Friday 12 February 2010

twitterview #2 @IanHewett

I met Ian some time towards the end of last year.  He has an excellent blog, called Dystopian Fuchsia that I'm an avid reader of and he also came 2nd in my first Christmas short story competition.

So without further ado lets meet my 2nd interviewee @IanHewett.

So why do you use twitter Ian and what do you use it for?

Initially, it was a bit of an accident. Myself and a friend found ourselves basically doing a sweary hashtag game within one of David Schneider's statuses on Facebook, though I didn't know anything about hashtag games at that point (about the end of October, I think). He popped up to show mock shock at the language,and asked if we were on Twitter. I said I wasn't, to which he replied that I'd probably like it. I signed up, but was pretty clueless at the start.

After only having 5 followers after a week whilst not 'getting' it, I noticed that Mr Schneider had sent me a DM saying he loved seeing what I do there, and it gives him a sense of pride knowing he brought me over. I decided to stay on based solely on that.

As I got used to it, I followed celebrities, and slowly realised that they weren't the interesting thing about Twitter. At the start, though, I was pretty useless. I wanted to advertise my new blog, and wasn't getting much traffic from Facebook, so I thought that Twitter was probably as good a place as any to shamelessly self-promote. I didn't realise I'd end up loving the place.

So why do you love it?

You mention your blog, which I'm a big fan of, what's the kids TV thing all about? Where does that come from?

It's no coincidence that I started using Twitter at the same time Facebook had their major change. After building up loads of momentum with meeting people on there, it suddenly became difficult to use and keep track of the people on your friends list you actually bother with, as opposed to the friends you've blindly collected like Pokemon. I see Twitter as the very best aspect of social networking; you can pick and choose the people you follow, and gain new friends from suggestions. It doesn't feel nearly as false as Facebook.

The Children's Television: The Re-Imagining stuff started as status updates on Facebook. I started getting a good response for them, and decided to start up a blog as a more permanent place to hold them. I love cult TV, and have a pretty encyclopaedic (or sad, as some might say) knowledge of kids shows, sci fi etc. I combined it with my pipe dream of becoming a professional writer within the limited space Facebook offers for statuses. By transferring them to a blog, I could make them any length I wanted. I noticed loads of comedians writing notes on Facebook, and tried my hand at it too. I combined it all to make Dystopian Fuchsia (the name and colour scheme are little disgruntled digs at my former employer).

Oh yeah, I do take requests for the Re-Imaginings. Apart from "don't bother, nobody'll read that" which a former Facebook (and real life) friend offered.

I write them for my own amusement, but am chuffed to bits if even only one other person reads and enjoys them.

Thanks for liking my blog, by the way. I love reading yours and others, and they do inspire me to write more.

I've been amazed, since I started my blog, at how many others there are out there, particularly in the twitterverse.  So once you started interacting on twitter were there people specifically that helped you get into it?  How has that evolved since you began?  What do you make of Google's attempts to muscle in on the action this week?

It's been like a game of draughts in terms of discovering other blogs and bloggers. In following a couple of great comedians from my Facebook friends list, such as Tiernan Douieb and Michael Legge, reading their blogs and getting nice feedback from them about mine, it gave me the confidence to write more. In following them on Twitter, I discovered regular tweeters following them. I can't remember the actual order of people, but people like @lusty1970, who's great at the Caption Competition, and @heavenlyfodder who, despite being American, 'gets' the Britishness of my blog, which is nice. Having people appreciate what you write, getting jokes, getting into discussions about what you've written; those are the best forms of motivation to carry on.

I discovered you and then your blog probably via @lornalily or @lmlc (both of whom have been lovely and supportive). Before that, I'd never really shown much interest in reading other people's blogs, but I was hooked by the Batman logo, and found myself reading a very well written, entertaining site which didn't focus on just one thing. Through that, I saw your short story competition, and became a regular reader. It opened my eyes to other people's stuff a lot more. Seeing the vast array of blogs out there has possibly shaped how I do mine; some are similar in tone, such as @DarkBeige's, and it's nice to see other people having similar ideas or thoughts, but implemented in vastly different ways. I used to go off on very long, sweary rants, but now I'm more likely to break it up with photos I've doctored and so on. Brevity is the lynchpin of wit, or should be (despite the length of this answer). In terms of trying to amuse, there are so many funny (non-celebrity) people on Twitter, that the comedy muscle (fnar) is constantly flexed. People like @comedyfish@Scriblit and @robinbogg are very witty, funny people, as are all the others I've mentioned. So, lessons learned from others. I'm still quite inexperienced, blog-wise. Dystopian Fuchsia's only 3 months old, but hope I can maintain interest enough. Even if it ends up with one person reading it, I'm happy. I guess it'll evolve over time and settle into a regular format. Although it's my baby, I'm considering starting to accept guest posts soon. I think it's been around long enough for some people to realise it's there.
Oh, I've recently discovered @peacockpete and @iamnotsteve's blogs. Very entertaining. (Peacockpete's Adventures in the Modern World and Shouting at Cows.)

Google Buzz... Google Woody... Whatever the bloody thing's called. I think having the word 'Google' attached to it is one strike against it. I wouldn't use a social networking site with a huge Microsoft logo at the top, for instance, but there's definitely room for more social networking avenues out there. I'm a member of Kelsey Live, for example (though that was just to get Kelsey Grammer to follow me on Twitter, admittedly), but have shied away from it very quickly as I had literally 150 group invitations on there within 2 days. I also have a Twatter account (for all the good that'll do with my one follower, and I couldn't find the unregister option). I dunno. If it survives more than 3 months, Buzz might end up being the businessman's social network of choice, possibly. I can't help feeling there's a bit of complacency on Google's part though; copy what everybody else is doing (albeit in a pared-down, unspectacular way), slap yer logo on it, and expect success.

For 10 years or so now, I've been involved in various forms of social networking, starting as a moderator, administrator and regular poster on several message boards. Since using Facebook and Twitter, I've moved away from them altogether, but essentially, social networks are message boards you make yourself and choose who's in on the party. They're not that different. In five years, it may have taken on another form altogether. Judging by Feckbook's constant faffing hither and thither, the game is afoot.

So other than twitter and blogging what else gets you up of the morning? What doesn't twitter know?

I want to be able to write professionally, not because it's a nice idea to write a book, but because I love writing. I have a major passion for it. Since November, I've written 3 short stories, each of which were written in less than an afternoon (Yuletied, A Christmas Arsehole on my blog, and The Endless Chain, a Doctor Who story). I've been writing a novel on and off since last year, a story I've been meaning to write for a decade. I'm currently working on my first web comic, Destinauts, which has been in various development stages since 1993. I just need to find a way into any of the above professionally, and I'll be a happy bugger.

Crap but true facts: I convinced Roberto Orci to use the word "fleshling" in the first Transformers film, and "are you out of your Vulcan mind?" in Star Trek.

If anyone wants to read The Endless Chain, let me know on Twitter or Feckbook. :)

My love of sci-fi started in 1979 when I watched Doctor Who for the first time at the age of 2. As a result, I have too much useless (and fictional) trivia clogging up space in my brain which could be put to better use.

I saw Norman Lovett on stage in 1998, and he heckled me. First and only time I've witnessed a reverse heckle.

Finally, I'm a massive Marvel Comics/comedy shows/Transformers (pre-Bay)/kids TV geek. You may have already guessed that from my blog. I'm so fucking predictable.

Huge thanks to Ian for his time (and for saying some terribly nice things about Diary of a Ledger), make sure you check out his excellent blog, it is very entertaining and of course you should be following him.  It's a Friday isn't it!

Next week I'm picking one of you at random from the list of people who said they'd like to be interviewed.  Expect a DM tomorrow night around 9pm GMT.

Don't forget if you'd like to be twitterviewed contact me on twitter and let me know.

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