Apr 26 2010

Facebook frustrations


So, the reason I joined Facebook at all was that many of my actual friends are actually on it. It’s a quick way to see what they’re up to — sort of a digital version of running into them as your going about your chores in town or at the mall.

It’s as if all your friends lived in the same small town; you wouldn’t have long deep conversations each time you pass on the street. It’d be: “Hey, how you doing?” “Aw, my cat threw up on my best bedspread!” “Not the blue one you got last year?” “Yeah, that one.” “Well, gotta go.” “See ya!”

There’s much to be said for this sort of conversation. It’s not so much an actual conversation as a continuance of contact. At some point you’ll get together for coffee or a glass of wine, or something and talk deeply and from the heart. But the intermittent “Hey, hi!” prevents the distance from growing too great to bridge.

However, I’m a writer, and tend to, um, write. Casual conversation, not so much.

Even face-to-face, I don’t generally say things like, “My cat threw up on my bedspread.” (Which she did. Bet you didn’t know that! Ooh, I’m such a secretive, mysterious person!)

I’ve found that I like blogging; Facebook posting, less so. Blogging is more like that one-on-one conversation you have with a friend over that cup of coffee, or wine.

But I figured I needed to be on Facebook… So I could see my friends waving at me from across the street, if nothing else.

But hey! Facebook has a feature whereby you can tell it to take an external blog, and post it directly into Facebook! What could be finer? I can write my posts here, and those of my friends who don’t (for inexplicable reasons) read blogs, will still see what I’m up to, what I’m thinking about, and what I feel worth saying lately.

Plus, I can have a “fan” page on Facebook, open to anyone and everyone, and do the same thing. Piece of cake!

Yeah. Except.

Four days after my last post, it still has not been posted on Facebook. And this has been the pattern. Facebook claims it takes three hours; I’ve never seen it take less than two days.

In other words, once it reaches Facebook, it’s old news.

I can post a link by hand, but that’s duplicating effort. Which I did, in the case of “13 Ways”, because I didn’t want the idea to go stale before people saw it.

I’ve complained to Facebook about this. Got an auto-response.

Ha. They’re probably bogged down with people complaining to them about that whole new privacy outrage that’s been going on.

So, I haven’t decided yet what to do… is it worth staying on Facebook?

And meanwhile, if you do follow me on Facebook, and don’t hear anything for a long time.. sometimes it’s me, and sometimes it’s Facebook.

Apr 22 2010

George Scithers, 1929-2010


George Scithers bought my first short story, for Asimov’s magazine, way back in 1982. I met him once, briefly, at a convention a few years later. He did not remember me, but no matter — he’s the guy who put me in the same issue as Greg Benford, Connie Willis, John M. Ford, along with a then-brand-new story by Asimov himself.

He read what I wrote and liked it, at a time when I hardly knew myself as a writer. He gave me money for it, which made me a professional. He indicated the sort of people who I should consider my colleagues (other writers, GOOD writers). Helped me see where I should be headed.

I’m so sorry he’s gone.

No, my name's not on the cover.

That's what I called myself then

Apr 7 2010



Hey, remember that “substantive post” I promised for the weekend?

The weekend that just passed, that is. Yah, that one.

Blame the household appliances.

Upside: I got to mess around with screwdrivers and wire-cutters, play with electricity, and generally be the hero.

Downside: There’s more wrong with the washing machine than just a melted plug. (Think: Now, why did that original plug melt?)

more fun than it looks