#weekendcoffeeshare: Social Media Pandemonium

Remember last month I stated how the #weekendcoffeeshare at Part-Time Monster wasn’t active anymore? I found where it is active, The Daily Post. If this is something you’d like to do, whether it be weekly like it’s supposed to be or the way I do it once a month, you can get the lowdown about it at the link above. From what I read, I do mine a little differently but no one seems to mind enough to approach me about it.

Additionally, the hashtag of #weekendcoffeeshare is used lavishly on Twitter and Facebook. This might get more readers to your blog. 😉

#weekendcoffeeshare: Social Media Pandemonia
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

If we were to have coffee…

I’ve requested to have our coffee-share at McDonald’s just north of the interstate. Since they got rid of the playground area and have revamped the play for actual adults, it’s become a favorite of mine. We drape our jackets over that backs of the chairs that are with a clean table along the front window. No one is waiting in line so getting our large flavored coffees is a snap today.

[Your dialogue is in purple. My dialogue is in teal.]

“Several of the writing blogs I follow are telling me I need to have an online platform, a brand, a presence, whatever they’re calling it this week. I know they’re probably right but this is the one thing I’m not fond of in the twenty-first century of writing.” I carefully take the lid off my container so the coffee will cool down a smidgen.

“It’s the price we pay for the freedoms we have now. I wonder how authors did it before the internet.” You sip your coffee cautiously.

“Maybe they hired publicists. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford one of those. Besides, I can’t see myself attending many book signings at bookstores. Most of the sales are at online outlets these days.”

I give out a yip. I’ve burned my tongue.

“Are you okay?” I nod and lean against the back of the plastic chair. “Have you joined and participated in any of the social media sites?”

“Oh yes, I’ve been on Twitter for a few years now. I also have an account at Google+ and belong to three groups there. I even went back to Facebook, as much as I hate it, and made myself a page.”  Delicately, I take a sip of the caramel coffee blend.

“Why don’t you like Facebook?”

“Things are written there that probably shouldn’t be written anywhere. It often gets rude and cruel.”

We sit in silence for a few moments watching the cars on the road.

You turn to me and say, “Do you know that Facebook has filters now so you can target your crowd a little?”

I smile at your attempt to sway me. “Yeah, I saw that just the other day. I need to investigate that more. Part of my problem is when I read what people write on my timelines and my one page, I’m wondering what they’re really after. So much of it looks like boring dribble to me. Is it a case of me not knowing how to be sociable on the internet?”

You let out a guffaw. “Haven’t you ever been to a cocktail party?” I shake my head. “Not ever?”

“Nope. I have been to some bars, though.”

“I didn’t realize you were the type.” You give me a sideways stare.

“Neighborhood bars with friends. No, I’ve never been a ‘pick-up’ at a bar.” I briefly give you a look of reprimand.

“Okay, think of social media sites as bars of different types. You’re still going to get a lot of the dribble you were talking about but if you scout around, you’ll find some interesting conversations.”

I raise my eyebrows and give a sigh. “So I have to spend more time with it, right?”

You take a swig of coffee before answering. “Yes, but you can do other things while you waiting for intelligence to arrive. Work on your WiP. Visit some blogs. Just peek in on the social media site every so often.” I peer at you with concern. “You’re an introvert so this takes a little more practice is all.”

People are starting to breeze in for lunch. We watch some of the characters who waltz in, making funny comments about them. Soon our coffee is gone and we leave to continue on with our day.

§

What’s your take on social media sites?

Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience. ~Walter Lippma

 

Alleviating Email Issues

Alleviating Email Issues
Image provided by Megan Amaral
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mamsy/

I can remember when I used to wish that advertisers would stop sending mail. You know, those things with envelopes. I’d walk to the mail station down the street to retrieve the bills I needed to pay along with, hopefully, a real letter from someone I care about. Lo and behold, my little compartment would be filled with junk mail.

Sure, some of it I’d scan: catalogs, coupons, and local events. Most of it, though, was tosses into the waste paper basket immediately. Even most of the items I glanced at got dumped as well. I lived frugally. I still do.

Now, I have even more junk mail thanks to the internet. It isn’t just the post person dropping garbage off at my home. It’s even coming in through the wires and air! –Depending on if I’m using my PC or laptop.

I guess I could just close my email account. I’d still have the social media sites to bring me news. Most of the blogs I subscribe to are connected to sites where I can read notification at those host sites: WordPress.Com, LiveJournal.Com, and Dreamwidth.Com.

Still, I do love getting email in the morning. I especially love the ones from friends and family. I read as much of it as I can while I drink my first mug of coffee for the day. My email site, Gmail.Com now, tries their best to keep the junk out of my folders. They do a better job at this than Outlook.Com was doing. At least with Gmail, I can rat on the jerks who are sending me spam and know with some certainty something will be done. Outlook says they do this but they need myriads of improvement. The spam problem with Outlook upsets me a great deal. I had hoped Microsoft would have a better handle on this situation in cyber space. I really did want to stay with Outlook. I was trying to limit my use of Google as much as I could because of their determination to become an internet monopoly. I’m totally against that–obviously.

To say the least, I’m sorely disappointed in Microsoft.

Surfing the blogosphere can get rather time-consuming. Having the notifications come by email helps out a little. More often than not, they come trickling in so I can read a few in the morning, a few a lunch, and more after dinner without my inbox getting overloaded. I know that some people get things so organized within their email account that they have all email of one type going to a specific folder found just below the inbox. It does make the account look cleaner, but those people are still seeing how many emails are waiting for them. It can get quite staggering. They better not take a vacation from this daily chore–or a sick day.

Gmail has made it a little easier to organize the inbox. There’s tabs above where the list of emails show, giving me the option to use the ones they provide or add my own. I never have to look at all of the emails in the list at one time. That is except for at the sidebar. Right after the word, Inbox, there the TOTAL number of emails staring at me.

I couldn’t imagine being the only one who feels the anxiety of the large number. After all, there’s only so much storage in these email accounts. Sure, I don’t have to scan each and every email. In fact, I barely glimpse at the ones in the spam folder before I dump them all. Still, the hankering to read each one that makes it to my inbox can keep me glued to my seat. I’m sure there are others who are like me.

With these thoughts in mind, I created a newsletter for my blog. It’ll be delivered to subscribers’ inboxes once a month, the last Friday of each month. There’s a short article you may or may not want to read. The important element of it is the list of posts from the prior four weeks in the sidebar linked to the posts themselves. The people who subscribe will be able to stop the notifications from WordPress.Com, thus lessening the number of emails in their inboxes by a small but significant three per month from yours truly.

True, probably quite trifling in the big scheme of things, but if more bloggers offered this, the email inbox won’t seem to daunting.

Anyway, the sign up is at the top of the page here on the sidebar if you’re so inclined to subscribe to my newsletter.

§

P.S. Jacqui Murray asked about continuing my series of #weekend coffee. Jacqui, one of the posts will be just that. This means one post each month will be a little late so it coincides with Daily Post’s Weekend Coffee Share.

Blogging is great, and I read blogs all day long. However, my goal is really to have a deep, meaningful discussion with people. For some reason, I’m able to accomplish this best via email. —Jason Calacanis

 

That Contrite Decision

That Constrite Decision
Image provided by Karim Moukalled
https://www.flickr.com/photos/karimmoukalled/

Have you ever been in that state of mind where you’re certain you can make the situation better with just a few tweaks? Nothing major, mind you. They’re the types of adjustments that show little on the surface, if at all, but you’re positive the changes will greatly improve your life in so way. After the choices are set in place, you may feel a little relief, giving you a sense of feigned tranquility. Of course, you don’t realize the calmness as being fake at the time.

I did such tweaking a few weeks ago. My hopes soared envisioning better organization. A diverse system of how I’d receive and send email depending on the reason for the transmission sounded ingenious to me. Individual compartments for different functions in total isolation from one another struck me as the way to go to help with the cognitive muddle that sometimes fogs my brain.

I set up a second email account at Gmail to handle all correspondence from WordPress.Com. The account I already had with Google, I designated for personal conversations. I set up my Outlook email account to receive and send from Twitter and blogs not affiliated with WordPress.

I felt a little off doing this adjustment though. There was a  personal paradoxical element to the matter. I’m not a fan of Google. Despite having an account at Google+ that I intend to keep and having that first email account with Gmail, I despise how the company tries to control the whole damn internet, making site owners jump through hoops of regulations and analysis tactics. Who decided their search engine had precedence over any of the others? But this is a whole other topic and I only bring up this much to explain the irony of my actions.

Five days ago I noticed how Google sites were sticking if more that one Google site was open in my browser. When a person has more than one Google account, the person has to open one in one of the next tabs while the one first opened is still in use. The person needs to click on his/her icon to do this. Just opening up another tab doesn’t work. You’ll end up back at that first account. Yes, ludicrous. The second tab of Gmail was sticking, forcing me to close my browser. True, I’m not using the Chrome browser. Windows doesn’t play well with Chrome anymore. My assumption is Google is trying to force me into buying a Mac or a Chrome book. Sorry fellas, but I’m poor. Besides, I hate Google trying to force me into doing anything at all. I refuse to let them become a monopoly. I deviated again. Sorry.

I finally had enough of the syrupy gooey mess associated with Gmail a couple of days ago. I changed my WordPress emails back to Outlook and forwarded all correspondence from the original Gmail account over to Outlook. The second Gmail account won’t be used. I’m just waiting for all the stragglers that may show up in that inbox so I can deal with them and delete that account.

Outlook isn’t fantastic by any means. It doesn’t always catch the junk before it dumps into the inbox. The options of design are minimal at best. Still, I like the setup there, which is, or in my opinion is the most important when choosing an email carrier site. I have two accounts with them although I just use the one. If I was ever to require the use of that second account, it could be done without ever opening another tab or window each time I’d want to use it. A much more efficient setup than at Google.

The idea of unrestricted separation to assist my mental shortcomings was a flop. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried doing something like this and I can’t expect it to be the last. I get in these moods of wanting to change something in the hopes of making everything better. It’s a complete emotional reaction to something that should be rational. Where it comes from is a mystery to me, except to say most thoughts of any kind that I have must go through the right side of my brain before hitting the left. I can’t even figure out when I get these zany ideas. Do they pop up when I’m trying to get out of a funk? Possibly, but I don’t know how that could be. Do they appear when I’m feeling exceptionally brave? I don’t think so but then again… Do these notions creep in what my brain needs a break from my WiP? Another possibility, although I can find better ways to spend my time.

I should pay more attention to this phenomena and maybe write about it.

§

What do you think?

I have made decisions that turned out to be wrong, and went back and did it another way, and still took less time than many who procrastinated over the original decision. Your brain is capable of handling 140, 000 million bits of information in one second, and if you take hours or days or weeks to reach a vital decision, you are short-circuiting your most valuable property. – Jerry Gillies

 

Beyond Perplexity

Beyond Perplexity
Image provided by
Damein Gabrielson @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielsond/

Twenty years ago, the computer wasn’t in every home yet. I knew how to use one, even had one at my desk at work, but the thought of spending that sort of money for something I would probably never use at home was unthinkable.

Back then I had a small leather notebook, and I do mean small like in one you can put in your pocket. I would go the McDonald’s four blocks away, buy a Coke (or did they just have Pepsi) and sit next to a window and write. I preferred a mechanical pencil but if I didn’t want to take time to find the lead, I’d take a cheap pen with me.

Since I’ve had a computer in my home, I rarely write in longhand. You can tell too because my penmanship has gotten raunchy. I should write longhand when doing the first rough draft of a story, if for no other reason, because there’s a psychological connection between the brain and the hand. Typing is almost as good but still, I think I’d write more of exactly what I mean instead of using words that have become so commonplace for me.

The first and second computer I’ve owned came with Microsoft Word. I got use to using this software, so when I got my third PC and it didn’t have this program, I was a little annoyed. It had another program to replace Word called Works. Despite the bells and whistles it had, it still wasn’t as good as the original.

I’m on my seventh PC now. Could I live without it? In a city, I could, but here in rural America — no, I need it if I’m ever going to get to the point where I am a published author of a book. Although publishing houses do accept manuscripts by postal mail, anymore they prefer email. In a city, I’d just write in longhand or even use a typewriter all the way to the final draft and then retype it to a computer at the library. Although this little town has a library, they have six PCs, which can be used for only one hour at a time unless no one is waiting, which is hardly ever. Anyway, I think you get the point of why I rely in my PC.

Two years ago I splurged. I bought Microsoft Office. It was over $100 (was it $119.98, $159.98) and I didn’t even get a disk. I got a card with the purchase number that I had to give to Microsoft at their site. Even then, I didn’t get to download it. I only received access to it through Microsoft.

Last year I ended up buying Windows 8.1 — on disk. To my dismay, I lost access to Office. I’ve tried to find my card that I got at Staples when I bought the program, but so far I can’t find it. I spoke to the people a Microsoft. They said my only course of action is to go back to Staples and see if they have my card on file. They said they can’t help me.

Until I can get to Staples, I’m using several of the Office applications online for free. This is beyond confusing. It’s beyond weird. Why did I pay for access when I could have access for free? The only difference I can see is that I now see my browser when using out of the apps where before I could use them on my desktop.

I started using Google Doc and Sheets too. It started out as just an experiment to see if Office apps online or Doc and Sheets had the most to use — you know, bells and whistles. So far there’s a tie between them.

Did I get gypped by Microsoft? If so, I know someone who works for them. I don’t know if he can help me but I’m going to ask him.

I downloaded OpenOffice. It’s okay, I guess — but it’s already acting up. I’m thinking about uninstalling it because of what I have online. Why should I gunk up my PC when I don’t have to and still have what I need?

When did something so simple become so complicated?