Category Archives: Social Media

An Un Post

I find it kind of amusing and a little upsetting that the tiny prefix “un” has become a common threat or even a weapon these days in social media venues.

On Twitter, when someone “follows” you it is usually a good thing. It usually means that they find what you have to say of interest. Sometimes people unfollow you too — most of the time you don’t notice it. Sometimes you notice it and wonder why they did unfollow you, but it really isn’t usually a big deal. Some people, however, think that they are so important that they can threaten to unfollow others in order to change the followee’s behavior. (Please note that neither of the people below follow me nor do I follow either of them. I searched for “unfollow” on twitter.)

Bitchh I will unfollow the shit out of u, keep dickin !
Twitter unfollow threat

Then there is Facebook. On Facebook people “friend” you. Often it is because they actually know you in real life or online. Sometimes it is because they admire you. Occasionally they might even be stalking you. I’ve not seen “unfollow” used as a threat much on Facebook, but the threat is sometimes implied. Here’s one that is more of a stern warning than a threat.

The next blues band from who-knows-where that sends me an invitation through the message inbox, instead of the invitation feature, is going to get "unfriended." Sorry, folks, I'm not going to attend your show 1,000 miles from here. I didn't sign up for FB to be spammed with ads.
Facebook unfriend warning

Finally, the last and possibly meanest “un” threat is “uninstall”. I’ve only seen this in the comments of my phone’s “market”. I have an android based cell phone and the android market is full of useful and not so useful applications — most of them free of charge. Anyone can create an app for an android phone and upload it to the market. People download it via their phone and sometimes rate and/or comment on their experience with the app.  Sometimes people say things like, “Great app!”. Sometimes they say, “Useful app, but it needs such-and-such.”. And sometimes they say, “This app is a waste. Uninstall!”. Sometimes it is probably a waste or doesn’t work properly, but tossing in the word uninstall is like salt on a wound. It is not only unnecessary it is there to hurt someone who gave them something for free in the first place.

I don’t like this trend at all. Our language and our society need more positives and fewer negatives. It seems that the more avenues that are opening for people to communicate with each other, the more ways some people are finding to hurt each other.

I have issues: Part 4 — Fear of Annoying People

I hate to be a bother. I hate to annoy people. I get worked up about possibly saying the wrong thing to someone at a party and worry about it the next day, and beyond. I don’t know how normal this is. I don’t normally talk about it, but I know it is the root of a few of my character flaws, like why I usually wait for people to call me, rarely initiate things with friends and why I dislike asking for help of any kind. I don’t want to bother them if they are in the middle of something. I don’t want to annoy them with my request. I don’t run my air conditioner if I don’t absolutely have to because a neighbor complained that it was loud — I wouldn’t want to bother her in her quietly air conditioned house. I just want to live my life and not be a bother to anyone.

Until the past couple of years this issue only manifested itself in real life, but lately I’ve been more conscious of feeling this way about my online interactions. For instance, when I first became active in Facebook I had all sorts of things streaming on my “wall”. I had my twitter feed and my friendfeed sent to my Facebook wall. I also allowed whatever app I was using on Facebook to be sent to my wall. These notices were then sent to my Facebook friends’ newsfeeds and I annoyed at least one person enough that he deleted me from his friends. When I asked him about it he suggested I join twitter if I wanted to update my status as often as I seemed to be updating it. I explained that it was twitter that was doing it.

Anyway, after that I tried to limit what was posted to my wall. I made a few mistakes, but seemed to be doing fine. Lately, however, a number of people are posting status reports that they are annoyed by other people’s wall posts. Of course (another of my issues is thinking that I’m to blame for everything) I assumed they were talking about my wall posts. Was my app/external site usage being seen by my followers and I didn’t know it? I searched the settings and double checked that what I was doing on Facebook was not annoying anyone. Not bothering them.

And then there is this blog. The theme or the plugins or the widgets is causing problems with commenting and viewing. I’ve spent entire days troubleshooting and have not found an answer.

This is one issue that is not going to be fixed by writing a post about it. I expect that I’ll have this issue until the day I die. I imagine it is part of a larger issue.

So if I annoy you in real life or on Facebook or on Twitter or on my blog, please accept my apologies. I really don’t do it on purpose.

Howard’s Butt

Howard's Butt
Howard’s Butt

Unless you’re one of his colleagues,  past students, on Brainstorms or are an Internet Junkie like me, you might not have heard about Howard Rheingold. I first heard about Howard in 1998 when I saw a link to his website on a Dan Bern fan’s online bookmarks. I followed it and saw he had recently started an online forum called Brainstorms. I applied for admission (I sent an email to him telling him about my studies and asking for admittance) and was allowed entry. I was delighted and announced it in class the next time we met. No one knew about Howard Rheingold nor did anyone know what Brainstorms was. No matter — I was in.

I’ve met Howard three times. The first time was at a dinner in Frederick, Maryland. We had Chinese food and I drove Howard back to his hotel via an unintentional  circuitous route through the Pentagon parking lot and Arlington Cemetery. [Note: these were the days before GPS devices and I was a little awed that a hero of mine was IN MY CAR].

The second time I saw Howard was after he’d done a book reading at Politics and Prose about his new book, Smart Mobs. He signed a copy for me mentioning something about “taking a ride” and then a group of us went to Guapos in DC for dinner.

Howard & Rupert
Howard & Rupert

The third time I saw Howard was when I visited San Francisco and he invited my family and me to  hike with him in the mountains near his home (close to Mt Tan).

I’m still a member of Brainstorms and have many friends from that forum, although I rarely visit. About two weeks ago I noticed a post on my Facebook wall that Howard had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the rectum and had begun a blog about it. Today I saw that his butt has been twittering updates.

Oh Howard…