How did we survive before social media? Is there life after Facebook? Social media: It’s a blessing and a curse. Of course, I can recall what life was like before LinkedIn. But I can’t remember exactly when Instagram became important to my animal rights practice. This is how I refer to my animal rights activism. Much like a Buddhist refers to their meditation as a practice. Or someone learning to play the piano practices for hours.
I’m a self-employed author, consultant, and independent scholar. There’s no non-profit organisation or commercial company with a budget and staff backing me. I’m responsible for everything, including social media, that’s an integral part of my animal rights practice. It must have been fifteen or so years ago when I started with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This was followed by GoodReads, Instagram, and, recently, Bluesky, as an alternative to Twitter (or whatever it’s called now). Me and my social media feel like we’re in a permanent relationship. But it’s time to revisit how we co-habit now that my top priority is to tell Topsy’s story.
Topsy has been part of my life for more than thirty years. I first saw the film of her electrocution in the mid-1990s. From that point, a germ of an idea grew into the promise I made to her that I wanted everyone to know about her miserable life and horrific murder. Other important animal rights projects stopped me from writing Topsy’s biography until now. This includes working with The British Library in London to establish the Kim Stallwood Archive and the Kim Stallwood Collection at Tier im Recht in Zurich.
Words, of course, don’t magically appear on the page when writing a book. They need to be drafted, written, rewritten, and rewritten again and again seemingly countless times before the words do what you want them to do. Ideas about the book’s narrative arc and how best to tell her story also need time to develop. Flashes of insight occur at any moment. I must be always ready to make a note of them otherwise they’re forgotten. One such revelation was the realisation that the research I was using to write her biography could also be used to tell her story differently. I saw the possibilities of publishing a graphic novel, producing an animated short film, and curating an art exhibit all telling her life story in different ways and reaching even larger audiences.
But I must temper my enthusiasm with the reality that everything always takes longer than you think. So, my primary goal is to publish Topsy’s biography within the next three to five years. And if, concurrently, I’m able to produce these complementary projects, I will have honoured the pledge I made to her.
I want to explain how I’m reframing my social media to focus it on Topsy. I’m implementing a two-tiered strategy with Patreon and Substack as my primary social media.
Patreon is a membership platform for creators to promote their work and attract supporters who want to help fund their projects. Creators like me offer paid memberships in exchange for exclusive content. These are unique opportunities when I share special insight into Topsy as I work on the project. Their generous support helps me to pay for:
- Research: London Library membership, online research (newspaper archive), books, etc.
- Writing: my office and computer
- Project Management: website, social media, promotional materials, project development
Substack, like Patreon, is a website but the difference is that it provides independent writers like me with a platform to publish directly to people who want to read me and provides them with opportunities to support me by paying for a subscription. I’m using Substack to publish about Topsy as well as other topics that interest me, including book reviews, commentaries, anecdotes, and grumbles. Substack is a new and exciting publishing endeavour that offers readers opportunities to comment and share their favourite authors’ work.
Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky, etc.
With Patreon and Substack as the primary level of my new social media strategy, the role of all other social media platforms is to support them. I will continue to visit, post, and comment on them but my Patreon and Substack pages will provide you with much more interesting things to discover and read. Like me, you may be increasingly bothered by Elon Musk and how he’s changing Twitter (‘X’) and how Meta Platforms, Inc., a Mark Zuckerberg company, owns both Facebook and Instagram. I may close my account with some of them, but I will let you know if I do so.
Kim Stallwood Website
My website continues as an integral component of my social media strategy. This is the place to visit to discover more about me than you will ever want to know. Also, this is where I post blogs, announce speaking engagements, and publish book reviews. Please use the website as a resource of information about me and my animal rights work from the 1970s to the present.