Is Twitter on its way out?
I’ve loved Twitter ever since I started using it back in 2009.
I’ve been amazed at the power of the retweet. When someone with a disability was not allowed access to a gallery, her friend, who had just 100 followers, tweeted about this. Her 100 followers retweeted and in next to no time a government official turned up at the site and reprimanded the gallery owner. After the riots in 2011 it was posts on Twitter that motivated people to come and clean up the centre of Manchester. I’ve gained a lot by using and responding to the Writers’ Lifts that have featured recently.
Sadly, there is a less pleasant side. Like on any other social media platform, trolls bully and harass people. It can also spread fake news. You need to read critically and develop a thick skin. Yet it’s easy to block or mute someone if they’re proving difficult.
Now the company has been sold to a wealthy man and many people are fearful. We seem divided on this. Some have rushed away and others who are staying say that the people who have fled are silly. There is a grey area between these two extremes.
The fear and anger seem to be because many people have been made redundant, some objectionable characters that were previously banned are being allowed back and we may be asked to pay for the service in the future.
Twitter had to be sold because it was in debt. Elon Musk has had to do something to bring it back into credit. Could he have used more advertising or another way of monetizing the platform? But would that commercialisation make it more difficult to for us to be neutral? Would we have to toe a party line? If he is going to charge, is this the beginning of the end of the free internet?
Does allowing people like Trump back on mean that Musk is enabling free speech? Trump infuriates me most of the time and occasionally makes me laugh. Maybe though it’s good to have opinions such as his out in the open so that we can challenge them and pull them apart.
My biggest worry about Twitter is that so many people will leave that it will no longer be as useful to me as it was.
So, whilst I’m still continuing with Twitter, I’m backing up with Mastodon. You can find out about my activity there at: https://mastodon.world/invite/poG3nVBd Mastadon has many of the same features as Twitter but it is a little different. It’s a bit like when you have a new car, computer or phone; much is familiar but there is a slightly different feel to it. And you’re allowed more characters.
Maybe I’ll see you there.
I’m continuing with my new Peace Chid book. I still have no title, but the story is now beginning to gel and the writing is starting to flow.
I’ve had three stories accepted for publication this month. Two are still under wraps but here is the link to Perpetual Motion: https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/vtn6me/ A scientist has a few problems getting his brilliant new technology accepted.
If you’re interested in my YA SF, there is a new way for you to access Babel, volume 2 of the Peace Child Series, on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/s/3089baa44f
I have added an article about how I dared to become a writer: How I overcame the fear and allowed myself to write.
I’ve always been inspired by Charles Dickens. In My Mate Charles Dickens I discuss what I’ve recently learned about his life as a writer but also as a family man by reading his letters.
The Young Person’s Library
I’ve added just one book this month:
Pony on the Twelfth Floor by Polly Faber, illustrated by Sarah Jennings This is a fluent reader text and will appeal to the child who is interested in ponies, especially if they live in an urban environment and owning a pony is probably not possible.
Current reading recommendation
This month I’m recommending The Letters of Charles Dickens Vol. 2, 1857-1870
These letters give a good insight to Dickens as a writer and as a family man.
In some letters he declines dinner dates and invitations to spend holidays with others. He has too much work to get on with. He relishes anyway a quiet life at home.
Dickens didn’t have TV, social media or email. Yet he found an equivalent for all of these. He visited the theatre a lot and was quite a critic. Some of his own works were adapted for the stage but he also liked to critique plays written by others. He received many letters and felt obliged to answer them as this was part of his PR and marketing – even those that seem of a more personal nature. In one letter he describes how he finds it hard to muster the energy to answer letters after he has been writing all day. This reminds me of my attitude to email. At one point he burns all of the letters other people have sent to him. I do something similar to my email inbox sometimes. It’s a shame for us though; some of those letters would have made interesting reading.
He didn’t neglect his family and in many letters it is clear how proud he is of them. Some of the letters are to them.
The letters of Charles Dickens Volume 2 1857-1870 is a valuable historic document. There are earlier letters in Volume 1.
Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle. Occasionally there are PDFs. This month I’m offering a mobi-file of 140 x140, my second flash fiction collection.
This anthology of women's fiction, this collection of very short stories, some might say a flash collection, is thought-provoking and each story is based upon a tweet. Except that each piece is 140 words long and not 140 characters.
They were collected over three years and edited for another nine months.
Find out more. Grab your copy and lots of other freebies here.
And please, please, please leave a review, perhaps on Amazon, Good Reads and / or Story Graph, when you’ve finished.
Note: Normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything from £0.99 to £10.99. Most on Kindle are about £2.99 and the average price for paperback is £7.00. Writers have to make a living. But I’m offering these free samples so that you can try before you buy.
The Schellberg Project
The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust. They may also be interesting for other readers of historical fiction.
Sometimes I also write about what might be useful to other writers.
I’ve added two opinion pieces this month:
Is war inevitable?
Some notes about my newsletters and blogs
They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.
Bridge House Authors For all those published by Bridge House, CaféLit, Chapeltown or The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprints. News for writers. Links to book performance. Sign up here.
The Bridgetown Café Bookshop where you can buy my book and books published by Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, Chapeltown Books and The Red Telephone. Visit us here.
Chapeltown Books News about our books. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project News about the project and CaféLit – for the consumer rather than for the producer. Sign up here.
Gill’s News: News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School Visits and Events. Book recommendations and giveaways. Find it here.
Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher News about conferences and workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here.
Red Telephone Books News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.
A Publisher’s Perspective Here I and some other editors blog as a publisher. Access this here.
The Creative Café Project Listings and reviews of creative cafés. See them here.
CaféLit Stories Find these here
Gill James Writer All about writing and about my books. View this here.
Gill’s Recommended Reads Find information here about books that have taken me out of my editor’s head and a reminder of the ones I’ve highlighted in this newsletter.
Gill’s Sample Fiction Read some of my fiction here.
The House on Schellberg Street All about my Schellberg project. Read it here.
Writing Teacher All about teaching creative writing. Some creative writing exercises. Access this here. I also invite other writers to provide prompts and work for critique.
Books Books Books Weekly offers on our books and news of new books. Find them here.
The Young Person’s Library The children’s book catalogue. Access it here.
Fair Submissions Find it here.
Opportunities for writers are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I send it out to a list. If you would like to be on that list, sign up here.
Happy reading and writing.