Tag Archives: social media

Why I’ve Drunk the Google+ Kool-aid… And Love It (for Writers)

I’m a writer.

I like an audience.

I also tend to use more than 20 words at a time, like on Twitter, or 75 words on Facebook. While I’ll always love the challenge of having a brilliant and funny 140-character-or-less tweet, the unfiltered-length possibilities on Google+ make it possible for me to write my Unabomber manifesto for the world at the large without burying it on some obscure “notes” page on my Facebook account, while giving me a larger audience than I enjoy on this lowly blog.

So, there’s that.

And I can edit after the fact, which is fantastic for a neurotic type-A personality like me who wants to cry at support groups every time my iPhone leads me to fuck up and upload a typo. And there’s bold AND italics? Oh, editor porn! Editor porn!

It’s a slippery-slope thing, the after-the-fact post-editing, but it’s LONG overdue in social media, where every word we say can cripple us professionally or personally.

If Google’s smart, they’ll have a built-in system that allows for proper tracking of edits once comments have appeared on a posting. I think, in the interest of truth and transparency, a “track-changes” feature might keep people on the ethical straight and narrow with edits. As it stands, it DOES say the post was edited and at what time, but not the extent to which edits have been done.

Google+ Has Borrowed From Those Before Them

Now, this is early in the game. Yet people are commenting, “Oh, I would’ve expected Google to roll out something much more dynamic, given their global reach,” etc, but I question if these folks really realize the scope of what Google has unleashed.

If you think of Google+ as being the framework upon which The Goog is developing a social structure that spreads throughout the whole web, they’ve created a fabulous start. No one has the ability to catch up with Facebook’s infrastructure — but Google can.

Right now, Google+ offers you “hangouts,” which takes the Chatroulette web-cam socializing idea and runs with it. They have “sharing,” and privacy controls that are far simpler to adjust than Facebook (and more transparency about the lack of existing privacy).

The continuous refreshing feed and ease of sharing replicates the Tumblr-reader/blogger experience.

The +1 bookmarking makes for a DIGG or StumbleUpon replacement and there’s a page on your profile where it saves them. It’s called the +1 Page, but it doesn’t save all the things you’ve “liked” in your main in-Google+ feed (where you +1 instead of “liking” as you would on Facebook), it only tracks external webpages that have a +1 button. (You can change a setting in G+ settings so that Google assigns a +1 button on ALL non-Google pages, and that way it can truly be your new bookmarking service. I’ve been hesitant to go there, but I use Google for all my searches anyhow, and resistance seems futile.)

That Google owns Youtube, which is rolling out the COSMIC PANDA experiment as I type (for which you need to use the Google Chrome browser, I understand), makes for better video interfacing in-feed than Facebook offers, plus excessively-fun and easy animated-GIF posting.

The following options on Google+ are like on Twitter — it’s public and anyone’s game for you to follow without approval, unless they block you, but it’s easier to find people, and there’s a built-in, far more interesting and informative profile that makes the follow/unfollow option much more simpler.

They have ingenius “social circles,” and a smart user will create additional streams beyond the few basic ones that come pre-set by G+ — like I’ve added “local connections” who are people I don’t consider acquaintances but know through the local scene, “extended family” is obvious, “soc med influencers” keeps the Chris Brogans at bay, “news and info” will be news organizations or persons affiliated with them, which I hope are allowed onto Google+ sooner than later, because I think it’d be fantastic for that sort of content. I have “people I like” and “Journalists & Writers” and other stuff relevant to my life. People are grouped in multiple circles if they’re more relevant to me.

I foresee Google allowing a more toggle-able feed, where I don’t have to have all or just one, but can default to 2-3-4 preferred feeds that most affect my content-consuming time.

Built for Engaging

G+ will be, for me, a more powerful way of getting my writing out in the world, and a way to have a much better engaging with my audience, because I never really log in here and write comments, but I do love engaging on topics, and I’m more likely to do so on G+, since I’ve found myself having more ideological discussions there in a week than I have on Facebook or Twitter in a month, and at a far greater length and focus.

For now, Google+ is telling marketers to stay away until the end of the year. I think business won’t really get how to use it, and many will be awkward and shitty at content-generation like they are on Twitter, but one can get away with sucking more at Twitter than you could on G+. With more rope to hang themselves, I’m nearly confident most marketers will succeed handily at self-asphyxiation on Google-plus.

So, It’s More Private Than Facebook?

[insert laughter here] Urm, definitely not.

Privacy? Are there better privacy protections? Arguably, no. This, however, is more transparent, and I think we’re all used to Google knowing everything about us anyhow.

If you want privacy, get off the internet. Really. The two do not compute. It’s like putting alfalfa in cheesecake. What the fuck are you thinking?

Are there issues? Yeah. If you don’t want something private inadvertently shared, you can’t just not include X circles of people, you also have to disable sharing on it. But, wait! You can disable sharing! And disable comments! Yay.

The reality is, Google+ just ensures you’ll be a thoroughly data-mined person in the Google universe, but who’s kidding who? You already are. Facebook has ya, your credit card company’s got a real sweet dossier on you. Fuck, every charity in the country knows when you’re a giver. Worrying about your information being out there, that’s just silly. It already IS.

The only privacy you’ve got is to not say anything you don’t want repeated. Shut up or suck it up, basically.

Google Takes Over The World, Story At 11

This feels very much like a social tool that’s truly social. If Google starts expanding it — and, remember, this company owns Blogger and has stopped developing it — the dynamic nature of their “socialness” will be nearly infinite. Google is among the only companies in the world with the wherewithal to beat Facebook, and mark my words — and many others — this might just be the tool that does it.

Yeah, I’m sticking around. Wanna follow me on Google+? Go for it.

In the meantime, it’s not all sunshine and roses. This damning article says the privacy concerns could blow up big. Other sticking points I’ve found are below.

But, hey, I’ve been on the web for years. My privacy got screwed years ago. Welcome to my party, people.

Shit They Gotta Fix

Comments are bothersome: You can’t collapse comments. I’m liable to unfollow all the “popular” people until this is fixed. For the moment, you can read the post and the comments, then click the greyscale “+” top right of any post and “mute” the post. This will not only hide it in your feed, but it’ll end any notifications associated with the post.

Invasive feed-refreshing rate: The continuously auto-refreshing feed does so while one is writing a post or comment, which doesn’t hurt anything, but can be jarring to the thinking process, and it’s clumsy. I’d like it to be possible to pause the feed.

Indiscriminate re-sharing: When one has shared things with a limited audience, it’s possible for their limited audience to then re-share to the general public, and, if so, the original poster’s name is on it. Great to have attribution, but it’s an invasion of privacy. Instead, G+ should build in a restrictor of some kind. In the mean time, you can disable sharing on each post.

Photo-sharing: When uploading photos, it creates a whole album, and one can share someone else’s complete album. If you ever geotag your stuff, whether it’s shot at home or you have kids, it’s unwise to allow these geotagged photos to be reshared, so, I would advise remembering to disable sharing on every posted photo album. UNFORTUNATELY, this cannot yet be done with the mobile app.

Circle-editing: You can’t edit a circle of friends and just move someone to a new circle, so you really have to be on the ball about it. Instead, you have to add them to a new circle before deleting them from the one you’ve decided they don’t fix, otherwise you have to re-ad them to circles in entirety, which is just irritating.

Ego-boosting fail: When I see great content and re-share it, I now get nothing out of the re-share when someone re-shares it off me. Instead, the person who originally posted it gets all the credit. I’d like to see “By way of Steffani Cameron, and Originally Posted by This Genius Guy” or something. Otherwise, you’re encouraging people to find the original source, upload it, and try to steal credit. Everyone wants their name in the game, Google. Savvy up there.

Buggy, bitches: The notifications, adding people, the numbers in circles, none of it is working completely right yet, but that’s to be expected with a new product that is achieving unprecedented influx of new power users in less than a week. This will smooth out, I’m sure.

Plain Stupid Things: That they request you to list “other names” like “maiden names” and stuff is absolutely moronic. Sure, it’s nice as a be-found-by-old-friends feature, but it’s also an identity-thief’s wet dream. Think twice before you’re so needy for antiquated social connections that you give scam-artists an open door to your identity, people.

The Week That Was: A Round-Up

What a week. I’m just finishing up some coffee, then I’m dragging my tired ass into work.

My seat in the arena might've been the nosebleeds, but it was fun to be above everything. Loved it. Great view.

A lot of changes coming for me. I’ll share one day. Not today. But life is settling down. It feels like the end of a long road. Not quite there yet, but getting there.

I got to see the Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in hockey. The Canucks smoked the San Jose Sharks. It was one of the most enthralling sports experiences I’ve ever been present for.

17 years to the day that Greg Adams scored a double-overtime sudden-death game-winning goal, sending Vancouver’s Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers, our Kevin Bieksa scored his double-overtime sudden-death game-winning goal. Now Vancouver’s waiting on word of our next meal, in the Stanley Cup Finals: Boston or Tampa.

17 years. Wow.

I just made a mental list of the world of experiences I’ve gone through in those years. It’s an interesting week to take stock of where I am and where I’ve been. Where I’d like to go.

It’s an exciting time, both for me and for my city.

The Queen Is Retired, Long Live the Queen

And Oprah’s over. A lifetime of learning from her show — mock me if you will. I think there’s a few Oprahs, given the variety of topics she’s handled over the years, but I think Oprah’s social efforts make her one of the greatest people of modern times.

Whether it’s the thousands of scholarships she’s given out, the work she’s done to protect kids from sexual abuse, her advancement of gay rights, celebration of the arts, her involvement with education on all levels… well, there’s not many people in this world who’ve truly put their money where their mouth is, but Oprah has.

Oprah has meant a lot to me over the years. There have been times when I’ve been home in the afternoon, lost or sad or pensive, and just happened to turn on Oprah and there she was, talking about something that I could use to have more insight into my own predicaments.

So many times have I watched her show and had something to write about, whether it was Oprah-centric or some six-degrees topic that’s inspired by some aspect of a conversation she’s had.

I’ll miss her wealth of fodder for writing. I really will.

And I will miss the constant of that show being in my life.

Judge me if you like, but I’m an Oprah fan and I don’t apologize for it. This week, I’m sad to see her leave.

Rant-Be-Gone: Social Media

I wrote a rant about Twitter last week, under the guise of it being social media tips. I stand by a lot of it, but some was over-the-top. I’ve taken it down. I’ll rework it sometime.

I’m getting a little burned out on social media. I began what I do so I could have a voice. I like the portal. There gets to be a time when one feels like others think they’re entitled to a piece of you. Replying feels like work. Engaging feels like just another strain on a day.

It reflects the extent to which I feel like life demands my attention right now. It’s been a long and tiresome road, not just for myself but for others this year. Social media’s sort of that outlet place where we get to “say” things… but the larger our audience, the more inclination there is for us to be held to task by someone who perceives X situation in Y light.

The balance gets difficult. Maybe I don’t want that debate with you. Maybe I get to choose what absorbs my time. People forget there’s two sides to social media. What we say, and what we don’t.

Unfortunately, you’re mostly judged via what you said in the last 5 minutes.

Man, there are days when giving everything up to take that remote home on the coast, that I’d love to live in within five years, seems like it can’t come soon enough.

There are days when having an outlet doesn’t seem to be enough of a reward to deal with what that social media produces in response.

Fortunately, there are better days, too, when it all makes sense.

Right now, I’m not getting a lot out of being on social media. Instead, I feel like a rat on the wheel of life. It’s work, working out, hockey, work, working out, hockey. Even social media feels like work.

These days, saying less online means having fewer replies, which means it’s less work, which means I’ll recharge sooner.

This is how the thinking goes.

When Being A Couch Potato is an Improvement

I’ve sat on my sofa two days in a row. Last Monday was the first time I’d sat on my sofa in two months, thanks to that horrible back injury I had back in March.

This means things are improving.

It’ll be a while yet before I get the pacing of life under control, but I think I’m on the verge of having a less scattered lifescape before me. May has been far better than April. April was better than March. I believe June will be far better than May.

When it comes to writing, et al, I have things to say, but I don’t have the time, or energy, for saying them.

I may be tired, bone-tired, but I like life’s trajectory. Working hard is better when it’s getting you somewhere.

___________________________

And that, friends, is the week that was.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Winning at AntiSocial Media the Steff Way

There’s a social media camp happening over on Vancouver Island, and someone’s first quote was, “Social media isn’t about you.”

Really? Ahem.

Every person I follow or engage with is because they’re offering something unique to them. If it wasn’t about them, I wouldn’t give a shit. If they’re just spouting links with no personal interjection, I don’t care.

T-Shirt design from Despair.com: http://www.despair.com/somevedi.html

If social media isn’t about YOU, then don’t bother.

I could pretend to care more about the people who followed me. I could engage more without provocation. I could follow more people. I could do the “shout-out-by-name” bullshit I so loathe.

And yet… I don’t.

And YET… I’m followed by people in every sector of the industries I’m interested in — and from lofty, lofty places. Editors, publishers, and media magnates follow me.

Largely, I guess, because I’m just “myself” online.

I don’t kiss ass, engage my powerful followers directly, “use” them as contacts, ask anything of them. I don’t do shout-outs or any of the things people will tell you are “good” Twitter.

And it works for me.

Because it’s all me, all day, all the time. I’m consistent, I’m constant, I’m myself, and I’m interesting. I diversify my stuff, I don’t apologize, and I am what I am. Loudly.

Maybe I could have even MORE followers than I do. But if I have to dumb myself down and be “nice” more, then I don’t wanna!

That’s what social media SHOULD be. It should be people being themselves — for better or worse — and putting it out there without apologies, as long as they’re respecting others and not being dicks.

I disagree with people, often, and disagree loudly. Every now and then my passion gets the better of me and I disagree a bit disrespectfully — and that’s not cool. Generally, though, I manage to toe the line pretty well. I still isolate people, but that’s life when you’re bold.

Anyone who follows me because they like my piss-and-vinegar style of sardonic tweeting, but then unfollows me because we one day disagree on a topic, is clearly the sort of person who probably needs more hand-holding in friendship or debates than I’m given to provide. Or, they just plain don’t like diversity in people.

So, y’know, buh-bye.

Do you seriously WANT everyone to like you?

Have you SEEN what “everyone” entails?

These are the people who keep Jersey Shore on the air, who wear Ed Hardy, who slam Brittney Spears in one breath then buy her music in another… People who don’t know what they like, but change their tune once YOU do. People who kept King of Queens on TV for years, who think Tracey Morgan actually IS funny… People who celebrate mediocrity.

You want THEM to like you? What the fuck FOR?

“Hi! I’m mediocre! I’m not really different. But lotsa people follow me!”

Seriously. Maybe this makes me a bitch. Maybe I’m “classist” for thinking there could be better cultural diversity out there.

Shit, I’ll buy that for a dollar, Pat.

Yes, I think my tastes put me in a select group as far as appeal goes, but that’s what branding of any kind should do. I’ll admit, my online presence is a sort of “branding.”

Isn’t yours? It should be. It ain’t selling out — it’s smarting-up, man.

There are those who suggest every person who follows you rates a follow-back. Why? WHY?

In life, does every person who wants to be your friend get to be your friend? NO.

Why? Because not everyone has something to offer you. Often, what they seek from you is what they can’t provide you.

Just because a guy’s interested in me in the Real World doesn’t mean I return that interest — usually because they don’t have anything to teach me, or don’t inspire me in any way, or just don’t make me think I’ll grow from our relationship.

Why should Twitter or Facebook be any different? Because you fuckin’ smell a dollar at the other end? Get real, you likely won’t make a penny off that extra follower, you’ll spread your focus thin, know less about everyone in general, and that’s that. Way to be “social”.

When we stop worrying about winning EVERYONE over to our side, we’ll start having more honest interactions.

And that brings us to the other topic I disagree with from Victoria’s Social Media Camp. “Social media means being social in real life too.”

Yes, to an extent, sure. But you have much to lose from being too visible. One can greatly control their image online. The more you’re social, the less intrigue you create. The more you’re social, the more you have to try to live up to that highly edited, highly opportunistic way of communicating online — and the more you can put your foot in it, so to speak.

Online, I’m funny and edgy and brash. It plays all right in person, too. But there’s some kind of intrigue I’ve created, accidentally, from not attending events often. As a result, I’m now less likely to attend events because I know there’s more buzz from going to them rarely than there is from being omnipresent, and, also, I know the people I do conspire to meet with feel more “special” because I don’t make myself available to everyone all the time.

Seriously, it’s working for me.

A few of my thoughts?

  • Pick your events wisely.
  • Ensure you have people on your side that’ll be there when you do attend.
  • Always know your “safe port in a storm” — a person you sidle up to when things feel they’re slipping away.
  • Make sure you have connections worth making by attending those events, that it’s not just the usual suspects you’ve befriended time and again — that’s not networking, that’s “hanging out”.
  • Shut your mouth until you’re confident your thoughts are relevant and you know what’s honestly being spoken about and even what the going opinions in the discussion are.
  • Don’t steal thunder from presenters at events by hogging questions or diva-ing it up with your resume before you ask a question, because other attendees will resent you. Resentment breeds distrust; way to shoot yourself in the foot. If your question is awesome, that’s ALL the introduction you need.
  • Know the limits of your appeal. Don’t oversell yourself.
  • Less is more.
  • Be interested in others — you’re not as important as you think you are, and showing that interest can be compelling to them.

You can’t undo bad appearances. You can’t take back a first impression. If you’re not feeling like you’re “on”, then don’t risk the damage that can come from appearing at a non-essential event when you’re not on your game.

Networking takes mojo. Being different takes actually operating differently and even taking risks.

And when you play the game, think about the long-term, not just the one event. Will it really help you obtain new ground? Or is it just another networking event where everyone who’s hungry for clients are all out competing for the same piece of meat — like a pack of hyenas on a single little fox’s corpse?

Because that’s most likely the case.

Networking with other entrepreneurs is useful occasionally, but don’t kid yourself that it’s a surefire way to pay the rent. Pick your battles and pick them strategically. In so doing, be yourself, ‘cos no one else has what makes you “you”.

Question is: Do you know what that “uniquely you” thing is? Time to find out, if you don’t.

You should follow me on Twitter, you know. Click Here.

RANT: Elite? Who’s “Elite”?

Yesterday, someone in the Vancouver social media scene* sort of thought it ironic that I should slag “tweetups” as being elitist and circle-jerky, since I was avoiding the whole worldwide “Social Media Appreciation Day” thing that Mashable sponsored and launched right here in Vancouver.

Apparently the thought is that I am now “elite” in Vancouver.

Yeah, whatever.

I was taken aback a little, to be honest. About being called elite, not that Mashable should say we are the seat of the world’s social media scene right now.

So, about that. Let’s talk about social media in Vancouver and maybe how I do or don’t fit into it, okay?

These days, compared to a lot of people, I don’t have a “huge” Twitter following — it’s about 3,500, but in there are a lot of really notable people in media. I suppose that’s why Klout thinks I’m up there in my influence now. Weird shit.**

Now, you gotta know: I logged onto Twitter back in April of 2008, looked around, and said “This is fuckin’ lame. No way this will ever catch on.”

I didn’t log in again until August, when it sorta started making some sense to me.

Then I found myself liking the challenge of coming up with interesting things that people might get a kick out of, or respond to — I loved the resonance I had when I was creative and/or funny.

For me, Twitter has always been about the thrill of creation. I challenge myself to see the world uniquely, and try to relate it to others in a way that makes them indentify and think, “YEAH, TOTALLY.” I like to make observations most people have only the inclination to think, but seldom to speak.

I try and be to Twitter in lifestyle observations what someone like George Carlin might’ve been — that’s my goal. I’m falling short, sure, but that’s the goal. I’m not fucking there to be all buddy-and-chatty, but I do let myself get social on there, and love the friends it’s brought into my “real” life.

Frankly, being on Twitter has changed and improved my life in EVERY way. I don’t deny that, and it’s why it’s such a valued role / time-focus for me. I do LOVE the opportunities it generates.

When it comes to blogging in Vancouver, I can count on one hand the number of official “blogging” events I’ve attended — and one was as a speaker. I’ve been to less than 10 tweetups in two years. I’m hardly “on the scene” except via what you see online, and that’s how I’d prefer it.

To be truthful, I have social phases, they come and go — usually with the seasons, literally. Winter, I hibernate, but summer, I love to see people more.

As far as celebrities and/or “connected” people on Twitter or in blogging, know whose ass I kiss? No one’s. People I talk to, I talk to because I’ve got something to say or I genuinely like them, or, as is often the case, they’ve said something that springboards into the perfect joke for me to crack.

I think blogging/Twitter celebrities are a fucking laugh, because I’ve “been one” in the past, and I know what my life was like behind the scenes and how hard I had to work to keep that wagon-wheel turning — and how much I personally began to compromise to see that happen.

I know how disposable we “social media stars” all are. Think you’re a creative genius? Yeah, you’re just one of millions — and it can go as quickly as it comes, as I’ve learned myself. Get over yourself, ‘cos pedestals and empires both come tumbling down, my friend.

Online celebrity that your livelihood depends upon not as enviable a position as you might think, so I don’t care to be a professional blogger. If I did, you’d see oodles of ads on here or affiliate sites.

But, you don’t.

Maybe you will one day — I’m not above it; it’s just that I’m not interested in what it takes to keep going successfully. I have NO illusions about how hard it is to keep that success going, and I don’t want to be beholden to my content right now. Advertising can influence content if it becomes too financially integral to you, and I’m on this blogging journey for myself and to create dialogue about things, not to have a livelihood. Priorities, and I know what mine are right now.

As a result, I don’t need to go to tweetups to whore myself for clients, network, or make buddies, since I’m already stretched for making time for people I care about, so I kinda hate tweetups, for the most part.

Why? They’re awkward. A lot of tweetups can be phony, filled with self-puffery and promotion. Every time you shake a hand, you get a resume. It’s often loud and blarey. No “real” communication happens at them. They’re cliquey — I’m forced to pick people to hang out with, and I don’t WANT to pick a table and stick with it; I’d rather meet a wide assortment of people. I’m a mingler, not a “sit and be exclusive” type, and I hate feeling like I have to stick with who I came with. I prefer smaller events with 10 or fewer people, where I can actually make eye-contact with everyone and talk to each person at the table.

In short?

I didn’t fucking ASK to be liked by you, or anyone.

All I sought to do was be real, be myself, have a place to put my voice, and honour my responsibility to deliver the content I know I’m capable of creating.

THAT’s what I do.

THAT’s what I want acclaim for and feel I deserve it for, because I do take risks and put myself out there, and I’ve been judged, and I’ve lost jobs, and I’ve been ostracized, all while I’ve fought to have relevance for my voice and the beliefs I think deserve to get air time with everyone else’s.

I’m a WRITER. I’m a writer who uses the now-accessible modern tools well. That’s ALL.

I’ve paid the real-life price to get noticed and be outspoken, and I did it on my terms the whole goddamned time.

Yes, I think that’s worth saying.

Yes, I’m proud of never compromising who I am.

You think that makes me full of myself? Then I’m sorry you don’t know what it’s like to have pride in what you’ve created. Pride is good, so long as you realize you’re not the only one with skillz.

I deliberately avoid hanging out with those perceived to be “the elite” because I don’t want ANYONE to think that’s all that I’m about.

I’ve worked too hard for this NOT to be about MY CONTENT and ONLY my content.

Am I going to diss the elite? No fucking way. Why not? Because some of them are incredible people doing incredible things, and they deserve every bit of their acclaim, whether you think so or not. A lot of people slam the “elite” out of jealousy or some sense of entitlement that leaves them feeling like they’ve been robbed via others’ success.

It’s bullshit. You get what you work for in life, and if you’re not getting what you want, you’re doing it wrong.

Trust me, this I know. I’ve spent a lot of time fucking it up over the years. I have a doctorate in fucking up, honey.

These days, I’m just riding the wave life brings me, and if being myself and not censoring my thoughts on Twitter somehow has given me cachet with a wide range of people, then that’s great, but it’s not EVER been the motivation behind anything I’ve tweeted or blogged.

I was the unpopular kid in high school so I get how bullshit popularity is, and how, for every person who’s accepted and celebrated, there are a dozen who are isolated and hurt — and that, too, is bullshit.

I am NOT a part of that circle. I am NOT a part of that hurt.

If I fucking cared about the circle-jerk, or thought my social status mattered, I’d probably try to offend fewer people.

I don’t even know what elitism is anymore, because I know I’m sure as hell not guilty of it, yet I get the feeling I’m accused of it.

I’m an anti-social person who comes to hang out some of the time, but would rather have someone over for coffee, not tweet about their visit, and just keep it real. I’m not snubbing anyone, it’s just not my deal.

Walk a decade in my shoes and maybe you’ll see why I like my quiet, anti-social life.

Know who I had over for breakfast this morning? Nope, you don’t. They’re “elite”, according to some people’s skewed perspectives on things, but I don’t give a fuck if you know. Why? Because I don’t need your approval, I don’t need the reputation-crutch of name-dropping, and I just generally don’t care.

The only time I do care is when people think I’m mean or a jerk, because I’m not, and it’s plain wrong to think so.

Find a time I’ve used cruelty against a person or group for humour. Give me an example. You can’t. Tell me about the time that I publicly ostracized someone who did something inconsequential, making an mockery of them in an attempt to belittle them. Right, you can’t. Tell me about the time that I snubbed people who approached me at an event. Yeah, you can’t do that either.

Because that’s not who I am.

I’m a scattered ADHD chick with strong but fair opinions and a biting sense of humour who’s just doing her shit, and people seem to like it.

Where you think it places me on the social spectrum is all about your deal, it’s not my reality.

It’s like that line in the Breakfast Club opening voiceover — “You see us how you want to see us.”

But I’m the chick that wakes up knowing I live with a bug problem and have to struggle to pay the rent.

I’m not on the A-list, I’m not hobnobbing, I’m not well-to-do, and I’m not who you fucking think I am.

Just because I give you this strategic view on my world doesn’t mean you really know jack shit about my life, so don’t kid yourself. You know EXACTLY what I want you to know, and not a fucking bit more — because I’m anti-social and things about my life don’t just “slip” into the public knowledge. It’s very much under my thumb. All of it.

You think I’m the ultimate oversharer? Heh. Right. I’m pulling the puppet-strings — I’m a content creator, I’m not a diarrhetic flood with no censure. Trust me, there’s a master plan, but it doesn’t involve hobnobbing with “the scene”.

It’s time to get over what we think other people are, and just take them exactly for what they say and do.

Because, you know, if you actually judge me on my words and actions, I’ll be goddamned proud to stand behind them.

And that’s who I am.

*This person meant it in a casual observation way and I didn’t take offense but it was the first time someone really put into words what I’ve sort of had people suggesting for a while now, and now that it’s out and said, I thought I’d write about it. As I started writing, I got worked up. Thus the cookie crumbles.

**Maybe being interested in Klout seems hypocritical after this rant, but why would I create content if I didn’t want it read or absorbed? I’m absolutely interested in knowing my resonance, I want to be read, I just don’t care about getting on “the list” socially.

Hurting Kids By Protecting Them

I actually am somewhat empathetic with the “pro” stance on this issue. People are mean. Many folks have thin skin. Protecting the weaker is what the stronger should do. But at what cost? So, when in doubt, I say educate and don’t overly interfere. Read on.

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Hey, I know what we should do.

We should make people scared of things. Like, you know, social media. We should demonize the medium instead of putting responsibilities upon the user. We should say that, because bad things sometimes happen, everything in that realm is therefore always bad.

Because that’s worked with everything else.

Like rock and roll. Or sexy books. Cable television. Elvis’s hips.

If Anthony Orsini has his way, his high school’s students won’t have any freedom or privacy when it comes to social media, if they have access at all.  New Jersey’s Benjamin Franklin Middle School principal sees social media as the beginning of the downfall of civilization if the students keep at it in Facebook, Twitter, and phone texting.

R u srs? I rly dbt it.

As the principal explains in his email to students’ parents:

I want to be clear, this email is not anti-technology, and we will continue to teach responsible technology practices to students. They are simply not psychologically ready for the damage that one mean person online can cause, and I don’t want any of our students to go through the unnecessary pain that too many of them have already experienced.

Some people advocate that the parents and the school should teach responsible social networking to students because these sites are part of the world in which we live.

I disagree, it is not worth the risk to your child to allow them the independence at this age to manage these sites on their own, not because they are not good kids or responsible, but because you cannot control the poor actions of anonymous others.

Learn as a family about cybersafety together at wiredsafety.org for your own knowledge.

The principal makes valid points in his email. Cyber-bullying is insane. Just yesterday I witnessed supposedly intelligent, kind adults being complete dicks to each other over, get this, child care, on Twitter.

Yeah, humanity’s capable of ridiculous things.

And the internet is a portal to all of them.

Abso-fucking-lutely.

Which is precisely why we can’t say “NEIN! NO NET FOR YOU!” to our kids and then just open the floodgates when grade 12 rolls around and the real world comes a-knocking at their door.

How crazy that’d be — all of a sudden hurtled into the all-too-real world of the internet, with its predators and fuckheads and petty people and madness — at the 16 or 18, if entirely sheltered and uber-patrolled by parents who want to bubble-ize the world so their precious kids never, ever get hurt?

Until, of course, they become adults and go out in the world all by themselves. Boy, talk about your culture shocks. Talk about mindfucks. It’s not preschool out there, folks.

Prepare your kids for the Real World by letting ’em get hurt the way nature intended: In high school.

Speaking about nature, did you know some medical journals have been running stories about how we’re doing damage to our feet by wearing these hyper-engineered running shoes designed to protect our feet and soles? Super-padded, ultra-complex sneakers. It’s the anti-Chuck’s All-Stars.

Know why we’re supposedly damaging our feet with all this protection? Because the added support interferes with the spread, support, and reach a foot should normally have on its own, so lesser inner muscles are now rendered unused. Deemed somewhat inconsequential when you look at the whole of the foot, these “bitty” muscles are actually to skeletal structural integrity what a stud is to a building’s stability.

So, we have more foot injuries than ever before.

BUT, HEY, that’s okay, ‘cos we’ve got this awesome new Nike shoe, dude! And it’s pretty.

Increasingly, trainers are proposing barefoot training as part of an overall fitness regimen, to help create better overall strength.

Take away the excess support and the support becomes unneeded because strength increases.

Sounds like some of the 15-year-olds I know could use a little of that therapy.

Nowadays, a “social networking crackdown” for the “protection” of kids is like putting them in a bubble or over-engineering shoes — you’re just making ’em more susceptible when they hit the real deal without all your safeguards.

There’s a reason we don’t let socialized animals return to the wild from shelters — they’ll be mincemeat! Why do we insist on doing it with our children?

Know what life is?

Hurt. Pain. Achievement. Failure. Love. Joy. Accidental. Surprising. Mysterious. Unpredictable.

But it sure as fuck ain’t safe.

This safety-drive’s fucking up everything.

We decommissioned the Hubble telescope because it was “unsafe” for astronauts to work on it. In space. Where astronauts are supposed to work. These aren’t cable guys — safety wasn’t a job requirement for them. “Flaming rocket hurtling into space? Cool. Sign me up. Ooh, oxygen deprivation? Cool!”

We put rubber on playgrounds so kids would stop falling — LOL! — and hurting themselves. Now they just burn the shit out of themselves when they fall on the scorching rubber in the dog days of summer. Protecting equals hurting, oh, ironic! Who knew!

We have labels on coffee cups telling us the hot coffee we just bought is hot. On my planet, if you’re too stupid to know this, you don’t get a label.

You know what?

Stop it.

Get hurt. Get over it. Animals do.

We’ve taken the Darwinism out of human existence.

We’re fucking pathetic.

Educate children. Teach them what a predator is. Empower them to band in groups if it gets them through. Intervene when kids are being dicks. Make examples of bad behaviour.

But don’t tell me the only way to be safe is to stick your fucking head in the sand and pretend the real world isn’t there.

I say teach kids the dangers of the real world, because the dangers will find ’em anyways. I say give ’em slingshots and full-fat ice cream.

Whatever it takes, this wussification of the modern kid has got to stop.

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Seriously, though?

Remember Columbine?

What if Klebold & Harris had been on Facebook? Would the worst massacre in American high school history have occurred?

And, just, you know, as an aside?

Have you seen these numbers? Note the advent of the Internet’s use by the general population, starting in 1994, and the numbers of school massacres since? Declining every year.

Your fragile children? Safer than ever. So, back off, mama.

Why I (Love to) Hate Facebook

There I am, second-last day of vacation, scouring my deck and cleaning my deck chairs. I bought the chairs about eight years ago now. As I scoured them down, a flood of old memories came back — drinks drunk as planes soared in across the southern horizon, headed for the airport’s runways, conversations nattered until wee morning hours with faces that still bring a smile to mine, silent moments spent alone or with others, like one sunny perfect beautiful morning spent with a coffee and a flawless and strangely-quiet empty horizon before finding out a couple planes had earlier crashed into a building and changed America’s future.

It’s just a chair. A measley little chair I see out my window every day, and yet when I really crunch the memories as I scour it down from up-close, a world I’ve lived through in eight years come washing over me. It’s just a chair. Wow.

Imagine if everything had that kind of conjuring power? But then I log into Facebook. Continue reading