Still fighting over gay marriage? It’s the 21st century, folks. Move on.

I can’t believe that in the year 2013 we are still having to spend time and energy debating the issue of gay marriage (Toronto Sun Article).

When growing up, I was exposed to some of my parents’ homosexual friends. At school and afterwards, I had several awesome LBGT friends. I can credit them with helping me grow as an individual in many ways, and can’t attribute any of my moral weaknesses to them. My weaknesses/deviances/perversions/sins are all mine to bear.

Unsurprisingly, when one digs deeper, linking probable root causes of the resistance to the concept to the issue of money crops up: CBC News article

In a time where we believe to be on the cusp of the Artificial Intelligence Singularity, that we have begun growing human organs with the help of 3D printing, and that we’re talking about installing a commercially-deployed Mars base, I think it’s time we grow up and move on to bigger issues. If two adult, consenting LBGT individuals who love each other want to get married, let them. I think we can pretty conclusively say that archaic beliefs that gay marriage leads to warping of social values, undermining the moral fabric of whatever children they may care for, desolation of fertile lands, witchcraft, dogs and cats falling from the heavens, locust plagues, and whatever other evils that have been attributed to the concept in the past have been disproved.

Indeed, I believe there are more pressing issues which have been scientifically proven to cause desolation and plagues that should be dealt with. Pollution and climate change, anyone? Let’s get this issue out of the way so we can indeed claim to respect Human rights (last I checked every member of the LBGT community was human, no?), allowing us to get down to business over the issues that are actually vital to our continued welfare and prosperity on this little blue marble in space.

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Book promotion tips from Teleread

Teleread on book promotion

Many posts on tactics for improving the exposure of a book seem to offer ideas, but little data to support how those activities help.

Teleread offers a little more insight, however, I find the survey results would need more definition.

What exactly are the results of? Is it a measure of effectiveness of the tactics, or simply a measure of what the respondents use? Who were the respondents? What is the effect these engagements tend to have on the sales or exposure of said book? Does it vary by genre?

I am looking forward to seeing more on the topic.

On managing information flow in the social age

Although I’ve been using the internet to answer deep questions since before it ran on a graphic user interface, I’m only a recent adopter of social media. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on Facebook for what the young ‘uns would consider “like, forever dude” or whatever the appropriate contemporary expression would be. I’ve even had my Twitter account for a while. However, other than sharing pokes and funny cat images, I haven’t done much in the way of exploring the potential that is represented in all the world’s punctual information flow which is now available at my fingertips.

Now that I’ve had some first hand experience with the challenges involved with getting one’s word out there (WARNING SHAMELESS PLUG FOR MY FATHER’S BOOK THE GENIUS CRUCIBLE: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Genius-Crucible-ebook/dp/B00AQ8WKQ8), and have spent some time reading the advice of other authors, I am becoming aware of social media’s power to vehicle messages of importance. The general consensus is that time judiciously spent on the likes of Twitter and Facebook are an investment that will pay off in terms of exposure. In the case of The Genius Crucible, we came at it late in the game. The Twitter profile is growing, and has some great discussions with fascinating people, but I remain unconvinced of its effect on the book itself.

I’ve therefore rolled these lessons into my latest outing, my personal profile, so that I may experiment and see what really does make social media tick. I’ve come across profiles that claim to have attracted dozens to hundreds of followers by the end of their first week by selecting and aggressively pursuing a niche. Strangely, many of these niches involve “get rich fast and easy” printed in ginormous letters across the screen, or spend their effort debating the latest pet fur style for random Hollywood celebrity X. I’ve always had a wide range of interests, and there is no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that I will ever get into celebrity gossip, so I forge my own path at the potential cost of millions of adulating fans and followers. Oh well.

Before I carry on too much further and lose my train of thought, I believe it is appropriate to share this wonderful and yet creepy site I’ve just stumbled across: http://www.gowhunk.com/cnut/ . If you ever wonder whether anyone can hear what you shout across the digital ether, this is proof if I’ve ever seen it. It’s certainly a variation on a Twitter search, but presented in a much more manageable manner, especially if the default search query is changed manually in the browser address bar. Used for good, this can be invaluable. Used for ill, as semi-humourously suggested by the title, I believe it can lead to significant negative consequences. However, enough on that, back to the whole point of this entry.

So what is my main lesson so far? Manage information overload! I’ve found that it can become incredibly time consuming to follow up on conversations, manage blog entries, finding new and noteworthy things to Tweet or blog about. Even with the extremely limited following I have so far, I can easily get sucked into rabbit holes that keep me from doing the essential thing that all of this activity is about in the first place: writing.

I wish I had a solution to offer so far. It would be easy to advise you, dear reader, that you should only spend a certain amount of well-defined time per day working the social networks while dedicating the rest to working the story. However, in a world where everyone considers information that is hours old as ancient, there is a steady pressure to keep a watchful eye on current events. Current events as in seconds old. The days when a news bulletin could talk only about what happened in the day, or Heaven forbid a weekly recap appear to be rapidly receding into the distance. Again, I must be ancient. With the constant torrent of social information carving its way through the digital realm, it is true that an invaluable pearl could be missed if it is not caught as it falls from someone’s enlightened mind, buried in the flow of re-tweeted goat screams, hilarious as they may be.

What also boggles my mind are those with profiles who are following not tens, not hundreds, but thousands of people. I cannot imagine how they pick anything out of the flow. By the time their eyes have settled on a message, there could have been another hundred come in. By the time they are done reading it, who knows? How do they do it? Do they have a team of ghost tweeters there to keep the image up?

All of this to say that I welcome your comments with ideas as how to best manage these powerful tools. As I get more insight, I will expand the article to serve as a resource to all.

In the meantime, back to writing a picture book for kids!

A thoughtful blog on the difficulties our youngsters face.
Our minds, and particularly those of our children, have not yet adapted to the ever-increasing desire for extreme exposure in the media. Everything has to be more ‘more’ than whatever came before it, otherwise it is apparently without value. We are bombarded with a continuous flow of unfiltered information which can have a dramatic effect on our lives, as witnessed by the author’s entry.
Another concern which comes to mind with the media and social media is what is their level of responsibility for putting such concepts as self-harm into children’s heads in the first place? If at risk children are being exposed to these, then even with the continuous presence of a parent supervising their experiences, they will eventually begin to soak up the activity as a possible means to express or experience their frustrations, fears, depression, etc. rather than seeking out the help which is needed to overcome such a challenge.

Parenting And Stuff

alicia and grace

It was an evening last week when I learned that my Tween, a very sensitive and empathic girl, is chatting with a friend who is, at the same time over the phone with another friend escorting the local police searching for another (fourth) friend suspected of trying to commit suicide, per her FB.

In case you’ve lost me, this is the situation: My kid is sitting on her bed trembling and crying, while I am staring at her I-pad unbelievably, chat lines running extremely fast saying:  “Diane is not at the living room… wait, looking for her at the kitchen…not there! Perhaps she already did it! Wait, the police is entering the bathroom… Here she is! She is alive! She tried to kill herself!” Etc.

Once I was sure that Diane (which my daughter is not familiar with) is ok, and that her parents are aware of what’s happening in…

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And how are you today?

Have you ever noticed how people ask: “hey how are you today?” But don’t ever really expect an honest answer back. It is a common courtesy, an acknowledgement of existence, but rarely anything more. It could be proffered by a passing stranger, which I will admit I do quite often, much to their dismay, or it could come from a cashier as they prepare to administer yet another wave of goods through the price scanner’s ever watchful eye. A business practice, a transaction to ensure the client’s willingness to return to spend on yet another day.
What would happen if one were to truly confess their sentiment at the moment of the question? What if inhibition and polite process were stripped away, and the facts were bluntly stated? I can imagine the scene playing out with all the cool, charismatic aplomb Jason Statham can bring to bear on such an awkward moment: “Hello Love, my day’s been rather rotten, really. I received a notice of foreclosure on my house, and cat was run over in the driveway. None of those are really that much of a problem, though, since the house burned down after my wife let the kettle on after she left me to run away with her boss, which happened to hit my cat as he was backing out of the driveway. Otherwise, it’s been a grand day. Did I mention I have a ninja clan that wants my head on a platter by sundown?”
I find myself lagging behind Mr. Statham on cool and charisma, so I guess I’ll stick with “I’m good,” and pray that the ninja that asked really wanted to know.