Category: Social Media

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Relic of the Fourth Estate

Since June 6, 2023, I have made several concerted efforts to write this post. Each time, I ran aground. This instance is no exception, because I cannot conceptualize what needs to be stated. So, simply: Journalism is dead. News reporting as I once knew it is no more. Reporters don’t properly source. They editorialize and subjectify the news. Advocacy replaces objectivity.

That’s what makes the Reporter / Journalist / Correspondent Android Collectible iconic. He marches along carrying his smartphone, microphone, and Leica rangefinder (see the red dot on the camera). He is intrepid and valiant. He seeks the truth, and knows that it demands trudging out into the field and documenting events and speaking to real people. He doesn’t mine Google, Instagram, Reddit, or any other online resources.

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Neko Nestles

As the hunt for my neighbor’s missing kitty Bruce continues, I take a moment to regard one of our two felines. Neko has started to occasionally nap on the bed in my old office, which is now our daughter’s bedroom. She moved into our apartment on April 11, 2023, as part of recovery from a traumatic event, which her medical record describes as “severe hypoxic injury and bilateral subcortical infarctions”. Her progress so far is nothing short of miraculous, considering where she was on March 2. That said, doctors have counseled us to expect one to two years for her brain to heal as much as it will ever.

Our girl’s arrival kind of sent the cats (Cali is the other) into exile from one of their main rooms in the residence. But the Featured Image, taken today using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, shows how Neko is starting to share territory with our girl. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 125, 1/60 sec, 70mm; 10:40 a.m. PDT; composed as shot.

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My Cat Wants to Know: What’s Your Problem with DPReview, Amazon?

Amazon’s decision to shutter (absolutely no pun intended) photography site DPReview demonstrates why I recommend that creators own their content whenever possible. Speaking from personal experience, I bleed for the hardworking editors, reviewers, and writers (among other staffers) whose body of work may soon be whisked away.

Seven years ago, I discovered that during a publishing system upgrade, CNET expunged my byline from my thousands of stories written for the site. In a separate incident, the analyst firm I had worked for merged with another and all my online musings vanished. What I consider to be the most valuable, posted to the Apple Watch and Microsoft Watch blogs between 2006-09, disappeared from the web in 2010. You wouldn’t know I had written anything professionally online for the 10 years 1999-2009. All was deleted when publishers decided to scrub the sites (or in the case of CNET modernize).

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Don’t You Believe It

I will never be a fan of that narcistic cesspool called social media. The last light of hopefully meaningful online interaction extinguished with the shuttering of Google+ over April Fools 2019. That said, Elon Musk’s buying and revamping Twitter—and releasing through journalists the so-called “Twitter Files”—brings some hope that a bastion of free speech and reasonably intelligent commonsense dialogue can survive and thrive on the Internet; oh, and have room enough for narcissists and the rest of us.

As such, I now spend some time each day on Twitter. I joined during the early days, in late December 2006. Long time, I know. But until a week or so ago, I also had been mostly inactive. This morning, I had a good object lesson in the kind of misinformation that spreads across any social media platform—and in the most innocuous, likely unintentional, but worrisome way.

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Better Than Two Barrels of Monkeys

I wouldn’t call 2022 a barrel of fun, would you? But barrel(s) of laughs is appropriate enough, if chuckling at the ironic or insanely non-sensical means anything. There was plenty of that.

For example, Elon Musk made a bid to buy Twitter, then walked away only to return and take ownership. He then started releasing, through journalists, starting with Matt Taibbi, the so-called “Twitter Files”, which shockingly showed a level of collusion between the social media platform and government agencies to influence, if nothing else, U.S. elections. Oh that influence includes the Biden campaign in 2020.

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And That’s the Ugly Truth

Mr. and Mrs. Uglydoll permit a moment of privacy invasion, for this Featured Image captured on July 2, 2017 using Leica Q. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 160, 1/60 sec, 28mm; 2:58 p.m. PDT. Consider the stuffed couple as a placeholder, while I am off absorbing explosive news. Short explanation about what:

One of my favorite journalists is Matt Taibbi. I subscribed to Rolling Stone because of his news reporting and stopped when he left. I now proudly support his Substack—all while wishing that I could still write as voluminously as he does or with even 10-percent his cynicism, pragmatism, sarcasm, and witticism. Tonight, he dropped the equivalent of an informational atomic bomb on Twitter about Twitter.

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The Consequences of Deceit

My University Heights neighbors started putting out Halloween decorations weeks ago. From few, now many are everywhere. Along Texas Street, today, my wife and I passed by these seasonal tombstones that stand apart from the more traditional type for Dracula or infamous persons.

The theme of lying seems so appropriate for a time when truth is the one commodity truly lost in the supply chain. Pundits can’t babble enough about impending food shortages, and I share some of their concerns. But someone should state the more pressing problem: An overabundance of deceit/misinformation and lack of honesty.

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For Free Speech and Democracy

Fifteen years ago—April 14, 2007—the Wilcox family rode the DC Metro into downtown for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. The Featured Image is one of many street shots from Canon 20D and EF 135mm f/2 USM lens. This one, composed as captured, is previously unpublished. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, 135mm; 9:32 a.m. EDT.

I choose the photo for the strangest of reasons: The riders and their American flags as symbols of democracy and freedom. Why today? Elon Musk bought Twitter, which he plans to take private and supposedly will reestablish as a platform for free speech.

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Return to Nextdoor

I last quit Nextdoor on July 28, 2020, protesting the ridiculously ambiguous tenets of the so-called “Good Neighbor Pledge”. My account is now reactivated. Testing the limits of that pledge is one of my goals in what may be a temporary return. Why bother? You ask the right question.

Burgeoning crude oil per-barrel costs, surging inflation, rising prices on seemingly everything, the Russian-Ukraine war, and potentially devastating consequences (globally) from the West’s sanctions against Russia are precursors to economic crisis of frightening magnitude. S-o-o-o, my neighbors and I may have reason to buy and sell or barter items some time in the not-so-distant future.

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Everything You Need to Know About Facebook in One Popup

On Feb. 23, 2021, a news story from BBC Online about an explosion following the collision of a freight train and 18-wheeler riveted my attention. An early version of the report offered video footage embedded from Facebook (additional media is available in the linked version that you can click). I tapped the play icon on my tablet, which got the video going but also an overlaying message requesting permission for the social network “to use cookies and website data while browsing BBC.com”. Hell no, FB CEO Mark Zuckberg’s zombie-bots aren’t allowed to track my activity. Give blanket permission for all the Beeb? Eh, no.

Dirty bird! Pressing “Don’t Allow” stopped the video playing. Not once, but every time—and I confirmed the behavior on my laptop browser today. If you think the Internet is free, I got some swamp land in Florida to sell you right now. I don’t own it and you wouldn’t want it, but if you’re gullible enough to think social networks and other content-rich sites give you something free without taking something more, let’s you and I make a swamp deal. You are tracked, your browsing behavior is catalogued, and advertisements are targeted based on your online activities. That’s the Facebook Way.

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Don’t Be Typosquatted

In early September 2014, I bought my wife the Singer Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine from Amazon for $99.99. Annie had hoped to make some of her own clothes—something she had long aspired to do. Perhaps if we lived in a larger apartment, she would have achieved her dream; setting up and using the Singer—portable as the thing is—required more space than we could spare.

Fast-forward to late-December 2020. Annie saw a post on Nextdoor from someone looking to buy a sewing machine. Budget: $100. Seeing as the 4432 had never been used, other than to make sure it operated, Amazon’s current price was $209.99, and the manufacturer’s $289.99, $100 would be a deal. Annie responded, and the woman, who we’ll call Grace, agreed to buy the Singer, which would come with extra sewing doodads.

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The N-Word for White Women

Six months have passed since I walked by the painted window, somewhere in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, that is this post’s Featured Image. My thoughts needed some percolation before I was ready to express them. Here we go. Women of a certain age (often middle age, or older), economic status (Middle Class or wealthier, which means entitled), and race (white) are all over the InterWebs for behaving badly. Somebody smartphone-videos their tirades, which may or may not include racial slurs but more often is angry or exasperated. The typical stereotype is the woman who calls cops or store manager to settle a perceived grievance.

Call it the new KKK—Karen-Ken Klan, which lynches people in the social media public square, where they don’t lose their lives but absolutely lose their livelihoods: Jobs and reputations, for starters. Death would almost be merciful compared the merciless torture for which they endure.