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Tag: Social Media

Poems, Blogging, and Process

Austin Kleon wrote a book, Show Your Work. The premise is creativity is a process, not a product. It allows a public showing of the stages we go through in our art by sharing our process publicly.

After the process of importing my data from my old blog into my new one, I read through all my posts. Deciding which ones to keep and which ones to toss. Over the last year, I saw a progression of style and subject matter. I also did some deep thinking about the direction I wanted to take my new blog.

I desire to write more in-depth posts and return to writing poems, which went by the wayside. No more posting quote graphics and public domain poetry – for that I have started a Tumblr blog to complement this one. I will post once a week, Saturday, all prayer concerns for my readers to read and pray over as the Lord leads, called Prayer Points. I will be posting twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. And I plan on expanding my newsletter beyond just sending the last post via email. Finally, I am adding more graphics to my posts to make them more visually appealing.

It was an act of faith for me to start again. National news made me want to throw up my hands and say, “Lord, what is the point if censorship is rolling ahead full steam?” But I have learned to hear His voice over the years, and have seen His faithfulness. I know if He says, “Write!” then I need to honor this process and write, not only for Him but for my readers and for me too.

FaithPoetryWriting

Feeds for a New Era

My blog post today may be old-hat to some, but because of the censorship issues today, I am revisiting it.

The technology of RSS feeds some consider to be old-hat, and they have been since the rise of social media. But they have been under the radar, not obsolete like others have proclaimed over the years. Twitter had a feed many years ago.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Netscape created it in 1999 under the different name of RDF Site Summary, and through the years it morphed into the current name.

The format is in XML language, which is a plain text file. Another file associated with RSS is OPML, which is XML’s outline format for exporting the feeds you have created in a feed reader for backup.

Feed readers consolidate feeds from websites that use this form of syndication. Blogs, podcasts, emails, websites, and news sites (this is not an exhaustive list) publish the XML files to their sites so that feed readers can pull in articles that are newly published. Most feed readers are free. Another file form of aggregating websites is called Atom. Most feed readers support both.

I will use mine to illustrate. I use the Linux program named QuiteRSS. It allows you to add folders to organize subject matter. For example, I have folders called Oregon, News, Church, Writing, and Personal. I can update all at once, only certain folders, or certain sites. There is a rudimentary browser so that you can read the feeds on their home website. Or you can open an external browser to read articles. Filters are available to further help sort information. And the articles can be labeled or deleted as needed. I clean mine daily so I am not overwhelmed.

The fall of popularity of RSS, a decentralized form of gathering data for the user, instead traveled to companies centralizing data on us users, was planned? If so, it is time to stake our claims on the World Wide Web and raise the flag of our RSS mailboxes.

ReadingWriting

Battle Axes and Spiritual Warfare

My mother was a warrior. She was the counselor at a small town high school – the students called her Battle Ax.

It has been a long time ago, so I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but it I think it was junior high school or a year or two later. I was sick – normal flu symptoms – that morning and stayed home from school. She went to work. We lived in a larger community about 15 miles down the highway. All of a sudden, without any warning, I felt extremely dizzy, disoriented, and called her at work, panicking.

She left work immediately, and while driving down the road, was telling the devil where he could get off – literally, no metaphors. And before she got home, I all of a sudden felt refreshed.

It was from her I learned spiritual warfare. I have used it in the seen and unseen realms.

In this same town when I had returned to live as an adult, I attended a church that practiced the gifts of the Spirit. Rumor mill had it that some in town viewed us as a cult. All I know is this church is the only one I attended (plus a home bible study of a friend of my mothers) where I felt the presence of the Lord. It was in that church that I taught high school. And it was in that church that I healed after a divorce.

If the church has failed us, I believe it is in this area: our spiritual authority in Christ. Deception is running rampant today, and discernment coupled with spiritual warfare is key.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV

Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

Wild West and WIPs

With the revelations of malfeasance in the offing, Big Tech being in the cross-hairs in the days ahead, it is hard for content creators to know where to publish their works. Many that I follow online are doing a tremendous job of keeping afloat in the atmosphere of censorship.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is in the President’s cross-hairs as a national security threat. It would stifle social media companies by making them liable for on-site postings, therefore open to lawsuits. Some say to enforce this by punishing those companies that have censored conservatives. Others want it to be deleted.

And it has been a national security threat. If it were only a few companies censoring, they would most likely be disciplined and that would be the end of it. But the Big Tech companies – the big, bad apples spoiling it for us all – have consorted, pushing out the truth, and bamboozling a large swatch of the population in believing lies. The lies being antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

With unbridled, unrestrained freedom, I see a governmental backlash coming. If the social media companies are held accountable for what they publish, what does that mean for those of us who use the internet for ministry and/or writing? Are we about to reap what we have sown by not using freedom wisely?

If we are called to keep pursing our online writing ministries (and as a small fish in a big pond, I am), then I see a return back to what the internet was in the ‘90s, when I published my first blog. We all had our own home space on world wide web with search engines (like Technorati) and RSS feeds for others to read our content. I do think there is room for social media, but with a proper perspective to our home base.

Wild West days are upon us, it will be a work in progress – a WIP. It will be interesting to see what companies survive and those that don’t.

Those that have callings to produce content, need to get before the Lord and ask for wisdom, if they have not already. He shall surely give it.


Have a blessed weekend!

FaithWriting

Election Season Thoughts

On the election emotional chart, emotions look like a banner day at the stock market, with no downturn in sight.

In my physical life, those I do talk politics with, we listen to each other and respond civilly.

In my digital (but no less important) life, it is usually the same. But today, I ran afoul of a commenter who had choice words about the governor. I am definitely ready for a new conservative one. However, no enemy warrants name-calling. I called for “keeping it classy” and got a childish, unclassy response. (I love the block button sometimes.)

I believe extreme faith will need to be exercised up until God sends His answer. I believe it is going to be biblical. When evil is world-wide and beyond the scope of ordinary law-abiding citizens, extreme lawful measures have to be taken. I believe revelations are coming that will rock the world over, one tsunami wave after another.

God delights in last-minute answers so He gets all the glory.

Faith

Happy Reading!

Today was a mailbox bonanza for me: two books and two writing magazines to peruse.

Both books had to do with road trips, and I did not even realize it until I had clicked the order button. It’s likely my subconscious, or conscious desire, is to get out on the road like I did before the lockdowns.

First up is Nala’s WorldOne Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride around the Globe by Dean Nicholson. Another unmet desire is to own a cat again, but due to circumstances I can’t right now, hopefully in the near future. So I read vicariously. Color pictures in two sections of the book made my heart smile. If you have an Instagram account, you can find them at @1bike1world.

Second, is Writing In A Convertible With The Top Down by Sheila Bender with co-author Christi Glover. Looks to be an encouraging and fun guide to navigate the writing life.

Third, I have pointed to political bias in the writing magazines. One this time was no exception, though it wasn’t as bad as the last issue. (Throat clear – that would be Poets & Writers). Maybe they should rebrand themselves as a political writing magazine. That being said, looks to have some nuggets for me to panhandle. Writer’s Digest is celebrating their 100th Anniversary, and it is thicker than usual. I am really looking forward to reading this issue.

To all you readers out there – Happy Reading!

ReadingWriting

Are Social Media Platforms Viable?

Today, a few well known conservative YouTubers sued YouTube. Many of the social media companies, I would say almost all of them, have stifled conservative voices, before the election.

Many writers who depend on social media sites for their livelihoods, e.g. Facebook/Instagram, and Twitter being the major sites, will be blindsided if they do not draw alternative plans. I see nothing on well known writing sites alluding to the possibility of this loss.

Social media companies are blurring the lines of Section 230 Communications Decency Act protections – are they publishers or public forums? Facebook and Twitter will not be far behind YouTube, and leaders of all these companies may be facing criminal charges for election interference and more serious issues.

And as writers, do you want to use a social media platform that stifles one side of an argument? Myself, I am tired of Twitter throttling and shadowbanning me, and I have an alternative account. (If you are curious, it is the link icon on my sidebar social media widget.)

A few new alternatives have started the last few years. Twitter and Facebook/Instagram at one time were new. Also, other alternatives besides social media exist for publicity/marketing – forums, enewsletters, blogs with RSS capabilities.

The writing world is changing, just like everything else in the world. But is this not a chance to be trailblazers, and start anew?

Writing

Solitude and Community

I decided seven years ago to move from Missouri to Oregon. Roughly my modern day version of the Oregon Trail. I had high hopes of making a new life here, and to be fair, I have, just not in the way I expected.

I am finishing Walden, and in the chapter called “Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors,” Thoreau talks about the lack of human companionship during the snowy winter months, and how he would visit people in his memory for company. It is with the beautiful geography I have made friends, along with a few hardy souls here. In a waiting room a few years ago, I read a travel magazine in which the writer stated the Oregon coast was more beautiful than Costa Rica. Very surprising to me, but understandable.

In The Imaginative Conservative, this article confronts the loneliness of our times. It mentions two books that I have read, which stress the importance of community, and more specifically, conservative communities – The Benedictine Option by Rod Dreher, and Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. What these two books also say, is sometimes it is necessary to be in the world but not of it. During Germany’s pre-WWII and beginning years, Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary, and his book is the story of how it actually worked.

That being said, the hiding of our identities behind masks, the stay at home orders, and the lack of human touch through certain businesses being shut down is cruel and inhumane treatment. Even the most introverted people – that would be me – crave some social time every now and then. Some of us do not have the local option of community. And social media helps.

While on the run from the Catholic Church and living in a redoubt at least part of the time, Martin Luther translated the Latin Bible into German for everyone to read. I have a plaque in my house that artistically says, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” I could be bitter about my lack of local friendships, but I see it as a time of learning to be a writer. And as much as I despise this time of separation we are living, Romans 8:28 (KJV) states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Faith

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