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I've noticed Tumblr seems to be getting slower and slower, the last month or so. I don't follow many people, and those I follow are long-term FIAWOL types which, admittedly, likely has something to do with it, but in the last few weeks it seems as though not only are the people I've followed for years posting less, if at all, but the posts I'm seeing on my dash have fewer notes. It used to be unheard of for a Supernatural gifset to cross my dash with under 500 notes, and now it seems standard that they slow-to-stop at 300, 400.

Have we moved? Did we consciously leave and no one told me?

I've been thinking a lot about how to fix my fandom experience. Right now I've checked out entirely but for my twitter, which I like a lot in that it's conversation, but wish I had more people to talk to. But the biggest loss for me is still the community aspect of fandom. Tumblr certainly never had it. But I do miss it a lot.

This last week, I've been tweaking and working on my old website, linzeestyle.com, trying to develop more of a blog setup using Wordpress. It's alright, but I'm not sure it's the best place for fanfic. I don't feel comfortable with AO3. The extent to which the cold-culture associated with AO3 (and the general change in fandom demographics, I suspect) has been terrible for me mentally. A couple of weeks ago I spoke to my dissertation director, and broke down crying, admitting to him I'm terrified my writing has hit its ceiling: that I won't be able to get anything published, that I won't be able to get a job because of it, that I'll be trapped in this kind of limbo at ASU as a result. I've lost confidence in my real life work as a result of so much time spent working on my "hobby" writing and seeing it disappear into a void of silence. He gave me advice I'm trying to take to heart: that if something is causing me that much stress, I'm paying to do it. It doesn't matter if no money is involved; it's still costing me something. And in this case, it's more than I can afford.

I'm still terrified my writing has hit its ceiling. That it won't be good enough; that the silence I'm meeting in fandom is a reflection of the limits of my potential in real life, too. It's scaring me to death. And that disappoints me because writing fanfic was so important to developing my writing skills. Having beta readers; commentary and feedback; discussion and revision. The environment I'm left in, I don't have fannish friends left to read my work anymore. Writing in a bubble has never been healthy, whether it's for a hobby, or for "work" (or the hope of finding it).

At any rate. Have we moved? Has everyone found an alternative to Tumblr, or am I just watching as others slowly give up and leave fandom as well?

And more to the point, *waves* -- hello. I need to get better at using this again.
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This post of Stereowire's is everything I have ever wanted to articulate about Tumblr and never been able/brave enough to, because I have not yet found the hill I want to die on but I don't think anything involving Tumblr is worth it. It does remind me a lot of that post that was going around a while back, "Why I Left Tumblr," which had a point in particular that's still stuck with me:

This is not your blog, this is everyone else’s blog. [...] Tumblr makes me angry. I went there for the gifs, and I left because of the festering pit of antagonism. I make a conscious effort to remove negativity from my life, and this is why I will no longer be participating on the platform in an interactive way.

Obviously Stereowire's post is talking about tagging and content in regards to their fanart, which is something entirely different: but the idea behind it -- that Stereowire is obligated to tag more clearly (as opposed to a blanket "hydra trash party" tag) so that viewers can see X art but not Y, Z but not A -- and their subsequent response (which I do agree with, very heartily) -- that anyone’s allowed to not want to see something on their dash without it being a personal judgment on you for posting that thing. on the flip side of that, you have the right to decide what you want to see on your dash, but that means taking responsibility for curating it to your tastes and needs -- are very reflective of perhaps what I like least about Tumblr culture. Nothing, not even your own blog, belongs to you: it belongs to the people who view it. It doesn't matter that the blog is public; it doesn't matter that your audience has chosen to be there. If you fail to curate for that audience, you are the one who has failed: because much like in the Goodreads situation, as a content creator, you are subsumed by the importance of the viewer.

I don't know if this is the result of Tumblr's lack of text (it's easier to demand things when you're less aware it's a human you're treating like an output machine), its speed of content, or its larger toxic culture: a friend once referred to it as a massive unmoderated community and I think that's fair. But the idea that you are responsible for moderating your own content for the pleasure of others -- and, in return, those others are welcome to do whatever they please with your content, because "censorship" and "free speech" -- continues to be thoroughly troubling.

I am not a content generator. I am a person who uses (used?) fandom as a form of stress relief. And more and more that is the opposite of what fandom offers me. I do like going back to the blogging platform even if it's just me talking to myself; I'm still in the process of considering how/if I'll be posting fic here, because I do have issues, fannish and academic, with how I perceive the OTW to be ultimately set-up and run, and ultimately AO3 does not feel comfortable to me. But that's another issue for another time.
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I made the mistake of continuously reading about the Goodreads Debacle on and off all day today. I'm lucky enough to have escaped inclusion, likely due to my (probably not very reasonable) habit of regularly deleting everything I've written from the internet, but something about the entire thing threw me. Maybe it was the fact that GR can wind up linking an author publicly to their Facebook or other real life identity. Maybe it's the fact that it was effectively serving to take anonymemes like bandflesh and spn_gossip's fanfic discussion public: a place to trash without fear of imagined recourse (because I'm unclear on what's stopping these people from just leaving poor reviews on AO3: if you're the kind of person that is going to argue for the "value of free speech over the writer's so-called rights any day" I sincerely doubt you have problems hurting someone's feelings in your quest to talk shit on the internet in between middle-school classes). It could be that it fell so quickly on the heels of another of my semi-annual Archival Displeasure Junkets. Or it could be that I'm cranky from my three (four) jobs and this is supposed to be a hobby that brings me pleasure, not the constant reminder the internet thinks of me as a logarithm for porn.

(Unrelated thought: the end of TWS would have been very different if that had been what Project Insight did.)

Regardless. Fans Behaving Badly will always be a fixture of fandom, and we should probably just be grateful no one sent Michael Rosenbaum a box of dildos, but it doesn't change how disheartening the response was, the general idea that the rights of the readers to these stories trumps everything else.

At any rate: I am going to make an attempt to integrate DW into my fandom experience. Which very likely means a fannish experience of only me, but I'm alright with that, too. I'll still be using Tumblr for shiny things obviously, and to link meta or any fanfic I write, but any significant content, I think I'm going to try posting here. I like the idea of having a level of control of the things I've written between "THE WHOLE WORLD CAN SEE ME NOW" and "scrubbed from the internet."
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Tonight was night two of two on my Matchbox Twenty Extravagnaza, thus named because tonight marked my twentieth Matchbox Twenty/Rob Thomas show. Which is not actually that many shows, but you have to keep in mind that (a) they do not tour that often, (b) this is a span of time during which I was ages sixteen to twenty-eight, which are tragically not prime 'travel long distances to concerts while remaining fiscally responsible' years, and (c) they took a goddamn ten year break between albums three and four I don't even want to talk about the fact I only got one Matchbox Twenty album in my entire twenties I mean really.

Nonetheless! I have now seen Rob and/or Matchbox Twenty, twenty times. I've been a fan of the band since I was fifteen years old -- ongoing, non-stop, they have always been my favorite band. They're not "fannish," in the sense that there is no Matchbox Twenty fandom, but my love of them is certainly as intense as any fannish affection I've ever have, and yet whereas every fannish love I've had has waned fairly quickly (after one to two years at most, a month or so at shortest), I've felt this level of affection for Matchbox for thirteen years and counting.

This isn't of course to say that I don't still love some of the things I was once fannish about -- I mean, I still like The X Files. But it took a long time before I could watch it again after it ended. The same is true of Fall Out Boy: it was a long time after I left bandom before I could listen to bandom music, and ultimately the only artists that survived the cut were Fall Out Boy and Cobra Starship. I'd never go see any of those bands live again, though. And then there's the shows I was fannish about and don't survive or net a rewatch, like Smallville or (I feel like I should tell people to cover their ears here) Buffy.

Sometimes I genuinely wonder if fandom improves or hinders the experience of text. There are many, many people who would argue that you should never study the literature you genuinely "adore" because it ruins it; more and more I think that's true of fandom. Sometimes I think that just means I am Getting Old (kids today get off my lawn), but driving back from the Matchbox Twenty concert my friend and I were brainstorming potential wank Tumblr would create in an imagined Matchbox Twenty fandom, and my god by the time we were done even the imaginary fandom had made me want to listen to something other than "North." It also made me want Tabitha's Secret-era Rob/Paul fic but we're not going to focus on that part right now shh.

Then again, it's possible there are different kinds of affection when it comes to the things we love. Maybe fannish love is different for me than "true love," or maybe they just became a part of me at such a point in my life that I've stuck them in emotional bubble wrap. Or maybe I'm looking for an excuse to delete my tumblr. At any rate, I realized tonight that this is very likely the last Matchbox Twenty show I will see in my twenties, which made me feel horrifically old and also made me realize just how intense that hiatus business actually was. Dear Matchbox Twenty don't do that again.


In conclusion, I did buy the USB so in the next few days I'll upload both shows to my web space.  We got two fucking amazing set lists, including "You're So Real," "All I Need," "All Your Reasons," "How Long," "Mad Season," "Jumping Jack Flash," and "Waiting On a Train."  The last one leads me to believe I have some sort of untapped psychic ability, as I told my friend while we got drinks before the show that if I could choose any song for them to play it would be that one, but it's a B-side from Europe and I strongly suspected that wasn't exactly going to make the American cut.  And lo!  When the music started she smacked me and told me I should've used my powers to get "Busted," which is fair.  I WILL one day achieve that song.  ONE DAY.

Crossposted from http://linzee.dreamwidth.org/3884.html?mode=reply - comment here, or at Dreamwidth!

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