By treating access to audiences as social currency, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and just about any widely used social media platform, are designed to incubate cultures of competition. … People start treating each other like ruthless transactions, carcasses to step over rather than human beings actively engaged in dialogue or disagreement. After a while it can feel like survival of the fittest. Sometimes it is. Just as billionaires have enormous resources at their disposal to manipulate the flow of power and preserve market dominance, social currency enables popular web-based activists to maintain dominance over online discourses. So while the visibility social media enables can be a valuable tool for the proliferation of alternative media, marginalized voices, and radical re-education, how that visibility is obtained and maintained can be painfully problematic.
When typing this title, my phone autocorrected it to “Tips for Whiners” which is hilarious given the circumstances surrounding this post. However, my conscience got the best of me and I decided to title it differently even though there was peer pressure for the original title. However, not all beginners are whiners (by far) and I figured it wasn’t fair to lump people into a group. Plus, this post is meant to be far more informative and encouraging than it is critical and teasing.
New writers are always looking for help and tools to use to get their writing “out there,” wherever that is. They want to build their audience, which means gaining followers and notes on posts. They seek out help, work on their blogs, and write a lot.
However, some new writers fall into a trap of jealousy and complaining. They become frustrated, then turn their frustration into jealousy. They whine about not getting notes and followers, they complain about blogging cliques and unfair treatment, and they adopt an attitude of “Woe is me. The blogosphere is against me.”
This post is meant to be helpful to each group by providing both useful tips and reality checks. At no point do I actually mean to be hateful. Am I sassy, though? Yes. You can stop reading this post at any time, too. You can also take what works for you and throw out the rest. Nothing here is a blanket statement.
But let’s just get on with it. ( And it is a long one)
I had the pleasure of seeing her talk tonight- she really shows how design and language define and change our world. And had some great (depressing) advice for young creative professionals: “Whatever you know how to do will likely be useless in five years. So remember to be fluid.”
I slightly poked the blogosphere bear on Twitter...
Multiple big name “teacher” blogs (you definitely know them) came out and stumbled over themselves in multiple tweets how even though their posts are “sponsored”, they’re objective and their own opinion…etc
“I have a disclaimer at the top of my post!” Yes, that it’s sponsored.
I’m not replying because I don’t get into Twitter beef, but if you’re getting paid to write something, it’s a conflict of interest. It also erodes the credibility of these blogs over time.
Maybe I’ll view this situation differently when I’m raking in sponsored post money and clickbait views and a New York Time expose on my Starbucks-inspired renovated classroom.
Sorry, I don’t have time to create and foster “my brand,” I’m too busy in the trenches doing the actual day-to-day work of teaching.
China’s all-girl pop band crushes hopes of besotted female fans
Just a little under a year ago, Min Junqian was an unknown art student in China’s eastern province of Shandong, dreaming of becoming a star and hitting the big time.
Fast-forward a year and the 23-year-old is a member of Acrush, China’s first all-girl “boy band”, which released its debut single last week, but already has hundreds of thousands of fans.
“Our fathers’ generation still holds the idea that girls should dress in a feminine manner, something I was never comfortable with,” Min told Reuters. “I just like to dress in a unisex way.”
Min wasn’t expecting to be picked when she went to the band’s audition last year.
But her boyish appearance and androgynous style were exactly what entertainment startup Zhejiang Huati Culture Communication, backed by Tencent Holdings, was looking for.
Marketed as a pop band that encourages girls to pursue their own identities and shake up female conventions, Acrush has won more than 749,000 followers on Chinese social networking site Weibo.
Acrush goes against the grain in China’s still-evolving music industry, where girl bands are marketed as sweet young things to appeal to a male audience.
“I left home when I was young,” said the band’s lead singer, 21-year-old Peng Xichen. “To comfort my parents, I told them my boyish appearance would keep me safe.”
Some fans, most of them millennials born after the mid-1990s, have called the band members their “husbands”. Some have sent love letters, which the band cannot answer, bound by contract.
“We are not allowed to disclose our gender preferences or have romantic relationships,” said Lu Keran, the band’s leader.
From day one, Zhejiang Huati has created individual identities for the women.
Min is supposed to be the band’s comedian, while Peng is a “gentle romantic”, and the 21-year-old Lu is portrayed as an energetic dancer with a sunny disposition.
She wears long-sleeved outfits to shield from the public eye a dragon tattoo on her arm, and is reluctant to talk about it, saying only, “I did it when I was an ignorant girl.”
But she did admit to sometimes dressing in pink and behaving like a little girl.
The Chinese blogosphere is ablaze with questions about Acrush’s leanings. Asked if they supported feminism and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, the band said they had no idea what the abbreviation LGBT stood for.
“We’re just ‘handsome’ girls,” said Min.
(Source: Reuters; Reporting by Muyu Xu and Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Thomas Sun in BEIJING; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
I like writing stuff like this. I always get a bit nervous, though. You can only base it off your own experiences and we’re so different. Oh, and because of anxiety but that’s off-topic! I’m motivated by the thought of helping even just one person. Getting a good deal and shopping cheaply is always going to be a miniature obsession of mine. Even if I got hit by a truck of money I’d still want to optimize my grocery cart.
Now, that said. I live in a metropolitan area in the Midwestern USA. Urban and rural dwellers face different challenges with food prices and food accessibility, and that variation becomes even more widespread by region and by country. Some of these are applicable to most people, but I’d really encourage anyone with experience in different locales, regions, and countries to flesh out their own tips as well.
Base recipes around many of the same ingredients: Notice how a lot of recipes start the same way? Onion, garlic, celery, carrot? Potato? Diced tomatoes? If you write out your meal plan to share common ingredients each given week, you won’t be buying a million different ingredients.
Make a shopping list and a meal plan: It isn’t everyone’s style, but I find having a decently clear idea of what I want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks stops a lot of impulse buying and “what the Hell do I do with this now?” when I get it all home. It also gets me out of the store faster and I’m all about the lifestyle. Time is money.
Keep bulk cooking recipes in your repertoire and embrace leftovers: I’m planning to write an in-depth guide on bulk cooking in the future. There are tons of stews, chilis, curries, and casseroles that can be made in excessive quantities for around $20 or less. Keep some in the fridge fresh to eat right away, and freeze the rest! You can pull them down for lunch or dinner whenever you need them. Also, leftovers. I know some people struggle to eat the same food many times in a row, but it definitely adds up quickly to prepare new meals for every day. Having your freezer stocked with these bulk cooked foods can provide the relief you need from any monotony in your meal plan that week.
Make classic and common ingredients the staples of your meals: We’re often enticed to try out the hot new foods trending in the blogosphere and news reports, but personally I find they’re mostly convoluted marketing terms and tangent reminders to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You don’t need goji berries, pomegranates, pre-made green smoothies, chia seeds, or any of the nonsense the computer screen is screaming at you to eat. Many common foods of yore are often just as, and sometimes more, beneficial as trendy foods. Cabbage, spinach, potatoes, carrots, apples, bananas, peanut butter, eggs, dried beans, rolled oats, and dried brown rice are some of the major workhorse foods that are extremely cheap.
Don’t shun frozen and canned ingredients: You know what’s kind of expensive? Buying enough fresh tomatoes to make pasta sauce or tomato based stews. Berries, for much of the year. And, several more. Depending on how old the produce on your store shelf is, it’s not uncommon for flash-frozen fruits and vegetables to actually have retained more of the nutrition, too.
Shop sales: This sounds a little obvious, but flip open the ad for your favorite shop and see what specials they’re running. Plan some meals that pull in some of the items your store is offering up for cheap that week!
Buy produce that is in-season: Take a clue of what to buy based on what the Earth is currently providing your location. It will be fresher, taste better, and have traveled shorter distances, too. There are good lists out there about what’s seasonal and when. It will vary by climate, of course. There are also some fruits and vegetables that are always available at decent prices. Ahem, another plug for bananas.
Buy in bulk when possible: Understandably, this isn’t always an option. However, if the stars align and you find yourself with a few extra bucks and chicken quarters are on sale for something crazy like $.49/lb, load ‘em up. Freeze ‘em up. I also find that canned tomatoes or cooking stock will go on great sales and I’ll snatch a few extra up to shave a few dollars off in the long run.
Check if your favorite grocery spot does e-coupons and rewards: Coupons for stuff I actually eat is a bit of a rarity. Seriously, 80% of them are junk food and plastic bags. Boo. Oh, how much I’d love it you got coupons for produce. However, many stores offer digital coupons and rewards for shopping at their store. On occasion, I’ll snatch one up for an actual food item I want, but the real hook and sinker is my store of choice has a rewards program. Spend $200 in four weeks? Bam, $5 off your next basket. Uhm, yes please? It usually means you’ll have to become loyal to that store but if you’re already besties, why not?
Water is now your favorite beverage: There are a million reasons to drink water. I’m not saying you can never have your favorite refreshments, but supporting a serious coffee, juice, or soda habit can really add up. If you’re fortunate enough to have great tap water, it’s almost free. If you need filtered water or water bottles, it’s still less money over time when you make it your main squeeze.
Eat a little less meat: This sometimes gets people’s panties in a twist but you know what? Meat’s expensive, fam. Sometimes absolutely nothing I care for is on sale, either. We usually only eat it for dinner, but occasionally the divination of my holy document, the sales ad, imparts the words “vegetarian week.” Do what works for you, but I think it’s always very valid advice when trying to get a grocery bill down.