27 December 2010

Things That Make Me Unsubscribe, Unlike, and Unfollow

-Blog guest posts. I have a short list of blogs I read regularly, and I read them regularly because I enjoy the topics AND the unique viewpoint AND the quality of writing. Don't muck around with this perfect storm by allowing other people's writing to come into my feed under your auspices.

-Creeping photoblogging. Similar to above. I myself don't follow any photoblogs, but some people do. However, using a blog platform you created using your writing as a way to make people look at your photos (no matter how good) is self-indulgent. Put 'em in a separate feed, or just link to your Flickr/Instagram/whatever stream.

-Podcasts and videoblogs. They are an insanely slow way of taking in information, and we hates them. If you must publish them, providing a transcript is not optional. (Note: this applies less to entertainment, more to thoughtful content).

-Contests/deals requiring entrants to retweet your message verbatim or use it as their facebook status. I'm not going to subject my friends or followers to your promotional messages just to win a free copy of your book, free concert tix, etc. Better alternative: require contest entrants to @mention you or link to you in their facebook status - at least this way your fans exercise a little individuality in what they say about you.

-Cluttered blog pages. Unlike many other types of websites (entertainment, gaming, etc.), people are at your blog to read (and maybe share or respond). Make achievement of this goal easy by using a clean design, avoiding over-use of logos and graphics,and minimizing the amount of sales-related content you force on them in the sidebars (Amazon store links, etc.).

-Inappropriate usage of location-aware tools. Right (or at least defensible): checking in on Foursquare to see who else is there. Wrong: routing all check-ins to your facebook/twitter profile. Also applies to trip- and event-planning tools (TripIt, Plancast, etc.)

Short list of other, slightly more venial sins: links in blog posts that don't automatically open in a new tab/window. re-tweeting services that drop off or break the links. profile pics and avatars that don't contain, primarily, your face (logos are acceptable for companies, but not photos of your children, pets, etc.). non-ironic use of 'hubby', DH, 'my lady' and similar ways to refer obliquely to your significant other.

10 December 2010

On Infatuation

Experienced an immediate (although brief) infatuation with the coffee shop guy today because I admired the enthusiasm and élan he showed in taking my latte order. I used to be embarrassed about the ease and alacrity with which I develop crushes, but I've found that all forms of love (even silly infatuations) are doors to spiritual growth, since they represent a sudden seeking for something we deeply desire but didn't even realize we were missing. Like an artist obsessed with a beautiful (or ugly) face glimpsed for a moment on the subway, the fixation lasts until we identify and internalize whatever unique quality caught our mind's eye. Once the artist has successfully rendered his vision into art, made it tangible and therefore able to be possessed, the obsession lifts.

Except when it doesn't. Sometimes a face casually encountered takes on the character of a muse, propelling the artist along through sketch after sketch, each effort incomplete, capturing and possessing an aspect of the desired but never the entirety. Marriage may be the only solution for an artist or lover in this position, securing access to the beloved for eternity, which will still be an insufficient amount of time to process and absorb the many uniquenesses of the desired one.