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This video has been a hype on the internet over the past view days;

It's not the first time a similar message is send, and it's probably not the last time.
Over the years, I've seen many of those messages seen popping up on (how ironically) social media. And while the intention is good, I think the whole "quit social media" thing in general is a bit too one-sided. They don't realize that social media isn't just something we can stop over a day. It has become a collective mindset. A communication standard. Like phone calls and letters used to be our main form of communication in the 90's, social media now has become our standard for communication.

The matter is the same. It's just the medium that shifted.

I didn't have a Facebook account until late 2011, and I didn't have a smartphone until early 2012 (and that was only because my boss got me a new phone, and it happened to be smart). Yes, I was late. The reason for that? I absolutely hated the smartphone generation! 

Not long before that, I went to a meeting of a local internet forum. It was the first time since (I think) 5 years there was a meeting. The earlier meetings of the community were always a lot of fun. Not that we did something special. Just hanging out, checking out shops, and talking. It was nevertheless a lot of fun. The new meeting, however, wasn't anywhere near that fun. I can remember going there with a good friend of mine. He, just like me, didn't have a smartphone, and we were the only 2 people that actually talked to each other. The others just kept staring at their phones and laughed about all kind of things that happened online and we didn't get at all. I can still remember us sitting at a bar, having a drink, when 2 people that sat NEXT TO EACH OTHER where laughing about the fact that they just commented on each other's Twitter. Not even 10 face-palms could make up for that... Needless to say; we left soon after that.

When I first got Facebook, I was a bit hesitant on what to post there. I had been on the internet for long, yet I never liked sharing personal details with people. But even despite I didn't share that much, social media was a great experience for me. It has opened up my world entirely!

As a shy person, I always hated making phone calls. I didn't like "just going" to a persons house and tell them I wanted to do something. I felt like forcing myself up to people, and I didn't like that. Let alone that keeping contact with those that studied in another city or abroad was really hard, because of the huge costs of phone calls or traveling. Social media, in that regard, was the perfect solution for me. Because now, all of a sudden, I could stay updated of what was happening in the lives of friends and family that didn't live around the corner. I could send them a message and they could answer at any given time they want -- regardless of timezone. It made communication a bit more open-ended. And that worked very well for me.
As an introverted person, I don't always feel like answering people. Now I can just take things at my own pace. 

What about the people that get depressed over Facebook, you'd ask me? Well, everything has it's downsides. Of course people try to sketch a perfect picture of them selves. We leave out the negative. We don't post statuses when feeling miserable, because we don't want all of our friends to know when we have a bad day. Then again; did we go to see friends on bad days? I happen to remember that there were days in life, far before social media, that I didn't feel like going out at all. And that I just stayed at home because I felt like shit.
The mistake that many people make is that they see social media profiles as a realistic view on people's life. It isn't. It's more like a summary of the best experiences this person has had over the past time. And if you take that into consideration, social media isn't all that depressing. 

Before you think I'm preaching social media; I'm not. There certainly are aspects of social media that I don't like at all. One of those things is that nowadays all discussions are so centered about the "me", rather than about a neutral subject (like it used to be, in the early days of the internet forums). That people blabber about totally useless things (like going to the bathroom -- who the f*ck cares???), or that people use it as a medium to bully and threaten others. And... of course there's that facepalm-worthy situation in which people that are sitting less than a meter apart prefer to communicate over Twitter instead of actually opening their mouths and saying something.

But like with everything; moderation is the key.
Everything that is overdone gets annoying, and social media is no exception in that.

Over the past years, I've seen people on both sides of the spectrum. From the people that were active on 10+ social media sites, posted every meal on Instagram, and almost seemed fused with their phone. To the people that hated social media and didn't want to have anything to do with it. You know... both extreme's aren't good. The first group tends to get ignored because they spend so much time telling how awesome their life is on social media, that they don't have time to actually live. The second group is basically excluded from information, even though this isn't always done on purpose. I can remember that we had one guy in our group of friends that was basically anti social media. When we arranged a meeting in a Facebook group chat, one always had to remind us to invite person-X as well because he didn't have Facebook. And sometimes... we just forgot. 

There are many people that quit social media for a while, just to experience what would happen. Experiences differ from person to person, but are all interesting to read. If you're curious to know how your life would look without it, I encourage you to just try quitting it for a week or two and see what happens.
I've done so too and I can assure you; It won't kill you. It will make you think.

Every new technology and every new means of communication comes with pro's and con's. And every new development comes many people that oppose it because they say "things used to be better". Sure, you're allowed to reflect upon that. I would only encourage that. But the point is that it's a continuous movement that you aren't gonna stop, no matter how much you fight against it. Instead of saying how things used to be better, try to get comfortable with how things are now. Make the best out of it!
Not everything is as bad as it seems. Sometimes you just need to get used to things...

In this day and age, with the internet at just about everyone's fingertips, social media is making a big boom and is useful for so much more than just socializing with others.  Each day more and more businesses jump on the social media bandwagon to help market and promote their goods.  For artists this is no different, as these websites are an excellent tool to market yourself, your skills, and of course your art!  

Benefits of using Social Media Websites

Be seen!
Starting out brand new on any social media website can be a bit daunting and building watchers/followers can take time though there are ways to get noticed faster if you are willing to put the time and effort into it.  Some time ago I wrote an article about gaining exposure.  While the article is geared towards gaining exposure on deviantART, a lot of the same concepts apply to other websites as well.  Do take a moment and give it a read.  Gaining Exposure To Art.  
The most important thing to remember about being seen is that you have to put the time and effort into getting out there where people can see you and your art.  Don't be too shy to approach others and get involved, it really does tend to pay off if you do.  

This really goes hand in hand with being seen.  Sure you might get lucky by simply posting your work and moving on.. maybe someone popular (with a large following) will stumble upon it and share it with others, or maybe someone with the ability to give a site wide feature will stumble across your work and feature it, you never know, it could happen.  But the reality is that you are far easier to be seen, even for those things, if you are putting yourself out there and making friends and just genrally being social with others.  

Make a friend, maybe two, or three, while interacting with like-minded individuals from the comfort of your home (or any other place where you have internet access for that matter).  Many social media users end up making wonderful new friends.

Market to your target audience
Being a part of, and being involved with social media websites gives you the advantage to learn and get to know your target audience.  It also allows you to have a direct link to these people once you've built a following and trying to sell and promote your work becomes much easier when those interested will have it sent directly to them, vs you having to go and pay for ads and hope that the right people see it etc etc.

Popular Social Media Websites

There are so many different social media websites on the web these days that you could probably get lost trying to hunt them all down.  I'll just make note of some of the more popular sites I've seen others promote their art on.
Since we are all here anyway, I think it's safe to say that dA is a wonderful place to post your art and be seen.  Especially geared towards art, you can not only see and find all the amazing art you are looking for, but you can post your own and be seen as well.
Many artists have their own facebook page for their art where they can upload their work and interact with their followers.  For some artists using facebook to promote their work has been very helpful.
tumblr is an easy to use site which allows you to upload your work to be shared and shared and shared by as many people as wish to share it making it a good place to get seen.
Much like tumblr, you can upload your work and others can share it on and on and on.
Link your art, add some #tags and you're ready to go.  People can search #tags and will hopefully also find your work.  Again, your tweets can be retweeted by other users making it easier to be seen.


Share your experiences in a comment below

:bulletred:How have social media sites benefited you?
:bulletred:Do you have a favorite social media website?
:bulletred:How many different social media sites do you use regularly?
:bulletred:Tell us anything else you wish to share about social media sites.  

Being Real with Poesdaughter

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 3:54 PM
There's nothing better than a good story...unless it's a good story that also happens to be true. And that's why we have an entire genre known as "creative non-fiction." It doesn't get a lot of press on dA, but essayists like David Sedaris and authors like Mary Roach and Jon Ronson routinely make the bestseller list, and rightly so. Creative non-fiction isn't limited to essays and memoirs.

 Which doesn't say what creative non-fiction is. Thankfully, better minds are on hand to answer that question.

While PoesDaughter is new to dA, she's no stranger to creative writing—her master's thesis is a series of creative non-fiction essays.

What is "creative non-fiction"?

Oh, geez. This very question always sparked interesting "discussions" in my creative writing classes in college, and I don't think anybody had like definitions! I mean, this is something that's been up for debate for...well, forever.

For me personally, creative non-fiction is a story of a life. You know, a little glimpse into who I am as well as an event or a person that shaped me. Usually, it's 
my life that I write about, but that doesn't always have to be the case. I've written about Catholic saints, a bear, and even a teacher I loathe. Right now, I'm working on an essay that weaves my experiences as a student of San Soo with the legend of the Chinese Monkey King. The point is that as long as it's grounded in real-life events, it doesn't matter who or what you write about. 

When does it stop being 'creative' nonfiction and, say, become an essay?

Therein lies the problem with creative non-fiction—it's one of those genres that eludes concrete definition. It's especially hard to define now because we have social media and the internet to contend with. Many think Facebook or Twitter updates counts as creative non-fiction. But suggest that to a literature purist and watch his vein pop out of his forehead! 

Similarly, a lot of people would say that a literary analysis of Sun Wukong peppered with my San Soo anecdotes doesn't count, and others would say that it does. One of my professors, for example, adamantly argues that all writing counts as "creative" because all writing begins with rhetorical invention, which is just a high-falutin' way of saying that you've come up with an idea to write about, and you've developed that idea into something concrete.

That's a load of crap. True, using personal anecdotes in analytical essays are a good way to hook your readers, but following that professor's logic, the ingredients list on my box of Cocoa Puffs counts as creative non-fiction. 

  The Gift“Hija,” Ruben called to me as he gathered people around him in a circle in my living room. He motioned for me to come to him so I plodded through the small crowd until I was at his side. A very round man who seemed to tower above me with greatness, I gazed up at his dark face like a timid girl, more nervous about what he wanted to say to me than I was about all the eyes fixed on the back of my head. Though the day was supposed to be full of reverence and joy, it had been anything but. Ruben knew it, and I expected him to lecture me in front of my friends and family for my disrespect in the Lord’s house.
When my brother, Jeremy, and I were teenagers, my mom made us promise three things: that we’d be Confirmed in the Catholic Church, that we’d be married in the Catholic Church, and that we’d baptize our children in the Catholic Church. It was an unfair thing, in retrospect, because she did not consider what our eventual spouses would have to say
On Writing, or How to Build a FenceI probably shouldn’t say “how to build a fence” so definitively because there is no one set way to do it. The number of permutations is not countless, but given all the materials you could choose from (wood, brick, chain link, mud, etc.) and all the geometrical designs you could create, the possibilities are staggering. Furthermore, when you figure in the human element — that is, the skill of the fence-builder (or lack thereof) — that number becomes astronomical. This evidence, by extension, suggests there is not one “right” way to do it. So when I say to you this is an essay about how to build a fence, what I really mean to say is that this is a story about how I built a fence in the summer of 2006. Whether or not my approach will help you with your project remains to be seen.
It started with an idea, a daydream of all the things that could be. I gazed at the vast expanse of prairie behind my house, a blank canvas, and pictured a fence
Anecdotes in creative non-fiction should always answer the "So what?" question. Oh, so you're learning how to do Kung Fu San Soo? So what? Why should humanity give a rat's ass about your experiences? Analytical essays don't answer that question, at least not in that way. 

Look, creative non-fiction isn't simply word-vomiting your life story onto a page. You've got to shape that real-life story into something that touches a universal theme, which moves your readers on a Jungian level. It has to have character development, plot twists, symbolism, etc. For me, creative non-fiction is just like regular fiction. The only difference is that the story actually happened. 

Can social media updates be creative non-fiction?

I suppose it's all how you look at it. I believe that Facebook and Twitter updates can fall into that category, but I'm honestly still on the fence about whether or not they always count as creative non-fiction. 

You know, in fiction there is a sub-genre called flash fiction, stories that have 1,000 words or less. Why can't Facebook and Twitter, or any social media site like them, who are limited by a word or character count, be construed as a sort of new sub-genre called flash non-fiction? 

Look, deliberately or accidentally, status updates do give us glimpses into a person's life, and frequently they tell a story. I know everyone has at least one friend on Facebook who has no concept of personal censorship; that person just has to share everything, no matter how intimate or personal, with their cyber-friends. Whether it's what they had for breakfast or why their ex is a scum-sucking pig, they just want their friends to know every detail about their lives. Sometimes we pay attention to them, and when we do we feel connected to that person because we can relate to them and what they've experienced. I think that's why creative non-fiction is so great; it reminds us that, in spite of our differences, we're all still human and we all go through many of the same things (and yes, I'm aware how corny and self-help yoga I sound).

The reason I have doubts as to whether social media counts as creative non-fiction goes back to that one friend and her status updates. I believe that a genuine work of creative non-fiction will tap into a universal theme. Does a picture of my steak dinner at a fancy restaurant really tap into a theme? I don't think so. I mean, maybe you could make some sort of Marxist statement about things like that, but I think that would be pretty weak. Grasping for straws.

But in addition to that, creative non-fiction is about real-life events, and not everyone on the internet is truthful. I read on 
Cracked about a guy named Elan Gale who pranked everyone on Twitter by talking about this disruptive woman on the plane he was on. According to him, she was pissed off because the plane was delayed. His tweets gradually got more intense as this woman supposedly became more confrontational. Many people lauded him as a hero for eventually putting her in her place. But then, it came out that he'd made up the whole thing. So while his Tweets were entertaining, in the end they were just a work of fiction. 

Here's another example. I like to be funny on Facebook—I get sick of the melodramatic, hate-filled political and/or religious posts that dominate my news feed, so I try to lighten things up. One day, I posted: "If you get pulled over by a cop and he asks you if you have drugs or weapons in the car, it's never a good idea to say, 'Why? What do you need?'" Many of my friends actually believed that happened, and wondered if they needed to come bail me out of jail. Me, being the smart-ass that I am, decided to go with it and let them think that I was really updating my status from the county lock-up. 

Just because it's on the internet (especially on social media sites where you think you know people) doesn't mean it's true. 
  Breath of LifeThere is a bright light when you die. I know because I almost died once, when I was thirteen. My inhaler had run out too soon, and my mom was angry with me because I kept asking to use hers on the long road trip from Gillette to Pueblo. When we reached Grandpa’s house, I strapped my nebulizer mask to my face and sucked down large vials of albuterol while my family watched Highlander on the Saturday night movie. The medicine did nothing to stop the painful wheezing, and only served to annoy everyone else with the machine’s loud hum drowning out Christopher Lambert’s voice. Two nights of this passed. On the third night, Mom told Jeremy she was revoking his turn and was letting me sleep in the only guest bed with her so she could keep a better eye on me, and that pissed him off. He called me a spoiled brat, but I was too weak to argue. I went to bed early and stared at the ceiling, struggling to breathe. A crushing weight sat on my chest. I saw electric blue spots Flow Like WaterWater, the most abundant natural compound in the world, covers approximately seventy percent of the planet’s surface, mirroring the human body, which also contains about seventy percent. It is a compound marked by circles. The circular rotation of the Earth, in addition to the gravitational pull of the Moon, creates foamy ocean tides that can either sweep people out to sea in a powerful tsunami or sweep people into the even more powerful arms of love. Rain forms in heavy, spherical drops, and falls to the earth in sweet, honeyed fragrances. Similarly, dew beads on the ground at dawn, carrying with it the fresh scent of newly cut grass blades as a child walks to school in the golden sunrise. Whirlpools froth at the mouths of their big, circular maws. When a pebble breaks the surface of a calm pond or lake, concentric circles peacefully ripple outward towards infinity. Humans, to name one specific animal, are born in a burst of amniotic water, and when we die our tissues dissolve i  Seven Inexplicable MomentsOne: From a tender age, I exhibited a freakish connection to the supernatural world. The strange way I could see ghosts in the burnt remains of a house and how I could predict that Jeremy, my little brother, would fall off a ladder and break his arm three weeks prior to the actual incident mortified my parents, and my second sight was discouraged by their derisive remarks. Born with what they called “a wild imagination,” I drifted through childhood on the borderland between dimensions with one foot grounded in this world and one foot grounded in the next. I frequently floated into that plane, seeing the unseen mingle with the living. Certain I was defective somehow, my parents had me tested. Physically and mentally I was fine. Doctors and psychiatrists had no ailment to blame for my weird behavior. My parents, however, were not convinced I was normal. I could tell them I had just seen a dark entity hovering in the toolshed out back – its body not a body

Do you think we can—and should—be using social media better? Should microblogging have conscious intent or a universal theme?

 Hmm.... In a way, I think those kinds of non-fiction venues are written with a certain intent. I just don't think they're always written towards a certain theme. Usually not, in fact. I know, shocking! 

But as to whether or not they should be used better? I don't honestly know the answer to that, but I'd say they could. I think it's mostly mindless entertainment, and I confess I'm just as guilty as the next person. I repost funny memes and generally avoid any real debate about serious issues. The only things I'm committed to is openly rooting for the Denver Broncos, making fun of Justin Bieber and Twilight, and arguing with my brother about who'd win in a fight: Chuck Norris or Liam Neeson (the answer is neither, Bruce Lee would kill them both). 

Ideally, you'd like to think people would post thought-provoking words of wisdom and make the world a better place by circulating Marcus Aurelius' profound insights, or even coming up with some of their own. But the reality is that a large percentage of people post pictures of themselves doing their best duck-face in front of their bathroom mirrors, and the best you could hope for when you see that is that they flushed their toilets before taking the picture.

Sometimes, though, I think it's pretty obvious that we use it as a valuable tool and resource to improve our quality of living. Social media sites have been shown in the past to raise awareness towards specific issues that might've otherwise gone unnoticed by the public at large. People learn about political candidates, specific causes, and general injustices in the world, and are more motivated to help fix the problems. And I'm not talking about those "For every like this post receives, such and such will donate $1 to starving kids in Ethiopia" memes. I mean Facebook updates and Tweets have made actual activists out of normally inactive people.

In my town, for example, a local politician, Angela Giron, was ousted from office for ignoring her constituents about gun control measures. It was the first time in our city's history that a politician was recalled from office for backing unfavorable policies, and I feel it happened largely because recall supporters used social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more in an effort to get the word out about Giron's actions.

Recall organizers circulated public records, organized rallies, created petitions, etc. They helped people get registered to vote and to find their polling locations. Obviously, her supporters used those same outlets as well, but I think it's safe to say her opponents used them more successfully. She was recalled by a 
huge margin, a shocking number of votes given that my town is a Democrat strong-hold, with an unbelievably large percentage of Democrats voting against her.

On a broader scale, I know of one instance when a Facebook user rallied a bunch of bikers to stand guard at a kid's funeral when the Westboro Baptists threatened to protest it. Bikers from all over the United States came to the funeral and made a barricade outside the church. Later, even though the WBC was ultimately a no-show, the bikers posted several pictures and updates about their success on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. I've read about a lot of various people using social media to organize counter-protests against the WBC, and to be quite honest, it makes me cheer every time I hear about it. 

Celebrities also use social media to help specific causes. I follow Ricky Gervais on Facebook, for example, and he frequently posts things about the ethical treatment of animals. George Takei uses it to educate people about gay rights. There's even a page for God—it's quite hilarious in spite of what you'd expect from the name—and "God" often posts suicide, addiction, and various other helplines and links to resources for people in need of help. 

I could cite several more examples off the top of my head, but I think it's clear that the social media sites can definitely motivate people to get involved and contribute more than just mindless entertainment to the masses. And the whole point of me mentioning that is that I believe when people use those sites to take part in something greater than themselves to benefit the rest of humanity, that's probably the best we can hope for. And isn't that the dream of any sincere writer?
Ursa MinorIn a life that feels so lacking in concrete identity, the one thing that answers the age-old question “Who am I?” is the knowledge that Colorado is the land that gave birth to me. Pride swells in my heart when I see a bald eagle flying so close to the surface of Blue Mesa that its glossy feathers touch the water and make gentle ripples in the lake. There is equal awe when herds of elk and deer walk by me unafraid, and there is laughter when a wild turkey gobbles as he flees from me through a thick evergreen forest. Back east where the foothills give way to the Great Plains, I am humbled by the angry tornadoes that roar across the prairie in the scorching, summer heat. In the fall, I am entranced as pale golden aspens blush in the morning sun, gradually becoming orange and then red, heralding the return of Old Man Winter. I have seen nothing more majestic than the snowpack melting off the fourteeners in roaring waterfalls, and nothing more powerful than a mountaintop blizzar The Airy Adventures of One Mr. Putt-Putt HallWhen I wound up his hangar-shaped music box, a tiny airplane gently flew from it and on a thin arm circled around to a joyful tune. Yet, when I inwardly sang the first few lines of that song — Off we go into the wild, blue yonder, climbing high into the sun — a peculiar pain bloomed in my chest and infected my throat with grief until I could no longer fight the deluge struggling to burst from my eyes. It’s because that’s what he was finally doing, climbing high into the sun where I could not follow. I would never get to hear the story of the last adventure of Richard “Putt-Putt” Hall.
Throughout my life, I sat with him on the front porch of his house by the freeway, counting cars, watching the trains rumble by as they noisily blew their whistles, and listening to him comically stutter my song: Katie, beautiful Katie, you’re the one, yes, you’re the one that I adore…When the moon shines over the cow shed, I’ll be wait

What if your life just isn't interesting enough to write about?

That question made me chuckle sympathetically with everyone who suffers from that problem. 

When I took my first creative non-fiction class, and we got our first assignment, I freaked out because frankly, I feel I'm not that interesting. I'm a boring person. I'm married with children, I drive a frickin' minivan, I'd rather be at home than at a party, I've never set a foot outside of the United States, and I'm an English teacher. I never acted crazy as a teenager because I was a shy bookworm who was afraid to break the rules. And now that I'm older and more ornery, I still can't break the rules because I have to set a good example for my kids and my students! The coolest thing I do is study Kung Fu. So yeah, my first creative non-fiction assignment made me worry. 

But my professor, bless him, taught us that everyone is interesting in his or her own way. Everyone has a cool story to tell. Everyone has a niche. It's just a matter of finding that niche and exploiting it. For example, we read a lot of Sherman Alexie's work in that class, and David Sedaris' too. Neither man had what I'd call a feel-good swashbuckling adventure of a life, but they had unique perspectives on some very universal problems —Alexie's a Native American who grew up on a reservation and Sedaris is a homosexual who had to learn how to come into his own. Apart from those things, they're decidedly ordinary people. You don't have to be Ernest Hemingway taking a kudu hunting trip to the African savannah to write about your life. 

Being interesting is all about your delivery, too. If you can remember that it's not what you're writing about so much as how you write it, any story becomes interesting. Your voice and your style are what make it unique.

For example, someone told me in a critique that I've got a dark sense of humor that's hilarious and shrewd, and that's one of the reasons they thought my writing was so great. I think I'm just a world-class smart-ass, and that quality of my character naturally comes out in my writing. That will be the case with you as well, and it should. You're telling a story from your life. Your real voice 
should come out because that's what's gonna give your story enough oomph to make people stop and take notice. Don't be fake. Don't write anything that you don't really think, and especially don't worry about saying what you think your reader wants to hear.

I'll give you a quick example of what I'm talking about, from Facebook no less. Just like we all have that one friend who is the daily winner of the TMI trophy, we also have that one friend whose kids are the most saintly kids to ever have walked the earth. The rest of us know that's a bunch of horse crap, especially if we have kids too. But most parents are too afraid to be honest about how trying kids can be because it's taboo to even think there might be times you dislike them, so these people do the exact opposite and try to make it like their kids walk on water and resurrect the dead. 

But that's boring as hell to me. I can't relate to that at all (let alone believe such a thing is possible) because quite frankly, my kids remind me on a daily basis why some animals eat their young. So I'm the one who writes updates like, "A lady at Wal-mart asked me the names of 'Mommy's Little Helpers.' Evidently, 'Xanax' and 'Moscato' was the wrong thing to say."

I got a lot of appreciative notice for that post, a hell of a lot more than times when I've sung my kids' praises. Your readers will not only spot insincerity and outright lies, they'll also be bored by them. Trust me, you're more entertaining when you're yourself and show the world what you're really thinking. And chances are, they're thinking it too. 
  A Passing ThoughtI realized what it was in the midst of what my husband later called “my first panic attack.” That foul smell of formaldehyde tenaciously clung to me, to my clothes, to my hair. I reeked of the morgue. As I drove home that night, I crumbled from grief and a loss of innocence, firmly planted in a moment of staunch surrealism.
Death had been a prerequisite for the job. If I even thought I’d have a problem with corpses, Vestal, my would-be boss, told me to find something else. Of course, it wasn’t a problem. Death and I got to know each other intimately well from the time I was a little girl. I had watched my grandmother shrink into dementia as the leukemia metastasized and infected her bones and brain. The chemotherapy and radiation treatments eradicated her taste buds and caused her jet black hair to fall out in disgusting clumps. Somehow, she inflated like a balloon, and between that and the olive green and magenta bruises stippling her skin, she looked like a mo
Bridges, BurningIn criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with any friend or foe.
From this purpose nothing shall turn me.

~Edgar Allan Poe
English majors at Colorado State University – Pueblo suffer under the delusion that high-falutin’ rhetorical perfection is the only way to get past the velvet ropes at Club Academia, an assumption that is foisted upon us by the illustrious Dr. Donna Souder. At her behest, we’re exhausting ourselves in a narcissistic orgy of reading, writing, and conference presentations, all in the hopes that the academic gods will cut us the same deal they did with Aristotle.
Coming soon, we have the Southern Colorado Rhetoric Society’s annual conference, Donna’s lovechild, and almost as important as who presents – hell, maybe even more important than who presents – is who is on the trendiest new bandwagon in rhetoric and composition research. People’s papers are analyzed, critiqued, and discussed as though
   The SoldierI daydream often of San Miguel del Milagro, a tiny mission-style Catholic church in a Mexican village far from tropical beaches and Mayan ruins. I see myself inside this humble chapel, kneeling before the altar during Mass, my hands folded against my forehead as I listen to the priest utter prayers in Spanish. For once, I take the ritual seriously. I talk to God; Please Lord, I say to myself, I know things haven’t always been right between us, but just this once will you have mercy on me? I inwardly confess my sins, purifying my soul so He won’t find me unworthy. In a large shrine nearby is a statue of the church’s patron saint: Michael the Archangel. He is the reason I am here. I look intently at him. In one hand he holds a cross on a staff like the Bishop of Rome, but on his head he wears the traditional Aztec headdress of a warrior chieftain. His golden wings curl behind him as if inviting me to seek shelter beneath them. He has called me here, and I 
For everyone who feels too boring to be the subject of anything artistic, I'll give you the same advice someone gave to me when I first started writing creative non-fiction: write about a first. Your first kiss, your first dance recital, your first home run.

The reason for this is simple—when it's your first, you look at it with such wonder and possibility. Everything feels so new and so fresh, and so when you write about it, it'll be easier to be interesting.

I wrote my memoir, "A Passing Thought," for my very first assignment. It was about the first body I took to the morgue when I worked as an orderly at the hospital, and it practically wrote itself. Even the symbolism of death—the curtain, the logbook, the darkness—lined up perfectly and on its own. That wasn't crap I made up for dramatic effect, that actually happened, and in retrospect that was pretty awesome how the universe smiled at me like that. In many ways, I think "A Passing Thought" is my best creative non-fiction essay to date. So for everyone who wants to try their hand at a work of creative non-fiction, I'd urge you to start with a first. 

Is creative non-fiction the best way to find one's 'voice'?

Not necessarily. Your voice is going to change according to what you write. My non-fiction voice is different than the voices I use for fiction or even poetry. It has to, in order to be more convincing. I'm not a Nazi with a penchant for pulling teeth, a prolific female serial killer journaling in an insane asylum, or a woman trying to survive the apocalypse. It probably wouldn't make sense to write a creative non-fiction piece from the same voice as the Nazi, you know? 

I think what you might mean is style, but I still don't necessarily think a specific genre will help you define it. There's really not one "best" way to develop it; it just takes time, practice, and experimentation. You've got to find out what works for you because what works for me might not suit you at all. Writers are as varied as their creations.

But if I had to wager a guess as to the "best" method of finding your writing style, I'd tell you to do something you've surely heard before: 
read. Specifically, read lots of books by your favorite authors, and when you write, try to imitate them. I don't mean copy them. I mean imitate their word choice, the rhythms of their language, their subject matter, and so on and so forth. As you practice, you'll start to recognize your own style emerging. You'll keep what you like and you'll discard what you don't. 

In my work—and this goes for non-fiction and fiction—I developed my style after studying my favorite writers, particularly Stephen King. From him, I learned how to channel my dark sense of humor and my unbelievable morbidity. I also learned how to write descriptions; it wasn't enough to be descriptive, it was what I chose to be descriptive about. I saw where to focus my readers' attention and how.

What helped my creative non-fiction was reading his novel prefaces as well as his memoir, 
On Writing; he's fairly conversational with his readers, and now I am too, almost as if you were sitting right in front of me. 

I also learned a lot by studying Edgar Allan Poe's non-fiction. His essay, "The Philosophy of Composition," was especially illuminating. I couldn't believe how mathematically precise everything was for him before he'd even put a pen to paper.

A lot of scholars will argue that he was playing a trick on people by saying that, but I don't think so. Look at his work as a whole. It's unbelievably complex and precise. I strive for that Pythagorean precision in my own work. From him, I also learned about unreliable narrators, sarcasm, and internal psychological conflict, all things I've adapted to my creative non-fiction pieces as well as my fiction. One thing I discarded from Poe, however, was his penchant for wordy sentences. That was a popular convention in the Romantic Era when he was writing (an entire page being one long sentence), but now, not so much. 
  Writing Conflict: Sadism at its FinestOne of the biggest troubles plaguing fiction writers is a lack of conflict in the plot structure of their story. Almost every writer has trouble with conflict, trouble that’s all out of proportion to the mental problems the subject presents. You can jot down notes, you can talk intelligently about various parts of the story structure, yet when you sit down to write, your story’s conflict is virtually non-existent.
How does this happen?
I suspect it’s because when you sit down to write, you have a good idea of what constitutes a conflict, but you also have an aversion to the actual step-by-step development of that conflict. Building a conflict is hard unless you’re a drama queen, and believe me, I know plenty of those. For those of us who are logical human beings, however, deliberately creating problems is unnatural. Our day-to-day life consists of avoiding trouble at all costs, and when trouble arises, it consists of finding the path of least resistance t
Flow Like WaterWater, the most abundant natural compound in the world, covers approximately seventy percent of the planet’s surface, mirroring the human body, which also contains about seventy percent. It is a compound marked by circles. The circular rotation of the Earth, in addition to the gravitational pull of the Moon, creates foamy ocean tides that can either sweep people out to sea in a powerful tsunami or sweep people into the even more powerful arms of love. Rain forms in heavy, spherical drops, and falls to the earth in sweet, honeyed fragrances. Similarly, dew beads on the ground at dawn, carrying with it the fresh scent of newly cut grass blades as a child walks to school in the golden sunrise. Whirlpools froth at the mouths of their big, circular maws. When a pebble breaks the surface of a calm pond or lake, concentric circles peacefully ripple outward towards infinity. Humans, to name one specific animal, are born in a burst of amniotic water, and when we die our tissues dissolve i
Whatever you do to help you develop your style, just keep in mind that not only is style something that takes practice and hard work to develop, it's also something that gradually changes with time. The more experience and knowledge you gain, the more you evolve, and the more that's going to affect how you write. Think about the kind of writer you were five years ago. Do you think you were the same as you are now? I can almost certainly promise you that you're not. 

A lot of people really fret about getting their style right, but I say don't get bogged down with it. Let it be what it's gonna be.

Do you have any closing thoughts for aspiring writers?

Oh, wow, there's so much I could say, but that would require a book! 

What I tell all of my students is that there are easier hobbies/careers to pursue. But if you sincerely want to be a writer, remember that it takes a lot of hard work, persistence, and time. Read. A lot. Even if it's just your cereal box. And yes, comic books count. 

Develop a thick skin; you won't survive as a writer if you can't learn to take criticism with a grain of salt. Choose two or three people whose opinions you really trust, and listen to them.

Pay attention in English class (if you're still in school, that is). English teachers don't teach you about grammar and spelling and force you to write stuff just to torture you. Language is a tool, and we're teaching you how to use it to the best of your ability. That's kind of important to, you know, writers. 

Write what you love, not what you think other people want you to write. Stay true to yourself. 

As you gain experience, always offer a helping hand to younger writers in need of guidance. Give freely of yourself and your knowledge to anyone who asks you for it. We're all in this together.

Most importantly, remember that it's the journey, not the destination, that makes writing a rewarding activity. Even if you become a bestselling novelist and world-famous and rich, even if people hail your opinion and call you a modern-day master of storytelling, even if you get a MFA or doctorate from a premier creative writing school, you will still know only a tiny amount about what it means to be a writer. Therefore, don't worry about knowing all there is to know about the craft. Learn what you can, absorb knowledge like a sponge, but don't focus so much on your education that you completely forget to enjoy the experience of writing. 

Thanks for your time!


Photography Discussions: Social Media

Thu Jan 14, 2016, 6:28 PM
For the past year we've been hosting monthly Photography Debates at CRPhotography. However, 12 months later, it seems we've covered most of the 'big' debates, and would be getting too specific if we tried to continue finding new topics. So we're shifting gears: instead of 'debates' we just want to promote a specific discussion for the month. We wanna hear your opinions, engage with you about them, and see you engage with each other as well! So here's a new topic of this transformed series:

Social Media: Which site do you find best for photographers?

Tell us about which website you find best in terms of promotion, networking, and other important aspects of being a photographer. We're using social media in a broad sense, any site from twitter to flickr applies. What are the benefits of your favorite site versus others? Which do you spend the most time on with regards to your photography?

Last month was our first discussion topic, and it was 'Professional or Hobbyist". Here's some highlights of what people had to say:

RockstarVanity said:

Photography-as-a-business is SO MUCH business and a lot less photography than you'd probably expect. It really isn't a case of "I like taking these photos so I'll just start getting paid for it". It's about research, marketing, accounting, marketing, customer care, marketing, not always shooting stuff you're 100% in love with, and more marketing. It's expensive, not just in terms of buying or hiring equipment but also having space to work in, travelling, marketing (again), insurance and all the other costs that come along with running any type of business. It's not always a secure or predictable income, especially at the beginning, and it can take over your life in so many ways. Then there's pricing - do you undercut competitors and risk devaluing your work and not being able to afford to live on your earnings, or do you keep your prices higher and risk potential clients opting for someone with less skill and experience who charges less?

I'm not saying don't do it. I'm saying think about it seriously and be very aware that it's not simply a case of magically getting paid for shooting what you're already shooting. You need to be very good at what you do and you need to be able to actually run a business, which is challenging in itself. There's also the option of photography-as-a-second-income, which can be a good stepping stone or sometimes an end-goal in itself if you don't want to go full-time self-employed and rely on only income from photography to pay your bills.

PoultryChamp said:

A few years ago I made a decision to stick with being a hobbyist photographer. I took a good look at myself, my finances, my skills, and my photographs, and I was comfortable with my ability.

Being a professional photographer is much more than showing up with a nice DSLR camera in hand. It's a business. You are providing a service to a customer - often for hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time. You need to get it right. What if your single DSLR camera stops working that day? You need a backup. You need multiple SD cards. You need all of your professional equipment, and it has to be ready to go, rain or shine. If your bride's drunk uncle trips over your $300 tripod and busts it, you need to be prepared to have a backup. You need a backup to your backup.

You also need to provide customer service and run all aspects of a business from marketing to accounting. If you decide to get bigger, you need to consider hiring other photographers. That's a new type of challenge.

I didn't want to do that, and I still don't. I'm happy with being a hobbyist.

Being a hobbyist means I can learn on my own time, shoot on my own time, develop on my own time. I'm never rushed or pressured. I do get the odd request for quasi-professional services, and I am happy to oblige for low-cost or no-cost, when available. I just did a shoot in October pro-bono for a lady, it was lots of fun. But I had to make sure she knew I was only a hobbyist, not freelance, not professional. I still write up the contracts, discuss terms of ownership, and act professional, but I make sure the other party knows what they are getting.

Cassy-Blue said:

I hate doing paperwork so I'm keeping it an hobby. Hey if I get a paying gig here and there it makes me happy, I can go out to eat or buy another piece of gear.  Photography is one of my stress outlets, so why would I want to make my stress outlet, a stress inducer Stare? 'll keep to bugs being my job and photography my stress relief.

Lugal said:

I call myself semi-professional, in that I have had people pay me money for my photographs, but it is not something I can make a living on right now. I like to think that I have enough business acumen to run it, but running a business requires a lot of other skills, not related to photography (and in this day and age requires a lot of self-promotion, something don't have much talent for) and quite frankly don't want to do. Much as I hate having to work a day job, it's a steady income.

But we also have to deal with the fact that Photography as a profession is sort of fading and being pushed into the hobbyist sphere.  The ubiquity of camera-phones has only made this worse. There are many people who cannot make it as professional photographers anymore. I recently talked to a friend, who was a professional photographer for many years with publishing credits in Arizona Highways and numerous books.  He had to take a day job because photography alone no longer pays the bills. 

Making matters worse is that photography is not as respected as other professions, in terms of skills involved, because now everybody does it. As a writer as well as a photographer, I see the similarities between writing and photography. For instance, people who can't draw generally know that they can't draw, whereas people believe writing the Great American Novel is only slightly more difficult than arranging words into a sentence; photography is just pointing the camera and pressing the button, without really knowing anything about composition, line, color, and so on.

Lorelei-Photographie said:

I'm going to give a different answer from most of what I've read below, because I decided to turn professional this year and I absolutely love it.

I've studied law and political sciences, but what I loved doing in my spare time was writing, drawing, and photographing. I never thought of it as a job - I thought my stable job would allow me to pursue my hobbies as I wished. But then I found out that it just wasn't for me. I want to be able to do what I love all day. I want to do different things everyday and to work with different people all the time. If all I think about is making artistic projects, why not go for it? So I opened my business as a freelancer. Of course it's a lot of paperwork, networking and such. Of course it's not all about taking the shots. I felt I was ready for all that, so I went for it. It's been less than four months, I already have clients and a lot of positive feedback. It's still slow of course - it takes time to get known. I have a part-time job teaching to live by, and as the photography business grows I'll teach less to keep a balance (through I love teaching too, it's such a perfect mix). I think it's really important before deciding to turn a hobby into a profession to think about all the pragmatic side. It's also important to know exactly what kind of photographer we want to be - because obviously different types of photography do not imply the same kind of difficulties, job opportunities and so on. Artist photograph selling prints? Service photograph taking portraits? Wedding photography? Animal photography? Landscape photography? Working for an agency, working freelance? I'll also add that it's important to know why we want to be a photographer - to like it is not enough, we also have to want all it implies in terms of lifestyle. It's a lot of work and no one is behind to say "keep going" or "get to work", so a lot of will is necessary! If that takes the passion away, then it's better to keep photography a hobby.

Thank you everyone for your interesting thoughts and input!

Social Media For Artists

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 23, 2012, 7:22 AM

"You can create art in a vacuum, but you´ll never generate any great ideas from there."

The mind is a muscle and it has to be trained regularly as much as any other muscle in your body.

What does this have to do with social media, you might ask?

A lot.

In times where many are forced to work alone or as freelancers, social media replaces the work space attitude you find in a usual work environment. Social media is the "global" opportunity to "show-up" and "dress up".

Working in a dull environment or in a work space that is full of people who are waiting for "Friday" to come, you know there is not a real chance to grow on your projects or in general, that is just a place to make a living, but possibly just not for long and if you´d be honest, it is not a worthwhile station in your life too.

Whenever I talk to people, I´m astounded to get asked how I manage to keep up on par with so many social networks, the answer is simple: I consider them different departments of a big office or mall and whenever I have time I check in to get the latest news on interesting topics.
The pleasant part of this, you don´t have to deal very much with people you don´t want to talk to.

This surely means there has to be a specific self-discipline to not waste too much time online, alright, that is the nitpick, it might not be for anyone. However, I found this working for me.

The following list includes networks I regularly visit and foster, in order of priority:
deviantArt, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Shadowness, Pinterest, behánce & Google+

Someone might ask why using three, four or more networking sites when the most people are on facebook, because most people tend to share different things on different networks.

One thing people tend to forget is the algorithm of many social media sites, which causes to decide for you what information you´ll see, depending on your connections and your data. Data-mining software and algorithm works always in the back and sorts relevant data for you, not quite the nice English kind of dealing with your information, but this is how it works.The only way to avoid that is to manually crawl through different sources to see relevant information.

If you just rely on facebook for example, you are missing one heap of input from your friends, instead you receive many unwanted and useless bits of information gathered from a software. If the software get´s better and learns it might be possible to get information you really want to receive someday, depending on what you prioritize, but this also means we can be far better manipulated, another reason to keep this habit of manual information harvesting, because it is not possible for the software to render accurate profiles of your online habits.

I usually use online social media platforms to read news about topics I share an interest with someone, or to find inspiration. deviantArt is by far the biggest network right behind facebook when it comes to art and the ability to connect with new and established talent, so it is equally important to show recent works there, to keep in touch or follow up on topics or contacts, facebook is the more adequate option. Google+ is not really the place to be, something I sadly have found out, but I guess it is still not unimportant for search rankings and profiling.

LinkedIn has more value for a polished display of professional engagement and allows to share and gather a vast range of information from twitter to behánce as also other networks, like this blog for example.

Something really great I found and nurture, is the possibility of generating ideas through networking. Sometimes it is a nice evening with friends (yes in real life!), another times it is a small post from a friend on facebook that makes you think, it is always the unparalleled input from various sources that have an impact on us and the time to think about it in the back-burner of our brain.

In fact, being connected more with people I like to be connected with, is healthy to cultivate a creative environment, since working from home for about 4 years now.
I did not felt one day to have a creative block, thanks to the valuable input and positive affirmations I read online, its really that small notes you read here and there that are shared with thousands of people at a time, that makes you smile and keeps you going. Compare this with real life work environments, when was the last time, a colleague showed you something motivating or engaging (except for the chain-mails of powerpoint presentation of lovely sunsets or kittens...)?

Pinterest is an even better source for positive sparks of inspiration, motivation and beauty, that can cheer you up in a downtime.

Sharing is caring, even if you don´t know who will benefit from your insights and outputs, karma will find a way, and it will come back to you in one or the other way, think about it.

Visit my blog for more::

You can always browse the most popular deviations within the deviantART community, but have you ever wondered what deviations are popular among other online communities?

Here are the top deviations among other social networks for the month of February:  

Most tweeted on


Star Trek vs Dr. Who by SummersetA Love Song for Jabba the Hutt by JimSam-X25 Years Of Dying by TheBourgymanVenice - Italy by michelledhOptimist Prime by avid

Highest traffic from


:thumb75855345:The Marine  Danny Trejo- -+ by azazel1944Sailor Senshi Maker by dolldivinevinny by saturdayxAltair Paper Doll Template by ChibiAddict

Highest traffic from


picard in syrup by bigbigtruck26th - Breeze by DNYccDW: Non-Stop Excitement by rachelroach'Shhh... We're hunting... by hel999

Most upvotes on


'Chrome' Forests by Rebecca1208Zomburbia by BurnellSHITHEAD ACTION gif-animation by bahijdBearded: Reddit by VanjamrganProtoss Probe FanArt by JoelBelessa

Highest traffic from


Yet Another Optical Illusion by varuasNemo Graffiti by MatthewDelDeganlet's not be anemones... by erikamoenStuff. by existential-courage

(Note: Traffic stats are based on sampled data and may not be 100% accurate.)

DeviantART is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Digg.

The Jim Goldstein Photography Blog examines WHY Social Media sites are so valuable to photographers today, and this is one heck of a GREAT read at that and pretty much nails it on the head! Honestly, if you take your photography seriously, then this is a MUST read for you!


I know a lot of people are saying we don't get out much and we're lonelier than ever (despite being more connected than ever)

but I can honestly say I'm doing more with my life than ever before

I go to events every other day because I can just google up whats happening, I'm painting more, I have more friends, I can call up anyone and go hang out, and I even found my long lost dad. 
I'm learning more about languages, politics and nutrition too.

I think this works for me anyway. 
If you are scared of the internet/social media/phone age just try to look for the things that are positive about it and use it to your advantage.

I think before I was just quietly reading in a field, now I'm visiting the Gatineau hills with my friends or going to a butterfly exhibit.

And lots and lots of parties :icongrinwooplz:

Think of all the people back in history, when their times started changing. The day cars arrived must have devastated people who loved taking their horses to work! Or when phones arrived, people must have complained, "oh... back in my day we actually got out of the house and walked over to see them!" or when we started going to school, "ohhh.. we used to just spend so much time together at home..."
and stuff like that. 
The future will have something that bothers our kids too, like, "ohh... we used to walk around, but now we're flying all the time. It's so boring. We used to use facebook and had phones, but now we have virtual reality. I miss the good o'l days when we could type to our friends."

Maybe when people started to farm, hunter-gatherers complained about that too...

On a different note, I think the people of the future will be so fascinated by our primitive use of facebook and phones. "This generation wrote more than any other! You can read entire conversations over the course of years in this ancient database!"

We are also documenting our lives more than any other generation has ever before. What if future generations *don't* do this, and what if they love how we documented ourselves and are able to study us more than any other generation because of it?

I could just go on with these thoughts but I'm gonna go to bed. 


Journal Entry: Thu Jul 2, 2015, 6:42 PM




Em Ford is raising awareness about the dangers of social media in her powerful new film.

Hurtful comments can cause real pain, even when they come from perfect strangers. In a powerful new project, Em Ford is exploring the damaging effects social media can have in setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to beauty and appearance. In her video, Ford shares real comments that were made about her face—hurtful, very personal attacks on how she looks with and without makeup. On her Youtube page, Ford explains why she made the film:

Over the past few months, I've received thousands of messages from people all over the world who suffer or have suffered from acne, an insecurity or self confidence issues. I wanted to create a film that showed how social media can set unrealistic expectations on both women and men. One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we're so used to seeing false images of perfection, and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing —You ARE beautiful. You are beautiful—no matter how flawed you feel, no matter how upset you may about the way you look or how hard you find it to make friends, or be confident. Believe in yourself, and never let anyone tell you're not beautiful—not even yourself.

The result is quite moving:


love emote by doutohandou


Her Youtube My Pale Skin -…

love emote by doutohandou


love emote by doutohandou

:thumb500611485: all for dropping by / enjoy it!

  • Mood: Compassion
  • Listening to: /
  • Reading: Haruki Murakami
  • Watching: dA
  • Drinking: milk

Glee-chan's Social Media

Journal Entry: Tue Dec 30, 2014, 7:44 PM
Since it's likely I'll be suspended soon, I thought I'd share my other social networking sites before I get canned.…;…

My Tumblr and Twitter accounts are linked, so anything I post there is sent to Tumblr.  The best way to hear from me would be from Tumblr.  (I haven't updated my Twitter picture in years, I only use it for the Olympics and Big Brother)

Drawcrowd is more appealing to me as an alternative uploading site (for gallery purposes) that pixiv, but if people want me to use that more, I will.  (Right now there isn't much on either of them, I just made them)

  • Listening to: Yorokobi no Uta - Haruka Tomatsu
  • Reading: Naoko by Keigo Higashino
  • Watching: Batman 66
  • Playing: Lego Batman 3, Dragon Age 3, Kingdom Hearts Remix
  • Eating: ...
  • Drinking: ...