A man with the online moniker “Decent Person” has just written that “political discourse with fundamentally unethical men like Scott Feldstein is impossible.”
Which, in spite of the fact that I immediately disagree with it, does give me pause. Am I “fundamentally dishonest” in the way I think about and talk about politics? Have I become the mirror reflection of Fred Dooley? (If you’re not familiar with Mr. Dooley and his ultra-ironically named blog “real debate wisconsin,” you’re fortunate. For the curious, you can read some of my remarks about him here. But more importantly, you can have a look at the creature in situ: one doesn’t have to scroll far on his index page to find brilliant examples of idiocy, demagoguery and general asshattery.)
Discuss. Opine. (But the word “akin” may not be used.)
Today at 1 I’m on a panel discussion about social media. Apparently I’m to discuss (gulp!) my personal use of various social media tools.
That always gets a little weird. Not that I’ve never had an instance where my personal stuff online has run afoul of my employer or of my career in general. I just don’t think anything I write incites enough passion to get me dooced. But it still sometimes feels a little weird.
And, hey, if anyone from today’s audience is reading this, welcome! Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the event. I’ll probably take a photo and post it on my Flickr stream.
Other concerns. I’m thinking a lot about how frightened people can be about internet communications. It’s shortening our attention span, wrecking our writing skills, leading predators to our children’s bedrooms via Google Maps, and otherwise sapping our precious bodily fluids!
Sure there are risks, and not everything has been figured out yet regarding the law and social etiquette around social media participation. But there’s also tremendous reward and enormous opportunities. I suspect one reason the uninitiated don’t hear much about these is because they are relying on the traditional media for information. Not only is traditional media prone to fear-mongering, but it also simply lacks understanding of these phenomena in a lot of cases. At least that’s my take. And I hope that the panel today can give a sense of what some of those positives are.
I have been meaning to make this recommendation for a while now, but I haven’t because I’m a total chickenshit. No more. Greta Christina is awesome. I’ve been reading her blog for weeks now and, wow: she’s that good.
Basically she’s an insightful and thoughtful and passionate bisexual atheist who writes about all manner of things but mostly sexuality and atheism. Even if you’re not particularly fascinated by such subjects, you should take a look. Really.
I just deleted all my conservative blog bookmarks. Up to now, I read five or six of them daily, mostly local folks. For comparison, I typically read only 2-3 liberal blogs, and I don’t participate on those nearly as much, either.
Why am I deleting the conservative blog bookmarks? Two reasons, really. First because I think it’ll lower my stress level. That can’t be a bad thing, right? Second, because so much of what gets discussed tends to be an utter waste of time. I’m thinking in particular of a recent discussion about whether some local yahoo should or shouldn’t have been charged with disorderly conduct when his frightened neighbors called the cops after seeing him holstered up in his back yard. This while the nation’s economy burns, two wars rage, and the most pressing and serious issues in a generation are before us.
It should be noted that I am not saying all conservative blogs are of the same poor quality. Some really are better than others. Whereas one might be entirely nuts, calling the establishment of a national health care effectiveness research clearinghouse “The Final Solution,” others are written by people who, it has been said, are very smart, very principled–and very wrong. In both cases, however, I’ll be taking a hiatus.
Will I be away forever? Am I just cutting down instead of going cold turkey? I don’t really know. I just know that without the live RSS feeds pulling me in all the time, I’ll probably read them less, get less infuriated, and waste less time having unimportant–and often unwinable–arguments.
Wait. Two exceptions. No, seriously. These two aren’t infuriating wastes of time: The World According to Nick and Thoughtful Conservative. Besides, they tend not to post 8 times a day, so following them will not be so overwhelming.
Check this out. A few days ago I got a strange comment on my blog. The content of which had nothing to do with the subject of my post. It was simply promoting an organization which had nothing to do with me or my blog entry. Spam, right? Right.
But here’s where it gets weird. The spam comment was placed there manually, by a local person promoting a local organization–the Waukesha County Museum, of all things. After some thought, however, I decided that even hand-carved, locally produced spam is still spam.
Having nothing against the museum, I have no problem linking to them. Not liking spam, however, compels me to expose this ill-conceived tactic.
The museum should look into establishing it’s own blog. Have a real museum employee write it in his or her own voice. Let people comment. Let the author comment on the blogs of patrons who write about their visits. Let links develop back and forth, organically.
You know what? The Waukesha County Museum is less than a mile from my house, but I’ve never been inside it. I should go–and blog it.
ZOMG! Christmas is in ten days! If you’re still looking for great gift ideas, check out Gift Giving Guy. His blog is worth following all year round, too. There’s birthdays, anniversaries, weddings… When you think about all the gifts you give througout the year, it might be worth it to step up your game. GGG could be just the edge you need.
A couple of weeks ago I was giving an impassioned lecture on the web, blogs and organizations having conversations with their customers online. I told my students that many organizations and businesses just don’t get it. They’re afraid of engaging their customers and communities in a genuine dialog on their web sites. If they open the site up to visitor input, someone might say something critical of them, heaven forfend. I concluded my remarks by saying that if these organizations don’t want to have that conversation with their markets, their competitors will be happy to step in and do so.
Then one of my clever students raised her hand and asked a question. Did I have any visitor input on my photography web site?
Uh…no. But I should! I think. Yes, I definitely think I should. Heh.