750 words: A long ramble?

Here, cute pic before you click on wall of text below

So, testing this for the first time. I kind of regret not signing up for 750words.com before this. Should have done it a long time ago, but I thought that daily word counts were not a thing that I could do. Shows what I know, huh? Now that I’ve resorted to this, I have nothing more to do than to keep doing it. 😀

On a fun note, this service is free for the first 30 days, then after that you have to pay USD5 a month to keep using the site. Usually I avoid subscription services like the plague, but this site has a few gamification and data features that interests me (which reminds me I need to look up that Big Data course on Google).

There’s badges here! As in badges that you get when you sign up, when you complete achievements, and so forth. They also pull your IP and display the weather it was when you were writing; I find this quite amusing and would probably be a good way for me to gauge further down the road what keeps me writing and what probably keeps me in bed.

Now, for the features that caught my eye; this site also has stats on when you write, your speed, the words you use, etc etc etc, all stuff that I usually find very useful. These stats are kind of hard to collect though, and even harder to display meaningfully (aka I am too lazy to see if the scripts for this exist). They also have monthly and weekly stats, which are far more useful to me.

Yes, I’m using this site as a way to keep myself writing. 750 words, I think, is a pretty hefty chunk to write. It’s three pages long, which, for a blog, is pretty lengthy. But I think it might work, and since they’re talking about writing a little bit every day, I think it’s a good habit to start again.

The thing about this site is that it encourages stream of consciousness writing. This is pretty much the pantster side of things, and I’ve just realised that it’s hard for me to sustain writing beyond 300 words. I’ve been conditioned at work and at home with Nanowrimo sprints that trying to write more than 300 words without a time constraint actually runs me into a wall (I’ve reached 400 words now, btw).

Which is really interesting, especially in the light of the Washington Post article I read yesterday. The Internet is literally changing the way we think, and perhaps more importantly, the way we consume information. I first read about that phenomenon about 3 years ago, maybe? Though to be fair, that article was less about how the Internet was changing your brain but more of that it was changing your brain in the first place.

This isn’t surprising to me at all. I have an article idea which is sitting somewhere in my Google Drive folder called “Social Media is rotting my brain.” It’s not gotten beyond the first paragraph, but it pretty much sums up what I feel about Social Media.

Which is VERY ironic considering that my bread and butter is currently based in Social Media.

What I feel about Social Media isn’t so much the work itself. It’s the platform and what they do to us. My old modus operandi used to be I’d work on a task, then take a few minutes’ break by reading long form articles and news. I especially loved those long articles talking about history, current event analysis, and even general observations.

However, over the years, things have become shorter and more disruptive. Writing longform articles aren’t as popular as they are before, and a lot of sites are defaulting to images and “bites” to enable sharing and attract eyeballs. Link summaries and click-baiting headlines are not uncommon.*

*Fun fact: When I was training to be a journalist, my teachers were insistent on me learning how to write short headlines and to dump everything into my first paragraph; the inverted pyramid, for a journalist, ensures that your reader will be able to skim through the paper and get the information they require in the first paragraph instead of meandering.

Of all the new media phenomenon, I dislike click-baiting the most. Sites that are especially guilty of this include upworthy, viralnova and elitedaily. They write “emotional” headlines, which entice people to click and read, but these headlines often tell you nothing of the content you are about to view (and the fact that most of the content is at least 3-5 years old aka THEY’VE HAD THEIR INTERNET MEME TIME just aggravates me further).

I’d still rather click on sites like Kotaku and Lifehacker, which at least lets me know what I’ll find and what use I’d get. And which have actual tips I can use. Blah.

On another note, 821 words now. That was an interesting experiment. See you again tomorrow!