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People

Her Late Majesty The Queen

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Image courtesy Bettman via Vogue.

Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at her home in Balmoral last Thursday and the world has not been the same. As a person who grew up in the British Commonwealth, Her Late Majesty’s story is familiar to me, as are the life stories of most members of The Royal Family dating back nearly a millennium.

Something that has struck me in the wake of the sad occasion of the death of Her Majesty has been the response by some members of the public.

People somehow feel that in order to express disestablishmentarian views, it is necessary to denigrate a family in mourning. Yes, monarchies are outdated in these times. Governments are outdated, too. Democratic societies are ruled by influential groups calling for laws to censor dictionary words. Large corporations pay lobby groups to (bribe) lawmakers. Most people don’t go out to vote. We pay taxes that fund overseas wars while people at home live on the street.

But these same people saying nasty things about a woman with impeccable work ethic (70 years full-time) are happy to worship PR created effigies built upon armies of bots. Their respected divas buy their own albums and pay to have them piped into your local shopping malls. Harry Styles is a Gucci dress-up doll who can’t act. Tell me, do you know how the world really works?

We should not be bowing and scraping to anyone. Royalty is anachronistic, and at times the formality can feel silly. But it recalls a time when there was reverence for the dignity of human existence.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in a carriage in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park in July 1940. Image courtesy: Vogue.

Let us recognise this for what it is. First, by themselves, the pomp and pageantry are real life versions of a fairytale. Imagine being inside the pages of a storybook as a story is unfolding. This is the magic and mystery of royalty.

Second, it is naïve for anyone to believe that reigning monarchs in this day and age are sitting around as staff serve them tea and biscuits. King Charles III, when he was Duke of Cornwall, hired 31 accountants at Clarence House. Among his staff were researchers and other advisors. He is a consummate business networker. He has met every head of state in the entire world. And he is on speaking terms with them: even the despots who starve their own people and hold stashes of national wealth in tiny island banks.

KC is a diplomat, Long Live KC.

A word that I use to describe the way people should act is “decorum”. That brings me to my third point: The King rules by consent of the people. It’s in the Constitution, the people voted on it, and the Privy Council affirmed everything at the Accession Council. Rather than insulting the person at the top, it would be a better idea to try and change the minds of people who consented for him to rule.

Instead of saying vulgar things, people should be taking time to reflect on the meaning and value of the stories we are fed in the media. Instead of insulting a culture, tradition, and history, people should try to understand the hidden hand at play in situations.

Now, I feel I should inform you that none of the negative comments are moving the needle. KC’s press office has been using the furore surrounding his candid on-camera remarks to boost his image as a strong male leader. The commentary and images firmly separate him from his late mother The Queen. They humanise him, and prepare people for what to expect. This is brilliant British PR at work.

And you know what? People are eating it up. More people are lining the streets to say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II. More people are asking to meet the new King. The funeral of the Late Queen will be the most watched televised broadcast of all time. Royal magic is created by connected people in media, government and business. They are advised by educated people who are diligent, bright and perceptive. And rest assured, there was lots of data analytics in the mix.

What is the right way to act when a person dies and you didn’t agree with their politics? Ignore the coverage. Get on with your life. There are plenty of better things to be in a strop about.


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art news opinion People women

Peace x Ash Wednesday

Peace (dry)

March 2, Ash Wednesday

Pause for a moment and reflect on human lives and dignity lost to conflict, strife, and intolerance. Honour the strength of will that brings us closer together.

Peace (washed)

Peace: Kimono fabric swatches, emulsion paint, and watercolor on ripped canvas.

Categories
Earth health People technology women

Kin Plaa Kaeng: School nutrition project in Thailand

Love eating fish: A rural school in Thailand prepares for a project

Intro
Happy Thanksgiving, to readers who are celebrating. To mark this special occasion, I would like to highlight the work of my wonder twin, Isreyah Pradabvate. She is an early childhood educator, entrepreneur, former United Nations UNESCAP volunteer translator. She works full-time in a leading Japanese entity in Thailand. In this post, I pay tribute to artists and activists like her who give their time and talent towards making the world a better place for future generations. So proud of you, my sister.

The pond is flourishing

Project details
Hello everyone, my name is Isreyah Pradabvate. I am an early childhood educator, entrepreneur, former United Nations UNESCAP volunteer translator and an NFT creator with a full time job in a leading Japanese entity in Thailand.

“Kin Plaa Kaeng” (in Thai this means “Love Eating Fish”) is a project initiated by the co-founder of a startup where I used to work. His name is Krit Sangvichien, and he works with me, as well as with Kansuda Koompairoj, who is the project president and community leader.

Children enjoying protein-rich meals

Love eating fish
Kin Plaa Kaeng has one objective: To turn small schools in rural Thailand into self-sustaining food producing locations. Because of depopulation and a centralization of economy that circulate only in big cities. Small schools are being shut down. Imagine what will happen to those children in affected areas?

Also, children consume insufficient amount of protein in their daily life. Due to many social issues which I would love to avoid getting into it. Protein is the most important nutrition that we need. We are made from Protein. Our brain, heart, muscles, body consume protein as their food.

Pond with water

Reason
Unfortunately, good or alternative protein in Thailand is as expensive as in the United States. Balance that with the fact that people here are still facing unemployment due to the pandemic and even before. As a result, they can not earn enough to provide to their family. So how could they afford healthy meals for themselves and their children?

The school

In some areas, children are able to only have streamed rice with fish sauce. Schools here have provided lunches but with a small budget, some people take advantage of the funds distributed so the meals never reach the children themselves.   

Solution
We came up with the idea of building a fish pond. We wanted to turn every poor school into self-sustaining food providers with at least one pond per school. We want parents and the community to be sure that they don’t need to worry about making a bigger income to provide good meals for their children. Some children do not even have breakfast because their can not afford material to prepare for them.

Sureenibha Noppakloa (L) with Isreyah Pradabvate (R)

Outcome
We have built one pond for Champanuang School in Srisaket Province in Thailand. Crowdfunding is done via this site linked here. We would love to build another pond for this school. And we want to build at least one pond for every school because they told us that they were really happy with the outcome.

Project leaders in Thailand

We want the children have delicious fish to eat and fill up their tummies. In the morning, some children will go to school, knowing that they will have free good food to eat. For the sake of a better world, let us work to raise the quality of life of these children.

Project cofounders Krit Sangvicien and Isreyah Pradabvate

Outro
Thank you for reading this presentation. It takes Isreyah 10 hours by train to travel to the Champanuang School in order to oversee this project. And she wants to build more ponds in more schools. Amazing that she gives so much of her time to helping others, and I am hoping that you will be inspired to continue doing good work in your own communities. Until I hear from you, be good.

Categories
People

Austrian Waltz: Sunday Serenade

Austrian Waltz

This sounds like fresh rain on bare earth. Imagine a semi formal brunch at old breweries on a private country estate. A woman is being courted by a man who is falling in love with her. They are meeting his family, who have warmed to her very much. She is nervous but manages to relax as the conversation starts. During brunch, the party is hearing this music in the background.

I hope you have had a good week? It has been fifteen days since I uploaded the sample track for this suite of trios. And I am happy to say that the remastering of the entire suite is complete. Uploading them one by one because otherwise, I will end up having the same track twice with different names, and other not-funny episodes.

Thank you for listening.

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men news opinion People TV writing

On Leaving (Short film)

On Leaving is a short film by Sagar Kapoor (India)

On Leaving (07:45) is a documentary short by Indian filmmaker, Sagar Kapoor.

Synopsis
Lockdown in India had just started to be lifted, however, due to job loss, increasing COVID19 cases, and other circumstances, the narrator is forced to vacate his rented room. This short film tries to express the feeling of the narrator visiting his room for one last time and how spaces can be personal and important parts of our lives.

Bio
Sagar Kapoor is a filmmaker from India and he grew up in Lucknow, a city known for its delicious cuisine, history, art, and culture. At La Martniere College, he was first introduced to the world of art and photography. Today, he works as a independent filmmaker and illustrator. His documentary films are introspective and empathetic, as they focus on our relationship with the environment. In his free time, he loves to read, write, travel, and cook. 

His upcoming projects are: 
1. Eating clouds, a documentary on a local delicacy from Lucknow.
2. On Death a City; how the uniqueness of a city dies with time and our need for modern infrastructure.

Follow Sagar Kapoor on social media:

Instagram
YouTube
Twitter

How many of you have friends who make films? Well, you have one now. And you will make another filmmaker friend next week. On October 22, 2021, drop by and greet South African poet, voice actor, and performance artist, Marinda Botha. Stay tuned as I feature more filmmakers and creatives over the next few weeks.

Categories
art People technology women

Storm chasers, assembled

MEET THE Adventurous women
(and men)
flashing througH
THE METAVERSE

Shannon Bileski
A little about me. I am a storm chaser, aurora hunter and all around adventurer, living life to the fullest, every way I can. As a child, I was always fascinated with the weather and that is why I got into photography. At first, I struggled to get a photo of lightning when I was eight years old. And four years later, when I was twelve, I did. All that was missing was the right equipment. And after witnessing Canada’s only F5 tornado in 2007, up close and in person, I bought my first DSLR camera. Then, I started capturing everything and anything I could, including storms.

My passions quickly evolved into storm and aurora photography (and a dash of newborn photography). My work has been featured in magazines and has won awards. Most importantly, my work has kept me learning, growing, adventuring and discovering. There is no better feeling than staring down Mother Nature, and this marvelous gift she throws at you. Being in the middle of it, the complete awe, is an indescribable feeling. It is a special moment in time that I love to capture and share with everyone.

Melanie Metz
I was born to chase tornadoes, just as some people are born to sing or become medical doctors. I have been drawn to the storm, wanting to understand it, watch it, and feel it. Standing in the wind of a passing supercell is where I truly feel alive. I have had a passion for storms since I was a young girl living in Arizona. There, I would stare in awe at the incredible lightning shows and dream about tornadoes. As I entered high school, photography became my other love. I began actively chasing tornadoes after earning my bachelor’s degree, and I have been on the road with my camera every spring for over twenty years now.

During my earlier years of chasing storms, I partnered with Peggy Willenberg. Together, we became known as the “Twister Sisters” with a reality TV show on the WE Network. We also worked as Chasers for FOX 9 News in Minneapolis, taught Skywarn classes and did many severe weather presentations for various audiences. For the past several years, I have been living my dream as a solo storm chaser, as Melanie Metz Storm Chasing. I work to capture the power and beauty of storms on film.

I am just now beginning the journey into the world of non fungible tokens, where I hope to offer my work and support other artists in the community in a new and exciting way. And, let me share one more tidbit. After many years of hard work, one of my tornado photographs was recently licensed for commercial use in the cover and poster of the upcoming film, “13 Minutes”. The film is about survival. A community works together to rebuild when their town is hit by a tornado. There are several strong female characters in the story. I can’t wait to see it, because it is a huge honour. For more info about my work, please visit my website to learn more about my work.

Lori Grace Bailey
I am a professional wedding/portrait photographer who also enjoys capturing extreme weather and extraordinary skies. My work has appeared in major publications and television outlets including the March/June issue of Backpacker Magazine. I am also a brand ambassador for F-Stop Gear.

I enjoy chasing tornados in the mid-west, haboobs in the southwest. Or, when conditions are right, I captured elusive sprites using my intimate knowledge of a storm’s lifecycle. I believe that my work stands out because I can consistently get shots most people only dream of.

One of my other roles is Director of Monsoon Con, an annual convention in Tucson, Arizona. The convention brings together photographers and weather enthusiasts with an emphasis on storm chasing with success.

Jessica Moore
I am a female storm chaser of nearly 10 years, making a living from NFT photography and video. I am a meteorologist, professional photographer and videographer, and passionately involved with NFTs. My storm footage and photography has been aired on The Weather Channel, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, WeatherNationTV and FOX News. I have also been featured in several national TV news stories about women in storm chasing and meteorology. My non-fungible tokens can be found on Foundation and Open Sea under the handle name @DopplerJess as well.

Natasha S
Who says ‘thunderbolt’? Hi, everyone! My name is Natasha, a photographer by passion from Bangkok, Thailand. And here is my favourite shot of a city thunderbolt. One thing I love the most is nature of all kinds. As a kid, I always enjoyed watching lightning dancing in the sky and was never scared of it. For me, it was a light show from nature. So it becomes my passion whenever I see the light flashing from the sky, I always grab my camera and go after it.

In a city like Bangkok, finding lightning is challenging. Most properties in the city are private so it becomes difficult to find a location for the perfect capture. Great meeting you. You can find me everywhere.

Erin AKA GhostTrainPhoto
This chase was one of the best chases I’ve ever had. This supercell danced in front of me for almost an hour.

I am a psychology researcher with a passion for storms. I grew up on the western edge of tornado alley and have always been fascinated by the power of weather.

I got into photography as means of justifying the countless hours I found myself driving to experience storms. Photography has now turned into a passion of its own.

Hello, my name is Stephanie. I am a storm chaser and landscape photographer based in Oklahoma. I have spent the last ten years traveling the plains chasing Mother Nature’s fury. I grew up in the heart of tornado alley, so I have always been fascinated my weather. When I’m not chasing a storm, I spend my time traveling and hiking. I love to explore new places and push myself to new limits.

Willard Sharp
I am a storm chaser and astrophotographer based in Iowa. The 2021 chase season was really good to me this year and capturing most photogenic tornado of the year in west Texas this past spring was the highlight of my chase season.

Ujwal Puri
Hi. My name is Ujwal Puri. I am a photographer and storm chaser from Mumbai, India. My lightning photos have been featured in some of India’s leading newspapers and magazines. I have, as of now, one non-fungible token of a lightning shot. Looking forward to minting more of my storm chasing work on Foundation.

Adam Orgler
Hello. I’m a storm chaser based out of central Iowa. I’ve been chasing for 3 years now. I am currently a senior at Iowa State University studying computer ccience. What you will see is the result of an impromptu chase this summer in central Iowa. Over the course of the evening, I stumbled upon two highly photogenic, rotating supercells. The first cell was a fast mover which I had to outrun in order to avoid the large hail it was producing. It had an awesome bowl-shaped shelf cloud along its gust front. After the first cell dissipated, a second, slow moving cell formed to the north. I was able to set up my shooting location in a wind farm as the cell moved right towards me. It was spectacular.

Thomas Knepshield
Here is one of my favorite tweets from the year. I sat through a nighttime hail core in Garden City, KS trying to dent my car up and shatter a windshield. I achieved both of those goals here. I am an adrenaline-structure junkie storm chaser from Kentucky. This was my first year hitting the road to chase and I spent six weeks chasing storms along my 16,600 mile road trip. I saw five tornadoes, sat through a bunch of hail cores and captured a lot of lightning on camera. A childhood dream come true. I am twenty-two so that means I have seventy-eight more years of chasing to go (or more if possible).

Tim Slane
As a storm chaser and photographer, I chase storms, tornadoes, and lightning in the High Plains of the United States. Through photography, I share the beauty, uniqueness, and power of both storm and landscape.

Hunter Fowkes
This is one of my best storm chases I’ve ever been able to undertake in thirteen years chasing tornadoes. This was extremely close to home. What a day. There were many times this tornado felt like the ones I witnessed in Lockett, Texas, Ashby, Minnesota, and Tipton, Oklahoma. The tornado went through many phase changes and was such a sight to behold. I love this state.

Oh, my goodness. I was so enraptured by this presentation that I almost forgot to close it down with a big thank you. I was thrilled to have storm chasing superheroes featured here today. I am grateful to you for sharing your stories and being hard working and passionate, which is what we need to keep us inspired. And by now, you know the drill: Find them on Twitter, and follow them. They are going to look really cool in your timeline.

Thank you, everyone, for viewing this presentation.

Categories
Earth People technology

Photography’s hottest stars are on Twitter

Happy Sunday to you all. After Wednesday’s wonderful post, I thought it would be great to follow up today with astrophotography. What else are you going to do on a Sunday night besides look up at the sky?

As usual, when you view, please remember to visit each account and leave some feedback for the talented photographers. We have lots of tweets to view, so sit back and scroll.

Amit, Exploring Night Sky, is on Twitter. By day, he is a software developer. His work as an astrophotographer has won him awards. He is based in New Zealand, and he says that his photography of the night sky has helped him overcome the fear of darkness. This is why he enjoys bringing the night sky to you. He is dedicated to his art, and in Guiding Light, his patience won out after eight hours of driving and eight hundred steps to the top of a lighthouse. After a long wait, the dark clouds cleared, and you can see what his camera lens picked up.

Adrien Mauduit is an engineer, author, aurora guide, professional night sky photographer and cinematographer. He is mostly specialising in time lapse images. This collection features some of his most innovative astrolapse work, which is also the first such photography work to be minted on the ethereum blockchain.

Ross is an astrophotographer from the UK and he uses photographs to inspire people to get outdoors and see the beauty in the heavens above. His favourite image is one of the Andromeda Galaxy, but I am going to showcase this video of the Orion images he has worked on. Ross did a lot to help organise this showcase, and he did so by spreading the word among his colleagues and friends. Thank you, Ross.

Mustafa Aydin, from Turkey, is a superstar on Twitter. Shield your eyes before looking at his spectacular follower count. He is adored on Twitter, and I will tell you why. He takes amazing photographs and he has a great personality. He regularly drops into conversations by replying to my tweets, and he was kind enough to join in this showcase today. Mustafa is interested in deep space astrophotography as well as widefield and Milky Way astrophotography. He loves the endless learning curve and we love the goosebumps we get from looking at his work.

Josh is a sixteen-year-old New Zealander, and he is part of the Twitter astrophotography community. During the day, he explores our beautiful planet, and at night, the stunning night sky above. You can see some of his beautiful work on his Twitter profile.

Tom is also from New Zealand, and he is the same age as Josh. Isn’t it heartwarming to see young people so enamoured by our planet, our solar system, and this expansive universe? Tom is well-loved wherever he goes, and it is always a joy to chat with him in Twitter Spaces. He reminds us that his work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe. His passion for art and the stars has been there ever since he was very young. Like him, I am happy he discovered this amazing hobby.

In his own words, “My work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe: to bring it to those who can’t access it due to the sad reality of light pollution within our cities. I try to spark a sense of curiosity for the night sky through my images, as I believe it can teach us valuable perspectives on how we live our lives, the world around us, and who we are as people. My appreciation for art and the stars has been there from a young age, first inspired by the Hubble space telescopes incredible images. I am so happy to have found something that I’m passionate about and to have others supporting me with it!”

Diego Juaregui is from Argentina and he is an amateur astrophotographer. He likes the feeling of being alone in a faraway place watching the stars and thinking about infinity. It is a comforting feeling.

Marcel Strelow is a landscape photographer from Munich, Germany. He has been into nightscapes forever and fell in love with deep sky photography during the last lockdown in winter.

Mark Coull is from Scotland and is relatively new to astrophotography. He is learning incredibly quickly. His fast progress might be due to his eye for detail, which he refined as a multimedia designer. He loves to learn and is here to teach. We are glad he is. Our galaxy has a beautiful palette, and you can find more of it on Mark’s timeline.

Yusuf Qureshi is a UK astrophotographer now based in New Zealand. He says that the skies out there feel so special. And under the shining stars, he feels at peace as he is pointing his camera lens up towards them. Let us join him outside soon.

From Switzerland, we have Marco Kern, a landscape photographer who is passionate about stargazing. He loves the silence of the night when he can be alone under the stars.

And here comes Willard Sharp, stormchaser from Madrid, Iowa. It was wonderful meeting an American astrophotographer, as my time zone puts me closer to Europe, Asia and Oceania. In this image, you can see the rig he set up in his backyard. Then look below to see an example of what he captured. That is a truly spectacular view.

In India, we have Ubik, a photographer and filmmaker who has been documenting life in photos for the past 12 years. He enjoys running around on sleepless nights to get a glimpse of the night sky. And then, he takes it all in on camera. He finds the process meditative and we love that about his work.

Ronan Hunt is from rainy Ireland, and we are happy he is able to capture beautiful images for us to enjoy. If you want to make friends with Ronan, his Discord server is linked on his Twitter bio. Feel free to follow him or add him to your list of favourite photographers so you can keep up with his amazing work.

Our other American friend comes to us from New Jersey. His handle name is Desclafani Photography and he loves to share his knowledge of photography with his followers. Visit his profile and follow him. He is always ready to share his process.

Lee and Brenda Amber are a family of photographers based in California. They have a fascinating story, and if you want to learn more, please join them in Twitter Spaces. As a family, they love the magic of capturing a moment with a camera. They enjoy sharing images that show what they saw and how they felt.

Across the ocean, in the UK, we meet Sajjad, who is based in London. He traveled back to Pakistan to take photos of the night sky here. From his rooftop, he took some of the Helix Nebula, NGC 729, a planetary nebula located in Aquarius. Below that, you can see the image he captured of the North American Nebula, NGC 7000.

Give a warm welcome to Thai photographer, Notto. I am happy when I see his work in my timeline. And not only is he a member of one of the most wonderful communities of artists on Twitter, but his work there is also admired by photographers everywhere. Visit his profile, follow him, and enjoy his wonderful work.

We round out the presentation with Jack, a New Zealander who is actively involved in the NFT community. He was the first person to respond to my call for submissions and I am so glad he did because his work is stunning. Or is it, “Stella”?

I think we have covered most of the planet, and I am proud to be colleagues with these talented artists. Each of the astrophotographers featured creates non fungible tokens from their photography work. They are also active members of the NFT community and we wish them all the best. Thank you for viewing this gallery.

Categories
about me art artificial intelligence creative writing fiction opinion People technology

Instagram’s smart tech is a loving me thing

It is Saturday afternoon and as I write this, I am waiting for a meeting to resume. Unfortunately, two expatriates seated at the far corner of the conference room are talking loudly about assorted bedroom activities. I gather that the man is gay and his friend is a married straight woman. I suppose they are comparing notes?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It was impossible to hear myself think, so I am standing near an open window to let the sound of traffic drown out their voices. And while I am here, I thought it would be good idea to update you with my Instagram goings on.

At the moment, I’m hardly posting on Instagram. But for the past eight days, every 23 hours to the hour, I see that I have 25 new followers. This exact number, at exactly the same time, tells me that this is the work of a machine. 

Remember that last year, Instagram was burning my posts. And now, after two months on the platform, the smart tech is working for me. I was advised in a Clubhouse room, a couple of months ago, that Instagram was doing a big reset. I was also advised to take advantage because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The problem is that I am an introvert and going live on video will never happen. Because of that, I needed a modified approach.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Here is what happened after two months and 18 reels, 3 (15-second) stories daily, no lingerie selfies, and zero live posts. I am at 472 followers. My account is growing every day, so I will continue on this path. (If only Twitter were as malleable).

Metrics 

  1. This is a business account. 
  2. I do not pay for ads which means that all of my engagement is organic. 
  3. All of the new followers brought over from Instagram’s smart tech are 85% artists in the NFT community, 5% follower boosting accounts and 10% crypto investors. 
  4. Quite a number of my other followers are from Clubhouse. The apps share data with each other. Instagram will automatically suggest my account to anyone following me over there and vice versa.
Photo by Fiona Art

Posts and engagement  

  1. After my first five posts, I started posting reels in the form of animated videos showcasing my artwork. 
  2. Avoid captions. Only a few of my reels have them. Instead, I tell a story in a slideshow or MP4 video. 
  3. Nearly zero hashtags on posts or reels. Instagram treats hashtags like spam. 
  4. Edit all videos or images (to create a slideshow) in the IG native editor using filters.
  5. Add music and carefully choose clips within the song to match the story. Music choice is the number one compliment I have received so far. People seem to have a positive emotional reaction my artwork because of the music. 
  6. Repost my own reels/posts to stories. 
  7. Hashtags only in stories – limited to one per story and this is always NFT related. 
  8. Follow back as many accounts as possible. Check occasionally to make sure that all followed accounts are active. 
  9. Restrict spammy, fake looking accounts and never follow sales people (crypto investors). 
  10. Reply to all comments and respond to private messages. Delete messages I don’t want to answer. Accounts look spammy if they don’t talk to each other. 
  11. Mute accounts that post more than 5 reels in one hour. These kinds of accounts rarely engage with my posts. Then I look spammy to the smart tech. 
  12. Visit new followers’ profiles and engage with posts. 
  13. Engage with my timeline. Hide, mute, like or share posts to friends.
  14. Join live broadcasts even for a few minutes. Send comments and reactions while there. This signals that I am a real person.
  15. Engage with my followers’ stories by sending reactions and comments. Gauge feedback to these and mute accounts that are not responsive. 
  16. Remix posts from active followers and share them to my stories. Add music, fun stickers, gifs, scribbles, text and mentions.
  17. When a follower adds the above remix in their stories, immediately share to my stories.
  18. Use voice memos or calls where possible. 
Photo by Steve Johnson

If you are interested in testing this approach, try it on your Instagram account. I must point out that I am niche specific. I am an artist in the NFT community. I focus on graphic design and I’m interested in paintings from visual artists. And though I never tell Instagram what my specific niches are by using captions or hashtags, the smart tech introduced me to blockchain specialists, abstract painters and 3D/animation artists in the NFT space. Then, bear in mind that I spend no more than 30 minutes a day creating at least three stories. I also respond to all of my messages.

No selfies, no bikinis, no bare butts. Only plenty of good music, interesting stickers, and artwork to inspire me. Best of luck.

Categories
People

Music for book marketing

Do you like classical music? Are you squeamish about reading romantic fiction? Well, I am working on a story you might like. I am vaguely romantic in my head, but do not give me any details, please. I do not want to know what happened after the first button came undone.

In this post, I will share a marketing strategy that I am working on for my current WIP.

Photo by Jansel Ferma

After stumbling into the NFT community on Twitter and Clubhouse, I found myself minting my artwork on the tezos blockchain late last week. When I first discovered NFTs in March, I set about minting the treatments for my current and future writing projects to protect the copyright.

Then, after selling out my first three collections of art as of Monday, I had enough to cover the costs of hiring a composer and musician to help me create music for my YouTube channel. My YouTube channel with 43 followers. It is great to know that for once, I am not out of pocket with marketing costs. And if I plan to do bigger projects, I had better sell more art.

Photo by Ludwig Kwan on

You may recall that I had mentioned this music project in an earlier post. I wrote that, “My YouTube channel is dry and ashy so I asked a composer friend to help me out. I am hoping to share the music with artists and creators who like listening to music as they work.”

I am happy to announce that this project is ongoing. After waiting eight weeks to hear back from the composer, I was told last week that his schedule had cleared up. I am officially a music producer. And I imagine that this sounds fancy but it really means working to find the right sound, recording them, and refining arrangements. It has been great waking up every morning this week to find new tracks and librettos in my inbox.

Photo by Budgeron Bach

What we will have arranged is a suite of nine etudes for piano, violin (which he plays) and cello (which I play). Three tracks have been completed so far. Two of them sound fantastic, and one needs to be redone. It will take time for the entire suite to be set in jelly, but it is on the way. I wanted to share one of the tracks with you right now, but the composer will surely m3rd3r me, so I will not.

The purpose of the compositions is to capture the moods of the story and develop emotional ties with readers. The moods are serene, romantic, regal, grounded, and broody. The music is created for writers, artists, and other professionals who enjoy listening to background music as they work. My social audio apps of choice for promoting the music are Greenroom, Clubhouse, and Twitter Spaces. By the time you read this, I will have already spoken about the project on Twitter. And soon after that, I will be asking my networking contacts on the other two apps to consider streaming the songs in their rooms.

Photo by Eleazar Ceballos

Quite a number of armchair marketing experts say that you have to sell a project before you start it. Why will my plan work, even though I am not selling the music? As I mentioned earlier, several people from social audio have bought The Quarter Percent, and they also enjoy classical music. Pitching (shilling) the second book will happen every time I talk about the music. Even for people who do not read, playlists of classical music have value over time. They might share the playlist with friends who may enjoy the music and might want to read my work.

Again, the music is pure marketing, but I will be minting the librettos and artwork for the story. The former process will protect the copyright and selling the latter will generate funds to pay for more bizarre marketing stunts.

Please watch this space because one of the tracks will be featured here when it is uploaded to my channel. I hope that when I do, you will visit my channel and listen in.

Thank you very much for reading. See you soon.

P.S. I am getting better at shilling. Last night, I tricked a friend in Dehli into buying my book off Amazon. In vocal fry, I said, “Yeah, dude, like, did you not read my Twitter bio?” But he also read the reviews out loud while I groaned in agony. So, we are even.

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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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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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People

I just wanna (love) you over

I just wanna (love) you over
Are you moved by the spirit?

If you’re an artist and you feel apprehensive about showing your work, don’t overthink it. Please take a good look at that page of a fashion magazine. I really like it because it shows you don’t need to have the best handwriting ever to use yours as art.

I had one of those days when I felt truly ****** over and it seemed appropriate to scratch something meta on the side. Then, in a different magazine, I found a monochrome photograph of a man’s left hand. I cut it out, dressed it up, and put it in a box. As I photographed it, I realised I had a fun throwback story for Thursday.

Collage from magazine prints and other objects
Skin care for a dry, paper hand

A few years ago, I was approached by a chocolatier out of the blue. Chocolate-making is profitable here, so they were adding a bistro to their shop. They needed a huge favour. They said, we heard that your handwriting is totally unreadable so we want to use it for our handwritten menu cards so that nobody can say we copied theirs. Plus, we don’t know how to translate katakana to French with proper spelling because we don’t know foreign languages.

And I was like, okay.

Daiso is successful because they give good quality advice
Daiso gives good quality advice

The bistro was a gorgeous, modern, stone structure with stained wood interiors and a sunken kitchen. While I sat there staring at the printed out pages of the menu, the chef brought out the first plate of the tasting menu.

One of my friends, who decided she was going to come along and watch, was the designated taster. And she was elated at the chance to eat gourmet food for two hours while I chicken-scratched on menu cards in two languages.

I have to say I really enjoyed that job.

Hoping you have a great Thursday.

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Back on the Ferris wheel

My novel has been released into the wild, and I should be celebrating, but I am back on the Ferris wheel. I finally understand why some writers don’t even try. The book promotion game is not necessarily about self-confidence, diligence, originality, or skill. What happened?

THE QUARTER PERCENT is on Amazon.
FREE downloads through Friday, August 7.
Click that link and find out what the fuss is all about.

Playing with stickers on paper. Cucumber.

Friday, July 31, 06:20. I am on an influencer’s website binge-reading suggested articles. In twelve hours, it will dawn on me that this is an elaborate scheme to drive up page views and create demand for her services.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Onion.

Only an hour after expressing my confusion with her process, I see two blog posts demonstrating the effectiveness of promoting free books for a limited time. They presented statistics, and graphs, as well as screen captures. My plan should work fine, but the influencer insists that people will never download a free copy of a book unless it has at least ONE five-star review on Amazon.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Pink.

Keep calm, I get it: readers want to know what to expect, and they want to hear it from another reader. I completely agree. This is why I’m doing the promotion in the first place.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Orange slice lip.

The influencer now advises me to get on social media and spend literally hundreds of hours tweeting and emailing strangers to ask them to read and review a free copy of my book. This contradicts her assertion that people won’t download my book unless it has reviews already.

Screen capture from my publisher’s desktop monitor. Click the image to grab a free copy from Amazon.

I go back to the first message I sent her. Sure enough, in my pitch, there is a longer description and a link to the trailer. There is also an invitation to download a free copy when the promotion starts. It takes me a full day to realise that “books with five-star reviews on Amazon” was code for “don’t wanna read it.”

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Cucumber eyes.

Her next suggestion is that I pay almost US$900 to an elite online book club in exchange for a single honest review by a team, on their website, a process that could take seven weeks.

I need to get off this Ferris wheel. I am told that I can’t promote my book without reviews, and that I won’t get reviews if I don’t promote my book. I stop reading, and in a panic, compose an email to my publisher.

🌺🧡💚❤️🌺

Paperback format available soon. Big ups to my publisher, StelaEVF, for making this possible. Thank you, everyone, for your support.

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Oh my gosh…

Google is doing a terrible job stalking me on my new iPhone SE. Look at the ad they showed me (renting out your property circa death) while I was watching that Nicki Minaj video. Like, what exactly are they trying to imply? The Anaconda music video is at 943 million views, so I know you all saw it.

I don’t want none of this ad, hon

I am preparing to publish my first novel, The Quarter Percent, while working on new projects. Hurricane Nisto is still angry but her story will unfold in a different part of this solar system.

The Quarter Percent pays homage to Greek tragedies and is written in an episodic format with a ‘time-as-protagonist’ feel. I wonder if I should worry that some readers may not understand this even after I have suggested “focus on the timeline” in the two blurbs and the trailer? The story itself is based on William Shakespeare’s play Lear of Britain. We meet King Cordial on a Sunday morning and almost two weeks later, on a Friday morning, … read the novel.

Don’t judge me…

I grew up around famous people and I know that for them, every problem is an image problem. The narrative style of The Quarter Percent is meant to illustrate the superficiality of this world. Quarter percenters are obsessed with what others think, and are doomed to live from one crisis to the next.

My question for you is do I need to create a long blurb for the back cover or should I trust readers to work things out for themselves?

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People women writing

Rinse, repeat …

Collage with postage stamps

So far, the new WordPress editor is driving me bonkers and is about to get slapped upside the head with my pimp hand after trying to stitch me up via Siri. 

Warning! Rant …

I spent the last four days trying to delete my Instagram account, which I started four days ago. Before that, I was forced to shred my Twitter posts, all 202 of them and delete my account. Long story short, Twitter is Babylon.

I have sworn that I would never use Facebook products ever. I had to go back on my word because I’m not able to travel overseas this year. 

Instagram’s software decided that my photos were professional-looking. I was prompted to upgrade to a professional account and pay for advertising. They then said that I needed a Facebook page (so they can mine my data and sell me ads). I declined because I wasn’t going to sell my artwork anyway, and their analytics are irrelevant. I was planning to post photos from my archives to establish some credentials. I wanted other artists to pay attention to me when I engaged with them. Instead, from the fourth post in, my photos started vanishing. Soon after, I was not allowed to react to stories, or comment on more than four consecutive posts. So I said, I’m done. Four days later, after several thwarted attempts, I finally did it.

I was miserable the whole time.

You have to understand, I study programming and machine learning so I know how algorithms work. I don’t believe that their algorithms are even-handed. Machine learning code requires human input and all of that “the algorithm changes constantly” nonsense you see in tech magazines, is shorthand for “our programmers are constantly re-drafting the code so that people who are not buying advertisements will feel compelled to do that”.  

I had zero followers and was getting suppressed. It is a clear sign that Facebook exists to sell advertisements. They don’t cater to anyone who refuses to add to their bottom line. I don’t have access to their servers, so there is nothing I can do to change their policy to help myself.

Please do not ask me about all of the accounts I visited in stealth mode. Oh, I spied on everybody: neighbours all the way to my former teachers, classmates, childhood friends, crushes, crushes’ crushes, uni friends, colleagues. People are so nice when they don’t know it’s me commenting.

One of my cousins, who is a fashion designer, sent me a lovely welcome audio message to thank me for joining her army of fans. In real life, her husband banned her from talking to me because I told my cousin she should not allow her husband to name himself CEO of her multinational fashion brand, which she started on her own. He has no business training, mind you. He claims on his social media accounts that he is naturally better at business because he’s a dude and men are traditionally the provider. It’s a very long story – and you can read about it at that link. 

I woke up on Sunday morning to a face full of the power couple in an Instagram live stream. Their marriage is amazing and perfect and stuff so they were cohosting a marriage counselling session with a very good-looking celebrity singer couple. I had to intervene after a guest complained that her man wasn’t ready to have children. She joked that her friend told her to take a sample of his you-know-what while he was sleeping. I quickly jumped in the chat to say that it was assault and battery. (If I had a partner kinda sorta joke that they would impregnate me in my sleep, there’d be no discussion about it: that would be the very end. Don’t say hi to me, get lost forever).

Of course the power couples ignored me. Because, they don’t have any knowledge about fundamental human rights. And why would they? They’re not really helping anyone, they’re building a brand.