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Tag Archives: twitter

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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Gigantic clogs! (And other adventures!)

I am pleased to announce that I OFFICIALLY met someone whose writing I admire AND I DID NOT FREAK THE HELL OUT.

Well, maybe inside, a little, but I didn’t do what I did when I met Kevin Smith and act like a HUGE GOOBER and I didn’t run away like I did when I saw David Sedaris that time, either. I totally soldiered on. I was a brave little toaster.

So yesterday was meet Kat and Chris day. In case you haven’t been paying attention to my life (and if you haven’t, good grief, people, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU) Chris is Chris F. Holm, who is one of my most favorite authors and just an all-around kickass person, and Kat is his amazing wife, who is one of my most beloved Twitter people and humans.

Somehow, because September and October ended up being months crammed with amazing things, Kat and Chris ended up coming to town this weekend for Bouchercon, which is this GIGANTIC convention for people who create, and people who love, mystery and detective fiction. This is a huge thing. All the people come to these things. SOMEHOW, this year, it is being held HERE. In my town! I mean, *I* know we’re awesome, but the world often doesn’t. So this was quite a coup for us. And even BETTER, Kat and Chris were coming to the con! And to my TOWN! And wanted to MEET me!

Well, my first thought was YAY and my second thought was ZOMG SCARY BECAUSE I AM SCARED OF SOCIAL INTERACTION and my third thought was SHUT UP, AMY’S BRAIN, YOU NEED TO STOP BEING SCARED OF THINGS SO MUCH. I am actively attempting to be more brave. Like the sassy redhead in the Pixar cartoon, yo. Or that shouty Sara Bareilles song.

So Kat and I worked out a plan, and I helped her with a list of local restaurants (because listen! I love my area, and I wanted her to have the best time, and what if she got here and ate somewhere TERRIBLE?) and we worked out a time that worked for us between my job and their con schedule (because Chris and Kat are big deals, yo!)

So after work yesterday I zipped on over to downtown Albany and texted Kat all “I AM HERE!” and then THERE THEY WERE! And luckily, I didn’t have TIME to be all “ZOMG I AM MEETING KAT AND CHRIS!” because they were so happy and adorable and there was much hugging and we were immediately on our way to the restaurant (which, let’s be honest, was the same place I took Laura last weekend, because it is one of my favorites, and I try to go as often as I can, and ESPECIALLY when I’m bringing people who’ve never been before!)

And Chris brought me one of his books, and I felt like such a dork, because I was TOTALLY going to bring one of his books for him to sign, but then I talked myself out of it because I was like “that is so rude. Poor guy’s been signing books for days. and you want to bring one to DINNER? That’s just the rudest. You’d look like a crazy fangirl.” And I wouldn’t even have looked like one. Stupid second-guessy brain.

So we had dinner, which was delicious, and talked and talked and talked, and here are some things you should know.

They are lovely. Like, sincerely lovely humans. They are just about the most well-matched couple you could ever imagine. Are people SUPPOSED to be like a million times more attractive than they are in their photos online when they already WERE attractive in their photos? I mean, sincerely. It seems somehow unfair. But since I love them, it’s ok. I forgive the people I love ALL the things.

They know ALL the stories and they are super-fun and well-spoken and intelligent and witty and warm. I’m totally the most awkward and I didn’t feel at ALL awkward with them. They are kind of fantastic.

So then it was time to go, because they had a panel to go to and also the restaurant wanted us to leave because all the people wanted our table. It’s a very good restaurant.

So back to the hotel we went! And the GPS did NOT get me lost this time, so that was less embarrassing.

But before it was time to go, we took MANY photos. To prove to the internet it actually happened. The internet is often skeptical, you see.

We are lovely humans and don’t at all look like we’re about to rob a bank in a heist film or anything.

This is us looking murdery. Chris and Kat look murdery; I look like I was stunned by a surprise birthday party of some sort. (Don’t you ever do that. I hate surprises, and will totally make this terrifying face.)

More murdery. I feel like maybe Kat and Chris are better at being murdery than I am. Mostly I just look deranged.

Then we found a clog. We have all these artsy clogs around Albany. Because we’re Dutch. We decided not to GET in the clog (because we didn’t know who might have peed in the clog) but Kat totally got BEHIND the clog and then she got the giggles and she is just the best.

Then she HID behind the clog, which is VERY murdery.

I’m not sure what’s happening here, but it makes me grin.

This one’s totally for Dad because she’s being a one-armed truck driver. ONE-ARMED TRUCK DRIVER! Oh, Dad totally warned me about those.

It is now very late and I have to go to bed because I have work tomorrow and then am meeting ANOTHER person for dinner who is NOT an internet person but a real LIFE person but one I have not seen in a very long time so it’s like a whole different type of adventure.

Meeting famous internet people and they are now friends: WIN.

(Thank you, Kat and Chris. I had a great time. I hope the rest of the con is great, and you have a safe trip home, and I hope we get to do it again someday!)


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?


Oh golly! Gee, damn! (Or, how to watch a movie with Twitter and vodka)

So last night was Sarcastic Movie Night. Which you know, if you follow me on Twitter. You probably wanted to kick me in the head last night, actually, if you follow me on Twitter. SORRY. Sarcastic Movie Night! Only fun for people participating!

Here’s the genesis of Sarcastic Movie Night. I tweeted a while ago about whipped cream vodka, which I’d had in a mixed drink out one night with my friend C. The drink tasted like an alcoholic Dreamsicle, and was amazing. If I remember correctly, the food was not so amazing, but who cares! Alcoholic Dreamsicle! @lgalaviz and I started talking about whipped cream vodka, and she came up with the idea of how much fun it would be to watch a movie and make fun of it while drinking whipped cream vodka. WELL. I am never one to back down from a challenge. Well, no, that’s a lie, if the challenge is something like “I challenge you to climb a rope ladder” or something, I’ll back down. Effing moving-all-over scary rope ladders.

Choosing a movie was not easy. When choosing a movie for Sarcastic Movie Night, you have to choose a movie that everyone can make fun of, that no one has extremely strong positive feelings about, and that is readily available to everyone. This is only really a problem for me, since I am the only human left alive without Netflix. (SIGH, FINE, I will explain my aversion to Netflix. I don’t have any gaming systems and my computer’s a piece of shit and I can’t afford one of the boxes you need for your TV, therefore the streaming option is out for me. And I don’t have enough time to watch all the series and movies, and the one time I signed up for the free trial, movies sat unwatched for weeks watching me with their accusing DVD-eyes and I felt HORRIBLE. So I didn’t pay for it when the end of my free trial happened and it POOF went AWAY. Also, if you’re totally patient – and I am – you can get anything you want, pretty much, free from the library. And LISTEN. I love free, more than I love penguins.)

So we discussed and discussed, and @lgalaviz said she thought Breakfast at Tiffany’s would be a good idea. Now, I blogged about this before, but I HATE Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I know! Everyone loves this movie. It’s like on everyone’s short list as the best thing since kitten unicorn rainbows or whatever. But all I remembered is that Audrey Hepburn threw her cat (that she refused to name, argh) into the rain, and that Mickey Rooney played an Asian stereotype.

So @lgalaviz won out (mostly because she promised I could make fun of it) and we chose Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Now, at this point, we had talked about it on Twitter, and both had blogged about it, so TWO OTHER PEOPLE were interested. I KNOW. We’re totally inspirational. I mean, that’s like double the people we’d started with. Since everyone else has Netflix they just added it to their queues, but I had to either get it from the library (and you only get them for five days, and who knows when we were going to be able to match schedules to watch it?) or I could go online to buy it. And since I was pre-ordering the Bloggess’s book anyway, (by the way? Get your asses over there and pre-order this book and let’s get Jenny’s pre-orders up to like astronomical numbers, because I love her just about as much as any of my imaginary internet people and she deserves all the good things, and also, it’s going to be HILARIOUS) and needed to fill up my cart to meet the free shipping total (yeah, I hate paying for Amazon shipping, as mentioned, I LOVE FREE SHIT) I found it for $9 and purchased it. A MOVIE THAT I HATE. I’m totally committed to Sarcastic Movie Night.

Then I had to buy the whipped cream vodka. At the store, there were many choices. One of which was Swedish Fish-flavored vodka. I am not kidding. It was scary. I believe this might have confused @heinakroon who thought it was actually fish-flavored. However, like a mighty hunter, I stalked and murdered my prey. Or, found it on the shelf and brought it home. LIKE A BOSS.

FANCY.

Then we had to wait for Amazon to get their shit together and ship it to me, which took forever and a day because I foolishly ordered it with my pre-ordered book, and they were GOING to wait to ship it all together – IN APRIL – but then I went nuts and ordered three more books (by the way, who has too many books? That’d be me, thanks. But they were on SALE!) and then Amazon was all “FINE WE WILL SHIP ALL YOUR SHIT TOGETHER because you are AN OBSESSIVE SHOPPER DAMN” and I got it yesterday.

I'm already Siskel and Eberting this movie, before we even had movie night.

Then we set a time. 8pm! Saturday night! I work until 6 on Saturdays, so that worked out FINE. They wanted me to work late but I was all NO WAY SUCKERS. Sarcastic MOVIE Night. And they were all, whatever, Amy, I think you’re making shit up right now, and I was all NO I AM NOT.

So first I made a nice glass of whipped cream vodka. What did I mix it with? NOTHING. Why? I DIDN’T PLAN THAT FAR AHEAD. I know. I suck. See, all I had for mixers were fruit punch and cherry limeade? Those would be HORRIBLE with whipped-cream vodka. Right? Totally.

Um…whipped cream vodka…tasted like burning. Like barely whipped-cream flavored burning. This wasn’t going well at all.

BUT I SOLDIERED ON.

So! For our crew, we had @lgalaviz, @patrixmyth, @julierosesmk, and myself, and then @zippy219 (who didn’t have Breakfast at Tiffany’s but was watching Carrie and snarking at it WITH us, so she was participating IN SPIRIT, because she is AWESOME.) Then we had @lahikmajoe, who lives in Germany, and who was asleep. But we included him in EVERY SINGLE TWEET. Why did we do this? I have no idea. I don’t think he ever showed any interest in being involved in Sarcastic Movie Night. I think someone just started including him and he got swept away in the tide of tweets. So poor @lahikmajoe is waking up tomorrow to probably 200 or so tweets. SORRY, @lahikmajoe. WE MISS YOU WHEN YOU ARE SLEEPING.

(SIDE NOTE! @patrixmyth ALSO lives in Germany. However, he participated. I think this is because he is made of magic. Seriously, the man never seems to sleep. I’m in awe of him.)

Now, here was the first problem. Well, other than the fact that my father, who you KNOW thinks everyone online is a., imaginary, and b., a psychokiller, thought the whole plan was a trick to get me murdered. No, I’m not kidding. He said that the next thing my “imaginary friends” were going to ask me to do was to drink “Jim Jones Koolaid” and he hoped I didn’t do that. I told him I already had Koolaid in the cupboard so I was ready in case that plan was put into place and he didn’t think that was funny at ALL. So first I had to calm him down by explaining that watching a movie with people on Twitter while drinking whipped cream vodka was not, in fact, very dangerous, and it was more dangerous, probably, to go to a bar and pick up a stranger and have unprotected sex with them in a bathroom stall, and then he was all “WERE YOU PLANNING ON DOING THAT, TOO?” and I had to explain that no, I was NOT, actually, planning on doing that, it was just a COMPARISON, to show him that I could be doing things that were a lot scarier. This took a lot longer than I’d planned and almost caused me to miss Sarcastic Movie Night.

Back to the problem. Have you ever tried to coordinate four people starting a movie at the exact same time when you’re all in different places and times? It is not an easy thing to do. We were, on average, five minutes difference from each other all night. So one of us would be all “whoa, look at that hat” and the other one would be all “why is that person crying into a mirror” and no one was on the same scene in the movie, ever. I can’t imagine that any of us would be very good spies. You know how spies always have to synchronize their watches? We would not be good at that.

Also, it is VERY HARD to tweet and watch a movie at the same time. I think I missed important things. Like, at one point, everyone but me noticed that one person at a party was wearing a watch on her ankle. I didn’t notice this important plot point. I’m sure I was busy tweeting. The movie probably would have taken a very different turn for me if I had noticed an ankle-watch. Also, @patrixmyth noticed that at the end, Paul paid the cab driver, and I thought they just ran out of the cab without paying. It’s hard to pay attention to both a phone and a television at the same time.

Anyway. Sarcastic Movie Night was a grand success. Much hilarity was had; I would put tweets in here to show you how awesome it all was, but again, Twitter hates me and won’t allow me to put tweets into my posts yet, so you’ll just have to imagine how awesome it was. Because it WAS.

But here is what I learned, during Sarcastic Movie Night. YES, I learned something. I KNOW. It was like a Very Special Episode of Blossom, what with the learning.

Are you ready?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s isn’t as bad of a movie as I’d thought, the first time I watched it.

I KNOW.

Are there horrible things? YES.

Mickey Rooney’s racist landlord character is still the worst thing ever.

It's worse than this. He also used an offensive accent, and ran into things with his head.

“Moon River” is a very annoying song. “My huckleberry friend?” Give me a break. If someone called me their huckleberry friend, I’d poke them in the eye. Except for Doc Holliday in Tombstone. As previously stated, he can call me his huckleberry ANYTIME.

Holly Golightly’s character is flighty and doesn’t care much for others for most of the movie, and this is annoying. Characters who are so devil-may-care make me stabby. There are no CONSEQUENCES! Nothing matters but ME! Aren’t I CUTE! Look at my adorable WHIMS! Gag.

This is really a movie about two whores who fall in love, and I’ll fight you if you say otherwise. They might not be streetwalkers, but Paul and Holly are whores. They sleep with people in exchange for money. That’s whores.

“Sally Tomato” is a very stupid name for a gangster.

The scene where they pilfered from the five & dime was annoying, because I hate thievery. But then they wore these masks, which reminded me of that scene from The Shining that gives me nightmares, and THANKS A LOT BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S.

There is nothing cute about these masks. These are Manson-family-style masks.

Refusing to name a cat because you have issues with owning things because YOU are a wild thing that REFUSES TO BE TAMED and then throwing your cat into the rain isn’t cute, it’s animal abuse. You suck. Along the same lines, refusing to call someone by his given name, and calling him “Fred” throughout the movie, is not cute, it’s affected and annoying.

Paul telling Holly, “I love you! You belong to me!” was just about the worst admission of love, ever. I’m with her when she freaks out over this. Telling someone this is a lot like saying “I love you! I want to wear your skin like a cape!”

Their relationship is not doomed to end well. Neither of them has any money; she has very high-price tastes, and he seemed to have $50 to his name and be not-a-very-successful writer. I mean, love’s grand, but it doesn’t put tater tots in your belly at the end of the day.

HOWEVER.

The movie was gorgeous. Not just the costumes, or the actors (although they were) but the set design and dressing as well. And the city, of course. I love New York, and I can see how this movie made people want to visit it. New York is a character in this movie, for sure, and you fall in love with it (more than Hepburn or Peppard, actually – about as much as Cat – because it is blameless in the “I’m so CUTE!”-ness of the two of them.)

Audrey Hepburn was really, for a completely annoying character, just stunning. I mean, those costumes! And she’s just exquisitely beautiful. Look at her. I mean, just look. How can anyone, even me with my heart of stone, not be charmed by this?

I usually hate hats, but DAMN can she pull them off.

There aren’t a lot of photos where she doesn’t have that dumb cigarette holder that’s a mile and a half long that she kept setting shit on fire with and I refused to put a photo of her up here with that thing. Also, I like this hat.

Also, George Peppard. Can this guy ever wear a suit. Whoo!

Yes, I'm aware this scene wasn't in the movie. LOOK HOW HANDSOME. I couldn't resist.

If you only know Peppard from The A-Team, well, listen, he used to be Mad-Men handsome, I’m telling you right now. *swoon*

@lgalaviz was in love with the cars in the movie. I promised her I would make her a remixed version of the movie with only cars and card catalogs and dial phones and such. I don’t know how to do this, so it was an empty promise. The idea is sound, though. At one point, there was a red cab with fins. It made us happy. (Also, when they went to the library, there were card catalogs, which made me drool.)

For all the annoying pre-hipster hipsterism, there was some genuine emotion happening in the movie. I know. I even noticed it being all drunk on whipped cream vodka and making fun of it on Twitter.

I’m not sure what happened. I HATED this movie the first time around. This time, I actually didn’t mind it. I hated the things I listed above, but the beauty of the movie itself kind of won me over. Am I mellowing with age? Was it the vodka? Am I broken now? Was I broken the first time I watched it?

ANYWAY. Sarcastic Movie Night! A success!

Also, the whipped cream vodka progressively got less offensive. I mean, it never got GOOD. But I think it burned off the first layer of my tastebuds so it got less horrible to taste as the night progressed. I can’t say I went back for a second helping, though. (Oh, and by the way, who was the classy broad drinking it out of a commemorative theater coffee mug given to her by the cast of a show she’d worked on recently? That’d be ME. Yeah, I have no glasses appropriate for liquor-drinking. I thought it might eat through a plastic Tupperware tumbler. I KNOW, I AM THE CLASSIEST.)

This morning, @lahikmajoe wasn’t even mad he woke up to about 200 tweets (just another sign that he is my secret sibling) and I had the headache from hell for the first couple hours of being awake, THANK YOU WHIPPED CREAM VODKA. I’m sticking to magic wine from now on. Ugh.

We’ve chosen the next movie for Sarcastic Movie Night! Are you ready? I know you’ll want to join in, because it is sure to be MISS KITTY FANTASTICO. Ready?

Dun dun DUNNNN.

I haven’t seen this movie since 1996, and that was the first time (and only time) I saw it, and I was forced to watch it (along with the other two movies in the original trilogy) all in a row by the boy I was in love with at the time and I was SO TIRED and he kept saying “Come on, this is BRILLIANT” and I was all “I AM SO TIRED WHATEVER” and so I have this weird irrational hatred of all things Star Wars. But I have been assured I’m allowed to make fun of it if I want. Also, I suppose, if nothing else, I can drool over young Harrison Ford, right? RIGHT.

So this is how you watch a movie with Twitter and vodka and snarking. Aren’t you glad you know how? I know you are. You, too, can do this same thing with YOUR friends! Only, I’d avoid the whipped cream vodka. It seems like a good idea, until you’re actually drinking it. Trust me on this. I made that mistake so you don’t have to.


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