Tag Archives: social media

Deliverables R Us

Ah, Facebook. Relational crucible of the 21st century.

freak out

freak out

Have you read about Julia Angwin, the woman who’s unfriending all of her friends on Facebook? She’s an accomplished journalist, author, and privacy expert who figured out what we all knew already: social media affords very little privacy. She’s created a micro-movement of readers who are kicking their Facebook friends to the curb. Really.

Then I read a post from a woman who disabled her account because she felt her time on Facebook was an indulgent, unhealthy grasp for the approval of others. Now tell us something we don’t know.

Of course who can forget evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar’s assertion that human beings cannot cognitively maintain more than 150 meaningful relationships? As if the nuances of friendship, emotion, and memory are static, quantifiable commodities. Your friend quota is capped at 150—and not one more! Dunbar isn’t on Facebook, by the way.

I’ve been on Facebook for 26 months. Usually it’s fun and silly, not to be taken too seriously. It’s a good place to keep in touch with people and share what I write. As with all things internet, if it’s private, you don’t post it.

Change is the only constant on the social network. 

You’ll remember my unhappiness with the bait-and-switch maneuver played out on Facebook fan pages this past fall. Well, just last week, I stumbled upon the mother lode. A dumping ground in my Facebook Messages called the “Other” box. Comes with a pay-to-stalk offer.

Theoretically, I assume everyone on Facebook has an “Other” box. You can check next time you’re on Facebook. Click on your Messages tab. To the right of the word “Inbox,” you should see it. “Other.” Is it there? Are messages in it? Mine was populated with freaky messages from strange men I don’t know who wanted to be my “friend.”

Here’s how it works: let’s say someone wants to send you a message on Facebook, but they’re not your Facebook friend. No problem. Rather than sending you a friend request, Facebook allows them to send you a message anyway—to your “Other” box.


change is the only constant, photo credit: celeste343

Now if that person who you don’t know wants to send you a message but doesn’t want it to go to the no-man’s land of the “Other” box, Facebook offers a salacious solution. For $1 Facebook will bypass the “Other” box and deliver their message directly into your “Inbox.” So, along with kind, harmless messages from your Aunt Sally, your kindergarten BFF, and your child’s piano teacher, you may see messages from strangers who paid $1 to stalk for access to you.

A single dollar. One hundred pennies. Small change for perverts, stalkers, and bullies bent on terrorizing the common folk.

Facebook, what are you thinking?!

I’m making a lot of assumptions here. But Facebook, in grand Facebook fashion, insists on making adjustments, tweaks, and monumental changes without much consideration for their users, so assumptions are all I have. My husband made the wisest assumption of all.

“Aimee, Facebook doesn’t see us as users or customers,” he said. “For Facebook, we’re deliverables.”

He’s smart, that guy. But he rarely follows my status updates. Figures he knows what’s going on with me already. So at lunch this past Sunday, I’m explaining the “Other” box to him and my son and how there are some people Mom doesn’t want to befriend.

“Here’s what the people in my ‘Other’ box are like,” I said, summoning my scariest, most gravelly voice. “‘Hey! I wanna be your friend!‘ And I’m like, ‘Hey! I don’t even know you!‘”

My son and my husband laughed at my theatrics in the middle of the Chinese restaurant. We role-played, taking turns being the scary “Other” people with the funny voices and the unsuspecting deliverables left to fend them off.

The bill and fortune cookies came too soon. Our table erupted as I read mine.

fortune cookie

The time is right to make new friends.

Hey, Facebook, ever hear of MySpace?

Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin. Proverbs 18:24 NRSV

The Stranger by Billy Joel.

Do you use social networks like Facebook? How do you protect yourself?

photo credit: celeste343 via photopin cc


Filed under family & friends, humor

Are You Smarter Than a Broadcast Journalist?

If you’re reading this, I know at least two things about you. First, you can read. Second, you have internet access.

i support the liberal agenda

as seen at Target

Another thing I know is that you’re smart. Very smart.

You can think for yourself. You don’t need someone to tell you what the definition of “is” is. You don’t want to be introduced to more spin-doctored phraseology, conspiracy theories, and opinions, all paraded as facts on network, radio, and 24-hour cable news.

Whether liberal or conservative, you know what you believe and what’s important to you. Sadly, you realize your values and experiences are insignificant to the experts in the media.

You may, like the majority of Americans, distrust the media.

Last month, Gallup reported 60 percent of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. That’s a new record high. And more perceive media bias to be liberal than conservative.

Now before you media mavens get your AP Stylebooks in an uproar, let me state I believe there are good, talented, honest journalists out there who do their best to be true to the craft. They respect the intelligence of their readers enough to go to the extra trouble of checking their biases at the door.

Back in the day when I was in journalism school, the powers that be insisted the media was unbiased. Today the powers that be not only admit media bias exists, they embrace it. The pendulum has swung from denial to excess. Consider this from a story in Mashable last month about the loosening of journalists’ social media etiquette :

“If you asked me two years ago, I would [have] said, ‘No, a journalist should not have an opinion on Twitter,’ ” said Niketa Patel, social media product manager for CNNMoney. But now her thinking has changed. “We are humans, too. We do have opinions. I think as long as you’re not controversial about it, or you’re not overly trying to make a statement, then I think it’s OK…to have somewhat of an opinion,” she said.

For Liz Heron, social media director at The Wall Street Journal, journalists are at their best on social media when they offer analysis and context instead of just the straight story.

i heart mitt

as seen at Target

What? Who said we want journalists to offer anything but the straight story? Are we more concerned with the reporter’s need to express his or her personal narrative than with the audience’s need for facts?

That’s not news reporting. That’s opinion-editorial. That’s creative nonfiction. That’s celebrity in the making. That’s personal blogging!

If you’re still reading this (God love you), I know you care about our country and the upcoming election. You’re concerned. You may even be afraid.

You want to be informed, watch the debates, that sort of thing. But politics can get so mean-spirited and ugly. When you try to keep up with the election news, you end up more discouraged.

Take heart. Embrace your power as a media literate citizen. 

Watch the presidential debate tomorrow night. But watch in a forum free of the biased reporting and analysis that often passes for journalism these days.

large American flag

Old Glory

C-SPAN will air the debates without interruption. Watch the first debate tomorrow live at 9 p.m. EST or re-aired at 11:30 p.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. Or watch it livestreaming online at C-SPAN’s Campaign 2012 Debate Hub.

PBS is another good option. Both C-SPAN and PBS offer analysis before and after the debates, but you’re less likely to see superstar journalists talk over the coverage or break in to narrate like we saw on other channels during the conventions.

Watch the debates free of outside opinion, so you have a chance to form the one opinion that matters first—your own.

He changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning. Daniel 2:21 NIV

More new music today: The Wallflowers and Reboot the Mission from their album Glad All Over available in stores today. How’s that for timing?

Do you believe media bias exists? What are your plans for watching the debates?


Filed under America, writing & reading

A Banner Day on the Blog

Yesterday was a banner dayThank you for reading and sharing.

open for comments

open for comments

To any new readers, welcome aboard, folks. Fasten your seat belts.

A few things you should know. First, this isn’t a farm and food blog. If it were, it’d be called Farmilicious or Chick & Biscuit or Butterbean Babe.

I’m a suburban girl who didn’t grow up on a farm and doesn’t live on a farm now. I write all sorts of things. You never know what’s coming next, and neither do I.

This isn’t a devotional, although there are Bible verses that apply to the posts.

This isn’t a music blog either, but I really like music, hence the links to songs. Like a soundtrack for a movie.

Now about yesterday’s post Food Fright. Your response encouraged me to take inventory. Lo and behold, a pattern emerged.

Posts about what’s true and what’s not true about farming and food matter to you.

field of dreams

field of dreams

Since Milk Wars exploded a year ago, I’ve met a lot of cool people. Yesterday reminded me there are stories waiting to be told. Questions begging for answers.

Is my food safe? Are farms ruining the environment? Who’s behind all this? Will there be a Madagascar 4?

So among the posts about the dog, the family, the ups and down, the cosmetics and clothes, the social issues and flashback hits, don’t be surprised to see more about farming and food.

Chick & Biscuit can take a hint.

Let them praise the Lord for His great love
and for the wonderful things He has done for them.
For He satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:8-9 NLT

Something to Say by Matthew West.

The floor is now open for suggested post topics or anything else you’d like to say, serious or otherwise.


Filed under blogging, food & farm

Bueller? Bueller?

skirt the rules tee by kate spade

skirt the rules tee by kate spade

Present, Mr. Stein!

In case you’re wondering, I’m still here. Our summer schedule has thrown my time into a tizzy.

Fear not. New material is in the pipeline. Working on a few humdingers.

While you wait, would you be so kind as to like everyday epistle on Facebook if you haven’t already? Go over to the right sidebar and click the like button.

You might also subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. You’ll find the email and RSS feed buttons to the right as well.

And if you’re interested, we’re also on TwitterGoogle+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. A social media tizzy indeed.

Apologies to those readers who expect more regularity in posts. Hope you’ll extend a measure of summertime grace to me. As Ferris Bueller said in one of the finest movies ever made, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

He also said, “You realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?”

Seriously, who makes the rules in blogging anyway?

Stop. Look around. Skip gym, unless that’s your thing. And stay tuned for the summer series of everyday epistle posts coming soon to a blog near you.

You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. James 4:14 The Message

Twist and Shout by The Beatles, lip-synched by Matthew Broderick in John Hughes’ 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day OffCameron Frye, this one’s for you.

Stop and look around. What do you see?


Filed under blogging

How I Almost Became a Troll

i am not a troll

I didn’t know what a troll was until one came to my site.

His strong negative reaction to a post was a dead give away. He implied I should be arrested. Wonderful.

To me, trolls were strange, little garden statues. Wait, that’s gnomes. Told you I didn’t know what they were.

Let’s try that again.

To me, Trolls was a bar in the basement of a building across the parking lot from my sorority house in college. Smelled like beer. Had foosball tables and booths. Became the second living room of the sisterhood. The one where alcohol and boys were allowed.

That was Trolls, until Mr. Meanie came a calling on my blog. I was crushed. I feared he would key Cranberry Mary. Stick pins in a voodoo doll of me. Or worse.

My husband, the calming force in our home, told me it would be okay. The comment wasn’t that bad.

You know, he’s right. I’m small change on the blogosphere. I have it easy. Upon further research, I discovered there are entire sites devoted to dissing other people’s sites. Meanies, every one.

i am not a troll

Who has time for this? I can barely keep the wheels on my own blog, much less create another one to ridicule, criticize, or spew at people.

Then last week, a twist. I’d been following this Blogger who shall remain nameless. That’s Blogger with a capital B.

Blogger enjoys an enormous following. I like Blogger, but Blogger writes things with which I disagree about topics that matter to me.

I first read Blogger when a friend sent me a link a few weeks ago. In response, I submitted my comment of respectful disagreement.

The next week, I visited Blogger’s site to be rankled by another post. I submitted my comment of respectful disagreement.

Then last week, I read a post by Blogger on a popular website. Blogger was once again wrong (surprise). I submitted my comment of respectful disagreement.

This time something went horribly awry. The captcha bit me. The queue malfunctioned. My comment appeared multiple times. Like a broken record. On a major site. In response to Blogger with a capital B.

Immediately, I contacted the site to correct the mistake. Prayed no one noticed the fumble from small change on the blogosphere.

That’s when it hit me. Each time I read Blogger’s work, I get upset enough to lodge a complaint. No matter how respectful I am, my response is still negative.

i am not a troll

This may be Blogger’s modus operandi. Stir the pot. Salt the wounds. Elicit a response. Spike the stats. Who knows? Doesn’t let me off the hook. I was becoming a troll.

If you come here to my itty bitty blog, and what you read repeatedly upsets you, gets your panties in a wad, sends your blood pressure soaring—well, against all blogging wisdom about building an audience, I would probably suggest you not come back.

Lively discussion in the comments is welcome. But I bristle at my blog being a source of upset for readers. Challenge, maybe. Upset, not so much.

Don’t know if I’ll continue to read Blogger. Sure Blogger has impressive stats. But Blogger brings out the troll in me. That’s not acceptable. Trolls in my life will best remain a memory of a bar in the basement of a building across the parking lot from my sorority house in college.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:8-9 NLT

Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep. What I Am by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.


Filed under blogging, humor

Introducing chapter & verse on Tumblr

There are days you need a straight shot of courage. That’s why I’m excited to launch chapter & verse on Tumblr. This hopeful offshoot of everyday epistle is a microblog, ideal for folks who prefer visuals to text.

spring hope

Every entry on chapter & verse will show an interesting everyday epistle photo with a verse from the Bible, the source book of Life. There will always be a click-through to transport you back here to read the original story.

The inaugural chapter & verse post features this inspiring snapshot of a robin’s nest we found in a holly in our backyard this past weekend. The nest and eggs survived the tornadoes, as did we. More to come on that.

Click over to chapter & verse, check it out, follow, and share. See you back here this week as we continue the journey together in posts and now tumbles.

Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth! Psalm 96:1 ESV

I’ll Tumble 4 Ya by Boy George and Culture Club.

click to visit chapter & verse on Tumblr


Filed under blogging


hollywood dazzle, as seen in Target

You may notice the site looks a little different.

Last night I decided to change to another layout. Then I decided to change back.

Then I decided to add a column. Then I needed a different size masthead.

What once would have cost me hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in web design was reduced to a couple dozen decisive (or indecisive) clicks.

Now I’m contemplating ads. WordPress invited me to try their WordAds Beta.

What on earth would they advertise here? Hair coloring seems logical. Or shoes. Or lipstick. Or dog treats. Or maybe Zoloft.

fresh dress

What if they slap an ad up here for something inappropriate? Like Skout. Or a Joel Osteen book. (Apologies to Joel fans. Jim and Tammy Faye ruined it for me. Alas, that’s another post.)

And how much are they going to pay me for ad space? Pennies per click, I’m guessing.

Oh, the drama of the blog, as if we need more drama in our lives.

Another layout? A coupon for Jamba Juice?

Stay tuned. There’s always something brewing here. And it’s bound to be fresh.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. Isaiah 40:31 The Message

Kool & the Gang agree, she’s Fresh.

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Filed under blogging