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Tag Archives: social media

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.

fireswamp

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.

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK ON PUBLIC SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

  • 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.

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A new year post on the actual day. Go me.

Happy new year, people of the interwebs! OK, so I missed New Year’s day for some of you. I know. I’m the worst at thinking in a timely fashion for other time zones. Please forgive me, other time zones. Here is a photo of Dumbcat looking pensive to make up for my transgression.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire and get soceel securtee so Momee can stay homee and pet my furrs all the dayys.

A couple weeks ago at work, one of my most favorite coworkers (there are a lot of them…I kind of work with the best people in all the land) and I were talking about blogging. Here, I’ll give you our conversation. If he happens to read this (and I suppose he might, the internet’s a very small place sometimes), apologies in advance for stealing your words and putting them on the internets for all to read, one of my most favorite coworkers whose name I will not put on the blog because I’m about 99% sure it would embarrass the pants right off of you and I enjoy you so much I would never want to do that to you. Plus, also, workplace harassment, yo, I can’t be taking work-people’s pants off. I think there’s a seminar or something about that.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick's face. It's like she's oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she's looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don't even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick’s face. It’s like she’s oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she’s looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don’t even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

Impressive Reporter Coworker: So I noticed the other day you’re a tweetaholic. You have over 20,000 tweets!
Me: Oh. Yeah. I used to tweet a lot. I don’t do that anymore.
IRC: Why?
Me: Oh, kind of a long story. I used to blog? And then tweet a lot, kind of in relation to that? I kind of fell out of practice.
IRC: You had a blog?
Me: Yeah. I kind of still do, I guess, but it just sits there.
IRC: What was it about?
Me: Um. Mostly me ranting about some things and making fun of other things? Also I talked about zoos a lot.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-Proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

IRC: And people would read it?
Me: Heh. Yeah. Lots of people would read it. I won some awards. And I met amazing people. And I went to Finland last year. Got to stay with people I met through blogging, actually. It was fantastic.
IRC: So…what happened?

And I didn’t have an answer for him. Not really.

What happened? Oh, I don’t know. Life, I guess. Andreas and I have spent copious amounts of time discussing that. Priorities change. Things change. People come in and out of your life. Moods rise and fall. Jobs come and go. I can most sincerely say that the person I was three and a half years ago when I started blogging isn’t the person I am now. I think back on that person and she seems like a complete stranger to me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of her; it’s that I don’t know her at all, and I don’t know how I ever was her. I have a record that I was, I can look back on old posts and I know I wrote them, but as for remembering it, it’s kind of fuzzy. Too much water under the bridge.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking…and I realize there’s this itchy little part of me that wants to start writing again, and writing more. Otherwise I’m going to probably self-destruct.

I’m not juvenile enough to think resolutions ever stick. The first day of the year always seems so shiny and new, doesn’t it? Like you can accomplish anything. Like you have 365 days of newness (ooh, 366 this year, yeah?) to tackle and make your own. But I don’t know about you…but every resolution I’ve ever made has fizzled around February once you realize “oh, look, this shiny new year is very much like last year, what are the odds, yo.”

Instead, I’m going to be kind to myself, and promise myself I’ll do things that are good for me – and writing’s good for me. So writing here? Good for me. Writing poetry, essays, maybe even some short fiction? Good for me. And it’s good for my mind, because I need it to stop being so itchy. An itchy mind never did anyone any good.

(Side note: I have an amazing job, and every now and then I get to write. I got to write part of an article – FOR THE ACTUAL PAPER! – a couple months ago, and then got asked to write a LONG article for one of our related publications. A three-page article about traveling to Albany and all the things you can do there. It’s not online yet – will be eventually, and then you can read it, if you’re so inclined – but long story short, I get to write for work. I also get to do our social media, copyedit, proofread, and sometimes there’s totally a STOP THE PRESSES! moment with late-breaking news which makes me jump around in my chair because I feel like I’m in a 40s film with very impressive fedoras. My coworkers are fantastic, because they’ve totally accepted me even though I’m the biggest goofball. And I can say, with 100% certainty, I’ve never had a job where I can be more myself, and where I’ve felt more immediately at home with the people, than this one. Ever. When you can completely dork out about something three days in and no one even bats an eye? You have won employment.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I'm in "His Girl Friday" only there's a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m in “His Girl Friday” only there’s a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

I’m kind of rambling, here.

Anyway: I have a couple of people I’m going to encourage to blog, and they’re going to, in turn, encourage ME to blog, this year, so we’re responsible to one another as well as being cheerleady. And this will, hopefully, stop the brain-itching and get me back writing and being creative.

Happy New Year, internets. I hope your 2014s weren’t as fraught with weirdness as mine was (and most people I know had a TERRIBLE 2014, what’s going on, 2014, why were you so cursed?) and your 2015 looks like 366 (or 365, sorry, people of other time zones, I really meant to do this earlier in the day but I was too busy painting a unicorn head to go over my new fireplace…YES THAT IS REALLY A THING I DID TODAY, WHY ARE YOU ASKING) new and shiny days of awesome that you can tackle and wrestle into submission and make yours, all yours.

This is my unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don't have a name for him yet, but I'm leaning toward Reginald von Sparklenstein.

This is my new unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don’t have a name for him yet, but I’m leaning toward Baron Reginald von Sparklenstein.

Much love to your shiny little new-year faces. *smooch*


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.”

HOLY CRAP WHAT THE HELL?

HOLY CRAP WHAT THE HELL?

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.

EARK!

EARK!

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.

“YOU CAN DO THAT?!”

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.”

“What? PEOPLE CAN SEE ALL OF THIS?”

“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.)


Blogging etiquette. Should that be blogiquette? Maybe. Kids today, with their words and such.

I think we need to have a chat about blogging etiquette, my most lovely readers.

What? Who does Amy think she is, Emily Effing Post? Nope. I never know which fork to use, and I don’t understand the white-after-Labor-Day rule, so I don’t wear white at all. (That’s actually not that hard, since I only own one white thing, and that’s a white teeshirt, and it has crazy pitstains, so I can only wear it under things now. TMI? Yep. So now you can see I am SO not Emily Post. I don’t even play her on teevee.)

Oh, screw this, I know nothing about this crap.

Oh, screw this, I know nothing about this crap.

There are a lot of bloggers in the world. How many? Don’t know. This pretty infographic tells us about the state of blogging in Merka:

The most important thing you can learn from this? Other than I couldn’t find one for the world (sorry, world)?

There are a LOT OF BLOGGERS. You are one of MILLIONS.

Also, odds that you’re going to make your fortune as a blogger? Slim to none, sunshine. Sorry to burst your bubble. I have made $25 from blogging in the past year and a half. It’s not something you do because you want to make a lot of money. (Well, it might be, but you’re going to be disappointed pretty damn quickly. Or unable to pay your rent. Or eat. Or feed your cats. Dumbcat disapproves of this plan. He likes to eat quite a bit.)

So, because there are so many bloggers, I think it might be time that we mention some of the general rules of blogging.

I know! You’re all, “What? There are RULES?” and no. No, there aren’t, not really. But there is etiquette. And a lot of people aren’t being polite. And it’s bothersome. You want to be polite, don’t you? Sure you do.

Now, I’m not the queen of polite. I mean, I TRY to be, but I’m sure some people think I’m the rudest person to ever rude it up. I’m cool with that. I do my best. I can sleep at night. But some people…well, I think it’s one of two things. Either you’re new to the blogosphere, so you don’t know the ropes, or you just don’t care. Either way, let’s have a chat, ok? Cool.

Now, remember how up there I said there weren’t really rules to blogging? I lied. There’s one.

Here’s the one, which I will center and make all-caps and bold with stars because it’s just that important:

***HAVE FUN***

There. That’s it. That’s the number one rule. That is THE rule. Don’t do it to make money, or to become the most famous blogger EVAH, or for whatever other weird reasons might compel you to blog. Do it because you like writing, and because you have something to say, and it seems like it might be fun. And if it continues to be fun? And if you meet amazing people? Well, good. That means you’re doing it right. And if it stops being fun? Well, it’s something you should stop doing. I mean, listen. Work’s not fun, but if you quit doing it, you couldn’t pay your bills. Paying your bills isn’t fun, but if you quit doing it, you would have no power. Or water. Or home. But if you aren’t having fun blogging – well, why the hell are you still doing it? It’s an extracurricular. So quit it. It might not be your thing. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re broken. I mean, soccer isn’t my thing, but that doesn’t mean I’m broken. Just uncoordinated. You’re still ok. You’ll find something. Promise.

ANYWAY. Let’s talk about etiquette, ok? Because it’s necessary.

Write good posts with actual information in them. So! You’ve started a blog. Great! Now, what to write about? That’s up to you. What do you like? What are you good at? Are you funny? Are you serious? Do you want to talk about your kids? Tell stories? There are a million things you can blog about. Only you can decide what you’d be best at. What not to do? Write one or two sentences (too often – once and a while, sure. Shake things up.) Reblog other people’s posts and do nothing but reblog other people’s posts – again, once and a while is ok, but if it’s all you do, how are you going to develop your own voice? I promise, people want to get to know you, not just see what other people are saying. If they wanted to see what other people were saying, they’d follow them. Just be YOU. Seriously. If you don’t know who you are? Figure it out. Sometimes it takes a little while to find your footing. That’s fine. You’ll find it.

Don’t steal. You saw what happened to Jean Valjean, right? Right. OK, so you’re new to blogging, you’re reading a lot of other blogs, they seem SO COOL…so, they wouldn’t mind if you took their post ideas, right? I mean, they have a lot of followers, and you WANT a lot of followers, so if they’re doing this neat thing like they’re recapping an episode of Game of Thrones using X-Files action figures or something, well, that’s a cool idea! Yank that right off of there! It’s not like stealing from a store, right? WRONG. It’s WORSE. It’s intellectual property. That person worked hard on that. They worked hard on the post; they worked hard on getting those followers. But AMY! What if I steal the idea but TWEAK it a little? NO. Us bloggers, we are a savvy bunch. We know when you’re yanking our ideas. We know when you’re stealing the way we talk, our blog designs, a cool idea we worked weeks on developing. And here’s the thing: a., can you really sleep, knowing your cool idea was just stolen from someone else? and b., any followers you get are eventually going to figure this shit out, you know. You’re not fooling anyone, not for long. (Also, this goes for the big blogs, too. I won’t name names, but there’s a big-name genre blog that steals from the smaller bloggers within that genre ALL. THE. TIME. It’s a shady-ass blog, and it’s getting tons of followers and hits on the hard work that the smaller bloggers are doing. I’ve got my eye on you, big blog. And someday, you’re going to get yours. Seriously. I believe very strongly in karma being a bitch.)

Do you really want to be the kind of jerk who swipes? Well? DO YOU? Dora would totally shout at you if you did.

Do you really want to be the kind of jerk who swipes? Well? DO YOU? Dora would totally shout at you if you did.

Read and comment on other blogs. Now you have a blog, and you’re writing (hopefully non-stolen) posts that are awesome and full of kitten-rainbows. You want people to read your stuff! And your best bet? Other bloggers. Listen, I just counted, and I am subscribed to 191 blogs. And I add more every day. And I’m SELECTIVE about the ones I subscribe to, mostly because I don’t have time to read the ones I DO read, so I have to be careful about adding new ones. Now, not all of those update daily, but some update MULTIPLE times a day. I read them all. I comment when I am moved to do so and if it’s a WordPress blog, I hit the like button when I’m moved to do so. A lot of bloggers are very engaged with other bloggers, more so than most readers, I’d dare to say. Because we write, and we love to read what others are writing. You need to engage with other bloggers. Follow their blogs; learn from them (but do not, per the last paragraph, STEAL from them. There’s a fine line between inspiration and thievery.) Comment, and comment thoughtfully, if you are moved enough by their post to do so. If you like their blog, RSS it, or get the new posts emailed to you. This is your community now. Dive right into the pool.

Dive right in there. Wear floaties if you have to. No one will judge. Promise.

Dive right in there. Wear floaties if you have to. No one will judge. Promise.

BUT, don’t comment with nonsense. NOW! You’ve read a post. This blog has a lot of followers! You know if you comment on it, your name and a link to your blog will be in the comments! THEN ALL THOSE PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW YOU AND YOU WILL BE FAY-MUSS! Well, you might get a click or two from those comments, sure. I’ve gotten some wonderful followers from comments I’ve made, both the bloggers and others who follow that blogger. HOWEVER! Here is a tip. Do not just comment with the following, or a combination of the following: “LOL good post”/”Ha ha this was funny”/”I read this, good”/”Good writing”/”Thank you”. Why would you even comment with such a thing? Please put content of some sort in your comment. I mean, yes, comments are awesome, and bloggers love them? But we don’t know much about what to do with that kind of comment. Do we respond to it? Ignore it? Also, we’re aware you’re here to draw attention to yourself and your blog. YOU ARE NOT FOOLING US, SLAPPY.

And, don’t link-spam. If you’ve commented correctly, your name and a link to your blog will neatly show up in to the left of your comment. You do not need to put a link to your blog IN the comment. That’s overkill. And it’s rude. It’s one of those unspoken rude things. Don’t do that. Also, and I don’t know when this became a thing, and I blame WordPress, but apparently there’s a setting now where you can blanket-spam a bunch of people with a link to your blog. I’ve gotten a ton of these in the past couple of weeks. “Check out my blog!” “Read my blog!” “I follow you, now you follow me back!” And – my personal favorite, and if you’re reading, whoever did this, yes, I’m totally talking about you – “Send this to 21 more people now.” And that was all. IT WAS A BOSSY BLOGSPAM CHAIN LETTER. Let me tell you something. I delete these when I get them. I don’t even click the link. If you’ve commented on my blog, I’ve checked out your blog. I promise. I’m diligent about such things. You don’t need to link-spam me. I might be reading; I might not. As I said, I can’t read every blog in the world. I have to be selective.

I can only assume you don't want to be a processed meat-like product, so cut that out, you.

I can only assume you don’t want to be a processed meat-like product, so cut that out, you.

Don’t overpublicize. You don’t need to put up links to your most recent post a billion times. Once or twice on Twitter/Facebook/wherever else you publicize your stuff? Cool. Ten times? More? Tweeting it to a bunch of people asking them to read it? Spamming blog comments with it when the post has nothing to do with the post you’re publicizing? (I’m not saying NEVER put a link to your blog in someone’s comments. If you know the person, it’s ok. Or, I’ve put a link to someone ELSE’S blog in someone’s comments before. THAT’S ok. But don’t be a spammer, yo, see the paragraph above. It’s rude.) People are going to get sick of seeing all those links and they’re going to stop paying attention to you. Seriously. Trust me on this.

Be polite. Don’t be rude in people’s comments. That’s not your house. You want to be rude on your blog, cool. That’s your house! Someone else’s blog is not your house. So don’t walk all through there with muddy shoes. AGAIN, there’s an exception – if you know the blogger, and you have one of those jokey sarcastic relationships with them, go to it, jellybean. For example: I like to use SHOUTY ALL-CAPS and be very sarcastic. But I wouldn’t do that on someone’s blog I didn’t know well. I would do it on someone’s blog I’ve known a long time. If I didn’t, they might think I was sick. Otherwise, be polite. Your mom told you to be polite, and she wasn’t kidding about that.

I'm sorry, but this made me snort-laugh. I never said I had a high-brow sense of humor.

I’m sorry, but this made me snort-laugh. I never said I had a high-brow sense of humor.

Reply to your comments as much as you can. You have readers now! And they are commenting! Now, once you become a big old huge blogger, you might not have time to respond to all your comments. But are you The Bloggess? Are you Wil Wheaton? No. No, you are not. You are cutting off a dialogue between you and your readers if you don’t talk to them, and where can you talk to them? In your comments. Reply to them. Joke with them. Ask them things. Respond to their questions. And guess what? You might even make FRIENDS with some of them. I know! Shocking! Seriously. Try it.

Use social media, but do not abuse social media. You are a blogger! With followers! And commenters! A good thing to do is make a presence on social media. Twitter and Facebook are good. Some people have luck with Google Plus, Tumblr, things along those lines. Do what you’re comfortable with. Or what you’re NOT comfortable with, maybe. Go outside your comfort zone. It won’t bite you. Probably. Don’t abuse your social media presence, however. Don’t annoy people; don’t harass people; don’t post like a zillion links to weird stuff that isn’t even FUN or GOOD, don’t just retweet things. Think before you post. PAY ATTENTION. I can’t emphasize this one enough. If someone’s not talking about something? Probably don’t needle them about it. If someone seems sad, maybe ask them what’s wrong. If someone’s celebrating, congratulate them. Paying attention shows you’re a good listener, and potentially, someone people want to get to know. Also, don’t beg people to follow you. Ask them, nicely, a few times, but don’t constantly harass them. It makes me crazy when someone’s constantly in my face about following them. If I wanted to be, I would. I’m pretty savvy about the interwebs, dudes and dudettes. (SIDE NOTE! This is a me-thing and not an anyone-else thing, but I don’t use my personal Facebook for blog stuff. So while I appreciate people who have found out my REAL IDENTITY ZOMG and want to be my Facebook friend, odds are very good I will not approve your friend request. I’ve mentioned this in my FAQ’s, I think, but that’s where I keep my family and friends. I don’t invite strangers in there. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, and please feel so, so free to follow my blog Facebook page, or friend me on Twitter, where someday I might actually post shit again. But odds are very good you’re not going to be accepted on Facebook, and I’m sure you’re lovely, and not at all a stabmurderer. But, sorry. I have to have a certain level of knowledge of you, and trust, to let you onto my Facebook page. Thanks ever so for understanding.)

Be patient. Nothing good happens overnight. I know, it’s easy to look at some bloggers who have like 2,000 followers in 6 months, and be all, WHY NOT ME! I AM THE WORST! and freak out. I know. But keep doing what you’re doing. Have fun. Write what you know how to write. Make friends online. And if you get your 2,000 followers? Cool. And if you don’t? You know what? Not at all the end of the world. Don’t compare yourself to others. You’ll never measure up. You know why? You’re not them. And, there’s someone out there attempting to measure up to YOU and failing miserably. Just don’t. Measure your success against how happy you are. Are you happy today? Then you’ve succeeded. Are you sad? Then what are you going to do tomorrow to make it a better day?

OK, this is insanely long, and you know what? It stops being fun for me if I can’t get any sleep. So to bed I go. Have fun is the number one rule. And the number one etiquette rule? Well, it’s simple. Follow the golden rule. Treat others like you want to be treated.

Then take that, and your happiness, and go out into the world and CONQUER it. You’re invincible now. And who doesn’t want to be invincible?


And now a break in our regularly-scheduled programming for a total geekout.

This is not a real post, mainly because it’s late, I spent most of the evening doing things that were not this, and I’d like to get some sleep tonight. And I KNOW, it’s supposed to be I-answer-all-your-questions-day, and trust me, that’s coming. Maybe tomorrow, or maybe Friday, because tonight I’m going to dinner with my theater ladies so we can have our monthly try-new-cuisines dinner. We’re trying Korean tonight. You know what Dad thinks about that, right?

“WHY WOULD YOU EAT KOREAN FOOD? THEY WANT TO BOMB US. IT’S LIKE *YOU* WANT TO BOMB US IF YOU EAT THEIR FOOD!”

Thanks, Dad.

I told him I was an emissary, like Dennis Rodman. He didn’t think that was funny at all.

Aw, BFFs!!!

Aw, BFFs!!!

So ANYWAY, we have some totally exciting geek-out news here at the Football. What could it BE, I wonder?

Some of you already know what it is because I emailed some people and I posted it on Facebook and also Twitter. I couldn’t help myself. I was so excited that I had to tell SOMEONE, dammit. Or a lot of someones.

OK, so, if you’re a blogger, you know about this (well, a WordPress blogger, anyway) but WordPress has this thing called Freshly Pressed. Freshly Pressed is where these people who work for WordPress read a bunch of posts, and choose ones that are their favorites and highlight them on the Freshly Pressed page. See, if you click there, you can see the ones they’ve chosen recently. Aren’t they pretty?

Here's the badge you get once you're Freshly Pressed. There are little hearts and EVERYTHING. Ooh! Ah!

Here’s the badge you get once you’re Freshly Pressed. There are little hearts and EVERYTHING. Ooh! Ah!

Being Freshly Pressed means that a lot of people see your blog. And read it. And comment on it. It also means your blog is probably not garbage, and someone at WordPress has actually read what you have to say, and approves. You probably will get more followers. It’s all very fancy. (Dad said, “What’s the prize?” and I told him “More recognition and followers?” and he harrumphed. Dad doesn’t get the blogging thing, yo.)

Now, how do you get Freshly Pressed? You write posts without too many cusses. You tag posts appropriately. You put in pretty photos. You don’t write insanely long posts. You don’t have typos all up in that bitch.

Well, I don’t cuss (much, ya bastards) and I use photos (some say TOO MANY photos) and you know I hate typos like some people hate spiders or maybe pine tar. OMG CAN YOU IMAGINE SPIDERS COVERED IN PINE TAR. Wouldn’t that just be the worst?!?!? Otherwise…um. Yeah. I don’t use tags. Because when I moved over here, I didn’t understand the tagging system, and then when I figured it out, it seemed like too much work to start it up, so I just put everything in categories, which was the lazy woman’s way out. Don’t ever let it be said I don’t like the lazy woman’s way out! And as for writing posts the length that someone might read…heh. Heh, heh. You’re all my loyal readers, you know my issues with editing. And yet you still love me! Aw, you GUYS!

So I thought, oh, well. No Freshly Pressed for me. That’s cool, I can live without that, I don’t care, I have the best followers ever, anyway.

Some of my favorite blogs have been Freshly Pressed. Some of my favorite PEOPLE have been Freshly Pressed. If you’re reading a WordPress blog and you see a little Freshly Pressed widget on the sidebar, like the one up there, you know they’re super-special and sparkly.

Well, last week I wrote the post about Steubenville. And I thought, this is something I’d like more people to read. This is something that could benefit from being Freshly Pressed. So I actually tagged it. And sj tweeted Freshly Pressed, and they responded that it was a powerful piece, but they’d already highlighted some Steubenville posts. So I figured that was a nice “too late, Charlie” and oh, well.

Then I got the itch to write the body-shaming post. Which was odd, following on the heels of the Steubenville post. Usually my rants are more spaced-out. But when an inspiration comes, I think you just go with it. So I wrote it. Oh, and I loved how it turned out. And if you know me at all, you know I don’t like ANYTHING. So for me to like how it turned out – that’s something.

So I tagged it and sent it out into the world. Fly free, little post.

It got read. And commented on. And shared. And I watched the stats rank up, and people mentioning that it should be Freshly Pressed, and I thought, nah. It won’t happen.

But shh, I wanted it to happen. Because I wanted more people to read it. Not ONLY because I wanted more people to read my blog (hell, can we all just be honest and admit we want that? Why else are we here?) but because – well, I assume most of you read that. Think of how that might have changed you, having read it as a kid. I sure as hell wish I’d read something like that as a kid. The thought that maybe, just maybe, someone might read that and share it with their kid…or react differently toward their child…or toward anyone’s body…well, that thought made me so, so…hopeful, I guess. Hopeful that maybe things could change, a little.

But nah. Me and Freshly Pressed? Nope.

I did a guest post at Black Box Warnings yesterday (which you all should read if you didn’t – I like how it turned out, and was so honored to be asked to be a guest, especially somewhere I admire this much) and the stats were racking up over there, as were the likes. I was having a good day. So many comments to reply to, both here and there. Lots to do. A blog to write when I got home.

Then I went to my salon to get my hair done (I needed a trim, I was getting frazzly) and got there much earlier than planned. So that meant extra time to play with the phone! Wrote some emails. Read some blog comments. Just about to go into the salon and BAM. Email with this subject heading:

Congrats, you’ve been Freshly Pressed!

Because I’m a weirdo, the first thing I thought was, “Which of my friends is screwing with me right now?” Then I thought, “Oh, maybe for the post at Black Box Warnings? That’s ok. That was a pretty good post. And the blog deserves it. Good.”

Nope.

When I opened it up, it clearly was FROM WordPress. And stated that my post “You’re Gonna Carry That Weight; Carry That Weight a Long Time” had been chosen to be Freshly Pressed.

NO.
EFFING.
WAY.

I cussed in that post!

It was SUPER-LONG!

I didn’t have any personal photos! I actually had less photos in that one than I normally use!

AND YET IT WAS STILL FRESHLY PRESSED!!!

(Can we just revel for a minute that a post with a Beatles song lyric for a title got Freshly Pressed? I think my most beloved John Lennon, somewhere, wherever, is liking that very much. I know that I am.)

First I said (pardon my language please; in real life, sometimes I’m cussy) “No way. NO FUCKING WAY.” Then I reread it. Then I made a noise like a puppy if you accidentally step on its paw, which is kind of a yelp-whine. Then I started crying. Five minutes before my hair appointment, because THAT’S how you want to go into the salon.

I then forwarded the email to sj with the message “OH HOLY SHIT SJ WHAT THE HELL?” and to Eric with the message “I’m pretty sure you and Sara just got me Freshly Pressed” (they totally inspired me to write the post; I’m not even going to pretend that came out of the ether, they deserve the due credit for this one.) Then also I emailed more people because GEEKING OUT. Then I was late for my appointment so I had to run but she made me wait a half-hour so I emailed ALL THE PEOPLE with “I KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW” and “I’M PRETTY SURE THIS WAS SENT IN ERROR” and “I KNOW I AM CRYING IN THE SALON WAITING AREA.”

And now I am home and probably this would be a lot more effective were I to wait until it was actually UP on Freshly Pressed to geek out about it but here is my reasoning why I can’t do that:

  • if I had to hold off on this news, my head would explode.
  • I don’t know when it’s going up so how long would I have to wait, exactly? Good grief, this is like waiting for Christmas when you’re four years old. IT’S LIKE IT’S NEVER COMING. (Not a euphemism.)
  • Most of the people on Twitter and Facebook and here have read it already so it’s not like I’m ruining anything for new readers. (But if you want to read it again, go to, jellybeans. Plus read the comments. They are wonderful.)
  • I AM SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN.

So, once this happens, although Dad thinks there should be a monetary prize (sorry, Dad), I think this means there will be new readers. You GUYS! New READERS! We should be very nice to them and not scare them off, unless they are asshats, then we can totally scare them off, I don’t even care. Are we all so excited about the potential for our little tea social to become this gigantic rave? Wait, if it’s a rave, is it going to be like one of those foam parties I saw on 60 Minutes one time? Those look totally unsanitary and someone there is sure to get a yeast infection and my grandmother said “That looks like someone spilled the dish soap. AMY DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SPILLED THE DISH SOAP?” and I told her yeah, probably.

Don't do bad touch, you'll catch the herp.

Don’t do bad touch, you’ll catch the herp.

Also, that post? So many people will be reading that post. And maybe they’ll share it with other people. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll reach someone it’s supposed to reach. Like the equivalent of a young-me. Or a young-you. Someone who really needs it.

I can’t even pretend I’m too cool for school about this, you guys. It’s a total honor, and I’m so jazzed about it I keep bopping around the house like a Muppet.

FRESHLY PRESSED.

Seriously.

No, seriously.

Holy hell.


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