Cross-posted from Musings, 'cause I can't stand to abandon it completely:
I just thought I'd bring you up to date with a little promo of what I've been reading and writing this past week.
1. The AOL banners controversy rages on.
Despite my frequent homilies about how this should not be a battle between factions of journalers, those who stay and those who go, there are still rather extreme expressions of anger here and there, many of them directed at the wrong people. This situation is not the fault of any journaler, John or Joe, or even the advertisers. This is a decision that AOL's execs made.
People are legitimately angry for a whole host of reasons, some of them going back months or years; and other people legitimately don't see what all the fuss is about. Some people are so convinced that their point of view is the only one that they feel the need to attack anyone who disagrees. There's probably a fair bit of natural aggressiveness in some cases, seizing on the opportunity to wreak havoc.
The result is that the same little battles between journalers, and factions of journalers, that have always been part of J-Land, now have a new excuse to exist. Is this community? Is this the spirit of J-Land? I don't think so, but that kind of useless, destructive behavior has always existed, and will continue to exist.
It's up to the rest of us to maintain the positive qualities of the J-Land legacy, on and off AOL itself. Remember, as I keep saying, and many others keep saying, it's only a web address. An interesting journal or blog is no less so if it does or does not have .aol or .blogspot (or something else) in the name.
2. AOL's Spin Doctor:
I read three very similar articles this week in the semi-mainstream press (led by The Washington Post) about the journal ads controversy. I'm not going to bother with links; I'm sure you can find them easily, and probably have already done so. What strikes me about all three is that they reported a claim from an AOL press liaison that only "several dozen" people had complained. None of the articles even suggested that this number might be understated. Shame on them! I saw a listing today of nearly 70 ex-AOL blogs, and I know for a fact that the list is incompete. Add to that all the people who complained but did not actually leave, and it adds up to a heck of a lot more than 36 people. I'd love to know what the real numbers are. It still sounds like a tiny number compared to the many thousands of AOL Journals in existence, but there are two mitigating factors: 1) many of those journals, probably at least half, are abandoned or largely inactive, and 2) it is a truism in p.r. generally that for everyone who bothers to complain about anything to a company, there are probably ten others who are griping in private to friends and family.
Another source, a bit more accurately, says that less than a hundred people actually left:
The Jason Calacanis Weblog
3. Am I Playing To An Empty House?
This being Saturday night, I've posted my latest fiction entry over on Messages from Mâvarin: Heirs of Mâvarin, Chapter One, Part Three. (Rats. I just went to the trouble of putting in the accents in the AOL version of this entry, only to take them out again because of AOL's nonstandard characters glitch.) Messages has been my fiction-only blog since June, 2004, so it continues to be the logical place to post my fiction entries.
I used to cross-post them to Musings, but I cannot, will not do so while this accent glitch continues. Chances are excellent that I will never post fiction on AOL again. What a sad end to my brief co-reign as the VIVI winner for best fiction/poetry journal! I can't even add the graphic for that to my sidebar there, because to do so would mean losing my remaining properly-spelled use of the word Mâvarin. Drat.
Anyway, the point of this rant is that I would be grateful if you would continue to read my fiction anyway, on the same blog where it's always been--even if it does have blogspot in the URL. And if you do, please leave me a comment, will you? I'm currently serializing the first two chapters of my first novel, my best, most polished piece of fiction to date, thirty years in the making, literally my life's work. If nobody cares enough to even read it, I may just curl up and die. And you don't want that, do you? Well, do you?