Friday, January 31, 2014

The Single Most Powerful Social Network Tool You'll Ever Need


I tweet a handful per day so I suppose, I'm qualified—to a certain degree—to talk (or write) about this.
Forget all the magnificent social media tools you ever used for a second. What I got here is the most powerful of all social network tools and the very soul of networking.

Social media optimization (SMO) is social network's answer for the search engine's SEO (search engine optimization, as if you don't know that already, ugh?). But methinks, the SMO is a bit more interesting because it is a human-powered search engine and thus turns up a much viable search result (this topic would be treated in a different article).

On the side, Wikipedia says SMO "refers to the use of a number of social media outlets and communities to generate publicity to increase the awareness of a product, brand or event.”

It is amazing that the social network's most powerful tool is also its simplest and defining essence. Social networking, by definition and function, cannot exist without this activity. Why, social networking was invented so people could communicate with their networks.

That kind of communication has a name; share/sharing. You can choose any of the phrases and you will be alright as long as you keep in mind that it is an action word. Share is a verb.
Sharing effects the freeflow of information between local and global social networks called glocalization.

Perhaps, you have been stuck in a rut as a blogger or site owner. You're especially, hung over driving traffic/awareness to your platform. Let us look at your situation from a perspective. Since you are not exactly MJ who could get himself on the FrontPage of the Times for sneezing the wrong way, you are left with the solitary option available to everybody else to connect yourself with the rest of your network. Share.

There are several forms of social networking including the email, push mail, IM, RSS feed, video and blogging sites, phone calls, social news and bookmarking sites and social networking sites like twitter and stumbleupon. Social networking instrumentality varies with sites too. You can interact with your network across several social media platforms through comments, replies, DMs, +1s, retweets, hashtags, tagging, mentions, likes, upvotes/downvotes, hangouts, tweets. You can share bare text or text with links, videos and pictures. The more you share with your networks; the more you put yourself in their faces; you increase chances of awareness for your blog/site.

This is the easiest to use tool to manage your social media presence; to maximize your social media marketing and let us not forget, drive the much-desired traffic to your blog/site. Sharing can be a ball of enterprising fun. I recommend you engage it with a degree of enthusiasm that is one click short of addiction.

Keep your pen bleeding!

Akpan



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Monday, January 27, 2014

Myth, Legend, Fairy Tale, & Fable: What's the Difference?


Some basic similarities are apparent in these four categories of the traditional story but under careful scrutiny, the distinguishing characteristics are blown right out of the water.
Traditional stories were the basic means of preserving cultural values and the medium people of the medieval ages employed to keep the adventures of their heroes and account of their origins fresh and alive. They achieved this bit by transferring the vital part of their experiences from person to person by word of mouth.

A variety of sources, which I may be unavailable to provide, takes credit for much of the ideas in this article. I appreciate you people for the effort you took to enrich the internet with this invaluable info. And now to the business at hand.

What is a Legend?
Legends are stories passed down through generations, usually about heroic individuals, spectacular events, or powerful gods.ask.com

“A legend is a story which is told as if it were a historical event, rather than as an explanation for something or a symbolic narrative. The legend may or may not be an elaborated version of a historical event. Thus, examples of legends are the stories about Robin Hood, which are set in a definite period, the reign of Richard I of England (1189-99)” - about.com

A legend may show some sort of proof that the events had occurred in the past. A legend belongs to a specific culture and the heroes of legends may be real people that actually existed and did heroic actions.

What is a Myth?
Myths are symbolic tales of the distant past (often primordial times) that concern cosmogony and cosmology (the origin and nature of the universe), may be connected to belief systems or rituals, and may serve to direct social action and values. Read more here http://www.faculty.de.gcsu.edu/~mmagouli/defmyth.htm

A myth has absolutely no proof to support its narrative. A myth is just ancient and belongs to humanity as a whole. While legends have human heroes, in a myth, we deal with supernatural beings, gods, and fantastic creatures that did not exist.

Briefly, we can say that a myth gives a religious explanation for something: how the world or a particular custom began. There is usually no attempt to fix the myth into a coherent chronology related to the present day, though myths or a cycle of myths may have their own internal chronology. The story is timeless in that the events are symbolic rather than just the way it happened. (I suppose I gleaned this one off about.com)

There are a number of general conceptual frameworks involved in definitions of myth, including these:
  1. Myths are Cosmogonic Narratives, connected with the Foundation or Origin of the Universe (and key beings within that universe), though often specifically in terms of a particular culture or region. Given the connection to origins, the setting is typically primordial (the beginning of time) and characters are proto-human or deific. Myths also often have cosmogonic overtones even when not fully cosmogonic, for instance dealing with origins of important elements of the culture (food, medicine, ceremonies, etc.).
  2. Myths are Narratives of a Sacred Nature, often connected with some Ritual. Myths are often foundational or key narratives associated with religions. These narratives are believed to be true from within the associated faith system (though sometimes that truth is understood to be metaphorical rather than literal). Within any given culture there may be sacred and secular myths coexisting.
  3. Myths are Narratives Formative or Reflective of Social Order or Values within a Culture (e.g. functionalism).
  4. Myths are Narratives Representative of a Particular Epistemology or  Way of Understanding Nature and Organizing Thought. For example, structuralism recognizes paired bundles of opposites (or dualities -- like light and dark) as central to myths.
  5. Mythic Narratives often Involve Heroic Characters (possibly proto-humans, super humans, or gods) who mediate inherent, troubling dualities, reconcile us to our realities, or establish the patterns for life as we know it.
  6. Myths are Narratives that are "Counter-Factual in featuring actors and actions that confound the conventions of routine experience" (McDowell, 80).


What is a Fable?
A fable is a short tale that provides the reader with a moral lesson by the end of the story.
Fables are generally regarded as fiction (no argument about that). The body of the story is like a premise that provides proof for the lesson at the end of the story.

The defining of the fable is the lesson it provides at the end of each story. The basic rule is that there must be some type of moral lesson imparted if the story must be considered a fable.
Length is another determining factor since fables are as a rule, really short stories.
The fable’s characters are usually (if not always) animals. The animals are given human qualities and they converse with each other. The entire cast of a fable never exceeds two characters, three at the most.

Fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as actors that assume speech and other powers of humankind. A fable as a fictional story may be in prose or verse and may include mythical creatures and inanimate objects given human qualities.  The language of the fable is free flowing, tends to be simple and easy to read.

A fable is a myth, but it is told with the intent of teaching an important moral guideline. Fables are unique due to the presence of this moral lesson.  the fable is comparatively sophisticated and does not originate as a folktale, though it may make use of folk material, and once composed may be absorbed into a culture and exchanged as traditional oral folklore.


What is a Fairy Tale?
Fairy tales are stories either created or strongly influenced by oral traditions. They have been passed down by word of mouth through the generations and nobody knows who the original author is.

Archetype characters in a fairy tales include witches and queens, giants and elves, princes, dragons, talking animals, ogres, princesses, and sometimes even fairies. The land of the fairy tale is the typical land of magic; a boy may become a bird; a princess may sleep for a hundred years; a seal may become a girl.
In fairy tales, mirrors talk, pumpkins become carriages, and a lamp may be home to a genie. French fairy tales were the first to be collected and written down.

A comparative study of fairy tales turned out to be quite amazing; study revealed that in places as distant and diverse as Egypt and Iceland similar fairy tales are told.  Egypt, Iceland, China, England, Korea, Siberia, France, and Vietnam have "Cinderella" stories as do several other countries. There’s possibly a thousand versions of the Cinderella story, each with a unique telling which carries cultural information about the time and place the story was told.

A fairy tale often tells the story of an individual but focuses on a single event such as marriage as it takes into account the entire life of the hero or heroine.
The plots of a Fairy tale don’t take place in actual time, they are exclusive to “once upon a time.” They generally take place in a far-off time and place. In the land of fairy tales, magical happenings are the norm.

The traditional closing line of a fairy tale is, “and they lived happily ever after.”
Although, designed primarily for fun, fairy tales also contain a moral. “The Ugly Duckling,” for example, suggests that people considered unattractive or unpopular at childhood may discover their true worth and beauty in adulthood.

Some elements of a fairy tale is that the setting is usually within a castle, a forest, or a secluded town. It features at least, one good character and bad characters, as well, like the witch in “Hansel and Gretel.” One of the characters may be royalty. Fairy tale plots also feature animal characters like the big bad wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood,” or the bears in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” And of course, there is a generous sprinkle of magic.


While myths and legends may be transmitted orally or in writing, folk tales tend to be transmitted orally, and they are more definitely regarded as fiction. Magic, magical creatures and magical people such as witches, dragons and dwarves are staple of a fairy tale rather than religion, which is the basis for myth. Folk tales can be any length and contain any amount or combination of characters. Fables are usually short tales that use animals with human qualities to convey a moral lesson, and contain at most, three characters. A fable is fiction just like the fairy tale, but it is told to impart an important moral guideline—this is the solitary most remarkable distinguishing characteristic of the fable.

Before I turn the page on this, here are the high points again. Legends are stories passed down through generations, are usually about heroes and their spectacular adventures, or supernatural entities like gods; myths represent a culture's beliefs and explain its customs; fables are conveyed for their moral values, while folk tales are all about magic, happy endings, and are fundamentally transmitted to give a sense of hope in human suffering.

Keep your pen bleeding!

Akpan


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pedestal.mp3

English: On a pedestal in Another Place
Courtesy: Wikipedia)


Click the link to listen to audio file.
Pedestal is the voice of an achiever (sort of a do-it-alone or have-it-my-way kind of persona) who wants to take the pedestal on personal resolve and not on a whim.

Akpan


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

7 Sources of the Contemporary Fantasy Genre


This post is not so much a collection of exhaustive or even major sources of the modern fantasy genre but a list of some elementary stuff, which feeds this spectacular category of fiction. The fantasy genre has risen in popularity in recent times and it hasn’t showed any signs of losing steam.

A long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in adventures forming an organic whole through their relation to a central heroic figure and through their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race. (Harmon and Holman)

The first epic poetry were oral since speech came before writing or so we want to believe (we weren’t there in the beginning, were we?) And back in the day poetry was transmitted from person by word of mouth. Therefore, oral poetry can also be epic poetry.

This class is also known as urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend. And is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true but merely that it is in circulation, exhibits variation over time, and carries some significance that motivates the community in preserving and propagating it.

3. Myth:
According to Alan Dundes, a myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind assumed their present form, although, in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story.

Myths are usually historical events, which are truly depicted or gilded over with elaborations and are usually endorsed by the rulers and priests of a culture. Usually, the narrator believes the tale as true and it’s used as allegory for or personification of natural phenomena, or as explanation of ritual. Myths communicate religious or idealized experience, and teach moral lessons.

A fairy tale as a form of short story features characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, witches mermaids, or gnomes, and in several cases, magic.
Unlike legends and epics, they usually contain trivial references to religion and actual places, people, and events; they take place ‘once upon a time’ rather than in actual times.

5. Superstition:
The belief that one event leads to the cause of another without any natural process linking the two events through a process that contradicts natural science.
Superstition as it relates to folklore is an excessive fear of the gods or unreasonable religious belief.  It also applies to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.

6. Legend:
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude.
The events within a legend is perceived (or better yet, believed) to be possible even though the narrative may include miracles and outrageous details of the hero’s exploits.
The Brothers Grimm defined legend as folktale historically grounded.

7. Folk Art
Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople.
Unlike, fine art, folk art preserves the ideals of a culture and is practical in purpose for example, it is used to tell a story or communicate information/instruction. The nature of folk art is specific to its particular culture.


So, there you have it, a succinct inventory on the constituents of one of the most fascinating genres you would read or write.

Keep your pen bleeding.

Akpan



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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Shepherd's Journal: The Map to Atlantis


If Atlantis is history's greatest jigsaw puzzle, the Shepherd's Journal is its most coveted text.
The Mythical World of Atlantis, the
companion booklet to the Disney anime,
Atlantis, The Lost Empire

Now here's a cause for speculation; imagine that a shepherd (by all means, uneducated) and considered a lunatic in his time authored man's most elusive literary work. Disney's fictional grimoire is a bit of an internet sensation, as well. When I created an article comparing the Shepherd's Journal with Lovecraft's Necronomicon, I didn't have the slightest idea I was on to something. But here I am today to tell you the page views that post has received speak for the popularity of the two fictional grimoire of forbidden lore. (It's been viewed about 3,000 times!) And it's all thanks to Google search redirects-surfers, it appears-just never get enough of the Shepherd's Journal.

And there's the reason for this hard, short look at the mystery of the book called the Shepherd's Journal and formerly, the Scrolls of Aziz; it comes shuttling through the foyer of popular demand. At least, surfers now have an alternative text discussing the respected grimoire besides the fact it's on the same blog (well, it's my idea, isn't it?). And though this post may not be as big a hit as it's harbinger, it'll serve as a much-needed supplementary component that improves intelligence on the revered journal.

The bulk of details I'll be dribbling about has been acquired from The Mythical World of Atlantis—Theories of the Lost Empire from Plato to Disney, the companion booklet to the Disney anime, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Every time you read the phrase, the booklet on this page, I refer to this single companion text.

It was authored by an Arab called Aziz, a shepherd who was considered a lunatic in his own time. The work itself was first thought to be the writings of a mad man, but later proved to be a detailed account of Aziz' encounter with a vast underground civilization assumed to be Atlantis.
            Aziz, the shepherd while tending his sheep, slipped through a rift in the ground and disappeared only to resurface a full two years later babbling gibberish.

The Shepherd's Journal is said to be a firsthand account of the lost Empire of Atlantis and its exact location. Formerly known as the Scrolls of Aziz before Pope Sixtus V rechristened it the Shepherd's Journal, the text was originally in scroll format before monks cut them and bound them into journal format adding illustrations to the material. It came into the hands of the monks when a Turkish fortune hunter who stole the grimoire for its value from the library in Constantinople, took ill and died while receiving treatment in their monastery. But before revealing the importance of the journal to these monks.

The Greeks were the first to study the journal and discovered the text was written in Atlantean (language of Atlantis). Solon who proposed the journal was written in Atlantean language showed the journal to Plato.
Charlemagne took the journal to Constantinople where it was stolen and ended up in Lindisfarne. The Vikings plundered Lindisfarne and took the text to Iceland. After the Viking expedition to Atlantis was destroyed Thorfinn, the sole survivor of the expedition returned the journal to Iceland.

The fictional book, The Shepherd's
Journal as seen in the animated film,
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Vespucci, the Portuguese explorer was gifted the journal by the Mayans who considered it an honorable gift. Vespucci, after fruitless efforts in interpreting the content, took it to his friend, Leonardo Da Vinci to decipher it. According to the booklet, Da Vinci was perhaps, the first modern man to fully translate the Atlantean language. The journal documented the fact that the sun does not move long before Galileo and his companions came on the scene.

Da Vinci was left-handed, and after he saw the journal, he had taken to writing from right to left so that his notes could only be read in a mirror. Da Vinci was probably afraid his writing would be controversial, if not heretical.
            Benjamin Franklin mentions studying the Shepherd's Journal during a visit to Versailles in 1788, in his diaries.

Napoleon's troops recovered the long-lost journal in Egypt. They stored it there for a time, with other artifacts, which included the Rosetta Stone. It got into the hands of the British who shipped it to Great Britain where it was stored in the British museum. Scholars of the day thought the journal of no particular historical significance and it was given to the British library.

Ignatius Donnelly, an American senator with Irish ancestry borrowed from the British museum and smuggled it to Ireland and then to Iceland. It remained there until the Whitmore-Thatch expedition retrieved it and brought it to Washington for study. It is the same Thatch who became the grandfather of Milo James Thatch—the cartographer and linguist. Milo formed a part of the team, which discovered Atlantis in the animated movie.

You can believe any of the facts about the Shepherd's Journal so long as you keep it at the back of your mind that the journal itself was nothing but a plot device.

Keep your pen bleeding.


Akpan


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Grub.mp3 (Poetry Recital)

English: Odoh Diego Okenyodo reads from his co...
Courtesy: Wikipedia


Click the link above and listen.
This poem is about a character struggling with his inner critic; that negative voice that tries to seduce us all to the down side. And guilt-trip us with thoughts that we can't make it through the storm. This poet persona wins the battle and the poem's about his victory.

Akpan


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