Thursday, June 30, 2016

Seeking interviews, currying favor, and building the blog.

Sean and Julian Lennon. Recently. ©2016 Mason West.
I have built audiences over time before, so I have faith I can do it again I know the shape of the asymptotic curve. What I know from experience, and from what successful content producers tell me, is that the key to success is consistent production. In my case that means putting out a blog every day and trying to sustain the writing quality. Daily production isn't quite as easy as it sounds.

Daily production reminds me of packing for a trip. I've heard weather reports say, "It's eighty-two degrees out there, but it feels like a hundred." The same applies to how I pack. I might think, "Well, my luggage weighs only ten pounds. I'm traveling pretty light." But there should be a formula:
10 lbs. × 10 days of travel = feels like 100 lbs.
Well blogging works the same way. One blog is sometimes fairly easy, but
1 blog × 365 blogging days per year = feels like 365 blogs every day
But I am determined to plug away. I have a few shortcuts: I have a big book of poems, and it's fairly easy to record them and put them on Soundcloud where they can serve as the primary content of a blog, so that's an easy blog day once a week. (I write more about sound hosting services below.)

But I don't just stand "idly" by writing. I've also been fairly active on Twitter seeking someone interesting for an interview. Most celebrities just ignore my requests, or they don't hear them at all. Stephen King has a following of 1.74 million on Twitter. Casey Neistadt has 587,000 followers on Twitter (to say nothing of his 3.5 million followers on YouTube, his principal outlet). People with followings like that have an incessantly deafening din of tweets hurled at them, so even the rare tweet that a celebrity might want to answer can easily get lost in the crowd. I did one time get a reply from King:
My very brief tweet exchange with Stephen King.
I confess my infinitesimally brief correspondence with King is pure celebrity worship. I need more blogging audience before I approach King's publicist for an interview. I'm not his Number One Fan, to borrow a phrase, but I do like several of his books. I had a thank you tweet from Amanda Knox (9,545 followers, only a few hundred more than I have) when I said I liked something she wrote for her column. And CNN militant commentator Sally Kohn, who, by calling me irresponsible and dangerous, sicced an angry crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters on me for a three-day drubbing. In a Clinton-Kohn Utopia, men who think as I do would be incarcerated or gassed for thought crimes. I shared the experience in this blog.

Cher (3.08 million followers), whom I came to follow in the wake of a conversation about Bernie. I happened to reply to one of Cher's tweets, and much to my surprise she replied. Fortunately this was a much cozier conversation than I encountered with Sally Kohn, but a week later I am still getting notificiations from Twitter when people like or retweet Cher's reply to me, and this is just a small fraction of what Cher must be getting for every tweet she sends out. Cher is a great singer, a fine actor, and an effervescent personality, but she is no great philosopher, yet her fame puts her in a position where on Twitter three million people hang on to every word she publishes.
Cher would like to see a more-than-two party system, but not a bullshit party. The famed dyxlexia that she has defied all her life is evident in her tweets, but by learning songs and parts in the movies she has set a splendid example for anyone else who works with the same disadvantage.
But despite my innocent frolic with celebrities in the Twitterverse, I have approached lesser known celebrities about letting me interview them for this blog. This should be a win-win situation: young supporting actors depend upon publicity, and an interview here would give them their publicity as it elevates my blog. Typically these people have on the order of eighteen thousand followers—only twice as many as I have—and they are responsive to tweets about them, but when I ask for interviews, I typically get no response, but sometimes I get a request for my "blog information," to which I respond with my URL, and then I get no response. Camille Guaty asked for my blog information, and though I never heard back from her, I did get notified a dozen times that people liked her request for my blog information. Why someone should find that likeable is a mystery to me—perhaps they like every utterance. Perhaps if I contacted these people's publicists, which is actually the correct procedure for getting an interview, I might have better luck. A bigger and better blog will help, and there's the Catch-22: I need followers to get the interviews, and I need interviews to get followers.

The other day I came across a fine photograph of half-brothers Sean and Julian Lennon, and I tracked down the copyright holder, whose factotum asked for my blog information. I actually heard back from this one, though not with good news. He replied that "At this time" they aren't licensing for these subjects, and he wished me well. I replied that "The subjects vary, and the subject in which I would have used the photo would have been the Beatles, their wives, and their children, but thanks for your time and consideration." So this is one reason why this blog is headed by a crude self-satirizing piece of my own artwork, and instead of being about the Lennon Family et alia, it's been more about the difficulties of finding a way to promote the blog through Twitter and other social media.


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Sean Lennon in concert in Nice, 24 February 2007.
Photo by Flickr user glaurent. Licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

But about Sean and Julian, we all should let by-gones be gone as they apparently have—that was the remarkable thing about the photo: they looked quite chummy together. Brothers. I suspect as they begin to relate to each other without the intervention of their mothers, things get easier. After all, they have far more in common—experiences few others have had—than differences.

And I'm not dissing Yoko Ono. To the extent that I can "know" her—I mean through social media, and what one knows is a professionally produced public persona (PPPP?)—she's an interesting person with things to say, though feeling like I understand Yoko's public profession requires a certain letting go of the normal Cartesian thinking process.

I've noticed that Paul seems to be denying that anything unpleasant ever happened—I've heard him deny stuff about both John and Yoko that fans, stirred by journalists and biographers, believed for years until it was repeated so much it became Gospel truth. I've heard Paul express regrets about how he and the other Beatles treated Yoko when John started bringing her to sessions.... And I guess that I can understand both attitudes: they were working in the studio in a way that didn't accomodate more people than necessary: George Martin, Malcolm Evans, a few others. But then I can see putting it behind me too.


Julian Lennon at the unveiling of the john Lennon Peace Monument in Chavasse Park, Liverpool on 9th October 2010 with the Liverpool Signing Choir in the background. Celebrating peace and the loving memory of John Lennon on what would have been Lennon's 70th Birthday. Photo released to the public domain.
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I made yet another great leap into darkness today: I secured an account with a podcast hosting service that, in turn, distributes the programs and news of their existence to iTunes and social media. Podcasting composes the third leg of the triumvirate of blogging, vlogging, and podcasting. Unlike this blog, though, which is driven by whim and an overabundance of interests, the podcast will be specifically focused on television, specifically streamed television, though that will inevitably overlap with cable broadcasts. My view is a peep of the TV world through a Roku 3, though there are many ways to get at least some of the same thing. Even my Playstation 4 runs Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu apps, among other things. The podcast will be daily and brief—I'm thinking five minutes or so—and it will not count as a blog the way my vlogs and poems do here, though I will occasionally remind you that the podcast is an ongoing thing. And speaking of ongoing things, you, gentle readers, can sponsor me at my Patreon account. 

Have a great day!