Silly Saturday – Courting Controversy

Fed up with bad news and endless media discussions about That interview? You too can start your own lively debates on social media, you don’t have to be famous or important and you certainly don’t have to be clever. Here are some suggestions for Facebook, Instagram or wherever you like to waste your time; one picture or casual remark is guaranteed to get hundreds of comments, mostly negative.

Post a picture of the worst pub you can find in your area and ask what the food is like in there. Comments will flow about the time they had food poisoning while others will respond angrily and rave about the great atmosphere.

Name a popular restaurant in your area which is busy keeping everyone happy with home delivery take-aways and post a picture of the rat you saw scurrying out of their kitchen. This doesn’t have to be true, this is social media after all.

Post a completely innocent picture and relate the story told to you about your neighbour’s sister’s friend whose daughter was out walking her dog and saw someone suspicious talking to dog owners. Well done; you have started wildfire rumours that dognappers are targeting your town.

Tell everyone you are moving to the area and can they recommend a good doctors’ surgery.

We just had a new extension built by W. R. Ecking, we’re not too happy with the result, has anyone else had work done by them?

Post a picture of your dinner and wait for vegans and the ‘Save our Haggis Society’ to start arguing with meat lovers and issue you with death threats.

Silly Saturday – Quarantine Quests

Some of you may be coming out of isolation, some of us are still in confusion, but it is imperative that you have completed this list of ten goals to achieve before re-entering the world.
1. Share on Facebook, one a day, the covers of thirty books that have shaped your life. If you have not even read thirty books in your whole life you have time to read them now.


2. Share on Facebook, one a day, the forty music albums that had an amazing impact on your life. Think carefully about your street cred and decide what image you wish to project.
3. Train your dog or any pet to do amazing tricks and post them all over social media. Not got a pet? Now is the time to raise a puppy, cub or foal while you are at home all the time.

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4. Upcycle just about anything to plant plants in and post smug pictures to demonstrate your green credentials.

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5. For the more ambitious, design and create a totally new garden with a wow factor that will mean you never need to go on holiday, or even out again. No garden, no problem. Create a hanging garden on your balcony. No balcony, no windows? Create a terrarium. But don’t forget to post the pictures.

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6. Create new dishes from scratch and share one a day – share on the internet, the good news is you don’t have to actually share the food, you can eat it all yourself.

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7. Macro photography is ideally suited to your new insular life. All you need are a few flowers and endless patience so you get shots of bumble bees, butterflies and dragonflies that are superior to the millions of others on Instagram.

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8. If you haven’t tried them before, take up cycling and jogging and be sure to post regular accounts on Facebook of how far and fast you have been. You may even get a starring role on social media if your picture is taken by walkers complaining on the local Facebook group about the idiot cyclist or jogger who breathed too heavily when they sped past.


9. Laid up with a sprained ankle after number 8? No excuse for not taking up sewing. By now you should have made at least a thousand ineffective facemasks out of your old Tshirts or flowery sundress… And also created the longest rainbow/ hearts / We Love NHS banner in your road so you will be ready for number Ten.

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10. The only time you see another human will depend on which country you are living in. Perhaps you are out every evening clapping for something or someone. In the UK we are out at 8pm every Thursday clapping and banging saucepans for the NHS and anybody who is actually out working. But that is not enough. You must get your road or block of flats on the local news that night, or better still the ten o’clock national news. You will need one bag piper marching down the street signalling it is eight o’clock, a string quartet playing on the front lawn, lots of cute children glad to be delaying bed time and an out of work opera singer leading a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ Just make sure everyone is two metres apart to avoid a media storm of disapproval.

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Have you achieved any of these goals?

Silly Saturday – Careful How You Comment

Bloggers love to recieve comments; especially ones that go like this…

Terrific post, I would really like to go there, your photographs are fantastic. ps. I have just downloaded your latest novel.

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But comments can go horribly wrong, especially if you decide to check your social media on your smart phone, on a bus stopping and starting in traffic or on the back of a motorbike. I often do the former, haven’t tried the latter. The combination of predictive texting and hitting the wrong letters can lead to disaster.

Hollow Join i rea11y lived your block. i wouldlove to sieve thatport of rhe wwwwwwwwwwwwwprlf. i hive donwlodads you’re knew book and will rewrite my will.

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Here is a handy guide to commenting on your favourite bloggers. First make sure you are sitting comfortably and unlikely to be disturbed,  otherwise you could end up writing ‘Coffee please’ -‘Don’t forget to get bread’ – ‘I’ll be finished in half an hour’ or ‘Who was that at the door?’

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There are just four standard comments you will need.

Beautiful pictures, thanks for the wonderful tour. – Use for anything from blogger’s own garden to The Great Lakes.

You’re so right, if only everyone saw things the same way. – Use for opinions expressed on everything from Brexit to Climate Change.

Fantastic book review, sounds like a great series. – Use when someone else’s novel is being reviewed.

Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Reblogged…  – Use in the unlikely event that it is your book being reviewed.

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What is the strangest place you have followed social media from?

 

 

Silly Saturday – Instant Instagram

Should you be on Instagram? Of course, you should be on everything, just in case you miss something.

What is Instagram for? I have absolutely no idea, but it is quite fun.

‘Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010.’

Any the wiser?

Don’t worry, as long as you have a mobile phone that takes pictures you can join. Post your picture and put some hashtags.  Why, I’m not sure, but if you put #brightonpier  you are linked with all the other people who have taken better pictures of Brighton Pier. Some people put a few hashtags, others a whole list of them, which is a teeny bit showing off.

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But the most important thing, Rule One, is to take pictures instantly and send them off instantly. As soon as you arrive on holiday or you are in the middle of a big street demonstration, take a photo with your phone so that your followers will be envious, or impressed that you are protesting instead of sitting at home on the sofa looking at your phone. Don’t try to cheat by sending a picture of last year’s holiday; especially if it is a picture of you standing in front of Notre Dame. Someone is sure to find out…

Hey I’m in Venice at the moment and it’s raining not sunny.

Or That’s the Brexit march, not Extinction Rebellion.

Rule two, post pictures every day, or better still, every hour in case your followers wonder what has happened to you. If you are not going anywhere, or your life is unbelievably dull you can always pop in the garden, or someone else’s garden and take pictures of flowers. People like bright happy flowers to cheer their day. If you have a cat or puppy, even better, followers will never tire of endless pictures of your pet’s cuteness.

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How do you get followers? Wait or follow other people and hope they follow you. Occasionally you may get a message

ilovemyself is now following you, why not follow them back.

Look at their gallery, if they only take pictures of themselves you may not want to follow them…

Hopefully you will soon see a little red heart flashing to tell you someone liked your picture. You can also share your pictures on Facebook and Twitter, though when you go on Facebook and see your picture on the big computer screen it may not look as good as it did on your little phone screen…

Happy Snapping

If you like looking at photos there are always plenty on my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-three-picture-gallery/

Do you like taking photographs?

Do you prefer phones or cameras?

Do you enjoy posting pictures on social media?

 

Silly Saturday – How to be Fantastic on Facebook

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It’s hard to believe, but there are some people who are not on Facebook. Think of what they are missing. These are some of the things I have learnt from Facebook. Cats and dogs can get on together. Lots of people like cats, lots of people like dogs. Horses like visiting people in hospital. Baby pandas just wanna have fun. Walruses like sleeping on submarines.

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You can also learn about people on Facebook, what they are eating at the new restaurant or what got stolen from their van last night. You can even find out about people you actually know. In fact Facebook is the only way you will find out what your family are doing – if you can decipher the cryptic messages and pictures. Are they still stuck broken down on the motorway. Is that their Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppy or their friend’s ? What on earth are they doing at Sheremetyevo International Airport?

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What do you post on Facebook? There is no need to bother catching up with emails and phone calls to numerous friends and relatives. If you want everyone to know your latest news just post an enigmatic message. ‘Another hot day on the Nullabor Plain.’ Soon you will be inundated with messages from long lost friends.

Hey hun, what’s up, didn’t the job in Northampton work out?

Or post an ultrasound picture of a black and white alien with the words ‘Tabitha is going to have a baby brother.’

Hugs hun, sooo pleased for you.

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But Facebook has more than one page to scroll down; if you are a writer you can have an author page, if you run your own business you can have a page promoting your fantastic products and services. The advantage is that everything on that page is yours, unlike the rest of Facebook, full of boring other people. The only drawback, probably no one is ever going to see it. But just in case anyone accidentally finds themselves at Your Page, make sure your profile picture is sophisticated and professional.

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https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/

Facebook Friends Forever

The first time I saw Facebook on the computer screen there was a picture of my sister-in-law getting her breast tattooed. My daughter was trying to show me what it was all about, but that was enough to put anyone off.

Christmas 2018 was my ninth anniversary of being on Facebook, I don’t recall agreeing, but one second we were upstairs on the computer, my daughter typing away my personal details, the next second there was a Facebook friend request from daughter-in-law downstairs. Five seconds later there was a friend request from that ghastly child in my daughter’s class; in her class from playgroup onwards through all the long years of school…

‘Why on earth does she want to be my friend?’

‘DON’T accept, she asks to be everybody’s friend as she hasn’t got any real friends.’

Love it, hate it or are you a shadow, watching what others are doing without ever appearing? Authors are exhorted to have a presence on line and a Facebook  Author Page, and it was a good meeting place at the start, joining writers’ forums etc.

https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/

Most of us probably use it to see what everyone else in the family is up to and it is amazing to have messenger groups for family and friends and exchange pictures and news across the world in seconds.

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It took me a while to figure out how to post pictures that I had taken with my camera and loaded onto my desk top computer; I was filled with awe seeing people tap mysteriously on their mobile phones and put pictures straight on Facebook. When I finally acquired a smart phone I immediately became addicted to keeping people up to date with scenic views or strange sights.

What are some of the other things we can do on Facebook? Know how late everyone else is staying up or how early your FB friends in Australia get up. You might be discovered by a long lost relative and wish you hadn’t. See lots and lots of pandas and even more cats. Sign many petitions to save the world, see lots of the world and plenty of places you will never see; but in return smugly post pictures of places they will never visit. Join your local community group and start a conversation that could go on for days  ‘I went in that new restaurant and waited an hour for my dinner and the staff were very rude’.27835424_1971591706203943_476442722_oPress LIKE when you see a funny cartoon and lots more funny cartoons will pop up. If they make me LaughOutLoud I share them; there are plenty of people out there who can’t sleep or are stuck at home ill and love something to cheer them up. Cartoonists can say in a few pen strokes more than writers can in a page, so thank you cartoonists.

Time waster? What is the most inane thing you have found yourself glued to? Press LIKE when you see a news item posted by your friend in the USA and a few nights later you may find yourself watching a car chase filmed by a news helicopter. Keep watching, marvelling at the freeways ten lanes wide, keep watching to see if the police will catch up with the driver. Call out to anybody else in the house to come and have a look, but they have already gone to bed. You promise yourself to watch for two more minutes only before you go and clean your teeth, but those freeways and endless bridges are mesmerising and still the police are keeping up but not catching… like Facebook it goes on forever.

 

 

Youtube Nativity

Last century, in a previous incarnation, I went to mother and toddler groups; no doubt they have to be called something else now, Kids and Karers? We did have one granny, a few child minders and a couple of fathers. It was one of these fathers who brought his video camera along, no one else possessed such equipment. We thought he was showing off and hovering over his poor child. The ethos of the club was to ignore the little ones while indulging in a good gossip. These days he would probably have to have a background check before even being allowed into the church hall, let alone with a video camera. I wonder where that little boy is now, perhaps hot housed into a world leader, his whole life recorded for posterity.

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How would we all have fared, how different would our lives have been if we had grown up in the digital world, our pathetic appearance in the school nativity recorded and watched by grandchildren. I never got to be Mary or even an angel; in top infants I was merely the innkeeper’s wife with the line ‘Come this way.’ Would anyone want to see themselves coming last on sports day or dancing round the maypole in junior school? We did not get the ribbons tangled during our school’s centenary celebrations, but whether we looked elegant is another matter.

Our lives did not go completely unrecorded, Dad got a reel to reel tape recorder and secretly recorded Mum and the aunties, nobody could believe how awful their own voice sounded. When we had our school holiday in top juniors, several mothers went along as helpers, not mine thank goodness. One of these ladies had a cine camera, we were all going to be film stars. When it came time for the showing of the film, I did not appear at all.

There are families who have wonderful silent records of every Christmas, cine cameras were around for a long time before being superseded by videos, but most people took only photographs. Now every moment of a life can be recorded instantly, film or photo and broadcast to the world. Granddad on the other side of the world can see the new grandson having his umbilical cord cut. Great grandparents can see pretty in pink little miss precocious doing her first ballet exam at the age of two.

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But I feel more than a twinge of regret when I think of all the missed Instagrams I could have taken, pictures shared on Facebook and blogs written of my pre digital life. We have many photo albums, but camera film could not be wasted taking pictures of weird things; night scenes through rain splattered bus windows or the ubiquitous snaps of meals out or in.

Perhaps the more obsessed bloggers would have started much earlier if they had had the opportunity.

Baby Blogger…

Day One; with a bit of help from Mummy and Daddy I am starting this blog to record my whole life. Today was a bit of a milestone as I said my first words… blog, post and WordPress. Of course I know lots more words than that, but my lips and tongue aren’t working properly yet, just one of the challenges of being a baby.

Day Two; I have my first two followers, Mummy and Daddy… Sam the cat isn’t on WordPress so he can’t Like me, but here is a picture of him.

Day Three; We went to Wriggle and Rhyme Story Time at the library, I gave it four out of five stars…

 

My novel Quarter Acre Block is inspired by my early years.

 

Ask The Author

 

‘Meet The Author’ on the BBC 24 Hour News Channel is usually the cue for Cyberspouse to sigh and reach for the remote control; we’ve caught up with the news, watched tomorrow’s newspapers being discussed, seen Film Review and ‘Click’ featuring the latest technology. No one actually wants to watch news 24 hours a day, hence the interesting filler programmes repeated at intervals.

Meet The Author is a simple formula, a presenter and author chatting. In the unlikely event of me being invited to participate, the interview might not go well. It is pleasing when anybody is interested enough to ask questions, but we Indie Authors must remember that in the real world life does not revolve around our current novel and connecting with other writers on the internet. When someone you haven’t seen for a while, or who has just been introduced, asks if you are still writing, do not reply with heavy sarcasm ‘Does the earth still revolve around the sun?’ Smile and say ‘Oh yes, still writing all the time’ and refrain from adding ‘You obviously haven’t looked at my website lately.’

Another common question is ‘How long does it take to write a book?’ perhaps many authors do know, but I have no idea. I lose track of when I first typed the title, let alone when the original ideas or characters popped into my head. Toby my camper van detective started as an exercise we were given for writing group, he first took an active role in a short story, ‘The Ambassadors’, in An Eclectic Mix Volume One published by AudioArcadia.com 2015. He also features in my two novellas published last year. He must be wondering when I am going to finish his novel; this year I hope. It is nearly three years since I had the idea for an opening chapter of a novel, when we went to the cliff top at high tide the morning after the Valentine’s night storm of 2014, inspiring the title ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream.’

The follow on question is ‘How much time do you spend writing?’ Every available opportunity is the simple answer. When I first started with a second hand lap top on the dining table, connected to nothing except electricity, I wondered what authors in writing magazines were talking about; time wasting on social media? Even after acquiring sole use of a desk top it was a while before I realised you could have more than one page open at a time. Now writing my blog or novel is interspersed with messaging friends and relatives, looking at the latest family photos from (depending on the time of day) Australia or USA. And of course chatting with writers from all over the world. Dashing downstairs when the doorbell rings, the washing machine beeps or the oven timer goes off are all ways of avoiding deep vein thrombosis, but can seriously disturb the creative flow. Breaks to hang the washing out or put the chicken in the oven are ideal if you are editing; your brain and eyes need a break from the screen.

‘What sort of books do you write?’ A fair enough question, but ‘all sorts’ would be the best answer. ‘Quarter Acre Block’ is my only novel that could fit a genre, family drama. My trilogy encompasses family drama, love stories, crime, medicine and music; as strange things happen it is also science fiction. The real answer is I enjoy writing about ordinary people; especially when extraordinary things happen to them.

You can read the stories featuring Tobias Elliot Channing, private investigator specialising in missing persons, operating from a camper van, in Someone Somewhere.

Confessions of a Photophile

I laughed at the radio comedy; the woman in a state of panic who couldn’t go out to dinner with her friends because she had lost her mobile phone and wouldn’t be able to take a picture of the meal…

Have I become that woman? Of course not, when I take pictures of meals or glasses of festive mulled wine, it is with a large dose of irony. Besides, I love taking pictures of everything, thus proving I am not obsessed with recording the minutia of my everyday (dull) life.

I do belong to a camera club, but I don’t ‘do technical’. My enjoyment comes from looking out for interesting shots, not working out what lens to use. I point and shoot, but my photography has evolved from black and white prints to a computer full of digital images. First of all I joined Facebook and started sharing pictures, then I acquired a website with blank pages that needed to be filled with more than writing. Soon I was taking pictures not merely for family and holiday memories, but searching for original images for FB and my website. At this stage I had only my compact digital camera and marvelled at people instantly downloading images on line from the dinner they were about to eat or the tropical seas they were about to dive into.

But when I acquired a second hand smart phone I was hooked. Seeking shade from the glaring sun so I could see properly to send instant images to Facebook; fumbling to share my picture to the camera club FB page before Cyberspouse could. Mostly if I am out with other people I lose sight of them as I continually stop to take pictures.

My latest media outlet is Instagram. I’m not sure what the actual point of it is; you can only use your phone, but you can also share to Facebook and numerous other destinations in the ether that I haven’t yet navigated.

Yesterday, with a long winter walk planned, I had camera and phone in my rucksack, but vowed not to take them out till we reached our destination; firstly because it was too cold to keep taking gloves off or stand around and secondly I was looking forward to unpacking the flask of mulled wine, glasses and mince pies the long suffering one was carrying in his rucksack. But near the end of the woodland road that leads to the beach with the most expensive beach huts in the country, our route required us to manoeuvre round huge puddles and in the muddy puddles were interesting reflections of trees. We were planning to return a different way, so I just had to take my camera out…

And when we finally reached our scenic destination, the answer to the question ‘Where shall we sit?’ was obvious. ‘Where can I get the best shot of the red wine against the late afternoon sky, so I can post it on Instagram?’

Visit my website to see local seasonal scenes, the illustrated Beachwriter’s Blog and a winter picture quiz.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views