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If writers write, do they not also blog? – Day 5 of the April Platform Challenge

I almost laughed out loud when I saw today’s April Platform Challenge: create a blog. Since you’re already here, we might as well get started.

I’ve been working on this blog off and on now for several years. The difficult part has been to peruse this with some regularity. I would say that I have been irregular about the updates, but I really don’t want to invite laxative humor. Well, it is funny!

The idea behind these exercises appears to be to make us more accessible to our followers. Huh. I’ve of the mindset that says people either are genuine or they are not. Whether meeting them virtually or IRL, people can’t get away from who they are. Oh sure, they can fake it for a little while, but eventually their inner nature will come out. So, if you’re looking for genuine, here’s an opinion of mine.

Standard Caveats Apply

From my experience, the anonymity of the Internet will bring out the troll out faster and allow the troll to take things further than if you were to meet in person. It’s the whole accountability thing; if people don’t think their behavior can be tied back to them, they’ll let their virtual selves rain down fire and brimstone on the unsuspecting (maybe even on the suspecting, sometimes).

Counter wise, the nice guys (gender neutral, please, I’m from Alabama and I’m faking the Jersey accent) will be nice regardless and because their behavior is so pleasant, it becomes practically ignored. If anonymity fuels crassness, it surely strangles kindness. That being the case, it brings me to my next question:

Exactly what are we training the future generations of net users to behave as? (Hint: It rhymes with “bass” and has no class.) Can we stop it? Only if we stop feeding the trolls.

Is that easy to do? It should be. It should be a simple thing to ignore the cantankerous. But, it isn’t. I believe that a lot of us, myself included, want to build a consensus; if for no other reason than to show the knot heads in Washington that it can be done. We want to use logic and we want to persuade. And, that is why we fail.

To my knowledge, the troll is more interested in stirring the pot by being rude, abrasive and contrary. You cannot argue with them. You can bicker, but you cannot win by engaging. The only ‘”win” is to walk away.

A Marked Twit – Day 4 of the April Platform Challenge

Well, today’s April Platform Challenge is to create a Twitter account. I’m already there, @paulkellis. Come on and follow me!

A Proper Profile – Day 3 of the April Platform Challenge

The next step in constructing on online presence is a complete Facebook profile, according to the April Platform Challenge. Said site makes the claim that Facebook is the second most visited site, behind Google. Bearing that in mind, it makes sense that a writer would want a presence on arguably the world’s largest social networking site.

Today’s challenge wasn’t all that difficult. I already have a Facebook account, so all I had to do was update the profile. Check it out here.

Where am I going?

This month, Robert Lee Brewer has issued the April Platform Challenge for writers. The current thinking is; one of the most important tools for a writer in today’s media environment is a strong platform. Think of it as branding for social media. Now, I would’ve thought that actually finishing the novel would be important too, but whatdaIknow?

Anywho, today’s exercise is to set goals. Okay, I can see that. Goals are good things, they help to consistently point you in the desired direction. That presupposes the goals are consistent and coherent. That be asking a bit much from me, but lets give it a go. Short term goals are those that I believe I can accomplish before the end of the year; long term goals are more bucket list-quese.

Short term goals:

  • Keep on rockin’ at the day job. Papa’s got bills and retirement is over a decade away.
  • Complete the April Platform Challenge
  • Celebrate 20th anniversary with wife
  • Finish getting the house in shape for the open house
  • Get Thing1 to college this fall without crying (this may not happen, the without crying part, I mean)
  • Get to RavenCon, meet Glen Cook, try not to embarrass myself
  • Finish the initial draft of the Order of the Silver Rose
  • Start looking for an agent
Long term goals:

  • Keep growing as a father and husband (no, not in the waist, either)
  • Get Thing1 to complete college and shuffle Thing2 and SamIAm in and out of college, as well
  • Get that black belt (I’m already so close)
  • Get published (or a contract) before I’m 50. This should probably be a short term goal.
  • Pay off debt, live large.
  • Celebrate 50th anniversary with wife
  • Find an agent
  • Retire, or something simulating retirement that doesn’t involve being a greeter at Wal-Mart.

I’m not sure if these goals are supposed to be like resolutions (resolute) or promises or what. I believe I’ll treat like waypoints; not as an end, but more like sign posts along the way.

Who am I?

Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge for writers has kicked off. I’m a little late to the fray and I’m actually having a hard time with the first challenge:  define yourself. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult. Perhaps I don’t want to feel constricted or confined by definition.  It’s more likely that I’m not a here-and-now kinda guy; I’d rather talk about what I’d like to do.

No dice, the instructions for this challenge are clear. I’m not to worry about where I’d like to be or anything in the future. I’m to take a look at who I am, what I’ve done and what I’m currently doing. Surprisingly enough, once I got started, I realized that I’m not nearly as lame as my children make me out to be.

Name (as used in byline): Paul K. Ellis

Position(s): Web/Infrastructure Engineer, Application Developer, Writer, Podcaster, Blogger, Martial Artist, Instructor, Teacher, Speaker, Audio Engineer, Reality Crafter, Storyteller, Modeler, Rocketeer, Deacon

Skill(s): Diagnostic troubleshooting, technical writing, creative writing, research, information retrieval, copywriting, model building, programming, audio production, public speaking, blogging, tweeting, procrastinating

Social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Blogger

URLs: Linked above.

Accomplishments: I’ve got a BS in Mass Communications: Broadcasting from Virginia Commonwealth University and an AS in Computer Programming from ECPI. I have a Red Belt in Shotokan Karate, four years of instruction in Iaido, about that many with a Bo and some passing familiarity with Judo. I’ve twice been the USF-NKF Virginia State Champion in Kata (Grumpy Old Men Division — canes and walkers optional) and placed 3rd at the 2008 Nationals in Houston in both Kata and Kumite (again, Grumpy Old Men division). I’ve started writing again (which is a Big Deal). I’ve done voice work for A Christmas Carol with The Podcast Community on Facebook and I’ve got more lined up. Most importantly, I talked an amazing woman into marrying me and am helping her raise three smart, sassy, gorgeous, strong-willed, and independent-minded daughters.

Interests: Being a better husband and father, faith, karate, fitness, reading, learning to critique better, building models, rocketry, podcasting, writing, and learning about new things.

In one sentence, who am I? Paul K. Ellis is a married father of three daughters (which explains the lack of hair) who, by day, is a web and infrastructure engineer and, by night, is a professional dilettante, dabbling in martial arts, podcasting, writing, creating unholy messes with polystyrene, and whose life, much like this sentence, is run on.

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