Need a better class of friends

the progeny and I dressed ridiculously
the progeny and I dressed ridiculously

This is sort of a weird situation, because I’d committed myself to start blogging again daily, and missed yesterday. Like running, or even exercise, if I don’t do it regularly, i.e. every single day, then I quickly get out of the habit.

On the one hand, I know no one’s waiting with baited breath for my Missives from Old Europe on a daily basis. Nevertheless, when I write regularly here, it’s easier for me to be creating other content for both paid work and even the extracurricular stuff I write (I realise that’s not the correct use of that word, but it’s like I still refer to weekday evenings as ‘school nights’, I’m sure you know what I mean.

What would I write about if I had no agenda, and I was just splashing my unedited thoughts onto the screen? Well, you’re about to find out. That’s exactly what this post is.

Not researched and just barely cogent, this is my theme for today.

Personal responsibility.

Years ago I read or heard that people with an internal versus external locus of responsibility have happier lives. Blaming your parents or the government or aliens or whatever for your lot in life seems like a recipe for disappointment.

As an important aside, I’ve never been an African-American, so this most definitely isn’t a commentary on the protests or even the looting in the last weeks stateside. Whether you believe it or not, there is systematic racism in the western world, and in the U.S. in particular, and this is most certainly not a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ screed.

I’m writing about myself and the way I present myself online and particularly how I choose to use social media. Years ago, my friend Nick was still on Feckbook, which he summarily deleted at some other point of maximum online outrage, and his posts were not only well written, but the comments on his posts were generally of a higher quality than those of the average bear.

Attributing it to Nick being a person of above-average intelligence and the company he kept, and I assume still keeps, I realised that if I want my little corner of the Internet (my personal pages on Feckbook and the like) to be a place for respectful and honest dialogue, then I’d have to get a better class of friends.

Just kidding, people. It’s an old joke my friend Patsy told about helping homeless people. She’d go out of her way to help out the disadvantaged, and her kindness would regularly be met with mistreatment. People stealing her stuff or not acting right. She’d joke that she just needed to go out and find a higher class of homeless people.

Hahahahaha…punching down has never been funnier these days, huh?

My friends are just fine, by the way. Some are politically or even socially conservative, and that’s truly okay. I’d rather discuss things online with people I disagree with anyway, so I welcome the disagreements and even struggle with being kind to people I feel are disingenuous or even cruel. I do my best to ignore trolls, but even they make it through my filters sometimes.

My genuine belief is that these huge tech companies benefit from us hating each other, so I just refuse to take part. My rather religious mother would’ve prayed for these yahoos, but I tend to just ignore them. Not pay them any mind, as it were.

That’s where I am today. I need to get to bed early, so I can be up before my small daughter. Early morning’s the only time I get to myself these days, so I’m always in a race to get to sleep even before she does.

Go in peace, and all that…

First Susanne became obsessed and then I decided to offer a new blogging course

Ken at Axioma

You have your people. I’m sure you look around your circle of friends and say to yourself, ‘I love what they’re doing…wish I could help them out more.‘ Well, as much as you love your people, and I’m sure you do, my people just keep creating new things and I want to do what I can to let everybody know about them.

One of my people – one of the better ones, I might add – is Susanne, and she’s recently become obsessed with blogging and social media. I looked on with both amusement and pride last year, as her first blogposts started showing up on my newsfeed.

Here’s her most recent post, and I’m sure you’ll see why I find her writing so endearing: Desperado (by Susanne Plassman) Leave it to her to take a topic like suicide and make it inspiring.

I reached out to her and said, ‘Hey, I know something about the whole blogging lark, so drop me a line if you need any guidance.

Almost immediately, she responded with, ‘Yes, let’s talk! Am besten Gestern*!‘ That’s how she is, by the way. A theatre chick with all the positive associations in tow.

Susanne and I are conspiring to do some projects together and I’m sure I’ll be talking about them here and on social media, but in the meantime…her predicaments while getting started in blogging made me think, ‘There must be so many other locals who need some tips and pointers on this whole social media thing.

Right?

So, I talked to the language school Axioma, which is centrally located in the Maxvorstadt district of Munich, and we’ve decided to offer a course in social media. Here’s a link to the Social Media / Blogging von Anfang an course. Click on it, and see how much of your high school or college German you can remember.

*rough translation of ‘am besten Gestern‘: I need this yesterday!

 

 

 

 

Why do people take the wrong things about Facebook so seriously?

IMG_2993
Getting some things off my chest

 

Ok, the first thing I want to say is that when it comes to Feckbook, people just need to settle down. It’s a platform that has changed not just the landscape of the Internet, but has altered the way many people live their lives. It’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future, so either learn to deal with it or simply delete your account and move on with your life. Why do people take the wrong things about Facebook so seriously?

If you’re one of the seemingly limitless people still using the above-mentioned service, then you’ve no doubt recently seen the status updates that people have copied and pasted to defend themselves from content theft and privacy violations. It’s nothing new – these cookie cutter blurbs of non substance are not only a huge waste of your time, but they sadly show how gullible people continue to be. Take a quick gander at this if you’ve not already seen it:

Facebook Privacy Notice brought to you by the good people over at Snopes.

However, that’s not what made me want to write this post. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m doing more and more with social media and I’m looking at it from the perspective of my growing client base, rather than just as an individual writer amplifying his work.

Although I continue to build Macbeth Knowles Consulting for small and medium sized businesses here in Germany who want to better use social media to reach international markets, I’ve resolved to keep this lahikmajoe blog for the more informal stuff.

I’m offering  some behind the scenes material and some quick and dirty tips about how anybody can improve their social media with common sense approaches. My loyal readers have always appreciated my more whimsical side, and I have no intention of giving that up. Hiding my light under a bushel, as it were.

So, as I continue to take on new clients and cultivate the ones I’ve already got, I’m focused on what I see happening on the social media landscape. Much more important than those laughable status updates above is what Feckbook has done elsewhere. Let me link to it first, and then I’ll sum it up:

New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs

Here’s a bit of that text if you couldn’t be bothered to follow the link:

But small-business owners…will soon get less benefit from the unpaid marketing pitches they post on Facebook. That’s because, as of mid-January, the social network will intensify its efforts to filter out unpaid promotional material in user news feeds that businesses have posted as status updates.

The change will make it more difficult for entrepreneurs…to reach fans of their Facebook pages with marketing posts that aren’t paid advertising.

Businesses that post free marketing pitches or reuse content from existing ads will suffer “a significant decrease in distribution,” Facebook warned in a post earlier this month announcing the coming change.

Look, it’s their site. That small businesses have had the opportunity to use this platform for so long at little or no cost could definitely be seen as a kind of generosity on the part of the behemoth that is Feckbook. That’s not exactly how I see it, but I can certainly appreciate their perspective.

And on some level, I like that Facebook’s motives are becoming more transparent. That can only be a good thing, as most people are still a bit foggy on who the customer is in this business scenario. That’s the bit of wisdom I’ll leave you with as I head back to what’s left of the weekend:

If you’re not paying for the service, then you’re not the customer. A more accurate, albeit crass, assessment of this entire setup is that Feckbook’s true customers are the advertisers and marketers who specifically add to the company’s coffers. I don’t care how accustomed you are to using the platform and how convenient it is to connect with friends and family from far and wide: if you’re not paying for it or being paid, then you’re a glorified content provider.

If it’ll make you feel better, though, to post a status update putting the Man in his place, then by all means, go ahead and do so.

To each his own, as the kids are saying.

Social media strategies: what NOT to do

 

socialmediastrategies
source: http://toothpastefordinner.com

Have been doing more freelance work with social media recently, and this cartoon had me chuckling. How many times have you been stumbling round the web, and one of your friends, that you thought wasn’t so bad, made one of these blunders.

No emo status updates people. Truly – it’s just bad form. The Complainer’s Gambit fits into that category, if you ask me.

Want to ruin your chances of being hired for that job you really wanted? Try the second one in the cartoon above. If I scroll through your wall or stream on a given site, and you’re involved in any sort of debauchery, good luck to you and yours.

Now, I know there are exceptions. There are some rock and roll musicians and even a few criminally insane artists in my circle of acquaintances. They get a pass on this one. It’s almost as if they increase their street red by being a bit mental.

I’m not going to name check any of them, though. This isn’t that sort of blogpost.

Now, I’m going to have to make a confession when it comes to the third and final example in the cartoon above. If you know me on social media, you’re already aware that I can go into a sort of fugue state of sharing on occasion.

It’s not something I’m proud of, I assure you. Once I get started, I’m like the people they talk about in those potato crisps advertisements…I simply can’t have just one.