Tag Archives: Facebook

Save Freedom of the Press: Quash the whackjob media

wrecked-newsstand

By Uberto from Pavia, Italia (edicola esplosa foto 2°) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A few months ago I wrote a post about my fears for the marketplace of ideas and what that could mean to today’s free press (There’s Something Rotten in the Marketplace of Ideas). I’m not insensible to the fact that this has been going on for a long time. Somehow we’ve allowed conspiracy theorists out of their carefully marked “whackjob” corner and into mainstream consciousness.

Today I read an article in The Washington Post (Want to Save the Republican Party? Drain the Right-Wing Media Swamp.) The author calls out many ideas that should be whackjob conspiracy theories and instead are actually believed by many in the Republican party. Things like voter fraud, that global warming is a myth perpetrated by scientists looking to make money, and the crowning achievement of the right-wing media: Birtherism.

What is so frightening about these ideas is that it is almost impossible to quash them unless you actually do purge the sources or—as the author of the Post article calls it—drain the swamp. Yet that goes against the very tenet that we must all protect above all else: Freedom of the Press. For once our press falls under government regulation, all freedoms may go along with it.

Freedom of the Press is based on the idea that misinformation will not gain footing in an enlightened society. An enlightened society will reject what is not true, thereby allowing the truth to shine through. But the conspiracy theories and misinformation are spreading, helped along by politicians who use them for political gain simply by refusing to disavow them. This sickness isn’t confined to the right wing anymore, either. Liberal websites that spread propaganda and outright lies are popping up, too.

BuzzFeed (yes, BuzzFeed, which is becoming a news service to rival AP) conducted a study of misinformation presented on Facebook as fact (Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages are Publishing False and Misleading Information at an Alarming Rate). The study found that right-wing Facebook pages were far more likely to spread rumors and lies as fact than mainstream media, but liberal, left-wing Facebook pages were not far behind.

So what does this mean? In a world where information is free and independent of government regulation, can we believe anything we read/see/hear in our Marketplace of Ideas? Thomas Jefferson said, “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” I believe he meant that every man who reads the news must be capable of distinguishing fact from fiction. In other words, we must demand the truth from our media and be willing to turn our backs on those who do not back up their information with facts. In a world where our politicians are unwilling to tell us when we’re being fed lies, we must search out the truth ourselves.

And if Thomas Jefferson thought we could do that, then for the love our country, we need to try harder. We must put the whackjobs back into the corner or risk losing the right to a free and independent media—and the truth.

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Filed under Writing

Why I am writing about politics

It’s not a decision I made lightly. Friends and colleagues both warned me not to jump into the political arena this year. “You’ll alienate your reader base,” they said. “You’re a romance author. You’ll sound like you’re trying to be an expert at something you’re not trained in.”

What did I do? I ignored them. And there’s a very simple reason why. This year isn’t about politics at all. Politics are about policies, and there must always be some give and take about policies. This year is different. This year is about defending our country’s values, principles and freedoms. They are in danger, and Donald Trump is the threat.

I started my crusade on Facebook at the beginning of the year, trying to encourage friends and family to truly look at what Donald Trump had said and done since launching his presidential campaign. His off-the-cuff remarks about Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers, his horrible comments about women, his passion for waterboarding and other forms of torture, and the worst of all, to me at least, his advocating for killing the families of terrorists. And let’s not forget his promises to limit both freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Any of the other Republican candidates would have been better for our nation. But they didn’t become the presidential nominee. Trump did. And so I vowed to keep posting until Donald Trump was no longer a threat to my country.

Well, he’s still out there. And I’m still writing my articles for whatever they’re worth. And that’s part of why this blog has been so neglected. I’ve only let my politics sneak on here once or twice before. But with the election less than a month away, I’ve made a decision. I hope it’s not a dumb one.

I hope it doesn’t make you hate me or decide not to read my books. If it does, that’s my loss.

In an attempt to reach more voters, I’ll be posting on here now. You’ll see what I believe in right up front. There’s nothing romantic about politics, but there is passion. Passion for preserving our country’s founding principles. There is love. Love for our country and our fellow man. There is desire. Desire to make our country a better place for everyone.

And that’s why, for the next month, I’m dedicating this blog to anyone who believes that we must defeat Donald J. Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. I’ll post my #StopTrump articles here and then to Facebook. If any of my other talented, like-minded fellow writers wishes to join me, I will welcome them.

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Filed under Politics, Writing

Promotion: The dirty word of writing.

With the launch of Out of Time less than two months away, I’m throwing myself into the process of making certain readers know about the book. In other words, promotion.

Promotion. It’s not a four-letter word, but it might as well be. As writers, we want readers to read our books, but we would rather stay away from the actual hawking of said books. But if we don’t hawk the books, they don’t get read, and to get the books read, we have to sell them.

Hence, promotion.

I’ve never yet gotten a real handle on the promotion thing. I would love to be one of those writers who writes only and hires someone to do all the dirty work for her. Tweeting and Facebooking and advertising…everything short of standing on the corner of Main and Broad yelling, “Buy my book! You’ll love it!”

But that’s not really possible, is it? I have to promote my book, but why can’t I have fun with it? So I’ve decided on June 15, I’m going to host a big party here, complete with party favors (i.e. e-giveaways) and a grand door prize of a Kindle Fire. Please spread the word. Invite your friends. And here’s your invitation:img_3990

One last note, I’m running a campaign on Thunderclap to promote the launch party, too. If you’d like to support the campaign, here’s a link: Help Me Launch Out of Time. Remember, I’m promoting the launch party, which will hopefully promote the book, but no purchase is necessary to participate! Just come and join the fun, and maybe take home some goodies!

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Filed under Out of Time, Writing

New Year: My Love/Hate/Like/Respect Relationship with Social Media

I was first introduced to social media at my 20th high school reunion. “Are you on Facebook?” is the second most important question I remember being asked.

“Are you pregnant?” is the first most important.

I wasn’t.

In fact, my daughter who was just over a year old was with my two boys at my parents’ that night. My father called me about two hours into the event to tell me she was running a fever. Happy to get away from schoolmates I’d never really fit in with but still longed to impress, I fled the scene in the ill-fitting dress that had led to pregnancy question.

The next week I looked up Facebook, started a profile, friended every old Facebook_like_thumbschoolmate I could find and posted a flattering picture of myself, very obviously NOT pregnant. Facebook was a lot of fun!

I’ve had a hilly relationship with social media since then. When I started publishing romance novels, it was useful for getting the word out. Hey, look what I did! But I can’t honestly say it’s resulted in a spike in sales at any point beyond release days. And to be honest, constantly posting and tweeting saps any creative energy I might have, cutting dramatically into my writing time.

I’ve used social media, especially Facebook, to brag about my kids, to post funny pictures, to share articles about politics, education, writing, child-rearing, etc. I’ve been guilty about bragging about the places I travel to, special achievements, and wonderful experiences.

Last October, I read an article about the darker side of social media. People who post the good stuff and leave out the bad. A mother who posted pictures of her beautiful children, loving husband and perfect home–found dead of a drug overdose. Another mother who posted loving comments about her toddler’s accomplishments and growth–discovered disposing of the child’s body. Teens who maintain two profiles. One that shows a perfect life, the other full of angst and worry that they’ll be found out to be much more normal and less…perfect.

Is this what social media turns us into? Is it really just another way of keeping up with—or besting—your friends and neighbors? Since reading these articles, I’ve been more thoughtful about what I post to the point of almost posting nothing. What if something I post makes someone else out there feel unworthy or like a failure? That’s not what I want.

Facebook currently has a feature letting me know what my “memories” are from that date in the past. Sometimes I force myself to look. They are mostly drivel and nine-tenths of the rest are not worth sharing with the world or even good friends. The only truly worthwhile ones are pictures of my kids, and maybe I should never have posted those anyway.

Which has led me to my New Year’s resolution. I’m going to use social media and the Internet in a more thoughtful way. I’ve been going over and over what this means and I’m still not totally clear about it. I know it means to think twice before posting, to consider carefully what the effects of my posts might be. I don’t think I’ll stop using social media, because I do like and enjoy it for the most part, but I will respect it more.

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Filed under Thoughts, Writing

Did you ever hear of best laid plans?

It’s either a case of best laid plans or not planning well at all, but when I decided to launch Close Up Magic on the first of June, complete with a three-week whirlwind book tour two days later, I completely didn’t take into account that this would be one of my craziest weeks ever.

In addition to trying to keep up with my regular craziness, I have to add in the last week of school for my kids, packing up the school library in preparation to move it, and my daughter being out of school. Long story short, I’m not going to be physically able to do everything I should to promote my book tour. I still plan on tweeting about it and posting it on Facebook, but posting on here everyday? Not going to happen. That’s why I’ve put up the menu on the right side of your screen under the pretty book cover image. If you check there every day, you’ll be able to see where I am, and I will also magically transform each of those blog names into a link to my post!

And why is this important? Because commenters on each post are eligible to win a $5 Amazon gift card–one at every stop! And at the end of the tour, I’ll be giving away a Magic Basket–that’s right, a basket full of magic and books about magic! You don’t want to miss out on that, do you?

Plus, I’m revealing a little bit about me and Close Up Magic at every stop. What makes magicians sexy? Why do I enjoy magic? Who do I have a secret crush on? (Got your attention there!) I’m not going to tell you which post that’s in, either! You’ll have to pay attention.

In the meantime, how about checking out my post on Deal Sharing Aunt?

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Filed under Blog Tour, Close Up Magic

Join me June 1 for the Close Up Magic Release Day celebration!: What’s magic to YOU?

Join me June 1 for Close Up Magic’s official release day celebration! It’ll be magic and books and magic books and…LAS VEGAS!!!…all day long. I’ll be posting pictures of me in magical Las Vegas locations all day on June 1. You’ll be able to find me on Facebook, Twitter and right here! Best of all, I want you to be part of the action. I’ve got a list of locations I want to visit in Las Vegas, but I want you to help me out. What about Vegas is magic to YOU? Is it the magicians? The casinos? The over-the-top architecture of places of like Caesar’s Palace and The Venetian? Leave me your suggestions of the best places to use as a backdrop for a picture of me holding Close Up Magic and I’ll do my very best to get there. Plus, if you suggest a place for me to go, I’ll enter you to win a $20 Amazon gift card that you can magically transform into merchandise from Amazon!

I will be posting on my blog all day, but here’s a list of other places where you can find me on June 1:
Twitter
Michelle Garren Flye Facebook Fan Page
Close Up Magic Facebook Fan Page

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Filed under Close Up Magic, Giveaway

The Magic of History: My Close Up Magic Facebook Page

When I decided to write about magicians, I started out the way you’d expect: I started researching how it was done. With very little research on the internet, you can easily find out everything from how to do card tricks to how to vanish the Statue of Liberty. I found the simplicity of it both startling and disillusioning, and I realized something.

I don’t want to know this.

So I turned my attention from the “how to” articles on the internet to the “who did that and when” articles. The people who have populated the world of magic are fascinating. The pioneers of magic, the great illusionists, the tricksters, the card wizards…if they devoted their lives to the art of magic and making people believe, their stories still entertain.

And that’s what I’m putting on my Close Up Magic Facebook Page. Here’s today’s post:

In the 19th century, spiritualism, or the use of mediums to contact the dead on the spiritual plane, claimed a portion of the audience of many of the magicians of the time. Many so-called “mediums” used methods of illusion to convince their audiences that they could establish a connection with the spirits of dead loved ones. While spiritualism had its illustriuous followers including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Queen Victoria and possibly even three American presidents (Lincoln, Grant and Johnson), many magicians took it on themselves to debunk the mediums’ seances. Houdini held shows in which he recreated entire seances in order to expose spiritualism as a fraud.

If you’d like to check out some of my other posts, you can find them here: Close Up Magic Facebook Page.

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Filed under Close Up Magic