SHUT UP YOU HAMMERING BASTARDS!

Apart from last week when I cried off due to some kind of man flu related disease which could only be likened in severity to Ebola mixed in with triple pneumonia and a side order of some alien disease hitherto unknown to man it has seemed every time I’ve sat down to do a podcast somebody around here gets DIY fever. Seriously, the second I hit record some complete bastard decides it’s time to pretend to be Buddy Rich only instead of a drum kit it’s a hammer and a random wooden object around the house.

I realise some people like to spend their Sundays doing manual labour, I don’t understand it but I do realise it. I also know that once the hammering, sawing, and general slamming together of inanimate objects is done these people look outside. If it’s sunny they fire up the lawnmower just to show what good people they really are. No matter the size of the garden this takes hours especially if they have a petrol powered mower. All the time they don’t realise us decent human beings want to read a book in peace or perhaps make a podcast of no importance whatsoever.

If you’re the sort of person that thinks Sundays were invented to be a miserable nuisance to your neighbours I hope your thumb winds up looking like a freshly trampled slug because you took your eye off the nail to weigh up whether you should do some gardening or not. You complete and utter bastard! If there’s no podcast until later in the week don’t blame me, nip over to your local hardware store and blame anybody you see browsing the shelves.

Right then, I need my headphones, my kindle and a brew…STAT!

Don’t worry, you can still be scared.

Have you found yourself concerned? Found yourself waking up in the wee small hours of the night? Have you been worrying yourself to death over the fact there’s just nobody scary enough at the moment for us all to be terrified about? Don’t worry, I understand exactly how you’re feeling. Since we apparently shot Bin Laden in the face and the whole “red peril” thing with Russia didn’t really pan out it was hard to find something – outside of the usual immigration horror stories – to really be concerned over. Luckily for us there are people who look after this sort of thing and, realising the lack of a good bogey man these days, they have come through as usual. Ladies and gentlemen, cower in terror at the mere thought of the dreaded ISIS!

isis1
Those wacky ISIS chaps indulging in a spot of politics. We probably paid for the bullet about to be used as well.

That’s right, not only are these fundamentalist lunatics currently rolling across Iraq bringing their own brand of horror to a people who surely deserve a bit of a rest by now but once they’ve gained control there they will be coming here…to our homes…they’ll kill us in our beds! You see what’s apparently happening is young muslim men from the UK are being radicalised and heading over to Iraq (and Syria, the Syria part is very important) to learn how to kill people. Those who don’t end up as part of a gory photo collection on the Internet will then – we are told – return home and most likely murder us all to death. Are you scared yet? No? Hold on then.

ISIS might sound like an organisation from a Bond film but what they are is a group of jolly angry Sunni Muslims hell-bent on getting medieval on just about everyone’s ass from what I can tell. What’s interesting is that these are the same people previously described as “more moderate jihaddists” who the UK and the US decided were the good guys in the Syria conflict. Granted, nothing they did seemed any better than some of the atrocities carried out by the other side in the argument but we can surely gloss over that, after all being murdered by a soldier acting for a dictator is naturally far, far worse than being murdered by a moderate jihaddist who thinks your neck would look far nicer without a head on top of it.

So these moderate chaps we’ve been arming have now also turned their attentions to Iraq and they’re making quite incredible gains over there. The Iraqi army is literally falling apart at the seems as these angry mentalists move in to town after town, city after city. What’s more they’re using weapons we’ve provided them with and even more incredibly we’re now considering whether taking military action against them might be a good idea. Is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture? It’s like some bad cop movie where the cop has a huge gun pointed at a criminal who is looking at a gun lying on the floor at his feet. This is normally where the good guy would say something along the lines of “Go on, pick it up. Pick it up…GIVE ME A REASON!”.

As a special bonus add-on for our investment in ISIS our security services are now using this opportunity to recommend our rights are further destroyed in the interests of our safety. After all, what use is privacy or liberty if we’re all being forced to wear orange jumpsuits and finding ourselves in the starring role for an Internet video where there’s only one take? Surely we’d give up our freedoms and rights to protect us from the prospect of some young men coming home and deciding the UK is actually the great Satan, I mean it’s only reasonable. Yes, we didn’t allow massive overreach on the part of our spymasters and the like when the IRA were actually a real threat rather than a possible one but that’s by the by. These people are different. Granted we don’t know for sure anything will happen but that doesn’t matter, it could!

Right now more politicians are sounding off about the dangers we face from ISIS. At this rate people will start thinking the Sunni murder squad will be rolling down the high street in Chipping Norton randomly handing out death sentences to anyone not wearing a beard, a veil, or both. Liam Fox urges terror, Tony Blair says it’s got nothing to do with him, anything he’s done, anything you think he’s done, but we should probably consider bombing somebody, and pretty soon the Daily Mail will surely toe the line and give us 10 facts about ISIS we didn’t know with number one being they’re coming and they’ll all be on benefits.

It’s all fun and games and of course there is a very real possibility someone might come back from Iraq or Syria better trained and equipped to do some harm but how is that any different to the ongoing threat of terrorism we seem to be facing anyway? If we’re that bothered why take liberties away from citizens when we could just refuse to let them back into the bloody country? I swear, you’d think this was all manufactured wouldn’t you?

Captain Howdy never did leave.

A bit of a change of scenery here but a recent tale of Ouija board woe caught my attention. You know the story and how it goes by now, three friends decide to try a Ouija board and all of a sudden there’s a nasty bout of possession going around, kids are talking in tongues and commenters get yet another chance to repeat their favourite mantra of “You shouldn’t meddle with what you don’t understand”. Doubtless they share this wisdom whilst endeavouring to look all cool, knowing and mysterious.

I’m fairly positive that most of my dear readers are familiar with the potted history of the Ouija board by now, popularised (and patented) in the late 19th century as a parlour game many a family would huddle around the board and convene with the spirit world seeking arcane knowledge such as “Is anybody there?” and of course “Am I going to be infested by a demon and vomit green soup all over a priest at any point in the future”. Mostly what people actually learned is that the dead are genuinely awful at spelling.

The origins of automatic writing go back far further than the pressed board and triangular pointer we all know and love now. Mentions as far back as the first century in China are still knocking about and it appears the practice of convening with spirits using a planchette or other means were banned by the Qing dynasty. Was it forbidden because it opened a door to evil spirits or perhaps an aversion to lousy spelling and teenagers thinking they were witches at parties? We may never know.

In fact automatic writing to have a chat with the dearly departed has surfaced throughout history and around the globe. Even in medieval Europe people were trying to convene with the dead regardless of the fact the church (and bible) were not at all supportive of such ideas and given that going against the church in such things in those days often lead to a rather swift touch of corrective therapy in the form of being burned alive you have to hand it to the occultinauts, they were surely determined. But what about our modern world? Why are we still so hung up on this telephone to heaven and its evil potential?

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have a Ouija board story. Usually they are along the lines of “my friend knew someone…” but they’re stories all the same and many end in death, madness or both. It’s delicious to indulge in these stories and as a result I attended quite a few parties as a youngster where, usually in the wee small hours of the morning, someone would declare it was time to make a Ouija board (or weegee as it was often pronounced). So there you would be, five or six stoned teenagers all angsty because the night didn’t end in some kind of sexual adventure all sat around a hastily created Ouija hoping that they can at least look enigmatic and mysterious enough to appeal to the remaining members of the opposite sex who weren’t already spoken for.

What should happen is that all hell should break loose, windows should open and slam repeatedly, ghostly wails should be heard from empty rooms, and at least one member of the party (preferably the tit who likes rugby and won’t stop talking) ends up possessed by Satan and telling you that your mother has apparently lowered her moral standards down in hell. What actually happens is far more mundane. Three hours of asking “is anybody there” followed by a further three saying “Did you move that? I didn’t move that…no it WASN’T me…was it you? That’s not how you spell sausage!”. It’s an anti climax. If you’re lucky something at least vaguely spooky will happen, for me it was pigeons in my mates loft moving about when the pointer did its thing. Hardly Hollywood material there.

Here’s the skinny, nothing ever happens when you play with a Ouija board. The only ‘spirit’ you are convening with is yourself or the drunken compatriot who thinks it’s funny to spell out “you will dei in a car carsh”. Don’t believe me? Try a simple experiment. Make your own board but rearrange the letters. Once you’ve done that have one friend do the board with you and one friend observing. Sound good? Okay then, now have you and the person using the board with you close your eyes before asking any questions and keep them closed. When you’re done ask the observer what was spelled out. You’ll find that “asdjsatjthasdfhsdf” isn’t actually the correct answer to “will I win the lottery?”.

Much as Jaws left a generation of children terrified to visit the toilet The Exorcist left an existential dread of Ouija boards. The film (and to a lesser extent the book) have left an indelible mark on our society and I for one love that. Few people actually know the history of automatic writing and why should they? It’s rather dull. But so many know that if you play with a Ouija board you’re pretty much giving the devil an open invitation to enter your body and get intimate with your grandma’s crucifix. If you need further proof just read the comments below any video online which deals with Ouija boards, there are a lot of people out there who are still terrified of Captain Howdy. Thing is you have to wonder why the embodiment of pure evil can’t spell and seems to want to do nothing more than lie about making silly noises. See the video at the following link for proof!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2665899/Possessed-girl.html#v-3637349176001

We are the mindless plebs. Tell us how to think, please.

When you’re an adult you are free to do many things. You can consume beverages which could possibly lead to addiction, illness, the destruction of the family unit, and death. You can smoke cigarettes which give you  an odds on chance of enjoying a death which involves screaming. You can travel to a foreign land and shoot people in the name of Democracy, you can also have your limbs blown off for the same cause. You can buy property, venture onto the stock market, drive a car, buy a gun (depending on your locality), you can learn to fly a plane! There are many things you can do as an adult which, sometimes even when done responsibly, can result in terrible harm to you and / or those around you. That’s a pretty huge responsibility, isn’t it? Thing is, you can’t watch Human Centipede 2 uncut in this country because you’re too feeble-minded and untrustworthy.

As an adult I don’t like being told what I can and can’t watch, particularly when it comes to works of fiction. It still beggars belief that a group of quite horribly smug people down in London can decide what fiction in terms of film I can view. In the case of Human Centipede 2 you have a highly stylised film based around a patently ridiculous premise. It’s surreal horror and it’s actually not that bad. Of course it does contain ‘sexual violence’ and scenes of people having their mouths sewn onto the anus of the person in front and that’s a problem. You see, if we – the brainless plebs that we are – are allowed to view such things our tiny little minds will be warped beyond compare and before you can say ‘hang on, I’m not sure about this’ we’ll be sewing the neighbours together and telling them it’s time to eat shit or die.

Of course you could argue that it isn’t about all of us, it’s about that very tiny minority of damaged people who could be influenced by such films and incorporate an idea from them when they finally graduate to murdering someone. That’s the line sold to the masses by those who control us these days and the press laps it up before regurgitating it with a lurid headline delivered to the masses ensuring they’ll feel censorial actions are vindicated to protect us from these vile maniacs. Granted they’d go on to kill someone anyway but they wouldn’t use a method influenced by a film and that’s what counts. After all if we are to be murdered by a lunatic we’d all feel far better knowing they were using a method they dreamed up all on their own rather than some unoriginal rehashing of a scene in a film. Originality is clearly important in murder.

What we are seeing, and have seen before, is band-aid legislation. Legislation designed to appear as if the government is confronting an issue. Someone kills a child and they’re found to have watched ‘violent pornography’, clearly the answer is to ban violent pornography. Children will still be killed but thousands of people will applaud the government for introducing yet more censorship which serves no purpose whatsoever beyond creating more criminals. There is no evidence, not a shred of hard evidence, to suggest these measures improve any aspect of our society. They might make some people feel better and if that’s the case those people should actually feel disgusted with themselves as they applaud yet another step in removing an adult’s right to decide what is best for them.

I’m an adult, like the vast and overwhelming majority of adults in this country I’m not going to murder anyone, rape anyone or torture anyone. If I’m free to carry out every day tasks which could be harmful to both myself and others how about the government stops worrying about what films I watch because, quite frankly, it’s none of their damn business and I despair of the fact I am limited because of some imaginary influence on others or because somebody decided it would look like they were taking control of a situation.

We were always taught that Hitler’s burning of books was a terrible thing. That it was unforgivable. Can you tell what’s different about our government allowing the censorship of fiction based on nothing other than wanting to look effective in the face of having no clue as to how we can sort out deeper societal ills? If you think you can tell me then please comment and do so, I’d love to hear about it.

Not that I’m defending rape porn, but…

…I kind of am going to defend it, which is rather odd given that I honestly don’t get it. Saying that there are many fetishes and fantasies I don’t really get or understand how you could derive pleasure from them. Thing is, it’s none of my business what consenting adults get up to in the privacy of their own heads, bedrooms, or torture dungeons come to that and it’s none of yours either. Most of all it shouldn’t be any of the government’s affair.

Recently the ban on “extreme pornography” was extended by our enlightened leaders to include the genre of rape porn Let’s clarify something off the bat, rape porn is carried out by consenting adults role-playing the scenario of forced sexual congress. Seems pretty awful to most but there are quite a lot of people, both men and women, who fantasise about such things. This doesn’t mean they want to actually rape or be raped, they just get a sexual kick out of the general idea. At no point does rape porn involve actual rape. Are such fantasies “sick”? I suppose it depends on your point of view really and your point of view should never extend to telling other people how to think or what should tickle their sexual pickle. Here is the actual legislation:

In a new Report, the Joint Committee on Human Rights welcomes the provision in the Criminal Courts and Justice Bill, carried over from the last Session of this Parliament, which extends the current offence of possession of extreme pornography to include possession of pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual sexual penetration. The Committee considers this provision to be human rights enhancing, given the evidence of cultural harm done by such pornography, and acknowledges the strong justification provided by the Government and others for this proportionate restriction on individual rights.

Does that make sense to you? What catches the eye is the part of the article reading ” The Committee considers this provision to be human rights enhancing” . I’m very interested to know exactly whose human rights are enhanced by this legislation. How are any human rights enhanced by the banning of fictional acts of role-playing carried out by consenting adults? I can understand that it would please anti-porn campaigners or perhaps people who consider anything they find disgusting as suitable fodder to be banned, but enhancing human rights? No, I can’t see that at all.

Then we have the killer line “given the evidence of cultural harm done by such pornography”. Now this is a good part, firstly I’d like to know what evidence there is. What research has been done on rape porn and its effects on our culture? Where is the general consensus on this? Furthermore, what culture exactly? Not only is this sentence untrue in terms of ‘evidence‘ it’s also a nonsense invoking ‘culture‘ in such a manner as to render the word meaningless. Come to think on it ‘cultural harm‘ is an entirely menaingless phrase anyway, it still gets the heads nodding from the ban camp though I would imagine.

Not only that but is our culture so very fragile, so easily distorted, that a small sub genre of pornography could cause it harm? I don’t have any hard statistics on this but I’ll go out on a limb here and point out that this form of porn probably doesn’t show up in search engine results all that often compared to most although  I wouldn’t take a bet against such fantasies being a little more popular than most of us would be comfortable with regardless of how harmless such fantasies are.

This smacks of yet more appeasement. The extreme pornography law was brought in following the actions of one despicable human being who was found to enjoy such things and the media had a field day. There’s no evidence rape porn does any cultural harm whatsoever, there’s no evidence that the people who watch it will turn to rape (statistically I’d say the evidence shows exactly the opposite by a huge margin), in fact nobody really cared about rape porn at all until some moral crusaders decided Aunty Government should ban it so that all of us weak-willed buffoons don’t suddenly turn into a nation of rapey monsters. It’s good to know that in the face of the lack of any kind of decent research, any proof it’s harmful, the government still feel it’s acceptable to remove it and feel justified to put in place this ‘proportionate restriction on individual rights’ because it’s for our own good.

Still, it doesn’t matter though does it? I mean, who on earth is going to defend rape porn?

 

 

Why the Internet is beautiful, wonderful, and AWESOME!

Most of what we tend to be fed about the Internet these days tends to be awfully gloomy by nature. If you were to believe the MSM and certain “twitterati” the Internet is nothing but obscene pornography, exploding muslims, bullies, trolls, viruses which will steal your soul and debit card details, more trolls, more hatred, and more paedophiles than you shake a stick at. It’s almost as if the Internet is being made out to be some kind of sentient monster intent on destroying our lives.

What’s interesting is that all of this demonisation is actually aimed at something you can’t see, smell, taste or touch. The Internet is nothing but a series of connections both physical and incorporeal. The physical connections don’t particularly excite me much. I’m of no doubt there will be someone reading this article for whom the thought of the latest in rack mount server technology causes a neckbeard tremor only akin to being told “Hey, dude. Megan Fox is here, she’s only wearing a bikini and wants to say hello”. For me though, it’s not exciting. For all I know it could be powered by fairy magic and elves dragging my words around the Internet in a small coach pulled by horses which run at the speed of light. In fact, I think I’d prefer that.

What fascinates me are the non-physical connections. The ‘made of meat’ element of the Internet, the people. The ‘Net does little more than connect human beings. It connects them not only to information but also to each other in ways we have never encountered before in human history. The sum of man’s knowledge, everything we know (apart from secret documents not yet leaked by Edward Snowden that is) is at the end of your fingertips. Whatever you need or desire to learn is nothing more than a search engine query away and you can source as many interpretations of this information as you like in order to form your own opinion on whatever the given topic might be.

We’re so complacent with this technology that we take it for granted and forget so quickly how utterly amazing it actually is. Before the Internet you’d have to visit places called libraries. You can still do that if you wish and I heartily recommend it but you don’t have to. No more do you head off to your small local library asking if they have a book detailing the development of the spoon only to be told “No, sorry. We’ve got the new Sidney Sheldon book though”. You just Google it (or Duck Duck Go if you’re not keen on Google’s approach or perhaps just want to seem a bit cutting edge) and there you have it. Access to not only the information you’re after but also many, many interpretations for you to digest.

Yes there’s clutter, misinformation and disinformation to contend with but that’s fine. Use your brain, don’t follow your previous conditioning of believing everything you’re told simply because some kind of authority figure tells you it’s the last word in accuracy and find your own way. No more do you have to rely on a handful of outlets often editorialising information based on the political stance of the company, now you can read from people who are biased in all kinds of ways! Just have a look in the middle ground and you’ll often find a rich vein of information to be plundered.

But it’s not simply the fact the Internet is the largest and most democratic information repository mankind has ever encountered, although that’s amazing enough. It’s the human element, the communication element that really blows me away. Take a look at the people you regularly interact with online. Some might be people from your regular “real life” circle of acquaintances. Most often you’ll interact with these people on Facebook, perhaps showing each other pictures of your dinner or taking yet another inane quiz which claims it will tell you what kind of bacteria you are. That’s reasonably cool in itself but pales into insignificance (very quickly) when compared to the people you could regularly interact with who you would never otherwise have had the opportunity to know.

Our generation may have laid the foundations but we’re still too mired in being typical humans determined to fight at the drop of a hat. Perhaps the next, or the one after, will truly realise that geographical location, religious beliefs, even ideologies opposed to their own are less an obstacle to interaction and possibly friendship and more simply aspects of their character. The world will only start truly growing smaller if we are at least willing to listen to how others think after all.

The Internet is the great leveler. No matter your location, your language, your education, your social standing you have the same access to information as the next man. The same access to human interaction. Even moving to a commercial plane you can build an idea for peanuts which could conquer the world while a massive company spends millions and achieves less. There is no more democratic environment than the one the Internet allows.

So, yes there are problems. People abuse their anonymity, people abuse the privilege afforded to them by spreading disinformation but every system is subject to abuse. Any system which could not possibly be abused is a system so draconian in its layout that you wouldn’t want to use it anyway. When being bombarded with all that is bad online try to think more about what you love about it, the wonders it contains and the possibilities. If you do that a little more it puts the nasty things into perspective.

Now go post pictures of your cat doing something vaguely amusing, you’ve earned it.

 

 

This post will BLOW YOUR MIND!

THIS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND! YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! Why do these phrases never contain the next logical sentence which should read “IF YOU’RE A CONGENITAL MORON!!!”? We’re always drowning under a sea of something underwhelming online, do you remember the whole Cheezeburger thing? Thing is, they’re usually slightly amusing at first but this wanton sloganeering is driving me insane.

I wouldn’t mind if when I clicked on one of these articles I was greeted with something even vaguely mind-blowing, I’d even settle for mildly interesting. Instead it seems to be whatever mindless, fit only for daytime TV, crap the webmaster can find. Do these guys have a special agency they go to for this stuff? Perhaps they do and it’s called “Pure crap to fill your site with, the punters will love it”. And that’s the worst part, isn’t it? Not that people have these websites but that people are eating it up. Granted this makes me sound like some kind of elitist snob but I can live with that.

What is it about us that gets reeled in by this nonsense. Even when you see the ad saying something along the lines of “Watch this girl sing, your mind will be blown” you know it won’t be. She might be a good singer, she might even be a great singer, but your mind won’t be blown. Worse still are people who share this crap saying “This really is mind-blowing”. Well let me tell you something, it bloody isn’t.

To blow my mind it would take a lot more than some mildly talented future wage slave hacking out a Beyoncé song. It would certainly take more than watching a dog do a handstand. Want to blow my mind? Show me a video of an actual alien, show me a picture of Tony Blair performing an act of great kindness upon George Bush while being serviced by a man with oversized robot fists.  Don’t give me some crappy slide show of celebrities doing things that are remotely normal, give me one video that makes the hair on my toes stand on end and has my eyes revolving in separate orbits. At the very least just stop bloody lying!

And you people who relentlessly click on and share this garbage, what are you thinking? Is your day so empty of interest that you find yourself reading this junk in between watching Jeremy Kyle clips on YouTube? Where’s your self-respect? If you want something funny, go watch something funny. Want shocking? This is the Internet, you can definitely find genuinely shocking material out there which isn’t suitable for daytime television. I’d bet you’d even watch some crappy Channel Four weekly roundup of “Your mind will be blown” shite hosted by dreadful “personality” just so you can turn to your friends occasionally and mutter “Oh yeah…I caught that online like last month or so. It was totally funny, it blew my mind”.

So, I can’t do anything about the websites themselves. They’ll just trundle on drowning the planet in beige while the morons eat it up. But if any of you say to me “OMG click this link it blew my mind” you’d better provide pictorial evidence of your exploded skull and your brains dripping down the wall like so much red porridge or you’ll get the sharp end of my tongue and no mistake.

Is it time to bring back the Internet pt2.

In the previous article I looked at the issues with the centralisation of the Internet regarding Facebook and how Facebook is, for better or for worse, finally turning into a pure advertising vehicle now that it has a virtually unassailable position in the marketplace. In this article I want to suggest an idea which might help webmasters of smaller sites avoid the future of 0% organic reach.

We all know that running a smaller site is a labour of love. Covering your costs is normally a major milestone for any smaller site so having an audience is hugely important. After all shouting down a telephone when nobody else is on the other end loses its appeal after a short while. Please be aware that nothing I say here is a guaranteed traffic generation method, I don’t claim to have the midas touch at these things otherwise you’d notice the steam coming off the server my little site is sat on. This is merely a suggestion as to how we could perhaps do the unthinkable and work just a little smarter by using all the resources we already have.

First thing, how many small / niche sites do you visit on a daily or weekly basis? Be honest now, how many pages have you liked on Facebook belonging to such sites that you’ve almost never visited? Yeah, not cool is it? We all do it though so don’t worry, this is the easiest thing to fix. It might not have a direct benefit but start visiting those sites, start having a look about and if there’s a means of interacting off Facebook then do that too. This is getting a network going, it’s pretty damn important. Now, how many people are on your friends list / page likes list that are webmasters themselves? I’ll imagine you’ve got a couple on there, right? Start chatting with them, ask them how they’re getting on, what they’re doing to drive traffic. It could be you already do this, if so…top marks!

Okay, you’ve started hanging out on sites. Sure, it cuts into your daily Facebook trawl but it’s so cool! You’ve started chatting with the people who own the sites and you all get on well and occasionally sit and have a damn good bitch about how tough it is to get folks to your site now. Then it’s time to look to the past for a couple of ideas we can make relevant to our current situation.

The webring! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you hook up with ten sites with identical content to yours and then add a hideous banner saying you’re a member of the “Jean Paul Satre and Velvet” webring. That would suck and that, in conjunction with the rising popularity of search engines, is what spelled the death knell for the webring. What I’m suggesting is the formation of what I guess you could call a webring, or an organisation, or a team…pick your favourite term. Don’t look for sites which cover the same niche as you, focus more on sites that might enjoy a complementary audience. If you run a site dedicated to Italian horror films of the 1980’s it’s a dead cert a good percentage of your audience will enjoy a site dedicated to Slasher movies, that is obvious, but what about spaghetti westerns? History of cinema, music from the 80’s, or even politics given the age demographic you’re likely to find. You get my drift.

From there you are in a great position to pool your resources. The most attractive proposition at first will be passive methods of sharing traffic because we all love doing nothing. You know, sharing links on each other’s site, perhaps occasionally linking or re-posting content your audience might find interesting. Obvious stuff. But that’s not increasing the overall traffic to any great degree, rather it’s moving it around. It might not be generating extra but it’s certainly building a more solid bond between the sites on the “ring” and that’s a good thing.

But what about less passive means of advertising? Well, there’s Twitter and you can certainly retweet each others posts but that’s akin to sharing links really. That means we have to tackle Facebook. However things are panning out it’s still a great way of reaching out to a chosen demographic, it’s just that doing that isn’t really financially sensible as an individual, but as a group it makes perfect sense in quite a few ways. How would it work though? I thought you’d never ask.

Create a new page, think of this as your holding company. It is a page for your ring, it’s the hub your sites are attached to. Currently $1.00 per day on Facebook will get you out to an average of 4,000 feeds. I would say people but I can’t verify that. That equates to $7.00 per week or $28.00 per month. Given your hosting is probably less than $10.00 per month that’s not sounding like a bargain. Split that up between 4 people though and it’s a lot more appealing. $7.00 a month to reach thousands? It’s a better deal than any other form of advertising can possibly match.

On your holding page assume the responsibility of splitting the month between you. Each week one of you will spend $10.00 publicising posts on the hub page. These can be your own or other member’s posts. It doesn’t matter because you’re paying into the co-operative here and as you’re already sharing traffic by linking and cross posting content where applicable it’s a win for everyone.

Naturally there are always complications, some months someone won’t pay or someone will complain they paid but went on holiday for a fortnight. Thing is it’s only $10 a month so catching up shouldn’t be hard and even if you’re away traffic is being generated for the whole in one way or another. The hardest part of this is always going to be the people involved so choose carefully and even draw up a simple agreement if you’re unsure. Better still, if you’re unsure pick some different people!

Nothing I’ve shared here is groundbreaking or massively original, it’s actually incredibly obvious. Sadly in the age of “social networking” many of us have forgotten how to connect socially AND network. Centralisation has happened but it can be used to break away from the dependency by using the very thing that traps us. Use it as a tool, use it smartly, hone your demographic and set all of your egos aside when choosing what to promote and you’ll see results. You won’t suddenly become a top 10 website but that’s not why you did this in the first place.

Just $10 a month, some time, and probably a lot of fun shooting the shit with other webmasters. Doesn’t sound like such a terrible chore to me, in fact it sounds like a damn good start.

Webmaster blues

Want to be a webmaster? Want your site to involve members? Here are 16 irrefutable facts.

  1. You are wrong. Completely and utterly wrong 100% of the time.
  2. No matter what your personal beliefs are you are biased against the beliefs of whichever member is having issues at the time.
  3. Pick any religion. You’re an apologist, a zealot, or you hate it. All at the same time.
  4. Pick any political stance. See above.
  5. Everyone, without exception, knows how to do your job better than you. No matter their experience or lack thereof they know WAY better than you.
  6. You’re a moron.
  7. If you can’t see how every single idea or complaint that is put to you is correct you lack any semblance of common sense (See #6).
  8. You’re a moron.
  9. Nobody will respect your rules the minute those rules interfere with their desire regarding how they wish to act.
  10. You will hear “What about my freedom of speech?” every day of your life.
  11. Remember, ‘it’s only the Internet’. This only applies if you don’t like something, if it’s the member you’re wrong and (see #6).
  12. Did I tell you that you’re a moron? Never mind, someone will shortly.
  13. Your parents were probably too closely related.
  14. You suck at life and live in your mom’s basement.
  15. You only do this because you’re a power crazed weakling who was bullied at school.
  16. You’re definitely a moron.

 

This could probably go on forever but I reckon those 16 will do for now. Care to add any more?

 

Conspiracy corner: Psychotropic drugs and killing sprees.

As some of you know I really enjoy the conspiracy theory aspect of the net. I love the passion and conviction and I also love the belly laughs I can sometimes get out of it. Of course there are some things I find incredibly abhorrent too and I dare say I’ll get around to those in subsequent articles. My current issue de jour is with many people’s obsession with linking psychotropic drugs with mass killers as if the drugs were responsible. I believe this to be a tremendously ignorant and irresponsible attitude to be publicising and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, who would have thought…who would believe…that someone who goes on to murder a lot of people might have a pre-existing mental health issue for which they are already receiving treatment?  Of course a lot of these people are on drugs, they’re mentally damaged individuals and considering we almost definitely have over-medication issues in our societies it comes as no great surprise these people were medicated themselves. Psychotropic drugs do not create personalities and for the vast majority of users they simply give them either a crutch to help them build a foundation for a more solid future in terms of their mental health or a medical means of simply getting through the day without something dreadful happening.

Sometimes there is nothing medical science can do to prevent someone entering a destructive downward spiral. And despite the best efforts of doctors these people can go on to behaviour which is socially abhorrent whether in the form of self harm or harming others. Often these cases are linked to the person concerned not quite displaying behaviours which could warrant being sectioned.  Or perhaps they are able to do these things as a result of the medical establishment failing them and releasing them early as we hear so often. Neither of these situations even hint at the drugs being their bridge to carrying out horrible acts.

What we seem to have here is a very simple, and completely unfounded, theory. If we say the person is A, the drug is B, and the act is C the theory goes if A takes B then C is the consequence or at the very least a major contributing factor. There is nothing to support this theory, absolutely nothing at all beyond the ever-growing hunger of people looking to find some darker reason for every situation instead of the already dark one staring them right in the face.

I’m all for being proven wrong but I’d need more than anecdotal evidence from some random Internet person whose expertise on this issue is based on spending some time on AboveTopSecret or Infowars. But before you decide to school me on this I’d also like a question answered. Given the amount of people on psychotropic medication why are there more spree killers? I mean LOTS more spree killers.

Sometimes the elephant in the room isn’t really there.