I am super done with this bullshit social network.
The other day I got put into 24 hour FB jail because of a thing I shared. I can’t remember if it was an article or a status with pictures, but the thing was about a dude who messaged a woman via OKCupid and became abusive because the woman did not respond to him or, when she did, did not respond in the manner he wanted. So she created a post with screenshots of his words and his profile. Facebook says this is against their community guidelines and cut me off.
There may be a conversation to be had about whether that post or the guidelines around it are appropriate. But what strikes me is that time and again I’ve seen how FB doesn’t protect marginalized or minority folks from cishet white dudes when they attack, but have punished women and POC when they share screenshots of those same attacks. The way their community guidelines are set up means they will readily punish stuff like I posted but pages that literally say all Jews are evil and part of a global conspiracy continue on even though they’ve been repeatedly reported. I also notice that Facebook continues with the ridiculous Real Name policy even though it specifically hurts vulnerable groups, such as trans people, political dissidents, activists, people escaping abusive situations, and more1.
Plus there’s all the crap that goes on with fake news, how they refuse to address this in a meaningful way, how the algorithm works against creators and folks who want to share their personal projects, and overall just keeps people from seeing all the folks they want to see.
It’s just become a cesspool in here. A cesspool with some very lovely pool partiers around, mind.
By that I mean you.
I connect with so many of you through Facebook. I truly enjoy the conversations, and keeping up with your lives, and seeing your thoughtful shares of links. And if that was 90% of my experience on Facebook I would stay. But it’s not. So, I am slowly edging toward the EXIT.
I’m not leaving completely. For one, I know I will be cut off from many people if I do that. I also know that easing people over to new platforms will take some time. And I will have to wean myself from my habitual checking of FB every time I have a moment of boredom or procrastination.
I am going to make a major change to how I use Facebook.
Step 1: I will no longer post much on my regular profile/wall. I’ll auto-post links to new stuff going on with my projects, and I will sometimes share something or make an original post, but I’m mostly leaving the traditional way of interacting via Facebook behind.
Step 2: I’m going to use my Group more. For those who don’t know, I have a Group on FB called Tempest in a Teapot. It started as a way for people who wanted to be sure they saw posts about my podcast and Patreon and other projects to do so. Groups have a few extra abilities in FB, such as sending notifications for EVERY post, so you don’t miss them. I’m now going to use the Group as my primary way to interact on Facebook. That is where I’ll share things, post statuses, all that. So if you want to keep following me on Facebook, join the group. Right now I am letting anyone in who asks. Which leads to…
Step 3: I’m going to aggressively protect and moderate my space. This is a thing missing from Facebook that we used to have when we were mostly on blogs and such. Groups give admins the ability to moderate posts and comments, if need be. I will not be shy about booting people from the group if they act out. It’ll be harder for them to stalk my posts if they’re booted and blocked. And there will be far fewer drive-by comments from people unconnected to me.
Step 4: I’m going to spend more time posting in spaces that are less toxic. More blog posts here (and linkspams, cuz I do love sharing), more journaling with friends over on Dreamwidth, more having conversations in Google Hangouts, in Slack, via text2. I’ll also shift most of my general social networking over to Twitter. Yes, Twitter is also a problem for different reasons. However, it doesn’t have all the same problems (the algorithm deciding what you see, some news sources given priority, real name policies, etc.), and so I’m willing to shift my energy there for now.
There are other steps after this, but I’ll talk about them later. What’s the bottom line for you, my follower on Facebook? I’ll break it down for you.
P. S. Friends, close friends, those I love dearly: Please, please, please slide opn over and tell me your most preferred method of communicating either one-on-one or in small groups. I’m bad at communication but I want so badly to just spend time talking with y’all and having great conversation. So tell me how to make that happen. Invite me to your Slacks. Add me to your hangout groups. I am ready. [↩]
Winding down Black History Month by talking about The Black Present, which is more important. History is important to know and understand so we can work toward a better future. But the present is where we live, and Black people’s challenges aren’t a thing of the past. The thing that’s gonna get us through and into that glorious future all humans want for themselves and the people who come after is art, and it’s crucial that artists at a social, cultural, or class disadvantage get all the support we can find for them.
Support Black writers and artists and performers and playwrights and filmmakers and other creative people. Support them by buying their books and art and jewelry or going to their shows or movies. Support them by boosting the signal about their art on social media, to your friends, or to influencers such as editors, publishers, gallery owners, venue owners, museums and the like. Or support them directly through Patreon and crowdfunding sites and tip jars.
For that last one, I challenge you to peruse the list below and back at least one of them, preferably two or three.
Taneka is a black queer tumbleweed and the co-founder of Beyond Press, a small press responsible for the award-winning Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology, ELEMENTS: Fire an Anthology by Creators of Color, and the newly launched Passion Fruit: A Queerotica Anthology by Queer Creators. Genué is a queer xicana who has been sharing fancomics and pinups for sites like Tumblr and Filthy Figments, but has finally pushed through to the other side with her debut in ELEMENTS: Fire and as the colorist of Full Circle.
Together, we’re finally ready to share our worlds with you.
Love Circuits, is a comic that was born out of a rotten deal with a publisher that no longer exists (HOORAY). After paying to get our IP back, we have full control of sharing the adventures of Yvonne King, a new kind of sculptor living in an alternative Miami, and Lucos, a refurbished android companion.
Demonomics (or “Business is Hell”), is a fun little doodle comic about demons in the fashion industry starring Reyna, Amon, and Luce. We’ll tell you now, the devil definitely does wear Prada and looks amazing in Louboutins.
I’m starting a monthly subscription box called Joyful Reads. Joyful Reads is a subscription box committed to marginalized voices and books that reflect the world around us. I would like to open in May 2017. Our target demographic is teenagers and young adults who love Young Adult literature.
So look, here’s the thing: For the past decade, I’ve been writing, talking, thinking, teaching, and learning about philosophy, comparative religion, magic, artificial intelligence, human physical and mental augmentation, pop culture, and how they all relate. I think about, talk about, write about, and work toward a future worth living in, and I want to do all of that with you.
I mean a future where we have the option but not the expectation to self-cyborg. A future where, when we’re confronted with the new and unprecedentedly strange kinds of minds we’re likely to meet in this century, we can embrace the new and the strange, and use it to make ourselves even more than we already are. A future where everyone has the data, information, knowledge, and ability to conduct their lives in their communities, the best they know how.
I’m doing this work at both AFutureWorthThinkingAbout.com and, now, Technoccult.net, but to do all of this—to write, talk, read, converse, and write some more to, with, and about leading thinkers-and-doers in many fields of philosophy, science, art, technology, magic…so many thing—takes time, and so much of all of our time, these days, is spent trying to make money, and, to be honest, some of the ways we spend our time making our livings can drain the will to live, let alone do the kind of work we love and want to be doing.
I am a native New Yorker and street photographer. Capturing ordinary people living everyday life is my passion. I have been doing it since 2007, when I decided to seriously nurture my life-long interest in photography. Now I am working towards getting my work in front of a wider audience. Your monthly pledges will help me do that! With your donations I will be able to send initial contact packets to galleries and art dealers, self-publish photo books (including hiring professionals to help me with the layouts),enter prestigious photo contests, and have my photos printed and framed for exhibitions.
My name is Odera Igbokwe and I am an illustrator and painter. You might know me from projects such as”Odera Redesigns the cast of Sailor Moon”,FEM4FEM,”Pepperbreath!: A Digimon Fanzine”, or Black History Month: Celebrating illustrators/painters of the African Diaspora.
I am constantly creating more inclusive illustrations, that celebrate the diversity of people of the african diaspora, and show that we exist in fantastical realms.
With “Melanin Mythologies” I will produce 2* illustrations a month. One illustration is exclusive to patrons, and the other is open to the general public. These will range from character illustrations to original paintings. (*2 illustrations a month can happen if we reach the $500 goal!)
Your support on Patreon will provide me with the resources to create more inclusive illustrations. As an illustrator, many of the assignments I take on continue to exclude people of the african diaspora. With your support I can take on less of those assignments, in favor of showing the world more of our black resilience, intersectionality, and magic aka ~melanin on fleek~
Alone is a romance comic about the budding relationship between Jack, a quiet widower, and Sarah, a former musician, as they both try to reconcile with their pasts.
While a love story at its core, Alone also deals with themes of grief, family, prejudice,addiction, and the effect music has on our lives. You can read all of the story up to this point for free at alone-comic.com.
I’ve been posting Alone online for the past two years, but between juggling school and other jobs, updates have been…sporadic at best. Supporting my Patreon will help me dedicate more time to working on the comic and other side projects along the way.
Hey y’all! I’m here with a group of talented artists and writers to create my first Sword and Soul graphic novel series, Uhuru. Uhuru is based on my novel series Meji, but expands the world of the epic fantasy with new stories and new characters. If you liked Meji, you’ll love Uhuru.
Agents of the Realm is a College years coming of age story, taking influence from a number of timeless Magical Girl themed tales. Shortly after beginning their first year of college at Silvermount University, Five young women; Norah, Adele, Kendall, Paige and Jordan, discover that they’ve each been chosen to help protect not just our world, but a newly discovered sister dimension as well. As they venture forward through their college years, their lives start to take on forms of their own, providing them with new opportunities to learn just how much power they have over their destinies. This is a currently running webcomic that updates twice a week on Sundays and Thursdays.
I Need Diverse Games is my full time job thanks to I Need Diverse Games becoming a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization as of August 13th, 2016. Because of this change, I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money to keep the lights on, pay for miscellaneous things that you need daily. In fact, keeping I Need Diverse Games afloat would cost me what little I had to spare when I was employed.
If you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give so I can continue to do this full time.
First rule of Write Club is talk incessantly about writing, because everybody out there has questions about story and I don’t mean just of the written variety. I mean story. Life. So we talk. We might understand something essential maybe around the 27 trillionth conversation had.
I love fiction. Worlds imagined, worlds altered, reshaped or totally twisted. Anything that fires the imagination is a gift from the gods. As such I try to only write fiction that I feel, something that resonates between us beyond the financial transaction. I want to add vitality to that 27 trillion-and-one conversation.
I can do that with your help. Maybe you like blogs on writing. Maybe you don’t mind some slice-of-life. My “Posts” page is for you; we can play however we like there. I’ll write for you, I’ll honor you and, most importantly, we’ll get to listen to each other. That, my friends, is a conversation worth having.
I have been working on my webcomic Star Trip for three years now and both the comic’s art and writing have improved significantly. I am currently working on Book 2 and the completed comic will be THREE Books in total with around 400-500 pages per book. I really enjoy working on this comic and I am very proud of how much it has grown!
THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN! Your contributions per month will give me enough of a safety net to help me stay on my feet and keep creating. In return for your patronage you will receive exclusive Patreon only posts of concept art for the currently running Star Trip chapter, Patreon exclusive monthly wallpapers, early access to my mini comics, scanned sketchbooks, and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with helping an artist do what they love while keeping them housed and fed!
I host a radio show called the Black Swan Collective. When I announced this show, I mentioned that I had larger intentions for it than just music. I wanted to feature artists of all types and give them a platform to showcase their work. So this is what I’m going to do as soon as possible.
I am planning to launch a daily (weekday) show to give Black women artists of all types a platform. I want to talk with women in music, film, theatre, writing, poetry, painting, sculpting, fashion, comics, mixed media, anything they use to express themselves creatively. Furthermore, I want to talk with activists whether or not they use art to address their social issues.
Podcasting, like mainstream media, has become another male-dominated medium. Even the spaces occupied by people of color tend to amplify male voices over women’s.
I want to change that. My goal is to build a podcast network of shows made by and for women, primarily women of color. My dream is to hear women’s perspectives on everything from music to pop culture to politics, sports, and activism, in a thoughtful way, always considering intersectionality.
You can help make this vision reality by supporting this Patreon. Donations will be used to cover the costs of shows already in production (Black Girl Squee, Ratchet Research) as well the creation of new shows that will be the foundation of the premium podcast network (i.e., the Building Fund).
I am rebuilding my jewelry business and to do that, I’m experimenting with selling some poetry. Subjects will include job hunting, Memphis life, and the struggles of living between the margin and the center in the Trump era.
Did I miss you? Go on and add your links and/or pitch in the comments :)
Keen eyes on social media may have noticed that I quietly began a new vlog called The Tempest Challenge in which I recommend books to read if you’re interested in taking up my reading challenge. The first two episodes are up and subsequent ones go live on Saturdays.
I created a landing page here on the site with info on the challenge, including the official hashtag for recommending books: #KTBookChallenge. Once I get a few more episodes going I’ll probably create a Tumblr for the vids and reblogs of book recs.
I don’t mind telling you that Alethea Kontis is to blame for all of this. She has an ongoing web series where she rants about fairy tales (because she writes amazing books that weave fairy tales together). And, since I’ve been hanging out with her for the past six weeks, she’s had me on as her special guest a few times. Here’s the latest one:
And my favorite one in which I sing the first song to ever be banned from the radio:
And the one where I try to mimic Wagnerian opera…
And a playlist of them all:
As you can see, we had a fabulous time. And it inspired me! Thus my own vids.
Depending on how things go, I may start another web series in which I rant about TV shows or something. But first I need to get the hang of editing and possibly find some better software for Windows. (iMovie is the only thing I miss about having a Mac.)
Video is not the only form of media I’m indulging in lately. As I pointed out the other day, I was also on the radio. And after that I was interviewed by the esteemed Minister Faust for his podcast–I’ll drop the link once it’s live–and after that I lucked into being in the first episode of the JEMcast! That was a lot of fun to do and I shall return as a guest host any time they ask. Because I never get tired of talking about Jem.
I suspect there are more things coming up in the near future. In the meantime, if you want me to be on your podcast or radio show or whathaveyou, please use the handy contact links on the sidebar :)
If you’re interested in the Hugo awards or just SFF awards in general, Justin Landon does an excellent job of breaking down the Hugo votes over at his blog. It’s fascinating to see how the instant run-off ballot affects who wins and provides insight into what voters are thinking (a little). It’s a long read but well worth it.
In the section discussing the short story ballot, this caught my attention:
Given the number of short fiction venues today, the Short Story category is becoming increasingly scattered, making it harder and harder to have a digestible slate of stories to choose from. Hopefully, the Hugo Awards can get a handle on this challenge and ensure a full nomination ballot in future years.
I’m not convinced that this is something that the Hugos or Hugo voters as a group can really change. There will continue to be a ton of great markets and plenty for people to read. There’s about to be an all-new magazine (Uncanny) that could, down the road, complicate the matter further.
What’s needed are more short story reviews and recommendations.
Locus reviews short fiction, of course. But Locus is for people involved in the business of writing and publishing and not so much for the average SFF reader and fan. Tangent still exists but I have no idea how relevant it is. The Fix is long gone. And I just plain don’t hear about most other short fiction review outlets, and I can’t be the only one.
This is one of the reasons why I started my favorite fiction posts. I read a lot of great fiction over the course of a year but might not be able to recall all my favorites once it came time to nominate. And I wanted a way to share stories I thought deserved attention and award consideration in a compact yet concrete way.
I’m really glad I have a high profile venue for those posts now in the form of io91. This is the easily digestible list of recommendations Landon is looking for, I think. I would love for there to be more of them.
I wish that it was possible to have a Goodreads for short fiction so that people could rate, discover, and recommend with the same energy as novels get. I know there are some shorts with their own entries on Goodreads, but the last time I poked around it didn’t seem like the platform wanted that and there’s not a big community push behind it. I’d love to be wrong about that.
Is Goodreads itself the best place for this kind of thing? It’s a site and community that already exists, and I’m sure plenty of people who love novels are also down with shorts. Since I don’t spend much time on the site I honestly don’t know if it would work.
Is there a place to create such a community easily? As in not having to build something from scratch (who has time for that–no one)?
The short story/novelette categories in all our major awards could benefit from more discussion and engagement, I agree2. I just wouldn’t leave it up to the Hugos to figure that out.
My first month doing a weekly short fiction roundup at io9 is over and I’m really glad to be back in the groove of reading consistently. As I read more and more I’m newly struck by how many magazines are commissioning original art for stories and how wonderful that art is on the whole. I thought it would be nice to call out the pieces I liked best at the end of each month.
Another frequent Tor.com artist, Allsbrook has a really striking style that gives me the feeling that all the people and objects in his works are threads held together by a very tenuous connection to each other and will fly apart at any second. Check out his gallery.
The other day I stopped in a hipster electronics store to take a selfie with some headphones since the pair I owned were stolen from me a while back. The poor guy working in the store was really confused because I walked in, asked after some headphones onthe wall, took a bunch of pictures of myself wearing them, then left. As I was going out the door he was all “Uh, can I help you…?”
“Nope!” I said cheerfully as I sailed away. I’m sure he thought I was loopy. But whatever, this is New York City. He should be used to much stranger stuff than this.
Other than headphones and books, what other products should I give the selfie treatment? I don’t look good in hats. Despite the overwhelming number of beads in my house I don’t wear jewelry much. Any suggestions?
Just read this really excellent post at Mother Jones by Phil Plait answering the asinine questions put forth by some of the Creationists who attended the Bill Bye debate at the Creation Museum. In the comments you right away get people saying “Good on you for doing this, but why bother? Those people are so stupid and it’s a waste of time to explain things to them.”
This immediately brought to mind a comment on my post from yesterday about making an POC scholarship FAQ wherein Saira basically said the same thing –“Pearls before swine”–and said she’d rather focus on other things. I totally respect that and I say do what you have to do for self care and where you can be most effective. But I get that a lot of from people, the Why Do You Even Bother, about issues ranging from racism in the genre community to sexism in tech. My reasons are probably similar to Phil’s.
Reading through Phil’s post I learned things I didn’t know before, and that’s awesome. Any time someone wants to educate me about science I am there. Even if I don’t specifically go looking for it.
Also, I’m fairly sure that the reason the creationists in the Buzzfeed article asked such ragingly stupid questions is because no one has ever bothered to answer them seriously before. I know why that might be. Like I said, the questions are really stupid.
So stupid they can inspire rage. Or stupid enough that it makes people shake their heads and think This Person is Not Even Worth It. Not everyone has the spoons to deal with crap like that.
If one does have the patience to answer and explain in a real way it helps both the person asking the stupid question and it helps people who have to deal with the kind of people who ask those stupid questions. They can either offer up the knowledge as they understand it thanks to the helpful answers and info behind those links or they can say: “This post over here answers all of that and more, go read it and stop talking to me.” Drop that link and mambo, people!
That article will not change every mind. It may not change more than a tiny fraction of minds right away. It will help some people to think, though. And perhaps if they get more information from other people, the new thinking will start to sink in. I know this can happen because I’ve seen it.
At the beginning of my post yesterday I mentioned my friend who was appalled at the Butler scholarship when he first heard about it and then came around later? That didn’t happen magically. It happened because I took the time to explain things to him and argue and challenge him. And I wrote about issues of race on a regular basis, which he saw. And it wasn’t the next day or week or month that he came to me saying “You were right and I am sorry for how I reacted,” it was long after. I didn’t change his mind right away or even all by myself. I helped.
Other people have come to me over the years, usually at conventions, and told me how they, at first, thought I was SO WRONG about race and the community and so angry and every other thing I’ve heard said about me over the years1. But then their anger and defensiveness went away they and they pondered and listened and read other people saying the same things and finally came to a better understanding. They usually thank me or apologize or both. Doesn’t happen super often, but it happens enough that I keep doing this.
Even if Phil Plait only changes a handful of minds, I still say that his effort is worth it. I’m going to the comments section of Mother Jones to say so right after writing this. And then I’m going to go bookmark every single thing on the Con or Bust auction site I want to bid on. Because I also agree that there are many ways in which to make a better world, and I try not to get mired in just one of them.
I know for a fact that people say some pretty shitty things about me behind my back. A lot of it worse than what they say to my face, if you can believe it. What those people might not know is that many of the nice white people and chummy men they think they have such a rapport with are actually my friends, too, and often inform me of these conversations so I can laugh and laugh. [↩]
I was catching up on my blog reading yesterday when I came across an old entry on Query Shark. If you follow it, you probably remember this from earlier in the month:
Scott Harris gets the shock of a lifetime while burglarizing the Mayor’s home when he moves to the cellar and finds a tortured prostitute shackled within a catacomb of horrors, and documents entailing a vicious plot to take over the U.S. government.
Reading this engendered such a violent bout of hysterical laughter that I had to put down my Samsung Galaxy Tab(tm), otherwise I would have dropped it. I still haven’t recovered, and now my chest hurts. Immediately following this is a note from the query mistress that this sentence would have caused her to stop reading right away. But since I’m not an agent, I was eager to continue. The query just gets more and more WTF as it goes along. Another favorite bit from the post:
Query: As a result, Scott now has Orlando’s most dogged investigator, Detective Stone, hunting him like a voracious hawk coming in for the kill. This leads to an exhilarating game of wits as Scott continues to steal, barely escaping the relentless pursuit of Stone.
Agent: None of this has anything to do with what you said in the first paragraph. Added to the list of things I don’t believe: a game of wits with an Oxycontin addict.
I’m kind of amazed at this person’s ability to string together so many wildly improbable scenarios into one narrative. Even though the query isn’t great and the book sounds dubious, I feel like there’s an inkling of something there, if only someone would get this person to stop piling it on in an effort to create THE MOST THRILLING THRILLER THAT EVER THRILLED, THRILLA!
In other words, he is not to be taken seriously at all, ever. His ignorance stands as a monument to his vast privilege wanking which stands as a monument to… something. So of course he doesn’t understandWho Fears Death. It’s not like he tried. It’s all just lettuce and potatoes to him.
that’s mass asshole to you all playing at home [↩]