Category Archives: Twitter

Thar Be Stalkers: Twitter

I got unfollowed by someone on Twitter yesterday and it was one of my [social media] week’s high-lights.

Every now and then, not too often thank God, someone comes along that crosses the boundaries of “social media chatty” and begins verging on “stalkerish.”

I’m lucky to have always had a pretty engaging audience. I usually have about 25 to 75 mentions or interactions a day, and have had way more periodically, which is quite flattering to me. A lot of folks will engage me regularly, several times a week, or even once/twice a day, and that’s awesome! I love to have those kinds of touching-base interactions.

Still, let’s face it. I’m definitely an acquired taste on The Twitter, and that’s fine by me and the folks who’ve acquired said taste. I get unfollowed daily by a lot of people, but the follows almost always outweigh the departed. Thank goodness! You LIKE me! Or someone does.

When, like me, you make a point of talking about your life’s minutiae and you put your foibles and foolishness out there for others to get a chuckle out of, it’s sort of natural to develop a friend-like bond with some of your followers.

People don’t turn to my feed for social media prowess, marketing tips, or news aggregating. They tune into my shit to see what I’m cooking, whose ass it is I’m tearing a strip off of, or where I’m cycling to, what I’m watching, and whatnot. They tune into the stupid, boring everyday things I do in my life. For some deluded reason, they think I’m interesting.

And it ain’t for everyone, thank god.

But for those whom it works for, it’s a fun two-way street when I get people reacting to things, sharing their take on my ridiculous happenings, and all that. It’s fun, and it’s probably the best part of Twitter.

Sometimes, though, it can be the worst part.

The fact is, unlike some real estate agent or marketing guru, I’m on Twitter for kicks. I’m there to record mini-me moments of my life, as much for my own sake as I do it for my followers.

And like I say, now and then a “stalkerish” type comes up. I’m sure they don’t perceive themselves as stalkers, but it can come off the wrong way when I’m getting 10 or 15 tweets from the same person on a daily basis. And I don’t mean in a conversational-type way. I mean, I tweet about eating spaghetti and the person will then tell me about their spaghetti, then in an hour I comment on a show, and the person then has a reaction to that too.

Whatever the marketing types are telling you about Twitter being an “ongoing conversation,” it’s ALL LIES, BITCH. It’s not a conversation! It’s zillions of one-liners flinging by in the night.

I’m not speaking to one person when I tweet, I’m throwing it out there into the cosmos for the world. I don’t want to have an ongoing everyday conversation with the same follower that I don’t even follow back.

It sounds cunty, but Twitter isn’t my JOB. Despite that, I’ve always prided myself on my level of engagement. I do try to reply to most people. I don’t answer stupid questions anymore, is one of the ways I’ve reduced the intrusion into “me time.” (Yes, Virginia, there are stupid questions. Google that shit!)

There are days, too, when I’m just too busy to be polite and responsive, and I never feel the need to apologize for it, because life happens and social media is just a thing we do in between moments of life. Or at least that’s how I do it, and if people have an issue with that, the unfollow button’s right there, man.

Imagine, though, if all 5,000 of my followers were to send me 15 tweets a day like Said Stalker was. That’d be 75,000 mentions a day. I like the 25–75 mentions better — from a variety of good souls. I like bantering with the odd folk who reply to my tweets with funny stories, interesting viewpoints, or even just to tell me I’m being a dork about something. Dialogue’s great.

What’s my point here?

Just remember that, for many of us, Twitter is a distraction, something fun we do for whatever demented reason we do it. When you expect things of us — or ask silly questions you could Google, or “demand” recipes, or do forced “Have a great week” tweets where you list 10 people you’re kissing ass of, including us — you’re taking the fun out of Twitter.

If you’re replying to the same people all the time and their interest or replies have waned, you may have crossed the line and become Twitter-clingy, something like the boyfriend or girlfriend who always texts you when you’re supposed to be playing with your other friends. This is a good time to look out in the world for OTHER people to follow AS WELL as that person you’ve found fascinating.

Fact is, there are zillions of amazing personalities with fantastic content on Twitter. Famous authors who actually have something to say, fascinating political minds, comics who put consistently funny material out there, and even just normal people with brilliant minds tweeting on all manner of topics.

Wanna have more fun with Twitter and be less of a stalker? Ditch your feeling of obligation when it comes to reading content. You don’t need to read EVERY tweet by someone in order to follow. Just add their stuff to your stream and skim it. Enjoy it when you have time.

But stop thinking that any one Twitter personality is there to be your friend. Stop believing that just because you like their content that you could be buddies in real life. Stop expecting more from the relationship.

Start realizing that it isn’t a “person” you’re getting attracted to or fascinated by — it’s their CONTENT. You have no right to their time. You simply have the privilege of enjoying their creations.

Enjoy the tweets, and comment now and then, and everyone will be happy.

NOTE: Pretty sure my “invasive stalker” count’s down around, oh, zero right now. That I know of. Which is preferred to actually knowing one is being stalked. Ignorance IS bliss!

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I Hate The Way That You Twitter

STEFF NOTE: I think we all do some of the following to some extent. It’s stuff we can all cut back on, but doing any of these points to excess is irritating to many folk, like me.

I thought the timing was right for me to have my say about All Things Twitter.

In the interest as someone who’s NOT trying to sell you social media systems, who doesn’t want to fix your blog, who doesn’t give a shit about your search engine optimizing, and who’s on Twitter solely for the reason it was invented — to microblog and interact — I’ve got some ranting to get off my chest here.

Now, if you’re new to Twitter, you might foolishly think there are rules. And if you’re some old guard on Twitter, you might foolishly think there are rules. Yer wrong. There are no rules on Twitter. And that’s why it’s fucking awesome, but you can still do it badly.

I know, anything I write here really doesn’t matter, because this is all about how I like my Twitter. But that’s cool. And I should warn you, I actually *am* PMSing and have chosen to embrace it. You’ve been warned.

1) Starfuckery.

I’ll reply to celebrities occasionally because they’re “part of the conversation” once you get past the “famous” bit, but I don’t do it on a daily basis and I don’t actually delude myself into thinking they’re likely to read it or respond. I’m generally aware I’m throwing 140 characters in the wind and maybe 12 people will read it.

But to indulge in this often? What are you, in grade 10? Come on. Talk to real people. They may actually reply. People who engage in chronic starfuckery are people I’m assuming are trying desperately to raise their Klout scores, and you don’t want me going there.

2) Circlejerking.

When you mention a specific group of people all the time, people who are of benefit to you business-wise but aren’t pumping out great Twitter content, then you’re wasting my time and everyone else who follows you. Instead of “chatting” to 9 specific people in your group, remember that you have 500 or 2,000 or however many OTHER followers you’ve specifically not mentioned by name.

Twitter is about content, not you getting a reach-around and a smile, so if you continue down this path of exalting a few users over everyone else, you may do so at the cost of having an audience who no longer are invested in you.

3) Noise.

No, you don’t need to thank people for retweeting your stuff. If people can’t assume you’re grateful for spreading the word on your tweets, then they’re stupid.

Of course we want to be heard. Of course we want to be retweeted. Of course we want our content to grow legs and cover a wide territory. When I’m retweeted, I notice, and I’m happy about it. But it happens 10, 15, 20, or more times a day. If I start thanking all these people, then I’m increasing my tweet count considerably, and with absolutely NO VALUE in its content. Then I start hating Twitter because it feels like a job.

Hearing me THANK people isn’t why people follow me. I’m not a fucking Walmart Greeter. If you want gratitude lessons from me via retweets, you got the wrong guru, man. Stop with the endless thank-yous. No one really gives a shit except the 12 people who think Miss Manners invented Twitter.

4) Music & Lyrics & Check-ins.

Who died and made you DJ of the Year? I don’t really care what you’re listening to on Spotify or what you’re watching on YouTube. I certainly don’t want to see you channeling your inner-13-year-old and typing line after line of broken-hearted lyrics. We get it. You like music. And you got dumped. Wow. Aren’t you special?

Every now and then, tweet it, but don’t default your third-party apps to broadcast every track you play. It’s noise, and most of us don’t want it. These reasons are also why I don’t give a shit that you’ve “checked in” to a coffee shop or a drug store. You don’t need to push those notifications to Twitter, so don’t be surprised by those of us who think you’re a douche when you do it constantly.

5) Event Tweeting.

If you’re out for dinner with people, and you tweet the location, and you mention everyone by Twitter names, and it’s NOT a public event, NOR an invitation to have the event crashed, then shut the hell up. Just grab the KY Jelly and get on with your little circlejerk then.

Again, you’re excluding EVERYONE in your following except those who are there. It makes you look like an exclusionist douchebag, or else some happy little tag-a-long who’s just thrilled they Made The List. Either way, I’m betting the majority of your public thinks it’s douchey. Again.

And if you do happen to see event tweets, no, it’s NOT an invitation to you, so don’t go crashing events without at least asking. (I hear you can do actual replies and ask permissions on Twitter. Wow, who knew?)

6) The Sanctimony.

Don’t assume everyone follows every aspect of Twitter as religiously as you. I’ve accidentally retweeted things that have come back to bite me, and never even knew I’d retweeted it, because the UI on Twitter’s apps makes it far too easy to kneejerk retweet or unfollow/block people. Don’t presume you’re always in the right, or that people knew when they fucked up. Get the chip off your shoulder and just relax. Ask people if they meant X in Y way, rather than getting on your high-horse and getting bent outta shape about it.

7) Grammar.

Not everyone’s got the writing thing down pat, and I get that. I don’t mind some spelling mistakes or missing grammar, but can you stop turning it into an Olympic sport? This isn’t TEXTING. It’s communicating. It’s out there for the public. It’s on record.

It’s in the Google now, bitches, so maybe demonstrating your communicative powers in succinct tweets like “I c wut u mean” is a little inappropriate. Strive higher. If I see people at least attempting to make sentences, I’m a lot less judgy, and I know I’m not alone.

8) iAwesome Tweeting.

Oh, look at you, you got “#FollowFriday“ed. Aren’t you special? Wow. THANKS for retweeting that, you douche, but I’m already following you. Or I fucking well was before you started retweeting other people name-dropping you. Then I decided to embrace UNFOLLOW Friday and ditch your smug self-congratulatory ass. What is this, high school?

9) The HumbleBrag or PityParty.

This is the crowd that belongs in a narcissism support group. Yes, the Twitter is all about you. Yes, we’re all here to support you and quell your little ego panics. Yes, yes, yes. No, no, no! I think everyone does this to some extent, but some take it to new heights. Get over yourself. Or at least don’t constantly tweet it.

10) The ReTweeter & OldNewsers.

Don’t be surprised that I don’t follow you when I see 90% of your stream is made up of retweets. I can find other people’s content too. I can also read the news. So, when you’re THAT GUY who logs in Monday morning, ‘cos you’re some marketer or weekend warrior, and you just start arbitrarily sharing news links without realizing everyone’s been talking about that celebrity’s death for 2 days already, you’re a waste of tweet space. News has a 6-hour shelf-life on Twitter, so don’t bother if it’s a day old. Seriously.

________________

I’m sure there are far more infractions that get under my skin, but here’s a good place to end it.

I mean, god, this doesn’t even touch on the misinformation, retweeting broken links, not checking the article you’re about to tweet, and so forth, but there’s only so much a girl can do.

What’d I miss? What pisses you off? Why do you agree/disagree with?

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Online/Offline: This is Your Friendship on Social Media

Bluntly, I have the birthday kinda-blues. There’s nothing like a birthday to make you rethink relationships and other aspects of life. I’ve subconsciously nixed birthday celebrations and now I can’t stop thinking about stuff.

It’s a good/bad thing, the birthday reflections. I like the goals and plans I’ve set of late. I’m optimistic of where things are going. But I’m not particularly wowed by the relationships in my life right now. Let’s just say it’s been a long year, and I’ve had a lot of time to think.

A month ago, there was a big social media suicide, when Trey Pennington, with 100,000+ followers, killed himself during a messy divorce, and it gave me a lot of pause for thought.*

When famous people commit suicide, the thinking usually is that it’s caused by pressures, no outlet for expression, mental illness, substance abuse, right?

When someone “popular” on social media killed himself, the reaction was, “But he was so popular! And likeable! He had an outlet!”

It’s funny, you know, how we kid ourselves about how much this online shit matters. It’s why I laugh at bloggers who aren’t professional and who obsess about traffic, or Twitter people who care about their numbers, and so forth.

There’s this delusion that the more followers you have, the more of a voice you have, or that you can be so much more yourself.

The opposite is actually true.

Be careful of what you wish for. When people start actually reading your stuff, merely venting gets complicated.

I feel I’m less able to express myself on this blog now. I feel like I have to “watch” what I say. Do I, though? Feels like it. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I WANT to express myself less.

It’s a constant battle to remind myself that there’s never been a better time to be myself — because if you don’t like me for being myself, then who the fuck are you to me? Not much, and rightly so. This is me.

Then the irony is, I’m not being myself anyhow. This shit’s edited. Twitter is soundbites. Facebook is selective. Google is me just tryin’.

That’s not ME. That’s a part of me I’m willing to share. But the more of me I’ve shared, the less I feel there is — sometimes. I’m not faking shit, but I’m not releasing the floodgates of truth either.

Welcome to the digital paradox.

You can be “yourself” to a bigger audience than ever before, but how true is it?

You can’t say a fucking thing anymore without realizing a) someone actually heard it and b) half of them are gonna misunderstand it. I don’t care what your grasp on articulation and clarity is, you cannot control how your message is received.

And that’s, again, another paradox. We want to be heard — we just don’t want to be nagged about it. But if you don’t comment or speak to our expressions, then we feel ignored and invisible.

It’s Catch-22, social media style.

We’re reaching that point where the simplest solution is to say nothing.

Say nothing. Somehow I don’t think that would’ve been a good Cameron Crowe movie. “Say Nothing.”

Ahh. Sigh.

So, this year I’m left with an approaching birthday in which I’m really questioning the authenticity of a lot of relationships in my life. Now and then we have those times in our lives that really test our measure of friends. I’m realizing I’ve had that year. What it’s taught me is, well, a lot and I’ve been silent on too much.

And, the irony is, I have “oodles” of people in my life, supposedly. And yet. It’s been a long year.

The simple truth is, emails and texts aren’t enough. Words aren’t enough. Actions are what counts.

And therein lies the trouble of being in a digital society. Having a sentiment “liked” on Facebook doesn’t measure up much, in the scheme of things. A shout-out on Twitter means shit.

I’m pretty sure there’ll be a new cliche in a decade or two: “No one ever said “I wish I could’ve had more Twitter followers” on their deathbed.”

So, having been of this billowing state of mind for a few weeks, I’ve been really taking stock of my life and trying to solve the things that are important to me.

Writing, it’s important to me. I’ve avoided this topic but it’s been eating at me, so it’s best to put it out there, because otherwise I avoid writing in its entirety. Well, that’s not been helpful.

Other things that are important? Cycling, freedom, little things. I’ve been working on whittling my domestic life, getting my back on track, starting a new work sched, and slowly building an exercise routine. I even have plans for meeting people through non-social media events, ‘cos I’m so tired “networking”.

So, life balance. Real people. Honest moments. Personal accomplishments. Those are priorities.

But I wonder how many people feel like I do — more stifled on speech than ever before? To overshare or not to overshare, that is the question. Someone gimme a Magic 8-Ball, I need me some prognosticatin’. I’m not sure what the answer is.

It’s not an earth-shattering revelation that there’s a lack of tangibility in online relationships. It’s just disappointing when one realizes that, even locally, it’s more in platitudes than in practice. It feels like my words or thoughts go out there into space but do little for me. It’s a vacuum, creatively. Or is it?

But, when communicating starts feeling like work, then what can you expect? Staying “on top” of online relationships feels as much a chore as checking my voicemail or email. And where do you draw the lines? Who’s “online” and who’s not?

In the Facebook age, it’s an interesting dilemma. One I’m sure will grow murkier and more complicated in the future. We’re an ADD digital society who thinks and comments more than we act, and it shows.

Whether it’s throwing a “twibbon” on one’s avatar to show political or protesting sympathies, or just doing online commentary, there’s a lot less meaning behind our online lives than the social media marketers want you to think. Being one of a number online kinda means shit, and it’s a good fact to wake up to.

Getting followers and likes ain’t gonna translate much in your soul, and if it does, you might be doing things wrong.

After a year of injuries and other things that, for a while, made social media a more attractive way of engaging for me, it’s safe to say it ain’t so attractive now.

I don’t have a conclusion. Online/offline socializing is a Pandora’s Box that’s officially opened, and staying that way. There’ll be no simple solutions. Yet.

*No, I’m not suicidal. It’s all good. I might need a stiff drink, though.

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The Blind Leading The Blind: News, Twitter Style

Days like yesterday make me realise I’ll always feel I’m a journalist. My schooling leaves me obligation-bound to the truth and facts, not conjecture.

Yesterday was a painful lesson in how very exceptional that mindset can be on the web, when it comes to researching from a fact-based place, and not just trying to find reports that match your worldview.

***

Cutting-edge graphic demonstrating how news circulates on Twitter.

Early in the day, a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson, Arizona, left 6 people dead and 14 injured when a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon armed with an extended magazine of ammo.

For a very short time after the first word of the shooting in Arizona, all we knew was that a politician and her surrounding entourage had been fired upon in a crowd at Safeway, and the casualties seemed heavy.

Immediate reactions were: “Some Tea Party bastard did this!”

And my gut reaction was the same. Do the math, right?

Emotional reactions happen to us all, that’s humanity for you.

Then I realised: We don’t know jack. We need to wait for more. Realising that put me in a very small minority.

Probably 80% or more of the content I saw flying about on Twitter was rampant speculation about political motivation.

Now, here’s the thing: We still don’t know what happened. Anything I say about Jared Loughner, the alleged gunman, or his motivations, are speculation until his life is torn apart and we know everything.

There’s a possible second shooter/accomplice that the officials are still seeking, so we’re far from having a clue about what really happened.

Early evidence, though, suggests that Loughner is anti-government more than he is motivated by party lines. There’s also evidence that he’s usually a nice guy and a volunteer for social events, but that he has some kind of mental illness.

This is all we know, really, so far. And it can change, quickly, and so might my stance; but the EVIDENCE will dictate my reaction.

***

It’s funny, the public always says how crap the media is, so off-the-mark so often, but the public itself doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to check stories before they go retweeting “facts” or “news”. They don’t seem to even care if it’s true.

But god help the news organisations if THEY get it wrong, right?

Case in point is this particular tweet from late in the day, when reports suddenly circulated that stated Congresswoman Giffords had already magically recovered from being shot in the head and was up chatting just a matter of hours after the shooting.

Because that always happens, right? Why not just assume it’s true. Okay! Here goes.

This tweet flew fast and furiously, with these 143 retweets coming within a half-hour of the report. His profile says he’s a reporter with KTLA. Therefore, he MUST be right, right?

How did I respond?

First reaction: That’s AWESOME.

Second reaction: Okay, says who?

So, I did a Twitter search for a couple different terms: “Congresswoman” and “Giffords”. When paging through HUNDREDS of results, the ONLY report saying she was awake was coming from this guy, Reporter David Begnaud of KTLA.

Literally, no other source was claiming this on Twitter. No news organisation links were floating, nothing. Just Begnaud’s inaccurate story.

Did the rest of Twitter check this out? No, more than 140 people blindly retweeted Begnaud’s erroneous information without seeing if a source had been cited anywhere.

One great thing about Begnaud is, he retracted it as soon as he knew.

But the big problem? He had a lousy 550–600 followers at the time. The 143 retweets had spanned widely across the web, with a vast array of six-degree tweeters, and the damage was done.

As soon as he retracted it, I was the FIRST PERSON to retweet his retraction. Others followed.

Just not many others, that’s all. Lookit. Four lousy retweets.

His retraction received less than 3% of the retweeting traffic his erroneous information generated.

So, who’s at fault here? Well, both the journalist AND the public.

Kudos to Begnaud for admitting he fucked up, big ups to him for retracting it and deleting the wrong info. But he reported without getting definitive confirmation from authorities. Journalists aren’t supposed to do that. “Be accurate, THEN fast.” Not the other way around.

Damage? Done.

And that’s how the whole OMIGOD A TEAPARTYMEMBER KILLED A MEMBEROFCONGRESS, WHATAREWEGONNADO? panic got unleashed on Twitter earlier yesterday.

Folks just ASSUMED there was a Tea Party connection. Someone remembered there’d been a clip about target practice in the opponent’s campaign, someone else remembered the Palin infamous “target” poster, and everyone just assumed they went together.

The wrong story flew and a shitstorm ensued.

But don’t just take my word for it, take a look at Craig Silverman’s excellent timeline of tweets that shows you how the Twitter Day of News progressed after the horrible shooting happened. It’s simply brilliant. The news agencies screwed the pooch six ways to Sunday yesterday.

***

But that’s traditional media. Surely social media has no such ethical obligation, right? Wrong.

If you’re a member of “social media” and you think you’re some news aggregator, and you’re sending out link after link because you’re “so on top” of all this shit, but you don’t research to make sure there’s more than one source cited, or ensure it’s not just speculation, then you have no business aggregating news.

I don’t give a shit that you don’t have a degree in journalism, you’re not paid, and you think the media’s “ethics” aren’t bound to you.

You’re “helping” people by spreading “interesting” stories?

Um, no. No, you’re not.

You have a responsibility to do your CHOSEN job well. Make sure what’s sent around the web isn’t just more of the lies and half-truths that are tearing America apart.

Waiting for the right information isn’t sexy.

Being the woman shouting “YOURE SPECULATING, THERE’S NO PROOF” is really hard when people accuse you of being a heartless bitch or not caring about the victims, or that you’re stupid and ignorant about the OBVIOUS political situation.

Conjecture and speculation are dangerous.

What if it took longer for the news to come in? What if enraged Democrats loaded their rifles and went out looking for retribution?

What if?

Yesterday could have been a far worse day.

We’re very lucky the misinformation and passionately partisan battles have largely subsided today, because it’s toxic and should have no place in our society.

As social media, we too have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of what we report. We have an ethical obligation to ensure truth, not conjecture, is what we spread.

I’ve been saying for years that blogging and social media could change the news world forever, that the non-corporate “journalist” worldview could bring a more “We, The People” perspective on the news, and events could be shaped with more societal relevance than ever.

But, you know what?

Not if you don’t get your shit right. Not if you don’t stop believing that, if it’s in print, it’s true.

There are more inaccuracies on Twitter than anywhere else on the web, I feel, because of the fly-by nature of tweets and the ease in which you can delete them.

But tweeting fast-and-furiously without regard for accuracy and then just using the Cleanup-on-Aisle-7 method of delete-and-retract IS IRRESPONSIBLE. It’s dangerous.

It’s bad social media.

I don’t give a fuck if you think the Tea Party is horrible, and that violence seems to be something they espouse. You don’t take that belief and sandwich it with what APPEARS to be the situation, then call that a “news”. That’s a gossip column, at BEST.

You don’t take your politics and then analyse the situation according to your worldview then report your subjective take on it.

Who the fuck are you, Glenn Beck? Oh, you’re a liberal, so THAT makes it okay? Uh, no.

And I don’t care if you’re some guy with a Twitter account, not a “journalist” — you’re a part of the misinformation problem. Don’t be.

Sooner or later, bad things are gonna happen if people don’t start spreading information with more objectivity and research done before clicking on “update” or “tweet”.

If folks don’t like me because I call it like it is when people are injecting personal feelings into their chosen “news” tweets, or are jumping to dangerous conclusions that are inciting others, then so be it.

But I sure as hell won’t stand around when I see nothing but half-truths, inaccuracies, and preaching being sent around. I won’t stand around when partisan hate of either political affiliation is being circulated as “news”.

Because, whatever you might think of some fuckwits in the industry, I’m a journalist, I learned the ethics of news circulation, I live the ethics, and that’s not changing.

Integrity matters. Truth matters. Because that’s what the press SHOULD be guided by. That’s what social media SHOULD be guided by.

If we the people want the media held to a higher standard, reporting better than they have been, then it needs to start with us.

It starts with us demanding more, but also with us researching the claims we make, the links we share, and the stories we tell…

BEFORE we send the information out there.

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No Meanies Allowed!

There are bad people in this world.

Really bad.

Then there are people like this, who are just demented and cruel, who enjoy inflicting emotional pain but would never have the balls to get physical about it.

Long story short?

How it started depends on who you ask.  It escalated into frequent calls to police and personal protection orders against the Petkovs.

Besides posting disturbing photos on Facebook, the Petkov’s painted their truck with tombstones and placed a coffin in the back of the truck.  The truck was parked in front of the Rose family home.  The Petkov’s claim the truck is a decoration for Halloween.”

(From the Ron Savage  MyFoxNewsDetroit.com report that originally broke this story wide open.)

The Petkovs are the “nasty” neighbours. The Rose family includes 7-year-old Kathleen Edward, dying of Huntington Disease, daughter to the now-dead-from-Huntington’s Laura Edward (passed at age 24), and grand-daughter to Rebecca Rose, the owner of the home in question.

Now the Petkovs apologize. Sure, now. I don’t care how it started, there’s no justification for doing that to a dying seven-year-old.

That’s nature for you.

There are people like this out there. That’s reality. In the wild, mothers sometimes eat their young. It happens: Cruelty.

But it’s not the only thing that happens.

There’s more people out there who are sickened by this behaviour than those committing it, and it’s up to you to decide which group it is that gets your attention.

For every news story like this (and it IS “news” because it’s not typical, doesn’t happen often) there are dozens of stories of small but amazing acts of kindnesses that are being randomly committed upon every landscape on earth.

We are, in general, good people. We do, on average, help when help is needed. And, because we do, it’s technically not “news” often.

Sure, we fall apathetic and get distracted in our lives, but we usually jump up when the times require us to do so.

The reality out there is, violent crime is at its lowest levels in anyone’s memories.

Personal crime seems to occur less frequently, too.

Volunteerism is escalating.

Awareness on all sorts of issues has grown astronomically.

You see what you choose to see.

You’re surrounded by what you want to be surrounded by.

When you hear about stories like this, try to remember also that there are people who will go to amazing lengths to help strangers.

Every day, little kindnesses unfold, everywhere — not just the big stories, lots of little stories.

If you think the world is worse off, then what are you doing about it?

Just complaining? Feeling depressed? Giving in to your feelings?

Shut off the news. That’s your first problem. Read the news; don’t watch it.

Then, do something. Anything.

Buy someone on the street a lunch.* Every now and then I’ve got $5 I feel like spending on someone who looks legitimately hungry, and it’s the best money I spend all day when they appreciate it and genuinely smile.

But it doesn’t make the news.

When I make small talk on transit with what seems a lonely old person, their day brightens, they smile. That doesn’t make the news. When I see a parking enforcement officer down the block and some rundown car with an expired meter and I pop a quarter in to help a seemingly unwealthy person avoid a ticket, that, too, does not make the news.

They’re little things. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind in small ways.

Brightening another person’s day can often lift YOUR mood too.

There will always be people who don’t appreciate it. Sometimes the bought lunch gets scoffed at. You can’t SEE a meth or crack addiction right off, so you never know. Maybe the old person I get talking to is totally toxic and alone for good reason. It happens.

But when it works outweighs the fails.

It keeps me believing in us.

It keeps me respecting myself.

It keeps my focus on who we can be, not who some of us have devolved into.

And that’s how I prefer to think, the way I prefer to see us.

When it comes to how we are as a society, perspective is everything. Our history hasn’t been written yet, and you are not inconsequential in how it will unfold.

Good/Bad, you see what you want to see. Be the change you want. Live the cliche.

At times like these, the saying “pick your poison” has more relevance than ever. The happy “We Can Do It” juice, or are you more a “Life Sucks and Everyone’s Mean” on-the-rocks kinda person?

Choose. Then live it.

*Get high-calorie stuff.
Homeless folk generally don't have "vegan" tendancies, FYI.
Just sayin'.
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The Dark Lord versus Perez Hilton: Bullying

I never thought I’d type these words:

I’m with Lord Voldemort.

But there you have it.

On Twitter, I luckily caught the retweet of this pretty perfect comment of @Lord_Voldemort7’s tirade against the hypocrisy of PEREZ HILTON having the fucking audacity to lead a campaign against bullying, despite it being started by the well-intentioned Dan Savage.

I’ll let the Dark Lord have the floor:

Perez’ website is designed to ridicule & mock others. Whether it be a a smarmy comment, unoriginal nickname (kiki drunkst, Mischa Fartone, Slutty Cyrus etc) or a photoshopped picture with drool added; his posts garner attention through bullying. Currently Perez has made anti-bullying his pet project. He has gathered videos from celebrities & reiterated over & over the importance of putting an end to the very ridicule & comments that have made him “famous”. Additionally, celebrities have responded to his requests & made their own videos (many of them the celebrities that he mocks on a daily basis). Whether these videos are genuinely because the care about the cause or were created to gain favor with Perez is up to individual discretion. One thing is certain, creating these videos is simply the victims aiding the bully that terrorizes them. It’s Pettigrew all over again. (See what I did there? With the reference to the wizarding world? Yeah.)

In spite of my efforts for world domination, there still remains freedom of speech. He is entitled to say whatever he wants. However, to turn around & chastise others for writing “belittling, hateful comments” while calling teen celebrities promiscuous & other celebrities ugly or fat makes him a hypocrite.

I got chills when I read his rant, because this is how I’ve felt about the celebrity gossip world for years. I’ve hated it, I’ve ranted against it, and I love to see the sentiment shared by people who nail it to the wall.

The Dark Lord and I, in short, concur.

I don’t DO celebrity gossip. I don’t respect it, I don’t think it’s funny, and I don’t believe it’s a past-time. I think it’s an example of everything that’s wrong with today’s society.

I think anyone who’s ever been insulted, mocked, bullied, and hurt by others who enjoys spitefully tearing down public figures, yet cries out about the injustices they’ve supposedly suffered is a big fat h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e.

Making a passing comment is one thing, but making a career out of finding things to spite in other people is something I will never understand.

Living in that headspace? Daily? How can you hold such contempt for people? I don’t get it. I need to hope and believe that we’re better than that as a society.

Everybody hurts. Everybody gets betrayed. Everyone’s all alone in their head.

When it comes to celebrity, I don’t believe that getting famous suddenly makes you impervious to pain. I think it makes you a target.

But, hey, in today’s society, everyone’s spiteful of success. We celebrate it, then we throw darts at it.

The only thing more hypocritical than writing those gossip columns is when one lives and dies by reading their favourite trash-slinging daily, especially devouring the juicy bits, then goes about life pretending they’re Little Good Citizen. Seriously?

I don’t really get this whole “It Gets Better” crap coming from Perez Hilton’s site. I don’t. The Dark Lord points out an absolutely fantastic ethical paradox.

Somehow, it’s okay to be the completely cunty gay man who slams the shit out of everyone’s self-esteem, using “gay” epithets as insults, but if someone’s cruel to a gay teen, that’s the world’s most horrible crime?

I HAVE AN IDEA. LET’S NOT BE CRUEL TO ANYONE.

Bullying sucks. Belittling sucks. Mockery sucks. Laughing and pointing? Really sucks.

I always reserve the right to comment on clothing that’s way over the top. And, you know, toupees and comb-overs. A lot of other stuff, though, really crosses a lot of lines.

It’s really pretty simple, you know.

Would it hurt YOU if someone said that about you?

Then shut your fucking mouth.

My interpretation of the “Golden Rule”. Enjoy. Apply liberally.

I’ve been mocked, bullied, harassed, insulted, and betrayed. Not just 20 years ago, but even weeks ago. I live on Planet Earth in the Internet Age. Of course it’s happened recently.

I will not knowingly do it to others. I will not support websites who do it. I will never behave that way on my blog.

If you don’t see the hypocrisy in reading gossip sites and you’ve ever been hurt by a thing people have said about you, perhaps you need to rethink your behaviour.

You need to rethink your integrity and your ethics.

Really.

Hypocrisy isn’t less offensive just because you’re pleasant to talk to at cocktail parties.

But, hey, it gets better. Chin up.

My thoughts about “It Gets Better”?

I love Dan Savage and I know his heart is in the right place, and I know Dan speaks out often about all kinds of injustices — he’s awesome.

However: the Bullying Problem is bigger than dressing it in platitudes. Instead of saying “It gets better, chin up!” I’d rather see all these stars use their power and high-profile to get some motherfucking laws up in here.

Bullying needs to stop, and it needs to stop in administrative levels at schools and workplaces.

Platitudes won’t do a thing long-term, but I really hope the campaign does change some thinking on the ground right NOW. Still.

Less ain’t more here — time to petition congress, parliament, whoever the hell makes laws in YOUR world.

Gay teens have longattempted suicide, but now it’s apparently en vogue to make videos about it.

Laws, people.

LAWS will save lives. And education. Videos will just make people warm and fuzzy for three minutes. Get real. Make shit happen. Change this. Go to lawmakers. Be adamant.

For those so motivated, check the bottom of this page for a list for how to accomplish getting laws passed against bullying.

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