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How Social Media Can Fix Itself

Social media icons

If you haven’t realized it by now, social media companies are not a product. They are not beholden to their users for any reason other than that they need users to be the product. Social media then sells its data and insights to the highest advertising budget to get the most targeted results. While making you the product has been vilified in some arenas, it’s not any worse than you as the product for TV or radio. The biggest difference is that Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk can target you specifically, have done experiments to show they can manipulate your feelings, and are in it for a profit, not of millions of dollars, but hundreds of millions.

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One of My Weaknesses: Building a Virtual Community

marching penguins creating a new experience

I’m not any good at building a virtual community. I’m not sure why. My Twitter account hovers around 230 followers, usually fewer. My YouTube page is at about 250 subscribers. My Patreon has five dedicated and amazing Penguinators (Thank you!). The only reason I have over 1,000 Facebook friends is because I played a game called Castle Age for four years and I needed friends to get prizes (DfA!).

However, a virtual community is what I need to build to survive as a writer. I need a group of individuals who will interact with my webpage and social media. People who will share penguin posts and buy books and penguins. A core group of active fans, who can help get the word out and keep my TV series on the air for another season (figuratively speaking), would be amazing.

Taylor Swift has her Swifties. Haley Reinhart has her Haliens. Firefly has its Browncoats. Justin Bieber has his Beliebers. What’s the name of J.K. Rowling’s fans? These fans are there to support and protect their chosen artists, and just such a fan base is what every creator needs.

I’ve seen examples of fan-building, but I don’t know how to use my personality to do it. All I know is that I need to figure it out and quickly. Change is coming, and when it does, I’m going to need a lot of support and a lot of change.

How would you build a virtual community?

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Kendall Jenner’s acne leads to ‘moving’ and ‘raw’ announcement

When Kris Jenner announced that her daughter Kendall Jenner (Reality TV star since 2007, age: 23, net worth: $30 million) would be sharing a moving story and hashtagged it with #bethechange #finallyasolution #mydaughterinspiresme, people immediately speculated what the announcement might be. Would Kendall come out as gay? Would she be going to rehab? Would she reveal she’s pregnant? Was she abused as a child (she spent half her life on reality TV, so…)? Was she raped or sexually assaulted? It would certainly be something momentous. The rumors and speculation grew. What would she be changing or offering a solution to?

The announcement ended up being a commercial… for an acne treatment… meh. And Kendall got raked over the coals for it, though a few tweets predicted that would be the announcement.

A year ago, when walking her first red carpet event, Kendall felt amazing. Her hair, makeup and dress were perfect, and she was on top of the world. When she got back to the social media world, people had pointed out her acne, and it hurt. Then some others helped her change her view when they supported her bravery and courage for going out there with acne. “But I still want it gone.”

Having acne isn’t a world-changing announcement. It isn’t something worthy of all the drama, but there are two things worth noting in this announcement. This is the worst thing that’s happen to Kendall, and it points to a worse problem than just acne.

People who were upset that this is the worst thing that’s happen to Kendall in her life need to stop and think about their gut reaction. Does anyone really want to hear that someone’s been raped, sexually assaulted, or going to rehab? No, because that means something terrible has happened and no decent person wants that for anyone else. It’s awesome if this is the worst thing that’s happened to her. Some people bullied her about her looks, which are ingrained in who she is and what her job entails, and others came to her defense as a virtual support network that helped her keep her self-esteem intact. “But I still want it gone.”

Women have to deal with judgement about their looks all the time, particularly those in entertainment and modeling, who provide role models and expectations for those normal women who have everyday lives, children and not enough money for food or rent, much less to go to the gym and the spa. Women are told they need to spend time and money on how they look. They need make-up, moisturizers and creams and a little black dress. Things that most men don’t have to deal with.

But Kendall didn’t make it about men or societal expectations. Instead, she made it about herself. Her fans helped her turn her energy around and make her feel better about the acne. However, that doesn’t mean that she wants to have it. “But I still want it gone.” This tag says she’s doing it for herself, and if that’s true, then good for her and good for her all the way to the bank.