The Problem With “It’s Twitter”

Recently, author E. L. James had a conversation with fans on Twitter using the hashtag #AskELJames.  Instead of a conversation, James was viciously attacked. 

This sparked a number of blog posts about the issue of hateful and hurtful comments being posted online, from book review sites to articles, Facebook and Twitter, and everywhere in between.  One such blog post by Deb Ng caught the attention of author Anne Rice, who has been crusading against this growing trend.  You can find the post here.

After reading her very thoughtful post, one of the comments caught my eye.  In it, the commenter stated that “it’s Twitter” and that these kind of hateful attacks are to be expected from the popular social media site. Twitter, of course, is a micro bogging site that gives users 140 characters to speak their mind. 

Here is my issue: No matter what social media platform you’re using, you have no right to attack people.  This applies to book reviews, discussions, comments, and any other place where you can post comments.  That stands to reason, right?  Common courtesy, social etiquette, netiquette….

But when you say “it’s Twitter” it makes it okay to post hateful messages.  If we allow it, and it is tolerated because “that’s how it is”, then it becomes accepted even though it isn’t acceptable.

Twitter allows users to block abusive users, and they can also be reported.  Let’s use those tools to show people that we don’t want to see their hateful posts. Let’s make it clear that we don’t accept this unacceptable behavior.

Nerdvana in San Diego: It’s Time for Comic Con 2014

Eight years ago you could buy a 4-day pass to Comic Con and walk in the front door when the Exhibit Hall opened.  Syfy had huge installations in the middle of the floor, and their booth was surrounded by Pokemon and D&D gaming tables.  

Now, people enter a lottery to be able to buy badges, and the Exhibit Hall floor is crowded beyond belief.  Vendors are on a waiting list to get in.  Syfy has moved across the street to the Hard Rock.  In fact, many of the neighboring hotels have taken advantage of SDCC by sharing their ballrooms and convention spaces for extra panels.  Even Petco Park has cashed in as it hosts The Walking Dead Escape.

Personally, as a native San Diegan, I think that SDCC is a welcome boon to our city and I support anything that needs to happen to keep SDCC here.  SDCC was born here, after all, and the money generated from out-of-town guests is more than we’ll ever see from the Chargers.  I think SDCC should be a city-wide event, spreading beyond the confines of the Gaslamp to other areas of San Diego.  

I get as excited about the SDCC banners going up along Harbor Drive as I get when I see the first Christmas trees during the holiday season.  

SDCC is a nerd’s paradise.  I’m so glad to be a part of it!

(That said, watch for my coverage of SDCC here on my blog and on Twitter @SarabethPollock

On Writing: Productive Procrastination

Sometimes my procrastination can be productive.  Today I wrote a few blog posts (business and personal), Tweeted (again, business and personal) and sent a dozen business emails.  I got a little writing done, and I’m mostly satisfied with it.  Perhaps procrastination isn’t so bad when it’s done in a productive way.

Of course, if I keep procrastinating, I’ll never get the book done.  *headdesk*  The vicious cycle never ends….

This Isn’t Procrastination–This Is The Writing Process!

As it turns out, all of the distraction had a positive effect on the book today.  All of a sudden, as soon as I opened my pink notebook and grabbed my pink pen, the words started flowing forth in a torrent of pink ink.  

I really think that there is something different that comes with writing nonfiction as opposed to fiction.  I was discussing this with an author friend of mine today.  He didn’t understand what I was saying when I said that this book is harder than writing a novel, and then I drew the comparison of trying to write a 250+ page essay or research report.  That’s essentially what I’m doing.  And then he understood.

Oddly, though, I think that taking time to work on fictional pieces and writing articles and working on my blog and posting to Twitter have all helped.  There is a subtle shift from fiction to Twitter to my blog to articles to the nonfiction book, and so doing those things together allow my brain to shift gears from fiction to nonfiction.

This isn’t procrastination–this is the writing process!

Writing a Book

I’m writing a book.  I have it all mapped out and I’m really excited about it.  I just need to focus.  

I can’t write chronologically.  Even though I have a carefully planned outline that tells me where to go, I can’t sit and write from start to finish.  I get these random ideas that pop into my head and then I have to go with them, even if they belong toward the end of the book.

I also tend to divert my attention when working on the book to things like my journal, Twitter, and my blog.  Like this blog.  Suddenly I’m writing blog posts about trying to work on my book.  

I think these distractions help me, though.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but I think writing of any kind will help me work on the book.  As long as I’m writing, it’s like a break for my brain but it forces my brain to switch gears and go from staunch non-fiction to creative-mode, which helps me get back into the book when I’m ready.  I guess it’s like interval training for a marathon.  Sprint, jog, walk.  Repeat.  (I’m also starting a training session to run a half-marathon in August.  Go figure)

In any case, this little digression has been helpful.  Now back to the book.  🙂