Heads up, this content is 16 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed yesterday by the fabulous Miss Lilycat on Pirate Cat Radio about blogging and gender — two very different topics which somehow blended together nicely. The interview was two hours long, interspersed with some music, distractions, and other neat stuff. With Lilycat’s permission, I’ve edited it down for you into easier-to-digest segments:

Interview on Pirate Cat Radio: Segments

  1. Part 1 (15 minutes) – Overview of my blogs, discussion about Twitter, Internet karma
  2. Part 2 (21 minutes) – My history with blogging, my history with poetry, privacy and secrets on the web, my gender identity
  3. Part 3 (18 minutes) – Transgender issues, my sexuality, gender in the media, “hitting bottom”, pronouns and etiquette with genderqueer people
  4. Part 4 (4 minutes) – Gender fetish, queer community, Genderfork.com, “My mom is awesome”
  5. Part 5 (6 minutes) – Wrapping up: “Relax about gender and go get yourself a blog.”

And while I’m still using my fifteen minutes of identity politics fame, I should mention I was also interviewed recently by Dr. Karen Rayne about my experience growing up as queer. Please take a look at Part 1 and Part 2. Then share Dr. Karen’s blog with everyone you know who is raising a teenager. It’s an excellent resource for perspective.

Heads up, this content is 16 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

twitterific_logo_enlarged.pngI’m hearing more and more confused questions about Twitter. People are on it, but they’re not quite sure what they’re doing here, and what’s up with these weirdos they don’t know who are suddenly following them? Relax. Twitter is a good thing. And it gets to be pretty much whatever you want it to be. Here are some more tips from my angle on the tool (there are a bazillion more out there, so please comment with yours).

Get Perspective

If you’re new to Twitter and baffled, start with this plain-english video by Common Craft. No one, to date, has been able fully to explain Twitter. But this comes close.

Get Pings as they Happen

By default, you’ll see your replies by clicking the “Reply” tab and you’ll get Direct Messages in your inbox. I’m having both of those sent to my phone as text messages so I can see them as they happen. Here’s how I did that:

  1. I went to Settings -> Phone & IM, set up my phone, and turned Device Updates to “On” (not to “direct message”. You’ll see why in a second.)
  2. I went through each person I was following and made sure I had Notifications set to “Off” (cuz I don’t want everyone’s tweets coming into my phone. Fortunately, “Off” is the default when you add someone new, so you might not have to do this.)
  3. I went to my phone and sent “track sarahdopp” to the Twitter number (404040 in the U.S.) This means that every time the string “sarahdopp” shows up in a Twitter message, I hear about it right away. 95% of the time, it’s an “@” reply. (I’m fortunate that that my Twitter name is unique enough to do this.)

Voila. Direct Messages and Replies straight to the cell phone. Bonus tip: When you’re at a big event like SXSW, switch your favorite friends’ Notifications to “On” so you’re also finding out what parties they’re going to right away, as they twitter about them. Then turn them back “Off “when you go home.

Get a Grip on Your Goals

If you’re using Twitter as a…

mini blog, then don’t feel pressured to join in on the constant “@ reply” conversations, and keep your content in your style. Keep an eye on your Twitter profile page and make sure your “face to the world” is representing you. Be appreciative of the strangers who follow you and don’t feel obligated to follow them back. Follow the people whose content you care about, and try to ignore the background noise without criticizing it. People will appreciate the quality of your posts.

...community-building tool, then stay aware of what other people are writing and be consistently present for them. When someone messages or replies to you, respond right away. If you do it with an “@ reply,” you’ll give them public props and they’ll appreciate that. If you’re trying to welcome new people, then consider following the people who follow you (here’s a hint though: if they’re following 800 people and only 3 people are following them, you can probably write them off as “spam”). Be extra respectful and extra helpful, and people will take care of you.

way to stay in touch , then be there for your friends and ignore everything else. Post about what your friends will care about, try to post with about as much frequency and “@ replies” as your friends use, and don’t feel obligated to follow anyone who’s not your friend. If it creeps you out when strangers follow you, then switch your posts to private. If you don’t mind being a little bit “on stage” with your life, then let them watch but just pretend they’re not there. Or picture them in their underwear.

If you have one of these styles, and some of the people you follow have different styles, that’s okay! You’re both right! Respect the differences! If you don’t like watching their tweets, then unfollow them. Simple as that.

Get Convenience

First thing’s first: make sure you can post from your cell phone. It will change your life. Then figure out how you want to see your friends’ tweets.

If you like living in your browser and you want to minimize distractions, use the Twitter.com site. It’s pretty awesome.

If you’re on an Intel Mac or using Vista and you want to keep an eye on your tweets as you work, get Twhirl. (It’s a two-part download. Just follow the instructions.)

If you’re on an older Mac, use Twitterific. (I also have this set up to update my Skype profile with my latest tweet.)

If you’re on an iPhone, try Thincloud or Pocket Tweets.

If I didn’t list your machine (or if you just want more choices than this), check the list of apps. There are a lot. A lot. A lot.

Get More Tips

I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface here. But these guys dig a little deeper, so if you want more tips, start here: http://twitter.pbwiki.com/

Heads up, this content is 16 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Dear Vista,

vista-logo.jpgIt was all worth it. Despite what you may hear me say to other people, I really don’t regret a day of our time together. From the moment I picked you out at Circuit City — you clean black HP Slimline, you — to this moment, right now, 12 days later, where I’m burning my data to disk so I can leave you for good… I want you to know it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade our time together for all the Macs in the world.

I needed to know the truth, and this was the only way.

I’d heard them talking about you. Everyone. Your friends were all calling you sleek, cool, and elegant. Friendly. Easy. My friends were calling you clumsy, arrogant, and greedy. A poser. Sleazy. I needed to know for myself.

I needed to know what it felt like to boot up to your pretty gradients and rich colors, to see how you organized things, to see if you really did learn a thing or two from your intelligent hipster cousin, the Mac. I needed to see for myself that you missed the boat. That you force Yahoo! Search in your toolbar instead of Google. That you boot up with more crap programs than I know how to clear away. That your “Arcade Games” folder actually takes the metaphor so far as to charge me each time I want to play them.

Have you learned nothing about how to treat people?

I was hopeful. I opened up IE 7, your teenage son who’s had a lot of growing up to do over these years, and I really thought for a minute that maybe you were on the right track.

But it turned out, I just needed to see for myself that you still make HTML-constrained images look pixelated and terrible, and that you force your kind Uncle Firefox to behave that way when he’s in your house, too. I needed to viscerally experience that you’re still politically opposed to anti-aliasing. And I’m not sure if I was relieved or appalled to learn that there is one browser that can now show beauty on your system. Only one. And it’s Safari. Did it sneak in the back door when you weren’t looking? Are you being infiltrated against your will? Should I feel sorry for you?

Oh, Vista. You try so hard. And I think maybe we could have been friends. But my Mac came back to me today, after its all-expense-paid vacation to the repair spa, and you know where my heart belongs. You know I could never really love you. And you know that I would have been happier if I’d bought a Mac Mini and run parallels to test my websites on you. You know it would have cost about the same. And you know that if it weren’t for the majority of Internet users being sucked into your monopoly and forced by goaded ignorance into viewing my websites in Internet Explorer, I’d forget you existed altogether.

You know it’s not me, it’s you.

And you know we’re not going to be friends after this.

But also I want you to know it was worth it. Because now the doubt in my mind is gone, and I know the truth: You’re still not ready for me.

Until we meet again…


p.s. In case my prose here was too flowery to sink into your cluttered head, here’s all you really need to know: I’M LEAVING YOU FOR YOUR COUSIN.