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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Nerve-Wracking Wikipedia Submissions and Networking

Okay, for the first time ever I have submitted a page to Wikipedia. Formatting is ridiculously complicated, for reasons I can only assume have to do with consistency. Info-boxes all have to look alike, references have to be cited in a way that stick all of them at the bottom of the page, every little fact has to be verified, and special characters are required to make thinks look the way they do. Characters that actually make very little sense to me, but they use a system that's somewhat specific to Wikipedia. As I was going through the tutorial documentation a couple of months ago, I remember they called it something, but for the life of me I can't remember the name of it now.

It hardly matters. The horror of my first submission is over. I'll need to go back and add to it as time goes by, because there is relevant information that really should be in the article, but I didn't have the proper sources and I wasn't about to put the information in without them. I don't want anyone to stumble around in my article, pulling out crap because it wasn't properly cited, and then making their own changes. If I do it right in the first place, no one will touch it.

I have always wanted to be a Wikipedia contributor, but never seemed to get around to it. I'd offered to do the page, however, so I had the motivation of a deadline and a promise to finally get off my keister and deal with it. Well, actually, that's the exact opposite of what I did. I actually had to plop myself onto my keister to do it. Thankfully it was already plopped, as it so often is, in my chair in front of my little mobile desk. I didn't have to go anywhere at all. I just had to focus.

The article has not been published as yet, since it had to be submitted for review first. That can take several days, apparently, so I'm glad I got done with my end of it a few weeks early. There's a rather large time cushion there now, for them to piddle away.

Considering the fact that I didn't feel like I had a lot of information that was properly sourced, I'm quite pleased with myself for what I managed to get posted into the piece. I managed to throw in a lot more detail than I had expected, and will have still more after I talk to a couple more people. I really thought it was going to be nothing more than a stub, but it's actually more complete than a lot of full articles I've seen. The person I was doing the article for is going to get a pleasant surprise this morning. I'm pretty sure he thought I'd never get it done. Or, he was just nagging me for the fun of it. He does that anyway, so it's hard to tell. I think toying with me has become a bit of a hobby, or something to do while bored - I'm not sure which. (No, I don't really mean it in any bad way. I just like to tease. It's how I toy with people. Revenge!)

Seeing as I was on a roll this morning, I decided to get the host form in for the show, too, rather than waiting until this afternoon sometime. The next one is about shady legal maneuvering, with some very interesting guests, but I'll fill you in on that a bit later. I always end up doing a blog posting about each episode, and sometimes even a before-and-after, so don't worry - you'll hear all about that later. Hey, it's bragging rights. I pick the guests for the show, and I think I've done okay so far as the producer for The Kovacs Perspective, so I like to flaunt a bit. Sue me. Well, don't, actually. I don't have anything worth suing for. I'd hate to see you waste my time.

In the last couple of days I've managed to get a few things off my plate, and have a few very interesting things happen. When I say that those things affect me career-wise, there's truth to it even when the things might seem more personal. The fact is, nothing I do is really all that personal anymore. It's all fodder. Fodder for blogging and writing articles. Then there's the fact that I'm technically networking at all times. It's not intentional, because I don't run around in the vast reaches of cyber-world just to latch onto people I think can be helpful to me. However, I meet people all the time. I make new friends all the time. The more friends I make, the more connections there are for networking.

It's not as cold-blooded as people might think it is. Most of what we do in life involves people. The higher you get in any career now, the more likely it is that you're going to find new employment through networking with your friends. They hear about things that open up, and they think of you. I mean, if you generally work as the CEO of a major corporation, you're not likely to find your next big position looking through the want-ads. It just doesn't happen. Have you ever seen an ad for a CEO? No? Didn't think so.

Just because you hear about things through people you know doesn't mean that you have to be using them, either. If you talk to the people you do because you genuinely like them, that's not using, that's friendship. If they're your friends they actually like being able to do things to help you. I'm perfectly happy to connect my friends to other friends when I think there's something that will be beneficial to both of them. I don't want to foist people off on the unwilling. I'm very, very uncomfortable with that. However, if an editor is looking for a writer, and I know a writer, I'm all over that. If they're looking for links to information about specific topics, and I know about things that have been written by people that I think did a good job, I point them to that, too. Both people get what they want and come away happy.

The fact of the matter is, everything that's happened in my life lately has been the result of bizarre chance that could loosely be termed networking. Doing research led me to +SearchWarp where I impulsively decided to start submitting articles. I made friends on the site, one of whom was +Steve Kovacs, who is the host of the show I now produce. I'd been writing for SearchWarp for about five or six month by the time we actually started to talk. When we did talk I found out he had a show, so I watched it. In the first show he mentioned something that I said, which had me laughing like a loon. He didn't mention my name or anything, thankfully. I'm strangely shy of publicity. Yes, I know that seems very counter-intuitive. Writing doesn't seem at all the same to me, though.

Anyway, it was right after I watched a second show, which was the second one he did after I started getting to know him, that he asked if I'd be interested in being his producer. Shocked the bejeepers out of me, and I did the texting version of a stutter (not uncommon for me). Still, I must have managed to stammer out an affirmative response at some point, because it all worked out. The fact is, I certainly didn't start talking to Steve because of his show. I don't think I actually knew about it until after we started talking and I finally saw his website.

The truly hilarious thing about doing the show, however, is that now he's mentioning me on the air by name. The thanks I get! Ha! I think my face was about three shades of crimson during the first show he did where I was responsible for the guests, from him talking about his new producer. To be fair, I think he's only said my name in one other episode, and for that I still get all teary-eyed, not red-faced. He dedicated a show to my ferret, Stimpy, when he died. It was totally unexpected, as you might imagine. Nobody has ever done anything like that for me before, and to have someone acknowledge so thoroughly how much I was grieving was really touching. Don't get me wrong. My friends have all been wonderful. This was just really special to me. +Len Azzarone, who runs the station and takes care of all the technical details, was responsible for pulling together the graphics for the dedication, so I wanted to mention him again for being a part of that. It was a really big deal to me, and still is.

It wasn't long after I started doing the show that I forced myself back into the Facebook world and started connecting with others who had similar beliefs and interests, particularly when it came to feminism and animals. I met a bunch of people, followed some pages, and ended up on +Feminspire's website to read an article. I really can't remember how I got there, or what the article was, but I liked the look of the site and thought I'd see if they were looking for writers. Obviously they were, as I was on the staff within a couple of days.

I've only been writing for Feminspire for a short time, but my latest piece for them has so far accumulated close to 5,000 hits. Every time I'm on the site I see that there were a couple hundred more. It's pretty amazing to realize that there are that many people who are interested in what I have to say. In case you're interested, the piece was about Disney changing the look of one of their characters (Merida from Brave) in a way that I, and many others, considered very negative. You can read all about it here if you like. A petition went around about the issue, one that I signed, and now Disney has removed the new pictures from their website. There was a fair bit of backlash, as you can see.

Now that I'm working for Feminspire, however, I may have connected with another writing job. If I hadn't starting working for them, I'd never have even known about it, so at the very least I've had the opportunity to apply. Again, it also forced me onto my keister to finish something, which was my writing resume. It was sitting there, half-finished, for a few weeks. Now, a writing resume isn't the same thing as a corporate resume, and I couldn't find a single decent example of one online. They all looked like a hot mess to me. So, I was futzing around about that until I finally had to do it. Now that it's finished, though, updating it is easy. I might make some changes to it, but the real work is done.

Again, I didn't start working for Feminspire to connect to another job, and maybe I haven't connected to that job, but I certainly don't complain when these things happen. It does boil down to the old adage of, "We reap what we sow." If I were a selfish jerk that was using people, they wouldn't be trying to connect me with other opportunities. I would be friends with the people I'm friends with, regardless of whether or not they ever advance my life or career. I'm too bloody difficult and opinionated to tolerate people in my life that I simply don't like. I'm open-minded and accepting of differences of opinion for the most part, but there's a moral line I draw. I'm certainly not going to cuddle up with a bunch of misogynists or animal abusers.

Well, now that I'm feeling all responsible and everything, I think it's time for me to go get some playtime in. Then it'll be bedtime, possibly, but I think that's a ways off. I'm feeling a bit too alert for that at the moment. I do want to make sure I get some sleep before it gets dark, because I want to take Pepper (another ferret) out for a walk tonight. The cold snap here is supposed to be finished today, and it does seem warmer, so he won't have to shiver himself right off of his stubby little legs. He does not like being cold. I've got an envelope, waiting to be mailed, stuck to his leash so I don't forget. I follow a Facebook page called Have a Gay Day, since I'm an ally, and they have stickers to help promote their website, which means I need to send them a self-addressed envelope. It's another thing I've been meaning to do for months now, so I thankfully managed to finally get it ready to go. Wow! I'm almost on the ball today!