I’m Crap At Social Media

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I love Social Media.  I think it’s one of the coolest benefits of living in the 21st century.  It’s as if the Internet has given us a gigantic cocktail party.  Unfortunately, I’m crap at it.  The problem is, for the life of me, I don’t understand how it works.  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  I know the techno-gabble that keeps it together – you post, I post, somebody else posted, we all click “like” or “share” or some such other thing and walk away happy – but after that, I’m lost.  And I truly believe that’s why I’ve never actually been invited to the party.

First of all, I’m old enough to remember pen and paper.  This is a major disadvantage.  Back in the day, when you had something to say, you had to stop, take a minute, think about it, and then take pen in hand.  This forced even the stupidest among us to try and present a comprehensive idea and back it up with a cohesive argument.  Social Media is a lot faster than that.  So, as a consequence, I’m just not intellectually prepared to take a Facebook meme, an Instagram photo or a 140 character treatise on the evils of supply-side economics all that seriously.

Secondly, there’s just so damn much of it.  Social Media is everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest – God Almighty!  It never ends.  The sheer volume of relentless information is overwhelming.  No wonder people are wandering around the streets like zombies, thumb-numbing their telephones.  Personally, I don’t have enough hours or energy to sort through the Cute Cat Videos, the angry Trump Tweets and recipes for pan-fried kale to get to the good stuff – forget respond.

And finally, I’m not absolutely certain I want to spend a lot of time chasing Social Media.  I’m all for sharing ideas and discussing them ad infinitum.  (I’m usually the last man standing at real cocktail parties.)  However, for my money, people who think what they had for lunch (or where they had it) is noteworthy, need to reread their Copernicus.  Most of the trivia of everyday existence is – uh – trivial, and recording it across Cyberspace doesn’t give it any extra significance.

It’s not Social Media’s fault I can’t figure it out.  The fact is, in human years, Social Media is still a teenager, and we all know what an emotional and intellectual game of hopscotch that is.  So, for the time being, go in peace, Social Media.  Maybe, in a few years, I’ll be a little smarter and you’ll be a little older — and then you and I can have an adult conversation.

E-friends Are Best!

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One of the coolest side effects of our society’s relentless technology is Social Media.  It has allowed us to turn our world into one gigantic village — which means we’re all cyber-neighours.  Everybody on this planet is now one tap, swipe or click away from everybody else, and billions of us have taken advantage of this.  Think about it!  We all know someone we’ve never talked to, never touched, never smiled at, or even seen.  These are the strangers who are our friends – our e-friends – and in the 21st century, we all have them.  There is still some debate over whether these e-friends are as good or even the same as IRL (In Real Life) friends, but in a couple of generations, this won’t even be a question … because … and here’s the best bit – e-friends are way better than real ones.  Let me demonstrate.

E-friends never waste your time with long, boring stories.   Regardless of how drawn-out their particular tale of woe might become, you don’t have sit there and listen.  The truth is, most people just scroll down to the end, type ‘awesome,” and move on.

E-friends never drag you off to places you don’t want to go.  When you live on the other side of the world, this never comes up on the panel – thank God.  So you don’t have to sweat the oboe recital, the fishing trip or what’s-her-name’s graduation – just to be polite.  All you have to do is make the right noises when your e-friends post the pictures.

They’re never mean to you.  E-friends are notoriously good-natured, and if they ever do go off the rails, all you have to do is delete them.

When e-friends talk about you behind your back, you’re never going to hear about it.

You don’t have worry about cleaning the house when e-friends come to visit.  In fact, you can talk to them in your pajamas if you so choose – and people frequently do.

You never have to put up with your e-friends’ annoying spouse, or know-it-all sister, or idiot dog who peed on your carpet or any of the other baggage IRL friends always bring along with them.

E-friends don’t force you make hard decisions like “Does this dress make me look fat?”  Normally, those photos are deleted long before they ever get to you.

E-friends never give you the flu.

E-friends don’t make promises they can’t keep.  Ganjit, from Chennai is never going to volunteer to help you move and then disappear the day the boxes are packed.  (I’m looking at you, Sam Newton!)

E-friends always listen.  When you’re talking to them they never get distracted by their phone – cuz you’re the one on the phone.

E-friends don’t borrow your stuff and forget to give it back.  You never have that awkward moment when you discover your e-buddy Betty is serving cake off a plate that she borrowed from you two Christmases ago.

But the best thing about e-friends is:

Age, gender, race, religion, nationality, income, etc., etc., etc. don’t make a damn bit of difference to e-friends.   They are the most egalitarian groups of people on this planet.  So, while most of the world is shouting and swearing and calling each other names, there are tons of little groups of e-friends, kicked back in various small corners of cyberspace, trying to get to know each other.  And that’s totally cool!

10 Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of!

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There are tons of jobs in this world that nobody’s ever heard of.  They’re not advertised anywhere — and companies will deny they even exist – but they do.  And after years of research, I’ve managed to identify a few of them.

Flak Catcher – Every company on this planet employs an army of people whose only job is to answer the telephone and get yelled at.  They’re the ones on the other end of “Customer Support.”  They have no real power and can’t actually fix your problem, so they are just supposed to listen to your assortment of threats and obscenities and hope the hell you go away.  Most companies prefer ex-nuns for this position.

Complimentary Crying Baby – You’d think that child labour laws would prevent this sort of thing, but every airline employs a variety of babies who fly around the world and cry — during takeoffs, landings and just when you’re about to take a nap.  There’s a lot of room for advancement in this position, and many babies go on to become the “Obnoxious Child.”  I have no idea why airlines do this, but I’m assuming it’s to boost liquor sales.

Motorcycle Rider – This occupation dates back to post World War II when housing developers hired ex-servicemen to roar around the streets of urban areas on noisy motorcycles.  Their purpose was to “encourage” young families to buy houses in quieter suburbs — and it worked.  These days, the building trade still hires “Motorcycle Riders,” and in some cities, it’s considered a growth industry.

Useless Government Employee – All governments hire one person whose sole purpose is to give you the wrong forms, send you to the wrong department or generally muck up the paper trail so completely that even Stephen Hawking can’t figure it out.  They do this so the other government employees look good in comparison.

Cat Sex and Barking Dog – I don’t know how they train these animals, but pharmaceutical companies have employed them for years to help sell sleeping pills.

Arguing Woman – Always found in grocery stores, this person’s job is to hold up the line by arguing with the cashier over some ridiculous thing like expired coupons.  The purpose is to stall you at the checkout long enough so you buy stupid crap you don’t really need — like magazines, gum and candy bars.

Movie Talker – The jerk in the movie theatre eight rows back who insists on explaining the coming plot twists to her hearing-impaired friend.  I’m not sure who hires these people, but I imagine it’s probably Netflix, Hulu or some other streaming service.

Condescending Techie – Companies that sell electronics all have one techie who’s an utter asshole.  His job (and it’s always a guy) is to roll his eyes, speak gibberish at you and reconfigure your device so you can’t find anything.  They do this in the hope that you’ll eventually get so fed up with the problem you’ll just say, “Forget it!” and buy something new.

Stereo Guy – This is a seasonal position (summer only.)  Air conditioning companies hire people to wait until midnight, turn their stereos up to a million decibels and blast Mega-Death Hip Hop Techno Country music into the stinkin’ hot summer night.  The purpose is to force you to buy an air conditioner so you can close your windows against this unholy din without dying of heat stroke.

And finally:

Dog Walker/Jogger – These people are hired by the police to go to secluded wooded areas and find dead bodies.