November 22nd, 2008

New Tilley Hat

Hidden Minneapolis: Intermedia Arts 2005

New Tilley Hat

Reflections on a changing fandom, and a tag

I added a tag to my LJ, "Hidden Minneapolis", for those who want to see the whole series. It's my only tag, so if should be easy to find... if you know how to use tags. Which I don't.

I hope I tagged all of the entries.

Going back several hundred LJ posts, a few things struck me:

1) I'm a really good photographer. Admittedly, I only post a small fraction of the pics I take, and only my favorites of those, so I'm not going to pretend to be objective. Still, going back several years of posts, through lower res cameras and scans, I'm enormously pleased with the body of work presented here. The galleries are a more complete archive, but LJ gets the ones I feel are best at the time. Some tell a story by themselves, many illuminate the entry and a few are just snapshots to record an event. Whee!

2) I'm pretty sure I've now made more LJ entries than I published apazines. Certainly, they're easier to do than mimeo or ditto. No ink, no postage, and able to reach a wide audience within seconds. Still, one of the major positive aspects of sf fandom, to me, is that fans tend to think in paragraphs.

Many people treat LJ entries like irc, with quick comments; sometimes not even complete sentences. This is fine; the web is big enough for all. The trend in social networking is away from longer usenet posts (many of which were pretty quick themselves) and toward smaller and smaller entries. Twitter and Facebook all seem more like texting from a cell phone, since many of the entries are texting from a cell phone. Again, I have no objection to this, but I disparage the lack of developed thoughts in a "you kids get off my lawn" sort of curmudgeonly way.

Not that I haven't made a quick comment or two. But most of my entries are mini-fanzines. At least, I hope they come off that way. I generally don't post unless I have something to say.

The major difference in publishing a fanzine vs. posting to LJ, beside the speed of communication, is, of course, the linking. Hypertext was always the power of the web, adding on to the speed of the net. Simply poking a half a thought onto the web seems regressive.

3) or perhaps 2 1/2) Bruce Schneier has written in the Wall Street Journal on how every electronic conversation is a permanent record and "Ephemeral conversation is dying." He isn't the first to make this point, but I think it's becoming apparent to more and more people, even those who don't use electronics as their major mode of communication. To an extent, I think it's becoming more than that: We're all becoming Isaac Asimov where we record every thought we have. There will be secrets, and people may keep their real thoughts close to the chest ala Shogun, but examples will be fewer and fewer.

Pretty soon, we'll all be in a 1984 dystopia where your private thoughts are known to a few who can manipulate you. Or in a more utopian world where we just accept that random thoughts are not a whole personality. I hope we get to the latter, but I fear we'll be held hostage to the former first.

4) I, like most people on the net, need an editor...