Social Media pays

Well it pays me anyway! I was delighted when I got up (really early) on Sunday morning to write a post for the Dublin Community Blog to discover that I had won a family ticket to see Karramato from the Czech Republic who are performing as part of the 2009 International Puppet Festival Ireland.

The thing is when I got the message first about winning, I thought there must be a mistake, as I hadn’t entered a competition. I had started following @puppetfest because I thought it might be a fun festival for the nippers. I also fanned them on Facebook because for starters I know how difficult it can be to get enough fans to get your vanity URL but also because the way I digest info on Facebook is different to how I get it from Twitter and sometimes one suits me better than the other. Anyway it turns out that they chose a random follower/fan from the hat as a winner and it was me!

When I told the nippers about our luck even Nipper 2.0 knew exactly what I was talking about. Every Christmas they get brought to the Lambert Puppet Theatre with their cousins and grandparents as a special treat. So we’re all excited!

But the Puppet Festival is not just for kids! During my undergraduate years I worked on a large production called Gilgamesh – the Epic (or Gilgamess as we called it!) which featured puppets of all sizes so I know the skill involved in creating a production like this. I worked on the “costumes” and my job included the ignominy of having to “dress” the puppets onstage during a transformational scene. I also studied non-Western Theatre during this time and many non-Western theatre forms include or solely comprise puppetry. Joyce, Brecht and Beckett were partly inspired in some of their theories about theatre by their exposure to theatre forms like this where the actor was exposed or removed. What I’m saying is these heavyweights took puppetry dead seriously so should you! Anyone who has seen a Punch & Judy show will know that even this simplest form of puppetry allows the performer freedoms that they might not enjoy as an actor on a stage.

So check out the programme and try something completely different this weekend!

When was the last time we talked, I mean really talked?

Yesterday evening I was going to write a post on a similar subject as gapingvoid: 10 things I hate about web 2.0. I agree with most of what he is saying to a greater or lesser degree. Hugh McLeod is always good for an ironical, fresh view on all things web.

I do believe that blogging has made the traditional media more wary of thinking about themselves as the ONLY source of information. I also have concerns that Web 2.0 is in the process of eating itself, starting with its nose to spite its face. A meaningful conversation in the real world doesn’t usually happen when someone is unneccesarilly rude (I can never, ever spell any form of the second last word there. Note to self: memorise the spelling of necessary? neccesary… It’s not called One of these days… for nothing, this blog!) but some bloggers and more so commenters think this is the best way to do it.

I have two rules when engaging someone on a blog:

  1. My mammy was right: if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. However I will add an addendum to her sage words: if you can’t say anything nicely, don’t say anything at all. Feedback is important. How else will we improve? We all learn from our mistakes, but sometimes they have to be pointed out to us. That said nothing will make someone bridle more than “That is sh*t”. Surely it doesn’t take a genius or an extra five minutes to comment “I think what you are doing could be improved if you did X or Y. Maybe I could help you with it?”
  2. If you are writing it, say it out loud first. Would you really say that to somebody standing in front of you? Would you say it over the phone? If you were a contestant on Big Brother would your comment result in your being up for eviction? (Oho timely reference wha’?) Does it sound blunt? Does it sound harsh? Does the issue you have merit such vehemence? If in doubt about whether your witty brand of sarcasm translates into text, go on, use an emoticon to take the edge off.

It costs nothing to be nice but it could earn you a lot.

Is she really going out in them? (The Twitterers made me)

White pointed toes shoes side lacesWhipped up into a frenzy by a ridiculous Twitter chat in relation to Joe Jackson’s shoes and convinced I could find anything online I have just purchased these delectable items. It will make up for the Peter Pan booties that I didn’t buy in Amsterdam last October. Himself will not be impressed. Mind you he was talking about buying the neighbour’s garden from them earlier because their luscious crop of dandelions are upsetting him and his weed related OCD. However, we could probably use the contents of our drinks cabinet to pay for the neighbours’ garden. The solicitors fees would be the biggest cost involved.