October 06, 2006
There’s light at the end of the tunnel I’ve been in but things are getting better. Basically I'm prone to depressive episodes where I just want to lock myself in the house and stay in bed all day. These tend to last a few weeks and when I come out of them I have to clean up the damage I caused both leading up to and during my episode. Despite years of working on this, taking medications and wishing for change I haven't been able to break this pattern, but I'm trying limit the damage this time. Part of the Be the Boy hiatus is to simply change my routine (the other part is that I really just don't feel like I've got much to say) and it's been helpful.
Be well, will. As another Boy once said: Been there, still there.
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why is it you people of the internets always need a study to prove that what I've already told you is true?
ME 5 months ago:
No matter what you think, MySpace isn't what you think. That's because there is no single thing going on inside MySpace that is any more or less important than any other thing that is going on inside of MySpace.
It's also because MySpace is not just for kids and sexual predators--as the marketeers and right-wing respectively would have you believe. (Yes, I know I said, "just." Sure both exist in MySpace, just like they do in the confessional at church).
The Ad Man, he would like his clients to believe that MySpace is a single target demographic, the hip youth, the barely legal, the Pepsi generation 2006 style. A lab experiment of teens and 20-somethings.
But like everything else that the Ad Man tries to box in online, MySpace exists in layers, not as a round target with a bulls-eye in the middle.
It's not all youths on MySpace. Half of the site's users are 35 or older, according to comScore Media Metrix's analysis of its U.S. Internet traffic measurements. Only 30 percent are under 25 despite a common belief that the site is mostly populated with kids and young adults.
Just a year ago, teens under 18 made up about 25 percent of MySpace, the popular online hangout run by News Corp. (NWSA) That's now down to 12 percent in the comScore analysis released Thursday.
By contrast, the 35-54 group at MySpace grew to 41 percent in August, from 32 percent a year earlier.
"This analysis confirms that the appeal of social-networking sites is far broader," said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president for comScore, adding that the data suggest that social networking is becoming mainstream.
Sophie is beating me to a hysterectomy, mine having been put on hold by a run of good health--hey I'll take it--and she at the vet right now where she is sans uterus and on some $36 pain pills.
Spaying is a good thing--although I wonder how her puppies would have looked, smelled, felt, and I know she'd be a good mom dog. There are so so so many unwanted pets that even the good dogs shouldn't have the chance to breed these days. So I'm feeling responsible, if a little sad about puppies never-to-be-born. Poop never to be cleaned up, couches never chewed.
In other canine fertility news, Molly, the dachshund down the street, recently had a date with nearby a Shitzu, and puppies are due in December, so at least someone's line will be carried on in this neighborhood. Little baby shithounds coming our way. Super.
That's the kind of thing you think about when you're me and 44 and baby days are behind you/me/sophie, but not Molly.
Doc sets out to save newspapers with some clued ideas to keep readers glued to their product--and drive hard copy through smarter online behavior. The problem is, the paper's very business model depends upon a broadcast mentality and aproach. Really I think that has to change -- new ways to make money before the old ways don't work anymore -- in order for behavior to change, even if some papers are still profitable. Because they're profitable by accident--the fact is that old Aunt Marge and Aunt Phil always want to know who's died, clip out the obituaries, ask a relative to make copies, and send them to their contemporaries. What happens when Aunt Marge and Aunt Phil pass through the obituaries themselves, along with their contemporaries?
With or without the money factor, Doc's clues are spot-on, and I might care about my local AJC, and my old hometown D&C, if they took his advice:
First, stop giving away the news and charging for the olds. Okay, give away the news, if you have to, on your website. There's advertising money there. But please, open up the archives. Stop putting tomorrow's fishwrap behind paywalls. Writers hate it. Readers hate it. Worst of all, Google and Yahoo and Technorati and Icerocket and all your other search engines ignore it. Today we see the networked world through search engines. Hiding your archives behind a paywall makes your part of the world completely invisilble. If you open the archives, and make them crawlable by search engine spiders, your authority in your commmunity will increase immeasurably. Plus, you'll open all that inventory to advertising possibilities. And I'll betcha you'll make more money with advertising than you ever made selling stale editorial to readers who hate paying for it. (And please, let's not talk about Times Select. Your paper's not the NY Times, and the jury is waaay out on that thing.)
Second, start featuring archived stuff on the paper's website. Link back to as many of your archives as you can. Get writers in the habit of sourcing and linking to archival editorial. This will give search engine spiders paths to wander back in those archives as well. Result: more readers, more authority, more respect, higher PageRank and higher-level results in searches. In fact, it would be a good idea to have one page on the paper's website that has links (or links to links, in an outline) back to every archived item.
Third, link outside the paper. Encourage reporters and editors to write linky text. This will encourage reciprocity on the part of readers and writers who appreciate the social gesture that a link also performs. Over time this will bring back enormous benefits through increased visits, higher respect, more authority and the rest of it.
Fourth, start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies). You're not the only game in town anymore, and haven't been for some time. Instead you're the biggest fish in your pond's ecosystem. Learn to get along and support each other, and everybody will benefit.
Fifth, start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers. Or at least as partners in shared job of informing the community about What's Going On and What Matters Around Here. The blogosphere is thick with obsessives who write (often with more authority than anybody inside the paper) on topics like water quality, politics, road improvement, historical preservation, performing artisty and a zillion other topics. These people, these writers, are potentially huge resources for you. They are not competitors. The whole "bloggers vs. journalism" thing is a red herring, and a rotten one at that. There's a symbiosis that needs to happen, and it's barely beginning. Get in front of it, and everybody will benefit.
Sixth, start looking to citizen journalists (CJs) for coverage of hot breaking local news topics -- such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and so on. There are plenty of people with digital cameras, camcorders, cell phones and other devices that can prove mighty handy for following stories up close and personally. Great example: what Sig Solares and his crew did during Katrina.
Seventh, stop calling everything "content". It's a bullshit word that the dot-commers started using back in the '90s as a wrapper for everything that could be digitized and put online. It's handy, but it masks and insults the true natures of writing, journalism, photography, and the rest of what we still, blessedly (if adjectivally) call "editorial". Your job is journalism, not container cargo.
Eighth, uncomplicate your webistes. I can't find a single newspaper that doesn't have a slow-loading, hard-to-navigate, crapped-up home page. These things are aversive, confusing and often useless beyond endurance. Simplify the damn things. Quit trying to "drive traffic" into a maze where every link leads to another route through of the same mess. You have readers trying to learn something, not cars looking for places to park. And please, get rid of those lame registration systems. Quit trying to wring dollars out of every click. I guarantee you'll sell more advertising to more advertisers reaching more readers if you take down the barricades and (again) link outward more. And you'll save all kinds of time and hassle.
Ninth, get hip to the Live Web. That's the one with verbs such as write, read, update, post, author, subscribe, syndicate, feed and link. This is the part of the Web that's growing on top of the old Static Web of nouns such as site, address, location, traffic, architecure and construction. Nothing wrong with any of those static verbs. They're the foundation, the bedrock. They are necessary but insufficient for what's needed on the Live Web, which is where your paper needs to live and grow and become more valuable to its communities (as well as Wall Street).
October 04, 2006
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wow you can make your text ads REALLY BIG if you want to be obnoxious. And God Knows I like being obnoxious!
Tags: health, addiction, recovery, advertising, marketing, web2.0, tech, PR, business, drugs, sex, rock-n-roll
I posted this little ditty on corporate involvement with ex-employees over on blogher and then blog sisters yesterday. Let's call it a germ of a thought of an idea. Beware, you might need some zicam--proceed with caution.
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I try hard, you know? I really do. Does that mean sometimes I lose the ability to feel--can't feel for trying? Maybe. Or maybe it's called just getting through the day. Staying alive. As if that's any reward. Yeah, ok. Ah well, maybe I'll be lucky today and a big fucking X box will fall on my head. Fingers crossed!
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October 03, 2006
October 02, 2006
Alright, so that's not the point at all.
And that not being the point, as they might say, is the point.
I love that the first person to happily co-opt the PhoneCon idea for her own purposes is Ronni Bennett, who I had the pleasure of guffawing with during PhoneCon 2006. Ronni immediately saw the potential of the telephone-as-backchannel-to-blogging as a way to add another layer to our online relationships as we make fun of ourselves, technology, and our world in the process.
Introducing, then, The First Annual Elderblogger-PhoneCon ‘06, invented and run by Ronni Bennett to be held later this month:
…to take place on Tuesday, 24 October. That's four weeks from today.
Now don’t get put off by those six hours I referred to. Only Jeneane, as host and referee of PhoneCom, stayed on the telephone for the duration - although she did get all her laundry folded too. The rest of us called in and dropped off as our schedules permitted throughout the conference. I stopped in for an hour or so twice.
The conference is free. The only cost is a long-distance telephone call, but any of you who are on Skype or VoIP will pay nothing extra, of course. There will be local numbers for ten European countries so non-U.S. elderbloggers can join in too.
So mark your calendars for Tuesday, 24 October, get out your party hats and stay tuned for weekly updates. I’ll be posting telephone numbers, instructions on how to call in and announcements of special features as they occur to me.
How cool is THAT? And how elder does one have to be to attend, or at least lurk, because I'm jonesing for a good talk and have some laundry that needs folding. Elaine, be there or be square. And is Frank singing?
October 01, 2006
"Eras most often fade out so gradually, that they are only noticable by long hindsight. That will be most people's awareness of the loss of real, live orchestral recordings in their media." -- Peter on the closing of Paramount's Stage M.
...and the live orchestra is just the tip. the live musician is the iceberg.
makes me want the t-shirt:
i've got yer media hangin'.
In the tradition of Web 2.0 updates, surprise feature introductions rolled across the webby web today, especially in the land of feed readers. I knew it! When I opened Bloglines today I almost posted that something smelled different. I thought the font had changed on the list of feeds--or "feed tree" as they call it--and then I noticed this little black box at the bottom announcing some kind of intermittent updating of feeds. AH HA! I said. Enhancements!
This is all well and good--still, I come from the old school where we find it unnerving to wake up and find the furniture with new upholstery and an electric toothbrush where the Oral B used to be. I like to check into the Springfield Inn during renovations. Or the Betty Ford.
I'm not sure what else Bloglines did. But the font is definitely clean and more webby.
on the wind
your scent, expensive & designer holy,
the black mole on your forearm
wasn't there when last
i saw your sleeves rolled just so,
your knees i see are
aching still--how many steps
to go up and down in that mansion?
and yet we are as natural together
as left arm and right,
and so i
look away, avert your eyes
turn the mirror over
drive my self home in the other
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Be. Be okay.
Dear everyone who has to leave blogging for a while because running into yourself online is just too much given whatever it is you're going through:
We understand. Please don't worry about us while you're gone. That you left us your debit card was REALLY REALLY cool. You shouldn't have, but on the other hand, you'll probably be too busy on your break to spend money, and after all, this way you can take your break knowing that we'll have enough to eat, some good porn to watch, and for once we'll be able to buy what's in our treasure box on amazon.com.
While you take a break, please also know that there is a cat with worms resting on my pillow.
The other thing is, although we will water the plants at your request, we cannot guarantee you that we won't smoke them all while you are away. You may call it old fashioned ingenuity, or you may call it boredom without your blog to read, or you may call it desperation, or you may call it vandalism, addiction, or even plant murder. But the fact is, you're not posting right now, so what you call it doesn't matter to us. No linky, no mattery.
Also, know that we are thinking about you while you are on your blogging break--for like two seconds. And we will think about you again when your feed gets bolded in bloglines because you've returned to blogging. So there you have it: We will think about you twice while you are away. That should be enough to sustain you. Hell, it's more than your great aunt Myrtle has thought about you in 22 years.
SO shut down your browser, take your break, and take heart in knowing that the net isn't going anywhere without you.
Fact is, it wasn't so much going anywhere with you.
Although it's much more fun sitting here in front of these plastic keys knowing that you're there.
Your Fellow Bloggers.
My baby turned 9 yesterday--that's where I've been.
Not every kid shares Buddy Rich's birthday.
Or his mood swings. Or his uncanny time.
You know me. An emotional amusement park sometimes. My kid. 9. So that's where I've been.
Between having a half-grown child and rescuing a stray puppy from the highway (and then having to give it back to the less than scrupulous owners), then re-inheriting two cats from our newly married neighbor who is moving back in with his ex-now-current wife--and did I mention I have re-decorated the hamster cages in pink and blue bedding, pink for mom and blue for the boys?)--life has been a river, not of news, but of heartbeats.
New life, old life, life moving.
At the speed of me.
At the YMCA a few days ago a woman had her newborn baby with her--precious tiny baby girl in pink. I said to her, "She is so beautiful," and then ducked behind the drape of the changing room to cry quietly.
Every now and then I remember that the ablation I had means I can't carry anymore babies. In my mind fact that we weren't going to have any more babies is completely unrelated to the fact that I can't.Part 1 does not lessen the grieving for Part 2. That's how estrogen works.
Driving past Jenna's school the other day I realized that her turning 9 means she is now halfway to 18, noticing how fast the first 9 years went, realizing that the next 9 will go at least that fast.
Will I make it? Will we? And then what? Where does my heartbeat go? Do I keep it? Or send it out from me?
Of all the layers to my identity, being my daughter's mom is the one I think about the most, where doing it right means every day is one day closer to being left. That little fact is not lost on me.
In my family, we have a hard time raising children to send them out into the world. We don't like letting go. We are smotherers, keepers, hoarders. It takes conscious reminding every day for me to keep from doing what I know.
Ah fuggit. I'm not sure this is making sense. I hear her downstairs now, laughing with her dad. They are watching a show. Her voice rises and falls--fits and jags--loud guffaws, she is nothing if not intense. I am re-amazed so often. heartbeats.
I had coffee with my mother today. Something I haven't done in 4 years.
Nothing is for sure.