Guy LeCharles Gonzalez's Blog: loudpoet.com, page 3

November 13, 2013

Earlier today I had the pleasure of participating in Day One of the Get Read: Marketing Strategies For Writers (#getread) online conference produced by my friend and colleague Dan Blank, and promised to post the slides and a few notes from my session. I also promised to follow-up on any unanswered questions, so if you were in attendance, feel free to leave your question(s) in the comments and I’ll answer them.



TIMESUCK? You're. Doing. It. Wrong. from Guy Gonzalez

The reader is at the center of everything, and everyone is a reader.
Establish a personal learning network, online and off.
If you haven’t already, read The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Don’t read Mashable or pundits with agendas.
Claim your name on every platform you can, even if you never use it.

OWN YOUR DOMAIN


Social media platforms come and go, but the website(s) you own will still be there when the latest fad fades into the past. Establish a relevant hub and keep it up-to-date, linking all of your online activity back to it. Keep it simple; if you can’t manage it yourself, you’re trying too hard.


GO ANALOG


From relevant industry conferences and events, to relationships with your local booksellers and librarians, never underestimate the value of the in-person experience. Attend readings, browse bookshelves, seek out fellow writers, publishing professionals, and communities of interest; maintain a physical connection to the world around you.


BE YOURSELF


Engage on your own terms; don’t try to be someone else or follow somebody’s marketing template. Know your strengths and leverage them; know your weaknesses and minimize them; find opportunities to challenge yourself and broaden your horizons.


NOTE: I believe registration for the conference is still open, and it includes access to the archives of all of the sessions, so you can still take advantage of a great program and lineup of speakers. Use “guy” when signing up to save $20.



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running.

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Published on November 13, 2013 19:36 • 58 views

November 12, 2013

I’m excited to announce that starting on November 13th, I’ll be writing a monthly column for Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) entitled “Writer Dads,” an online series of interviews with professional writers who are also fathers, discussing how they balance the two, what the real challenges are, and how it affects both their writing and parenting.


Back in the Spring, VQR published an article by Becky Tuch entitled “The Choice and Challenge of Being a Writer-Parent” that raised an interesting premise but wasn’t terribly representative as few of the writers quoted directly were actually parents, and only one was a male, inadvertently reinforcing cultural stereotypes around writing as a career and the challenges of “life with babies.”


As a married father of two who has long struggled with finding the right balance that allows for enough time to write, I was disappointed by the absence of voices that resembled my own experience, and was inspired to do something about it. And so, “Writer Dads” was conceived and, finally, born.


First up is Tobias Buckell, a married father of twin girls who is also the bestselling author of the “Xenowealth Trilogy,” among others. On deck are Saladin Ahmed and Ro Cuzon, with others to be announced in the coming months.


“I never cease to be shocked at the number of people who tell me they don’t have time to follow their dreams, and then can recount in detail their favorite shows and the hours they’ve spent leveling characters up. I love games and TV, but I’ll be honest, it’s the first to get sacrificed on the schedule” – Tobias Buckell


“I grew up working-class, so gauzy romanticisms regarding art vs. money never flew with me. But I was also used to getting by on very little. Imposing that bohemian austerity on someone else – on children – is a different matter. So writing as earning is a much bigger thing to me now. And that in turn affects process in a thousand ways.” – Saladin Ahmed


“Since Oona was born, I’ve adhered to a strict schedule in order to balance all of these things. Being a stay-at-home dad (or a house-husband, as my wife calls it, because I also cook and clean), I quickly realized that the only way to secure uninterrupted time for writing was to wake up before my daughter did. So I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. Monday to Friday. But as soon as my daughter is awake, I switch from writer to Dad.”Ro Cuzon


A special thanks to my friend and former colleague Jane Friedman (VQR‘s Web Editor) for accepting the pitch for this series. Interviews have always been one of my favorite things to do, and being able to offer a look at the writing life from a unique angle under VQR‘s illustrious banner is an honor.


PS: Also this week, I’ll be participating in an online conference for writers entitled Get Read: Marketing Strategies for Writers.The two-day program features an impressive lineup of speakers, and my session, on 11/13 @ 2:30pm ET, will focus on the balancing act:


Timesuck? You’re. Doing. It. Wrong.

There are myriad ways to connect with readers nowadays, both directly and indirectly, but you can’t do it all, nor should you try. Whether you’re a novelist or journalist, poet or pundit, striking the right balance is critical to implementing and sustaining an effective marketing strategy. From websites to social media to live events, Guy will focus on the value of owned channels, offline/analog engagement, and how to make sure you’re not wasting your time.


If you’re interested, sign up to attend and save $20 with my promo code: “guy”



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running.

Mail | Web | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+ | More Posts (1765)

The post Writer Dads: A new column for VQR! appeared first on Guy LeCharles Gonzalez.



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Published on November 12, 2013 04:10 • 54 views

I’m excited to announce that starting on November 13th, I’ll be writing a monthly column for Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) entitled “Writer-Dads,” an online series of interviews with professional writers who are also fathers, discussing how they balance the two, what the real challenges are, and how it affects both their writing and parenting.


Back in the Spring, VQR published an article by Becky Tuch entitled “The Choice and Challenge of Being a Writer-Parent” that raised an interesting premise but wasn’t terribly representative as few of the writers quoted directly were actually parents, and only one was a male, inadvertently reinforcing cultural stereotypes around writing as a career and the challenges of “life with babies.”


As a married father of two who has long struggled with finding the right balance that allows for enough time to write, I was disappointed by the absence of voices that resembled my own experience, and was inspired to do something about it. And so, “Writer-Dads” was conceived and, finally, born.


First up is Tobias Buckell, a married father of twin girls who is also the bestselling author of the “Xenowealth Trilogy,” among others. On deck are Saladin Ahmed and Ro Cuzon, with others to be announced in the coming months.


“I never cease to be shocked at the number of people who tell me they don’t have time to follow their dreams, and then can recount in detail their favorite shows and the hours they’ve spent leveling characters up. I love games and TV, but I’ll be honest, it’s the first to get sacrificed on the schedule” – Tobias Buckell


“I grew up working-class, so gauzy romanticisms regarding art vs. money never flew with me. But I was also used to getting by on very little. Imposing that bohemian austerity on someone else – on children – is a different matter. So writing as earning is a much bigger thing to me now. And that in turn affects process in a thousand ways.” – Saladin Ahmed


“Since Oona was born I’ve adhered to a strict schedule in order to balance all of these things. Being a stay-at-home dad, I quickly realized that the only way to secure uninterrupted time for writing was to wake up before my daughter did. So I set my alarm for 4:30 am Monday to Friday. But as soon as my daughter is awake, I switch from writer to Dad.” – Ro Cuzon


A special thanks to my friend and former colleague Jane Friedman (VQR‘s Web Editor) for accepting the pitch for this series. Interviews have always been one of my favorite things to do, and being able to offer a look at the writing life from a unique angle under VQR‘s illustrious banner is an honor.


PS: Also this week, I’ll be participating in an online conference for writers entitled Get Read: Marketing Strategies for Writers.The two-day program features an impressive lineup of speakers, and my session, on 11/13 @ 2:30pm ET, will focus on the balancing act:


Timesuck? You’re. Doing. It. Wrong.

There are myriad ways to connect with readers nowadays, both directly and indirectly, but you can’t do it all, nor should you try. Whether you’re a novelist or journalist, poet or pundit, striking the right balance is critical to implementing and sustaining an effective marketing strategy. From websites to social media to live events, Guy will focus on the value of owned channels, offline/analog engagement, and how to make sure you’re not wasting your time.


If you’re interested, sign up to attend and save $20 with my promo code: “guy”



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running.

Mail | Web | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+ | More Posts (1763)

The post Writer-Dads: A new column for VQR! appeared first on Guy LeCharles Gonzalez.



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Published on November 12, 2013 04:10 • 38 views

November 11, 2013

It’s been six months since I’ve been regularly attending poetry readings again, and after an initial flurry of new writing, the well dried up a bit as the day job got crazy and my attention drifted elsewhere. (Many elsewheres, actually, but that’s a different post.) I still scribble ideas down as they come to me and have an ever-growing document full of lines and stanzas that will eventually find their way into poems, but Ross Gay’s feature at louderARTS a couple of weeks ago inspired me to revisit some of my older work with fresh eyes.


One poem in particular jumped out for a couple of reasons, partly because I never really liked the ending, and partly because Call of Duty’s latest simple-minded, ”There Is A Soldier In All Of Us” commercial pissed me off.


The original version of the poem, written back in 2003, was entitled Mozer, Bethea and I (as published in Handmade Memories), and it had a ranty, overly political ending that tried to be a little too clever and felt like a different poem from the opening, I tightened it all up, including a bit more nuance in Mozer’s section, while heavily revising the closing to end up with what I think is a far stronger, more personal, more relatable work.


Veteran’s Day isn’t a time for generic sentiments, positive or negative, but a time for personal reflection. I’m generally ambivalent about my time in the military because I met far too many people who defied easy stereotypes of what it means to be pro- or anti-war, and I’ve always had nothing but respect for anyone who has served, not to mention a fair bit of curiosity about why they did so.


Mozer, Bethea and Me
or, why my son can’t play Call of Duty

This is my weapon

This is my gun.

This is for fighting

This is for fun.


I know the weight of

a locked and loaded M16,

could take one apart

and put it back together again

in under 30 seconds,

put 36 out of 40 rounds

through faceless and nameless

paper and plastic enemies,

clear a jam in six simple steps:


SLAP

PULL

OBSERVE

RELEASE

TAP

SHOOT


Make the mistake of calling it a gun

you would be corrected in a playful rhyme.


This is my weapon

This is my gun.


At 21,

I was one of the oldest in Basic Training

an adult to the moist-eyed, teenaged boys

away from their farms and projects

for the first time.


Unable to keep the smirk off of my face

when threats of “skull-fucking”

sprayed from the foaming lips of

drill sergeants with limited vocabularies

more Stripes than Full Metal Jacket,


I smirked often

did lots of pushups.


They were convinced I’d been a drug dealer on

the losing side of some Hollywood endgame

finding it hard to believe a socialist writer

from the Bronx leaves South Miami Beach

to join the Army at the height of war

because he was broke,

needed a place to stay,

and a little inspiration.


At 25,

Private Mozer was thought to be mildly retarded

told so often by drill sergeants and

fellow soldiers alike.

He couldn’t do enough pushups

or hit enough paper and plastic enemies

making him a perfect target.


One day while cleaning our rifles, I asked

if his mother had signed him up

because a 25-year old retard

had nowhere else to go and

he came at me, enraged, eyes brimming

with a lifetime of pain, fingers spread

wide, going for my guilt-filled throat.


At 31,

Private Bethea tried to hide

the sting of failure behind a calm demeanor

was made our platoon leader and

replaced three weeks later.


The pressure of leading younger men

made stubborn by their own variations on

a last chance at redemption was too much,

amplified his ex-wife’s voice in his head,

her bitter disdain

in his mouth.


He led our pool for

most likely to receive

friendly fire.


We all graduated together

deemed fit to carry M16s in defense

of the free world and each other

GI Joe come to life,

lack of knowledge

only half the battle.


This is my weapon

This is my gun.

This is for fighting…


I know the weight

of a locked and loaded M16

know the damage it can do

to those who fire one

in ignorance


can feel the recoil in my shoulder

as each round rifles through the barrel,

through the air, through its target,

feel it in my throat, imagining each


round penetrating exposed flesh,


ricocheting against bone,


shredding muscles and organs,


exiting where most convenient…


have seen the look in the eyes of those

who need not use their imagination…


This is my weapon

This is my gun.

This is for fighting

This is for fun.


Politicians declare death sentences

from secret boardrooms

speak in reverent tones of

collateral damage

acceptable loss


translation: someone else’s children.


Mozer, Bethea and me

were someone else’s children

looking for a last bit of hope

in a last resort…


This is my weapon

This is my gun…


In 1999,

my eight-year commitment was settled

with an honorable discharge

and a Good Conduct Medal.


I know the weight of

a locked and loaded M16, of

the world on 21-year old shoulders, of

determining the lesser of two evils, of

compromising for survival.


I know the weight of a life lived

without absolutes or easy definitions

where good and evil are a game of

semantics and a matter of

perspective where our children are

sacrificed in the name of

freedom, our principles in the name of

convenience, where the decisions we

don’t make are as important as

the ones

we do


where simple rhymes

are never enough


where the realization of all of this

is never enough.


We were not meant to be soldiers,

but sometimes war is all we are given

to eat.



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running.

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Published on November 11, 2013 03:00 • 63 views

June 12, 2013

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Bittersweet



“[Poetry is] like dancing, it doesn’t need to be taken care of as though it were sick.”

Robert Pinsky



A few weeks back, the day job put on a great conference for librarians and publishers called Day of Dialog, and the Library Journal program included an insightful panel discussion called Poetry Opens Doors, with Jennifer Benka of The Academy of American Poets; Reggie Harris of Poets House; Miriam Tuliao of NYPL; Jill Bialosky of W.W. Norton; and former U.S. poet laureate, Robert Pinsky. (Check out the Storify for some tweets.)


Though it was put together and co-moderated by two of my favorite LJ colleagues, Barbara Hoffert and Annalisa Pesek, I was admittedly a bit skeptical about how it might play out, worried it would turn into a typically elitist discussion, far removed from most librarians’ day-to-day reality, so I was delighted when it turned out to be one of the highlights of the program.


Learning about Poets House’s intriguing “Poetry in the Branches” program, and hearing a far more open-minded approach from The Academy than when I worked there in the late 90s was great, but I was most intrigued by the discussion of poetry’s appeal, or lack thereof, and the obstacles that often get in its way. When the discussion turned to poetry programming in libraries, I was glad to see that a mention of poetry slams didn’t ruffle any feathers, a confirmation that the former “revolution” is now just another format to get poetry in front of a wider audience, especially kids and teens.


While many of the more popular initiatives noted tend to target April (National Poetry Month; Poem in Your Pocket Day), there also seemed to be an understanding that the best way to build an audience for poetry is by integrating it year-round, both in programming and in collections. A simple idea that applies to bookstores, too.


WHISPER WORDS OF WISDOM…

At one point in the discussion, Pinsky noted the flaw in how poetry is typically perceived and marketed (and, as a result, perceived), suggesting “it doesn’t need to be taken care of as though it were sick.”


Stressing that there are no rules when it comes to art, Pinsky says “a poem is not a challenge to say something smart…. A poem should not ‘mean’  but ‘be.’” And if you’re having trouble understanding it, “read it aloud.”


–”Poetry’s Appeal | Library Journal’s Day of Dialog


My first reaction to this — after nodding enthusiastically to the “read it aloud” suggestion, but before I fully grasped the overall context (via a Twitter conversation with another LJ colleague, Kate DiGirolomo) — came from the marketing side of my brain.


I’ve always been fascinated (and frustrated) by poetry’s “delicate snowflake” status, and how such a diverse variety of forms, styles, and voices often gets lumped into such a generic, cavernous category, like literary fiction and graphic novels. One of the things I’ve always loved about good anthologies and open mics is the inherent (or the potential for) diversity in those formats, something that’s not clearly communicated on bookstore shelves nor the Dewey Decimal system.


When I took my marketing hat off and put my poetry hat on, the idea that a poem should just “be” became a compelling one because it’s so simple, so democratic, and so the opposite of how poetry is typically viewed. So liberating, too, as it happens to be how I’ve always approached poetry, but have always had a more convoluted explanation for it.


Whether it’s a poem by one of “the Masters,” a contemporary poet you’re unfamiliar with, or some kid reading on an open mic for the first time, let it be. Don’t over-think it, unless you’re compelled to, in which case, dig in.


And when you do find a poem you like, seek out more from that poet. Buy their books, attend their readings, and share their work with others!


EPILOGUE

It was not quite two months ago, but Poem in Your Pocket Day seems to have unexpectedly rekindled my own interest in poetry, a form I was pretty sure I was done with, faded to an influential but passing fancy that had served its purpose.


And it’s been a little over a month since I returned home to louderARTS, and that spark has grown into a warm flame, as I’ve written a few new poems, read on the open mic a few times, hit a couple of other readings, and have even begun to buy poetry books and literary journals/magazines again.


One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies (Magnolia) comes to mind:  ”We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Old/new media pragmatist; works in publishing, plays the field. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, NOLA. As in guillotine.

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Published on June 12, 2013 09:11 • 79 views

May 20, 2013

I’m not sure why I dislike Tumblr so much (aka, LiveJournal for Dummies), but I really, really do. That they’ve officially been “valued” at $1.1 BILLION dollars thanks to Yahoo’s desperate flailing for relevance doesn’t change that opinion.


“Tumblr is redefining creative expression online,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in the announcement. “On many levels, Tumblr and Yahoo couldn’t be more different, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be more complimentary [sic]. Yahoo is the internet’s original media network. Tumblr is the internet’s fastest-growing media frenzy.”


via Yahoo acquires Tumblr in $1.1 billion cash deal, ‘promises not to screw it up’ | The Verge


When Google acquired Blogger in 2003, it was a smart move that tied directly to their core ad business, with the visionary bonus of foreseeing the value of user-generated content when it was still scoffed at.


Yahoo + Tumblr, though…?


Tumblr actually became huge because it is the anti-blog. What is the No. 1 reason that people quit blogging? Because they can’t find and develop an audience. This has been true of every blogging platform ever made. Conversely, blogs that do find an audience tend to keep adding that type of content. This simple philosophy boils down to the equation: Mo’ pageviews = mo’ pages.


But Tumblr does not conform to this calculus, and the reason is that a large percentage of Tumblr users actually don’t WANT an audience. They do not want to be found, except by a few close friends who they explicitly share one of their tumblogs with. Therefore Tumblr’s notoriously weak search functionality is A-OK with most of its user base…


Most Tumblr content falls into three categories:



Photos of young people’s daily lives: studying, buying things, hanging out with friends. Many of these photos are from Instagram or the Tumblr mobile app, which is now quite good.
Entertaining memes and gifs they find on Tumblr and re-share with their friends. A teenage friend of mine told me recently that he tries to post something to his Tumblog on an hourly basis — which requires endless scouring of other Tumblogs for re-bloggable content. Fortunately, the Tumblr Dashboard is designed specifically with this goal in mind: consume lots of things and “reblog” easily. This is where the topic-based photobloggers add value to the ecosystem; it’s why we see Tumblr encouraging the seeding of “rebloggable” content — such as live-Tumbling The Grammys.
Porn and near-porn collections for personal use, usually under a different pseudonym.  (Protip: searches on many keywords at 11 p.m. yield VERY different results than the same searches at 11 a.m. And there’s a NSFW setting if you truly don’t want to see any of it.)

via Tumblr Is Not What You Think | TechCrunch


Yahoo acquiring Tumblr 10 years later (after badly fumbling GeoCities, del.icio.us, and Flickr, among others) is like the drunk uncle showing up late to a baby shower with a stripper and a trained monkey. Even the “announcement” via GIF feels forced and desperate for attention.


[image error]


I know plenty of people who use and love Tumblr (I even occasionally use it, but do not love it), and I don’t see this acquisition really affecting anyone’s opinion either way, in the short term, at least.


But, it’s highly unlikely that Yahoo will ever see an acceptable ROI on this acquisition, which will almost surely lead to the kind of tampering that avid users will notice and ultimately not like, and as every social media platform that has come and gone has learned, a free service is only as valuable as its users deem it to be, and the fabled “wisdom” of the crowds is only exceeded by its fickleness.


On the other hand, if it truly is just a “credibility” play as some have argued [NOTE: porn = credible nowadays? Um...ok.], then the tech world has way too much time and money on its hands and I’m in the wrong damn business!


(Yes, I know. This is just ANOTHER data point! Sigh…)


UPDATE: More on Yahoo’s porn problem with their new acquisition:


11.4% of Tumblr’s 200,000 most visited domains are adult; 16.6 percent of Tumblr traffic happens on adult blogs; and 22.37% of referral traffic from external sites comes from adult websites, according to a study by the SimilarGroup…


The greater rights issue at play here isn’t limited to porn, of course: Virtually all sites that are driven by user uploaded content have had to contend with users uploading content they don’t have the rights to, to which anyone caught up in YouTube’s frequent purges of copyright-violating content can attest. But because adult content exists in a rarified legal state, one very different from any other form of content, the copyright issue adds an additional wrinkle that creates a potentially ugly legal situation that Yahoo will likely want to avoid.


The plot thickens…


via How Adult Tumblrs Could Land Yahoo in a Legal Pinch | Fast Company


 



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running.

Mail | Web | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+ | More Posts (1763)

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Published on May 20, 2013 06:33 • 238 views

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I’m not sure why I dislike Tumblr so much (aka, LiveJournal for Dummies), but I really, really do. That they’ve officially been “valued” at $1.1 BILLION dollars thanks to Yahoo’s desperate flailing for relevance doesn’t change that opinion.


“Tumblr is redefining creative expression online,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in the announcement. “On many levels, Tumblr and Yahoo couldn’t be more different, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be more complimentary [sic]. Yahoo is the internet’s original media network. Tumblr is the internet’s fastest-growing media frenzy.”


via Yahoo acquires Tumblr in $1.1 billion cash deal, ‘promises not to screw it up’ | The Verge


When Google acquired Blogger in 2003, it was a smart move that tied directly to their core ad business, with the visionary bonus of foreseeing the value of user-generated content when it was still scoffed at.


Yahoo + Tumblr, though…?


Tumblr actually became huge because it is the anti-blog. What is the No. 1 reason that people quit blogging? Because they can’t find and develop an audience. This has been true of every blogging platform ever made. Conversely, blogs that do find an audience tend to keep adding that type of content. This simple philosophy boils down to the equation: Mo’ pageviews = mo’ pages.


But Tumblr does not conform to this calculus, and the reason is that a large percentage of Tumblr users actually don’t WANT an audience. They do not want to be found, except by a few close friends who they explicitly share one of their tumblogs with. Therefore Tumblr’s notoriously weak search functionality is A-OK with most of its user base…


Most Tumblr content falls into three categories:



Photos of young people’s daily lives: studying, buying things, hanging out with friends. Many of these photos are from Instagram or the Tumblr mobile app, which is now quite good.
Entertaining memes and gifs they find on Tumblr and re-share with their friends. A teenage friend of mine told me recently that he tries to post something to his Tumblog on an hourly basis — which requires endless scouring of other Tumblogs for re-bloggable content. Fortunately, the Tumblr Dashboard is designed specifically with this goal in mind: consume lots of things and “reblog” easily. This is where the topic-based photobloggers add value to the ecosystem; it’s why we see Tumblr encouraging the seeding of “rebloggable” content — such as live-Tumbling The Grammys.
Porn and near-porn collections for personal use, usually under a different pseudonym.  (Protip: searches on many keywords at 11 p.m. yield VERY different results than the same searches at 11 a.m. And there’s a NSFW setting if you truly don’t want to see any of it.)

via Tumblr Is Not What You Think | TechCrunch


Yahoo acquiring Tumblr 10 years later (after badly fumbling GeoCities, del.icio.us, and Flickr, among others) is like the drunk uncle showing up late to a baby shower with a stripper and a trained monkey. Even the “announcement” via GIF feels forced and desperate for attention.


[image error]


I know plenty of people who use and love Tumblr (I even occasionally use it, but do not love it), and I don’t see this acquisition really affecting anyone’s opinion either way, in the short term, at least.


But, it’s highly unlikely that Yahoo will ever see an acceptable ROI on this acquisition, which will almost surely lead to the kind of tampering that avid users will notice and ultimately not like, and as every social media platform that has come and gone has learned, a free service is only as valuable as its users deem it to be, and the fabled “wisdom” of the crowds is only exceeded by its fickleness.


On the other hand, if it truly is just a “credibility” play as some have argued [NOTE: porn = credible nowadays? Um...ok.], then the tech world has way too much time and money on its hands and I’m in the wrong damn business!


(Yes, I know. This is just ANOTHER data point! Sigh…)



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Old/new media pragmatist; works in publishing, plays the field. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, NOLA. As in guillotine.

Mail | Web | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+ | More Posts (1759)

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Published on May 20, 2013 06:33 • 426 views

May 13, 2013

louderARTS


Fifteen years ago, I founded a little reading series at Bar 13 called “a little bit louder,” and after 4 years, turned it over to a group of close friends and fellow poets, including Lynne Procope, one of my best friends, mentors, co-founders, and all around wonderful person. The series, renamed louderARTS several years back, is still going strong every Monday night, but prior to last Monday, it had been a looooong time since I’d been back, and even longer since it felt like home.


A series of semi-related events found me back there last week, and for the first time since that initial four-year run, it actually felt like home again, from the start of the show, to my getting on stage to read a new poem, all the way to end of the night a couple blocks away at Reservoir, deep in debate with a passionate group of poets, including my other co-founder, Roger Bonair-Agard, on his last Monday before heading back to Chicago for a stretch.




[View the story "Prodigal Son" on Storify]

I’ve noted often in the past that most of what I preach and practice when it comes to marketing and community-building, I learned during those four years of Mondays, and by the end of the night last Monday, I realized how big a hole I’d created when I walked away from that part of my life.


So, I’m back.


What that means exactly beyond being there as often as possible — in mind, body, and spirit — is still to be determined, but that’s a starting point. Along with a commitment to writing again. Not blogging, not tweeting, but old-fashioned pen-to-paper (or fingers to keyboard/touchscreen) writing.


Poems, in particular, a form that I’ve often discounted as having been an important but passing fancy, but have realized of late is the one that offers me the most satisfaction.


I’m particularly looking forward to tonight’s show, their SLAM FINALS, always an energetic night, but especially intriguing for me as I’ve only heard one of the poets competing (and only a few times), while the rest are complete strangers to me. That was always one of the most appealing aspects of the slam: new voices taking you on unexpected journeys.


If you’re in the NYC area, join us tonight!


And if not tonight, you’ll find me there pretty much every Monday from now on.


Because you can go home again, and I’m thrilled to return.



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running.

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Published on May 13, 2013 07:08 • 49 views

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louderARTS


Fifteen years ago, I founded a little reading series at Bar 13 called “a little bit louder,” and after 4 years, turned it over to a group of close friends and fellow poets, including Lynne Procope, one of my best friends, mentors, co-founders, and all around wonderful person. The series, renamed louderARTS several years back, is still going strong every Monday night, but prior to last Monday, it had been a looooong time since I’d been back, and even longer since it felt like home.


A series of semi-related events found me back there last week, and for the first time since that initial four-year run, it actually felt like home again, from the start of the show, to my getting on stage to read a new poem, all the way to end of the night a couple blocks away at Reservoir, deep in debate with a passionate group of poets, including my other co-founder, Roger Bonair-Agard, on his last Monday before heading back to Chicago for a stretch.




[View the story "Prodigal Son" on Storify]

I’ve noted often in the past that most of what I preach and practice when it comes to marketing and community-building, I learned during those four years of Mondays, and by the end of the night last Monday, I realized how big a hole I’d created when I walked away from that part of my life.


So, I’m back.


What that means exactly beyond being there as often as possible — in mind, body, and spirit — is still to be determined, but that’s a starting point. Along with a commitment to writing again. Not blogging, not tweeting, but old-fashioned pen-to-paper (or fingers to keyboard/touchscreen) writing.


Poems, in particular, a form that I’ve often discounted as having been an important but passing fancy, but have realized of late is the one that offers me the most satisfaction.


I’m particularly looking forward to tonight’s show, their SLAM FINALS, always an energetic night, but especially intriguing for me as I’ve only heard one of the poets competing (and only a few times), while the rest are complete strangers to me. That was always one of the most appealing aspects of the slam: new voices taking you on unexpected journeys.


If you’re in the NYC area, join us tonight!


And if not tonight, you’ll find me there pretty much every Monday from now on.


Because you can go home again, and I’m thrilled to return.



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Old/new media pragmatist; works in publishing, plays the field. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, NOLA. As in guillotine.

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Published on May 13, 2013 07:08 • 63 views

May 3, 2013

toc2009I “attended” my first Tools of Change (TOC) conference in 2009 via Twitter, and it wouldn’t be exaggerating much to say it was a turning point in my career.


Prior to that week, I’d recently been promoted to Publisher & Editorial Director for Horticulture (after a significant reorganization that brought F+W Media’s Books and Magazines units together under single-branded communities); passive-aggressively blogging my thoughts and frustrations about the industry here; and struggling to find anyone on the magazine side using Twitter in an interesting way.


That week, Twitter arguably became the most significant personal tool of change in my career since I taught myself QuickFill back in ’93 and pushed my way out of a temp position into my first full-time job in publishing as a Circulation Assistant. While I was unable to find many people on the magazine side using the fledgling new shiny, book people were all over it and loving it. One follow led to another led to a hashtag led to conversations led to my “attending” TOC virtually, and the experience was so immersive, to this day, some people swear we met there in person that year.


I wrote two blog posts that week based on the conference (“Building Communities Around Content” and “Three Tips for Curating the Community“), and quickly discovered the magic of Twitter as a traffic driver when the first was retweeted by @TOC itself. More importantly, though, I connected with dozens of people I’d have never met otherwise, quite a few of whom would go on to play critical roles in what happened to me over the next 11 months, as I would end up becoming the “Chief Executive Optimist” of F+W’s newest community, and TOC’s newest competitor, Digital Book World:


With a two-day event, though, time is limited.


Fortunately, there are 363 more days in the year to work with.


The publishing community is large, diverse, and extremely passionate, and coming out of this conference, I’m excited to announce that, not only will we be gathering back at the Sheraton New York next year (January 25-26, 2011), we will also be producing a number of events, online and in-person, that focus on implementing the strategies that were put forward at the conference.


From digital workflow to marketing tactics to career resources, Digital Book World will offer programming that addresses the needs of the entire publishing community, from publishers and agents, to booksellers, librarians and authors.


People are reading more than ever, and that’s not a threat to publishers, it’s an opportunity.


Since then, TOC evolved, its tone becoming less antagonistic, more practical and cognizant of the diversity of the industry that makes the digital shift more challenging for some than others. DBW, too, has evolved, as has the publishing industry itself.


Yesterday’s announcement that O’Reilly is retiring TOC came as a bit of a surprise at first, but in retrospect, it makes sense. Its focus on tools was a strength in the early days of the digital transition, but as the new shiny wore off, self-proclaimed “disruptors” faded away quietly, and viable business models came to light, it became clear that the tools of change that counted most were the people in the trenches, not the provocative pundits with plenty of ideas and little or no skin in the game.


One could argue that they could have pivoted (and I’d argue that they actually did over the past three years), but Tim O’Reilly’s purposeful reference to TOC’s origination suggests he believes it has accomplished its mission and there’s no reason to linger: “Our goal is to bring together people who are pushing the boundaries of publishing and those who want to learn from them, and to provide a table of contents (TOC), so to speak, on what modern publishers need to know.”


UPDATE: Tim O’Reilly elaborated a bit more on Twitter, in a conversation with LibraryThing’s Tim Spalding.


“What I said, plus opportunity cost. Expensive in NY, not very profitable; not enough resource to do everything we want.” [link]


“But I’m also very deeply involved in the ebook stuff at O’Reilly. TOC shutdown is a shift of resources, not of interest” [link]


TOC did what it set out to do, and, credit where due, it did a damn good job.


Conferences come and go, but smart people will always find ways to connect, share resources, and move forward.


Kudos and best wishes to everyone involved in putting the Tools of Change conference and related resources together over the years, particularly those I had the pleasure of working with directly (and, at times, competing against): Kat Meyer, Jenn Webb and Sharon Cordesse.



Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Old/new media pragmatist; works in publishing, plays the field. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, NOLA. As in guillotine.

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Published on May 03, 2013 07:24 • 67 views

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