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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A TOURIST IN THE DIGITAL AGE


I admit to being a tourist in the Digital Age.

Look at the cyber-world of Instagram and Pinterest.


People aren’t sharing narratives anymore, they’re sharing basically emotions.

You can see that one result in the total visualization of communication.

Increasingly, people are exchanging images rather than (or in addition to) text.

Like any tool, the internet has its dangers.

Glibbness and artificial charm.  Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self.  Shallow emotions.  Easy lying.  Lack of empathy.

The above is what many experts accuse the internet of implanting in its users.  They are also the symptoms of a sociopath.

Consider the BroApp:

 It not only sends scheduled texts, but comes preloaded with 12 messages to help users get started.


Say a guy starts using BroApp with his girlfriend, set to send a message around 12pm each weekday.

Guy observes that girlfriend is now much happier when he arrives home from work.

Guy is no longer stressed about finding time during a busy day to text.

Girl is much happier because her boyfriend is more engaged with their relationship



Glibness and superficial charm. Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self. Pathological lying. A lack of remorse, shame or guilt. Shallow emotions. An incapacity to feel genuine love. A need for stimulation. Frequent verbal outbursts. Poor behavioural controls. These are just some of the things that social media are encouraging in all of us. They’re also a pretty comprehensive diagnostic checklist for sociopathy - See more at: http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/yiannopoulos/3359/the-internet-is-turning-us-all-into-sociopaths/#sthash.3hAloGL7.dpuf
Glibness and superficial charm. Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self. Pathological lying. A lack of remorse, shame or guilt. Shallow emotions. An incapacity to feel genuine love. A need for stimulation. Frequent verbal outbursts. Poor behavioural controls. These are just some of the things that social media are encouraging in all of us. They’re also a pretty comprehensive diagnostic checklist for sociopathy - See more at: http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/yiannopoulos/3359/the-internet-is-turning-us-all-into-sociopaths/#sthash.3hAloGL7.dpuf
Glibness and superficial charm. Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self. Pathological lying. A lack of remorse, shame or guilt. Shallow emotions. An incapacity to feel genuine love. A need for stimulation. Frequent verbal outbursts. Poor behavioural controls. These are just some of the things that social media are encouraging in all of us. They’re also a pretty comprehensive diagnostic checklist for sociopathy - See more at: http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/yiannopoulos/3359/the-internet-is-turning-us-all-into-sociopaths/#sthash.3hAloGL7.dpuf
Most Americans now believe that their children will be worse off than they.  First time in America's history.

America is still the best place to live but no longer a good place to dream. 

Martin Luther King's dream has become a nightmare of school shootings and Ferguson.

Is it because we have become increasingly
emotionally isolated? 
 
Has Facebook replaced actual interpersonal communication? 
 
Can we actually hold a conversation on
character-poor Twitter?
 
HOW LOW CAN THE BAR BE SET FOR INTERPERSONAL INTIMACY?
 

What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 20, 2014

WISDOM IS NO ONE'S MOTHER TONGUE


"Wisdom is no one's mother tongue.  It has to be worked for."
- Samuel McCord



AMERICAN SCHOOLS ARE TRAINING CHILDREN FOR A WORLD THAT DOESN'T EXIST.

Browse FB, skim Twitter, listen to the talking heads on TV.

Americans are getting dumber in crucial ways.

Our math skills are being stunted by strange ways of getting to simple solutions


 (But it does prepare kids for the nonsense of our political response to practical problems.)


“A man who has both feet planted firmly in the air can be safely called a liberal

as opposed to the conservative, who has both feet firmly planted in his mouth.”
- Mark Twain

 
Our reading skills are withering. 

(Yet, no subject of study is more important than reading, for all other intellectual powers depend upon it.)


Our kids learn within a system of education devised for a world that increasingly does not exist.

Over the next 20 years, our planet with sag under the weight of an additional two billion people.


OUR PLANET CAN LONGER FEED ITS PEOPLE.

The climate will continue to change.  Our coastlines and its populations are doomed unless we start thinking outside the box or make an entirely new one.

Microbiological threats will increase as our traditional techniques of anti-microbial defense lead to greater and greater resistances,

and to fight these we must discover new approaches to medical treatment.



AMERICANS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DISCOVER.


Being dumb in the existing educational system is bad enough. 

Failing to create a new way of learning adapted to contemporary circumstances MAY PROVE TO BE FATAL.

DISCOVERY has always prompted interest.  It is fun to see the curtain lift before your eyes.  



CAN YOU REMEMBER SCHOOL EVER BEING FUN

It is worse in today's classrooms with combat-fatigued teachers and bored, unruly students.

But the good news is that Nature has a way of
wiping the slate clean and starting over.

What our leaders choose to do with education
in the next few years
may well determine
if we are around
after the slate cleaning.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

11 REASONS YOU SHOULD QUIT WRITING_Victor Standish

 


"A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God."
   - Victor Standish

Roland's zoned out asleep.  So I thought I'd write this post for him.

When nutcases aren't trying to kill me, I surf the net and sometimes I read your blogs.  And while I don't feel your pain, I do sense it in many of your posts.

You want to quit writing, don't you?  No fibbing.  I read not only between the lines of your blogs but under them, too.

I'll make it easier for you:

I'll give you 11 reasons why you should
STOP WRITING!

1.) The septic tank of self-publishing.

        a.) Yeah, in the septic tank of self-publishing, the
              biggest chunks rise to the top.
       
b.) Discoverability on the Internet sucks.
       
c.) Trying to find the secret of standing out is like
              pulling teeth out of roosters: by the time
              you find there aren't any -- you're all cut up!

 
2.) You believe editing compromises your authenticity.
 
         a.) Because only the unhampered, unrefined,
              half-drunk and totally transcended
              creative word-barf you spray on the wall is true art.
         
b.) And as everyone knows: no one wants to read art anymore!

 
3.) The bookpocalypse is upon us.

        a.) Walk into any B & N or BOOKSaMILLION. 
       
b.) All they sell anymore is coffee and board games, except in the back
 
where you will find three zillion dog-eared copies of  50 SHADES OF  GREY and 72 copies of the latest issue of MAXIM.

 
4.) You think grammar rules is for wussies.

        Your sertain its only a matter of time til someone
        seas you’re genius 4 real and then its on and all them
 
teachers can go suck a broom for all you care cuz you gonna be rich and famous and totally kick ass wit the book you writed.

 
5.)  Your cat keeps burying your manuscript in her kitty litter box.

        a.) This is just between us, now. Your book's not that good, is it?
       
b.) Lots of spelling errors. Commas breeding like lice in the scalp that is Roland's cooking.
       
c.) All the structure of an up-ended box of Scrabble letters.
       
 d.) The last time an agent looked at your work, she sent it back wrapped around a hand grenade.

 
6.) You’ve stopped reading books in the eighth grade, because they tarnish your style.

        a.) Like Grandma Moses or Alley Oop, you are an artist in the primitive, unvarnished mold.
       
b.) Every word you read stains your original style with the Philistine brush ...
 
except for THE NATIONAL INQUIRER which keeps you in touch with reality.

 
7.) It’s really HARD.

        a.) Writing? It’s hard.
       
b.) It’s like, you have to sit there? And you have to make stuff up? For a living?
       
 c.) And there’s all this… typing involved.

 
8.)  You suffer from writer’s block 364 days a year.

        a.) Your muse isn't a muse.  She's a hermit.
       
b.) You suffer from imagination constipation, and they don't sell prose laxative at Wal-Mart.

 
9.) Writing ain't writing no more.

        a.) The title “writer” is the sorriest description of the job I’ve ever heard.
        b.) Total. False. Advertising.
        c.) Man, writers have to like… edit, blog, market, learn good business practices,
 
engage in public speaking, train on computer repair, and actually be like ... pleasant on social media.
        d.) Total, major bummer.

 
10.) Ah, where did my toes go?

        a.) Writing is a sedentary activity. You sit on your butt all day.
        b.) Jabba the Hut is sending you love letters.
        c.) The only parts that move are your darting eyes as they follow the cursor and your fingers as they piston-pound out text.
        d.) Your cat thinks you've become Darth Vadar the way your over-worked lungs wheeze.

 
11.) Writing Really Cuts Into Your Internet Time.

        a.) The Internet is like a… delightful hole you fall into, a Wonderland of Facebook and Pinterest and tweets and porn and funny cat pictures.
        b.) Porn? 
 
"Alice, I wrote no such word.  Ah, that word IS porn, isn't it?  Ah, Alice, no getting blood on Roland's laptop!  Alice!"
 

    

Saturday, October 18, 2014

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO LOVE TO READ YOUR BLOG




NO, NOT THAT WAY!

 Uh, well, maybe in a sense ... Gee, now I sound like Obama,
  
A projected 128 million people in America will read blogs in 2014

Don't you wish you could get 1% of them to read your blog?

BAD NEWS


On the average only 33% read your ENTIRE post.  

That means basically your mother and your cat looking over your shoulder.  

And both will probably understand just as much of it.

Most read only the headline

skim quickly the body of your post, 

and then only slightly less quickly dart through your summary or conclusion.

Sadly, this culture cannot focus for long.  In fact, most will zone out in the middle of this very sentence!

 Statistically speaking, 

this is the golden spot in my post at which I’ve lost all the disengaged readers, 

and am speaking only to a small cluster of engaged learners. 

(Hi, friends. Thanks for sticking with me.)



THE "HOW TO" PART 

It is in the middle 1/3 of your post that the focus of your engaged reader will be the most "hot."


MAKE IT WORTH THEIR WHILE

How?  

 
IMAGES!

Got your attention, didn't I?

Now, you understand why I don't give out Halloween candy at Meilori's anymore, don't you?

If you get people to read your first 3-4 sentences, they’re more likely to read your entire post

Draw their eyes downward after those sentences with a riveting image, 

and they will read the next few sentences.


THEN, WHAT?



TELL A STORY at the start or in the fabric of the body of your post.

A post with a narrative introduction -- a story -- has nearly 300% higher time full-page reads, and 520% higher time spent on page. 

 People love stories, regardless of their age, background, intellect, and beverage preference.


We love stories.  It is why we tell them in prose or on Facebook.



There was a reason Aesop just didn't give his audience the moral up front.  

A reader will grasp your points herself with the story, making the points a part of her. 

When we hear mere information, we are merely taking in the words and deciding what they mean.

When we hear a story, our brains react as if we are feeling the events ourselves.


DESIGN YOUR POST FOR SUCCESS 


Blunt instruments of solid prose in your post will drive off readers.  No solid walls of text.


USE DESIGN TO GIVE ORDER TO YOUR POST:


The larger the text, the more the eye is drawn to it.  

Your eye will go to prose in bold font.  

Color will draw the eye as well.



DIRECT THE FLOW OF THEIR MINDS:

Word design is all very well and good.  But you must direct the flow of their minds as well.

ENTICE their minds to follow your thinking with logic, with questions, with humor.


HOW DO HUNTERS HUNT DUCKS?

They go where they are.  They know what they like.  

They lurk in the marsh, scatter out decoys to indicate good eating is there, and they make duck calls.

"Come on down!  There are good groceries down here!"



GIVE THE READER 
WHAT THEY WANT


No matter your target audience, you know what is on their minds, the questions they want answered.

Answer them: honestly and with humor.

And as with the text, font, and images of your post:


MIX IT UP WITH 
THE TOPICS OF YOUR POSTS 

Never become predictable.  No one likes to eat the same meal every day.  

Muse one day.  Make them laugh the next.  Spin a tale from your past or one of your WIP's.

Write a post on a topic you wished someone had written for you to keep you from researching for hours.




REMEMBER THE OTHER END OF YOUR BLOG

The person reading it at home, at work, 
or while riding the subway.  

Think they could use a friend?  Of course they could.  A laugh on a grey day?  

Try to be the healing moment in their day.  


WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK
 YOU CAN MAKE YOUR BLOG 
ONE PEOPLE WILL LOVE?



Friday, October 17, 2014

"MORE LIFE LESSONS I've learned from HORROR MOVIES," ghost of MARK TWAIN


Ghost of Mark Twain here ...

Being an outsider of sorts now, I am nearly 99% convinced that Man is an experiment hardly worth having done.




But those horror movies Roland watches have taught me a few things about you living:

1) You are likely to survive any zombie apocalypse ... 

unless you are thick-headed enough to show someone a picture of your sweetheart waiting for you back home.


2) An addendum to the above rule: any police officer days from retirement is soon to be zombie-kibble.


3) If you find yourself on the run from a ravenous monster and are slowed down by wife, child, or friend --


Remember:

You can always re-marry, sire more offspring, 
and 
make new friends!


4) A woman alone in the house will go out and check a sudden noise in her most revealing undies.  

I have proved that many a time by stepping on a creaking board in dorm house after dorm house!





5) Never look in a bathroom mirror, duck your head for some damn fool reason, then rise and look back again.  Just let your face stay soapy!!

6) While on the subject of "damn fool" ... any gal or fella who suggests to split up or take the shortcut through the woods ... promptly shoot in the leg and leave for the monster to gnaw on.

Monsters tend to run slower on a full stomach, don't you know?


7) Do not be grabby!  

You see an ancient book bound in human flesh in the attic of the house you just bought?  Tippy-toe the Hades out of there and set a match to the place!




8) Before entering a creepy building ... GREASE THOSE ANKLES!


  
9) Should ever your young'en's start to talk in Latin in voices like they just raided the liquor cabinet.  Smile appreciatively, nod, pull your scatter gun, and let fly.

A caring parent is the first shot kills parent, don't you know?



10) Never have sex while in a crisis.  

When monsters are about, it is always a good idea to keep your clothes on ... especially your running shoes!



11) When traveling, only take sponge baths!!




12) If you ever inherit a strange-faced doll, and it starts talking to you -- give it to the nosy neighbor next door.  You never did care for her anyway!


13) And if you think I am giving you a 13th lesson, then you haven't been watching enough horror movies!


Oh, all right: 
Never look in the backseat!

Oh, and Pleasant Dreams!