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Digital Presence – How much of myself do I share?

A person’s digital presence tends to be as varied as people are themselves. Some people only use pseudonyms and don’t share anything about their lives, whereas others give their full names, ages, locations, and photographs. Some tweet about every little thing in their day to day lives, and others would never imagine doing so. I like to think I lie somewhere in the middle, though I know I’m definitely closer to over-sharing than being private.

I really started thinking about this the other day when I did a photoshoot with my photographer friend for her portfolio and website. Some of the photos are a little risque, and my mother was shocked that I was willing to let them be posted on the internet. I’m not nude in any of them, nor do I feel as if I am represented negatively in any way. My mother was still insistent that I “might regret it someday.” 

Would I regret my sharing of myself online? I mulled it over and decided that no, I wouldn’t. I have been involved in forum discussions that were incredibly personal during times in my life when I had no one to go to, I have an artist profile on deviantart.com, a twitter, a facebook page, a linkedin… I feel as if my internet presence is almost as big as my real life one! Photos that show a little bit of leg are not going to change the way I feel about myself in real life or in the digital world.

The only thing to really remember is that anything posted online becomes permanent. Even if you go back and delete your post/images/etc, they have been cached and others have possibly already copied and saved them. Once something is online, it’s online forever. 

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If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.

Stephen King

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

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September 15th was an amazing, inspirational night for me. I got to see one of my favorite musicians, Amanda Palmer, in concert at the Variety Playhouse. Like David Mack (see previous blog post), Amanda uses more than just lyrics to tell her story. She has concerts like no others I have ever seen – involving the audience in ways that effect each and every attendee. 

Before the show, ticket-buyers were sent an email asking them for images. I sent in pictures of myself, of something I wanted to brag about, of my bedroom, my street. During the concert, these images (along with the images from the other audience members who participated) played on a screen behind the band. It was amazing to see myself on that screen, set to lyrics that explained what was going on. (For example, the Bedroom Song was played while everyone saw pictures of their rooms.) 

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The most heart-wrenching and moving part of the concert was the “In my Room” box. Before the show, a box was placed out front with paper and the note “Write down the saddest thing that happened in your room.” I wrote down my saddest thing, which happened to be a secret. My mother wrote hers as well. Between songs, Amanda read the stories from the box. When she read mine, my mother looked at me and knew it was mine. She hugged me and I hugged her, and it was a moment I will always cherish. I felt close to everyone in that audience that night. Amanda united us.

After the show, the band did autographs. I purchased the vinyl of their new album and got a big hug (and kiss on the cheek) from Amanda herself. She was warm and sweet – open-minded and open-hearted. 

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Amanda Palmer and her band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, managed to make their concert more than just entertainment. They touched the audience, made them feel. People laughed, sang along with their favorite songs, and cried. 

 

For more information on Amanda Palmer, visit her website. She has several of her albums available for (FREE!) download.

David Mack: Writing with More than Words

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My favorite comic book is David Mack’s Kabuki. It is a slightly futuristic tale of a fallen government agent and her escape from a mental institution where they try to “reprogram” her. Instead of using traditional means to tell his story, Mack has created his world with paint and paper, with words typed out and with various mixed media. He glues things to the page, from butterfly wings to pieces of wood. Words are not contained only in the standard comic book format boxes but are hidden beneath the paint, hand-written and adding to the story without being necessary to read.

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By using the visual to tell his story along with words, Mack has created a rich, fantastic world. The art is beautiful, the language is beautiful, and instead of simple comic book tales he manages to create a graphic novel with soul

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I try to incorporate this sort of visual magic into my own writing whenever I can. I love to draw and one day hope to create a work of art that combines literature with art in such a beautiful and meaningful way. In my own writing I always think of the visual, and in my graphic design I always think about the words that will be associated with it. 

Albuquerque and All kinds of Sick!

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So I started this week with a trip to the emergency care center Sunday morning, as I couldn’t breathe. I was on a respirator for 20 minutes, had an EKG run, and after some tests was informed that I had bronchitis, an acute upper respiratory infection, and a sinus infection. Lots and lots of prescriptions later, I was sent home.

I spent Monday and Tuesday in bed, and all day yesterday on an airplane to come to New Mexico! My mom and I have had this trip planned since the Spring so I wasn’t missing it, bronchitis or no. I’m feeling mostly better but I’m still pretty weak and the meds are definitely wreaking havoc on my stomach. I hope to be better enough to go hiking in the mountains on Saturday – we’re going to go see the Native American ruins!

My camera broke on the plane (boo) but I’m borrowing my uncle’s, so I should have some photo posts up later.

Work with my groups seems to be going well for my class and I just sort of hope to get right back into the swing of things when I get back.

Just saw this posted on wordpress, haha…

 

 

I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them. Anne Rice

Dragon*Con 2012

Dragon*Con is a hard thing to explain to someone who has never experienced it. On paper, it’s a science fiction and fantasy convention that has been running in the heart of Atlanta for 26 years. In actuality it is so much more than that. D*C is a celebration of all things geek, a place where you can be whoever you want to be for five days. The camaraderie and feeling of family are impossible to really understand unless you’ve been there. From Thursday to Monday over Labor Day weekend, 55,000 people all become best friends and party like their lives depended on it.

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Of course there is more to it than just the party. There are panels where celebrities and experts are quizzed by their fans, three massive dealer halls where a person can buy anything their geeky heart desires, an artist’s alley and art show, and officially orchestrated events like the Costume Contest and the Heroes and Villains Ball. Five days is really almost not enough to fit it all in.

The con takes place in the Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Sheraton, and Westin in the heart of downtown Atlanta. I was fortunate enough to get a room in the Marriott this year, on the 21st floor. This is the view from just outside our room, looking down. Needless to say, staying in this hotel isn’t for those with a fear of heights!

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One thing about Dragon*Con that really makes it different from other conventions is the true appreciation of costuming. I have heard it called “the costumers con” more than once, and I would have to agree with that sentiment. Costumes ranged from science fiction and fantasy to pop culture to historical. Here are a few of the more interesting ones I saw:

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I also found this poor fellow, who had clearly made some poor choices in his life:

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I also found someone giving beer to a Xenomorph. Probably not a good idea.

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Overall this year’s Dragon*Con was quite a success. A great deal of fun was had, swag was purchased, and signatures from stars were obtained. Now I just have to start planning for next year…