Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Facing the book...

This post originally appeared yesterday as a facebook note... DOA management

I think I've worked out this new Facebook... Apparently, the idea is to be able to break your friends up into more manageable groups, like Google + and their 'circles'. when you don't pick categories for all your friends and loved ones, It auto-defaults to the people that you comment on the most. I suppose for the Facebook user that has several thousand friends that they don't actually know, this would be a pretty neat thing... pull out all the folks that you met through farmville and apps like it, and concentrate on the people that really matter to you.

Which is great if you have primarily casual acquaintances on your Facebook, but not so much if you actually care about all the people on your Facebook. Me, I have maybe 200 or so Facebook friends, and I'm pretty picky about who gets added. My hard and fast rule is that I either have to have had a flesh and blood conversation with you at some point in my life, or you have to be someone that I desperately want to have a conversation with (which is why there are a few of my author/heroes on my feed).

I have always felt that one of Facebook's genuine strengths was that I could loosely keep tabs on folks that I had long lost contact with. Updates about friends from high school and college whose lives I genuinely miss being a part of now have their lives played out in front of me on a daily basis. Pictures of spouses and offspring float past, invariably bringing a smile to my face whether I hit the "like" button or not . It was a great way for me to reconnect with people through the flood of child care and writing that is now my life. I like to think that my updates do the same for them.

But then a few days ago, Facebook decided that I obviously couldn't possibly care about all of these people, so it cut back my feed to the top ten that I comment on on a regular basis. They have confused my passivity for apathy. Among the people that wound up filtered out were my wife and three of my closest friends. This made no sense to me until I tried to set up a Google + account, and saw the paradigm that Facebook is scrambling to emulate.

I think that Facebook has really turned a corner. Rather than being the trendsetter, they are now playing catch-up, much as MySpace wound up doing with them a few years ago. I would think that it would benefit them to just make their own product as useful as possible (Where's my damn dislike button?) and to stop copying others.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From the Short Stuff Journal series- Why I wish I was better at math.

Short stuff is now doing journaling assignments in class, and I told him that I would write too. After all, it's difficult to tell the boy to do an assignment when he sees his writer step-dad doing nothing... So, I told him I would write on my blog about anything he was told to write about in class. I may make it a weekly thing.

I wish I was better at math for a number of reasons. Math would help me manage my finances better, that's for sure. I mean, money isn't really that much of a problem for us these days, in that our bills are paid on a fairly regular basis, but things have been tight of late. If I was better at math I would be better at budgeting what little money we do have.

Another reason I wish that I was better at math is that I probably would have wound up in a much different career... I wanted to be a scientist or engineer when I was young, and then later a computer programmer... but I found out at an early age that I have no brain for either languages or math. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I do so well at English, all thing considered or I would be screwed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dr Strangebook, (Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Blog)

A lot of my thoughts are strictly one liners. I make no apologies about this, but sadly it means that they are far better suited for the "status update" or "tweet" than the "blog".

Coming up with Blog entries is hard. It can be discouraging, educational, and maddening at times to come up with just a few paragraphs that are all at once inspirational, interesting and entertaining all at the same time. I shouldn't be so self conscious about it I suppose, but let's face it, all of us write on some level to be read.

Blogging, I think is one of the more primal exercises in writing. It's not that I don't have a tremendous amount of respect for those that make a popular blog, but the act of blogging is a little like spitting out the best and worst of yourself out on a page, unedited for the world to see. At least with sites like Facebook, you always have a measure of control over who actually reads your words... but blogs are usually very public places.

I have recently come to the conclusion that if you're really worried about who reads what you write and how they will react to it you probably shouldn't be a writer. I have had reason to be worried in the past, too... I have had at least two of my jobs placed in jeopardy, and watched a fellow promising writers career go down in flames due to the raging beast that is the internet. But that was then, and this is now. I no longer work for anyone, save my wife, kids, and personal sense of duty.

I need to be out there on the web sticking it to the man, you know? Or at the very least poking him with a rubber chicken or two.