Tag Archives: twitter

Sharing Experiences

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYLq_dmzHXs&feature=related]I was getting ready to head for bed the other night, when I happened to catch Amanda Palmer‘s discovery of her cover of Tori Amos‘ “Me and a Gun“.

I’d never heard the song before (I only have so much time), but what struck me, besides the strikingly different style for Amanda Palmer, was the discussion she pointed out about artists covering the songs based on supremely personal experiences.

Because apparently “Me and a Gun” is about Tori Amos’ experience being raped.

And the discussion (see Amanda Palmer’s twitter feed below by following the links) got me thinking about what we expect when we share our experiences through art, both as creators and audience.

I don’t know if you’re a content creator, but if you are, perhaps you can relate to the tension of knowing how much to label of your life in your work. The decision often happens simply, by answering a direct questions posed by an interested party. Or sometimes, the map remains hidden until only scholars would deign to investigate.

And if you’re predominately a consumer of created content, perhaps you feel the tension of gaining a privileged look into the normally distant and obscure life of another. There is the joy of feeling more connected to another through their openness, but it is tempered by the intrusion into the personal life of another. The disclosure of an intimate, traumatic event carries an air of awkwardness, regardless of the reason or forum for the sharing.

Because sharing experiences is not a unidirectional connection. To share an experience makes people who may have no other common link forge one. Because when we share our experiences, the person or people we share with will look for the aspect they have an understanding with. Because that’s what we do as people. It’s part of communicating with each other – finding the places where we can stand together and view the world in the most similar way.

Amanda Palmer’s cover song seems to be an expression of this very human search for connection. It is this same desire to connect with other people and sharing experiences that prompted me to learn Amanda Palmer’s “In My Mind” and perform it for the kids at work. And write blogs and stories and work to encourage high schoolers to find their voices. How do you share experiences?

What follows is the twitter links for the conversation on Twitter that started this post.
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Wired’s One Book, One Twitter

Did you miss that Wired magazine is doing a big read this summer?  They are organizing it around Twitter, trying to get everyone to read the same book this summer. There’s not a lot of commitment, just read the book when everyone else is.

Which book? Well they’re having everyone vote on it now. There’s 10 to on the list, and they come from a variety of different genres (with a healthy dose of science fiction/not easily categorizable). If you want to help pick the book, head here.  It has all the details and fills you in.

I know I’m joining in on this insanity. I missed the first announcement in the noise, but I won’t anymore because I started following the organizer, Jeff Howe. I hope to see your #1b1t tweets too! Nothing like the internet to bring us together from around the world.

image from Wired’s original post.

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Creating the system

I’ve been spending time thoroughly enjoying following the links from people I follow on Twitter on my laptop instead of the tiny screen of my Blackberry. Today I followed the link Neil Gaiman posted on his feed to his blog post. In it he talks about how all of us online are learning how to interact in this community we’re creating as we go along.

Then I read Amanda Palmer’s (a very creative singer and performer) post about why she’s ok with taking fans’ money. In it she lays out this explanation:

artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.
please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.
dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.

unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that artists ALL over the place are reaching out directly to their fans for money.
how you do it is a different matter.
maybe i should be more tasteful.
maybe i should not stop my concerts and auction off art.
i do not claim to have figured out the perfect system, not by a long shot.

BUT … i’d rather get the system right gradually and learn from the mistakes and break new ground (with the help of an incredibly responsive and positive fanbase) for other artists who i assume are going to cautiously follow in our footsteps. we are creating the protocol, people, right here and now.

What stood out to me, besides her very logical explanation, is her comment about being part of the group adding to the foundation of the system we will leave behind too. So I started thinking about being a part of this creative team, and how I’ve always been fascinated by the lives and stories of those who have created the art from times before. Like the Modernists (note the T.S.Eliot quote in the header of this blog & the Marianne Moore chapter in my thesis). I’ve always wanted to be a part of the group that people point to when they talk about the founders of something. I realize that this is rather narcissistic, but I think most dreams are.

But what I realized is that I am a part of this community shaping the rules. I’m on Twitter, here, I read other blogs, I am connected in lots of ways to the community, which means that in some small way I am amongst the founders. And though  will likely remain among the many nameless in this group, it’s fun to watch and comment on.


So I’ve decided to join Twitter. I’m not entirely sure how I will end up using it, but I’m hoping that it means I can stay better connected with what’s happening. What started this was the protest/march that happened the night of 5 November against the passing of Prop 8 in California. I wish that I had known about it because I would have gone out and marched with them (which is another post entirely). But I guess I’ll see what happens with this new way of connecting to the world.

Oh! If you want to follow me my twitter page is http://twitter.com/EnglishNerd I’m still not sure how to tell people how to track me. I’ve been on it for about a half-hour right now.