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A reel turnaround

Hello everyone. I am sending happy weekend vibes to you. As you might guess from the title, I’m back on Instagram. Does anyone remember last year how I spent three days on Instagram and then spent another four trying to deactivate my account because they kept burning hashtags and deleting my posts?

On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.

Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.

So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.

When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.

In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.

Why, oh why couldn’t I have found a marketing firm that was good at their job? I could’ve been friendlessly redrafting my new book right now.

Please send prayers. Thank you.

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New to Clubhouse? Don’t get clubbed + Drama free drop in audio

Some artwork from a practice session on Procreate

Where two or more humans are gathered, there will be drama, and in this post, I will tell you how to avoid drama on Clubhouse. The app is now open to everyone and overnight, sellers of invites went out of business, while the bot and troll populations have exploded. As of Sunday, moderators are now challenging listeners before inviting them on stage to speak. As I edit this post, a moderator is ejecting a speaker who got on stage to ask, “Uhm… What’s the topic?” Read ahead and learn how you can avoid getting clubbed as a newbie.  

First things first. You need a bio. The easiest way to get clubbed is to not have one. Your profile should explain your interests and tell everyone why you have joined Clubhouse. If you are registered and have no bio, stop reading this and update it right now. When I joined in mid-June, people were complaining about extra long profiles. Now, listeners without them might never get invited to speak due to the ongoing troll and bot problem. 

Sub Lined

Add a profile image, logo or something representing your objectives. Drama people like to do screen captures of avatars, so make sure that yours is something you would not mind seeing on Twitter. Mine is the cover of my novel The Quarter Percent and it is also my first minted NFT. The image prompts questions and because my answers match everything in my bio, people with shared interests feel comfortable contacting me. 

The second thing you need is a linked, updated social media account, website, or email. Clubhouse is designed for drop in socialising, and communication is supposed to continue off the app. You may link Twitter and Instagram but almost everyone on Clubhouse is on Instagram. Every day, someone asks me why I do not use Instagram. Clubhousers prefer Instagram even though they get action blocked, hashtag banned, accounts suspended and posts smoked. If you choose not to get an Instagram account, be prepared to explain yourself all the time.

Third, recognise that drop-in audio allows speakers from all over the world to be in the same room and participate in a conversation. If a person says they are going to bed and you are starting lunch, “How dare you have lunch? I just woke up,” sounds weird, so stop.

People have been waking up as others were going to sleep every day since we crawled out of the mud and coughed up our gills. Because time zones. Remember that passport checks are only to be done by the police.

Many clubs are already scheduling rooms only for members, to avoid answering the same questions again and again. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of valuable information you might need for promoting your work is going to be reserved for people who are already comfortable using social audio. For more advice on social audio etiquette, please visit this post

Connected

Fourth, focus on large rooms where you can listen, ask for advice, and share information. This will raise your engagement quickly and safely. The fastest way to get clubbed is to immediately align yourself with a person or small group. A person’s objectives might change, or they might be drama people. Scan your hallway and hop into a small room that looks interesting. But leave immediately if there is any hint of hostility. Be like water and flow where support and positive engagement take you. 

Fifth, spend your first week following active clubs related to your specific interests. Use the calendar feature to manage your time. In these rooms which are topic-specific, you already have something in common with listeners. Speakers and listeners will read your profile and look at your social media feeds. Be equally discreet and read bios to find out more about your roommates. As mentioned above, the moderators are definitely reading yours.  

Sixth, ignore pings. That is the software at work, and you are not receiving a cordial invitation. Nine out of ten people who ping you will not respond when you ping them, so do not play. Especially ignore pings that invite you into single-host private rooms unless an appointment is arranged in the backchannel. I wish I had received this advice before joining Clubhouse. Assume that you are being roped into a speed dating event without your consent. The hosts will vanish once they find out you are not living two houses away from them. Save yourself the irritation and avoid responding in the first place.

Good Road

That should do for your first two weeks. Social audio is constantly evolving. One day you’re with a group of friendlies and the very next morning, you wake up in the middle of a shark tank. Use the application actively by knowing your purpose and staying on brand. Listen first, keep up with conversations, steer clear of controversial topics, and stay open to new experiences. Practice good etiquette at all times. You never know whose avatar is sitting next to yours on stage. 

Postscript: Abstract paintings are from Sunday. I spent nine hours learning how to use Procreate, and I am slowly feeling my way through the features.

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creative writing fiction technology women writing

Oh, Gloria …

Where seconds before, castanets were rapping their clat-ta-tat-tat, a deafening silence fell on the host of avatars in the room. Friendly banter was interrupted, a question went unanswered, and earphones were unplugged from devices to broadcast the newest tirade over speakers. Someone in Brussels unwrapped a lunch sandwich and listened in.

Gloria was in the room. This morning, she presented with glossy grey locks, which billowed in a nonexistent breeze. Her flawless, peaches-and-cream skin was buffed to a high shine. But that was not why everyone was squinting at their screens. They were accustomed to seeing a dark-haired vixen in a slice of underwear, sat with her knees exactly fifty centimetres apart. (Someone attempted the pose at home.) Today, everything, including her shoulders and most of her neck, was covered.

A stream of pings followed. “Everyone, get in here. Gloria is wearing clothes.”

Master had stopped the castanets mid-clat to croak at the host of avatars, “Reverence! Gloria is having a bad day.”

“And today’s crisis is…?” thought everyone. And they waited to find out. In New York, a spoonful of breakfast cereal was returned to a bowl. “What… exactly?”

A summary was sent in a backchannel. It read, “Dental emergency at the dentist, who has Wi-Fi, so Gloria can be here with us shortly before receiving treatment for the dental emergency, and then stay here with us, in fact, during the entire procedure, so we can be there for her.”

“Surely,” went one dictated response, “the care and feeding of her children comma who materialised out of thin air only last week comma should be the focus of concern question mark.”

After that update, volume buttons were pushed all the way down. But unable to see this, Master squeaked again. “Praise Gloria. Genuflect, you peasant scum!” No-one heard him. The rebellion had started.

Three hours later, Master punished everyone by giving Gloria his proxy. “Lead us, will you? For your teeth, dear.” A dubious honour it was, to be the doyen of disenchantment, dueña to disconnected souls.

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Scrum Mastered

Scrum for creative focus

Are your goals clearly defined? Your next step is to collaborate with likeminded individuals. Work with practical, updated information. Record results and refine your process as you go. To master the practice of scrum, recognise when it is necessary to regroup and realign. Then do it.

Screen caps from the desktop version

The first iteration of this installation was a mass of crawling text that broke WordPress. Yay! But after it broke my phone’s browser, I decided to update this post with a collage of screen caps from Reader and the main site.

Glitched text on main page and in Reader.

Thankfully, I had saved the screen caps for the tweet design below, so it was easy to make another pass with the two typography posters. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s art and it is business
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Schlüsselmeister Grau

Keymaster Grey

These posters are still in a work in progress but I wanted to dedicate the drafts to the German business owner who has left two advertisements for his keymaster business on my feedback form. That’s Schlüsselmeister in German.

I spent the weekend designing posters and video pins while also being professionally petty on social media. And one thought I had was about WordPress throttling my posts, so that I must display my artwork on a Pinterest board. The difference in engagement on both platforms should become a meme because it is so vast. Wow WordPress.

Fast on site

Though I am busy over there, I wanted to post some artwork here for you. I also wanted to say hello to the German business owner before pinning the final versions.

The keymaster’s website is well-presented, but I changed some of the identifying information in the poster. Sir, please be good enough to leave your real email on that form so I can send you the PDFs? You can print them out on your office printer and frame them.

It feels weird not posting weird art on here. Perhaps that is a Church versus State thing. Or, business art versus hobby art, though which one is which, I don’t quite know.

For everyone else, have a great Monday. Allen anderen einen schönen Montag.

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Clubhouse v Greenroom: Tuesday AM Beef

Where two or more humans are gathered on a social media platform, there will be beef. And, on Tuesday morning, social audio delivered two servings of beef to me before I even got out of bed.

It started when I woke up at 1 AM to have some water. I checked my phone and noticed an invitation to join a Greenroom networking session. The room looked like an exploded space ship. Avatars were floating about, and all mics were muted. In the notifications was a hyperlink to an adjacent Clubhouse networking session, so I beamed myself in. After saying hello to the group, I bid everyone a good night and promised to visit again.

Five hours later, I was awake. Now, I checked new messages in a Discord server for creators. Almost all of the members were posting screen captures of notifications showing that they had been blocked from entering one particular room on Greenroom. These individuals were all button-down suburban types, and not ratchet gang-gang Crips v Blood folk. The person accused of starting the drama was a new member of the server. I thought that for sure, the server was under attack (!) so I sent a message to the administrator.

Seconds later, I was back in the Clubhouse room from earlier that morning because I wanted to see if the group was still active. I noticed that the room had a different title, and that the host was discussing the blocking incident. He explained how groups worked to “steal networks” from influencers. The app is only three weeks old, but Evil never rests. I turned off my phone, put it on my desk, and went to work.

As I reflected on the storm that was swirling in my phone, it occurred to me that burnout on social media is caused by emotional attachments to vanity metrics. In the end, these metrics are a rendering of specific data points in virtual space. Many of us do not have a clear purpose for using social media applications. Too often, we misuse them and then blame “social media” for dampening our creative spirit.

I reminded myself that I should focus on communicating with the smart technology that runs these platforms. And how do I define effective communication on each platform? Knowing that they have different functions, learning what they require for sustenance, and feeding them.

On Sunday, for example, I practised a focused detachment on Twitter. Applying a formula to composing my tweets, I noticed that each one was retweeted. Then, I focused on networking on Greenroom. In a short time, I got a dozen new follows. These individuals searched for my profile on Clubhouse and followed me there, too. Stress level? Zero.

Yesterday, I took a break from my tested formulae to whine about “rude people”. My tweet was ignored. I allowed myself to get irritated by a creepy person leering at an attractive woman posing in underwear. I was taking things personally, and not being purposeful about promoting my business. No-one followed me. I promised to manage my time better.

To be honest, Tuesday’s incidents were nonstarters and quite boring. But I could see how people get addicted to feelings and then lose sight of their objectives. On Wednesday morning, everyone had moved on, so Tuesday’s energy expenditure was nullifed.

There is nothing I can do to convince anyone to feel less possessive over imaginary fiefdoms populated by the digital imprints of purported people. Perhaps my scepticism is based on the understanding that anything existing in electronic form can be made up, invented, copied, duplicated, forged, faked and reproduced. And it goes without saying that given how easy it is to do all of that, beefing over vanity metrics means next to nothing if you cannot convince your followers to show up for you when and where it matters.