Take a break, but don’t forget to come back

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FROM NPR:

We asked how your social media habits changed after the election. More than 150 of you replied — and most are tired, deleting apps, unfriending people, tuning out politics or worried for family ties.

Source: After Divisive Election, Overwhelmed Social Media Users Unfriend, Cut Back : All Tech Considered : NPR


 

NPR recently published the above article about the narrowing of communities, courtesy of the most divisive, negative and emotionally gripping election most Americans have been unfortunate enough to have lived through. Specifically, people are unfriending like mad on Facebook, or otherwise staying away from social media altogether. I spoke with a colleague today who said that she’s been avoiding the social network of late because she “need[s] a break from people.”

I get that. A couple dozen (maybe more?) of my Facebook friends are staunchly pro-Trump or are otherwise deeply conservative, and they share a lot of content that I find personally repugnant, and that’s not even including the “news articles” populating their feeds that are so obviously fake that I question their basic intelligence.

I completely understand the desire to disengage, to retreat into one’s private space to reflect, maybe forget even for just a little while all the disheartening stories and news of the last few weeks. I, for one, realize that I can’t “unhear” that stomach-churning, horrifying Access Hollywood tape from early October, and that was just one example of just how much damage has been wrought by one very angry, self-absorbed and manipulative narcissist. (And now he’s our president. Ugh. There I go again. Where’s the sangria when I need it?)

Still, I hope that very soon, good, conscientious people will return to the communities in which they once thrived and through which they were involved in civic society. We need more people with a commitment and passion for social and economic justice; freedom of speech, religion and of the press; reproductive rights; human rights; and so many other civil liberties that are now being threatened under the impending new administration.

So many people reached out to me privately, either just before or just after the election, lamenting that they didn’t feel they did enough. As any good therapist will tell you, there’s no sense in wishing for what might have been. Instead, channel that disappointment and anger into productive action. Come back to your community, even if your heart is still a little bruised, and your head is still smarting from the pain. Come back to your networks, and double down on your outreach. We still need Joe Biden memes, cat GIFs, puppy videos, holiday baking recipes, and the latest news from Kamp Kardashian. But we also need people to participate as fully informed citizens of a democratic society.

Of course, sharing meaningful, thought-provoking news and essays on social media (obviously, I don’t mean these news articles) should just be the beginning of one’s engagement. I loved the proliferation of “how to be involved” articles in the days after the apocalypse election. Here are two of my favorites:

How to Channel Your Post-Election Anger, Sadness, and Fear Into Action (from Slate.com)

Finish Your Ugly Crying. Here’s What Comes Next. (from NYMag.com)

I’ve already done a couple (after, of course, hanging out in Barcelona for a few days. Business trip, believe it or not!). Namely: becoming a monthly donor to my favorite progressive organizations (that would be the ACLU and Planned Parenthood), and paying for the journalism that sustained me throughout the election. I also have been in touch with my fellow Hillary for America volunteers, and we’re working on our post-2016 strategy. We’re setting our sites on defeating Ted Cruz’s reelection bid in 2018, and for that, we have to start now.

Another “next step?” Figuring out, along with so many other of my progressives-in-arms, who would make a great candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Right now, there’s not a very long list, but I’m thinking this particular woman might just deserve a place on it.

 

 

Take a break, but don't forget to come back

Standard

FROM NPR:

We asked how your social media habits changed after the election. More than 150 of you replied — and most are tired, deleting apps, unfriending people, tuning out politics or worried for family ties.

Source: After Divisive Election, Overwhelmed Social Media Users Unfriend, Cut Back : All Tech Considered : NPR


 

NPR recently published the above article about the narrowing of communities, courtesy of the most divisive, negative and emotionally gripping election most Americans have been unfortunate enough to have lived through. Specifically, people are unfriending like mad on Facebook, or otherwise staying away from social media altogether. I spoke with a colleague today who said that she’s been avoiding the social network of late because she “need[s] a break from people.”

I get that. A couple dozen (maybe more?) of my Facebook friends are staunchly pro-Trump or are otherwise deeply conservative, and they share a lot of content that I find personally repugnant, and that’s not even including the “news articles” populating their feeds that are so obviously fake that I question their basic intelligence.

I completely understand the desire to disengage, to retreat into one’s private space to reflect, maybe forget even for just a little while all the disheartening stories and news of the last few weeks. I, for one, realize that I can’t “unhear” that stomach-churning, horrifying Access Hollywood tape from early October, and that was just one example of just how much damage has been wrought by one very angry, self-absorbed and manipulative narcissist. (And now he’s our president. Ugh. There I go again. Where’s the sangria when I need it?)

Still, I hope that very soon, good, conscientious people will return to the communities in which they once thrived and through which they were involved in civic society. We need more people with a commitment and passion for social and economic justice; freedom of speech, religion and of the press; reproductive rights; human rights; and so many other civil liberties that are now being threatened under the impending new administration.

So many people reached out to me privately, either just before or just after the election, lamenting that they didn’t feel they did enough. As any good therapist will tell you, there’s no sense in wishing for what might have been. Instead, channel that disappointment and anger into productive action. Come back to your community, even if your heart is still a little bruised, and your head is still smarting from the pain. Come back to your networks, and double down on your outreach. We still need Joe Biden memes, cat GIFs, puppy videos, holiday baking recipes, and the latest news from Kamp Kardashian. But we also need people to participate as fully informed citizens of a democratic society.

Of course, sharing meaningful, thought-provoking news and essays on social media (obviously, I don’t mean these news articles) should just be the beginning of one’s engagement. I loved the proliferation of “how to be involved” articles in the days after the apocalypse election. Here are two of my favorites:

How to Channel Your Post-Election Anger, Sadness, and Fear Into Action (from Slate.com)

Finish Your Ugly Crying. Here’s What Comes Next. (from NYMag.com)

I’ve already done a couple (after, of course, hanging out in Barcelona for a few days. Business trip, believe it or not!). Namely: becoming a monthly donor to my favorite progressive organizations (that would be the ACLU and Planned Parenthood), and paying for the journalism that sustained me throughout the election. I also have been in touch with my fellow Hillary for America volunteers, and we’re working on our post-2016 strategy. We’re setting our sites on defeating Ted Cruz’s reelection bid in 2018, and for that, we have to start now.

Another “next step?” Figuring out, along with so many other of my progressives-in-arms, who would make a great candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Right now, there’s not a very long list, but I’m thinking this particular woman might just deserve a place on it.

 

 

Plurk Carnival, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Plurk!

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On Monday I wrote about the wonder (and occasionally, frustration) that is Plurk. A bunch of fellow Plurkers and I got together to create a Plurk Carnival, posting on all the things we love and hate and are confused about Plurk. Enjoy!

Allan Cockerill (Ozegold): Why Does My Plurk Karma Keep Dropping? Social media analyst Allan points out an extremely simple yet effective way of earning more Karma points. Wanna know what that is? Click on the link to find out!

Shai Coggins (ShaiCoggins): 10 Things About Plurk. Blogging guru and b5media veep Shai Coggins shares some of her insights on Plurk, namely, 5 things she loves about it, 5 things she dislikes about it, and (bonus!) two essential Plurk tools.

Hope Wilbanks (HopeWilbanks): A Look at Plurk. Hope, a writer and avid Plurker, shares her thoughts on Plurk and offers suggestions on how to make the most of your Plurk experience.

Toni Tiu (macaronigirl): 5 Reasons Why I Can’t Stop Plurking. Toni’s a Philippine-based Plurker and all-around Internet fanatic who’s as addicted to Plurk as everyone else on this list. Find out why on her blog, Wifely Steps.

Meikah Delid (Meikah): Why MamaIsPlurking. I love Meikah’s description of the Plurk experience as being like in a bar, where you can drop in or eavesdrop on random conversations. She shares with her readers why she loves Plurking and her favorite aspects of the Plurk experience.

Sasha Manuel (Sasha): Why Do You Plurk? My favorite Filipina fashionista. Sasha’s a photographer, a part-time model, social media junkie, professional blogger, stylist, and awesome Net friend. She’s obsessed with her Karma, too, apparently.

Melissa Williams (flamehair): Plurk. Melissa, like many others, is discovering how much better Plurk is than Twitter. I agree. Read her blog and find out why.

There you go! As more people participate in the Plurk Carnival we have going on, I’ll post more links here. In the meantime, if you want to add on any of the above folks to your Plurk community, just click on their Plurk nicknames above. And hey, feel free to add me as well!

Plurk Fever

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If you haven’t yet been introduced to Plurk, the newest and fun-nest micro-blogging service out there, you’ve been missing something good.

You’ve probably seen the Plurk timeline on the right-hand side of this blog (and those on my other blogs). It provides real-time updates of my “plurks,” or mini-posts and gives those of you who care an idea of what’s going on in my life at that moment. Like Twitter, Plurk limits your posts to 140 characters, but the difference between the two sites (and likely what makes Plurk so addictive) is that, unlike Twitter, your “plurks” are each given their own boxes so that people can respond directly to your posts. It makes it easy to keep track of who’s responded, what they’ve said, even when someone has posted a new respones. Twitter, for example, lists each tweet on one page, and while people can respond directly to each of your tweets, you have to go to a separate page to see the response better. Plus, Twitter doesn’t make it easy to keep track of your friends; if you want to see older posts from, say, 12 hours or 12 days ago, you pretty much have to go through several pages and find the ones you want. If you have a lot of Twitter friends, that can make for some serious searching.

Plurk, on the other hand, provides a horizontal timeline of your conversations with friends. It tells you if any new plurks or responses have popped up and will take you directly to those new messages and responses with one click. You can then choose which conversation you want to follow by simply opening up each message box.

I’ve found Plurk to be much, much more addictive than Twitter. One of the ingenious inventions of the Plurk folks is the whole concept of karma. Forget the Dalai Lama for the moment; on Plurk, your “status” in the Plurk community is all about your karma. You gain karma points by posting “quality plurks” every day; updating your profile; getting people to respond to your plurks; and inviting your friends who aren’t on Plurk to join in. You can, however, lose karma points if you, say, miss a day of plurking or if someone rejects your request for “friendship.”

One of the funniest and oddest things I’ve found in the short time I’ve been on Plurk is how zealously attached people become to their karma levels. On the one hand, it’s amusing to read people’s anguished posts about losing karma because they took a day off or because Plurk was down for an unusually long time (happened a lot this weekend). On the other, it’s crazy to think that something so arbitrary as karma from a mere Web site (and remember, there’s no money or fame or even M&M’s tied into karma — they’re just random numbers) can drive people so batty. People have gotten angry at losing karma. People have threatened to storm the Plurk castle because of losing karma. People have posted unnecessarily large numbers of plurks because they’ve lost karma. And it’s not even real karma. You don’t come back in your next life as a cockroach or anything. You simply…lose karma points. In a Web site. On the Internet.

Yeah. It’s weird.

Still, I love it. I love how much more interaction I’m getting from people. I’m cynical enough to wonder if perhaps part of the reason why people “friend” me is because they want to gain more karma points. I’ve grown tired of the handful of Plurk friends who “friend” me, only to do nothing but send what’s essentially Plurk spam by posting only links to their latest blog posts. They don’t post anything else, nor do they bother responding to my or other people’s plurks. I’ve seen people become overly concerned about “de-friending” someone, whether they’re on the “losing” end or if they’re the ones who want to “de-friend.” The psychology of Plurk is what fascinates me the most, but I’ve also met some amazing friends, from whom I’ve gleaned so much non-Plurk wisdom about the Internet, blogs and social media.

One thing that someone pointed out is that, unlike Twitter, Plurk doesn’t necessarily reward the “big guns” of the Internet. In other words, in order to gain the karma status so coveted by Plurk folks, one actually has to do more than throw up a bunch of links to one’s high-trafficked blog. You gain points by interacting with your fan base and writing frequent plurks. No slacking allowed here. And unlike Twitter, where being “un-followed” doesn’t result in a diminished Twitter status, each person who “de-friends” you on Plurk means the loss of more karma points.
I haven’t de-friended anyone yet, but I have learned to be a little more careful about adding friends. Once you have more than a couple dozen, it can be difficult to keep track of and respond to everyone’s conversations in a meaningful way, even with the help of the timeline. I’ve seen a couple of my “friends” who do nothing more than post “good bye!” and “hello!” messages on my plurks, which I don’t mind, but I would have liked them to be more engaged in conversation. Still, some of these friends obviously have dozens, if not hundreds of friends of their own, and I can’t even begin to imagine how they keep track of them all. At some point, people are going to start being ruthless and “de-friending” those who don’t interact with them. And then — horrors! — you start losing the karma points you invested so much time harvesting.

I’m curious as to how Plurk will play out in the war for more eyeballs in the social media sphere. If it can attract more people like myself — i.e., the “civilians” of the Web 2.0 world, those who don’t necessarily make their living writing/blogging/analyzing social media tools and the Internet — I can see it overtaking Twitter, whose interface I still don’t like, although I maintain the account just because, well, everyone has one.

Possibly the one thing that can stunt Plurk’s growth is their recent display of more frequent downtimes and outages. The weekend (Friday through Sunday) especially saw some complete downtimes, with no one being able to plurk for hours. I saw it as a good thing, in a way, as the addictive nature of the site means that any downtime can be a welcome excuse to actually get work done. But it didn’t endear Plurk to its new followers, especially those who’ve only been on the site for a few days (which includes a lot of my new friends). I’m wondering if it’s suffering from the same fate as Twitter, which still can’t seem to handle its massive traffic growth and is actually down as I type this. Let’s hope it’s just temporary on Plurk’s part. Addictive or not, I do miss my friends.

Stay tuned for a round-up of Plurk-related posts on fellow Plurker’s blogs tomorrow!