Things have changed so much since I was in high school. I distinctively remember being incredibly bored during English classes and challenging the teacher when she insisted that a particular Shakespearean passage was intended to reflect some ideology.
"How do you know? Did you know Shakespeare personally?"
Yeah, I was always a little too forthright for my own good.
However, in seeing what my teenage son now faces, I have found myself in a unique position to help him and other teenagers who might be in a similar position.
I don't normally write about personal things on this blog, but if you'll just bear with me for a moment, everything will become clear.
My 15-year-old son has just started NZQA Level 1. As one of his courses, he has elected to take English with Media. Gone are the days of analysing that Shakespearean text. Instead, they assess how various forms of media has influenced our written and spoken language. I must admit that I probably would have found English in high school much more interesting if I was watching movies and TV and listening to radio. But in today's world, media also includes the Internet.
His latest assignment has caused an interesting situation, one that he is far from happy with. His assignment: to develop a marketing campaign using social media. To think, my 15-year-old son is now being taught in high school what I've have been trying to get my head around for the past three years. (See how times have definitely changed?)
However, my son actually wants nothing to do with social media. He doesn't like what it does to people and how, in reality, it's more like anti-social media. He's consciously aware of the dangers of the Internet and is unwilling to share photos and any information about his personal life on that forum. He has legitimate fears — fears that he shares with many others who are much older than he his.
Writers who are actively trying to develop an on-line platform are acutely aware of what they say and do; that one nasty mistake can follow you around like a bad smell.
For the past three years, I have spend a significant amount of time trying to understand the requirements of a writer's platform, identifying many hidden traps. I've even taken the time to document these traps and have spent the last few months compiling them into a book to be published later this year.
My knowledge and background meant that I was able to help my son through this social media hurtle so he can complete his assignments by helping him to develop the basics of an on-line platform.
I had originally intended to release the first of my platform checklists later in the year, but given the current situation with my son, I realised that there are likely other parents out there that would be in a similar position to me, trying to help their teenage children through the new high school English curriculum, but unlike me, the other parents might not know what to do. So here goes...
Below is the first of my platform checklists designs to help writers (and now teens) develop the basics of an on-line platform.
Basic Online Platform Checklist
This checklist is a starting point for a basic online platform. It is intended just as a reminder of the core elements common to most writer's platforms. No specific detail is provided in this document as it is meant to be used in tandem with The Hidden Traps of a Writer's Online Platform, due to be released August 2017.
For any platform, large or small, you will want to create a new Gmail account for the sole purpose of administering your other accounts. This email will be used to sign up to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Where possible, you will also use this email for domain registrations.
DO NOT use this email for general communications. This needs to be kept as secret as possible for the sake of Internet security.
I suggested that this email be a Gmail for a reason. Say you elected so sign up for all these sites and register your domain using an email from your Internet provider. If you were to move, you may be forced to change Internet providers and hence will no long have access to that email address that you registered your accounts with. You could find yourself locked out of your systems. This would be particularly problematic for those wanting to move domain hosting, as you need to confirm transfer using the email a domain was registered with.
With the new email setup, you'll be ready for your all important website.
There are many different aspects to a website — far too many for me to cover in a single post — but the biggest trap that writers and website owners tend to fall into is wanting to save just a few extra bucks, not paying for Privacy Protection. BIG MISTAKE!
If you go to WhoIs.com, you can enter any domain and get the postal address, phone number and email of the registrant. If you have privacy protection, it will be your host provider details that will be shown — not yours.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I frequently yammering on about either Facebook or Twitter. I have spoken about the differences between a personal Facebook profile and a page. I have prattled on about the Dos and Don'ts of Twitter. Let's not forget all the security issues that creep up on the various profile sites.
On my personal blog, I have written about my personal practices on Facebook regarding sharing the posts of others and why I continually reject friends requests. I've even written about why I might follow someone on Twitter.
For those new to Twitter, I even have a handout written just for you, complete with hints about how you might link Twitter to other social media sites, so posts are automatically cross-posted. (You can find Twitter 101 on the Resources page.)
It takes a significant amount of time to build an on-line platform, and there are so many things to think about. Future posts will delve into different aspects of a platform and the hidden traps found within.
Changes at Black Wolf Editorial
As I've mentioned above, I've spent three years building my own platform to the point it is now, and it is constantly evolving. A recent edition has been the full integration of my mailing list into this site (and my personal one). You will now find a nice, new, shiny form on the sidebars of the site where you can sign up for update and editing tips delivered directly into your inbox.
If you had previously subscribed using your email, I have already migrated you over to the new system. However, if you had subscribed using your WordPress.com account, you will need to sign up to the new system yourself. You will continue to receive legacy emails, I have not deactivated that system, but you will miss out on special content that only those on my mailing list will get access to.
As we get closer and closer to the release of The Hidden Traps of an On-Line Platform, there will be more little gems like the one discussed above.
In the meantime, keep writing and don't let the platform mission get you down.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017