accounts associated with Just Gene’O. Both are sleeping right now, but they’ll be connected to the new blog soon. I have already changed the Twitter profile to make it consistent with the blog. I disconnected the Tumblr page from the blogs that were posting to it over the weekend and will redesign it soon. Now a few thoughts on things I’ve done correctly and mistakes I’ve made over the last ten months.

Photo by Gene'O,2014.

Photo by Gene’O,2014.

I did a good job setting up the social media architecture, such as it is, but I overestimated the value of being able to publicize links to several networks all at once. I’ve learned from my experience with Twitter, which is thoroughly documented here, that publicizing links doesn’t do much good unless you have a real interactive presence on the networks you’re publicizing to. My Facebook fan pages and my Tumblr account are good examples. I don’t interact publicly very much on Facebook, so people don’t follow me. I only have about 100 Tumblr followers after eight months of updating my Tumblr blog, on average, three to six times per day, because I don’t interact there. Sourcerer’s Twitter account is thriving because I tweet at least four days per week, follow new people often, and am generous with my retweets and favorites.

At some point during the early part of the summer, I lost sight of the fact that the reason Diana and I were blogging at such a frantic pace was to generate a substantial archive as quickly as possible. Posting four times per day at Internet peaks is just plain good for traffic if you can create enough content to sustain the volume for weeks at a time, and we can do that for half the year. I got a little carried away by the numbers in May and June, and  overextended myself in July.

I’m looking at a new way of doing things now. I’ve realized that having a Tumblr page connected to a blog which only updates three times per week might be valuable. Tumblr is something you want  to do during the evenings and on weekends, if I understand it correctly, and I have hundreds of good photos to share. So perhaps if I build my Tumblr into a top-notch photoblogging page, people will be more inclined to take a look at my written posts when they do appear. I have no idea whether I am correct or not, but I do have the photos to try it 🙂

The biggest mistake I made with this blog, aside from the poor choice of URL, was branding it a writing blog. I should have made myself, rather than the interest, the focus to begin with. I could still have published all the writing stuff here, but I could have been doing other things the first few months as well. Branding it specifically as a writing blog limited me in ways that I just did not anticipate, and I was a little surprised at how short a time it took me to feel as though I’d exhausted the blogging about writing to the point that I had nowhere to go but post quotes, review literary works, and repeat myself.

The positive, welcoming response to me moving to a blog with my name in the title has surprised me. I’m picking up lots of followers at the new blog right now as people are wandering by and discovering that I’m moving. I’m interested to see where that number levels off. This blog ends with around 400 followers and I’m curious to know how many are actually paying attention. Using follower counts as a measure of readership is tricky. I know of at least one blog with fewer than 300 followers that’s generated more page views over the last 10 months than Part Time Monster, Sourcerer, and this blog combined. And I know of many with 1000+ followers that aren’t doing much better than this one and rarely generate more than a couple of comments on a thread. So we’ll just see.

Just call me Gene'O

Just call me Gene’O

So, anyway, it’s been fun, but I feel like moving from this blog and trying a different way of doing things is prudent. My writing style isn’t changing, I haven’t REALLY been a writing blogger for months, and my content presentation is only getting better. If you like what I’m doing, you should follow justgeneo.wordpress. And find me on other social media of course 🙂

Have a great week, and if your summer isn’t over yet, make them most of what’s left of it.

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Reorg Note 2


I’ve registered justgeneo.wordpress.com. It’s just an empty shell right now, but I’m planning to upload all the archives from this blog to it and use it as my personal blog. I need that URL because it matches my Tumblr address and my personal twitter handle. Here’s how the transition will go:

  1. I’ll pick a theme, upload the archives from this blog, and tweak everything until I’m satisfied that it’s functional.
  2. Once I’ve moved, I will replace the front page here with a static page which says I’ve moved.
  3. I’m leaving this blog intact because I don’t want to kill links on other peoples’ blogs, but once I’ve moved, I won’t be updating this one any more.

I’m going to proceed very slowly and put a lot of thought into this. What we’re doing with our Facebook fanpages and on Tumblr is not working. I’m hoping to figure out a way to start making a little progress on those networks by changing my network architecture a little.

I’m also reviving my Google Plus account soon. Thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me over there despite my complete and total absence for almost 4 months. I have a mobile now, and G+ is very mobile-friendly. So you can look for me to set up real circles and start giving some +1s over there by the middle of September.

If we were having coffee 3


coffeeIf we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you I wrote fantasy fiction for the first time in seven months this week, and it felt good. I did a word sprint with some friends. What that involves is, everyone checks in (we used Twitter for it), then starts writing at the same time, stops at the same time after 15 or 20 minutes, and compares word counts. I managed to produce three pages of fiction for about 45 minutes of writing time, which could be a record for me. Typically I’m doing well to get a page and a half per hour.

I noticed something interesting about writing that way. What I came away with was all action and dialogue – almost no description or exposition. Of course, stories need a little description and exposition, but those can be added in revision. I was so happy with the three pages I came away with that I’m thinking about getting an egg timer and writing action and dialogue in 30-minute stretches a few times a week until I have 100 pages of it. That could easily turn into 250 once I add the descriptive parts. Action and dialogue move the plot. I’d rather have 10 pages of nothing but action and dialogue than 10 pages of description, because once the action and dialogue are there, you have a viable draft to work with. If all you have is description, it’s much harder to turn that into a story. At least the way I write.

I’d tell you I haven’t forgotten that I promised to write a post about the story of my wedding day. I plan to do that very soon, perhaps for one of these Saturday posts.

And I’d tell you a little secret about how I think about blogs. We joke around a bit about Part Time Monster Media with its affiliates, but really we’re just being silly with that. I think of social networks as places. The thing that makes blogs different from Facebook and Twitter is that both those networks are set up so they feel like one huge, crowded place. WordPress isn’t like that – it feels like a lot of small, interconnected places.

My Facebook timeline doesn’t feel like my own space in the same way that a blog does. At best, my Facebook timeline is like a tiny little room in a huge hotel. People will like my posts there if they happen to see them in their feeds, and tag me with stuff. But no one ever comes and looks at my timeline unless they’re looking for something specific. The blogs are more like little countries to me, each with its own ruler or rulers and its own way of doing things.

Good fantasy geek that I am, my metaphor of choice, in my own private brain, it to think of blogs as kingdoms. And I’m very fortunate to be part of a federation. Because really, who wants an empire these days? I think of Part Time Monster as the capitol and Sourcerer as the second city of our little federation. Each of those blogs has its own identity, but they would be very different if they weren’t so closely affiliated. This blog is my private estate – just a quiet little village in the countryside. Our friend and constant collaborator Jeremy also has his own estate now, and I couldn’t be more happy about that. And we have allies. Lots of allies. Just go and read our Feminist Friday threads, or take a look at how I’m using my Twitter account these days, and you’ll see what I mean.

I view Twitter as a huge commons, for two reasons. It gives me a way to find potential readers, and it gives me a way to interact with bloggers as bloggers. I know tons of bloggers who write things that are good but, for various reasons, I’m not able to reblog them or link to them. Twitter gives me a way to see what they’re posting and help them with my social media without featuring them on my front pages. On Twitter, it doesn’t matter to me what you’re blogging about. Food blogging, mommy blogging, using your blog as a personal journal – as far as I’m concerned, all those things make you just as much a blogger as people who write literary essays and social commentary. And I like to know and help out bloggers.

I’d tell you that I’ve finally figured out how to keep up with 50 blogs a week, and I’ll explain that in my “Blog Traffic and Engagement” post at Sourcerer tomorrow. It’s such a simple solution, I can’t believe I just now thought of it. And this is a funny thing. I’ve been following blogs so long, I could write you a passable history of the blogosphere (I may do that next year), but I’m still learning things that make me feel like a n00b for not knowing them all the time. This week, it happened twice – with the writing sprint and with the way of organizing 50 blogs so that I can visit them all once a week.

Then I’d ask what’s up with you? Feel free to tell me on the thread.

 

May Preview


When I first started my blogs, I had the idea of blogging here Monday-Friday, taking Saturdays off, and photoblogging on Sundays. That plan fell by the wayside as Sourcerer took off and I realized how much time it was going to take me to figure out how to use various social media networks effectively. So, here’s a photo I took mid-afternoon on Easter Sunday. The bloom was about the size of a quarter.

Image © Gene’O, 2014. Free to use with credit and a link.

Image © Gene’O, 2014. Free to use with credit and a link.

The next original piece you’ll see here will be a reflection on the April A to Z blogging challenge. I hope that will be early next week. I’d intended to do it already, but the last week has been very hectic and I need to update my A to Z page before I post the reflection. Fortunately I have the links, but there are 50 or 60 of them, so that’ll take a while. Not updating the page immediately after I did the visits each day during the last two weeks of the challenge was a mistake.

Continue reading

New to the Blogroll


I intended to have an uninterrupted stream of A to Z posts here this month, but I’ve added three blogs to the blogroll that you you might want to check out, so I thought a surprise post might be just the thing. All the links go to about pages, because I think, unless you’re just breezing by and leaving a comment every now and then, about pages are the place to start.

Music:

I say this every time I talk about blogrolls, but I’ll say it one more time. I add  blogs to my blogrolls to remind myself that I need to visit them. I don’t think blogrolling does much good in the way of traffic or endorsement value any more, because news aggregators are so good, probably no one looks at blogrolls any more except the person who owns the blog. But that says something in and of itself, doesn’t it? These are bloggers I like enough to add to my list of people to visit often.

I met Write On, Sisters through the A to Z Challenge, introduced them to the Monster, have read several of their posts, and am tweeting with them.

Margarita Morris is a Young Adult Historical Fiction author. I find her blog interesting, and she is fabulous to tweet with.

I’ve been following Live to Write – Write to Live for awhile; I finally blogrolled them this week because Taylor Grace linked to them and I realized I should have blogrolled them ages ago.

Twitter accounts for blogs and bloggers mentioned in this post (at least the ones I can find):

@tweetonsisters 

@Parttimemonster

@MargaritaMorris

@taylorgraceauth

 

 

 

Notes from a hectic week.


First, writerly stuff. Taylor and Trent both catalog writing resources in their own ways. Anyone else out there doing that? If so, feel free to drop me a link. I have to give this blog an overhaul soon, and I’d love to have an index of writing resources when I rebuild the pages. That’s the sort of thing I had in mind to do myself when I started this blog, but I haven’t gotten it done yet. I’m thinking an index of other bloggers’ writing resources might be even more helpful than whatever I would put together.

I considered withdrawing from the A to Z Challenge this week. I made the decision in January with the idea of setting it up during spring break. I didn’t feel like I was taking on too much at that time. I had a good two months of weekends to devote. I thought it would be a good way to do something for the writers who read my blog, and a good way to make friends.

Here’s a list of things that have occurred in my life during March, which I had no way of anticipating in January:

I made a long term commitment to support the Campaign for Southern Equality with all the writing, social media, and political skill I have. These people weren’t even on my radar in January, and I drove two hours one-way last Sunday to evaluate their methods and look them in the eye before I made the decision. This is a serious commitment, and I’ll have more on how I’m going about supporting them soon.

I invited people to have a discussion about feminism with me and a few of my friends Friday-before-last. So many people responded that the conversation is still ongoing, and I need to do my part to keep it going for as long as possible.

I had to spend most of the weekend before Spring Break convincing a blogger who misrepresented me to correct his error. That affair ended amicably, but made me realize it was time to disclose my ideological commitments in a public post, which killed the rest of that weekend.

I had to spend most of my Spring Break stirring up outrage against a bill in my state that simply could not be allowed to pass.

I had to spend the weekend after Spring Break sending a message to everyone who follows me that if they collaborate with me, I will move heaven and earth to back them up when people treat them badly. I’m not even linking to that one. The comeuppance I delivered was artful, but it was a sorry affair. I’ll never brag about it despite the fact that it’s the most skillful pieces of serial blogging I’ve ever done.

My twitter account exploded to the point that I actually have bloggers to Tweet with, have social media mentors helping me find ways to achieve my long-term goals, and have to spend time maintaining relationships with my tweeps. I’m not actively building the Twitter account like I was in February and March. It’s set up now for steady, incremental growth, it’s a useful asset, and I know how accelerate its progress any time I get the notion to do so. I’m shifting priority back to the blogs, and to building relationships with bloggers who have offered me friendship. I think learning to be effective on Twitter was worth the effort. It was the right move at the right time, but it did have its costs.

Professional commitments have required me to spend the last two weeks crunching numbers and putting a LOT of energy into really being on my game offline. I can’t say more about this one, because you don’t talk about business on a public blog. But I will say I performed so well, I’m calling my performance a real accomplishment.

All those things on that list were things I felt like I had to do, but the feminism discussion is really the bottom line. I offered to talk about it, and over the last week, it has inspired eight or nine original posts that I know about. People have reblogged and shared links on Twitter. And it’s generated real engagement. Not just people interacting with me, but having conversations with one another, as well.

It’s convinced me that we’ve managed form the core of a real network based on shared interests and mutual respect. That network is the reason I started all this to begin with, so it has to come first. I set out to build a social media community with these blogs. Not a community centered on one blog or one platform, but a community nonetheless. I’m not prepared to say I see a community emerging yet, but I do think, at this point, it’s fair to conclude that my methods are sound.

I was going to lay all that out and use it as a reason to bow out of the challenge. Not so much because of the writing – I only need about 1200 words to get through the first week – but because finding art is time-consuming, and I still have to maintain my other blogging while this is going on.

Two things happened yesterday that convinced me otherwise. I woke up to find that a couple of Sourcerer contributors had stuffed my inbox with enough content to keep Sourcerer posting for a week without me writing a single word, and Diana reminded me that finding art should be a snap if I use Pinterest for it instead of Google. So I’m sticking in.

You can find a list of A to Z  participants here. PartTimeMonster and David of CompGeeks are both doing A to Z, too. So in addition to visitng five new blogs a day during April, I’ll be doing my best to liven up Diana’s and David’s comments threads.

The best 1:40 of live music ever posted on YouTube:

image: Pinned from Treasures of the Southwest by my co-conspirator.

(This was the post I referred to earlier this week as something that started out easy and turned into a monster.)

Note – #FollowFriday – #FF – #Collaborators – #Music – #FeministFriday @Parttimemonster


Everything’s a go for a discussion of feminism and activism to kick off at Sourcerer at 9 a.m. Central time tomorrow.

Since I don’t have time to really work Follow Friday tomorrow, I’m trying something different this week.

Instead of tagging 30 people in five or six tweets, I’m going to send a few tweets that just tag one or two people each, and say nice things about them. I’m curious to know whether or not Follow Friday tweets with only one or two names are more effective than ones with five.

Some will be people I’ve never given Follow Fridays too, and some will be people I’ve met in the last few days.