Am I Doing Social Media Right?

social media

A moment of confession: I harbor some uncertainties about my participation in social media. These uncertainties stem from something deeper than social media itself, rooted in questions of relationship, authenticity, marketing and self-promotion, what it means to earn money as a content creator, and more.

At heart, this article is my own exploration into some of the questions that swirl in the back of my brain, in an attempt to clarify the answers and to solicit feedback from you, the reader, in hopes of gaining a wider perspective.

Social media could be defined as the collection of internet based tools that allow us to connect and interact socially with one another. Like any tool, it’s essence is that of utility. That being said, as far as human socialization goes, the healthiest relationships exist at the antipodes of utility. Utility is always a means to some other end, and treating people in the manner of a means to an end only leads to destructive relationships.

So what is social media actually for, and is there a purpose to gaining many followers? Depending how one approaches it, a social network may be either for socializing, or for networking, or some combination of the two. It’s this combination that seems to turn things fuzzy for me. Also, money – another element of utility in our world.

As I move increasingly into the world of content creation, my ability to draw an income from my efforts ties directly to the size of my network and the number of those that not only follow me, but that consume what I produce. To put it bluntly: Content creators depend on content consumers.

Writing has always been a passion, and something I mainly pursued in the past without too many thoughts of remuneration. While SteemIt appears to offer some glimmer of hope in getting paid for my writing, it has also dawned on me that I have so far woefully neglected any real effort at building an audience… [This article originally appeared on Continue reading here …]

The Ephemeral Cairn Gardens Of the Austin Greenbelt

A Photo Journal and Meditation

image 5

A friend and I met for lunch at a local taco shack near the city’s greenbelt, where he planned to take his mountain bike out for a cruise along the trails. As it was a pleasant Autumn afternoon and there was nothing keeping me, I decided to take a walk through the beautiful sun-soaked woods myself.

After tacos we made our way to the trail head together, at which point he asked in what direction I was headed.

“I don’t know,” was my reply.

Mounting his trusty carbon-fiber steed he took off and soon disappeared around a bend leaving me there alone.

Looking down the trail to my left, then up the trail to my right … then back to the left again, as if awaiting some unseen force to propel me in either direction, but feeling no particular pull, I finally rested my gaze upon an opening in the trees just in front of where I stood, and so up the middle I went.

Stepping through the woods about forty or so feet, I came out onto a bone-dry creek bed which I then followed. Poking along haphazardly up the old creek bed for ten minutes or more, I looked up and was suddenly bewildered by what I saw.

Not far off in the distance I could just begin to make out what seemed to resemble stalagmites – a group of twisted, spindling, rocky spires that reminded me of something I might have once seen in Southeastern Utah or the caverns of New Mexico.

As I drew closer it was impossible to suppress a smile.

Here is what I found ….

[This article originally appeared on Continue reading here …]

Thoughts of a Grisly Beast

Looking out over a nearby lake one morning, I observed as the fish were occasionally throwing themselves into the air and flopping back down again, to snatch at some tiny insect skimming the otherwise placid water. I noticed too that there were some birds hovering about, who without warning would suddenly dive down like Kamikaze fighter pilots crashing through the surface of the water, only to emerge up into the sky again moments later.

As I contemplated the scene before me, I put it together in my mind’s eye that while some hapless water-bug bandied about the surface of the lake in search of a nibble of algae, blind to the dangers below, a no less unsuspecting fish reaching to satisfy its own appetite would thereby make itself a mark for a hovering gull, and, had I been set on making a meal for myself and armed for it too, I likewise would have taken the gull’s singular trajectory toward it’s breakfast as the opportune moment to strike.

Still, I imagined further, that lining up for my shot with steadied breath and focused concentration, there might well be some more grisly beast lurking just outside my periphery, biding it’s time to stick the proverbial fork in me, so I thought better of it.

nature of the beasts

Image credit: Naiya Cassidy

Open Doors

Open DoorsAfter eleven absolutely awesome days in magical Mexico, the return flight on (Mexican airline) Interjet did not disappoint, playing non-stop reruns of The Pink Panther cartoon. Overall a pleasant flight, the only unpleasant part of which was having to fill out the customs declaration.  It’s becoming practically impossible to tolerate the kind of cognitive dissonance such demands invoke.

It wasn’t so much that I minded filling out the questionnaire, except for the part about providing an address, because I see it as dangerous to let a group of violent sociopaths know where you live. The part that really got to me though was signing the damn thing.

So I didn’t. I Couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Continue reading