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Trying Something Different
blogging lol periscope video
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Okay, let's try this.

In 2018 I am going to try summarizing my previous week's web activities here at my personal blog. This is part of my quest to understand where blogs can matter any more, if they can at all.

Here's the idea: My digital life is spent generating spurious spot content on Twitter, Facebook, and in countless discussion forums online. There's a ribbon above with icons that link back to my profiles on these forums -- it is in those places where I am actually digitally active each day, not here on the blog.

In some cases my comments at those sites read like full-fledged blog posts which are not, for some reason, posted here at the blog.

I know the reason of course. A large part of it is that I want the instant reaction in an active traffic stream (the forum I'm posting in) because narcissism, a want of validation and attention, a need to be seen and heard, like anyone. If I'm on stage with a comedy act and there's nobody in the audience, there's nothing in it for me. No reward, no dopamine release.

There's no audience here at the blog. I might be polite to myself and say "there's no audience like the audience at those places", but no, there's literally nobody hitting this blog on a daily basis for weeks or even months at a time.

So maybe the blog still has relevance in the context of an expression vehicle as a sort of "home base" to all that other stuff I'm putting out there, in a role that doesn't fan for attention, but rather, exists as a node for discovery among the interested. Who would "the interested" be? You can never tell. Old friends, new friends, potential clients and employers, the media, researchers, who knows really. But as this roadmap or archive of things I'm doing to keep the open web alive as just one person, it's important that I find out and keep tweaking to find where it matters.

Those facing the same internal question and struggle, keep an eye on this effort to see if it pans out.

Blogging Versus Facebook

With that being established, here's an embed response to a comment I just posted while searching for insight on the question of blogging versus "Facebooking". The search took me to this 2015 piece by Mitch Joel, The End of Blogging, and one commentator of the dozens and dozens hit the nail on the head insofar as I was concerned.

Here you go:

House Fire Down the Street

Early this afternoon a house caught fire down the street. When I'm at home I keep a police scanner running nearly all times. I'm keenly aware of what's happening in Buffalo at any given moment. It's a life long habit wherever I'm living.

Periscope Capture of Fire on Amherst Street

Today the call went out about the fire just a block or three up from me. Fullfilling my duty as a "content journalist" (known pre-web as "fucking nerd with a scanner showing up and getting in the goddamned way") for my BuffaloScan Twitter feed, I raced to the scene and began broadcasting.

Here's a link to the BuffaloScan Periscope "Fire Amherst Street Live".

Doing Education "As You Go"

In Disqus I waded into a thread with my recounting of how I managed to earn a college degree with very little, easily paid-back-within-a-few-years, debt. If you don't look too closely at what I've done with my college education, the achievement itself is one of my life's pride points. You can digest it here.

The gist otherwise:

So, I don't know how people get themselves into a situation where they wind up owing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars unless they literally believe that living responsibly to pay rent and to buy toilet paper, must somehow be a separate endeavor from living in a dorm for four years doing nothing but going to classes. To me anyone's post-graduation loan situation can be dramatically improved if they don't mandate a quick classical 4-year graduation timeline (one downside to my experience, but more because I'm a bit "slow" than anything, is that it takes longer to get a degree) for themselves and instead patiently pay for it bit by bit with current earnings and maybe a few short-term textbook loans as they go

I really believe in this college stuff mostly because if an actual idiot like myself can pull it off on the cheap, anyone can. What fundamentally spurred me to elevate myself this way back in my 20s? You'll just have to read that long-ass post in its entirety.

Fist Bump to the Online Slut I Admire

This one kind of hurts. There's this woman online I started following maybe a year or go or so on Twitter - @NYorNothing.

I followed her because she's "into" her life in New York City, something that sits well with my own experience and future aspiration to one day return. She totally gets it and embraces the awe and achievement of existing there day by day.

But it turned out, in time, that that wasn't the half of her online schtick. Turns out that embedded in her adorations of Gotham living she cranks out off-colored remarks about her sex life and retweets others doing the same. I mean, it's totally like I hit another kindered spirit kind of thing but, like, she has actual talent or something while keeping her nose to the grindstone on the docks of New York City of all places -- and if you take her tweets literally, maybe other places. I'm totally out on both - I left the city when I quit my boring desk job, and comedy did not save me! So yeah, I totally came to admire her rants.

Anyway, she's a slut humorist. Not that she is a slut (I mean, she could be, that material probably comes from somewhere though when it comes to comedy it's usually supposed to be a place of pain). What I meant was that there is a topic field of sluttiness , and she is a comedian in that field, apparently and effectively. Like Joan Rivers on steroids.

Anyway, on some impulse of affection and general pathetic-ness I begged her for Twitter re-tweet love and baited her by calling her -- a slut humorist.

I just wanted to join the fun!

She got it -- yeah she actually did! And I knew that she would. And she did re-tweet my remark which reached her audience who got it...not so much.

So I got a lot of flack for it. The only other time I had to endure Internet hate was when budgeteers (parakeet enthusiasts) lambasted me for running a webcam back in the 90s on two of my parakeets in a cage they noted was too small for them. I fixed it with a mammoth cage, and they were happy. In this case, I kind of apologized to her but figured I'll just leave the audience remarks alone. Internet hate is a lot more vicious in 2017 than it was in 1999.

Tweetdeck capture of my remark to Twitter comedian.

Tweetdeck capture of apology to @NYorNothing

So that's my digital week in review.

Somewhat to a lesser extent, you might be interested to know that I touched up WBRAIL and Tampa Rail too a bit.

If I can keep this theme up I'm changing the tagline to something like "A Blog About Me Talking About the Things I Talk About Online".

Total narcissism.

Meet the New Dark Web: The Web
WWW blogging predictions passingthought openweb
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With the continued marginalization of the World Wide Web and concepts like "web surfing", the next phase for the complete eradication of the open platform is its "mystification". People will be made to fear the concept of engaging online outside social media.

This is not hard to understand. As people gradually forget about a place they could publish freely, exchange files, and start dot com revolutions in their underwear, the protocol itself will be left to its die hard evangelists who buck the trend because they are not willing to give up their online liberty to Facebook.

Man in hoodie standing in front of world map overlaying bits of code

That number of people is (relatively) small, but they will continue sharing information between themselves, some of which will be inconvenient to governments and corporations.

What better way to pinch the holdouts by pouring negative paranoid press about that other "non-Facebook" place that people are doing things. Mostly good or neutral, but to a small highlight-able number, bad things like breaking copyright laws, planning terrorist attacks, or patronizing or trafficking child porn. Those grim things are typically characteristic of the so-called "Dark Web" today but it is trivial to drop the semantics entirely, when it is time.

Imagine the headlines of 15 years from now. "Police Find 'Web Browser' on PC of Area Man Arrested For Credit Card Fraud".

This won't happen tomorrow but in the long future, it's where we're headed. The pure web does not natively monetize, track users as precisely as closed social media networks or mobile apps, and provides a loop hole for free anonymous expression to those who still take the time for it. With everything else comfortably controlled, this makes the classic WWW a threat.

If you care to stave any of this off, learn HTML, blog outside social media networks (and link to other blogs and bloggers), and refer to the "web" not "Facebook" when talking about web things.

Check My Click
announce project WWW blogging
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A while ago I programmed my blogs in such a way that visitors who attempt to visit my blogs via mobile devices would be "blocked". Instead of reaching my blog they reached a mobile-friendly page explainer which told them that my blogs were meant to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or glass of wine while surfing the web from a home PC or laptop.

In essence I decided to give up running two production houses: One for the PC web and the other for mobile, favoring the former. In my mind the predicament boiled down to the problem that must have beset producers at the cusp of radio and television. You have a show to play but where do you play it? After all your show will not project the same on both mediums.

So I decided I would stick with the PC web and control for presentational bleed by programtically discouraging mobile visitors. And it worked. Without concerning myself with the endless perimeter of the visiting universe I was able to focus my development to produce faster and more in depth articles.

Still, I couldn't help but wonder why it was so difficult to serve both audiences comfortably on a platform that was designed specifically to remain open to all (that platform being the web which you've probably forgotten about if Facebook is getting its way).

I thought about it a long time and then realized that maybe I needed to re-think at least part of the problem. It's true that I didn't want the overhead of composing for two foundations, but what if there wasn't an overhead for the important part which is each blog entry itself?

Mobile visitors are not interested in a blog's larger presentation. They are darting out to content from their social media applications before withdrawing directly (and quickly) back. To them one's "blog" is nothing more than the single entry they focused on for all of a minute before getting back to LOLing party pictures in their newsfeeds.

On this angle and as master of my own blogging engine, I decided to alter it so that mobile-friendly output existed concurrent to the PC based output. I could not do this for the entire blogging engine which would essentially mean re-writing it from the ground up in unfamiliar code, but, I could do it using simple HTML and a "redirect" to output that drew directly from the same entry database. I just needed a separate entry rendering script that took the same text as that which appeared on the PC version and re-composed it in mobile-friendly HTML.

It took a day, but that's what I've done. And if I've done it right, you can view this very entry on a PC with no aggravating contortion to look good on "both" PC and mobile. Or, you can click on a link in your dang-nabbit "Facebook web" and find yourself looking at a clean scrollable article that looks great on your phone.

I draw a deep sigh, click "Publish", and sit back to see what happens.

Talent for the Bizzare
nuts blogging
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This is pretty creepy. A guy in New York City somehow got into the habit of approaching Asian women and asking for a date (or something) and when they declined, he walloped them with a hammer in a bag. This report says that he called it a "game".

Website capture of serial attacker who killed himself.

That's weird enough but then, after the police get a fix on him and publicize as such, the guy kills himself in an elaborate scheme whereby he crawls under the elevator of an apartment building, ties a noose to its bottom, puts his neck in, then waits for a blithe passenger to step in and press the "up" button.

Well, the plan apparently worked - he died (and some unwitting passenger got to where they were going in the process). The rest of his blog and website paints him as a pretty smart and creative individual outside his obvious mental illness and criminal tendencies, so that is perhaps not so surprising.

But he upped the overall ludicrousness of this when he programmed his blog to continually post for the next 10 years. Which, believe it or not, it is actually doing. I guess he paid for hosting or what not well ahead of time.

Understanding The Independent Web By Loss
blogging
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If anyone really wants to understand the "problem" of today's web when we talk about the loss of "independence" they should read Iran's blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are killing the web .

The piece, posted to the web by the UK Guardian a few weeks ago, was written by Hossein Derakhshan who lost visibility to the web while jailed for 8 years (for blogging crimes, in Iran) and thus gained spectacular perspective on the web's "inward" growing trend upon his release.

As this blog unfolds over time I'll dispute some of the long-term gloom and doom implied by the piece, but make no mistake, Hossein is absolutely spot on. The amuck free market, corporatism, greed, the quest for power and control, whatever you might attribute it to, has driven people to flock and amass no further than the boundaries of safe artificial webs over the actual web to both create and consume content. The state of web publishing today is everything people likeHossein and myself dread it might become.

As I say, I am far more optimistic about what to do about the problem, or at least, I am not convinced that the hyper-pop web that is taking over need necessarily mean the loss or value of an independent voice. Scan the comments section of the piece for some great points along those lines made by others, but I will be raising them at this blog as a matter of purpose.

Facebook Notes Is Now Facebook Blogging Engine
facebook blogging
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Behold the below. It's what appears to be a completely independent blog post generated by Facebook Notes and subsequently embedded here at my blog as an entry.

Taking an evident page from Medium's style of rendering, Facebook has gone all the way with providing people a way to blog directly on Facebook and even to share entries via embed, turning the tables on the conventional path of generating content on the web and sharing it to Facebook.

I honestly don't know how long this has been in place on Facebook, maybe I'm late on getting the memo (I'll be doing some Googling after I post this, and return with an update on this question to this very entry), but the ease by which it is to use its system means this will turn into another chunk of lost life on the "real" web.

Update: I did the Google. Facebook's transformation from the little-used 'Notes' to a true blogging platform apparently showed up on the radar in the Fall of last year (2015). Here's the Verge article about it.

Why Do I Blog?
blogging
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What exactly do I blog about at my blog or more importantly why do I blog anything at all? The blog you're looking at now along with its historical counterparts have always been self-billed as a way to write about my personal life or to shoot off an impulsive thought or idea, particularly if I think it might define me in some meaningful way.

The fossils of my many whims to be about something more or to carry a certain attitude can be spotted by anyone perusing my blogs of old. Taken in their totality, it seems changes in my circumstances are what I blog about most alongside changes in my voice. I blog with a kind of "borderline personality disordered" worldview where I'm careful to frame my context, oblivious to the theater construct, and sometimes following up by the harsh realities of miscalculating.

Yes, my past blogging has suffered from serious topic and mechanical diffusion, withheld too much honesty, but it has at least chronicled my wayward tracks through momentous shifts in my life from Tampa, to New York City, back to my hometown, and now, my life here in Buffalo with Nirva. I have at times ridiculously believed this to be a technical advice blog, a creative writer's outlet, a "buzz feed" supplier, a comedic platform and a registry of information for those Googling my name. With no consistency to my manner I can fairly say that past blogging has been a slightly more complicated way of posting superfluous thoughts to Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps I am driven more by my enthusiasm for building blogging engines (Battle Blog in particular) and a natural expectation that I reach to use them, even if I have nothing to say.

With this iteration I hope to change some of this. I am going to strive to be richer, starker, more direct and more honest with my sentences about the things going on around me and in my life. To be sure there are issues and topics I obsess over, but exactly because I do obsess over them I often talk about them at separate blogs I've developed for that purpose. My project list spells them out.

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