artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
[personal profile] siderea wrote a post on the strike she'd like to see women hold and I find I agree, wholeheartedly.

I have not, on Twitter or elsewhere, had to deal with serious online abuse. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I suspect it is at least partly because I don't tend to speak out about any one subject strongly, and partly because I censor myself.

This is wrong. I shouldn't have to self-censor to avoid playing block-a-mole with trolls; I shouldn't have to make my words private if I don't want to deal with shitposters.

This structure privileges people who are not reliant on social media for support: people who can just walk away, who can say "it's only the internet". It privileges people who are popular enough that, intentionally or not, they command vast armies of sockpuppets. It privileges people who have the time and energy and wherewithal to wade through the noise. It makes speaking out more costly -- too costly. The post I'm linking to says, "The cost of speaking one's mind, if one is a free thinker, becomes astronomical in managing strife and hostility. One's feed may simply be flooded – back in the days of email, we called this a "mail bomb" – to unusablility." I can well recall similar incidents on IRC.

It doesn't have to be like this, and Dreamwidth is one example of another way to structure social media. No, it isn't as easy to read or interact with on a smartphone, and that's a pain. No, it doesn't allow the short sound-bites of Twitter, or the viral possibilities of an RT. But neither of those things are inherent to the structure of the platform, and there are mitigating conveniences (proper comment threading springs to mind). Dreamwidth could, theoretically, implement a quick re-post function for public posts and sort out a smartphone client, and those things would both make it different, but they wouldn't make it less safe.

So, as [personal profile] siderea suggests, I am burning my words. I'm going on strike from social media platforms where I am not allowed to control my own space.

I only found out about this earlier today, so I'm doing 24 hours: 13.00 GMT Wednesday to 13.00 GMT Thursday.

But then, I'm planning on doing this again next Wednesday. I'll tweet on Tuesday, and again on Thursday, but Wednesdays are off-limits. I'll do it next Wednesday, and every Wednesday, until Twitter is safe again, or until I find something better.

Join me?
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Well, I was supposed to be doing some composing today. Instead I saw that someone I sortof know who has 150k Twitter followers and writes for a national magazine has set up a Patreon account and in less than 24 hours attracted over 200 pledges, to the tune of $1700/month. And I felt bad, and inadequate, and a bit jealous, if I'm honest, especially since she gets paid for a lot of her writing work already. There is a lot of advice out there for people starting out on Patreon, much more than there was when I started nearly 3 years ago, but a lot of it simply isn't suitable for what I'm doing; it assumes an end product more engaging than a piece of sheet music. And the quickest way to get a sustainable income there is to already have fans.

So I spent some time reminding myself to keep my eyes on my own work, and reminding myself that just because my work is much more niche and not as instantly relateable and not so popular does not mean that it is worth less or is in any way less important.

My work is important. My music has broader value to society. If I didn't believe these things I wouldn't do it.

But keeping my eyes on my own work only goes so far; just because I'm not famous-on-the-internet and I don't have 150k followers anywhere and what I create is rather niche, doesn't mean there is nothing I can do.

Things I can do:

  • load up Hootsuite with a bunch of auto-tweets/FB posts again so that people actually know about my Patreon and my music, and keep doing it

  • collaborate with others more -- poets, other musicians, artists

  • get my website in slightly better order (this is a work in progress)

  • get my business cards finished and printed, and always carry some, and don't be afraid to give them out when I meet people in person

  • put more of my work on Lulu so that if people do want to buy printed copies, they can

  • make more recordings/get more recordings made so that people hear my work more (and look into ways of doing this other than giving all my money to Choral Tracks, though I intend to keep using that for some work)

  • take more pictures -- seriously, it's worth a try, partly because Instagram is apparently v good if you post regularly, partly because people relate better to pictures, partly because it helps tell a story of my work


I actually have plans to do most of this stuff, so it's not as if I'm sitting around in a cave, writing music and then wondering why nobody has ever heard of me. The thing is, actually doing all of this takes time and energy, and finding a balance where it doesn't take time and energy away from composing is the trick of it. It's winter, and last year was tough for me in many ways and I'm still recovering from that, which combined mean I could spend the entirety of my time on the admin and still be flailing. And maybe the important thing about the PhD work, for now, is that it gives me an obvious focus for the composing itself, a reason to do that before falling down the rabbit-hole of trying to fine-tune socmed or whatever to maximise my income.

And now I have to go to LGQ rehearsal, so that's the afternoon gone, and I've not composed a single naked note OR done any academic reading/listening and I haven't made it to Evensong. Tomorrow is a stay-at-home-and-do-admin day, but I think in the circumstances I can use some of it for composing too.

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