Tag Archives: Facebook

How to make enemies and alienate people

We’ve discussed here before how to win social media, both on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the advice boils down to Wheaton’s Law, which is:

Surprisingly, this is very, very difficult for a lot of people. I’m not sure if this is because they truly like being dickish, or they don’t REALIZE they’re being dickish, or it’s too hard to think, so therefore they just say whatever crosses their minds the minute they sit down at a keyboard…but whatever the reason is, the dicks seem to outnumber the people with something real and helpful to say online, most specifically in the comment sections.

Most people I know are, for good reason, aware that if you read an article online, you don’t, under any circumstances, read the comment section. Why? Well. Because here be dragons, of course.

For every kind, helpful and relevant comment online, you have to wade through people being racist, sexist, or just downright weird, and it starts to turn your stomach and despair for the human race.

But what about if you CAN’T avoid the comments? What if it’s your job to be the one to POLICE the comments?

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLTICIAN EVER!

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLITICIAN EVER!

One of the aspects of my current job is social media. Five days a week, I’m in charge of the work Facebook page and Twitter account (along with my other multitudinous tasks, of course. I’m a busy bee. But I am a HAPPY busy bee, so there’s that, then.) I not only schedule the posts our readers see, I’m in charge of reading their comments for a few reasons – to see what they’re saying (it might come in handy in the future); to see if there are problems (sometimes they tell us about typos/errors in the article or on the site, which we can hopefully quickly fix); and to make sure things aren’t getting off-topic or squirrelly.

Things often get off-topic and squirrelly.

Twitter isn’t bad, only because people in this area don’t use Twitter as much as I wish they did. (It’s a great resource for a newspaper – we can get the news out almost immediately and have a constant stream of it going to our readers. It just hasn’t taken off around here like it has in more populated regions. I think it will, eventually; we’re just late adopters.) The people who follow us on Twitter are respectful and polite, for the most part, and I never feel like I’m wading into The Princess Bride‘s Fire Swamp when I check our Twitter page.


The Facebook page, however, is a very different beast.

Now, please don’t go into this thinking I don’t appreciate – and even enjoy – a vast majority of our commenters. We’d be nowhere without our readers, and I love that they’re out there and paying attention.

It’s the fringe contingent that worries me. And keep me busy hiding their comments. And sometimes shaking my head and thinking, “oh, I don’t…oh, oh no.”

SO. For those people, I’d like to give you a quick list of pointers. You are very quick to complain when your comments disappear, vocally and angrily; you are very quick to shout “CENSORSHIP!” and “THANKS, OBAMA!” when you think you’ve been silenced. Hopefully, this will help you navigate the waters of our social media more successfully.


  • Watch your language. I don’t know if you’re aware, but Facebook has a helpful function for those of us that moderate a public page. We can choose to have comments with swear words immediately hidden, so only we can see them. We very much utilize this function, as we have every intention of being a public page, and the last thing we want is some hapless child stumbling upon you cussing the hell out of a news story. Also, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Good grief, yo.
  • Stay on topic. Of course, there’s leeway here. I’m not saying there’s one path to greatness, people. But if we put up a post about, say, a fundraiser picnic, and you start rambling on about how angry you are that there are so many mosquitoes this year and there’s no global warming because of that LIAR AL GORE!, that’s just confusing and you might be a conspiracy-crazy. I’m not saying I’m blocking it, but people are going to think you’re a looney.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

  • Remember: since it’s a public page, everyone on your timeline, as well as anyone in the world, can see what you’ve said, and hover over your icon and see your profile. It’s just the way Facebook is set up, my little chickadees. You give up your anonymity when you comment on a public page. If you’ve got your page locked down, when they go to look at you, they won’t see much…but you’re still not anonymous. Your name is there. EVERYONE NOW KNOWS YOUR NAME. And your comment shows up in your friends’ newsfeed. I have a friend of a friend who’s very involved with commenting on social media sites. Every time he comments on our paper, my friend says, “I see So-and-So commented on your work Facebook page again!” Everyone’s seeing what you say. Keep that in mind when you comment. If you’re not being a jerk, you have nothing to worry about. If you are, however…well, your mom’s probably seeing that (assuming your mom has Facebook. My mom doesn’t. I’m one of the lucky few.) Do you want your mom seeing that? Are you sure?
  • Personal insults? Really? What grade are you in? We have had to take down entire posts because people randomly started insulting the other commenters, the people in the article, random politicians (seriously, if I never see another non-ironic “THANKS, OBAMA!” it’ll be too soon), and, in one weird thread, God. (Yes, some guy started really insulting God, like, over and over. SO MAD AT GOD.) That counts as off-topic, and it counts as just downright mean, people. STOP IT. I get it. You are filled with all of the hatred. You are ready to explode like a hatred volcano. Sometimes *I* am the target of the hatred volcano. Sometimes my beloved coworkers who wrote the articles are (and it takes every bit of my precarious self-control to not respond with a very biting “WE ARE RUBBER YOU ARE GLUE!” rebuttal, because when it comes to my coworkers, I am such a Momma Bear.) But if you go too far, I’m hiding your comments, buckaroo. I don’t like meanness. I don’t like the idea that people are walking around with a stomachache because someone was mean to them for no reason on our social media. Make a new plan, Stan, and screw off home.

    Oh, is THIS who's to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

    Oh, is THIS who’s to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

  • Why you gotta be so dirty? SO MUCH NAUGHTINESS. I’m immediately hiding your comments saying female politicians got to where they are “on their knees” or that the local taco place sells “fish tacos that remind me of my ex-girlfriend.” Seriously? What are you hoping to accomplish with this comment? Like, cracking up your friends with a “HEE HEE DIRTY COMMENT ON A PUBLIC SITE?” or “UNGH I AM SO SEXY THIS IS LIKE AN OBSCENE PHONE CALL FOR *EVERYONE*!” I don’t even know. I have ALMOST the least tolerance for this. The LEAST tolerance is saved for…
  • On my watch? No racist, sexist, homophobic comments. Not going to happen. Don’t even try. And if they happen when the other people I work with are on social media, I’ll sometimes randomly check and hide your comments EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT WORKING. Yeah, you heard me right. I FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT THIS, I DO THAT SHIT FOR FREE, YO. You don’t get to have a public forum to spew your hatred. Sorry. I know, right, FREE SPEECH? Well, we run the page, and you lost your right to free speech when you commented on it. We have the right to moderate. And until the day my fingers fall off, I will not allow you to put hate speech on our site.
  • Acting too cool for school is actually the stupidest thing ever. We get a lot of “who cares?” or “slow news day” comments. Did you really take time out of your day to write that? Actual time you could have been spending on something else? YOU obviously care, because you took that time out of your day. And no, it’s not a “slow news day.” There’s no such thing. If we posted the article, we think someone can benefit from reading it; if it doesn’t resonate with you, maybe…oh, I don’t know, don’t feel like you have to comment? It’s not like you have to comment on everything. No! Really! You don’t have to! I know, freeing, right?
  • Maybe spell/grammar check? I’m a little more stringent about this than others. I hate ALL typos. It’s what I do for a living; you can’t really blame me. Most people don’t care if you make a few. But I’m talking about the people who write a comment like “For teh all people eat fodo there waffles, good yunger.” I don’t…what does this mean? Do you even know what it means? Is it a puzzle? If I solve it, what do I win? (Is it waffles? That’s a worthy prize. I’ll take it.)
  • Don’t try to sell me a car. We randomly get a Ugandan businessman who spams about 15 of our posts with a huge long “CARS FOR SALE!” comment. We block him; he comes back in another incarnation about a month later. We’re going to keep blocking you, buddy. No one wants your used Buicks. And how would they even GET here from Uganda? Logistical nightmare.

These all seem common sense, right? Yeah, you’d be surprised. If you’re looking at the comment section of a public site, know that most likely, even though your blood pressure is up? Most of the worst comments HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN DOWN. I know. Humbling, right?

So the next time you’re going to comment on a public page, take a deep breath, think, “Is this a dick move? Should I do this? Am I building someone up, or knocking someone down? Do I have a valid point? Is there even any REASON for me to make this comment?” If you can answer all of your questions and still look yourself in the eye in the mirror…you are welcome! Comment away! If not…maybe start a blog where you can say what you want, with no fear of The Powers That Be shutting you down.

...or you'll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don't want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

…or you’ll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don’t want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

And, to those of you with actual, helpful, intelligent comments to make? THANK YOU. You make my day/month/year. Keep on keepin’ on, you guys. You make what we do worthwhile.

Royal Rumpus, Day Six: stopping (starting?) the presses and those pesky people you may or may not know

Happy Sunday, everyone! Whew, Saturday was BUSY. Well, I stayed up way too late into the wee hours of Saturday morning, which was my own damn fault, but when I can stay up late, I tend to overdo it. Then I slept in, which was very nice and very decadent of me. But THEN, when I got up in the morning, WHEW ALL THE RUSHING! Because Saturday was K.’s wedding shower, so I had to get all fancied-up! And go to a COUNTRY CLUB! I know, right? Me at a country club. It’s like the opposite of a diamond in the gutter. This place was NICE. We wedding showered and friend K. got many gifts and I did not win any of the prizes for the games because I was terrible at them, even bingo (WHO CANNOT WIN BINGO FOR THE LOVE OF PETE) and we had some delicious foodstuffs and then I went to the (shudder) mall.

Argh, mall. You are my nemesis.

Argh, mall. You are my nemesis.

I know. I hate the mall. With the stores and the people and the crowding and the escalators one could very likely get stuck on and then tumble to one’s death or get grinded to one’s death, take your pick. But I really, REALLY needed shoes. And was only halfway successful, because I wanted at least one pair of black shoes and one pair of brown shoes and only could find black shoes. WHY NO BROWN SHOES? Is there something you’re not telling me? Has there been a run on brown shoes? Also, there were a lot of patent leather – or at least fake leather – shoes. Shiny shoes? Really? Those get scuffed. Bad news. Who designs these things? And THEN, since I was in the mall anyway, I ran to the store for clothing and again had a little luck but not all the luck and what happened at the store is a story for another day.

WHEW! All the things. When I got home, Dumbcat was all “MOM WHEAR HAEV YOU BENE.” And I collapsed collapedly.

But! You are not here for True Tales of What Amy Did on Saturday. Well, I would assume. You are here for our daily dose of bloggiversary goodness, right? Right. Well! What will we talk about today? What have I learned that I will share with you, from the goodness of my kindly heart, hmm?

Getting Fresh

I know a lot of bloggers dream about getting Freshly Pressed. And it’s a very good dream, and, overall, it’s a very good thing. And (shockingly, still, months later) I can barely believe it happened.

So here’s what happens when you get Freshly Pressed. You write a post. Within a few days, you get an email from WordPress telling you it’s been selected to be Freshly Pressed. If you’re a normal person, you probably think, “Oh! Well! What a deserved honor that has been bestowed upon me! As I am a grand writer!” If you’re me, you start breathing funny, and you squeak like a mouse caught in a trap, then you wonder if you’re being tricked, and you think a mistake has been made.

Punk'd. Just like Justin Timberlake, baby.

Punk’d. Just like Justin Timberlake, baby.

Once your post goes up on Freshly Pressed, you have 24-48 hours where you pretty much need to turn off the notifications on your phone. Because it’s going to be going off ALL THE TIME. You’re going to get a ton of likes, and a ton of new followers, and probably a ton of comments, which, if you’re anal like me, you’re going to want to reply to. Your stats for the day or two are going to shoot through the roof. It’s exhausting, but it’s also exhilarating. Because, listen, I know it’s not nice to mention in polite society, but, well, we’re not polite society here, so I’m safe – I don’t think there are too many of us bloggers that don’t like being the center of attention. Otherwise, why are we here? I think, if given the option, even the blogger who says, “Oh, no, I’m glad I have a small readership, I’m glad no one pays that much attention to me” would immediately sell their soul for a celebrity-level readership. Because, when it all comes down to it, we’re attention whores. Some of us are just a little less shameless about it than others, is all.

You will probably get some trolls. I didn’t get too many, but I did get a few. I just deleted them. I didn’t even let them see the light of day. A lot of the people following you will not be real blogs. I checked out most of the blogs who followed me and a lot of them were placeholder blogs with nothing on them or spam blogs selling male-enhancement pills or, strangely, fake luggage and/or handbags, as if these people are selling things on the streetcorners of New York City. (Lately, this has been happening a lot – I would assume this is happening to most of you WordPress bloggers? Our followers counts are no longer reliable, because most of the followers aren’t real. WordPress knows about it, but says it’s not a problem. I find it shady, but I suppose it’s not really a problem, mostly just an annoyance. I do wish there was a way to make it stop, though. I like to know how many real people are reading my blog, not just weird fake handbag purveyors.) You will also get a lot of people who comment or like once and never come back. That’s the nature of the beast. It’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Or at all, actually. Bigger things to worry about in the world, you know?

In-between selling purses on the streetcorner, Antonio blogs most bloggily!

In-between selling purses on the streetcorner, Antonio blogs most bloggily!

After the furor of the few days dies down, things will be back to normal. You might keep some of the people you found (I still have some of those people – hi, people!) but for the most part, those people fade back into the woodwork. You were the flavor of the week. You get a sassy banner for your blog, if you put it up, and you can tell people you were Freshly Pressed, and there you have it.

Is it cool? Hell, yes. Does it change your WHOLE LIFE? Nope. It’s a couple days of awesomeness and then it’s business as usual. It’s nice to be validated. It’s nice that the people at WordPress noticed you. Is it something you should want? Yes. Is it something to be so upset you haven’t gotten? Well, no. And I’ll tell you why. WordPress is looking for something in particular, and very few blogs have it. Follow their Freshly Pressed page for a while in your reader. You’ll see the pattern. The posts are usually short, usually have some sort of pretty graphic or photo, usually are broadly relatable, usually are either something people will argue about or something people will squee over. If you are Freshly Pressed, it is probably not going to be for a post that represents what you usually write about or how you usually even write, which brings in a lot of readers who expect you to write like that all the time and are sorely disappointed. The same people do tend to get Freshly Pressed multiple times. It’s because they know what WordPress is looking for, and because they’re on WordPress’ radar. You can cry foul all you want, but it’s WordPress’ game to play as they wish.

So, yeah. It’s cool. I continue to be pleased it happened. I appreciate that it did. I am always pleased to see it happen to someone whose blog I read and whose work I love and who I care about, because I love that they got that validation. But I also see the flaws in the system, and I hate to see bloggers trying to hard to get Freshly Pressed and getting so depressed when it never seems to happen to them.

Keep writing. Keep doing your thing. If you get Freshly Pressed, awesome. If you don’t, please don’t think it’s a flaw in yourself. It most absolutely is not.

OK, let’s get down to it. So what’s the second-most read post on Lucy’s Football? What’s your guess? Ideas?

Oh, I’m not going to keep you hanging. It’s a beautiful Sunday, you probably want to go play in the sunshine or something.

Aw. Like these kids. You totally want to play like these kids.

Aw. Like these kids. You totally want to play like these kids.

My second-most popular post…in the past two years…

…with – ARE YOU READY FOR THIS INSANITY? – 1,922 hits in the past seven months, I don’t even, I DO NOT EVEN, that is TWICE AS MANY AS THE THIRD MOST POPULAR POST, is…

An Open Letter to Facebook’s “People You May Know” Feature.

This post isn’t that funny, or well-researched, or anything but me being peevish when I saw an ex pop up in my “people you may know.” There. That’s your daily glimpse at the man behind the curtain. I wrote this because I was peevish. I am often peevish. Most days I am able to tamp it down and go about my day. This day, I wasn’t.

The stats are so insane on this post because I get hundreds, literally, LIT-rally if you’re Chris Traeger, hundreds, of searches a month from people who want to know things like “how to turn off the people you may know feature” and “people you may know has disappeared” and “there are people I don’t know in the people I may know” and it is UTTER LUNACY.

Listen, I know the Facebook help section is useless. And if you ask stupid questions like this there, you’re not going to find answers. The thing is? I’m going to give you some tough love, here. YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ASININE. I will tell you ONE MORE TIME. People you may know on Facebook IS NOT GOING AWAY. It’s just THERE. IGNORE IT. I know you can do this. Put on your big-kid pants and IGNORE THAT SHIT.



Or, you know, just keep clicking on the post. I never said I wasn’t an attention whore.

Happy Sunday, people of the internet. One more day, and we reach the END OF BLOGGIVERSARY WEEK! Ok, well, maybe there will be a TEENY bit more the next day but I promise it won’t be as annoying. Have happy Sundays. Relax. Rest. Read. Enjoy life. *smooch*

Kind-of-Sort-of-Ask-Lucy a.k.a. I CAN ANSWER THAT! (Volume 14)

Howdy, Footballians! I bet you knew this was coming. I’m pretty predictable like that. I’m like one of those people who walks the same path over and over until they wear a tread in the carpet. You can always count on me, yo.

So, in case you don’t remember, or are new here, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening. I know, some of you are all SIGH SIGH AMY, we KNOW what is happening! But some of you don’t know. Be nice to the new people. You were new once, too, you know. With your big scared eyes and tentative comments.

Because the search terms posts tend to be insanely long, I break them up into two posts: an open letter to people who find my blog accidentally and a post with just the QUESTIONS that drive people to my blog. And I answer those questions to the best of my ability, and I give advice, some of which is more serious than the rest. And we have such a hot time in the old town, don’t we? I mean, if by “hot” you mean we talk about foolishness and by “old town” you mean the interwebs. And I do. Mean those things.

So, yet again! 

Welcome to…  

Kind-of-sort-of Ask Lucy.  

Subtitled: I CAN ANSWER THAT!  

These are all ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS that brought people to my blog. So these people totally need my help, obviously, because they came to Google SEARCHING FOR HELP. And they obviously didn’t find it, because they ended up here. But I can’t just leave ’em hanging, now can I? What kind of person would do that to people who are so obviously lost and sad and questiony?

did anyone buy truecompanion sexdoll Well, I would assume some people must have. Or the company would have folded by now. Hee! Folded, get it, because you can fold those dolls up and put them in a pillowcase for travel? No? Anyone? Sigh. ANYWAY. Yeah, I think probably some people bought this ill-advised creepy-ass sex doll. But I also don’t think they’re going to be blogging about it or taking photos of themselves with it and reviewing what a good time they had with it on Yelp or whatever. Because do you really want people to know you spent like a year’s rent on a sex doll that looks like a broken department-store mannequin? You’re welcome, please don’t buy a sex doll. You can do better.

Do you want to come home to this thing? You don't. Right? Seriously, it's terrifying.

Do you want to come home to this thing? You don’t. Right? Seriously, it’s terrifying.

girlfriend broke up with me over a prank why how Aw, “why how.” Well, I would think “why” is because you pulled a prank on your girlfriend, and pranks are a dick move. “How?” Well, I think it was easy enough: she said, “hit the road, Jack, you and your prankiness are no longer welcome in my special people’s club.” My advice? Don’t play pranks on your ladyfriends. Pranks are never funny. I know some people think they are? Those people are wrong. Pranks are just a way for one person to make another person feel small and stupid. Do you really want to make the person you love feel small and stupid? I would think not. You’re welcome, now you know better for next time, so don’t be an asshat.

how can i get my canary to stand on my hand I don’t know. I’m not an animal trainer. Also, I don’t think canaries are the best birds to use for training purposes. They’re not the brightest birds. Parakeets are smarter. The parakeet that lived where I used to work would sit on your hand. He loved it when he sat on your finger and then you’d bring your hand up high and bring it down quickly. He would flutter his wings and squawk with happiness and then give you kisses with his beak. He was by far my favorite bird of all times. This does not answer your question. I guess I’d advise handling your bird a lot (not a euphemism) until it gets used to you, and then it would be more likely to sit on your hand after a while? Or get a parakeet. Or a kitten. Kittens would totally sit in your hand. You’re welcome, good luck, I guess.

I don't want to stand on your hand. Stop being so pushy.

I don’t want to stand on your hand. Stop being so pushy.

how to dye a weimaraner pink What the hell? Why would you want to do such a thing? Weimeraners are beautiful! Just the way they are! You don’t want them to be pink! NO DYING ANIMALS COLORS THEY ARE NOT MEANT TO BE! I mean it, if I see a pink weimeraner walking around all sad-faced, I’m going to walk up and kick you in the shins twice and take your dog away and bring it to a home that loves and appreciates it, i.e., my home. You’re welcome, don’t do animal cruelty.

Why you wanna dye me pink, yo? Aren't I pretty enough the way I am?

Why you wanna dye me pink, yo? Aren’t I pretty enough the way I am?

i accidentally friended many people i don’t know on facebook, how do i cancel all my friend requests What the hell? How did you “accidentally” friend “many” people you don’t know? I don’t even know how you accidentally friend ONE person, let alone MANY people. I think you can cancel friend requests somewhere on the person’s page, but I can’t double-check that because I don’t have any pending friend requests. I don’t friend-request many people. Mostly because I hate humans, but you know, that’s me. ANYWAY. I guess you could wait for them to accept your requests and then unfriend them immediately, but you’re going to look like a weirdo. Or, if you don’t know them, they probably just won’t accept your requests anyway, so you’re ok. You’re welcome, be more careful about what you click on over on the Book of Faces, my little gumdrop.

what are the rules for when you’ve accidentally opened a letter OK, wait wait wait. How do you “accidentally” open a letter? At work I open a great deal of mail, and sometimes I don’t read who it’s for (because most of the mail I get is for my department) and sometimes a letter for another department slips in and I open it and when I take the letter out I’m all WTF? This isn’t for me. And I bring it to the person it belongs to. So that’s KIND of like accidentally opening mail, I suppose. What are the “rules?” Say you’re sorry and give it to the person it belongs to? I don’t think you’re going to jail or anything, if that’s what you’re asking. You ACCIDENTALLY opened the letter. Give it back, apologize, move on with your day. You’re welcome, stop freaking out about nonsense.

semicolon tattoo meaning in french I would think it means the same thing as it does in English? That you either really love typography, or punctuation, or semicolons? Or do you want to know how to say semicolon IN French? It’s “point-virgule,” according to Google translate. Your question confuses, my Francophile friend. You’re welcome! De rien!       

Ooh, I like the placement of this. Teeny and delicate but kickass. I totally approve.

Ooh, I like the placement of this. Teeny and delicate but kickass. I totally approve.

what is the most whimsical color Aw, I like this one! The most WHIMSICAL color. I vote for periwinkle. Both for the color and the name. I’m open to other suggestions, though, if anyone wants to chime in. You’re welcome! Best of luck with your whimsical paint-job or whatever the hell you need this info for!

Aw, I miss crayons so much. I need to be a kid again for a day, I think.

Aw, I miss crayons so much. I need to be a kid again for a day, I think.

what does nutella taste like unicorn OK, whoa, this made me snort-laugh. The first part is simple enough (if not confusing) but then you went and tacked on “unicorn” at the end and that made me laugh and laugh. Nutella tastes like chocolate frosting, but a little runnier/stickier, with a slight hazelnut taste. I don’t know how to answer your unicorn question. Is it how Nutella would taste TO a unicorn? Probably the same, only more awesome, as unicorns are filled with magical rainbows. Do yourself a favor and go out and get some Nutella. You’ll thank me. You’re welcome, searcher of truth…and unicorns.    

Ah, so THIS is what you were looking for. This starts out fine and then gets sexist and disgusting, so you're gross, and I hate you now.

Ah, so THIS is what you were looking for. This starts out fine and then gets sexist and disgusting, so you’re gross, and I hate you now.

what does throw your fear into the air mean I’m…not really sure, to be honest. Did you just make it up? There’s “throw your hands in the air,” but I don’t think anyone throws their FEAR in the air. It sounds like foolish New Age nonsense to me. Whatever works for you, though, I guess. It’s always best to jettison your fears. Except don’t get rid of your fears that are important, like you need your fear of falling off of cliffs, or diving into deep water if you don’t know how to swim, or of venomous snakes. But if your fear is something silly, like bluebirds or pine trees, throw that fear all up in the air. TOSS IT ON UP THERE. You’re welcome, watch out if it comes back down onto your head. Gravity’s a bitch.

what is mean by rickets What IS mean by rickets? Rickets is a disease caused by a lack of Vitamin D. It causes skeletal deformities and your legs bowing out and all kinds of upsetting things. It’s mostly seen in countries where malnutrition is an issue. That is what is mean by rickets. It is also what is MEANT by rickets. You’re welcome, take a multivitamin.

where no mercury german This is perplexing. This seems to imply that there is a LOT of mercury in Germany, and you’re looking for a place where there is none. Is mercury in Germany a thing? Well, that’s worrisome. Now I’m worried about this, dammit. I don’t know how to tell you how to avoid this because I wasn’t aware it EXISTED. You’re welcome. Be careful, mercury poisoning is a terrible way to go.

Also, don't chew on thermometers. But that's just common sense, I think.

Also, don’t chew on thermometers. But that’s just common sense, I think.

why am always waking up with asthma and sneezing Um. Maybe because you have allergies? This seems like a no-brainer to me. I don’t think you’re waking up with asthma, probably, unless you’ve been diagnosed with asthma. It’s probably allergies. And trust me, allergies can be adult-onset. I never had allergies and now I have TERRIBLE seasonal allergies. Ah-choo. So, yeah. I’m pretty sure this is why you’re waking up all sneeze-faced. It’s the damn pollen. You’re welcome, get some Flonase, it works wonders.

why do sneezes feel so good afterwards Oh, like any sort of building of tension (cougheuphemismcough) the release really is the best, isn’t it? Whew. *fans self* You’re welcome. That was a euphemism, right? Right. Thought so.

Oh, sneeze. Yes. That's the stuff. Right there. Whew.

Oh, sneeze. Yes. That’s the stuff. Right there. Whew.

Well, there we are for May, my little kumquats. What have we learned? Well, to be honest…not much, I guess. But we had a hell of a time doing it.

Until next month – may all your questions be answered. Barring that, may you find your heart’s desire. What’s your heart’s desire? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know your life. Chocolate, maybe. A nice glass of wine. Going out to dinner with someone who makes you laugh. A nice nap. Driving really fast with the top down. Do something you love, ok? Great. Awesome. You rock. Have a happy Tuesday, darlings.

Kind-of-Sort-of-Ask-Lucy a.k.a. I CAN ANSWER THAT! (Volume 13)

I know, search terms are supposed to come FIRST and questions are supposed to come SECOND. But I have very limited time to write tonight because I have to get to bed for work tomorrow, then I have to leave work EARLY and drive to my WEEKEND OF FUN WITH FRIEND C. where we will have LITERARY ADVENTURES and THEATER ADVENTURES and so therefore I really should get to sleep at some point, right? Right. So, questions first, search terms probably…Monday? Tuesday? We’ll see what happens. Things are all over the place this week, just bear with me. NO NOT THAT KIND OF BEAR. Put away those tranquilizer darts, kooky.

(Psst, I’m going to see Owen King tonight, and I am SO EXCITED. I just finished his book Double Feature – which I LOVED – and now I get to see him read from it, and get him to sign my book. Here, if you want to read my review, please do! And you could do worse than to read the book. It was really one of my best reads this year so far.)

So, in case you don’t remember, or are new here, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening. Because usually we do this in flippy-floppy order and I’m not STATUSING the QUO this month. I know. Things are all topsy-turvy. Know why? Cause I’m a super-fancy travellin’ lady now, all out in the world kickin’ up my heels.

Because the search terms posts tend to be insanely long (that one’s coming, I promise), I break them up into two posts: an open letter to people who find my blog accidentally and a post with just the QUESTIONS that drive people to my blog. And I answer those questions to the best of my ability, and I give advice, some of which is more serious than the rest. And it is awesome. I think. It’s awesome, right? Yes. Yes, it is, I just decided that right now.

So, yet again! 

Welcome to…  

Kind-of-sort-of Ask Lucy.  

Subtitled: I CAN ANSWER THAT!  

These are all ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS that brought people to my blog. So these people totally need my help, obviously, because they came to Google SEARCHING FOR HELP. And they obviously didn’t find it, because they ended up here. How this happened, I do not know. Maybe magic. Do you think it was magic? I like to imagine a lot of things I can’t figure out are due to magic. It makes Andreas’ head all explodey when I do that.



am i stupid to listen internet? please tell. To listen TO the internet? Is it talking to you? Or are you talking about listening to the people ON the internet? I would say, SOMETIMES listen to the people on the internet. Like, don’t believe everything you see on Wikipedia (or Fox News) but if you have friends online, they’re pretty reliable. ESPECIALLY if you have a Science Fellow. You can always trust your Science Fellow. Or MY Science Fellow.

Seriously, if you people have science questions, you can send them to me? And I will have Andreas answer them. It could be like a new thing we do here. I would totally be down with that. I haven’t asked Andreas but I’ve decided he would love that. YOU WOULD LOVE THAT WOULDN’T YOU, ANDREAS? (He would.) We’re way off topic, here. No, you’re not stupid, but don’t be gullible, jellybean, because that leads to bad things like being catfished. You’re welcome, trust your instincts.

are norway and finland different countries Oh, seriously? I totally pre-emailed Andreas about this but he’s sleeping so I don’t know what his answer is. But I would guess it would not be pleased, or perhaps just a sigh. YES. Norway and Finland are DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. With people in them! Of different nationalities! Norwegians and Finns! And by asking me this question, you are embarrassing me, Andreas, and wherever you went to school. And also your ability to use Google. And your brain. You’re welcome. You make me sad.

Not only different countries, but SEPARATED BY A THIRD COUNTRY COME ON!!!!

UPDATE! Andreas is awake and sent me the following information: “Funnily enough, they were the same country once, back in the day of the Union. They became separate countries again in 1905. Still, that’s more than a hundred years ago, and people should be used to that by now.” See how he knows all the things? It’s kind of amazing and wonderful to me.

SECOND UPDATE! I accidentally emailed Andreas that the search term I got was “Are Norway and Sweden different countries?” and therefore that’s what his answer was based on. My most abject apologies. It was my original email that was wrong, not his answer. In my defense, I was SO TIRED that night. I made a lot of email mistakes. These things sometimes happen. I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I need 24 hours to recharge, I think. SORRY ANDREAS!

can a ventriliquist stalk you with their trickery This made me laugh so hard. WITH THEIR TRICKERY! No, probably they can’t stalk you with their trickery, but they could stalk you, because how mentally stable could someone be who uses a weird doll to say things to you? Not so mentally stable, is my thought. *shudder* You’re welcome, avoid those people, ok? For safety’s sake.

I'm STALKING you with my TRICKERY. *gulp*

I’m STALKING you with my TRICKERY. *gulp*

could rocky and roxxxy have sex together? OK, for people that need the backstory, a while ago, I blogged about these sex dolls named Roxxxy and Rocky? And I have gotten SO MANY HITS on that foolish post over the past year? And it’s kind of creepy, honestly? But anyway, could they have sex together, is the question on the table. On the table is most definitely a euphemism. I suppose they COULD, but probably not without a lot of help from you. If they became sentient and had sex, well, that’d be creepy as hell, because then they’d probably murder you. While you slept. And watch you with their dead, dead eyes. You’re welcome, you should probably get a hobby or something. That doesn’t involve sexxx dolls.

This guy looks REALLY happy. WAY too happy. Eesh.

This guy looks REALLY happy. WAY too happy. Eesh.

how to draw a girl fall down Um…draw a girl who’s walking, and then tip the paper on its side? You’re welcome, I think that’s a brilliant answer, to be honest.

how to upset people on facebook Post about politics. Or guns. Or hating women. Or that you hate kittens. Or post constantly. Or never post. Or like everything. Or never like anything. Or misspell things. Or put up a bunch of those TERRIBLE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS THAT MAKE ME BLOCK YOUR ANNOYING ASS. Ahem. There. That was helpful. You’re welcome, but why do you want to be annoying?

what does it mean when a bird brain is peaking in your window Um. I’m…is it a person? Is a person peeking in your window? I’m kind of confused. Are you calling a person a bird brain? And what does it MEAN? It means you have a peeping Tom, and you need to call the COPS, you weirdo. It’s not like a PORTENT. It’s a MISDEMEANOR. You’re welcome, get some curtains.

what is the female equivalent to truck nutz OMG, well, I would assume it would be Truck Ovariez, but DO NOT HANG THEM FROM YOUR TRUCK. First, no one would know what they were, because ladies keep their nutz on the INSIDE. Second, THAT IS NOT CLASSY STOP IT. You’re welcome, stop hanging shit from your trucks.

what is the name of a childs game from 90s where you whack things that pop up with an hammer Sheesh, I don’t know. Whack-a-Mole? Was there a home version of Whack-a-Mole? 

OMG APPARENTLY THERE WAS. How much do I want this right now? I always wanted to play Whack-a-Mole at the fair but Dad said carnival games were for suckers. SUCKERS! You’re welcome, now I want this, dammit.

who has had sex with roxxxy? SO MANY PEOPLE ARE ASKING ABOUT A YEAR-OLD POST. The people who have had sexxx with Roxxxy are, I would think, sad? And lonely? Or just really like plastic sexxx dolls with dead plastic faces. You’re welcome, maybe try online dating or something? Those dolls are expensive, yo.

why do i get someone you may know on facebook did they request me as a friend Here we go with the Facebook questions. Why doesn’t Zuckerberg just hire me, I’m just about the expert on this shit by now. NO, they didn’t request you as a friend. They are either there because they’re a friend of a friend or they’re a random person Facebook thinks you might want to know, I guess. Facebook works in mysterious ways, what can I say. You’re welcome.  Please stop obsessing over the people you may know. They mean nothing, I promise.

why i am seeing myself on facebook’s people you may know Now THIS is a new one on me. Either Facebook is glitchy and wants you to friend yourself (heh, I do think we all should be our own best friends, sometimes) or someone has STOLEN YOUR IDENTITY or I don’t know what the hell. Maybe just someone with your name? Weird. You’re welcome, send me a screenshot of that shit, I’m honestly curious.

why is chris porco called the romeo killer? he is very unattractive Nah. He’s not unattractive. He’s just a normal looking kid. But as to why he’s called the Romeo killer, he wasn’t called that. LIFETIME called him that. Because it made the movie sound better. You’re welcome, I’m glad I could clear that up. I wouldn’t want people here in the Capital District to be thought of as people who thought that kid was a Romeo.

why on fb a sign pops up that says people are spying on me! Because! It is a scam! Designed to put a virus! On your computer! Don’t click it! Or you will get a virus! You’re welcome! I like your exclamation points!

Amy! You are the best at all Facebook questioning. Come work for me and I will give you a MEEEELION DOLLARS! says Zuckerberg. Meh, ok, whatevs, says Amy.

Amy! You are the best at all Facebook questioning. Come work for me and I will give you a MEEEELION DOLLARS! says Zuckerberg. Meh, ok, whatevs, says Amy.

Whew! That was a lot of questions! Not all of which were very intelligent, if I’m being honest. You all need to stay in school, seriously. And also maybe read a book or two? Just a thought.

Until next month – may all your questions be answered by someone HELPFUL and also FUN and who has a DUMBCAT on her LAP! Oh, wait, that is ME ME MEEEEE!

Eark? What’s an eark?

It was a very long day off for me today. You would THINK that would involve more loafing, but really I did a million billion things. I even made a LIST of things to do. And have checked off almost everything on the list. A couple things fell through the cracks but I try not to beat myself up too much about such a thing. I’m too old to hate on myself.

Let’s talk about technology, shall we? In particular: Facebook. And: Amy’s Brother.

Now, Amy’s Brother does not get discussed much here because Amy’s Brother is not a fan of the interwebs. Or of technology. Amy’s Brother likes things like four-wheelers and the woods and hunting for furry animals with guns. (Or also feathery animals. When it comes to shooting things, fur or feathers! We do not discriminate.) Amy’s Brother is also quite intelligent, however, and knows many large words and watches intelligent television. So I guess he’s kind of like an enigma.

This is how much Amy's Brother trusts the interwebs. Meaning: zero.

This is how much Amy’s Brother trusts the interwebs. Meaning: zero.

Amy’s Brother never had a cellphone. Well, he DID, but that was a long time ago. When he moved to my parents’ town, he got rid of the cell phone. I think he might have had a Tracfone that didn’t text. We don’t talk much. Not out of hatred, just because we don’t. We live very different lives.

About a month ago, my dad sent me an email saying “your brother wants your number am i allowd to give it to him or do you thikn he is a kiler?” (I might have made up some of of those misspellings. But Dad does not use a lot of capital letters in email. I think he’s saving them for a rainy day.) See, for a while, Dad was giving my phone number or email address to everyone in the land, including SOME OF MY DIREST ENEMIES. So we had a serious talk called, “Dad, you have to ask before you just give out my personal information; I need to know I’m not going to get a phone call I dread in my house, which is my safe place. It’s why I have an unlisted number.” Dad actually LISTENED to me for once (I think that’s because I used my MOST SERIOUS VOICE) and has been very careful (some might say overly careful) ever since. So yes, he emailed me to ask if it was ok to give my number to my only sibling.

"Who gave you this number? Who? DAD! STOP GIVING MY NUMBER TO CREEPERS!"

“Who gave you this number? Who? DAD! STOP GIVING MY NUMBER TO CREEPERS!”

I said, “yes, here’s my cell number and email address he can use, but why would he want my number, doesn’t he have it?” and what he wanted was my CELL PHONE NUMBER. What? Why?

“your borther has texting now on his celphone” said Dad.

So a few days passed and I got a random text with a photo of my brother standing on a stump with a gun and a wolf near him? So I texted back and said, “I’m going to hope this is you, bro, otherwise someone’s sending me photos of you with a wild animal” and when I asked my dad, “Um. Why’s there a wolf?” Dad explained that my brother has a friend with a pet wolf. I find that suspect. I like wolves so so much, but I don’t think they’re pets any more than crocodiles or tigers are pets. Stop thinking wild animals are pets, yo.

Right after this photo was taken, this wolf ate this woman's face. Probably. I'd guess, anyway.

Right after this photo was taken, this wolf ate this woman’s face. Probably. I’d guess, anyway.

But Amy’s Brother did not text me back but then my dad said, “Your brother’s been trying to email you but YOU GAVE US A FALSE EMAIL” and I said “Why would I give you a false email address?” and Dad said “I DO NOT KNOW” and then come to find out that what my brother thought was a “1” was a lowercase “l” and then Dad yelled at me for trying to trick people. You know. As I do.

Mostly after the yelling stopped I said, “WHEN DID MY BROTHER GET EMAIL?”

Apparently he got a LAPTOP recently and HAS EMAIL NOW. Good gracious.

So I convinced Dad to give me my brother’s email address so I could email HIM first so I DID and then I waited and waited and then he finally wrote back but it was a very short email and then he said “this very short electronic transmission took me 35 minutes to type” and that made me laugh.

Amy’s Brother is not the best at emailing. He only wrote to me one time.

But THEN, the other morning when I woke UP, I had a notification on my phone.

“Amy’s Brother added you as a friend on Facebook.”



WHAT IS THIS BLACK MAGIC? My brother HATES Facebook. And you know what he thinks of the Internet People. He thinks you are all rapists. Or people with one hand. RAPISTS OR PEOPLE WITH ONE HAND!

So I friended my brother. Of course I did. Who doesn’t friend their brother?

Then I realized, yay, photos of The Nephew I hadn’t seen! Then I realized, oh, those photos and everything on his timeline is public so ALL THE RAPISTS WITH ONE HAND ARE LOOKING AT THE NEPHEW RIGHT NOW!

(I’m weird about Facebook privacy settings. I lock my shit down. I’m even weird about commenting on public pages, because then everyone can see you. I know. Leave me alone.)

This is the creepiest thing I have ever seen.

This is the creepiest thing I have ever seen.

So I emailed my brother. “Dear brother. Listen to your sister and mark everything friends only or at least friends of friends because right now you have everything public and that means pervs. I don’t think you want that. I love your face.”

Apparently his friend who got him on Facebook was all “PSHAW!” so he was going to leave it alone until my mom and dad were all “LISTEN TO YOUR SISTER SHE LIVES ON THE INTERNET!” so he actually called my phone and left me a voicemail all “Apparently we need to talk about privacy settings? Because I don’t know what that means. So call me when you get home. But not now. I am going to sleep now. Because I was up all night on the internet.”

Hee! It sucked him in. SUCKED! HIM! IN!

So I called him when I got home. Now this is kind of groundbreaking because my brother and I have talked on the phone probably 10 times in our LIVES. I know some of you people are super-close to your siblings. I am not. It is a sad point in my life. So I was kind of as nervous as if it was a blind date. But, you know, without the naughtytalk.

So we talked – and I am not kidding – for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I had to eat dinner while we were on the phone. It wasn’t all about the Book of Faces. We talked about The Nephew and my brother’s life and all the things. It was actually kind of nice. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I might have gotten a little emotional. Because I like having a sibling. I’d like it even more if I talked to him more like people do.

So we FINALLY got to the Facebook stuff. Things I told my brother:

  • how to set all his future posts to “friends only”
  • how to retroactively set his posts and photos to “friends only”
  • how to block people, if he needs to do so

His response to these things:

  • Good
  • Good
  • Why would I block anyone? I can’t imagine that would ever be a thing I would need to do. (Aw, little brother. You live in such a happy rainbow land. I wish I was there with you. I have QUITE a block list going on.)

My most laughy moment happened when I was trying to explain to him the difference between “public” and “private.”

Me: So if your post has a little Earth at the bottom, it’s public, but if it has a little man, or a man with a man over his shoulder, it’s friends or friends of friends.



Brother: What’s an Eark?
Me: An Earth? It’s…I don’t know. An Earth. You know. Earth?
Brother: Eark?
Me: Earth? Like the planet? We live on? Planet Earth?
Brother: OH. EARTH.
Me: What the hell did you think I was saying?
Brother: Eark.
Me: Why would I say Eark? Eark isn’t even a word.
Brother: I thought it was like the sound a car makes if you brake too hard. EARK!
Me: Yes. Facebook puts a photo of you braking too hard next to their posts that everyone can see. Because that makes a lot of sense.

Also, added bonus content: what Amy’s Brother thinks of Facebook!

“Facebook is confusing. But also awesome. I have like ONE HUNDRED FRIENDS. I am friends with people from COLLEGE and SCHOOL and from when I lived out WEST and ALL THE PEOPLE. And I am TALKING to the people! And they are talking to me! But it takes up a lot of TIME. You have to approve all the friend requests. And answer everyone’s comments. And post a lot of photos. And look at things people have on their pages. How do you people keep up with all of this?”

I told him after a while, you learn to ignore it most of the time, and it’s really only super-exciting for the first couple months or so. After that, it’s just a thing you have, like a phone, or the clap.

“What do you do about all the emails?” my brother asked.

“What emails?”

“The millions of emails Facebook sends you. I can’t even find my REAL email because I have like 100 emails from Facebook. How do you deal with this?”

“I turned off the email function.”

Get outta here, emails.

Get outta here, emails.


So I then taught him how to do that. He was pleased.

“How many friends do YOU have?” Brother asked.

“I don’t let anyone see that. I don’t feel it’s anyone’s business.”

“I’m not anyone. Do you have more or less than me?”

“More right now. But at the rate you’re going, you’ll beat me soon.”

“You’ve been on Facebook forever. Why don’t you have more friends?”

“Because I mostly hate people?”

“Oh. Well, that makes sense, I suppose.”

Then we got off the phone and he called me a little later VERY UPSET because even though he followed my directions to the letter, his photos were still showing up to his friend who has “a number of secret accounts that no one knows about in other people’s names.”

“Well, first, tell him that’s totally shady and ask him why he’s being a creeper. And second, what photos are showing up?”

We ascertained it was the photos he had used for his profile and cover photo, and I explained those were ALWAYS public, and everything else was fine.

“How do I make it so no one sees what you wrote on my wall and people can’t ‘like’ what you wrote?”

“You can’t. That’s just Facebook.”


“OMG, yes. You didn’t know that?”

“I thought it was like MAIL.”

“Heh, no. If you want mail, you click on that little cartoon bubble in the middle left up there.”

“Oh, someone sent me a message in there, but I didn’t know why she didn’t just write it on my wall.”

“Because she wanted it to be private and she knows how Facebook works.”

“Ah,” said my brother, who may be finally understanding that, for once, his big sister is a handy resource for something.

He also gave me the following VERY EXPLICIT WARNING:

“Some people are friends on Facebook with people they don’t even KNOW! Can you imagine? Isn’t that CRAZY? If you were ever friends with anyone like that, you should unfriend them. Because you don’t know. They could be KILLERS.”

I looked up "internet killers" on image search and this came up and I've been laughing for like twenty minutes.

I looked up “internet killers” on image search and this came up and I’ve been laughing for like twenty minutes.

“So if I haven’t met them, I don’t know them?”

“Yes, of course.”

“If I unfriended all the people I haven’t met, I’d have like half the friend list. And I know those people just fine. And sometimes I meet them and they’re lovely. I met my friend from Finland in New York City last month.”

“That doesn’t make sense. He’s in FINLAND and was in NEW YORK CITY? Something doesn’t add up here.”

“He was in New York for business. People do such things.”

Brother was skeptical. “Dad says you are GOING to Finland.”

“Yep. Going there next summer.”

“Hmm. Well, I guess maybe SOME of them aren’t killers.”

He didn’t sound like he believed it, though.

SO! This has been a very event-filled week. Amy’s Brother has discovered the interwebs! I told him it was only a matter of time before he started tweeting and blogging and Instagramming and he said “I would ask what’s wrong with you but I’ve known you a long time and I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that.” I didn’t ask what that meant.

So, if anyone asks you if pigs flew this week, you can say yes. Yes, they did. I know. It’s hard to believe, but the future has caught up to my brother. Now, if we could only get Amy’s Dad off dialup…

…OK, I guess some of those pigs are still grounded. You can’t expect MIRACLES, people.

(Psst, the calendar informs me today is Eark Day. HAPPY EARK DAY. If you’re going to stop quickly, be sure the roadway is not slippery or you could slide into someone. What? What’s that? It’s EARTH Day? Oh. Dammit. Nevermind. Recycle or something. Carry on.)

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