Waves for the Future

My son is giving me a lesson – again, because he did this a few days ago – on streaming video. Not playing it, I’m not that inept! Making it. I’d been really enjoying Jim Curtis’s Old NFO videos twice a week, and he inspired me to try it myself. As I said when I was running a mini-poll on when to plan the live streams, I don’t plan to replace the blogging with the chats. Instead, it gives me a way to interact with family, friends, and fans that doesn’t involve more energy expenditure than I have, right now. I’m enjoying it. The first one was fun – I got my mother, father, and grandmother watching from literally coast to coast on this continent of ours! We live in awesome times.

The Little Man, who is 15, homeschooled, and runs a server rack in his bedroom, discovered my plans to stream on Youtube and glommed onto it with happy techie noises. The first time he worked on the laptop, I was under the weather. So last night, when I did the first official (versus the dress rehearsal) stream, I just did it the easy way. Which led to him making unhappy techie noises at me this morning and walking me through how to do it the ‘right way’ next time. Which will be Friday evenings.

He’s got me set up with StreamLabs, which should, from what he’s instructed me, allow me to do some nifty things. For one, I can throw up images during the stream. Like book covers! And I can have a little window in one corner of the video which will show the comments that are made during the stream. That’s something I’ve have people ask for, so I’m happy to see it. My son informs me that the paid version would allow me to stream on Youtube and Facebook simultaneously and see comments from both places. That would be an interesting feature, but it is still new enough I’m not willing to commit. I’m learning things!

Marketing, as I talked about on the video last night, is a long, slow process done right. Do it wrong? Well, if you rush at people shouting ‘buy my stuff!’ they are likely to back off quickly looking for an escape route. Don’t scare people. Build relationships with them. If you can achieve this, you’ll wind up with fans, and furthermore, fans who trust you and your work enough to recommend you. Word of mouth is the gold standard for a reason!

So are the video chats marketing? Maybe? Honestly, I’m doing them for me. This was the year without cons, or social gatherings, or… I’m an introvert. I’m not that introverted. I need human interaction. The myth of the writer locking themselves in a garret and writing isn’t completely unfounded in reality. However, there’s another thing to consider: how do you write solid characters if you don’t spend time with people? I mean, I have to wonder about some authors as I try to read their work. Have they ever met a person? Had a conversation? I mean, read your dialogue out loud! Seriously! that’s more stilted than a convention of jugglers and clowns…

Video is not going to work for everyone. I’m comfortable with it because I spent 16 years as a performer. That’s not a background many authors have. However, I look at the face of the internet (it looks a bit like my son, to be honest) and realize that all the media matters. Audio, text, video, it’s all the way of the future. Text is not dead, although I suspect it will change as time goes on. My daughters read fan-fictions. My son prefers video (as you may have guessed). I see a big demand for audiobooks.

As we come into a new year, I’m looking ahead at the future. At the changing face of the world, and how to anticipate what is coming next. As much as that is possible. Last year showed us that even predicting the future can go awry. Will we have another year like that? Probably. Maybe not this year, but there will be other ones that lake a hard left and never come back on track. One thing I have learned. I’m going to take advantage of the waves, whatever form I can take them in, from the electrons I’m tickling to create this blog post, to the sound waves of my own voice. I’m going to use those to stay connected. I need connections to other people to keep myself happy, and besides that, it seems to make them happy, too. So I’ll write, and I’ll talk, and I’ll smile into the camera knowing that eyes across the country are smiling back at me.

6 comments

  1. I’m not a video person, maybe because I grew up without TV. I will give video its place (it’s often quicker, e.g. to do a video review vs written review) and maybe it suits the modern microsecond attention spans, but it’s still hard to search, browse, and learn deeply from video.

    Video does seem to be a good match for marketing and establishing connections.

  2. I enjoyed the chat on Friday. I don’t know that I can do it, even though I stood in front of a classroom of 18-22 year-olds for over 20 years. When the semester went online last spring, I found that the thing that I considered to be my most effective teaching tool, my presentations of information, was really sad when I wasn’t there in person. I did manage to beef things up a bit at the end after talking to other colleagues and getting feedback. But, you are right. It needs to be considered as one of the waves of the future.

    1. I’ve been exposed to a thing called Hololive recently.

      Basically, it is a business rooted in Japanese entertainer ideas, cross pollinated with video game streaming.

      It uses an interesting technology to translate the motions of a performer to a cartoon figure. The tech apparently also adjusts voice.

      Which means that the anonymity tools now exist to set up an online university, which could allow academics to study the humanities in a university setting while discarding all of the insane garbage that you would normally have to pretend to accept.

      Obvious issues, a) could the business model work? b) How many conservative faculty burnt out from traditional academics would want to do this, as opposed to running screaming in the opposite direction? c) Who would develop the techniques of showmanship to make this lecture format work? d) Lawyers are probably tending towards investment in traditional academia, and might burn alternatives down out of spite.

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