Update on The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip: read public domain geeky content for free
If I didn’t like writing, I wouldn’t write.
It’s not how I make my living, although it does provide a nice little supplement for buying gadgets and books. 😉 If I wasn’t making any money from it, I couldn’t devote the time and energy I do to it…I couldn’t justify it to myself.
However, some things are more of a labor of love than others. 😉
One of those is the relatively new
It’s something I’m building at
The idea is that you can travel to different times in the past to enjoy “geeky” works…watch a TV show or a movie, read a comic book, listen to a radio show…or read a book. I have quite a bit of framing around that. You leave a “time-inal” in a “chrono-craft”, for example. I had fun with the recorded intro there…if you go to the site, you’ll have the option to play it.
I have hope that it will eventually become a popular and useful resource for people, but right now, I’m just about the only person ever looking at it. 🙂 Since it went live on February 29th of this year (somehow, Leap Day seemed particularly appropriate…ask Sam Beckett about the connection) ;), it has had 396 views at time of writing…not even two view a day, and the vast majority of those are me while I am working on it (I would guess upwards of 90%).
There are a few main reasons why I think that popularity breakthrough hasn’t happened yet.
The first is that, while The History Project is a major entity, with significant participation from well-known players, including The New York Times and Jewel, it is still in start-up mode. That means that there has been (and will continue to be) quite a bit of development. I’m using it in a different way than was probably originally intended. Generally, it’s a place for family, friends, and organizations to gather together their own histories (including multimedia items).
I’m using it as a portal, more like a Wikipedia than an Ancestry.com.
I made the choice to generally not put the files on The History Project site, even when I believe they are public domain (not protected by copyright). Instead, I’m linking to other sites that store and display the files. I might change that, but I like supporting the people who have done the work…in some cases, they actually do the digitization and documentation. I’d rather use TMCGTT to direct people to those sites than to simply take the files and re-post them (even if, in the case of original public domain material which has been digitized, that would be legal).
The one exception is that I do put some pictures there. I believe that it would likely be Fair Use for me to even take an in-copyright image, like the cover of a book, to post to identify the item…but I’m very cautious about not infringing (I’ve been infringed on myself, but I was sensitive about it before that. I can’t say I’ve never unintentionally made a mistake on that, but I do try). I’ve considered asking publishers for permission to use cover images…just haven’t done it yet, so I use text placeholders instead.
I also link to resources: fan clubs, author sites, Wikipedia, IMDb (for videos), that sort of thing. Oh, and I usually include a search of public libraries for in-copyright items. I don’t link directly to a place where the primary purpose is to sell you something, although you can jump from a place like Goodreads (where I do link) to selling sites.
So, for TMCGTT, the most important thing is the links.
The way it has been, it takes people a few clicks to get to the links.
In the beta (test version), it’s a list of items, including the “cover image”, the date…and the links immediately visible and available.
That’s going to make this work as a resource…not necessarily a popular resource, but a resource.
It also includes my description, but I’m not reviewing the items or providing much context, intentionally. I don’t want it to be about me.
I’m hoping that at some point, they allow comments from the public, so other people could say what a particular book meant to them, for instance.
They have made it so other people can add items, which is great! I’m really hoping other people become what I call “Timeblazers” and add items…I’ll need to review them, but that’s when it will really expand rapidly. I’ve been able to add a couple a weeks, maybe, but that’s about it.
How do you use it?
and either browse, or look for something specific. Maybe you want to read the original Oz books, for example. There are links there where you can either download it or read it online (that’s going to work on a tablet or a phone, not on an EBR…E-Book Reader, generally).
On a tablet or phone, you can also watch videos or listen to radio shows, and I’m adding more types of content.
That’s about it. 🙂
If you do go and you tell The History Project that you like the new view, that would encourage them to employ it (although I think that’s already the plan…I’m not associated with them except as a user, but they do ask my opinion on things).
After that new view is up, I’m planning to promote it to Entertainment Weekly, The Mary Sue…news sources. One mention would probably make a big difference.
I’ve been a bit surprised that some of the people listed there haven’t retweeted when I tell them they are included (George Romero does follow me, but that was a mention trade, and I heard from a representative of Piers Anthony), especially the ones who are very active on social media. I think that may be because, without the new view, it’s not obvious that people can see news stories about you (by using the linked Google news search or Twitter search) or find profiles of you.
I thought organizations might do it, or companies, just as another way to promote and to claim the recognition…not much so far.
It’s possible that it will come up when I appear on
this Friday. That’s the plan, anyway. We will probably mostly talk about Prime Reading and Centralized Collections Management:
but there may be a mention.
One last point: I don’t make any money directly from TMCGTT (there may be some results from cross-promotion and heightened profile). I don’t get royalties or advertising. It’s fun, and I really do see it as a public service and a way to promote and preserve geeky works, which have traditionally gotten little attention. I’m defining “geeky” here broadly as fantasy/science fiction/supernatural horror works…fiction about things which could not happen in current consensus reality.
Let me leave you with a bit of the framing…
Time travel has been invented, and it’s available for tourists. TMCGTT is a company, like an airline, that takes people on trips. However, time tourists don’t just get to a point in the past and wander around…they go to see a movie or read a book, things like that. Timeblazers are the explorers. They identify these artifacts by exploring through time, carefully following non-interaction rules. They also pilot the chrono-craft and guide the tourists.
Tourists go to a “time-inal” (like an airline terminal) and go on different types of journeys. They choose different “des-time-ations” (destinations…the company is big on branding) which are dates, and might go on a video viewing expedition, a reading expedition, and others.
There are risks, and I could write fiction around this. There are people who need to deal with discontinuities…they might be interesting. Timeblazers could be fun in fiction, too…I can see someone who likes the exploration, but isn’t fond about taking tourists, being a leading character.
If you checked out the site when it first launched, please consider going again to see this new view. I’m interested in what you think about it…feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post, and share with me and/or The History Project what you do like, and what improvements you’d like to see.
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All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.