Social Networks

Entries related to social networks, group psychology, anthropology, and really any of the social sciences.

Social Media Saturday

Have you ever wondered what a social media manager does during a cold winter Saturday? Well, it's not a lot different from any other day. Sure, I don't drive to the office, but I do much of my work online. Today, I checked several different email accounts, including my work accounts. I helped revise a presentation for the company I work at and kept an eye on different social media accounts, both personal and professional.

To a certain extent, social media managers are expected to be connected 24/7. Yeah, there are times I put down my smartphone and close my laptop, but they are rare. Even during my off hours, I find ways to establish stronger connections with others involved in social media.

This weekend is [x]Pendapalooza on Empire Avenue. Empire Avenue is a game where you buy stock in other people involved in social media. The value of their stock changes based on their interactions on Empire Avenue and other social media sites. [x]Pendapalooza is a twenty-four hour social media stock buying frenzy. I have been saving up for [x]Pendapalooza over the past few days, and made a lot of stock purchases this morning.

Then, I did one of my Saturday, mostly offline, rituals. I went to the dump, or, more accurately, the transfer station. After I tossed by garbage in one bin and my recycling in another, I checked in on Foursquare. Yes, I'm still the Mayor of the Woodbridge Transfer Station.

I did get a chance to take a nap. Ever since the death of my mother, I've been pretty worn down. Afterwards, I dealt with some of the issues around my mother's estate and checked in a little more on social media. I had dinner, and did more work for the office. I think I'm mostly caught up now, so I'm taking time to write. I'm back in the groove of writing every day, and I think I'm making progress improving my writing, but there are days that the blank page remains a challenge, or when I go back and read over what I've written, it just doesn't sing. Sometimes it is because inspiration has not visited. Other times, it is because I've spent so much time writing other things, that I don't have the energy to work on my blog.

It is quite now. It is cold and dark outside. Kim, Fiona and our dog Wesley are out on a mission, and it is quiet her;, the only sound being that of the furnace and the grandfather clock when it chimes the quarter hour.

Writing can be a nice repose. Now, I'll search for more inspiration, new ideas to write about and to improve my writing. Then, there will be a little more family time followed soon enough by more sleep.

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Hacker, 2013

For Allen Ginsberg and Aaron Swartz

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.
The angry fix they sought was far different from that of Ginsberg's friends.
These hipsters were typing something other than 'starry dynamo' into the search engines.
They were Google mapping the seats of power at midday, not the negro streets at dawn.
They were fighting a in new revolution, a revolution that would take their life and liberty.

A junkie with a knife can be scary. He'll take the cash in your pockets and rush off for his fix,
leaving you shaken as you walk home. But a hacker with a mission, now that is dangerous.
He will shake the very means of production and distribution, the economy you depend upon
to get that cash into your pockets.

It's all well and good when they take down an Arab dictator.
It's tolerable when they change the news media and political process, as long as it can be co-opted by the press and politicians.

But when they start threatening the profitability of the legal and academic presses in the greatest democracy of the world, they must be hounded, driven underground, labeled hacker and felon, until they kill themselves.

Social Media for Social Good

Recently, I’ve been asked to speak at several events around using social media to help address some of the root causes of social problems in our communities, and to promote the growth of vibrant, inclusive communities, especially as it relates to health care. I’ve also had several individual discussions with people interested in finding ways to enhance their social media skills as part of a larger effort to serve the good of their communities.

For some time now, a bunch of people working in health care social media in Connecticut have been gathering monthly for breakfast and weekly online to discuss health care and social media in Connecticut. From my recent discussions, it seems like there might be some benefit for people around Middletown, where I work, who are interested in working together to use social media for social good to gather, share ideas, and find ways to work together.

If you’re interested, please let me know.

What's Your Social Media Impact?

People often warn high school kids about social media. Those pictures you post may end up affecting which schools you get into or which jobs you get offered. It is a valid point. There is still stuff I posted online over thirty years ago that, if you know what you're looking for, you can find. This is different than some of the posts from my written journal thirty years ago that I started posting online.

About twelve years ago, I went to a group relations conference in Holland. There was one moment I particularly remember. The group consultants changed roles and became members of the group. One of them made a comment about being able to just blurt things out, without thinking about the effect their comments would have on the group.

It seems like many adults on Facebook don't post material that they will be embarrassed about when they are looking for their next job, but they still blurt things out, without thinking about the effect their posts will have. I've been thinking about this a lot since Sandy Hook.

I've tried to post more positive material; highlighting compassion, cooperation and creativity, and trying to avoid the more polarized posts. One blog post that I wrote about video games started a bit of a discussion on Facebook, and one hyper-partisan individual resorted to 'argumentum ad ridiculum'. Unfortunately, it made him look ridiculous and did nothing to move forward the discussion at hand.

Perhaps this becomes even more important if you are a public figure, as Rep. Hovey discovered this weekend.

Yet does sharing positive stories make a difference? Yesterday, I shared a post about the Orange Lions Club Annual Wine and Beer Tasting. It is a fundraiser helping the Lions combat blindness. One of the organizers thanked me for sharing it and I appreciated her kind words. Hopefully, it will get a few more people to attend the event.

Now this is not to say that all posts need to be promoting the public good. It is important to be real, to be authentic online. I've set up a Facebook List of CT State Legislators were I get a sense at what those legislators who have friended me on Facebook or have public figure pages are writing about. Sometimes, they root for football teams. Sometimes they play Farmville. Sometimes they post pictures of having dinner with friends and sometimes, they share posts that can have a positive impact on their friends and constituents..

I hope everyone tries to have at least some of their posts make a positive impact on the people around them.

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Spoken Word Blogging

After college, I moved into an old cinnamon factory with a bunch of aspiring artists in New York City to be a writer. I was most interested in writing poems and short stories. I also had dreams of writing a great novel, but end up writing mostly computer programs.

Fast forward three decades, and I'm sitting in a nice house in suburbia writing blog posts on a laptop computer; a writing implement and genre that didn't exist back in the spice factory days. My online writing style continues to evolve. There have been times that I've written daily, sometimes, not very eloquently, in an effort to hone my craft. Other times, I've just been too busy to write regularly.

I'm starting off 2013 with a good string of blog post, but I've got a busy week ahead. I have to get non-blog writing done for other projects as well.

I'm also spending time trying to find things to inspire me and stimulate my creativity. Yesterday, I ended up on Sarah Kay's Ted talk, If I should have a daughter …

It got me thinking. Should I start hitting some of the poetry open mics? Should I start writing some more poetic blog posts to be read allowed, and then make a video of me reading them which I could share on YouTube? NPR has been doing an interesting series of having poets visit their news room and write poems about the experience and the day's news. Could I do a spoken word poetic news recap, perhaps drawing from other experiments in creative news, from the Daily Show to Autotune the news?

For politics, could I, a former, and perhaps future, political candidate, deliver spoken word poetic stump speeches?

I hope to give some of this a shot, perhaps even today, Epiphany, if I get the time.

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