My 99 Problems: Small Talk, Big Problem

October 2, 2012 § 11 Comments

Enough with the small talk.

That’s it.  That’s all I mean.  I don’t mean, “Let’s get down to business.”  What I mean to say is, can we just stop having small talk ever?  As a race, as Americans, as human beings… The last thing that I put on my “To-Do List” this morning when I woke up and cried in the shower was: “Must run into Cathy and find out what she thinks about rain.”

I remember high school.  It was not my favorite four years and so that’s all I ever want to do with high school: REMEMBER IT.  Leave it in the past.  I will never be able to forget it, so instead I’m fine with keeping it right where it is, which is stashed between my first rejection in the seventh grade and my first rejection in community college.  So when I run into somebody that I “know” from school in public, there’s no reason for us to re-live any of it.

In fact, is that even what we’re doing?  Are we re-living it or are we holding onto it while you tell me what you did after you graduated and where you’re working now because this is something I need to know since you dated Jim for three weeks.  Or because we had English together and were in the same group once.  I’m not trying to be a dick about it and act like my experiences and life are better than yours, because they’re not and that’s the point.

My life is boring to everyone except me and my closest inner-circle.  Everybody’s life is really fucking boring.  EVERYBODY.  Why do you think that when a network sets up a reality show with celebrities, rich people, or the flavor of the month (Hi, Honey Boo Boo) they all of a sudden have to sign up for a “blow job class” or go to a haunted house?  Why do you think that after a couple of seasons of the Real World they made them get  jobs and take a trip to Fiji?

Because this shit (life) is boring.  

Oh sure, we have our moments.  That’s why we have stories.  We have.. like… four stories.  Each. By law.  Those four stories take up about 3.5 hours of our lives and then the rest of it is: wake-up, shower, go to work, go home, eat something, sleep.  Maybe you do stuff for entertainment on the weekends and go see a movie but then what story are you left with?

“Yeah, I saw What To Expect When You’re Expecting this weekend!”

“Oh wow.  Tell me more!”

“There isn’t anything more!”

“OH! COOL!” /collapses /dies

Years ago I was walking through the mall and on my way into Nordstrom’s when I saw some girl from high school walking out.  I don’t remember her name or face at this point but I’ll never forget that moment.  We recognized each other but our only acquaintanceship was that I had a crush on one of her best friends and we all went to lunch a couple of times.  You feel this gross magnetic force pulling you into a person when you make eye contact and realize that you “know” them but I did everything in my power to stop it except that I couldn’t.  This was happening.

“Hey, how are you?!”

“I’m good.”

There was about two seconds of silence as we stared shallowly into each others eyes and I realized that this was as far as I was willing to take it.  I said “fuck it” and decided that this was my chance to man-up and finally say what we all want to say in this very moment.  I literally threw my hands up in the air and said, “Well, that’s it.  See ya.”

Just end it, rip the band-aid off, let go of this need to all of a sudden “catch up” and make small talk with a person you haven’t seen in four years.  What’s the worst that could happen?  They’ll hate you?  That could get really awkward when you run into them again in 2016 and still have nothing to say to each other.

The final point in the matter that I want to bring up is the technological elephant in the room that actually managed to capture this awkward moment and stretch it out forever: Facebook.

Holy shit, fuck facebook!

In the beginning, I accepted all friend requests.  “A FRIEND?!  OH BOY I DON’T HAVE MANY OF THOSE SO YES I WILL ACCEPT BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I’M ONLY AT 101 :(  BUT NOW I AM AT 102!!!!”

Over time you realize that all Facebook has done is sully the reputation of what it means to be a friend.  “We saw each other in the hallway once during junior year.  You dropped your apple.  I saw you pick it up and continue eating it without wiping it off and despite the fact that the open side of the apple had touched the floor.  We made eye contact and I rolled my eyes at you but decided not to ever tell another soul.  This is our moment.  This is our only moment.  ACCEPT FRIEND REQUEST?”

When you started to realize that the number of “friends” you had on your Facebook account was nothing more than a status symbol, it should have been the moment you started to realize that the whole site is a sham.  A lie we tell ourselves and then relay to other people, even in silent, knowing that they’ll know how many “friends” you have when they check your page.  I have not deleted my Facebook account but I did do one thing: I looked at all my “friends” and realized that I could get rid of at least 60% just by unfriending anyone who I hadn’t physically spoken to in five years.

WHY THE FUCK ARE WE FRIENDS?!  SHIT AT LEAST I WOULD HAVE FELT BAD ABOUT THIS IF YOU AND I HAD EVEN HAD FACEBOOK CONTACT LIKE A ‘LIKE’ OR COMMENT IN THE LAST THREE YEARS SINCE YOU ADDED ME BUT THAT NEVER HAPPENED SO FUCK YOU AND FUCK OFF.

I don’t need that awkward moment stretched out until the day that I die, even if it’s as a lonely friendless loser lying in a fetal position in my bathtub full of tears, blood and human waste because one thing I’ll know is that I didn’t die with 350 faux friends or having spent 713 hours of my life locked in an uncomfortable laser beam of conversation that included such hot topics as “What Tiffany had for breakfast this morning” and “Where Jason gets his pants.”

It’s useless.  It’s dumb.  It will not advance you in life one iota.  Since that moment in the mall, one of the most freeing moments of my life, all I have left to say is:

/shrugs. walks away.

 

 

Social Media Awareness: What I’ve Learned After a Year on Twitter

March 5, 2012 § 7 Comments

“How does Twitter work?  Who is it for?  I tried it and I don’t get it.”

This was a question that my mom asked me in December.  Not entirely surprising that our parents generation wouldn’t completely understand a “new technology” but at the same time, it didn’t take our parents long to become more obsessed with Facebook than I ever was.  It seemed like our parents were dominating that website much more than young adults were by the time it had become the most popular website in the world and maybe that’s why many people were wondering if Twitter was an escape from that.

However, not understanding Twitter isn’t a generational thing.  My friends have asked me the exact same question and even I was unsure of how Twitter worked until about a year ago.

The most popular trend I see with people signing up for Twitter: They sign up, they don’t understand it, they’re not going back to Twitter ever again within a week.  Because they don’t have any Followers, they don’t have a need to tweet, so does that mean that Twitter isn’t useful to them?  Well, no, because Twitter isn’t actually about YOU.  I know, that’s a really difficult concept to grasp in this era of social media.

Facebook is about sharing YOUR life and also keeping in touch with others.  But it’s still mostly about you.  And that selfishness is what allows us to keep in touch with everyone we know from around the world.  So people go to Twitter and they believe that because it’s called “Social Media” then it must be about sharing, right?

Yes, it is about sharing but it’s not necessarily about sharing about yourself.  That’s the hard part to grasp.  That’s the reason that Twitter probably has millions of wasted accounts because people showed up to the party and didn’t understand the game so they went back to where they feel comfortable: Facebook and RedTube.

I had to go back to my “wasted account” when I finally found my own use for Twitter and then I finally started to understand it.  It doesn’t take long to get a grasp on the why’s and how’s of Twitter but you do have to give it an honest shot before you’ll understand what Twitter is really for.  This is some of what I’ve learned in the last year:

Twitter IS NOT Facebook.  Nobody On Twitter Cares About What You’re Doing.

With that being said, I still find it hard to believe that anyone on Facebook gives a shit about what you had for lunch or that you’re buying shoes for your kitten, but I’ll stay on topic here.  If there is a place for that, it’s Facebook.  Twitter is not for sharing your life.

But those damn celebrities have given you the wrong impression because Ashton Kutcher might say mundane shit and so you think “Oh cool, this is where I can say mundane shit!”  Except that the idea behind Twitter is about giving people 140 characters of something useful.  It’s hard to justify what you’re doing as being useful information to anyone in the world except you.

Comedian @JoeMande, TwitterFamous for ragging on celebrities on Twitter, probably said it best when he said: “I don’t know why anyone would use Twitter if you’re not a comedy writer or a journalist. I don’t know why anyone else would want to read the thoughts of anyone who wasn’t funny or had useful information to share.”

The only things you can really make useful in 140 characters is news and a laugh.  I write for five different websites, so I am trying to share my writing with the world and I also try to make you laugh.  Whether or not you do, that’s up to you, but even if you’re not funny at least if you’re tweeting a joke then at least you’re trying to give me something useful in 140 characters.

What am I going to do with the information that it turns out your baby doesn’t like apple sauce?

The most difficult concept of Twitter that people can’t get a grasp on and why we all say “What the fuck is it?!?!” before we use it, is that Twitter is actually something that most people should use as a news source and not as a place to actually tweet anything.  The awesome part is that you can follow your favorite journalists and comedians and feel like you’re connected to them because you can actually ask them direct questions and they might actually respond.  But Twitter isn’t necessarily about you.  That’s Facebook.  Do that on Facebook.

Trends Are Usually the Bane of American Existence

Ugh.  Twitter trends.  At first, this seems like your ticket to a million followers!  What’s trending?  Okay, let’s go with that!  Understanding trends is another key step in understanding Twitter and here’s the thing about trends: Most of us are fucking idiots :(

The only use of a trend is that when news breaks, you might find out something important.  After all, when a celebrity dies or something major happens, it’s very likely that millions of us are now finding that information on Twitter.  The reason that it’s so important is that we now have up-to-the-second news.  When something happens, the power of social media is able to spread it to all of us in a matter of moments.  Imagine taking Paul Revere and shrinking him down to the size of an atom and then multiplying him by 10 billion and sending him at light speeds through millions of tubes that reach every nook and cranny of America… that’s how news breaks now.

Those are the tiny moments of trends that are useful.  Then there’s the majority of trends that just make me sad about how un-funny, un-original, dramatic, and crazy most of America is.  Just as an example, I’m going to look at what’s trending right now:

Well there’s Stevie Johnson and Arian Foster, which I get because they signed new contracts today in the NFL.  This is important NFL news and that’s how I found out about these signings.

We also have #SongsThatWillAlwaysBump, #SometimesYouHaveTo, #middlefingerup

I don’t think that “sigh” is a strong enough word anymore.

The funny thing is that two of the top three tweets are #middlefingerup to cancer.  Which is like, “Yeah! Fuck cancer!”  I get that.  It’s awesome that if you have a good cause, Twitter is also a way to spread the cause amazingly quick and to millions of people.

The third top tweet is “#middlefingerup to Monday.” by Will Ferrel Parody.  First of all, that’s not even funny.  It’s not even a joke.  It’s so god damn unoriginal and basic.  This was the best #middlefingerup joke out of all of them?  Second of all, this is what people found to be as important as #middlefingerup to cancer and now you’ve got millions of people saying really useless #middlefingerup tweets like “to the people who are way too jealous of me”, “to the bitch that turned that good guy into a dog!”, “to all u fake people”, and “to the people who are sexy and they know it.”

Those are just the first four in the list.  It’s all just so stupid.  So useless.  Not only do trends suck, but people like Will Ferrel Parody who just use it to be trending make me sick.  And that account has 1 million followers.  A million.  To the point where a Will Ferrel Parody account is actually incredibly powerful because he can reach a million people in a second and when you can reach that many people that quickly, you’re basically more powerful than NBC because they haven’t reached a million people at once since Must See TV.

I fucking hate trends more now than I did in high school.

I Never Thought I’d Hate a SexBot

Slowly and surely, greed will destroy the human race.  It’s just that right now, it’s destroying many parts of the internet.  Spam and junk mail destroyed Hotmail as an e-mail service.  Just before MySpace was going to be completely useless and overtaken by Facebook anyway, it became an absolute joke when accounts were easily hacked and every post on your wall was about a $25 itunes gift card.

I don’t know if it’s genius or terrifying, but those same greedy bastards that sent out millions of spam e-mails and took down MySpace are also the same people that doubled your followers.  So it’s almost bittersweet, though in our hearts we know that many of them are fake.  Eventually, the SexBots are removed but at first it can be a little disheartening to think “Oh hey, new follower!” and then see that it’s just a link to cam4sex or something.  You just have to ignore the followers number and just keep doing your thing.

The Best Way to Become Popular is to Just Already Be Popular.  But Keep Working at it.  You’ll Get There.

Like I said before, I started getting back into writing a year ago.  In a year I’ve moved from a few articles a week on one website with a couple thousand hits a day, to five websites and 25 articles a week with an audience of over 10,000 people at any given time.  Those are rough numbers, but I know that I have a reach unlike anything I had in the beginning.

I have that reach and yet I still only eclipsed 300 followers last month.  If you are a hot girl and you join Twitter today, you’ll have more than 300 followers by the time you’re done reading this sentence.

I’m not bitter about it though.  I have been working very hard for this last year and I am still in disbelief sometimes that there are people that actually read what I have to say and think I don’t suck.  I’m very grateful for that.  And it’s crazy to me that people actually pay me to write.  That’s insane.  And hopefully if I keep working hard at it, I’ll be able to call writing my full-time job.  However, it’s still important (and I hate to say this) to have a lot of followers on Twitter, because this is the world we live in now.  Your reach matters.

Back when MySpace first grew in popularity, it was all about how many friends you had.  That was the most important thing to people.  How many friends do I have and why does that person have more friends than me I hate myself!!!  I believe the rumor is that Tila Tequila, the first Social Media celebrity, moved from Friendster to MySpace because Friendster had a 500 friend limit.  Well, that simply would not do for her, so she went to MySpace and all of a sudden it exploded.

Then we all went to Facebook and people were still really concerned how many friends they had, including myself.  It was honestly important to me and I would have accepted all friend requests and added people just because I knew they would accept because, “Hey, one more friend!”  But as we get older, we realize, “God damn, that’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard of.”

It doesn’t fucking matter how many Facebook friends you have.  When I realized how stupid that was, I unfriended… and unfriended… and unfriended.. until I had almost unfriended half of my “friends.”  It’s not because I’m a jerk, it’s because these people weren’t even close to being my actual friend.  I have like six real life friends.  Hey, my acquaintances might be cool ass people, but we have never actually call each other to hang out.  Why do I give a shit about what’s going on in your life?  Vice versa, why the hell should you care about what’s going on in mine?

Sorry, we’re not friends.  Actually, I’m not sorry and neither should you be.  We’re just not on friends and the “number” of friends I have couldn’t be less meaningful to me.

However, the number of “Followers” you have can be the most important thing depending on how you’re using Twitter.  I mean, very literally there are people on Twitter that made there dreams come true because of Twitter.  People like Megan Amram, who became a Twitter comedian celebrity and then was offered writing jobs that I pray to one day have.  If you’re already a celebrity, then you’re set, but to build from nothing into something takes a lot of work, luck, and doesn’t happen over night.

It’s all about re-tweets and favorites and only putting out quality material.  I’m trying my best and come a long way in a year thanks to what I’ve learned and how I apply that.  I’m not telling you how to use Twitter or trying to discourage you from tweeting, but hopefully what I’ve learned in a year is useful knowledge if you’re still wondering the same questions that my mom wonders.  “What is Twitter?”

It’s a lot of things.  But this has been an explanation of what it is to me.

 

 

 

A Brief History of Seattle Sports, as Told by the Digital Age

February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

1959: Restaurant owner David Cohn, starts the movement.

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Seattle is open for business

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December 20, 1967: Majority owners Sam Schulman and Eugene Klein are awarded Seattle’s first major sports franchise.

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1969: Seattle Pilots Become City’s First Baseball Team!

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September 12, 1976: Seahawks first game

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April 6, 1977: Mariners First Game

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1979: Sonics Win City’s Only Professional Championship

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1995: Edgar Saves Baseball

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February 2, 1996: Ken Behring tries to move to the Seahawks.

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July 15, 1999: First game in Safeco

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March 26, 2000: Goodbye Kingdome

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2002: First Season in Seahawks Stadium

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2005: The Seahawks Go To the Super Bowl!

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2006: The Sonics are sold to Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett.

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June 2011: The Seahawks Home Stadium Suffers an Identity Crisis

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Technology as it relates to the Seattle professional sports franchises as of today:

The Seattle Supersonics:

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The Seattle Mariners

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The Seattle Seahawks:

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For more on my relationship with the information superhighway, follow me on Twitter.

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