Having taken a week off to undergo important surgery, I’m back today to start the countdown to the Internet of Words ‘going public.’ It is genuinely exciting looking at the journey ahead, and in the next week we’ll be giving more details on the tiers and rewards available via Patreon, what extras you can expect to be rewarded with for participating, and how to prepare for the following months of discussion and content.
For now, here’s a quick reminder that content has already begun on the @InternetOfWords Twitter account (which includes a Haiku every day at 7am and Micropoetry at 5pm BST) which will extend this week to include suggested videos and ‘extra content’ around our first Book of the Month choice, ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger. If you’d like to read more about how the project will work, please see this blog post for the outline and further details.
This week will also see dedicated pages for the IoW ‘portal’ and the current Blogging 4 Noobs project be established and taken up to date. There should be no interruptions to current site operation, but if (for any reason) the site needs to go down, we’ll give you plenty of advanced warning. For now, sit back and get comfortable, as the structure of the project is effectively constructed around you.
It is my intention, before the Internet of Words Patreon launches on June 1st, to give potential backers an opportunity to understand exactly what it is they will be throwing their money at. As a result, it is time to start explaining how this whole shebang is going to work.
Each month, the Internet of Words will be using a work of published fiction or non fiction as the basis of a month’s worth of created and completely original content. This will include essays, humorous asides and at least one original piece of short-form fiction. On the official Twitter feed, all haiku and micro-poetry will be based on the subject matter of the book being ‘studied’, which means for the month of June our theme will be Pictures and Perception. I’ve chosen a seminal tome to kick off our endeavour, a piece of non-fiction that asks a lot of the reader. We’ve already mentioned the BBC TV show from the 1970’s which was based on this (and which will be referenced at certain points during the month.) Our opening inspiration is Ways of Seeing by John Berger.
I’ll be announcing the next month’s book in advance to allow Patreons and others to get a copy and read it (if they choose) so they can take a more active part in discussions. This also gives me a chance to plan the meat of the month’s output. Then, when we hit the first of the month, you can expect to see content presented, based around a number of the following umbrella topic headings:
War of the Words
The Internet began life as a text-based medium. Words are what matters more than anything else: for intent, to communicate and as education. Using our novel as a springboard, we’ll attempt to understand not simply the text in context to the subject matter, but its wider significance in the communication-rich world we now inhabit.
Books will be chosen which, in my opinion, straddle the worlds of traditional and modern, that embrace the concepts the Internet excels at and conversely fails to achieve.
It is easy, without understanding extensive context, to make wild assumptions about everything and anything. In the modern world, therefore, understanding is probably more significant that initial knowledge. The IoW will attempt to give context to the novel, its historical significance and the circumstances in which it came to be written.
This will also include, where appropriate, documentary materials appertaining to a specific period of interest to the particular book being ‘studied.’
Anyone who has fallen down an Internet rabbit hole will know just how a subject matter can inspire people into amazing and often mind-boggling feats of self-discovery. In this strand, we’ll attempt to show what an understanding of the book’s wider themes can do to illuminate individuals’ own interpretation of the subject matter.
This strand might get a bit weird, I’m warning you now. Be prepared to be shocked, amazed and quite possibly challenged.
The Word is Not Enough
Any novel can be interpreted individually in potentially an infinite number of ways. An author will undoubtedly be amazed at what others see in their words, and often these are not enough when attempting to combine an individual experience with the written words presented to them.
We’ll consider how words are misinterpreted, how changes in societal attitudes can alter the words themselves, and that definition sometimes isn’t everything.
I’ll be using the book as a springboard each month for both micro poetry and haiku via the @InternetofWords Twitter feed, but at the same time it will become the subject of short fiction, including 500 words micro-stories, and a 2000 word short story that covers one of the major themes of our monthly text.
There may be more or less, depending on how my real life goes. This is very much a ‘work in progress’ that will be reconsidered on a monthly basis.
So, there you have it. This is the initial concept going forward, and will be constantly reassessed, month by month, to ensure that all Patreons are getting value for money. By becoming a supporter, you’ll also be asked to help decide future novels for consideration, potential subjects for fiction and to take part in discussions that will happen exclusively for Patreon subscribers.
To say I’m excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to share with you what is in store for June, and I hope I’ll see you bright and early on June 1st as part of the Internet of Words ‘collective’ to begin discussing Berger’s work.
I have scheduled Haiku and Micropoetry until Thursday, which is fantastic because it now grants a couple of days clear air between me and more content. I have everything ready to start introducing the strands of my Project, and the Patreon rewards… well, nobody has said anything bad. I’ll assume that if anybody complains, I’ll hear about it soon enough, but as (right now) I’m preaching to those already converted… they’re going to be happy.
I Feel less Guilty about the Gaming Site.
Completely by accident, I’ve worked out a way to go back to seven day a week posting and to cover quiet days when there’s no Warcraft news. This also requires scheduling, but I’m already planning to start this on Thursday. It makes me happy because I’m not disappointing what remains a small yet loyal audience. This matters more than I realised, and having a means to keep my small yet dedicated audience interest remains important.
I don’t care that nobody ‘likes’ my poems. I just need to write them, one after the other, so that I can learn to trust my voice. I need to use different forms, be clever with construction and content, for my own happiness and nobody else’s. I don’t need the validation what I’m doing is popular or accessible. These are my words, in my own way, and if someone notices the multiple layers of subtlety? So be it.
I have taken a strong and confident first step and that is all that matters right now.
I’ve been alive for half a century, which has seen change at a rate which, for some, is frankly staggering. I’ve lived through massive political and social upheaval, watched history play out around me and though all of this have relied on written media to inform and educate where personal experience was lacking. Newspapers, magazines, television providers, radio stations and all forms of educative sources… my entire life has been moulded by the words I’ve read, heard and seen. Since that British bloke ‘invented’ the Internet in 1989 words have begun a transformation: no longer do you have to wait for news to be reported, or hope you can find an objective or relevant viewpoint. Now, more often than not, history happens around you and is immediately available to dissect. The way everybody both perceives and absorbs information is altering, often at a speed that some find confusing and concerning.
This is why the Internet of Words had to happen now.
Once upon a time, when there were no words, one assumes that communication could be quite fraught. Yet now, with the wealth of information available, so many myriad forms of conveying a message, people still misinterpret what they are given. I watch it happen every day, across all forms of media. The faster your delivery method, as a rule, the more a chance exists for misinterpretation (often followed shortly by some kind of altercation.) Once upon a time it could take weeks for news to reach across the planet: now, it can take seconds. It is no wonder that so many people are confused and often unable to cope with the sheer weight of data presented to them. As delivery systems become increasingly more sophisticated, the average brain is struggling to cope with keeping up. That’s why I’m beginning this journey, and in the months that follow hope to use the Internet of Wordsas my platform for investigation and (hopefully) enlightenment.
I’ve been inspired for this project by the Internet of Things: the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. On the Web right now, and all across the Globe, I see and sense an emerging Internet of Words: if I had to define what this project is about, it seems like a good idea to use that definition but with the scope of language and communication as its heart:
INTERNET OF WORDS: The interconnection via the Internet of thoughts, ideas and writing styles embedded in social media, blogs, mobile apps and web pages, enabling new forms of communication.
Of course, one could argue this is already restrictive, that there is an Internet of Images that might be considered more important, but I’m smart enough to know you learn to walk properly before running anywhere. Therefore, we will begin our journey with the tools that form a vital part of my everyday existence, that have saved me from myself on too many opportunities to recall and (most importantly) present the means by which ideas can be communicated and discussed.
I took a University degree back in the 1980’s that many of my peers considered something of a joke: Radio, Film Television Studies and English. It has taken thirty years for me to realise that this was probably the best preparation I’d ever have for living in the Internet Age: words are not just carriers of understanding, but can be weapons and symbols. The power of information is not simply understanding what you are given, but grasping how that shapes the existence around you. Learning how to see, hear and read with an objective eye is a life skill that I am staggered remains lacking in so many people, regardless of age, social status or circumstance. This is not a Millennial failing, or a CIS Male issue, it is everybody’s problem to solve, regardless. Comprehension and understanding matter more now than they have at any point in humanity’s existence as the dominant species.
Every day is a School day, after all.
The Internet of Words is a project that will include my own fictional take on the changing world we live in, essays on the issues I see as being important as we proceed into the 21st Century, plus observations on how words themselves are changing and evolving, often at a speed that some of us can find hard to keep up with. There will be spaces in our Internet for the ‘visual’ words too, and how language is used for vastly differing ends, plus how as individuals we can try and understand the more objective side of discourse and response. Thanks to the unique way the Internet now functions I will be asking people to help self fund this endeavour, via the medium of Patreon.
If you wish to become part of the Internet of Words with me when the project formally launches in June, please