Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Facebook: Why You're Not Just Talking to a Wall

   Facebook, the largest social networking site in the world. Nearly one in every two Americans have a Facebook profile; some more active than others. It has changed our culture and the way that we interact with one another. However, the way that we view it and how we tend to use it varies greatly.
   There are many ways in which this social networking site can be used. Some use it to post about their every day lives. Others use it to post pictures of their vacations, children and pets. While others use it as a tool to vent about their trivial every day lives. Some people use it as a way of getting in touch with long lost "friends", family members, or ex co-workers. As you can see, there are many ways in which this platform can be used.
   As great as this platform is for socializing, and for the many uses this tool has in it's arsenal, just like anything else it has it's faults. As they say, too much of a good thing isn't necessarily a good thing. So before you go ahead and create that username and profile, you need to ask yourself some questions. First of all, why am I using this for? What purpose will this serve me? Am I willing to put my life out there for all of the world to see? As I use it am I getting as much from it as I'm putting into it?
   If you have been using Facebook for a while than more likely than not, just like your toothbrush, it is something that you use at least once or twice per day. In fact, for some people, it is the first and last thing they do during their day. We are using it so often now, for some if not most of us it has become out of control. Ask yourself this question: out of all of my Facebook friends, how many people do I actually interact with on a daily or at least a weekly basis? If you are completely honest with yourself I am sure that the answer will be very few. The average Facebook user has 130 "friends". Now I ask you to think about your life and tell me if you've ever had that cumulative amount of friends from birth?! Do you think it's cool to have that amount of 'friends"? For you, is it quantity over quality or the other way around?! What is your definition of a 'friend' anyway?!
   Whn you logon to Facebook and check your wall do you ever stop to think that a real live human being is behind that pic and behind those words? If you did than you would realize that you're not just talking to a wall!! There is a real person who you are communicating with. It may start innocent and casual. Then one day you realize how often you are interacting with them. You begin to learn more about them from their words, their pictures, and even the way that others interact with your "friends". Suddenly you may begin to see that it is not just a digital representation of someone but rather a real person that has feelings. We get so wrapped up in communicating with one another in this fashion we rarely step back and take a look at the big picture.
   Now I know that this may have started out all innocent and such. You may have thought it was cool to have 130 "friends" on your Facebook list. But go over that list again and ask yourself do I really care about these people? Do these people really care about me? If I had them over to my home, would I open up my photo albums and show them my pictures? This is what you are doing but you are doing so online in a digital format. You are letting "friends" whom are mostly strangers into your world. You become an open book. Do you really want these so-called friends to read that book?! More likely than not the answer is no.
   If you are using Facebook to reach out to long lost friends of the past than you need to ask yourself why are you doing so?! Know that just because you can, doesn't mean you should. As they say, you can't go back. The person that you knew five, ten, or even twenty years ago is not the same person. We all change; yes even you do and this is just a fact of life. If it has been more than just a few years than it is like getting to know someone all over again. The person that is in your mind is not the person whom you are speaking to now. That said, do you really want this stranger back into your life? How much can you really know about someone via solely this platform?
   Facebook should be used not as a sole tool for communicating with someone but rather as an additional tool. Think about this: if Facebook was to suddenly disappear and you were only given a few days warning, how many in your list of "friends" would you still communicate with? How many of them would you ask for their phone number and home address? How many of these people, come their birthday do you actually call on the phone or send a real birthday card to? As I've said before, you're not just talking to a wall here but real life human beings. If you are being honest with yourself than most of your "friends" on this platform you would not communicate with by either phone, letters, or home visits if it did not exist in the first place. The people that you would communicate with in these fashions are your true friends, period. Anyone else is just not a real friend according to the truest definition of the word.
   Let us also remember that as we post things to our wall not to use it in a selfish manner. Sure we are all proud of our children and we want to show them off for all the world to see but when someone comments on these pics we all need to treat it as a conversation. This tool is not just a one-way road. Again, this is a social networking site; the keyword here being social. It is not meant to be all about YOU. If someone posts pics and links for you to check out on your wall then be interactive with them. Let them know that you appreciate the things that they're sending you. Don't just take these things for granted. Yes, it may be easy to post a link on someone's wall but we all need to take a step back and realize that someone went out of their way to do this for us; they were thinking of YOU. Even if it's just a silly joke, the fact is that they purposely went out of their way to make sure that you heard about it. As much more of a giver than a receiver I am, it is nice to hear from someone, even if it's just every once in a while that you're appreciated. If you do see your 'friends" comment on others comments, pics, etc. but not often on your own, you may need to question if this person is really a friend?!
   Now I'm not saying that it's not cool to catch up with people after many years have gone by. It is nice to see what they now look like and to see pictures of their spouse and children and to know what they've been up to after all of this time. However, once we obtain this information do we really want them back into our every day lives? Will you add them as a friend and just leave them sitting there on your "friends" list? If you do than you're letting them read that book of yours again. Maybe it would be best to delete them once you heard from them. You may think that this would be rude but if both parties are being totally honest with each other than you know that you will more likely than not, not bother to continue to communicate with them. Again, they are in turn a stranger to you after those many years that have gone by. You cannot just suddenly pick up where you left off. In fact, if you delete them they probably wouldn't even realize that you disappeared from their friends list and even if they did, it would be some time before they did realize it and even if they did they probably would not care.
   To conclude, Facebook is one of the most great, popular, and fascinating social networking sites known to man. There are many benefits to using the platform. We have to remember though not to take it for granted. We need to remember that it's not just a screen we are looking at but that there are real people behind these images. Know that this is a social networking site and that we must be engaged with the people that we choose to call our "friends". Finally, always keep in mind that you're not just talking to a wall because a wall, just like any other inanimate object, does not talk back.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Sports Players' Power Trips

   Ok, so first there was Tiger Woods indisgretions, then there was Michael Irvin being accused of rape, followed by Warren Sapp being accused of domestic battery. Although the criminal charges for sexual assault were thrown out, we have Ben Roethlisberger added to the mix as well. Now we have Lawrence Taylor being accused of statutory rape. We also can't forget about OJ Simpson but let's just focus on the most recent happenings. So what is it about playing sports or have played sports that causes these power trips?
   Fame, money, and huge egos must all be a contributing factor that plays a key role in this behavior. I mean, are we to actually believe that all of these men are not guilty of any crime? Now I'm not saying that having all of this money and fame wouldn't go to my head either, even for a bit, but any form of sexual assault or cheating on my wife is taking it to the next level; something in which I could never see myself doing; quite unfathomable to me actually. 
   So what is it that all of these men have in common? Now excluding the black elephant in the room (excluding Ben Roethlisberger & Tiger Woods of course), they are either current or former NFL players. Notice that not often, if at all, do you hear about Hockey players, Baseball players, or Basketball players being so oftenly accused of some form of sexual assault!! 
   It seems to me that these guys think just because they have lots of money and fame they can get away with murder (pardon the pun). They need to leave their 'my shit don't stink' attitude on the field and not take it with them. Who do these people actually think they are? I will tell you one thing, they are certaintly not a role model. In fact, no sports player should ever be considered a role model. All they are are people who can do something better than most and that's play their particular sport. Everyone has something that they do exceptionally well but you can only consider them a role model in their particular field. Sure, if I was interested in playing for the NFL I may strive to play as good as one of these guys had back in their hay day. Maybe I could even consider them a role model as far as wanting to play just like they did. You cannot however consider them anything more than that and definitely not a role model of life. You want a role model, I'll give you a role model. How about President Obama? How about your teachers? People who strive to better the world in some way, shape or fashion. Definitely not someone who may or may not have gone to College who plays with a ball for a living that's for sure.
   Now I'm not saying that every sports player has committed or will commit unscupulous activities, although they may have considered them at one point or another, and although the majority of sports players we never here about in the media doing such heinous acts, it just goes to show that with money and fame comes temptation. However, it is up to the individual to conduct themselves in a well-behaved manner. Not that playing sports doesn't change your behavior in some fashion, because we all are a product of our enviornment, but to have the desire to play sports in the first place takes a certain kind of mentality. In fact, you may even say that these sexual crimes may have even taken place had they not been in sports in the first place but when you add the money and the fame into the mix, well let's just say that may be adding fuel to the flames.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Mensa Yenta's Words of Wisdom for Life

If I can give you some words of wisdom for life then this would be it. Patience is a virtue. Treat people the way that you would like to be treated. Have a good sense of humor. Smile. Always accept constructive criticism and compliments. Always say thank you and you are welcome. Learn when to apologize. Sometimes you will have to say that you are sorry even if you are sure that you are right. Love others but let yourself be loved. Try to be as optimistic about things as you can be. Remember though that life is a pendulum. Sometimes it will swing in your favor and sometimes it won't. Life is not fair, get used to it. Be kind to your elders, even if they are only ten years older than you. Trust me, although you may not believe it, they know more than you. Remember that with age there is wisdom. If you don't get wiser as you get older, you will only get older. Trust your instincts. Admit when you are wrong. Be humble. Know that there is a fine line between being confident and being cocky; be confident. Be persistent. You will get out of this world what you put into it. Do well in school. You can never be too smart. Never be embarrassed of being an exceptional student; it will pay off later in life. Remember that knowledge is power. Always take time to smell the roses. Take a step back to see where you've been, where you are now, and where you would like to go. Vote. This is your way of having a say who will help make your city, state, or country a better place to live in. Listen. You will gain more knowledge by doing so. Remember that actions speak louder than words. It is not just what people say, it is what they do, or don't do for that matter. Take a stance for what you believe in but know that compromising goes a long way. Learn how to fend for yourself. Never rely on anyone to do things for you. You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. Have dignity for yourself. Do not let people walk all over you. Do for others without expecting anything in return. Remember that giving is better than receiving. Giving is receiving. Do not take life for granted. Always tell your parents that you love them. Know that you are special. Yes, you are one of a kind and that there will never be anyone like you and that there has never been anyone like you. Enjoy life. Know that things are never as bad as they may seem. Also know that when you are on top, you can, and will come down. There is nothing more important than family. Friends come and go, trust me on this one. Never take any friendship for granted. Do not burn your bridges. You never know when you will need someone for a job recommendation. Be healthy. Watch what you eat because you are what you eat. Exercise as much as you can. Do not be hypocritical. Say what you'll do then do what you say. Get a second opinion but know that too many opinions will just confuse you. Less is more. Remember that first impressions go a long way. Read between the lines. Learn body language. It will help you determine when someone is not being truthful with you. Be truthful to others. Remember that your word is everything. Life is not predictable. Just whn you think you have all the answers life will throw you a curve ball. Just follow my motto, "you never know". If you can retain even half of what I have said here than you will be better off in life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reality TV......there's nothing Real about it!!

   Do you watch a lot of reality television? The answer is a probable yes considering it pretty much dominates television today as we know it. There's also plenty to choose from. Whether it's following a famous person like Gene Simmons, watching a competition like Big Brother, or watching a bunch of no names act a fool as on Jersey Shore, there's something out there for everyone.
   Now I don't know about you, but when I am watching one of these "reality" shows, I would like to believe that what is happening at that time actually happened and was not planned, rehearsed, nor scripted, otherwise how then can they call it reality? I mean, the word "reality" does have the word "real" in it, does it not?!
   Let's really think about this for a second. We all live our lives from day to day usually with the same routine. Whether it's work, school, shopping, etc. most days are more or less humdrum. Are we to think that just because you're famous or because the camera is on you that suddenly all of these crazy, dramatic events suddenly occurred?! Is it possible, well technically yes but probably has about the same amount of odds of winning the lotto or better yet spotting Elvis Presley alive.
   You may be thinking what has made me so skeptical? Well I am glad you asked that!! Just to let you know, I used to watch a lot of reality television. Such shows included, "American Idol", "Gene Simmons Family Jewels", & Steven Seagal's Lawman". Now I have heard rumors that some of these shows may not be as "real" as you might think that they are but I had never witnessed anything to make me believe otherwise, until a few weeks ago that is. While watching, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" I was watching Gene's son Nick be a passenger in a car while his sister was driving. Nick was a holding a birthday cake that they just picked up from a bakery which was for his Dad. While they were driving back home his sister made a short stop and the cake went right into his shirt and got all over him. It took me two seconds and then I realized,.....why wasn't the cake in a box in the first place? Also, why wasn't the cake on the floor on a low flat surface? Yes, he actually had the customized cake on his lap, I believe on a piece of cardboard underneath it, with no covering whatsoever. there was no cake box of any sort protecting it!! No bake shop would let someone leave their bakery without a box, not only is it not right but it is also unsanitary!! Now what are the odds that Nick took it out of the box inside the moving car....slim to none...and why would he?.......he wouldn't!! No one in their right mind would do such a thing!! So then I put two and two together and realized that it was all planned!! This was obviously done to create some sort of drama and amusement. Now maybe one would have the cake on their lap instead of on the floor but not in a cake box? Whether it was an expensive cake or not makes no difference in this case so unless you're a child then if there was ever a cake box it would never have been taken out of it and placed on your lap while in a moving vehicle!! I must have rewinded it at least three or four times and even had a witness watch it with me to make sure that I wasn't seeing things.
   Now you can call me cynical, I know that I do, but do the producers of this show actually think that they can pull this one over the viewing public?! How ignorant do they actually think that we are? It is from this experience as well as reading other people's experiences of this "reality" show and others stating of re-takes and editing scenes together to get a certain effect, etc. that has ended my viewing of these so-called "reality" shows. Thinking about it, how real of an experience are we to get when we know that people we are watching fully well know that they are being watched with a bunch of cameras on them at all times? Who wouldn't ham it up a bit when they know that the camera is always on them?! Now if you want to sit down and get comfy and watch a good "reality" show then watch a show like, "Candid Camera", although it is no longer airing or a show like, "Taxicab Confessions" on HBO. The people that you watch on these shows had no idea that they were being filmed until after they have signed a release after the fact. This way and only this way will one get a true authentic reaction to a situation. Once someone becomes aware that a camera is filming them you'll get a different reaction entirely and this my friend is the true reality because in "reality" there are no do-overs!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What the NBA Doesn't Want You to Know!!

   Now that the 2010 NBA Playoffs are upon us, I became curious to see the odds of lower seeded teams not only making it into the Finals but also winning the Championship. Stats that you couldn’t find out 20 years ago are now at your fingertips. Although ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power so I let my fingers do the walking and here is what I found out.

   A 1 or 2 seed has made it to the finals 78% of the time (31/40)in the last 20 years. No 5 or 7 seed has made it to the finals in at least over 20 years. As far as winning the finals in the last 20 years, a 1 or 2 seed has won it 80% of the time (16/20). No 4, 5, 7, or 8 seed has won it in at least over 20 years. This means that a 4-8 seed has only a 5% chance of winning the finals; that’s pathetic. So a 4-8 seed has only made it to the finals 3/40 times in the last 20 years which is 8% of the time meaning that there is a 92% chance that a 1,2, or 3 seed will be in the finals; this is overwhelming. So once the regular season ends and you know what seeds the playoff teams are in, you will have a good indicator as to just how much of a chance they have to make it to the finals, let alone win it. Why waste your time watching the first few rounds when in all likelihood it’s going to come down to a 1, 2, or 3 seed playing each other in the finals?!
   So when all is said and done, the first two rounds are a waste of time to watch. Once you get to the Conference Finals it may get a bit more interesting depending what seeds are left. I knew that the better seeds usually won but I had no idea just how frequently this occurs. Knowing this now, I am probably going to wait until the Conference Finals to really pay attention to the NBA Playoffs. The only possible way I would even consider watching the second round is if all 1-4 seeds beat all of their opponents and that is not likely. I won’t waste my time on something that I pretty much know the end result to, anyone doing so would be foolish. If you think that I am the only one who knows then you are sadly mistaken. Believe me, the NBA knows this too but they would probably be foolish to open up their mouths!!
   What it all comes down to is money. The MLB only has 4 teams from the AL & NL respectively, the rest would be a waste. Well, same principle for the NBA. There is no need for the 5-8 seeds to really be in the playoffs considering the stats but more games equals more interest equals more money. What I find funny is that just a few years ago, David Stern decided to not get rid of the first round entirely but to add two games to it, making it a best of seven rather than the best of five that it had been. This is a business after all but I for one will not be fooled!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Problem with Primetime Network Television Today

Since the beginning of the 2004 Fall Primetime Television Season, television as we know it is no more. What happened to the days where shows would run for seven to ten seasons or more like, " NYPD Blue ", " Beverly Hills 90210 ", or " Friends " ? We are now lucky if a show will last for more than three full seasons. In this digital age of Personal Computers, IPhones, and DVD players we are all so easily distracted that television ratings have declined and now with having over five-hundred channels to choose from it is no wonder that shows are not given much of a chance nowadays.
I believe that these Television Executives need to lower their expectations. They need to realize that much has changed over the last ten years and now with DVR's it has become increasingly easier and easier to record a program that people will watch shows when they want to and not when they are forced to. Worrying about what show follows the next ( the lead In ) should no longer be an issue. With a lot of people having dual tuners nowadays it is easy to record two different programs at the same time. It is said that if you play back the show within the same day that they are included in the ratings but lots of people can and will watch it the next day or days thereafter. They may not realize just how many people are watching their show; but when they want to. Just because a programs ratings aren't as good as let's say, " Desperate Housewives " is, it doesn't mean that the show needs to be axed and moved onto the internet or in some cases just cancelled altogether.
With Premium channels getting increasingly more popular nowadays, and having hit shows like, " The Sopranos ", " Weeds ", and , " Curb Your Enthusiasm " it is no wonder why people are leaving network television. Standards and Practices can care less what people say or do on these channels since it is not network television. The quality of shows has much improved since years past and they are given more of a chance to gain an audience instead of being cancelled after only three episodes. It is also a nice bonus to watch commercial-free television; saves batteries on the remote to not have to hit fast forward on your DVR!!
I can sit here and list at least a dozen shows from this past season that have either been cancelled or are just plain out not returning without ever coming to a conclusion. I look at it like reading a book with lets say twenty chapters. Can you imagine after reading only the first five chapters the book was taken away from you, never to be seen again and it was the one and only copy?! It has become increasingly more disappointing to me every season that I have now decided to no longer watch any new shows on network television. Around this time every year we see all of the promos for all of the upcoming programs to hit the air waves in September. Well, I am tired of being suckered in, only to be let down time and time again. Now I am not saying that Premium channels do not have their fair share of blunders but compared to network television it doesn't even come close to comparing.
To conclude, I believe that it is in the network executives best interest to take all of this into account. If they can somehow realize that the ratings that they used to expect from only a half way decent show have all but vanished, therefore lowering their expectations on Premiere shows, then maybe we will not go to the Premium channels so quickly. Now I am not saying that there have not been some crappy shows produced lately, but there have also been many more that were at least half way decent that were never given their chance to blossom. Taking a show off of television and placing it on the internet is just a cop out. Besides, who would want to sit on their computer chair and and stare at a sixteen inch screen rather than being on their comfy recliner or couch, laying back and watching television on their thirty inch high definition television?! So I ask to not to expect ratings that once were and to give series premieres more time to gain an audience; you may be surprised to see ratings increase if only given the chance.

SomGuy.................callin' it The Way I See It