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There’s a good chance that you haven’t heard about it yet, or maybe just not by this name, but there is a new challenger to Twitter in the microblogging, social media world: Scrazzle. It’s not the first challenge, and will definitely not be the last one either, and it is still in Beta which means, well, problems which need ironing out and a lot of testing still to do. Even so, according to their own statistics – through Alexa – the site is already enjoying a high popularity. Easy to understand why, many are dissatisfied with Twitter for one reason or another, or they have been removed, or they just want to try something new. And since it is still in Beta, perhaps it shouldn’t be criticized too early on, but I took a look at it anyway, just to see what they will be offering in the future.
The first thing that you will notice, aside from the fairly clean design, is the lack of good grammar. They claim that Twitter has rules which are hidden from view, which may be true, unless you happen to know where to look, which are insane. At the same time, without backing up this claim of insanity, they point out that their rules are not easy to follow either. And this first offering, the differences between the two, is wrong in many others ways too.
Language, that wonderful means of communicating which everyone understands, but which can so easily be misinterpreted or taken out of context. You just need to look at the number of politicians who, having had their ill-thought words quoted in the press come straight back and claim they have been taken out of context, that their meaning has been lost, that no one understands – or wants to understand – what they really meant to say. Communication, getting your message across is not as easy as just talking, there has to be a little thought in there too, and the knowledge, in the back of your mind, that some words have more than one meaning, depending on where you are and the cultural norms of those hearing or reading what is said or written.
So it is with the author Marian Keyes, author of several bestselling titles, who has other interests in life aside from writing books. She is interested, as you may be able to tell from the screenshot above, in knobs.
The problem is, and her Twitter readers pointed this out, the word knob has more than one meaning, and the differences in meaning between words and their acceptability can be easily grasped when you see what other meaning knob has. Naturally these meanings were not intended, her interests is in those small things on doors, cupboards, sideboards and so on. A quick glance over her Tweet, though, and some might have gained a completely different impression. Then a good sense of humor is needed, and Marian clearly seems to have this too.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
We cannot get around using them in one way or another: words. They make up our language, our thoughts, the manner in which we express ourselves. They might not launch a thousand ships, but we need words to describe the face which did and what those ships went on to do in their travels, in the war that followed. Many of us love words, the magical way in which they are strung together to create an image in our minds, to take us to different worlds, to show us what other people have seen, often many centuries earlier.
It is words which change Guy Montag from a man who destroys, through his meeting with the young Clarisse McClellan, into a man who saves, a man who sets himself against the laws of society and who seeks others to preserve our wonderful heritage, the words we have written to prevent past times becoming lost. Words lead our thoughts on to greater things – at least, that is the idea – as much as to a sense of community, to social interaction, to being a communicative soul amongst others on the same level, with the same interests, with a desire for knowledge. We are shaped as much as judged by the words we use.
I am one of those people who has Twitter on almost every single computer, tablet or smart phone that can be owned, and who mainly reads what others have to say. I browse through the Tweets at random, read my news headlines through Twitter, find links and interesting stories there. And, which is probably more important for many, I keep up with individual people around the world through their status updates, their Tweets, their thoughts and worries. I appreciate how Twitter works, and appreciate the fact that it does work, and that far better than some other, more cumbersome social networks.
At times, though it can be very annoying.
Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano – Creative Commons
It’s not so much the silly or wasteful Tweets, they have their place too: a little bit of humor, a remark thrown out for all to see, an inside joke or comment. If you can follow a thread it’s almost like having a real conversation, but only almost. There is nothing to replace personal contact with another person, seeing them and listening to them. There are some things which really cannot be communicated in 140 characters, no matter how good a person may be at trimming down their ideas to an acceptable – for Twitter – length. No, there is something else which bothers me on Twitter at the moment, a change which is annoying although, I must admit, probably necessary.
The Internet is good for many things, but it should never be considered an adequate substitute for research, for reading and for learning from – where possible – original sources. It is a mass, if not a mess, of thoughts, learning, quotation and misquotation, false paths and short-cuts used by students all over the world when they suddenly discover that their essay on Bird Migration Over The Sierra Leone – for example – needs to be submitted in three short hours. It is a world of abused and re-used works, rarely correctly attributed, of plagiarism, theft and personal projection at the cost of someone else. In short, it is exactly the type of place no one should use as a first learning tool, let alone as their source for concise and accurate information or references.
Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks. – Creative Commons
In his essay for The New York Review of Books, References, Please, Tim Parks seeks a means to justify taking a short-cut when putting together the citations needed for quotations and sources. He laments the fact that serious publishers, some of whom he names, demand that citations be given for quotations used within a text, finding the depth of information required to be unnecessary in the age of the Internet. All the information we need, he claims, is right there at our fingertips, a click away, when we care to search for it. So why bother?
It’s a wonderful feeling, as a publisher, when a new manuscript comes in and is ready for publication, almost – I imagine – as good as the feeling when your own book hits the stands and you can hold it in your hands and show it off to all your friends. Today we completed the layout work on The Masonic Obligation, a new work from the pen of Lemniscate and sent off the registration papers for the ISBN.
Photo Credit: mrbill – Creative Commons
Official publication is planned for the end of the month, and the title has already been added to my publishing site as due. As soon as the printing and binding is completed I’ll include it on the side menu here with a direct link and, of course, in our shop so that people can order it easily and direct – which is always the preferred method! For other sources – such as Amazon in the United States – it will take a little longer, since we cannot add it to our list there until the ISBN has been registered and Amazon updates its database with new publications.
For anyone who honestly believes that the Internet is going to bring them fame and riches, sorry, but it’s time to come back down to earth and face reality. There are very few people who can claim to have made their fortune through the Internet, although these people are often highlighted way beyond their worth and, thereby, give a false impression of success, the bulk cannot even make a decent living. For many the Internet, as a sales medium, is a sideline, another means of having their product on show to a potential mass market, but little more than that. The number of people offering items for sale through the Internet is so massive, that many simply fall by the wayside and are never seen. The major names – such as Amazon and eBay – take all the interest and smaller sites, unless very specialized and known to people who have a real interest in their products, just sit there with the occasional visitor, but little more than that.
Regardless, it is worth experimenting, but certainly not with all efforts relying on one site, one market. I have tried several over time, including the building of my own shop, including Amazon – which was a massive struggle and hardly seems worth the time spent – including eBay – which proved a total failure thanks to the rules and regulations they set as barriers to real traders. One which I have also tried, and which is gradually approaching the end of the trial period, is Etsy, a small site devoted to handmade and personal items of high quality. At the end of my six month period I will disable the account and concentrate on those areas which clearly work. As with Amazon – the US site, not the European ones – it has had visitors, but little more than that. Whilst the money spent on putting items up for sale on Etsy is small, certainly compared to major sites which demand an arm and a leg is fees, even this small sum has not proven effective.
Not that I am giving up on my experiments, on my search for the right marketing platforms, but I am honing my efforts down to sites which prove themselves effective and price worthy. I will be concentrating on expanding the shop over the coming months, and leave external sites to their own devices.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Today is another good day, as far as my small publishing business is concerned. For many, perhaps, not a massive day, not one to write about in future history books, but a good step in the right direction nonetheless. Yesterday I completed the re-writing of my publishing website from the very basics of web design through to the text, links, everything that goes with a good site giving information. At least, I hope that everything is there!
I also applied for a new web domain with one of the many, many new Top Level Domain endings which are on offer, and one which, I hope, will fit in with the whole. That said, I am not sure whether the PUB TLD is designed for publishers or for bars! I hope that more publishers will take it up than landlords, otherwise I am in completely the wrong place. The new domain came through much quicker than I had envisioned, and allowed me to publish the new site immediately, even though it is still placed fairly and squarely as a sub-domain here.
Photo Credit: JoelMontes – Creative Commons
There are probably a few more things that I need to do, a few changes which need to be made, perhaps further enhancement but, at the moment, viktoriamichaelis.pub is open to the writing public on our Internet and has even had its first few visitors. The link is also in my menu, so that it is always present should anyone visiting here be overcome with a desire to look further!
Not that I am expecting a rush, but people need a place to go for their information, and I have no problem in offering such a place. Now I just need to work on putting links into the shop, so that those who find our published books can also see what lies behind them.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
We all know that statistics often reflect the desire of the people financing them to create a certain impression, to give out information which is biased in one form or another. In much the same way polls are conducted in order to gain an oversight of opinion and, according to the institution or company initiating them, also reflect a certain bias well in advance.
When it comes to journalism, and certain if not all news sources, the bias is even more defined, even more clear to those in the know: who can claim that Fox News isn’t biased in a certain way, as one from many examples?
Screenshot Source: Yahoo Finance
Internet polls are much the same. We have a limited number of questions, often without any background information, in a box on the sidelines of a website page. Click on one of the options offered, and you’ve registered your vote, made your opinion known. But is it really your opinion? Is it based on facts, or merely on the questions posed?
For me the poll illustrated above is a prime example of a lack of facts, a lack of choice. Given the chance, I would have clicked on the ‘glut in the market’ answer for the declining price of oil, which strikes me as being closer to the truth. Given the chance.
But, with a lack of a decent choice many people automatically rely on their formed opinion – which could also reflect the truth, but relies mainly on what they have read in the press anyway.
Screenshot Source: Yahoo Finance
Ask anyone about pricing, and they will always go for the ‘over-priced’ option, if it’s there.
Love & Kisses, Viki.