Tag Archives: how to

The Thing Is Risen…

Are you the only person in the known universe who hasn’t heard the news? Okay, okay, so you’re one of billions. However, *drumroll please*

I finished The Thing.

It’s not actually The Thing, as i’ve mentioned before, this is actually a distillation of Things going back to last century (1995).  And this is also only the first draft of This Thing. Omigod, i’m SELF-REFERENTIAL! Ahem. Don’t panic, I’ll keep my ego in the corral.

This is The Thing Mark II, after The Thing Mk I went horribly boring, and i’d spent months wrestling with it. Pretty much everyone who was following me began to pray that i’d finish The Bloody Thing (as its ‘fans’ labelled it) before they all went mad listening to my angst-ridden and possibly crazed creative process.

So now i’ve finished a proper draft of it, i figured it was time to pass the love around. First, thanks to my Twitter followers and friends, who were kind enough to listen to me, and not one of you ever said “Shut up before I kill you.” (And thanks to those who thought it but didn’t type it at me.)

Some of you unfollowed, but i think that’s because of the insane number of tweets i can do in a very short time. I do try to stay away from Twitter for large chunks of the day, to compensate for ear-bashing everyone when i’m there.

Those of you still listening (all fifteen of you who haven’t learned to tune me out) can take credit, every time one of you said, “Go on, get back to The Thing!” it really did help, i really did feel inspired, or at least determined. Besides, it showed some of you had been listening to me. How embarrassing would it be, if yet again, i had A Thing I Can’t Finish?

Second, I’d like to pretend it was all my own work, but Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method (opens in new window) set me on the right track – his newsletters are likewise informative – you can access them on the site, or sign up your email. I have a series of books i wanted to write and without RI’s tips on organisation, i really don’t think i would have managed to get this all-important, integral, first book written.

It doesn’t really matter what method a person uses, but i will say this for being organised – having your hook, your synopsis, and then scenes laid out before you start writing the book – it’s easier. Seriously, i had no idea. I knew it had a possibility to be more coherent.

For how-to tips, this list of useful writing, publishing, and agent blogs (opens in new window) has many good sites listed, where you can learn a lot, and make yourself dizzy reading about all the stuff you don’t know.

Some people can write by launching themselves off into an uncharted ocean of imagination, and i can do this, have an adventure, and go home, but it doesn’t furnish me with a book. I need charts, and fathom soundings, a gadget that gives me phases of the moon, and of course, an idea of which way i’m heading.

My imagination might break the voyage with an unexpected shipwreck, which is fine, providing I get back to the rest of the action, that’s going on without my main character, and providing my side trips don’t break the plot.

The Thing Mk I got the plot broken – awful experience, and time-consuming as i went back through my hard work and picked out all the places where him dying was either mentioned, or the plot had changed because of it.

This brings me to my third thanks, another Twitter one, aside from those who follow me – the hashtags on writing on Twitter, and the people on the #amwriting hashtag. (both open in new windows)

I have learned so much! Seriously, after decades studying writing, writing books, songs, poetry, etc, and also working in both the music industry and publishing, so seeing creative arts from the dark side, as it were, I knew i didn’t know it all, but i feel now that i knew nothing.*looks Zen and like the kind of woman you want to vote for world dictator*

This last year and a bit on Twitter feels like some kind of master-class. Every week, i learned something and thought, oops, i need to check my book, i know i’ve made this mistake. The work i have printed out in front of me now is better thanks to all i learned.

So thanks again, everyone.

Now you can listen to me (opens to my twitter feed) bitch as i edit it, and go through trying to find agents and publishers.

Happy happy joy joy

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Postscript: My Beta Reader has started reading – to our intense relief, he’s enjoying it, and as he said, doesn’t have to be tactful. The reason he’s the Beta Reader is because he’s into the genre, and will tell me if it’s crap.
He says it’s good. I’m in shock.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

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List me, baby, make me squeal….

I have never more truly understood the concept of “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Not until i moved to New South Wales. People round the world think Sydney is some sun-drenched paradise.

Oh puh-leeze, summer here is about as comfortable as Newark – yes, 90% humidity and 39+° C (100+° F). Then the weather breaks, it plummets to 20° (62°F) and we’re all shivering, except the bloody humidity is still so high you feel underwater.

It also gets hotter after the sun goes down. Demented place. My plans for The Invasion of Queensland ‘09 ’10 ™ have been set back a bit, thanks to an emergency trip there by Mr Whatsit that meant using every cent of our savings and borrowing, so now every week i’m $50 down.

One of his family faked her own death, then recovered – okay okay, so she had a kidney removed and everyone thought she was going to die. It still fucked my budget up.

Meanwhile, it’s the end of January, and i’ve had to get extensions on the phone and electricity bills, and am paying them off. *sighs* At this rate, i’m going to have to hitch-hike to the bloody border. (It’s about 1000k, 800 miles.)

Rather than bitch about the weather and money, though i could go on for another thousand words without breaking a sweat, (in real life, i’m sliding off my towel) I thought i would explain my lists a bit.

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Lists on Twitter are a great way of keeping your followers in some kind of order without resorting to cattle-prods. It also gives other people a chance to look at who you’re following, talking to, and to see if they’re an interesting bunch. Some people even follow whole lists of mine, which is flattering.

I enjoy lists, they’re a good way to find new people to follow, though some people don’t seem to take much care over lists, as you spot spammers posting ‘make $ on twitter’ or ‘monetize your twitter.”

You do all know this is what they used to call a pyramid scheme? You buy their software, (which is a pile of rubbish, as Twitter is all about who follows you, not who you follow), they make money, you don’t. Instead, you get blocked and reported on Twitter.

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So, Lists  – what do i have?

Most recent is the Conversation list which is “A dynamic list rebuilt daily of the people you are talking to and about. ” It’s not one i collate, it’s done automatically, you too can have one if you go here. It updates every day, but is about 12-24 hours behind. So it’s more like “who i was talking to yesterday”.

There are currently “Following: 25 Followers: 2” – which means there are 25 people listed because i’ve been chatting to them or about them, and another 2 people are following my list to see who i talk to. I hope it’s for entertainment, not for stalking purposes.

I checked (paranoid, me?) the followers on that list (listed on right of page when on web) are @loveunrg from New Zealand, and @thepainterflynn who’s in Dublin – both lovely people i’m often chatting to.

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Then there are my lists i made:

  • blogs People whose blogs are worth a visit
  • stopaussienetfilter Australian Government is bringing in Net Filter over All Australia – banning nipples – help stop it
  • food Cooking, Eating out, Foodies, Enthusiasts, Whole Food, No Genetically Engineered Food Campaigners
  • interestingtweeps no matter what you’re into, these people are ones that make good tweeple to follow
  • shopping If i had any money, i’d buy their stuff or use their services
  • centralcoastnsw Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia – some Aussie-wide tweeps
  • gardening Gardeners, Sustainability, Growing Food
  • music Musicians, singers, songwriters
  • arts-and-design computer art, painting & fine art, architecture, crafts, also comics (not writing)
  • geekish Geeks of all kinds, from the extreme to the subtle – my private collection
  • newsmedia Journalists, News outlets, the Media (not social media)
  • forlaughs Funny people & feeds – possibly NSFW, (not safe for work)
  • writingpublishing Writers, agents, publishers, feeds about these things (not bloggers)

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i think my notes on them mean they are self-explanatory. If i unfollow someone, i also remove from any lists – as it’s not automatic. If someone is listing you, and you don’t want them to list you, you can block or block and report. I have 107 listing me – (this goes up and down a lot, as more people get the Conversationlist going) i also go through those (not the Conversationlist, that’s just who i’m talking to or RTing), and block any spammers, or people who aren’t following me (if you don’t follow me, you don’t get to list me).

Also, i list people on more than one list – some people are on four – i think 200 is the upper limit for numbers you can have in one list, but i haven’t hit there yet.

So, you want a list? Look on the right hand side of your Twitter page on the web. Past the top, where it tells you who lists you, go down, past the Search line – see Lists? Before Trending Topics. Just click on New List, and off you go. Make a list, then look through your Following list (not much use Listing people you don’t follow back), and start adding them. As you go, you’re bound to find new subjects you could put as lists. Some people just divide theirs into people they chat to, and have “Chatters1” “Chatters2” and so on.

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I am in some strange lists. These are some i’m listed in, (not necessarily strange!) of my favourite Twitterers.

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The above isn’t everyone – basically, if i’m following them – around 460 people at the moment – then it’s because i think they’re good. The further back they are in my Following pages, the longer i’ve been following them – so if they were tricky spammers, i have already blocked and deleted, and you’re safe to follow. Like everyone, I do sometimes make mistakes with following people who turn out to be spammers.

So, no excuses – get off your respective butts and list meh!

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Widget alert: yes, how many people has lunatic anti-vaccination campaigner Jenny McCarthy’s bullshit killed, maimed, or made ill? I have a new widget, (on the left) that tells you. [EDIT unfortunately, it’s no longer working – but you can click through here and see the totals. At time of writing, it was 501 dead, and 54,907 people ill with preventable diseases – those with polio will never fully recover, and indeed, will get worse as they get older. And how many poor lil kiddehz had autism as a result of inoculations? None. Zero. Nada.]

Around here, we’ve had a whooping cough epidemic, and children have died, because a bunch of celebrity seeking idiots want us to go back to the days (pre-1955) when polio epidemics killed thousands and crippled tens of thousands – every year.

I’m not going to go deeply into it here, you can click the link for more info or to put the widget on your own blog – but despite this woman’s rantings, there is still NO scientific evidence that vaccination causes autism, though she and her fellow self-serving cohorts have been known to make up scientific ‘proof’ – it’s just wishful thinking, looking for a reason for autism, followed by misery when the people who believe them have to nurse or bury a child that catches a preventable disease.

If you’ve ever seen anyone with polio, or living with the life sentence that is the after-effects, (including twisted limbs, and the most agonising pain and muscle wasting), you would never ever think that vaccinations are optional, or worse, that they’re so bad you shouldn’t have them.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I’m a Premenstrual Feminazi from Hell

Edit: 22nd Sept 09 – for some reason this post is showing as the 9th 7th Sept, it wasn’t posted then but on the 21st. Short of deleting it and reinserting in the right place, it’s always going to be one post out of whack. It should be after Editors are like Elephants, not before. Yeah, i think my whole blog has gone blonde.

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Warning:

contains explicit stupidity, frank sexual discussion,
offensive attitudes to religion, &
signs of contempt for married people who cheat.

There will be clitorises. Should that be clitorii? It’s the Great Penises Versus Penii Debate all over again. (Most of that was between me and the voices-outside-my-head.) I’m not trying to get you excited, and frankly, if explicit stupidity makes you hot, you need therapy.

I’m going to generalise heaps. This is a rant. *hands out the polarised goggles and the breathing apparatus* I’ll wait until everyone is comfy. Help yourself to bikkies.

*holds up sign that says FORESKIN*

If that made you blush in real life, probably better to go away now. *Nails foreskin to wall* What? It was a trophy foreskin, you’re supposed to do that. The name fooled you, right? You thought me being the Queen of Darkness was ironic? *raises eyebrow* Only partly.

On with the show…. who wants to be  Despot for the Day? Ha, just kidding.
As if any of you get to have a turn. Me me ME.

Oops, just a moment, i need to reset something.
*turns ego down to stun*

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Meanwhile, “Australia’s leading criminologist” thinks online scams are now so bad, new computer users should have to pass a computer licence, certifying their ability to surf the net safely, before being legally able use their internet connection. I suppose some education is better than none, but I don’t happen to agree with his assumption “…that education [is] secondary to better technology solutions.”

Call me crazy, or even heretical – go on, you know you want to, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy – but I quite like the idea of educating people about net safety, or even religion.

I say do this instead of encouraging them to be stupider, and instead of expecting them to rely completely on technology or God to protect them, which Science or the Divine – whichever god you believe in – cannot do.

However, as the Antichrist, so not  a subscriber to normal ideas of Good Vs. Bad or even In-Between – i have at least some of the answers to keeping safe on the net, and for finding happiness – it’s alright, nothing religious, we’re going to achieve Nirvana-in-the-moment through sex.

Strap yourselves in. Or on. Whatever.

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In the interests of safety & education –

Her Majesty Presents:

Ten Rules of Internet Survival
& Seven Sundry Hints

Rule 1: the only thing that will make your penis permanently bigger is surgery. No pumping device will do it. Drugs or herbs will have zero effect.

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What do you mean you’re shocked that i’m talking about penii and clitorii – wait, no, that just sounds wrong – and i already embarrassed you with that foreskin? There’s cunnilingus, erections, and sex coming up.

I said this was going to happen. Run, while you still can. Before you turn into a Minion of Evil Beloved Visitor.

A minion is not a Bad Thing – well, some meanings are a trifle negative, –  obsequious, servile, and subordinate are never going to be an easy sell – but after that it’s “One who is highly esteemed or favored; a darling” from the French mignon meaning darling.

i was having an 80's moment

i was having an 80's moment

(Did you know, on Mozilla Firefox, you can have a browser plug-in that puts Dictionary.com’s Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Reference sections up where the Google search is? Uber cool.)

Anyway, miniondom, what is it? You only have to read the blog and cope with my wittering on Twitter. It’s not a difficult gig being a minion these days. Well, actually, it might be. I can be prolific at times. Be brave!

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handy hint:# 1 Instead of falling prey to shysters who can’t enlarge your manhood, learn to use your tongue and your fingers, that’s what most women want.

Do it instead of whining to strangers online about how you can’t hold an erection or how your penis is too small. Men actually do this – why? Wait, is this another one of those things that i think everyone experiences, but it’s really just me? I’m too approachable – I know, i know.

So, regarding your penis – like salespeople everywhere, internet salespeople like to prey on your lack of self-esteem. Especially where men are concerned, they’re hoping to exploit that niggling worry that a majority have, that their women are sexually dissatisfied because the man’s penis is too small or not hard enough.

This shows a staggering lack of knowledge about most women, what makes them happy, and how they orgasm. Yes, i know some size queens, but they’re a minority.

Sadly, I’d say a majority of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives and relationships (from what they tell me, and in my own experience with men), which brings us to …

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Rule 2: hours of  Mister Snorty pretending to be the Loch Ness Monster are not really what most women want.

Corollary: Being rogered to death is only fun once.

When you were twenty and could actually perhaps stay hard for hours without pills, the women you were with were probably too polite – or ignorant about what felt good – to say they’d prefer some touching instead of you just banging away like that.

Viagra may make you feel like the Wang Overlord of Zorg – and Mister Snorty like Daddy’s Little Rhino – but most women don’t reach orgasm that way. They need clitoral stimulation. (Most means 60-80% of them – while personally, enjoying intercourse.)

Consider branching out into radical concepts like not viewing every person you meet as a series of receptacles for Mister Snorty’s emissions.

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Rule 3: this should probably be number 1, but you have not won the lottery.

Nor is some bank official, family member of an overthrown government, or other telling you they want your bank details because then they can send you millions of dollars. They won’t.

This is called the Nigerian Scam, but the letters now come from every country in the world.

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Rule 4: You have also not been carefully selected to receive a special offer.

Unless by carefully selected they mean “you said in some form you filled out online you liked X so we’re now trying to sell you something tentatively X-related.” Usually, they mean “your email was on a list we hacked from somewhere.”

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Rule 5: She doesn’t love you.

People do meet online and translate that into a real life loving relationship, or even a hot date – however women writing to men can be divided into two kinds – women looking for visas or money, and men looking to fleece you.

The gorgeous Eastern Bloc, African, or Asian girl is usually a man sending you messages, and he is looking for –

  • someone stupid enough to give their credit card numbers.
  • someone silly enough to wire money.
  • a complete fucktard who will do both.

Australian men keep getting caught by this (as do men worldwide). Some even manage to reach the coveted ultra-fucktard status – when you’re dumb enough to go to Africa to meet your ‘love’ without some serious research first.

I googled “west australian man africa internet kidnap” looking for one i’d heard of, who spent some time chained to a toilet in Africa while his kidnappers tried to screw a ransom out of his family, and discovered a Belgian and a South Australian man also suckered in the same way.

Internet romance without any real life quotient (especially before any real life quotient) can be summed up in one word – fantasy. It can also be overwhelming, because you’re free to hang your fantasy love object banner on them – and because there’s no real life to bring you down.

Real love comes from real life – real contact – before you get there, you’re just perceiving an online persona. If you’re in love with anything, you’re in love with something that doesn’t actually exist.

handy hint: #2 You do know, when the woman you pay for sex tells you what a great lover you are, she really does say that to all the boys?
Corollary: This includes those you pay for:
online bdsm (kink), real life bdsm, phonesex, or cybersex.

Watch out for people who need money for operations, desperate trips to see their dying mother, or to pay crucial bills and the like.

People like me, who want new office chairs or decent chocolate biscuits in the Bikkie Jar of Doom, you can give us all your money without a qualm.

You can trust me, I'm egotistical.

You can trust me, I'm egotistical.

Which makes a pretty neat segue into…

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Rule 6: there are fakes on the net.

People do meet from the net, and do fall in love/become friends with alarming regularity. I’ve met 100’s of genuine people in real life, in the decade and a bit i’ve been on the net. (No, i didn’t shag them all. One needs chemistry.)

On ‘dating sites’, many of the ‘women’ can be men, hoping that this way they can at least get cybersex. If you were a woman, you’d be alerted by things like “i’m just shaving my clit for you, baby”, (quote from a wannabe woman in an open chat room), whereas the guy she met at a city railway station was SO surprised when a man turned up.

Handy Hint #3: the hair doesn’t grow right on the clitoris, boys.

These men pretending to be women or to be part of couples think you’re so desperate, that any sex will be alright. “Men give better oral to men, right?”

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Rule 7: the net isn’t full of hot women who will meet you for sex without even seeing a picture of your face. Unless they charge by the half-hour or are infected with something you really don’t want to catch. They aren’t usually hot.

Corollary: An astonishing number of men however, are totally available right now for anything with orifices. Yes, an octopus or a hole in the wall would probably do most of them.

Handy hint #4: Practise safe sex.

Here’s something cheerful. Via the internet, I’ve met a number of  men, (I’m talking about hetero and bi ones not gay men), shagged a few of them, and chatted to 1,000’s – around the world over a decade or so. With probably only a handful of exceptions, when safe sex was discussed, they thought it was optional.

These were men on dating, kink, and  swinger sites – some were wanting one night stands, others relationships – and not just the men, the women too. In cases where sexual liaisons lasted more than one night, most people stopped using condoms after the first few times, convinced they could tell if a person had something unpleasant.

Y’all know, HIV infection doesn’t show any signs, sometimes for 20 years? Neither do many sexually-transmitted diseases. People can be carriers of herpes and various kinds of Hepatitis without knowing at all.

One man rationalised not getting checked even after he found out his wife was having an affair as – he knew the man, and was pretty sure the man was only doing his wife plus his own wife. Wasn’t as if it was someone she picked up in a bar.

People are strange. Which brings us to…

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Rule 8: dating sites have amazing numbers of married people cheating.

If you suss them out, they’ll often say, while pretending to urbanity, “She knows i have a higher sex drive than she has, and doesn’t mind me looking elsewhere.”

Wow, doesn’t he sound just like Hugh Hefner? And Hef’s such a model of what women want.

Seriously, with all the men on adult dating sites claiming that they’re allowed to cheat – if this many women were so casual over who their man had sex with, we would know about it.

Handy hint #5 men will lie for sex, married men more so.
Corollary: Women lie too.

Apparently divorce is illegal now, (everywhere in the world), otherwise why would all these people be saying, “I love him/her but he/she doesn’t understand my sexual needs so i’m justified in seeking them elsewhere. No, i can’t divorce *pious glance to heaven* for the sake of the children.”

Oh, what a poor suffering victim he/she is. Have we mentioned, to beware professional victims?

Married-people-cheating tell you this claptrap because they want to be covered in case you get the wrong idea, and think that them saying, “I love you! You’re my dream, my one and only, the person i’ve waited for all my life!” means more than “Damn! You could suck a golfball through a garden hose! That’s a talent!”

I’ve been fooled by married people who claimed their relationships were over , and that they were now in love with me.  They weren’t.

They only loved their own penises.

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Rule 9: your bank did not send that email.

Nor did Paypal, or any other site you’ve used your credit card in or you have a bank account with. Do not click that link in the email – it’s a fake site that wants to harvest your account passwords.

To minimise this kind of email ending up somewhere where you might click on it without thinking, like in your ISP email, use a hotmail account (or something else without your name on it) when out on the web. Which leads us onwards, and finally…

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Rule 10: Not everyone on the net is a nice person.

Sad, but true. Along with the criminals (we have those outside the net too, remember?), there are some really damaged people around. Ones who’ll do damage to you if they get a chance.

In real life, you’d see they were completely insane and back away fast – here on the net, it can be harder to tell. Crazy eyes don’t always show in a text-based format. With that in mind, don’t use your real name as a handle on a dating site.

Same goes with Twitter – unless you’re purely using your account for business, you may want to set up your  Twitter, email, blog, etc, so you don’t make it too easy for people to find you. Don’t use your home email, use a hotmail or gmail (or other) account.

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Handy Hint: #6: You’re the mark. The gullible person they’re hoping to trick.

The internet is just like the real world – most people in it are just ordinary people, but there are also those spammers, cheaters, rip-off merchants – and much worse. (Just Google “lured victim by internet”.)

All of them are types of sociopaths and psychopaths who don’t actually see you as a person. Don’t be a victim – be smart, be safe, and have fun. (I’ve had a lot of fun.) Google is your friend – along with sites like Snopes that debunk hoax and scam emails.

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This list isn’t exhaustive, but it covers some of the usual suspects.

Handy hint: Lucky # 7: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The reason the spammers keep spamming is because people fall for it –  people click the link. You click, they get paid. You sign up, they get paid. All those get-rich-quick schemes are aimed at one thing – getting enough people to buy in so that the person at the top gets rich – not you.

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If i still haven’t convinced you to be careful online, then don’t forget, donations to the Buy Her Majesty A New Tank Fund Office Chair & Bikkie Fund can be made via my hotmail address, which is posted top right, on this site that anyone with a hotmail address can join.

The badges are my own work, made on
the wonderful Says-It generator site – links to it behind the badges.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


tweet me a river…

While i’m in the mood to explain things (see last post for Tips on Starting a Blog), here’s my take on Twitter. I joined it on March 14th (i think), and i enjoy it.

Twitter is not a chat room though it might seem like one. It’s like a river of words running past, or a big party/coffee shop/dinner party going on, and you’re there. Unless someone ‘protects updates’ (so you can’t see their Tweets), you can see anyone’s words in the Tweetstream, if you know their Twitter username.

When you join Twitter, they offer you some selected celebs and interesting folk to start your list. You can always access Twitter’s ‘Suggested Tweeters’ list using the Find People link later, but check some boxes and move on.

You can also UnFollow people – i’ve at various times added Al Gore, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, and Australian politicians, then removed them – they didn’t amuse meh. Oh – and you can block. I have Oprah on Block. Yeah, it’s an empty gesture, but i enjoy it.

Once you’ve seen the front page, click on Settings, and put up a pic -some kind of avatar. People don’t mind  you having a pic of something non-human, someone famous, (providing you’re not pretending to be the ‘real’ famous person), or a caricature, long as you have something they can recognise you by. Don’t put pics that will make people sick. (I”ve unfollowed 3 people because of stupid pics.) Put in a link to your website if you have one. If you’re with wordpress, don’t forget to put the http:// before your site name.

Once you catch your breath, you can experiment with new Twitter backgrounds, changing your text colours (there’s a reset button, you can always switch it all back), and as you look at other people’s Twitter pages, you’ll see the possibilities, and also the mistakes people can make.

Save your changes, and look at the front page again (click Home or Twitter). Click on someone’s name, look at their Twitter page, with their updates, and a button to click if you want more. It’s easy to unFollow someone. Two clicks under their pic.

The way Following works – unless i’m following you back, if you follow me then you see my updates, i don’t see yours, unless you put an @ in front of stinginthetail, or use the Reply option on the post, and say something to me. I may still miss it. It may be a day before i spot it, (though it’s easy enough to miss a post), and either, smile, frown, laugh, think, roll my eyes, and/or maybe, decide to answer you. Sometimes, there’s no need. (It’s not a chat room, remember?)

I like to acknowledge people, but i’ll also  ReTweet – this also shows you i saw you. I RT if your post is good in my opinion – but don’t forget, if i can’t reduce it to 140 characters including your username, it won’t get RT’ed.

stinginthetail RT @pressdarling How do you cure #swineflu? WITH OINKMENT!

Everyone knows, it’s not my post, it’s his, and i’m just sharing something. Sometimes, people will thank you for the RT, but not always – it’s not required but can be the polite thing to do. EDIT : to make it clear. I thank people who RT my blog posts – it’s not necessary to thank people for just RT’ing a funny/interesting tweet of yours. However, businesses thank people for every business RT.

Here we are at your first post – usually people say, well here i am on twitter, or is this thing on? or words to that effect. And you click that Update button. Your words are in the Tweetstream.Usually, you wish you’d said something else.

Meanwhile on Twitter, someone’s picked up the ReTweet post i did. I got a credit too, which is nice, you don’t always – when this happens, people (who don’t follow me, so can’t see me) get to see and they may follow.

SolidAltar RT @stinginthetail: RT @pressdarling How do you cure #swineflu? WITH OINKMENT!

You begin to learn a lot about marketing, particularly MLM (multilevel marketing), and PR. Quite by accident. Lots of marketing people have trends they follow – if you say words like sex, marketing, PR, MLM, or even beer – someone will click Follow on your profile to sell you something. Oh – try not to say God. Or religion.

When you finally get the courage up to talk to someone, don’t expect people to answer, to laugh at your jokes, to reply right away (if at all), if you laugh at theirs, or to Follow you back just because you follow them, send a post, or RT one of theirs. However, it does happen, a famous person tweeted back at me.

I nearly fell off my chair, secure as i’d been in the knowledge that by tweeting at celebrities, the rightfully famous, and the wannabes, i’d never be noticed. I managed to stammer something back, as it was a serious discussion subject.

That was it, so far (i talk to lots of others, just not him lately) – i haven’t had anything to say to him. Tweeting at people – when you don’t have anything to say, or you don’t show any signs of having been following their tweets, or have decided to sell them something – will get you blocked.

The more used to Twitter you get, the longer it’s likely to take you to start following people back. I decide like this. I see i have  more followers (i have my email set up to let me know – you can stop these reminders, but i find them useful, as i don’t have to read them, i just delete them unread), and look at their Twitter page. Nothing there? Do they have a website?

Do they Tweet? If they’re not talking, unless their site’s something i like a lot, i don’t refollow. Likewise, if all they do is crack jokes, and don’t engage with their followers, i’m not really interested either, no matter how funny they are – i’m not into ego-feeding on that level.

You can see if they talk back simply by clicking on their name – are any of their Tweets marked ‘in reply to’ with another person’s @username in it? This function is good, click the link, see what’s being replied to. Are any of their @ posts answered? I like to open all links in new windows/tabs, so i don’t lose the original person i was interested in. If you like what you see, click Follow.

If all of their posts are RT’s, likewise, you may find them interesting, to help you branch out into following new people, but it may get boring if that’s all they do. A lot of Twitter is posting off-Twitter links – people who send me to marketing sites get unfollowed fast. (Not all marketing people are incapable of interaction. Some are just like normal people.)

Before you know what’s happening, you’ll have lots you follow, and some who follow you back. Some people Follow everyone back, and instead of looking at the Twitter home page, use various searches (and separate programs) to filter the Tweetstream. Twitter’s just brought in their own version of this – with searches on the front page, trending topics, and hashtags # – which is another way of showing a topic.

You can’t force Twitter to pay attention to you. Usually, don’t RT yourself. I tend to unfollow those who retweet their own quips or post the same post over and over. However, if someone’s in a band, say, i don’t mind them RT’ing themselves to promote the band – i’ll even RT to help out.

I tweet that i’ve done a new blog post. If i do it late at night, i’ll do another in the morning – which covers most timezones. I need to cater to Australian and USA waking hours – they’re more than 2/3 of my blog visitors and my Tweetstream. I warn my followers if it’s a blog post i’ve promoted before, “this is the one about nipples” say, so they should remember if they’ve read it.

On the main page, other options on the menu are @stinginthetail which shows me tweets using my name – when i remember to look. Next is Direct Messages which shows me my DM’s – Twitter’s version of the private message. You can only DM someone who is following you.

Then Favorites, which shows you posts you’ve clicked the Favorite link on – (i don’t use this much so far, but it adds to their popularity). All posts have Favorite and Reply links – and your own posts will also have a Trash button. You can delete, but someone’s already seen it. I’ve never deleted a post. I figure bad typos, and things which in hindsight are stupid, are par for the course and let it stand. Someone may already be RT’ing it.

If you have a business name, or want to get your own name, then join now, you don’t have to use it yet. Watch the Twitterverse flow, follow links to other people, the web, and find more people to Follow.

You’ll find a person who laughs at a joke you make, or says, hey, i do know where you can find one of those. You’ll make friends and what i call VA’s – Valued Acquaintances. These are people who i ‘know’ but am not close to. They may retweet my funnies, be part of a crowd I follow many of, but may have never talked much, corresponded privately, etc.

Amongst them are people who don’t follow me back and have never shown any signs of noticing i exist. I’ve cracked jokes/been helpful/said something cool @ them, they’ve ignored me- even if other people have retweeted. They’re not my mates in any way, shape, or form. I’m just stalking them. I’m hanging around them at the ‘party’ and listening. They don’t hate me, they just don’t want to follow me.

I mentioned, Twitter’s not a chat room. You don’t tend to get the unending streams of helloes and goodbyes – in fact, anyone who does this much is a quick Unfollow.

Once you get more than a few followers, you’ll start thinking, omg, i can’t keep track, who are these people  -are any of them following me? Who’s following me who i haven’t followed back that i might like to?

I recommend Twitter Karma – easy-to-use site that makes it easy to see all Followers on one page, and Unfollow or Follow, just by checking a few boxes then doing a bulk action. They have a direct ‘sign in with Twitter‘ link (that only Twitter-trusted companies get) but that may be down – this is due to Twitter rejigging their sign-in process to prevent hacking, not because they don’t trust Twitter Karma.

For such a small thing, Twitter takes some explaining.  I’ve cut over 2,200 words down to about 1,800. Arrgh. Next post is going to be back to simple subjects, like world domination, religion, politics, and sex!

© stinginthetail.wordpress.com



tips on starting a blog…

A couple of days ago i told a friend that he needed a web presence, and i’m afraid i actually raved about the possibilities of the new media – i know, omg, i’m not safe to take to dinner parties any more. Today he rang me, wanting to know the basics. We had a chat, and of course more things bubbled up after i put down the phone.

I figured i’d make this post for him. And it will be handy as more friends join the blogosphere and want assistance. Yeah, i’m lazy, if i do one here, i won’t have to do more than send people a link.

So, people are talking about blogging and Twitter, and they’ve been talking about Facebook and MySpace for a while too. I don’t use Myspace or Facebook – i tried them and got bored. (I’ve already blogged about starting out on Twitter.) Even longer, they’ve been saying this is it, the Internet is the Future! They say it with CAPS and exclamation marks. This is actually true. Barring civilisation having one of those hiccups that wipe out most of the human race. (Like the swine flu apocalypse I mentioned in the previous post.)

First thing about having an online presence. You need a website. Easy way to do this, is have a blog. There are many blog hosting sites can cover your initial needs for free, unless you need to do financial transactions. There are sites that just offer a web page for free, but the blog format can work for many sites. A big site offers the advantage of plenty of its own traffic that might drop in on you, but small sites can be great if they’re the right sort of group for you.

Before you can have a blog, you need an email – i don’t use my main service provider email, i have a hotmail account specifically for this blog. It keeps things in order and means i can put my email address on the site without worrying too much about the prospect of spam or stalkers – hotmail blocks people easily. Once you have your email account, go to wordpress.com and sign up. Ta dah!

I’ve only been here since mid-March  (my first 6 weeks here have been excellent, the more i learn, the better the site gets). There’s a learning curve – but if you can use a wordprocessor, it’s not that hard. If you know the basics of coding, it’s even easier. There’s a lot of help under the Support pages on WordPress, step-by-step how to’s in text and video format.

The main thing to remember, is that putting things on the web tends to be permanent. You should assume that even if you delete your post, or the blog owner deletes your comment, that a copy will be made – so watch what you type. Even when you do, you will embarrass yourself, even if it’s just by being a newbie. If you drink it’s best not to blog – some people manage it, but most fall flat.

Read some blogs, look at the ones you like, that have features on them you’d like – you don’t have to pick WordPress, there are others like Blogspot (a quick Google search can be useful if you’re in a particular field – some blog sites specialise in certain industries or areas or types of blog – you’ll also find free listing sites where someone runs a blog, and keeps a list of blogs of a certain kind – note these people for once you get your blog up).

I spent a month or so looking at the options, (and had been reading other people’s blogs for longer). After i’d been blogging privately for 8 months and learning bits and pieces, I found it easy to set up this blog. I’m not a newbie, and i’m not afraid to look at the help – if you are a newbie, there are the Support pages to help. Don’t forget Googling “how to start a blog”. Like any new venture, there are definitions to be learned.

The thing about blogging, there are untold numbers of “how to” blog websites. Read some of them – a lot of good information. Don’t believe everything you read, obviously, but you’ll find certain good tips repeated over and over. The best blogs i read on setting up, running, and maintaining a blog were usually run by professional bloggers.

You can adapt their rules to your needs, but they really do know how to generate traffic, (hits on your site), and are generally helpful with every aspect.

For instance, the ProBlogger site has enough free content by itself to keep you busy for months, but at the same time, just reading one of the articles on say, reasons to blog, or how to blog, will give you a good grounding.

You need to think about what kind of web presence you want to be – are you thinking a web page, updated every month or so? Something like a journal you use to keep your writing fluent? Somewhere you have some fun a few times a week, but usually you write technical reviews or do tips for people doing programming? Somewhere to promote your company or ideas?

You can be purely technical, promotional, for fun, personal, pictures, movies, music, and of course, combinations of these and more. My blog veers from technical to sarcastic to political to heresy. Most of the time i’m trying to be funny, but on my rare technical forays, i do try to tone that aspect down.

If you want to promote a product, and decide to start a blog before the product is ready, you need to commit to doing updates on your blog as to how you’re doing – or people will stop coming.

Every interest group has a website where enthusiasts gather – most have hundreds – visit some of them, they will have links to their blogs, and you’ll get an idea of what’s possible. I still like the idea of the rotating tag cloud i saw on someone’s blog. I got my “where in the world do my visitors come from?” widget after seeing it on someone else’s blog.

Darn it, this is long. And it’s not very coherent. This isn’t a tech blog. They have bullet points and structure, instead of just raving. For me, my blog is to raise my profile, to the point where once i have my product (my writing), i can (within reason) plug it here, and get feedback.

In the meantime, i’m giving people a reason to visit by amusing them and provoking thought, hopefully offering some interesting knowledge, and they get a piece of me. I get to enjoy myself, too, both in the writing, researching, editing, and then in the interactions and responses i get from posts.

The blog becomes something else, a creation in its own right. I didn’t actually write a list of what i wanted from a blog, but i’m sure i read an article which said i should think about it – so i did. I wanted a place where i wrote what i felt like, which was less structured than my novel.

I had no idea what i was doing. Blogging of course, is like short story, column, or essay writing – incredibly structured. I reduce most of my blogs by at least a third in the editing process.

Which brings me to the point where, once you’ve done your first blog, Save Draft, then use the Preview button (on the right of the WordPress page, above Publish) and see what you have. Never just Publish without reading a Preview. Then, once you’ve published, read it again – odds are you missed something. The sooner you change it, the quicker Google will have the corrected version.

Once you have your Preview up, click on any links, look at the layout, make sure it all works as you expect it to. When i do links, i set them to open in new windows, as some people (me for one) get lost easily, and that way, they don’t lose my site.

Tags and categories will change as you gain experience, you can go back and change/edit them, and add more, so don’t worry too much. You need tags to help search engines and searchers on WordPress find your blog, so bung in 5-10. Make sure they’re relevant.

When editing, you can have Visual, or HTML view – i stick with Visual, only going to HTML when i end up with something like the whole blog going Italics and i can’t see why. The top menu above where you type also opens out with the Show/Hide Kitchen sink button.

Your blog will initially be set up in a standard format, which works well enough, but as you get to grips with the site, and discover widgets, themes, links, and the joys of the custom header, you’re  bound to mess around and change things. I spent most of the first month doing that.

Don’t panic. It works fine without any messing. On WordPress, you’ll see a menu across the top of the page when you’re logged in – just follow the links on your Dashboard. Inside the Dashboard, you have a menu down the side which opens up as you click down it.

Inserting pics, movies, music, all seem to be easy on WordPress – i’ve only done pics. (EDIT: Though on WordPress.com, you won’t get the hits if someone plays a video – TheLazyAussie tells me those go to YouTube or the site hosting the vid. See comments for more info.)

If you want, you can keep your published posts private or only accessible by a password – draft posts are just that, they’re not public yet.

There, i think that covers the bare bones of it.

© stinginthetail.wordpress.com