Tag Archives: Google+

My Biggest Fan Doesn’t Read My Blog

My husband spent two days with his best friend, hunting and making homemade sausage and beer.  During that short time I managed to get bored enough with life to get into my first official online cockfight with several completely insane total strangers.  This all played out in the Comments Section of an article about mountain lions in South Dakota.  Why did I do it?  Why didn’t I know better?  I should have realized that everything I wrote, no matter how factual or rational, was going to be used against me by bat-shit crazy people, because that is the Law of the Comment Section.  But, like I said, I got bored, I had nothing better to do, and I just…couldn’t…resist the Comment Section!

Two things we MUST take from this story: 1) you will rarely walk away from Comment Sections feeling good about yourself, unless you are a psychopath, and 2) I have a serious problem with cat people, and they with me.

While I was at work I received a text from my husband asking if I wanted to meet him for lunch, and I responded “yes!” because after two days, I felt like I hadn’t seen him in forever, and I kind of wanted to tell him about the mountain lion argument.  I was a little embarrassed about it being out there on the Internet, but not ashamed about sticking to my beliefs.  It was the first time I had been publicly and personally attacked by absolute strangers who also happened to be absolute jackasses, but it likely wouldn’t be the last.  I will have to get used to this if I want to continue blogging, especially about issues that are controversial.  The problem is that stupid people might be my Achilles Heel when it comes to tackling those controversies.

When we slid into the booth at the restaurant my husband looked at me with a slight smile and said, “So I saw that crazy discussion thread about the mountain lions this morning.”  I stared at him.  The dude never looks up anything on Google+.  Then he really blew my mind: “I read your blog too.”  Oh crap.

“What, my ranting in my last post?” I asked feebly.  I really didn’t want him to start reading my blog during a particularly bitchy time in my life…

“No, I just looked at your photos of the snow in South Dakota.  They are nice, except they are not all from the same snowfall.  One is from a later snowfall, maybe in February.”

“Oh, okay.  I was going to write a post about how you are my biggest fan but you never read my blog.  I guess it still counts if you just looked at the pictures.”

“Yeah, I like them.  I also really liked how you handled those ‘whack-a-doos’ on that discussion thread though.  They were wicked and condescending to you but you held your own and you held the higher ground!  And you told them too!  That was some funny shit!”

So dealing with the nightmare of the Comment Section aside (that may be a separate post — seriously, communication is whirling down the toilet because we can’t have respectful, intelligent discussions online) you may be asking why my husband doesn’t read my blog.  You may be thinking that he is kind of mean for not supporting me by logging in religiously and then patting me on the back every time I post something, or for not jumping in and helping me fight crazy whack jobs online.   The opposite is actually true.  He is so supportive of me that he stays out of my business — out of my blog — and lets me do my thing.  And that is the best way for him to be a fan.

When I first mentioned that I wanted to blog I was worried how he would react.  I was more afraid that he just wouldn’t care.  Instead he told me that I have talent and that I should do what makes me happy.  When I started writing stories featuring him, I wondered if he might get insulted because I was making fun of how crazy our family can act.  Hey, the truth is pretty damn funny.  I was even more worried that he might become a bit of a back seat driver, always asking me why I had chosen to write something a certain way instead of how he had imagined that I should have written the story.  Or he might feel obligated to always read and love every bit of shit that I produced, even the especially shitty stuff.  Let’s face it folks, this is no Hemingway.  In all, I was scared that my blog might make us both feel encumbered by obligations to be a certain way to each other instead of just being ourselves.  But, honesty won the day!  I told him I did not need constant reassurance; he told me he probably wouldn’t read the blog every day.  And he has given me the best advice about my writing that I could EVER ask of anyone.

Two weeks into my blogging he asked, “Have you made any money yet?”  And I said “No honey, it really doesn’t work that way.  On WordPress I don’t get to make money, and I have like, ten people reading my blog right now, so I practically don’t exist.”

A month went by and he asked “When can you make money for your writing?”  And I laughed, “I wish I could make money for this!  Remember what I told you?”

“Yes,” he grumbled, “but you really should get paid for what you write.”

See why he is my Number One Fan? While I was being eaten alive by the mountain lion lovers (kind of ironic because I had a feeling most of them were vegan) he was the only one who was out there wanting to stick up for me, but he held back because it was my battle.  I told him today that I learned an important lesson, which I should have remembered anyway.  No matter how neutral you try to be, you can’t post in a Comment Section and expect NOT to be attacked by a hypocrite.  Even when you are not looking for a fight, when you are only trying to state an idea or support something you believe, you WILL be attacked on a personal level.  You will be cruelly judged by strangers, and it doesn’t matter what you say to defend yourself.  Any further comments made in defense of yourself will only make the attacks worse.  You just have to expect it in this day and age.

“But, I also learned this today;” I told my husband as we left a tip on the table before exiting the restaurant, “I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, especially not to total strangers in some random Comment Section.  If I know who I am, that is good enough!”

Remember that people.

— G

Facebook for Dumb Me

 

G-Raffe MOD

Just when I thought I had gotten the hang of Facebook, I was turned into a giraffe because of a silly riddle!

Being on Facebook the last few weeks has been an incredible learning experience.  Besides being an inexpensive and lightning quick means to connect — and reconnect — with old friends and scattered relatives, Facebook is also a source for the hilarious, ridiculous, and yes, often annoying paraphernalia that seems to keep our culture rolling.  So my most recent challenge has been to ‘develop’ my persona through my timeline and create an image of what I want to communicate to friends.  I don’t want to become that lady who constantly posts every asinine thought on the status line: “don’t you just hate it when you have your coat on and you’re ready to head out the door to go to work and suddenly you have to poop really bad?” Or “Hey gals out there, anyone else on the rag today?  Let’s start a club!  We can call ourselves the Menstrual Mommas! LOL!!!”  Or “Got back from work and immediately unbuttoned skirt but was too lazy to take it off so just safety pinned it to my tights so it would be looser while I ate my stir fry on the couch.”  Actually I really am doing this right now.  It was an issue of time; the stir fry wasn’t going to wait and the skirt was digging into my waist.  Yeah, I have thought this through carefully because while I didn’t see anything nearly this gross or stupid (yet) on Facebook, I really don’t want to subject my Facebook friends to any of my crazy.  The neighbors get to see enough of it.

When I expressed consternation about wanting to learn to use Facebook properly, my sister gave me a quick crash course in the Dos and Don’ts according to her.  She has been on Facebook for years now, has seen it all, and has some great advice to share.  So, without further ado, these are my sister’s Facebook rules for Dumb Me and any other Dummies out there.

  1. Facebook is what you want it to be.  Your Facebook page is your own, you post and share  the content that you want.  You can project the persona that you choose.  You can use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, show off cherished photos, promote a business, post news and political opinions, or even be ‘that person’ ranting about things that bother you, if you want.  Your page is your space to create the image that you want to show the world, and what you post will be thrown out there for the world to see.  That being said…
  2. You are not obligated to get into a fight with someone on Facebook if you disagree with their content.  There are many reactionary options when encountering content you don’t like, but the first option does NOT need to include inflammatory replies or online harassment.  My sister has had problems in the past when friends saw something that another friend posted on her timeline, didn’t like it, and took it upon themselves to harass the friend through her Facebook page.  Keep in mind, these people didn’t personally know the ‘friend’ they were harassing, and it became very ugly.  So I reiterate: there are a lot of things that we see online everyday.  It is easy to find things to dislike.  Unfortunately the Internet is making it so much easier to make personal attacks from behind a computer screen.  So my sister’s advice in a nutshell: you don’t have to ‘Like’ everything; you also don’t have to attack what you dislike.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read on the News Feed.  I have already had this conundrum.   I cannot stress this enough, if you find something in the feed that seems really intriguing, that many people have liked and commented on, often vehemently, and something about the story seems off, check it on Snopes.com to verify before you make a comment.  It will prevent you from A) looking like an ass for spreading a rumor and B) getting worked up over something that isn’t true, or C) it will prove that the story is true and worth your getting fired up.  Then comment all you want.
  4. Be proud of what you post and own it.  My sister and I actually have diverging thoughts on this.  My thought is that I don’t plan to put anything (hopefully) on Facebook that I wouldn’t be proud to show my grandmothers.  My sister on the other hand told me “I am actually shocked that some people haven’t un-friended me because of the horrible shit I have put on Facebook.”  After this I am going to go look at her timeline and see what she’s talking about.  But the point is, whether it is sweet, family oriented content that would make Grandma chuckle or X-rated shenanigans that would make Mormons cry, you have to really own your content.  From the time you click that ‘Post’ button, you are affirming a responsibility for the content, so know what you are doing.

I want to thank my sister for taking the time to give me her perspective on Facebook and sharing her tips for usage.  I will be a giraffe until Thursday because I overestimated my intelligence on the Facebook riddle this morning and had to change my profile picture.  Another example of stupid-fun things in the news feed…

—G-Raffe