How best to make this internet thing?
May 17, 2016 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I have an abiding interest in obscure and small-press feminist and queer science fiction. I also have a collection of such material and some knowledge about it. How best to share this with the world?

For my own amusement and also in support of my Serious Hobby, I would like to make an....internet thing....about obscure and old feminist and queer science fiction. There's a lot of small press stuff that is poorly documented even in the current Age Of Internet Completionism, I own some interesting ephemera, etc.

I would like both to be able to display scans of covers and to write about these things, probably short notes in the 200 - 500 word range. I would like it to be taggable/searchable.

Should this be a tumblr? A tumblr seems relatively contemporary, yes, but it seems harder to just, like, read a tumblr. But then nobody blogs anymore. Is there something else I'm not thinking of? What tips would you have for this project, whether platform recommendations, getting eyeballs or other stuff?

It's not that I'm worried about making a giant success on the internet - but I would like this to be a site that would be a findable resource for folks who are interested in the topic, rather than a little blog somewhere that no one ever sees.
posted by Frowner to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Are you familiar with Topside Press? Maybe you could coordinate with them?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:03 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do the books have interesting cover art? If so, I'd go with Instagram linked to a Facebook page, so you hit both sites at once. (Tumblr seems like a solid option, too.)
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:13 AM on May 17, 2016

I would absolutely go with Tumblr. A blog where you post images with short bits of text under them was practically what it was made for.

You could also pick a different medium (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter whatever) and syndicate it onto every other medium to get better coverage.
posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tumblr has so many issues with searching and findability that I actually don't think Tumblr is the best for this. (In particular it seems like Google is REALLY BAD at indexing tumblr posts.)

I know it's old-school, but my preference would be to do it in WordPress. (And then use Twitter to link new posts as they appeared.)
posted by Jeanne at 8:18 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Something I now see I should have mentioned:

What if I already have a Facebook page for my Serious Hobby which sometimes includes this kind of content? Can I syndicate only some things such that I could post the feminist SF covers, etc on Facebook and syndicate only them to tumblr/instagram? (Uh, how does one do this? I hate Facebook with a fiery passion and only made the Serious Hobby page because of the Serious I basically know nothing about how to use it.)
posted by Frowner at 8:19 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing tumblr, especially since you say you mostly want to keep your writing between 200-500 words. I hear what Jeanne is saying re: Google indexing and tumblr, but with descriptive enough tags, interested folks on tumblr (and given my experience, there's definitely audiences for this) should be able to locate your posts.

However, if you think you're going to be more on the 500 word end of the word limit, it might be worth it to see what kinds of established feminist/queer/sci-fi blogs are out there and maybe pitch your posts as a recurring story feature. That way you don't have to start from scratch and build a whole new reader base for a new blog, and you're still getting your information out to interested folks.
posted by helloimjennsco at 8:32 AM on May 17, 2016

Maybe someone more familiar w/ syndication from Facebook could have a better answer but in my experience it would be easier to just move over to Tumblr as the location where you make your main posts and then syndicate those posts from Tumblr to other mediums as Tumblr has pretty robust autopost-to-other-medium settings that I haven't really seen on Facebook. It's also generally easier to just drop a link in Facebook to a Tumblr post and have that look decent than try to autoconvert a Facebook post into a Tumblr post (unless, again, the features got better for that than the last time I looked.)
posted by griphus at 8:40 AM on May 17, 2016

Jeanne is totally right about Google having no idea what to do with Tumblr. The chances of someone searching for something you posted and actually getting linked to your tumblr post (as opposed to it being reblogged by someone Google likes better) is ... not good. Especially if gets reblogged a lot. If that matters to you, then it might be a big deal.
posted by griphus at 8:42 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing the idea that tumblr should be involved in some way, even if not the primary place you're posting, because tumblr (or at least my corner of it) would flip over feminist and queer science fiction. That's tumblr catnip right there.

Also, if you have any interest in talking about these things In Real Life, I'd approach a public library and see if you can do a presentation. I'd come!
posted by missrachael at 8:44 AM on May 17, 2016

You might consider setting up a WordPress blog (or similar platform) and using a social media plugin to syndicate your posts out to FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. A stable blog is going to be the best for people searching specifically for your type of content, while posting it out to the various ways people like to ingest posts these days will encourage people to follow it on an on-going basis. I have no experience with it, but SNAP (Social Networks Auto Poster) sounds like it would do the job.
posted by Candleman at 9:19 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Is there any chance you could assemble a list of the interesting and lesser known pieces you think deserve more attention, negotiate for a few rights, write your editorial headers, and then publish the whole thing as an actual ebook?

I'd want such a thing for your editorials alone, in hopes of a bit more of the startling brilliance shown in your insights -- now essential to my own understanding -- into Orwell, which you dropped on us in a comment a couple of years ago.

You could maintain a selection of the editorials along with excerpts from the works on your Facebook page to entice readers to buy the book.
posted by jamjam at 10:00 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wordpress is a pretty solid option here. It's good for creating a group of pages that can be searched, sorted, and shared. The tagging features will be nice for you, since you would be able to tag different posts with date of publish, author, press, more specific genre, etc.

Wordpress is astoundingly popular; it runs 25% of the internet. It makes things really easy and there are endless plugins to do all sorts of things for you. As Candleman suggests there are many social media plugins. If you did want to post everything in your Wordpress to Tumblr there are tools to do that.

In the old days a site like this would be hand coded with really simple html. If you can learn how to do things like:
< a href="">metafilter< /a>
< img src="someimage.jpg">
The first one is a link to a page, the second is shows a photo. With that you can put text with some links and pictures on the internet. It's not going to look flashy, but you can get text and photos on the internet really quickly.

memail me if you want some specific Wordpress/website building info.
posted by gregr at 10:14 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would blog on tumblr itself, then link highlights on a twitter; r317 mentioned Topside, and Tom Leger, its main guy, is pretty active on there (as are many of its authors, who might be interested in these works).

Whichever you go with, I hope you post the final product to Projects; it sounds interesting!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:17 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't like Tumblr because I really like comments and Tumblr is a conversation-unfriendly medium. So I would prefer a WordPress, syndicated to Facebook and maybe Instagram.

And I would also buy The Frowner Book.
posted by hungrytiger at 10:19 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, one more question that has always nagged me: where does one put the images in order to link them? I can do all the basic HTML stuff - rudimentary website construction used to be part of my job! - but do I put the images on imgur and link them? Do I upload them to tumblr and link them? Do they hide inside the wordpress site itself, if I do a wordpress site?

This rather looks as though it's going to be a multi-site undertaking. So shall the unrighteous be dragged kicking and screaming into social media, I guess.

Also, I will call the Frowner book The Big Book of Frowns.
posted by Frowner at 10:33 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

IF you go with tumblr, you can upload/host them right on tumblr; you can also upload/host them directly on twitter!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:36 AM on May 17, 2016

For Wordpress you would be uploading them to wherever your Wordpress is hosted from, so either your own space (if you are using Wordpress on your own hosting) or wherever Wordpress lets blogs hosted on their site upload things to. You can also use stuff like Flickr.

I would really advise against Wordpress unless you're genuinely interested in constantly fiddling with technical shit. I ran a Wordpress site for many years when I actually had a technical interest in that sort of thing. Now, with a sincere lack of interest in anything but Getting Content On The Internet and the existence of places like Tumblr, I don't think I will ever go back to using Wordpress, honestly.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on May 17, 2016

Also, I will call the Frowner book The Big Book of Frowns.
Not Send in the Frowns?
posted by jamjam at 11:30 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

For $10/month, you can avoid the technical crud of Wordpress maintenance and use Squarespace. If Wordpress is Windows, Squarespace is Mac. But you have to pay for not dealing with wordpress stuff. Both of them have trial periods so just try throwing up a review page the way you'd like it to look, time how long it takes you to get it sorted and decide what you prefer, time or money.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2016

Response by poster: Send in the Frowns is awfully good. Perhaps I'll save that one for the memoir.
posted by Frowner at 1:01 PM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

Wordpress also gives you a bit of image storage space, so you can store them there. But you can also put the images anywhere you want. If you use an image hosting site, just tell wordpress to pull the image from that site. Wordpress, in my experience, is very user-friendly.

I haven't needed to them myself so I wouldn't know what to recommend, but there are definitely syndication tools available so you can just post to one place and it will automatically post everywhere else for you.
posted by aniola at 2:20 PM on May 17, 2016

One downside to using Tumblr: when they go out of business, your site goes offline. This is true of other services to varying degrees, but Tumblr makes me particularly nervous.
posted by actionstations at 10:06 PM on May 17, 2016

Your interest in this has already outlasted a couple generations of hosting sites, IIUC, so you have some reason to not rely on the current generation of hosting sites. Either a simple blog or Wiki hosted on someplace that you can do a complete download from, or a host-plus-software site that's good about exporting to a reusable format.

The ping-all-social-sites plugins would be really handy -- but maybe there's one for sending out any link, that you can use for links to a vanilla site?

I also would buy The Girl's Frown Book of Science Fiction.
posted by clew at 3:25 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

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