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Brave New World

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 6.02.16 PMI read an article in the Washington Post last week about How Twitter upended the relationships between comedians and audiences. The story highlights Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow which is a collection of interviews with comedians between 1983 and 2015. In part, the article states,

The earlier interviews are largely concerned with process: how a joke comes about, how a routine evolves. A frequent preoccupation in later interviews is social media, Twitter in particular. Given Apatow’s prominence on the medium (he has more than 1.2 million followers), that’s not terribly surprising. Nor is it shocking that many of his fellow comedians have embraced the opportunities provided by social media: These networks have given comedians new reach and exposed them to a wider range of opinions than ever before.

However, these new avenues have fundamentally changed the relationship between comics and their audiences. While the advantages for stand-ups who largely rely on self-promotion are obvious, the risks are equally great: Audiences’ newfound familiarity with the men on the stage and the intolerance the easily offended have for boundary-pushing work risk forever altering the workshopping process that Apatow and his subjects spend so much time discussing.

Social media has largely stifled a comedian’s ability to push the boundaries of social commentary. I shudder to think how the likes of

  • Mark Twain (“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way”),
  • Will Rogers (“Diplomacy is the act of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock”),
  • Lenny Bruce (“A lot of people say to me, Why did you kill Christ? I dunno… it was one of those parties, got out of hand, you know. We killed him because he didn’t want to become a doctor, that’s why we killed him.”) and
  • Richard Pryor (“I’m for human lib, the liberation of all people, not just black people or female people or gay people.”)

would be received today.

Before the advent of social media, if you were offended by a particular comedian, you could complain to your friends about what a jerk he or she was and choose to turn off the TV when they appeared. Not so today. It’s not enough to be offended. It’s not enough to tell all your friends and followers how offended you are. No, today we live in the world of the “perpetually outraged”, and the perpetually outraged must placate their anger by publicly calling for the end of the offending party’s career.

Social media has become a minefield, and not just for comedians. Much like getting behind the wheel of a car, there’s something about the presumed anonymity the internet provides that brings out the absolute worst in people. Unlike being behind the wheel of a car, people can actually hear you when you called them stupid *&^%$+#@!% and they are inclined to call you something worse in response.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The interwebs can be an educational, enlightening and enjoyable experience if you remember my secret of success to social media:

People don’t care what you think nearly as much as you think you do.

No really, they don’t.

You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Unless you are a close friend of mine, I’m guessing you don’t definitively know where I stand on any number of controversial issues. That’s completely intentional on my part. Why? Because if I follow you on Twitter or have friended you on Facebook it’s because I like you and I don’t want to fight with you. I can pretty much guarantee that you and I don’t see eye to eye on everything. Furthermore, no one has ever sought me out on social media and asked me point blank where I stood on the controversial topic de’ jour.

Why? Because they don’t care. They really don’t.

“But katdish,” you say, “this is an issue that I am strongly for/against and I think it’s important that people take a stand for/against this issue!”

I get that. I respect that. As long as you don’t take a firm stand on some hot button issue and then get–as my friend Jake Lee would say–all butthurt when someone disagrees with you.


You don’t have to sell out.

You don’t have to compromise your principles.

Just be nice and don’t feed the trolls.

I’ll be right there by your virtual side

Quietly judging you…

Dwight and Jim

Twitter: What’s the point?

A few weeks ago, I attended a dinner party at the home of my husband’s boss and his wife. It was an intimate gathering—four couples. It’s a relatively new company, and the hosts thought it would be a good way for everyone (the wives especially) to put faces to names.

As often is the case in such gatherings, there was much small talk. A conversation which began as the merits of Mac versus PC (or vice versa depending on whether you’ve partaken in the Apple Kool-aid) soon turned to Facebook. Our host asked everyone at the table, “Who of you here has a Facebook account?” My husband was the only one who did not answer in the affirmative. Everyone had an opinion:

“There are people I don’t want to find me”

“I found my best friend from elementary school.”

It’s a great way to keep up with family and friends and see the latest pictures of the grand kids.”

“Facebook is your life, only edited.”

To the last comment I responded, “Facebook status updates are like a never-ending Christmas letter. I have a Facebook account (two actually), but I prefer Twitter.”

Guess who was the only person at the table with a twitter account.

“I tried twitter…I don’t get it.”

“What’s the point of Twitter anyway?”

This left me momentarily speechless—a fairly rare occurrence. Because how does one answer that question?
What is the point of Twitter?

My response was, “What do you want the point of Twitter to be? It can be different things to different people.”

So I posed this question on Twitter and got some interesting responses:

@CandySteele said: I love being able to connect with people and not worry about the spinach in my teeth.

@sarahmsalter said: For the first couple of months I was on Twitter I felt the same way. Then, I “met” you. And @weightwhat. And @Helenatrandom. Et al.

@Helenatrandom said: Socializing. Here is where I group together with my cyber friends, much the same way I used to gather on the great big cubes in Alumni Hall with my friends in college. It is a cyber gathering space. Why not use a chat room? Because that isn’t where my friends are gathering. Does that make me a “follower”. Perhaps. So what?

@marni71 said: Interaction with other snarks. I’m not being snarky in saying that though. And I find I’m challenged (in a good way) by differing opinions and beliefs of others I meet on here. But mostly…snark.

@kellyatlovewell said: I tell people Twitter (for me) is like a huge chat room with some of my favorite online people in it. It’s a lifeline for SAHMs.

@IanAClifford said: Twitter has put me in touch with people I wouldn’t normally be in touch with and sending short messages is normally all I have time for.

@duane_scott said: The point of twitter is connecting with readers and interesting people. A major time killer.

@Davidmota said: Twitter is the place where I get encouraged by other Believers across the world.

@Pauharri said: I feel twitter is so honest and open to anyone I mean you can twitter someone famous,or twitter your neighbour anyone.

@forthegirls said:To expand beyond school, community and family (bc that’s what FB has for me) twitter offers new perspectives!

@NEgraceful said: It’s an easy way to click over to posts quickly. Also, gives me a high ’cause I get followers faster than on blog!

@ Brian_Russell said: Twitter is my place for the comments my mom always told me to keep to myself.

@MarilynYocum said: Twitter: Having a sense of what others are doing/thinking/reading. Trusting them to point out good things, but not overwhelm me.

@BretMcCormick said: Great question….blogging 140 characters at a time is all my ADHD can withstand.

@KathleenOverby said:Twitter is fine tuned. Succinct. Instant conversation. 🙂 Facebook makes me feel sooooooo lonely. A facade somehow? 1000 Friends.??

@mxings said: (in response to Kathleen) FB does not make me feel lonely, but it makes me feel like I am neglecting people, a status does not seem 2B enough.

@jeremypeterson said:Quick thoughts and replies w/o having to deal with dumb things like farmville or mafia 🙂

@togetherforgood said: I’m a fan of facebook. Because none of my “real life” friends are on twitter. I don’t really “get” social media, I think.

@mxings said: I would agree. Twitter can be whatever you want it to be — I prefer it because I feel I have more choice in following/friending There are 2 at work who always say, “Why would I want to tell everyone every time I take a piss?” & the look ‘end of discussion’.

@NovelHelp said: Connecting with people who have similar interests and to learn from their experience and/or help with mine.

@mmerubies said: Twitter is for conversation that completely broadens my horizons.

@jpwire said: Twitter makes me less lonely. other really whacked out people to connect with. LOL.

@SBeeCreations said: Started as a marketing tool &is now an extended network of caring, compassionate, funny friends I don’t know how I survived without.

@UntanglingTales said: I twitter b/c it’s idea-connect w/ greater efficiency than blogging– w/ (frequently) the convenient connection to the actual blog.

@okiewife said: I love twitter for the connections with ordinary but witty folks, uplifting blogs, and all the patriotic love of America comments.

@WriteOnRideOn said: Global communication. Worldwide interaction with people I may never have met otherwise. Mutual support+encouragement. Fun. Writing. Plus, I’m with ya on the FB deal. I don’t do FB. I don’t want to dredge up the past or interact only w/people I already know. Plus, I love the potential and unexpected surprises on Twitter. Love sending out a tweet and meeting new people out of the blue.:) ..without FB “will you be my friend” stuff. I’d rather have public Twitter timeline w/news, friends, writing, shared interests.AND sometimes I actually manage to say what I need to say in 140char or less. I know. Hard to believe right now. LOL :o)

I also received a couple of heartfelt direct messages:

Re: Twitter. Sometimes, I just don’t know. Sometimes I feel it’s just another way to feel lonely as I probably don’t have the outgoing personality to make friends as I see others do. I find it disheartening at times. But when I’m away, I miss it. Go figure.

(a mutual friend) said that I add sunshine to everyone’s day on Twitter. And that surprised me, because in real life, people are always telling me that I’m too much. Too loud. Too fast. Too much. I’m rarely myself because being myself is too much. Too annoying. And I often fear that I’m too much on Twitter, too. Too talkative. Too chatty. Too open. Too “myself.” But she said that the miracle of the Internet is that it allows weirdos like us to discover that we’re not alone. And that’s what it’s done for me. I’ve found a group of people that don’t just TOLERATE me. They CELEBRATE me. (Does it make me pathetic that I’m actually crying while I type this?) I feel like I found a treasure when I found you guys. (Or did you find me?) I don’t care. I just thank God we found each other. I was afraid to laugh or to be silly. I had been led to believe that grown-ups don’t do that. Y’all taught me different.

So there you go. For those of you who are not on the twitter, those are several reasons people choose to connect there. And if you are on twitter, and missed sharing your thoughts on twitter, what’s the point for you?

I may not be your Facebook Friend Anymore…

Have you seen this?

Or this?

Here’s a couple of snippets from your Facebook Contract:

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

“The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.”

If I’m interpreting these articles correctly, as of February 4, 2009, anything you post on Facebook past, present and future, including links to your blogs, pictures, ANYTHING – they have irrevocable rights to — FOREVER! If this is correct and legally binding, Facebook could legitimately lay claim to the content of your blog and publishing rights to a book based upon the content therein. Are you reading this Jon?

Perhaps I need to take a chill pill and talk to someone who knows legalese, but for the moment, I’m none too happy about being Facebook’s bee-atch and I’m pretty pissed off. Do I have any lawyer lurkers out there that would care to weigh in on this?

The Prayer of the ADD afflicted (a "not so typical day)

The following is basically a blow by blow of yesterday’s events in my little corner of the world:

6:00 a.m. –
Woke up on couch. (Removed dog from bed and moved to couch on previous night because DH had to get up early for work. DH could not get to sleep because the dog had the “jiggy leg”.)

6:30 a.m. –
Gentle wake up reminder for children.

6:45 a.m. –
Son in shower. Pull the “Santa card” on daughter in order to get her out of bed.

6:49 a.m. –
Turn on computer, get a cup of coffee, and put cereal on table.

6:55 a.m. –
Receive a prayer request via email from “Clare”. (Names have been changed to protect those whom I have not received permission from to recount story.)
I am simultaneously alarmed and confused as sender has requested prayer for a condition that “is sort of acting like Maria”. Wondering who “Maria” might be, as I assume the Hispanic population in this particular area is as common place as the Caucasian population. Finish my coffee and then brilliantly deduce that “Clare” must have meant “malaria”. Now am very concerned. Send reply asking for confirmation of condition.

7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. –
Son leaves for bus stop. Put daughter in car, drive over posted legal speed limit through neighborhood and cut the bus off at the pass. Daughter gets on the bus. Return home at legal posted speed.

7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –
Write a brief blog post explaining the need to pray today. Check email for any additional updates. There are none.

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. –
Attempt to pray, but am too distracted. Decide to use an old stand-by — keeping my hands busy so that my mind can focus on God. Put third coat of wood filler on the home improvement project run amok and begin to pray again. Much more focused this time.

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. –
Continue to pray while I begin to paint the baseboards in my soon to be uber fantastical studio/escape from the world.

10:00 a.m. – Noon –
Am comforted by prayer, but am wanting to check on the status of “Clare”. Temporarily defer my ADD to status in order to go into full OCD mode. (This process will be fully outlined in just a moment.) Check email and gmail again. Words of comfort and encouragement from friends, but no update on status.

Noon –
Decide to eat something. (I come from a long line of stress eaters, when all else fails: stuff your face.) I heat up some Hungarian chicken taco soup and proceed to inhale it.

1:00 p.m. –
Can’t stand it anymore. Check Facebook for any possible news. Read “Clare’s” Facebook wall. It says: “has taken proper meds, will be fine, just not fun.”

Immediately post the following rambling comment on “Clare’s” Wall:

Well THANK GOODNESS! I was not “worried”, but I was praying, and (shockingly) kept getting distracted. So I called the phone number for GCM in Owerri, oh, I don’t know about 25 times, (I’m ADD, but have some shining OCD moments). Then I called the GCM headquarters and got someone’s voice mail (which, btw – they really should change because you can’t even understand what that chick is saying), then I called your church in Florida, got a REAL LIVE PERSON, told them who I was, and did they know who you were, and she said, “Oh, yes.” So then I said, I’ve been trying to get in touch with “Clare”, but the number I have isn’t going through, to which she replied, “I wasn’t even aware that she had a phone.” To which I said “Are you nuts, lady? She’s in Africa, not Gilligan’s Island.” (Just kidding – I didn’t really say that.) I thanked her and hung up. Then I prayed some more, and then I thought I would check your facebook one more time and BINGO! She shoots, she scores! (at this point, Facebook will not let me type anymore letters.)

So, I post another comment:

How am I supposed to ramble on incessantly when they only give me so much space? Anyhoo – glad you got some good meds and are on the mend. I’m wondering if you might not be second guessing your “Conquest of the Giant Vat of Stew”??? You should probably send Sherri an email, she’s probably about to have a conniption or something…

1:30 p.m. –
Close Facebook. Read a new email from “Clare”. Am greatly relieved that she is okay. Thank God. Back in full ADD mode.

1:45 p.m. –
Having gone a full 6-1/2 hours without making a sarcastic remark on anyone’s blog, I decide to venture out a bit…..(your welcome).

The rest of the day goes on as “normal” (whatever that is.)

Editor’s Note: The preceding post was my typical sarcastic fodder. But to be serious for just a moment, I want to say that I truly believe in the power of prayer and know that many of you were praying fervently as well. I know I kid around most of the time. I hope you know how VERY BLESSED I am to be privy to the privilege of your friendship. And “Clare”, I hope you’re feeling better and aren’t mad at me for writing this post.

Facebook Confessional

I have a confession to make: I don’t really get the whole facebook thing. I know how to become some one’s friend if they invite me to do so and how to send and receive flair, but all the games and stuff, I just kind of struggle through. I’ve got like 2 pages of requests for games and whatnot, but I’m just a little intimidated by it all.
However, being inspired by a new group that I recently joined, “I love ranch dressing” (and who doesn’t?), I have created a group of my own: “Hey look, a chicken!” If you are on facebook, or want to join, won’t you please join my group and send me a friend request? It’ll be fun! (How pathetic was that?)