Are there any causes you’re passionate about and why? #bloganuary

It wasn’t until I wrote the bloganuary writing prompt for January about being inspired by someone that I realized how highly I regard Russell Brand’s social criticism on YouTube.

Who is someone that inspires you and why? #bloganuary

Writing my viewpoint made me see that some of Brand’s observations are making sense, and must be to a lot more people, too.

I think Russell Brand sees a transition to a world of smaller and better-knit communities, a more ideal world where the individual flourishes and the community meets the needs of all. When Brand refers to his understanding of how such a world might look, I start to think he’s onto something.

Brand’s other channel, Awakening with Russell, is geared to meditation and devoted to helping people look inward at themselves to begin to recognize what’s there.

It would be perfect if we lived in small communities where our wants were satisfied, yet we could rest assured that people everywhere else likewise have what they need. There would be no warfare. The world is a little like John Lennon described in the lyrics to his song Imagine.

I don’t think Brand wants a tough commute and a grind behind a desk with only hazelnut coffee or the like and a donut or danish to start the day. I’m sure he doesn’t.

It seems like his values are that of a gentleman who holds others in high regard. His videos praise his viewers, and he makes fun of concepts like the metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg’s creation for remote workers. Brand doesn’t think that’s the right direction for people to go in.

Oftentimes, Brand pokes fun at established institutions and is cautious of totalitarian-leaning change that right-wing speakers employ in an attempt to control individuals more efficiently.

I think Russell Brand represents a cause I could get passionate about.

What does your ideal day look like? #bloganuary

What’s extravagant is an incredible night’s rest, perhaps nine hours to re-energize.

Morning coffee is excellent, typically several cups. Taking a look at my YouTube menu in the morning helps shape my inner world. Watching videos, whether for entertainment, information, music, or an intersection of all these stops (!), is a great way to handle the early hours of the day.

I wouldn’t be satisfied without making time for TV entertainment. I enjoy single episodes like people would watch in the golden age of TV, before home videos and streaming video took over. I like, for example, an episode of Riverdale on the Netflix service, or another series that happens to have my fancy. While I don’t live on Netflix, I often make Netflix a go-to for streaming entertainment.

The BBC soap Eastenders has had a long, rich history going back to 1985, so I like to watch it if I want traditional television. My eighth birthday was that year, a time in life when family and friends are especially important. Since I’m now an adult and more prepared (than an eight-year-old), I appreciate following the stories in Eastenders. My rule of thumb, though, is only one episode per day.

Photo by Kristin Hardwick on StockSnap

Many days I like to put an hour into Twitter to get a fun peek at people’s hot takes and trending news. I even automate tweets, when topics I am interested in exploring come to light in the hands of capable writers. I occasionally edit the Facebook page for my dad’s cemetery business, which we run together. Sometimes I am specifically required.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

I check a few TikToks, likely of the more original variety, often at least twenty of them. They are usually only a few seconds long.

Perhaps best of all, I chill with my girl. Having that bond is important, I think. Even if I devote a lot of time to technical pursuits, a human element can be supremely important.

Thanks for asking, bloganuary!

What emoji(s) do you like to use? #bloganuary

Face With Tears of Joy

I enjoy emojis.

I think that savvy Internet users communicate effectively with them.

I remember the classic 1994 film Forrest Gump showing Tom Hanks inventing the smiley face. 🙂

Forrest Gump: [Narrating] another time when I was running along somebody had lost all his money in the T-shirt business, and he wanted to put my face on a t-shirt, but he couldn’t draw that well and didn’t have a camera …some years later I found out that man did come up with an idea for a T-shirt and he made a lot of money off of it.

I usually favour one emoji at a time, but I will employ one often. Unless there is a good reason not to, which, generally, is the disposition of the recipients of the message I’m posting. One emoji for a Facebook post, whether for business or pleasure. I think, why not? One emoji goes on a tweet, except when I am scheduling it automatically when I then content myself with a hashtag or two, and the username of the creator of the content. Less often on TikTok, where extravagant hashtagging is the order of the day.

Less often do I include an emoji in email messages, unless there is the intention to add additional flavour to a message, by which I mean highlighting what tone you mean the writing to be taken in. So that’s yes to emojis on Facebook, sometimes on Twitter, and seldom on TikTok, or in emails.

An emoji is a convenient way to add a tone to your writing that may not otherwise be as apparent. While including humour in the written word on computers and other technology is not always a great idea, if you are doing that, with an emoji, you can help convey that you have the idea that what you’re writing is funny.

😉 Have fun with your emojis.

What does it mean to live boldly? #bloganuary

Star Trek identified the concern: “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Here are a few specifics on how to be a touch bold.

Photo by Steve Johnson on StockSnap

Don’t worry about your age. While it is more than “just a number,” there isn’t any reason to close door after door because you feel you are too old for an opportunity. Use your judgement about what you can do, but don’t exclude yourself from taking chances when you’d like to because you feel your age is creeping up on you.

If you watch video on YouTube, be sensitive to the reality that the YouTube algorithm provides you with recommendations to keep you watching, as in passively consuming video content. Apply some originality to your searches so that you hear creators who are bolder and less often provide a company line. That said, I have inferred that you should “deep dive” with caution. Looking into the distant past can amuse and give you a relevant sense of nostalgia, but concern yourself with today, and perhaps the past few days, and not with videos from the vaults of yesteryear.

If you are in touch with the pulse of the zeitgeist, perhaps you should venture onto social media that’s less behemoth than services like TikTok and Facebook and Twitter and YouTube (and…). I would caution you not to waste your time because creator messages will get repeats, on the most Earthshaking of the services. But if you are Internet-savvy, be bold and get aboard where you want. Mind some of the imitations will inevitably remain imitations.

Love on when you can. It isn’t easy in 2022 to be as bold as you would like, for I would say the world is getting dystopian. Hang on. It will probably be another rotten year, but 2023 will be another calendar year. Know when to advance and when to pass. It’s a judgement call. Remember a card game analogy: somebody else could play your hand and win.

What do people incorrectly assume about you? #bloganuary

I think people sometimes assume that I’m confused. There are many times that my mind is not on matters at hand.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on StockSnap

I also deal with an array of difficult situations. This month I updated my Twitter bio to include the phrase, “Avid problem solver.” It is meant as a joke. It doesn’t really strike me that funny, but it says, I guess, that I don’t mind obstacles. What people might take it for, as in what it’s about, is that I am kind of a rearranger, you might say. I look at what we got, and I try to improve upon it.

The reason people might not see that in me is that I can be a little brooding over life situations that are difficult for me. I’d say that a lot of the time, I am a happy person, but when the walls start to close in, I sometimes feel my best recourse is to get outside this place and to let a solution come to me. A hot shower is second to this.

I am a playful person, but I feel that I encounter irony frequently. The real-life sort of irony is kind of comical for me, and I don’t always have someone to share it with. Sometimes I am just admiring situations that are at hand in other people’s lives, and I feel better than it isn’t happening to me. But to even think about it, that’s the confusing part.

Many people, I suspect, desire mindfulness and self-awareness, compared to being in a state of confusion. I am not about getting confused, but confusion does occasionally happen. I am just trying to keep my mind on the job. I want to believe that I don’t appear to be confounded.

I have a good sense of humour.

Who is someone that inspires you and why? #bloganuary

Do you know who’s inspiring? Mr. Russell Brand on his political channel right now has become inspiring. As he often introduces his videos with this tidbit, I think he has four and a half million subscribers. I believe that Mr. Brand’s become the largest political channel on Youtube, and he has no taste for politics. Remarkable.

When I tried to describe the man’s “rebrand” (see what I did there?) to my sister Kaite, I wrote that Brand is shallowly savaging the establishment. I was trying to get a handle on whether she’d take an interest. It isn’t shallow, or at least I don’t think so. Brand’s Youtube material is provocative–when he does a good video, he’s talking for near on fifteen minutes, and he keeps on being pretty interesting the entire time.

I think he’s doing shows in the UK the next five months, as well.

I guess that’s inspiring because Brand is presenting that he has answers–he’s like a very schooled hippie. For a long time, I only knew of him as a comic actor, but, by now, I’ve heard that he near led a revolution on Youtube, waging war on UK political figures. That said, after his last “rebrand,” he returned as a less direct combatant, probably a safer stance to take. By comparison, I am not a funny guy, although I can get sneers in a heartbeat. You know what, though, like one of my uncles said, it’s a free country.

I’m an introvert, where people enjoy different kinds of social life, with none of my interests. I guess I’m different. When I see Mr. Brand has hit the nail on the head, I quickly become engaged by it, and I want to hear what’s gone on and what Brand’s thoughts on the matter amount to.

Today Slate is saying Brand is wielding disinformation. https://slate.com/culture/2022/01/russell-brand-pandemic-paranoia-youtube-channel.html

What advice would you give to your teenage self? #bloganuary

For January, I am blogging with the WordPress Bloganuary prompts in mind. These are writing prompts, one a day, for the entire month of January 2022, which I am pleased to respond to.

If I could have a word with my teenage self, if this were, say, the year 1990, like the advice my godfather Rick gave to me, I would counsel myself to get as much schooling as possible. My godparents taught me quite a bit in 1991 and 1992. My godfather was in the process of adding writer credits to his career as a professor, and I had access to quite a lot of information about the coming “information superhighway,” the Internet. I think I was lucky that I had any comprehension of what was on its way, Big Tech.

Compared to everything else in life, money, relationships, leisure, travel, I would have implored myself to stay in academics and to gain as much knowledge as possible, with the guidelines of sanctioned academia.

Photo by Aphiwat Chuangchoem on StockSnap

In high school, I took in a lot of learning, including insight into how computers were becoming a powerful tool.

I keep an eye on the keyword “participatory media.” If I were better qualified academically to make better judgements about the world as I potentially understand it, I would be more astute when examining social constraints. Participatory media, if I do understand that, refers in part to social, and to creators on social. The world as Big Tech unfolded has been exciting.

MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube–all these services were blessings compared to the uncertainties about the free world before Big Tech began to realize its ambitions.

I would also tell myself to dress a bit better–enough of the dated pullovers and denim!

Happy New Year! All the best.

Nine Years a Nonprofit Part II

October 30, 2013

There is a ton of rivalry.  Maple Lawn Cemetery has a Facebook page that I appreciate keeping up with, and I discover things to put on it.  

Facebook is going through a lot of change, as you probably know.  They are challenged repeatedly about how they handle their users’ privacy.  I’ve been happy to take the understanding that its objectives may bode well. https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

I’m not sure my dad sees my ability, such as with our riding mower, as all that “expert.”  The work I do with it is adequate when I cut the grass when the weather is good.  I mulch leaves in the fall, and I can tow a cart.

It is normal to expect some criticism, but I don’t invite it.  I accept that I’m an imperfect person.

Yesterday, my dad and my brother Josh and me set up for two funerals, as there had been two people who passed.  The first of them was Mrs. Marilyn Bowslaugh, who visited the cemetery to do gardening around her family lots.  Mrs. Bowslaugh was kind, and she had advice and feedback for me on Facebook, which I was able to apply to do a better job.

Like I say, I enjoy keeping at it.  Facebook is becoming, by many accounts, a “metaverse,” a virtual world to live inside.

Mrs. Bowslaugh encouraged me to give the Facebook page for the cemetery the air of being by churchgoing folk, and she told me that she enjoyed feel-good stories (not unlike what goes into Reader’s Digest).  Although my dad and I have a designated day of the week, Wednesday, the day we most often are there, I have the luxury to work at my own pace, although it’s understood the expectation I should get work done.

I also take photographs around the graveyard.  I don’t take shots with huge insight, just impulse, and the training I’ve done myself, pointing and shooting. I like to experiment a little with the camera while taking pictures that represent something tangible, rather than obscured tones or something to that effect, which may look pretty but are difficult to decipher.

My cover image for this blog is simple lines, blue and green, expressionism roused by Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Bluebeard, the tale of a character who’s a now-weak craftsman, whose workmanship is expressionist painting.  It’s a book worth reading.

Why Mom Was Right About Facebook’s Allures

If the subject of Facebook enters the conversation, my mom likes to say she isn’t on it.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a Facebook account in my dad’s name, and I think my mother also thinks that the two of them, my mom and my dad, have the same outlook, and disposition.  By that logic, I take it that an account apiece isn’t necessary for them.  Comments they leave are usually attributed to one or the other.

Photo by Wilfred Iven on StockSnap

I have a small Facebook account.  But despite having a humble reverence for the David Fincher-directed 2010 film The Social Network, my pleasure in being on Facebook is helping to run a not-for-profit business.  For example, this very morning, a woman let me know, with an email to the Facebook page for the business, that she finds the business very beautiful, and you’ll understand why in a moment.

In 2007, at the sales company where I worked, Facebook on the desktop computers was blocked, so that entrance-level employee couldn’t enjoy it.  At that time, even for a young man like me, Facebook was a lifeline.  In 2012, Facebook App Center, an internet-based portable store, was carried out onto the market.

The store at first had 500 Facebook applications. which were. for the most part, games.  I remember wondering why was this happening.  Why were so many users playing games?

Around this time, my dad did kind of a noble thing, when, after years of helping manage the municipal cemetery for his job, he came across a little cemetery on the other side of town.  Their trustees were hoping to share the burial ground with the district he had worked for.

My father acquired the cemetery and welcomed me on as a partner in 2012.  For a nonprofit, as a retiree might characteristically enjoy working at, presently we require one day a week, ordinarily.

Louth United Church

I am not sure I suggested it myself, but it was probably me who did–making a business page on Facebook for the cemetery, so interested people could easily get ahold of us, like the woman did this morning.  My dad had wanted a website for the cemetery, and this extra measure was one more step, a Facebook page

https://www.maplelawncemetery.org/24701.html

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

I compose posts that flow data about characteristic concerns we have.  You see, I research and blog.  I am an amateur writer.

I’ve composed a few brief tales, however, I don’t have the standard novel or screenplay that an essayist frequently has.  I’m really an amateur blogger with family business ties.  The business page on Facebook has nearly a hundred accounts of people who “like” it, and most of the control of the page falls to me.

One friend of the business, an elderly lady, I got to know a little during her brief visits to the cemetery, and also when the two of us interacted together on Facebook, had advice for me that I continue to apply on the Facebook business page.

My mother may never have signed up for Facebook, but I think she is pleased to think I show the initiative to manage the page.  My mom worked for a small business for many years, as a clerk.  We actually argue about many matters, but as long as I show a commitment to my dad’s retirement business, I continue to hold some cards in the game, between the three of us.

Nowadays Facebook has a significant draw, yet what we would never have expected are the losses Facebook has had to confront.  Remember the lead-up to the appointment of 2016, when it was discovered that Facebook was utilizing Cambridge Analytica?  That information firm gave Hillary Clinton a benefit, as her position was greater for Facebook than Donald Trump’s pass into the White House would have been.

Photo by Sticker Mule on StockSnap

It was trouble.  Trump’s since been banned from Facebook, as well as from other social media.  Granted, Maple Lawn Cemetery’s a small page, and we don’t handle cash transactions there, so the Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t impact us much, although the distrust in the air that grew for Zuckerberg did have a toxic impact on how people used Facebook, compared to how they used it before the 2016 scandal.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/12/facebook-whistleblower-behind-major-leak-is-going-to-testify-in-europe.html

Two days ago, in the early hours, CNET Tech, when reporting on Facebook going against the British Parliament, discussed online one Damian Collins, a member of parliament.  Even now, Frances Haugen, CNET reports, is preparing to speak to British Parliament.  It was Collins who took Cambridge Analytica to task in 2016, across the pond, and he is quoted as saying, “There needs to be greater transparency on the decisions companies like Facebook take when they trade off user safety for user engagement.”

The issue is that Facebook utilizes information about its customers to maneuver them to invest more energy, again became a national topic Sunday when Frances Haugen, a former Facebook worker, showed up on TV to clarify that Facebook is investigating strategies for better compelling and ultimately how to benefit from kids helpless against Facebook fixation.

Facebook has been successful this week demonstrating to the European Union that Facebook has adequate privacy protections in place, but they remain dodgy.  Frances Haugen did them no favours, however.

You know, I don’t think my mother thinks about those kinds of things.

My mom has the perception that people are talking to each other when they are posting on Facebook.  You can say that’s true, however, I think she sees those individuals “talking” rather than the more accurate description that anyone, when Facebook posts are public, can cooperate with those posts.  The explanation for this is those messages from Facebook, about those individuals that you have been cooperating with, is not that those individuals posting have chosen companions to send messages to (ie my mom, I suppose).

What I mean is that when my mother is happy to leave a comment on a post, say, composed by a cousin of hers or by an aunt, with my dad’s account, the reason emails from Facebook come back to him with reminders is that my mother has initiated contact, with his account, with those family members, it is not because those family members want emails sent to him and to her (my mom and dad).

The drawback I personally have run into on Facebook is that I have that one friend who reacts to lots of the posts I do put up.  He’s bizarre.  I know there’s a cliched perception that if your mother is reading what you are posting on Facebook, you are dealing with trouble, but to that end I don’t remember too many times that the account that my mom and dad use came back with reactions to my posts.

My mom is good that way.  Lots of times, I am dropping posts with little to no engagement, although I have an idea what works to at least merit a little bit of a reaction.

Photo by Lenharth Systems on StockSnap

Many people prescribing what’s called a dopamine detox suggest staying off social media.  Sometimes they say they never felt better after getting away from Facebook for a while (better, or clearer-headed).

I don’t think my mom ever felt Facebook was a problem among me and my brother and my sister.  We aren’t children.

My mom doesn’t like me eating too much junk food, but she doesn’t raise objections to too much Facebook use.  It just isn’t that Facebook is the problem its detractors say it is.

I doubt that Zuckerberg is the disrupter that Jesse Eisenberg plays him as in the David Fincher film.  That really is great cinema.  The brilliance of the ambiguity of the conclusion of the film leaves you with the knowledge of how the film’s events next played out in the real world and leaves the audience to ask an existential question, about the value of what Zuckerberg has done.

Jessie Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg is the Nietzschean overman who makes a brave journey, a very satisfying ideology.  I find Facebook pleasant and harmless.  Occasionally if I come on too strong, for a stranger’s liking, I get rebuked, but usually, I pick safe moves that don’t rock the boat too much.  

The Social Network

Compared to both Facebook and Instagram, where the drawbacks are becoming ugly to discuss, I retain an optimistic view of Twitter, and I respect the measures Jack Dorsey has implemented to deal with hate speech, which while known to be a problem on Twitter, doesn’t engender the same conversation that I know of that it does about Facebook.  Twitter is actually getting so it can conceivably warn you if you are writing an incendiary tweet.  It is a changing attitude for the service, for sure.

About Facebook, people say things like hate content will earn more views and that is probably true, although I don’t know why.  Facebook is being blamed for allowing this.  I think that a person can be more attractive if they aren’t focused on material that is hateful.

A spiritual outlook is better, I think, say, like to believe that there is good in everyone, if it is only nurtured.  Hate is a terrible quality to define a person by.  There is vast beauty in the world, and to spend your time on Earth consumed by hatred is not a fine way to live life.

When I was a little kid, my mother would say the cliché, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do the same?”  It’s not quite the same thing, as my mom doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with Facebook.  I don’t, really, either, despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016, and now the Frances Haugen 60 Minutes debacle.

Perhaps those people with whom my mom chats on Facebook, though they may understand Facebook better than my mother does, do like having comments from her, and like having their posts viewed.  That my mother can mentally translate Facebook use into a “chat” that is organic in the sense that people are having a catch-up lets me know that there are probably many people who view Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, the same as that.

The mental concept of Facebook automatically translates into a natural style of conversation instead of being too robotic, which is old hat for anybody who can remember the days that Internet chat was a chief part of the Internet’s function, whether that was AOL or MSN Messenger, or, these days, Facebook Messenger.

Perhaps my participation in services like MSN Messenger back in the day helped elucidate for my mother how it is that Internet chat goes, but it is more likely that talk with my sister Kaite is what educated my mother into an understanding of Internet chat, as Kaite thinks of herself as an early adopter of Facebook.

Like a feedback loop, my sister’s instruction to my mother brought round for me insight into how people view Facebook and Facebook Messenger.  Other people must have similar reactions when they are becoming familiar with it.  While I would have understood it regularly given my experience on MSN Messenger as everybody had in the 2000s, I too feel that I am right as rain about how it is to be on Facebook, but not at the expense of how I feel it is to be part of a community inside Facebook.

The problem is the question of whether Facebook will keep a good enough reputation for itself among most Internet users around the world.  Though my mom’s understanding of Facebook is probably largely due to my sister’s help, I think my mom is right that she sees the use of Facebook in a simple but useful light.  None of that would be going on without my sister’s words of explanation for my mother and father.

I should remember that when I am writing emails to Kaite.  Respect due, Kaite is married and has a little one at home, and has been working in the city of London, England, where their family resides.

My mom may discourage junk food, but Facebook is right by her.  I remember my high school librarian who referred to many works of fiction as being “ice cream reading,” meaning they weren’t high-value books.  Funny how that is.

Photo by Matt Moloney on StockSnap

You’re welcome to like this post, follow my blog, and leave comments.  All the best, especially if you are on Facebook.  If you want to contact me by email, you can, at the personal email patrickcoholan@hotmail.com

My personal Facebook account is https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons  Don’t think you can be affected?  Give it a go. I hope you have a great Halloween this season.