Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Out With The New

So, long story short: I got fed up with MySpam and bored with FarceBook, and now it's goodnight, farewell, auf weidersein, adieu to both of them.

Short story long: thing is, I was always kinda dubious. In both cases I started up accounts after friends told me how they were, like, totally the place to be online, and I thought, OK, well, let's give it a try. So first I set up the MySpace account and it's all pretty meh. A personal profile like an internet dating site (Hi, I'm a 36 year old gay male from Glasgow, blah blah blah), with all the lists of favourite books, favourite movies, favourite bands, favourite cakes, favourite items of furniture and suchlike. Yeah, whatever.

But, hey, you can also collect friends, like -- I dunno -- stamps or rocks or something. Of course, you have to deal with SINDY and MINDY and CANDY and SANDY and RANDY and SHANDY who, like, met you at a party and thought you were really hot and want you to know that there's hot pics on their new XXX webcam site. And you also have to decide whether you're actually even remotely interested in Manger of Dirt and Cot of Muck and Perambulator of Mud and every dodgy industrial/alt/thrash/metal/skiffle band from Iowa who wants you to know that they're releasing their first EP at a gig in Buck's Roadhouse just off the I70 between Marion and Asheville, North Carolina.

I mean, OK, there are the con-buddies, and the kindred spirits, and the folks who've read your books and are just really sweet in hunting you down to send a Friend Request and a nice message. Who doesn't like that sorta cool shit? Problem is those messages are all but buried in spam and there's no filters on the site to whittle away the crap. And, of course, you can't actually download it to yer email client and put it in the nice folder for chat that you want to respond to when you've got the time, so you have to deal with it then and there or run the risk of forgetting about it, which is just Bad Form. You can try putting a proper email address in yer profile and a note saying, hey, if ye wanna drop me a line, send it to hal_AT_halduncan_DOT_com, but you can guarantee that somebody will miss that and just message you through the site, so you still basically have one extra online email account that you have to check every so often.

Moving from dial-up to broadband does make MySpace a little less tedious in so far as you don't have to wait ten minutes for [Insert Female Name Here]'s incredibly intricately personalised page to load (while the m -- usic -- they h -- ave -- on i -- t ann-- oyingl --y also -- plays -- whi -- le loading) just so you can find out if that Friend Request is actually from a real person. But you still end up at the end of the day logging on and dealing with this cluttered interface full of flashing adverts for a pile of crap you have no interest in. So The Shitfuckers have a new single out with a video I can watch? Big fucking deal.

And just when you've got used to MySpace, suddenly your friends are telling you that it's, like, totally passe, cause FaecesBook is where it's at now. Nobody who's anybody is using MySpace these days (yeah, so the percentage of those MySpaz messages that are spam is actually going up? No shit!) Still, you're always willing to give something new a try (cause the true cynic is cynical about cynicism, baby, ya dig?), so you set up that new FaceBook page. So now you have another online email account to check when you're arsing about in the morning looking for a displacement activity to distract you from writing. Peachy.

And FaceBook's full of crap as well. I mean, no offence, but all those invitations to play at being a vampire, werewolf, zombie, pirate or whatever? Nope. Just can't be arsed with them, I'm afraid. And Walls and SuperWalls and FunWalls and WonderWalls and AllInAllIt'sJustAnotherBrickInTheWalls. Nay, nay and thrice nay.

So after getting about ten friend requests on MySpam in a single day, and every one of them being for some XXX webcam bollocks I thought fuck this for a game of sodjies and torched the account. And after missing out on a mate's celebratory night out recently because the invite was sent through FarceBook and therefore forgotten about entirely (rather than filed in my "events" Outlook folder and added as a task with an automatic reminder), I decided to deep six that account too. Ultimately, if anyone wants to message me, my email address is easy enough to find.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hal! Jeff from "Touched" here....just wanted to give a recommendation for livejournal if you still have any interest in a networking site. I find it much less spammy than myspam or farcebook, the intellegence quotient much higher, with more user control.

There is actually a fairly high percentage of author and editor types with livejournal accounts -- Ellen Datlow and Ellen Kushner and George R.R. Martin, come to mind, and there are many others, and there are fantasy and sci-fi community groups with discussions, calls for submits, etc., so it can be really informative and educational. It's easy to feed outside journals into your friends' list (that's how I keep up with Geek Show).

Of course, the whole point of the network is that it depends on whether you have friends and people there that you want to maintain that contact with in the first place, and since you're a very famous author, the chances of you collecting loonies is higher. Anyway, if you still have an interest in such a site, you might check it out.

My account is at

6:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just like reading your blogs. Here, there, wherever, everywhen. :P

Ps this is Violet. I don't have a blogger account. I am not an anonymouse!

Happy 2008!


1:40 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Hey guys!

Jeff: yeah, I set up an LJ account just for posting to others, and I do keep an eye on a few journals. I just prefer the blogspot format for posting me own stuff. And when it comes to maintaining contacts, as I say, email works better for me.

Violet: And a Happy 2008 to you too (with more blogs for ye to read, I hope)!

Chris: Yeah, mostly it just seems like a really poor substitute for BarCons to me. Like, a really really, *really* poor substitute.

3:52 pm  
Blogger Jacques Barcia said...

Hello, Hal. Jacques, from Brazil here. Gonna miss you on Facebook. Through it, I've managed to reach you and several other wirters I like or I'd like to know. Hope you don't quit bloging. And have a happy New Year!

4:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess if you're into them then they're fun if not then they're just a pain in the bum.

To me there a pain but a curious one!


8:28 pm  
Blogger Phree said...

Greeetings, Hal, and a Happy New Year to ya'.

I'm almost a bit embarrassed to say Heya because I rather unceremoniously borrowed Phreedom's name as a moniker, with her fully in mind when I did it, but not enough to decide against the 'heya'. *big grin*

I hope all is well and all manner of things are well. I'm looking forward to your next book as well as your next blog entry.

7:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to leave Facebook but Facebook doesn't want to leave you:

That and the Beacon scandal (I wonder how many closeted people that feature outed?) are especially bad. But then MySpace is MurdochSpace, I've seen LJ users complain about censorship issues and the Blogger support pages are full of people who've had their blog disabled by Google or hijacked by hackers.

For a writer there's an issue with how well any of these services protect your words or other work you post; MySpace had to change its "we own everything here" agreement after complaints and I don't know what kind of backup facilities Blogger has. Some? None? Is the last resort if any of this fails?

The attraction of these services is obvious for people without a serious web presence. But what presence MS and FB offer is often a ghetto one, with many of the options limited to members only; outsiders are shunted to the login page. For anyone serious about blogging or promoting creative work I recommend getting your own web hosting (very cheap these days) and a copy of WordPress which is free and open source. Needs a degree of technical knowledge to set up and maintain but the advantage is that you control every aspect of your web presence. Or if you can't handle the tech side (or find a friend to help) there's We may have to work in a corporate world (sometimes) to get our work seen but that doesn't mean we have to play in one as well.

11:46 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

And a Happy New Year to all of youze too.

Phree: no worries about borrowing the name; that's the sort of thing that writers squee over.

John: yeah, those are some of the other issues that make me dubious about these sites; though I do draft most of my posts in Word beforehand and keep the file as a backup, so that's less of a concern for me.

6:35 pm  
Blogger Phree said...

Thanks, Hal. I feel much better. I've felt a bit guilty for borrowing her name without asking first, though it has given me a great opportunity to plug your books. *big grin*

It should probably worry me that I love Phreedom so much, but I figure 'fuck it'.

As to Myspace and Facebook: I have a myspace account because my daughter is on the other side of the country and demanded it, but I rarely do anything with it. I can't stand the 'friend' collecting, spam, random bullshit and how it seems to bring the weirdest mob mentality out in people.

I signed up with Facebook to see what the hooplah was about and it just didn't seem worth the hassle.

I like the user friendly aspects of Blogger and I keep this, Livejournal and Multiply because I know people on all of them and it's an easy way to keep up with them. Cool thing about Multiply is even though I don't like the format as well as Blogger I can cross post from there to here.

As far as the safety of ones writing: the few pieces I have on here or Livejournal I also have saved to disk, as a Word doc. and a hard copy because I'm paranoid as hell even if I never do a damned thing with my work.

5:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is straying from the point but I'd advise anyone wanting their prose to remain as deathless as possible to avoid proprietorial formats such as Word docs as the sole means of archive. You should at least store a duplicate as a txt file, preferably across several discs. This piece is a salutary warning:

6:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'twill be a shame - miss you on facebook, though I noticed you never updated. Facebook is good, but those applications do bug me. And superwalls are filled up with those stupid chain messages from 7 year old boys who apparentely have brain tumours that make contacting a person that much harder as you have to scroll through a continent of junk. Anyhoo, all the best.

8:08 pm  

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