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Is Facebook distorting our priorities?

8 Apr

42-20917352In the first hour of On Point this morning, Tom Ashbrook’s guests made some provocative comments about Facebook that echo my earlier thoughts.  With hundreds or thousands of friends, how do we maintain our close inner circle?  We all have circles — mine goes family, close friends, colleagues, past classmates, random acquaintances and people I’ve never met.  My priorities tend to stick in that order as well, although there are a few overlaps and jumpers from category to category.  But somehow I end up communicating more with people in the middle-netherworld than with the people I really care about – people I could call in a pinch.  Obviously I can still pick up the phone and call all my close friends and family, but the time I spend networking online does impact my ability to nurture more important connections.

I’m still a lover of connection and am happy to be in the generation of social media.  I just have to remind myself that the people I love do not live in my computer screen.

One of the guests makes some hilarious comments in his latest, “Down with Facebook.”  Definitely worth reading, although here are my favorite parts.

They then have access to each other’s web pages, and consequently to each other’s lives, quirks, photos, jottings, oversharings, and mental disorders, as well as to those of the ever-expanding universe of their friends’ circles, thus increasing the likelihood that you will either embarrass yourself or be embarrassed by someone whose life would never otherwise intersect with yours.

One by one, my non-joiner friends have succumbed. As one reluctantly joined the world of “poking” and getting “poked” by people he already talked to, people he had no interest in talking to, or people he didn’t know at all–all conducted under the suspect rubric of “friendship” so that they can look at each other’s photos and write dreary “status updates” on their “walls” (brief squibs about what you are doing at that exact moment, usually with emoticons and inappropriate quotation marks: “Matt Labash is wondering how long to marinate human flesh to get out that ‘gamey taste’ :-)”)–he was almost apologetic about it. Within two days of his birth on Facebook, he said, “I have 198 friends. I have never heard of most of them. This is so dorky, I hate myself for doing it.” Being a true friend, I didn’t allay his guilt. I told him he was a very sad man, that collecting Facebook friends is the equivalent of being a catlady, collecting numerous Himalayans, which you have neither the time nor the inclination to feed. “You have obviously never been on Facebook,” he said. “It’s so much worse than collecting cats.”

Another longtime friend, the host of Fox’s Red Eye, Greg Gutfeld, tells me he has 3,200 Facebook friends: “I know maybe 50 of them.”

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I missed the Palin drama.

7 Apr

tyraleviWas it inappropriate for Levi to go on TV and discuss the intimate details of his estranged baby momma?  — Yes.

Was it inappropriate for him to neglect to tell the Palin family?  — Yes.

Was it innapropriate for a state Governor to go on record attacking the 19 year old Levi?  — YES.

Palin’s camp released the following statement,

“Bristol did not even know Levi was going on the show. We’re disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship,”

Odd that if you take the second sentence and replace ‘Levi and his family’ with ‘Governor Palin’ and ‘their relationship’ with ‘her decisions as Governor’ it retains sense as it relates to her run for VP.

We’re disappointed that Governor Palin, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, is engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of her decisions as Governor.

Song a day Mann.

6 Apr

Have you heard about the song-a-day guy yet?  I love this guy.  He’s unemployed and to pass the time he started writing a song a day.  This is a great example of Generation Y’s creativity and ability to create media like it is second nature…probably because it is.  Between Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, blogs and everything else we use to create content my generation is creating exponentially more content than previous generations. This scares our parents and family members because they still worry about McCarthy-era big brothering.  This is going to be a ‘learn the hard way’ situation for most of us.  Although I recognize the dangers of broadcasting myself I refuse to let that scare me into completely censoring myself.  I hope that other Gen Y’rs do the same.  This guy is clearly, putting himself out there and most of his videos have a political edge.  Props Mann. 

I don’t know any of my friends.

2 Apr

facebookFacebook is no longer enjoyable for me.  At its present, it’s just another calendar of events, another contact list, another photo album — another set of social responsibilities.  I honestly wish I wasn’t an early adopter of Facebook.  My college was one of the first few added and now I feel like I don’t even know half my friends — or more like 95% of them.  I hate status updates and even new pics because I’m unaware of my audience.  At least on ladyprogress.com I know that I don’t know who’s reading this.  On Facebook I should feel like I have some control over my friends but I don’t really know who they are anymore and it really irks me.

I think everyone will come to this point.  There needs to be some way that friends drop off into the netherworld.  Just like they do in real life.  The recent article in the NYT hits many of my feelings about the current Facebook.  I like separation between my groups.  It isn’t about hiding anything, it is about directing communication effectively.

Uniting disparate groups on a single Internet service runs counter to 50 years of research by sociologists into what is known as “homophily” — the tendency of individuals to associate only with like-minded people of similar age and ethnicity.

Mark my words, this is going to happen to everyone.  Connectivity is like a big circle.  Being connected to no one is the same as being connected to everyone.  There is a happy medium and once you exceed that, Facebook is more like ‘random people I met once’ book or ‘person I used to be friends with’ book.  Not really a group I want to keep in contact with.

Facebook thinks privacy factors are the solve all, well they are not.  I don’t want any of my ‘friends’ to know I’m censoring them.  So I don’t censor any one, I censor everyone.  To be a professional, it is a necessity.

Facebook is trying to teach members to use privacy settings to manage their network so they can speak discreetly only to certain friends, like co-workers or family members, as opposed to other “friends” like bosses or professional colleagues. But most Facebook users haven’t taken advantage of the privacy settings; the company estimates that only 20 percent of its members use them.

If you’re anti web communication, grow up or lose out.

2 Apr

dentyneIf you were hoping that internet communication was just a phase, and that us crazy young people would realize that face-to-face communication is far superior and back track…think again.  The advent of the netbook is going to make sure we keep walking down the path of emails, IM’s and text communication.  Netbooks are as cheap as 50 bucks right now says the NYT.  This means that instead of typing a couple sentences on your phone when you’re away from your home base, you’ll be able to conduct full scale personal and professional communication — from anywhere.

AT&T announced on Tuesday that customers in Atlanta could get a type of compact PC called a netbook for just $50 if they signed up for an Internet service plan — an offer the phone company may introduce elsewhere after a test period. This year, at least one wireless phone company in the United States will probably offer netbooks free with paid data plans, copying similar programs in Japan, according to industry experts.

Another cool techy way to stay in touch is the new Verizon Hub.  This seems perfect for the family on the go.  The reviews are mixed but there is obvious potential.  This product looks ideal for a family on the go with a big family plan.  Nothing is as evolved as it should be for proper functionality so far but they are planning on adding a ton of other widgets and features.  Another big issue at present is that non-verizon users can not partake.  Supposedly all of these issues are on Verizon’s radar.  Check out a video of it here.   It appears as if the release was a bit premature.  But I think Verizon just wanted to put the idea in the mainstream arena so they could pretend to be leading the techy battle over AT&T right now.  But they aren’t quite there as PC Magazine reports.

The “Hub 2.0” software looks so good, it’s frustrating that Verizon didn’t have a clear timeline for when it’s releasing it. They’re showing it off now mostly to prove that the Hub is a platform which can grow, and not a device with functionality set in stone, Naggar said.

Weed is the big issues even with 465,476 votes on 13,725 questions from 28,425 people.

26 Mar

top-ten1

Obama held an online forum today.  As if Leno, 60 minutes, his public press conference etc weren’t enough exposure already (I’m not complaining).  And these were the top questions from each category – taken from the Open for Questions forum at WhiteHouse.gov.  The most notable questions are from Financial Stability and Budget — both about marijuana legalization.  Hot topic right now.  A bill to legalize marijuana is coming up across state legislatures as well, like in Mass.  (Thanks for the heads up JS).

Some media outlets are saying that Norml pulled a fast one on the voting by rallying all their members.  Either way, the President brushed the question off with a grin and possibly some inner-monologue reminiscing.  His response was (USA Today),

“I don’t know what that says about the online audience,” the president says with chuckle.  “The answer is no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.”

You can watch the whole question session here.

Education:  “The Founding Fathers believed that there is no difference between a free society and an educated society. Our educational system, however, is woefully inadequate. How do you plan to restore education as a right and core cultural value in America?”

Home Ownership:  “President Obama: What benefits from the stimulus plan are there to those of us who are paying our mortgages, but living paycheck to paycheck?”

Health Care Reform:  “Why can we not have a universal health care system like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs, rather than financial resources?”

Veterans:  “The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is higher than the national unemployment rate. Our veterans are a national treasure. How can you, the VA and I ensure our veterans are successfully transitioning into civilian life?”

Small Business:  “what specifically can the federal govt do to lower the cost of providing quality health coverage for small business owners”

Auto Industry:  “What steps are being taken to ensure that the auto industry uses the bailout money it gets responsibly, so that we don’t end up in this same situation in a few years?”

Retirement Security:  “Will you require Congress to pay into social security like the rest of us?”

Green Jobs and Energy:  “”Will you consider decriminalizing the recreational/medical use of marijuana(hemp) so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and a multi-billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?””

Financial Stability:  “Would you support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence?”

Jobs:  “What are your plans for the failing, “War on Drugs”, thats sucking money from tax payers and putting non-violent people in prison longer than the violent criminals?”

Budget:  “With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?”

Were moustaches always this cool?

26 Mar

Guys love facial hair.  Most ladies do not.  But facial hair prevails all the same, especially lately.  In the last week alone I’ve read 5 or more articles about facial hair and its range of uses for marketing and publicity.  The themes range from its use to raise money for non-profits

Whether waxed, curled, combed or crocheted, moustaches can be a way to impress or intimidate the people around you.  But growing facial hair can also be a way to raise money and awareness.  For 826 Boston — a nonprofit writing and tutoring program — they have taken advantage of the moustache craze to support their growing organization.

…to a bingo-esque game at a Harvard grad school, or the newly formed NYC Beard and Moustache Championships.

I bite.  Guys…what gives?  Why is growing facial hair that cool?  And if you think it is indeed that cool (or even if you don’t) , check out these sites.  American Mustache Institute, Moustache Me, Fake Moustache.

Guess who might be next in the moustache revolution?

obamastache