The alley behind our apartment building exits onto Monroe Ave., which across Maryland rims residences along a canyon. The street becomes Arch before circling back and changing to Meade. Near the turn is a lovely, […]
My past personal photo comparisons focused on a decade’s separation. Two years can make a difference, too, in terms of weight, health, and appearance. Both pics are self-portraits—the left from Jan. 11, 2015 and the other Jan. 7, 2017, shot using iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively. In the older photo, I weighed 63.4 kilos (139.8 pounds). The newer: 15 kilos (10 pounds) less, or about the same as 40 years ago, during my senior year of high school.
Occasionally, someone locally who hasn’t seen me for awhile will with concern ask if I’m ill, for being so skinny. Not at all. I tightened up my diet, cutting carb consumption by 80 percent-plus—and sugar by even more, when aware of its presence. The sweetener is in everything, and it is not so easy to expunge from the diet. Before changing my eating habits, and weight-loss was a byproduct not the purpose, I tipped the scale to 82.6 kilos (182 pounds).
I spent little time online the past week following the unexpected passing of my sister Annette exactly seven days ago. The reaction is strange, seeing how much Facebook, texting, and other connected activities and services enriched and changed her life during the last six months or so she walked this Earth. I was clueless.
Last year, I added Annette to my cellular account; she used Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone to start. This opened a new world of connection to children, other relatives, and friends by texting. In November, when switching the family to T-Mobile from Verizon and upgrading to Nexus 6P, I sent her my Nexus 6. Soon after, her fraternal twin, Nanette, helped set up Facebook. Annette’s first post was Nov. 22, 2015—a family photo with our brother-in-law Michael Bellerieve, before his death from cancer. 🙁
My ninth Twitter anniversary is come and passed without my noticing. Looking at the archive the service graciously provides, first tweet was on Dec. 26, 2006 about, of all things, Microsoft Zune. Now there’s a device for the archaeological tech trash heap, eh? The tweet topic must have been traumatic, because the next isn’t until Jan. 2, 2007. 🙂
The same month I signed up for Twitter, Ziff Davis hired me to run the Microsoft Watch blog created by the esteemed Mary Jo Foley. Editors planned to build brand around a core of so-called star bloggers, putting personalities before content. But six months later, Ziff sold off the enterprise group, of which MW was part, to an investment group that had other ideas. My tenure ended on April 30, 2009, after bankers took more control over Ziff Davis Enterprise during to Econolypse. I was overpaid, they said.
As the New Year approaches, and I contemplate 2016, my online social space surely will change; my like-affair with Google+ draws close to an end. Nearly six weeks ago, the service “reimagined“, as a “fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center”.
Since then, my Google+ engagement has dropped by more than 90 percent. I don’t find as many posts to Plus-one, to share with others, or on which to comment. Similarly, I see shocking decline in the number of responses to my posts—not something I actively seek so much as by which to judge interest in what I write and also to interact with other Plusers. After years of misguided critics calling Google+ a ghost town, the tumbleweeds roll.
Well, Hell, I just spotted an email sent by REI three hours ago, and I am having a “Miracle on 34th Street” moment. It’s like Macy’s Santa sending customers to Gimbels. The outdoor clothier and gear retailer will close for the biggest shopping day of the year. While other sellers countdown to sales, REI ticks time until doors closed.
Marketing tagline: #OptOutside. And there is a website, to socially share and join the community going outdoors rather than inside the concrete jungle of rabid, frothing sales seekers. You know the breed. They’ll attack anyone and anything—no prey is too large—to save two bits on a dollar. They roam in vast herds of destruction across the retail prairies the day after Thanksgiving. They are vicious, vindictive creatures. REI is right to free employees from serving them, or customers encountering these beasts drawn to discounts like they were pheromones of heat.
For more than two weeks I have kept open in a browser tab essay “How Star Trek Explains the Decline of Liberalism” by Timothy Sandefur. Someone shared the story in one of my social feeds in mid-September—and apologies for not recalling whom. I don’t agree with the title, set against the writing, but I do largely agree with the analysis about Star Trek’s reflection of our society over the course of 50 years.
I loved the original series, which aired in 1966. Much as I liked, and even imitated Spock, Kirk’s bravado and moralism rapt my attention. He acted rather than hesitated. Meanwhile, series creator Gene Roddenberry and his producers, directors, and writers used the storytelling as metaphors and allegories commenting on American society and its values. I aspired to be like James Tiberius Kirk: Do the right thing, for the greater good of all, regardless the risk.
June 2009, the future of 21st Century journalism moves with protestors across Iran’s capital. In an area somewhat removed from the commotion, philosophy student Neda Salehi reportedly steps from a car and is soon shot by a sniper. A bystander videos her death and uploads it to YouTube. The moment becomes the rallying point for demonstrators in the country and for spectators from around the globe. It is a seminal moment of change for the news media.
The next night, June 21, I write:
Dramatic is my reaction to this protest shot from Freedom II Andres, in Makati City, Philippines, on Oct. 4, 2013. The second “Million People March” rallied against the country’s so-called pork-barrel scam that a Philippine Daily Inquirer investigative series exposed about two months earlier.
The photographer’s name is appropriate for a protest shot like this one, and spotlights his family heritage. The second of four sons, “we are all named Freedom“, he explains, “simply because our father was one of the student-activists of his time in the 1970s, when Filipinos fought against the dictatorship of then president Ferdinand Marcos”.
The symbolism is recognizable, but as what depends on the eventual outcome. Dateline April 5, 2015, Easter Sunday, “Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report” posted to the magazine’s website. The holiday celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection, following crucifixion. The Washington Post and several other organizations crucified Rolling Stone in December 2014 for long-form news story “A Rape on Campus”. The exhaustive autopsy of the story’s reporting and publication is another another crucifixion, arriving on a day that celebrates resurrection, salvation. Will RS have the one by voluntarily inviting the other?
“A Rape on Campus” spotlights the alleged sexual assault of a University of Virginia student identified as Jackie. The investigative report paints a campus culture of acceptable assault without reproach or reprisal. But the veracity of Jackie’s account later collapsed. Rolling Stone sought outside examination, which by itself demonstrates just how strongly the magazine strives to report responsibly.
What could be better Sunday reading than cats jumping into cars? I stumbled onto this Reddit post roundabout way from something that appeared in my social network. Stated simply: A “cat climbed into” Jonny_Bloodbeard‘s “work van in downtown Detroit to keep warm. They choose you right?” Nearly 500 comments later, I’m impressed by the civil discourse and some of the cat tails—er, tales.
Take a look at the screenshot and the story about the cat riding to church for attention and a couple other Redditers’ ribbing responses. I love it. This is what interaction should be among commenters, and their personal stories add so much to the original post.
Websites without comments feel barren, like there are no visitors or no one is home. Reader reaction makes a site feel lively, and it generates energy—desire to participate. More importantly, comments can extend the storytelling. But as you survey my site, most posts stand solitary, creating, perhaps, impression that no one reads them. So why should you?
For numerous reasons—among them my putting priority on social networks during 2011-14—interaction is so seemingly limited. Engagement takes place, but mostly on social networks like Google+ where I have audience and where links to posts from here also appear. Readers engage where they share community, so the majority of interaction is elsewhere. I could flush out more commenting here by using Disqus, which spreads community across many thousands of sites. The choice to stick with WordPress’ system is quite deliberate.