Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blogging Alone

Sociologist Robert Putnam, in his book Bowling Alone, examines the structure that social organizations - such as bowling leagues - provide for people to feel connected to one another and develop relationships,  giving them real "social capital" in approaching the world. Yet, Putnam argues, these organizations are losing influence in a culture, and we are moving more and more toward a society of “bowling alone.”

I highly recommend the book, whose main points are outlined well on its website,

Reflecting on some of my recent writing within the context of Putnam's ideas, I better understand some my own feelings these past months.

The Other Side, Imagined” explains how important institutions like the workplace, relationships and friendships are as “sources of support in looking at the big picture,” and “Grappling with my Dark Side” shows that I haven't quite found those resources yet: "I really am trying to build a life for myself. Those tangibles I mention - my job, family, friends, this blog - I recognize the support and sense of a foundation that they give me. Yet I still feel so, so empty inside."

I support sociology - and all social sciences - as fields of research because of the way they provide a platform for discussing these issues of loneliness and anxiety we all go through.

In my own life, I am trying to develop my own social capital. It has been largely a process of trial and error much like my experience with writing.

Yet I keep on going.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Introducing Socialpunk

As we continue deconstructing society here at MFT, I'm excited to share my first collaboration with another writer online!

Monica Leonelle, a social media marketing blogger and science fiction storywriter, reached out and invited me to join a blog tour for her forthcoming novel, Socialpunk. Needless to say, I was elated to be considered for the opportunity and explore her work. And the material seemed right up my alley:
Socialpunk is aimed at tech-savvy, social media aficionados who enjoy writing and reading. The book centers on Ima, who is stuck in a virtual reality that functions more like a prison, and Vaughn, who lives in a dark, technology-driven future, but manages to save Ima from the people trying to destroy her. If you enjoy books like Ender's Game, Neuromancer, or The Hunger Games, you would probably enjoy this book too!
Confession: I still haven't read The Hunger Games. But I digress.

Monica sent me an electronic copy of Socialpunk, which opens:
SOMETHING ABOUT THE BRIGHT PINK sky had always bothered Ima, but she couldn’t  put her unease into words. It wasn’t like the sky had changed in her seventeen years on earth; it had changed during her mother’s marrying years, from a blue the color of forget-me-nots, to that awful, bright pink.
She plucked one of the forget-me-nots from next to the bush she hid behind and held it to the sky for comparison. Her mother remembered the change starting around 2036, when the ozone layer damage hit an all-time high and the air became too polluted for breathing. Populations migrated to domed cities like Chicago, where the government could control the atmosphere and food supply without overextending the earth’s dwindling resources. 
Domed cities provided answers for the people who had survived the Scorched Years. And most accepted the safety domes could provide without question. But the pink blush that streamed through the clear protective barrier only left Ima with more questions. Questions about The Dead Zone. Questions of what lay beyond it.
It seems like this book would interest many of you, along with all of Monica's projects. If anyone is interested I'd love to host a reading discussion about Socialpunk or Monica's blog. All you need is a social media page (including accounts on Facebook, Twitter and the like) to join the tour and read the book for free!

Monica, thanks for including me in this opportunity and good luck with the Socialpunk launch! I look forward to reading more!

Follow up 04/30/12: I have since finished The Hunger Games, and definitely consider it an Interesting Read!