Let’s Talk Twitteresque

There, I made up a new phrase. Twitteresque. I have no idea what it means. I just like the way it sounds, and if I like it, you might like it too. I’m adopting the “Effortless” approach. You may recall I used the Social Effort Scale last week, which determined that I “try too hard” on Twitter…even though most of my activity was said to be in the “Effortless” category.

According to the feedback on individual tweets, replying with a simple, “Thanks, that’s cool!” gets a “Not Trying Hard Enough” score. However, if you add a hashtag, you may find yourself in the “Effortless” category after all. Fair enough, but doesn’t that require more effort? Just an observation.

But I got to thinking about what “Effortless” look like on Twitter, and by that I mean what does it look like on the screen? I’ve come to this conclusion. Those who do effortless best look like they don’t give a shit. The guy that rolls out of bed, half-dressed, half-asleep and says something clever like, “I don’t want to get up today….” That gets retweeted 1,027 times. I think you know what I mean.

Of course, nobody does “Effortless” better than celebrities. They probably don’t want to be on Twitter in the first place. Let’s take a look see.

Here are a few famous writers. Now, I know Stephen King finally resigned and opened a Twitter account, but I think he’s enjoying himself.

stephenkingtwitter

No big introductions here. Just Stephen King in a cool skeleton-with-a-guitar shirt. It’s all you need. Maybe the comfortable, scary approach would work for me. This is rock star cool.

And Neil Gaiman:

neilgaimantwitter

More deep cool, and cool enough to drink milk. My husband had a glass of red wine with him once. True story. Where was I? How come I didn’t get to have a glass of wine with him. Now I’m getting upset.

Speaking of wine, here’s Leo enjoying a glass:

leotwitter

Check out those stats. My husband says Leo follows him and even retweeted him once. Oh, sure. I’m a bit skeptical now that I see the smallish number of people that he follows, also typical of celebrities. Grumpy Cat, or some version of him, followed me. I do have that! Anyway, cheers to Leo’s 11.8M followers.

Perhaps, I should be drinking something in my profile picture. Just a thought.

And here’s someone who needs no introduction at all and only one name.

oprahtwitter

Just the one name identifier and the dogs. Lots of fluffy dogs.

Here’s her friend Ellen with a catchy intro:

ellentwitter

Her tweets…she’s referring to the episode in Seinfeld, of course, when Elaine is in the spa, telling a woman that her boobs are real and that “…they’re spectacular.” Boobs, there. I got that in. Boobs! WordPress suggested I should write more about boobs this year in my posts. That worked out well for

me, and…that was effortless. Look at that.

So, Ellen got the flu from her friend Oprah. I’m sure you’ve all heard about it by now. It was big news on Twitter and Ellen was proud to get the flu from her. Favorited more than two thousand times. Let’s celebrate the flu, and why shouldn’t we?

Here’s another one of Oprah’s friend. Mr. Neil Patrick Harris. Incredible in Gone Girl. Did you see him? I thought he was excellent. He deserves some kind of prize.

NPHtwitter

Act some…you mean since you were four or something? Variety acts…you mean like the Academy Awards? See, effortless. And I will add, humble. And Oprah is here, and not even listed in the “Followed by” list. She’s just hanging out there. It just struck me as funny is all. Not funny?

This has been an edition of “Let’s Talk Twitteresque.” Your takeaway is simply this: If you want to appear effortless on Twitter, just be famous. Got it?

What about you? Ever had a glass of wine with a celebrity? Are you drinking a beverage in your profile pic? Have you ever had any interaction with a celebrity on Twitter? Please share.

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“E” is for Effortless

Last week, I was Effortless in Twitter. I checked out this tool called the Social Effort Scale that measures your effort in social media; they can measure your profile in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I had achieved a score of 150 in Twitter, which is a score of Effortless. Go me! This week, I stumbled. Here’s my latest score:

But my Effortless marks are still high! I scored bonus points for sharing Neil Gaiman's tweet.
But my Effortless marks are still high! I scored bonus points for sharing Neil Gaiman’s tweet. Ignore Facebook.

Your score is based on the following:

  • Number of hashtags
  • Percentage of capital letters
  • Amount of emoticons
  • Exclamation marks
  • Punctuation

The resulting score gives you an overall view of how hard or how little you’re trying on social media, plus individual scores for each of your updates. Here’s some advice for an Effortless score: Don’t ever mention yourself (even in a link), keep exclamation marks and hashtags to a minimum, and don’t use capital letters. I repeat, do NOT use capital letters. And, if you retweet someone with lots of capitals, down you go. Or, in this case, up.

Trust me, I don’t take this too seriously, but I’ll admit I got excited when I got the “Effortless” score. Typically, I know I try “too hard.” A visit to a tarot card reader came to mind. It was many moons ago, and a friend suggested it after we walked past the tarot card reader’s window. After turning over the first tarot card, she took hold of my hands, and simply said, “You try too hard.” Maybe it was because I had PMS or that I was planning a wedding on little money, but I broke down and cried. I knew she was right, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I really don’t know what I was expecting. A “How-to Guide” to life? Rainbows? I just didn’t like what she was serving.

My wedding plans had gone haywire; no one was performing their role as I saw fit, asking the wrong questions because they weren’t about me. They didn’t worry about the same things that I did, and believe me I worried; I wrestled with each decision until I could bear the weight of it no longer and released it to fate, a sort of passive-aggressive approach to decision-making. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time I second-guessed my decisions, or lack of decisions, anyway. Oh, how agonizing I was.

Little did I know at the time that I was marrying “The River.” It’s taken me a long time to embrace my husband’s “Que Sera Sera” approach to life. Now perk up. Here’s when my post will take a decidedly more cheerful turn. Enter “The River.”

I thought a visual might help. Feel the flow of the river...
I thought a visual might help. Feel the flow…

Let me tell you a more recent story of my husband’s ability to be “The River.” My husband registered for a conference for Union Educators in Los Angeles, one that required travel and hotel arrangements. He signed up at the last minute, and when he received an itinerary, he simply made a mental note of his travel date and that he would leave for the airport right after work. He never knew the time of the flight, his airline, or the name of his hotel. All that he knew was that he needed to arrive at the airport, which he did, ticketless, of course. Luckily he remembered his I.D., and the airline figured out the rest.

He had hoped he might see a colleague on the plane he knew; he saw no one. So, there he is up in the sky on his way to his conference, having no idea whatsoever where he would go once the plane landed, besides getting his luggage at the carousel. (It’s important to not get too ahead of yourself when you are The River. One step at a time.) At the carousel, who does he see, but the Union President. Oh, what luck! The President ushers him into a shuttle; it’s doubtful my husband expressed any confusion about their next destination. It was now in the hands of the Union President; what better person to run into? Did I mention that the Union President’s flight was delayed, so that it was a complete fluke that my husband should run into him at all? Double luck.

And it continues….

The hotel overbooked the “packaged deal” assigned for his group. Not to worry. There’s an available room in the penthouse. And guess what? My husband is bumped up to the penthouse with a slick view of the city and a balcony! Here, room service delivered free breakfast each and every morning; no phones calls necessary. Unbelievable!

I laugh at this, but then I also think it probably would not have happened this way if I were with him on this trip. I would have stressed, and consequently, caused him stress. We probably never would have ended up in the penthouse.

You have to ask yourself how willing you are to embrace the flow of the river, to indulge in oblivious forgetfulness, to just be in the moment…to be effortless.

Of course, by asking, you defeat the whole purpose of being The River altogether. It’s really a life philosophy and one that is not easily mastered.

I sense that a bigger part of it is letting go of self-absorption and being aware of others first. By letting go, the world around you is invited into your life, and just maybe they will set it on a smoother course. If you’ve broken all your New Year resolutions already, you might try the effortless route. You may be better off. You may even end up in the penthouse.

What about you? What end of the spectrum do you fall…The River or on the side of worry and indecision?

photo credit: Jezz via photopin cc

Only You Can Stop Bullying

We had a terrible tragedy happen this past month in my community. A former student at my son’s school took his life because of cyberbullying. His name was Ronin Shimizu, and he was twelve years old. He was the only boy on a cheerleading squad, which I suspect is the source of some of the bullying. Out of respect to his family, I have not sought out any further details. What I know is enough. This was a senseless tragedy and my heart breaks over it.

Ronin
Ronin Shimizu, age 12

Kids acting cruel to each other, misunderstanding, not accepting, and to what end? Do people feel better about themselves by hurting others? Anonymity does not give anyone permission to be hurtful and irresponsible. Insults given over time in large doses shared among the masses can do serious damage, inflicting wounds unseen on the other end of a screen.

I did not know Ronin before this happened, and my son had never met him, but as I write this, I well up with emotion. This year, Ronin had been homeschooled, I imagine to get away from the bullying. My son learned about Ronin’s suicide in school, although I don’t think they talked about it in those terms. It was too painful. Some teachers discussed it in class and others could not, too saddened to speak. At the end of the school day, a formal announcement was made by the principal. I had heard about it from a friend, so I understood why my son might seem down when I picked him up. He seemed a bit shaken and we talked about it on the way home, although he didn’t say much. I mentioned he could talk about it at anytime if he needed to.

Today, when I told him I wanted to write a post, he didn’t feel I should because it was too emotional for any more to be said about it, especially for the family, who has my deepest sympathies. Words cannot comfort here. I would give anything to change the situation.

But I wanted to write about it because writing helps heal at a time like this. And, for other reasons:

Because deep-down, I know what it’s like to be picked on. I remember when I was always the last chosen for the softball team for PE in grade school. I may have been scrawny, but I wasn’t horrible. I now know that I had low self-esteem, but I didn’t know it then. Adulthood gives perspective we can’t know as a child.

Because it’s not enough when I hear people say that kids will always be bullied and that it will always happen. We cannot accept this. We need to call out this behavior. Passive watching is the same as doing nothing and only encourages the behavior to continue.

Because cyberbullying knows no boundaries, and its reach can increase exponentially with each share, intended to inflict harm; a reminder to act before it escalates to an uncontrollable level. Time matters greatly here.

And because I have a message to bullies out there. As humans, we are mostly alike: 99.9% scientists now say. That 0.1% difference is what makes us unique and what we should all celebrate. Know you are no better than anybody else and you’re not much different. We’re all human and in this together.

But mostly, I was moved by the selfless actions of a solitary woman standing in the rain, holding a sign that said, “ONLY YOU CAN STOP BULLYING.” Meet 25-year-old Erika Lee. Soon after Ronin’s passing, she appeared at the corner of the entrance to my son’s school every morning at dropoff, waving and smiling as people drove past. I would wave back with tears in my eyes, even though I felt comfort in seeing her there everyday. Here she stands in the rain:

Image Source: KCRA.com
Image Source: KCRA.com

She’s a hero in my book.  Day after day, she was there. Even after four or five consecutive days of rain, the most rain California has seen in a long time, she stood. Soon, people brought her coffee and the media did a story about her. On the last day before the winter break, I wanted to meet her and thank her, and maybe even ask a few questions. I parked my car, walked over, and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned to me, and we hugged. Immediately, I broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t even form a sentence and apologized. She laughed, and said, “You should have seen me the other day.” She is an amazing, gracious person with a big heart.

She, herself, was bullied as a teen, and she wants kids to know they can talk about what they’re feeling, and that they are not alone.

Erika with a few friends.
Erika with a few friends.

I admire her compassion and for bringing awareness to bullying. She wants “to keep the memory of Ronin, and of those out there who experience his pains, those who feel alone, those who feel trapped, and have no where else to turn.” She will be back at the school after the break. Her long-term plan is to open a facility where kids and families can turn to for help; whether one is the victim of bullying or the one who bullies, everyone needs help.

She is standing up to bullying with such positive energy and courage. She told me, “I just want to make a difference.”

Erika, you have made a difference, and I know she continues to inspire so many.

Let’s stop this. Be watchful. If you are ever a witness to bullying, don’t just stand by, stand up!

Click HERE, if you would like to contribute to the Ronin Shimizu Memorial Fund.

For more information:
On Facebook: Ronin’s Voice and Folsom Cordova Stand for the Silent.
Find more information about cyberbullying at Cyberbullying Research Center.

Just Play Along

The only place I listen to the radio is in my car. Usually I forget the charger for my iPod, so the radio must do. I listen to NPR and a handful of stations, and switch around a lot. I like one station in particular that plays those 80’s classics (ouch) and some newer music that I rather like. Sometimes, I’ll download those news songs on my iPod.

The other day I was listening to some old 80’s song, and about a minute into it, I heard absolute silence. At first I thought, What’s wrong with my radio? I really could take or leave the song, but silence? That was strange. In seconds, a joyful robotic voice chimed in and said something to effect of,

“That song has been yanked out of rotation, because listeners like you voted if off our playlist.”

Yanked? Wow, the power. Really, I could take or leave the song, and maybe it should be out of rotation. But, what if I had loved the song? What if I was singing along (insert scratchy record sound effect), and blip, the song is gone?

Apparently, the way it works, is that disgruntled listeners can text that they dislike a song with a five-digit code. Simple enough. But what’s really going on here? I mean is it the same twenty people texting their dislikes? Hmm?

I know I can pop in my music if I’m organized enough, but on principle, should it be up to this band of dissatisfied devotees to determine the whole lot for everyone else? They could simply change the station couldn’t they? Since I listen to the radio only in my car, I can’t participate in this mudslinging. For crying out loud, I am driving. Are they, hmm? Are they texting while driving? Tsk, tsk.

BatmanMeme

Here’s another desperate act. In order to compete with the masses of short-attention spanners, a radio station in Alberta, Canada is reformatting songs to fit a play length of no more than two minutes. They don’t want their listeners to be bored, for heaven’s sake. I heard this story on the radio, too. In other words, that classic song you grew up with and is a part of you, a song which is perhaps 3 minutes and 20 seconds in length, is now limited to two minutes. That’s right. Axed. Whole verses deleted, and probably the guitar solo. No!

I liken it to the cliff notes version of a song, which can’t possibly capture the heart and soul of the whole song. It’s like smelling the food without tasting it. It’s an incomplete experience, not to mention, what must be a far cry from the artist’s intentions. I can’t imagine any artist who would accept this.

This radio station commented that the two-minute mark is approximately the amount of time it takes for people to switch stations. This switching of songs before they are over is a product of easy access to musical choices on iPods and other listening devices you see. They have this habit of swiping through songs, and it’s just a habit they can’t possibly break. Certainly, they conducted numerous studies to test this theory.

Remember when…the radio station was all we had. Anyone?

This extends beyond our favorite songs. It’s simply this:

those-who-play

I guess if you don’t, you can always read a book.

What do you think? Should songs be reformatted to two minutes? Do “dislikes” drive the content?

Photo credits: www.comicvine.comTambako the Jaguar via photopin cc

Striking a Pose in the Twitterverse

You heard that right. I’ve struck a pose in the Twitterverse. Twitterville. Twiiterland. Land of Tweets. Oh, I guess we could just say Twitter. Yep, I finally took the plunge.

How I currently see Twitter.
How I currently see Twitter.

I owe my thanks to Jon of Jumping from Cliffs and his lovely post, How to Win at Twitter in 7 Easy Steps. Only 7 steps? AND I can win? Yes! I couldn’t pass this up. Jon has all sorts of good advice. You really should follow his blog if you don’t already.

Now, I am properly feathered. Now I know, for example, that I should NOT be spammy. That’s perfect. Hate that stuff. And to tweet, retweet and such.

Also, the importance of the bio cannot be overstated. I thought up the following bios for myself:

I suck at this. Won’t you please help me?

That might give the wrong impression. No? Well how about this, because less is more on Twitter:

She’s lost. Help her? 

Seriously, I did come up with something else, which I’ll probably change tomorrow, regardless of the notion, according to some in the know, that no one cares. Okay, that would be my husband who said this. I suppose after thousands of followers, maybe.

Still working on the “sprucing up” part. You’re my friends, so I know you won’t hold this against me, right? I included the blue flamingo in my banner because “Blue Flamingo” used to be my nickname when I danced in this dance theater group. This is how is came about:

Dancer: Amy, you will be a flamingo.

Me: Okay, but I don’t want to be pink.

Dancer: Then you will be blue.

There you have it! It worked for me, because I like blue. I was the Blue Flamingo for a bit. There was also a Giraffe.

I’ll admit that I’m slow to adopt the social media since I’ve never considered myself to be a Me Me person. I’m not saying you are. It’s just that whenever I think about social media, generally, it’s all about Me and Look at me. I said, LOOK at me. LOOK at ME, ME. Meeeee. Are you still looking at me, because I don’t feel that you are? How can I say this any other way. LOOK AT ME!! LOOK LOOK!! I’m not trying to exaggerate.

And now with DeepFace, oh help us all. A missing airplane and now this.

Actually, Twitter looks to be a fun, informative place, and as the ever so gracious Guapo revealed, “a wicked (fun) timesuck! And then I responded, and he favorited my tweet. I got very excited about that!

Oh, and Tipsy Lit favorited my comment, even welcomed me. They are a class act.

And on Day two, thanks to Carrie for the warm welcome.

Now I can follow Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. I always wanted to do that.

And you. I want to follow you! I have followed some of my friends here in a very random, haphazard manner. So, if you reach out to me, I promise I’ll be following you back.

I’m @amyreesewrites
twitter_button

Meet you at the pond!

My inquiring mind wants to know: Do you have any Twitter tips for me? Do you have recommendations on who to follow? Any celebrities you enjoy?  Is Twitter a big timesuck? What isn’t a big timesuck these days? I need answers. 

photo credit: sinkdd via photopin cc

Out of Reach – Friday Fictioneers – 02/15/13

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting, and to David Stewart for the intriguing photo.

I went from science fiction, to contemplative, and ended with light.

Click here for more stories from the Fictioneers.

Genre: Humor

copyright-David Stewart

Out of Reach (100)

“I called, emailed, Facebooked him,” Aubrey said, fretting as we strolled past boutique shops. “I commented on his blog.”

I shook my head.

“I even retweeted one of his tweets,” she exclaimed.

“You did what?”

“Sure. It was the one about him wanting it to rain—”

“Give me that.” I pried the phone from her tight grip and made a break for it, climbing innumerable flights of stairs to a rooftop.

Aubrey shrieked, “Wait!”

I launched the phone into orbit. “If you love someone set him free.”

“Unbelievable,” tears welled in her eyes.

“Don’t you have insurance?” I asked.

Aubrey sobbed.

Facebook and the Confessions and Ramblings of a Gen-X’er

I’m on Facebook, of course, along with the rest of the almost billion users. That’s mind numbing. As of June 2012, Facebook has over 955 million active users. This number includes mobile users (said to make up half the number of users), underage kids who shouldn’t be there in the first place (FB restricts users under age 13) , businesses, social groups, and people like me, who have a page but don’t check in much.

It’s been months since I’ve changed my status. People must think I’m dead. In light of recent tragic events, I shouldn’t say that casually. There’s a bigger representation of society as a whole on Facebook, the good and the bad. There’s bound to be some non-trustworthy individuals and, in my opinion, people who have lost their minds.

A business doesn’t exist now unless they’re on Facebook. This is so if someone “likes” a sandwich, their social network of hundreds or thousands will see that they like that sandwich, and hey, maybe they’ll “like” it, too. It’s creepy. I’m not on board.

This didn’t make me a good candidate for a marketing position (that included social media) that required that I apply through Facebook and, somehow through an “app,”  grant them access to my social network. I was too creeped out to apply. I let this one go.

Call me old-fashioned. I’m of Generation X, which means I’ve seen a typewriter. In fact, once upon a time, I owned one and used it. Oh, now I’m feeling old. I don’t miss typewriters. I do miss seeing people and socializing with them face-to-face. I don’t feel like it happens as often, or perhaps, it’s just my individual circle of friends. I sometimes get the sense that people think so as long as they’re checking in with you on Facebook that they are actively involved in your life. It could be that some people are now more accustomed to a virtual replica of you, the one that puts you in the best possible light, a version they prefer over the real you that may not be up to “liking” an updated status.

What’s with the status? Before Facebook, all status ever meant to me was whether you were  1) Single 2) Married, or 3) Divorced. If you were single and dating someone, “in a relationship,” you were still “Single.” Am I right? If you’re not married, you’re single.

Now, of course, we have eleven categories of the relationship status: 1)  Single 2) In a relationship 3) Engaged 4) Married 5) It’s complicated 6) In an open relationship 7) Widowed 8) Separated 9) Divorced 10) In a civil union, and 11)  In a domestic partnership. Everyone is invited now.

I appreciate Facebook’s openness to everyone’s sexual preferences, etc. I really do. I like that about Facebook. Sure, it makes everything a little more complicated. Oh, that’s a category in and of itself.  What am I saying again?

I can’t imagine this is what Mark Zuckerberg imagined when he created Facebook. Remember, initially it was a mating dance for the college set, Harvard students and a few other campuses. People could report their status (Was it their relationship status? Whereabouts/event status?) Whether or not they were in a relationship, seeing someone, dating, and this conceivably, at the college age when everyone is really horny, changed on a daily basis, or hourly. Perhaps, this is where the idea of “status” updates began. I could be wrong.

I did make an effort with Facebook when I signed on. I joined Facebook when I was in a dance theater group. Facebook was our method of  sharing photos taken personally and  professionally. Well, what a better place to display them but on Facebook. It was free press for our dance company. The dancers were gorgeous and in their twenties and, like celebrities, always ready for a photo-op, a potential tagged photo for Facebook. I learned quickly.

No matter how much I tried to be Facebook ready, I just wasn’t. These dancer friends of mine, they were seasoned Facebook pros. Still, even if I didn’t like the photos that I was in, I still wanted to see them. I’m no longer in the group, but the dance photos remain. There have been other photos since, again ones I’m not crazy about. My husband like to put up family photo albums. Usually I respond this way,  “Oh, no. Yuck. That’s got to come off.” I guess I can put up with a few bad photos of myself for the sake of our family.

In the meantime, I am by no means passing judgement on those who enjoy Facebook. I realize I can and probably will publicize my blog. Perhaps, some of my friends will want to read my posts. But,  probably not today.

I’ve rambled long enough. Thanks for reading.

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