Working out some priorities

It’s been about a week since I’ve posted anything substantive to this site. A lot of that is due to other calls to action going on in my life, which would…likely be apparent, from my last couple of posts. I myself have had to read back over this blog in order to get a good footing on where I was going with it, what my plans were, etc…

A little obviously (for me), my Business Plan has not yet been updated; principally because I don’t know that running a site like this — for practice, for exposure — qualifies as a, “business.” (It’s more a labor of love, much like my beadwork is, in general.) Going off of my UX training, I know that I can model a website on paper…but gah! Is it worth it (especially if I’m not in direct control of the HTML or CSS)? Although, for some portions of this website, I can see that doing some organization prior to making the pages, would benefit me…

I’m having to face the decision of whether I want to primarily sell jewelry (with this blog on the side), or become an online resource to various makers (with sales on the side). Information provided on the site differs between these two goals; and right now, I am leaning towards the latter. For instance, I have accumulated a relatively large number of links to suppliers, which I’ve wanted to share. These would likely be useful to other beaders, but for various reasons, may be giving out too much information to the general public. It’s not like the information isn’t there. It’s just that collecting and publishing it in one space, may be making things easier for bad actors. Difficulty of access (and presence of defense) often means the difference between being targeted, and not.

I suppose the main issue is whether I’m making this site for beaders (and potential beaders), or the general public. That is, I should decide who my audience is. The answer is immediate and clear: the first of those choices (i.e. beaders and potential beaders) is always who this site has been directed to. Even though the line between “potential beader” and “general public” can be fuzzy…in reality, maybe it isn’t. I have an idea of who makes up the beadworking community…fortunately or not, I do (I don’t like to stereotype, and making marketing personas feels a little like doing that).

I also would like it to be more diverse than it is (for instance, more inclusive of people who were assigned-male-at-birth [AMAB], in the trans* communities or not), but I am not at all sure right now as to whether making beaded jewelry (or at least, jewelry made of inexpensive components which take a while to make) is viable for people who want to go into business and make a living from doing it. In my case, I’ve decided to keep this as a hobby; and I’d be helping people who want to bead, as a hobby sort of thing. Then there are those rare people who get to work in bead stores, and who frequent conventions, and who professionally design, and who write patterns and books for a living (which help out the rest of the beaders, especially the non-commercial ones). I’m not one of them yet (minus the “conventions” part), but I aspire to be.

My major issue on this side is cybersecurity. For instance, the other day I was trying to help someone track down a specific component for a strung necklace. I went through all the links I had (focusing first on the sites which honed in on strung work), looking for this one specific component. Somewhere within the next 24 hours, my computer started retrieving websites which were attempting to communicate with me in Spanish. Clearing History made it go away, but still. Really?

There are other irritating little kinks I’ve run across in trying to figure out if my accounts have been compromised, and if so, from where. I imagine that for most of us, that’s not the most fun thing in the world. I already know that some of the sites I visited have major issues (e.g. pop-ups); this then presents the quandary of whether to link to them (out of encyclopedic fidelity), or not to link to them (because they have a higher-than-normal perceived risk of screwing up my computer).

There are also the questions of data breaches. If I suspect a company to have exposed my data to an unwanted third party, do I keep them on the list (even though I don’t know if they were even aware of a breach, and I have no proof the breach of my data was their fault?). If I do make a habit of weeding out unsafe sites, will my readers blame me for setting up an atmosphere of trust if/when (and maybe it’s more of a question of when than if) something bad happens?

In other words, link curation is an issue. This is the main reason I didn’t go hopping all over the Internet in my pricing research: it’s just not that safe to do so. There are things like cloud backups and offline backups, but seriously, it is still annoying to lose the last 24 days of work on a spreadsheet. Yes, I know I can go back and re-download my invoices or look at my printouts, but who really wants to duplicate work?

Then there is the question of whether I have a profit motive. I think I’ve established that I have a pleasure motive first, profit second. That profit would not directly derive from sales, but rather from experience and practice at Web Content generation (writing, images and image optimization, video, print media), which I can carry forward into further endeavors.

In other words, I intend to use this site to train myself on Web Content Production, with the themes of beadwork and jewelry design. This is in light of the fact that I am actually coming to realize some things about myself: I’m an artist dealing with block. I mean…seriously. The vast majority of my training is in either Art or Creative Writing, with a lot of the Humanities thrown in there.

I would be more confident as a Historian, if anything…but what would I do with that? Teach? Write books? I can do the latter, but the former doesn’t really…sit well with me. Though History is fascinating, with the right Professors. The tough part is balancing present-day ethics with past grievances. It’s not easy to read old Physical Anthropology texts, for example; and History (I would believe) does require reading primary sources, grime and all (not just present-day sanitized ones).

Right now I have a bunch of beads in my room…an easy view. I have gone over part of the reason I believe myself not to be producing (with the beads or with my words, for example) freely. Particularly, I am constantly concerned about my impact, and what kind of present and future I want to bring into being. This has been a concern for the last 15 years, at least; and is likely the reason I tend to abandon creative pursuits as soon as I become able to say something of importance with them.

There is a long story behind that which I don’t feel like getting deeply into, right now: it goes back to the 1990’s and media saturation with ultraconservative radicals who claimed “rightness” through appeal to religion. That, in turn, caused me to grow into the belief that their “rightness” was in effect base, hateful, bigoted and evil; and in that light, being “wrong” (in their eyes) was not a bad thing.

My perception of people (in general) has degraded to the point where I see many people as essentially involved in satisfying animal urges of domination and sex (along with greed [I began to write a post on this, but haven’t published it yet: it’s sensitive], and trying to control everyone else’s thoughts and behavior). In essence: power, wealth, control, and reproduction. But that’s Sociology. Which I got out of, for…you know, reasons (like depression).

The problem is, when you think you’re essentially “wrong” and that morality is relative and to an extent subjective (I’m sure there are still people who think slavery to be a gift), it’s difficult to confidently create anything that you think will make a better world. Because making a better world means imagining a better world; and we’re living in a disposable era where people would rather try and go to Mars than try to fix what we’ve done here since at least the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

And what is, “better,” anyway? How does my own subjectivity inform what I think is, “good,” and what right do I have to impose that on anyone else? (Of course, others usually don’t seem to ask these questions of themselves…or be self-aware at all…)

Luckily or not…I am in a class right now which promises to take up most of my attention for the next several weeks. That is on the actual career side of things, which should enable me to (eventually) have the time, space, and money to do what I want to do. However: it is getting into what I initially wanted to get into, in my Master’s program.

I’ve been more about the Web — particularly, the social aspects of the Web — than about Libraries, for, well, most of my life. I thought that Digital Libraries might be a good crossover (especially having found some pretty neat ones online); but I lacked the groundwork in Computer Science. Digital Librarianship also entails Information Services, however: which seems to freak out a lot of people (Librarians included — or, perhaps, mostly). I suppose Reference is hard enough without being able to read physical and nonverbal cues: when you can’t tell someone is getting upset, it’s harder to manage the interaction.

It’s still my opinion that Libraries are going to head digital…particularly with the issue of pandemics causing indoor spaces not to be totally safe, and hard-copy libraries’ inherent involvement with the sharing and exchange of physical materials between people. (The biggest barrier to this evolution is the digital divide.) At the start of the pandemic, there was a lot of talk about how to protect library workers and library patrons. This lead to the protocol of physical quarantine…which I’m still doing with what I get in the mail. It’s one of the easiest ways to passively avoid any exposure that could have happened (I’m lucky enough not to have to worry about bills in the mail, yet).

Which reminds me — I’ve got three new beadwork books to look over! I’m probably not going to get into them before the middle of the week, or later. Although it is in the works to live in an area which would be amenable to mold, I still decided to get the hard copies…it’s just easier to see what I have, that way.

All that being said, it’s nearly 1 AM for me, right now…and I’ve got class, tomorrow. I should probably get some rest, especially seeing how I overslept, today. Well — yesterday.

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). They are now pondering whether a career in Academia is viable or desirable, given the current situation.

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