Archive for May, 2010

The spamming and phishing tweets are becoming more frequent… it only took them 3 years.  But they’re here now.  Accounts like @JunieHarry3413 adding your name to a tweet with some like I received this afternoon (and 3 or 4 other times this week… and last week):

NEW fascinating Discovery, @mdutta @Wendy

I know not to click on them.  You know not to click on them.  But do the rest of the folks on Twitter know not to click on them?  Help us out.  If you get one, at the very least spam it.  If you’re using Tweetdeck, it’s only one click.  ‘Block and Report Spam.’  There are more of us than there are of them and if we’re all spam listing them, maybe they won’t outnumber us faster than we can report them to the Twitter spam police.  In a way, it’s kind of like picking up litter.  Such an easy effort here and there to help keep our community clean.

If you look into this ‘social media bubble’ of ours a little more closely, you’ll easily find a bit of tension around the topic of bloggers and journalists.  There are some who argue that bloggers are akin to journalists, others that the difference is in the adherence to the rules of journalism, checking one’s sources and facts before publishing versus taking a single source and smattering it with opinion.  My view on this issue is pretty straight forward.  Did you go to journalism school?  Do you follow the rules and ethics required to call yourself a journalist?  Then yes, by all means, you are a journalist.  Do you write what you feel and mix your opinion in on what you are reporting?  Then yes, by all means you are a blogger.  But you’re either one or the either at any given time.  The two identities for one person cannot exist on the same site.

Why then are newspapers confusing themselves with blogs?  I’m referring to the habit of commenting on specific news stories.  Bloggers thrive on the conversation.  Their traffic depends on the ability to create discussion and engage readers.  On any reputable blog, a commenter must identify themselves, must put their name to what they are saying and must be open to criticism.  But at least there is transparency and authenticity behind the discussion.

Why is it that many major newspapers allow for anonymous comments and let conversations run where they choose next to the headline unless deemed entirely inappropriate by a moderator?  You’re a newspaper.  Not a blog.  If you want to be a blog, go be one.  Or start a section meant for discussing the story, but in a forum where you are also active in the conversation, like any responsible blogger would be.  If you’re a newspaper, adhere to your credibility and integrity.  TURN YOUR COMMENTS OFF.  Let Grandpa Simpson start his own blog and quit trying to be something you’re not.  I come to your site because I want the news, not because I want to see what the latest rant is from people not willing to stand behind what they say enough to put their name on it.  Seriously.  Newspapers, you’ve had enough of a midlife crisis.  It’s time to grow up again and stand by the purpose you were once meant for or go for the complete transformation. Because although your stories still maintain the fact and integrity of journalism, the sludge that you allow to attach itself through anonymous comments does not.

Angela MacIsaac or @that_angela – Angela is my co-adventurer/blogger on and an amazing friend.  A provider of witty remarks, endless amounts of entertainment, a great source of fashion finds (particularly in the shoe department), and a very passionate hockey and sports fanatic, you can’t go wrong with paying attention to this girl.

Lyn Cadence or @lyncadence – Lyn is a wonderfully warm hearted individual.  Lyn’s Twitter profile says she’s  a “Social media enthusiast interested in tracking the future of publishing, PR, journalism, etc. as it unfolds.”  Follow Lyn for social media tips, interesting articles and to get to know one of many genuinely good hearted Calgarians.

Donna McTaggart or @donnamct – Donna is one of the most giving people I’ve met through Twitter.  I appreciate finding a fellow optimist in Donna.  Donna is a great source for a daily dose of inspiration and kindness.

These three ladies also did a phenomenal job of pulling off another successful Calgary Twestival this year.  A big shout out from me to the three of you on that too!

Last summer I did a major technological/connectedness overhaul.  I condensed everything.  I got rid of my cable, I cut off my landline and with it went my internet.  What spurred such a decision?  The desire to find more efficiencies in my life.  You can read the details in “Oh No I Didn’t! (finger wag included).”

That was on August 19th, 2009.  It’s now nearly 3/4 of a year later and here I am, on the internet in the comfort of my own home.  I impressed myself with how long I held out.  By bringing my laptop with me to work and visiting the Starbucks down the street whenever I needed wifi nearer to home, I made it with no internet in my home until December.

In early December, I was looking at my cell phone plan, my 6 GB data plan to be specific.  I had only used 1.5 GB at that point since I first got my iPhone a year and a half earlier.  Being that the experiment was about creating efficiencies (I will not admit defeat), I wanted a way to efficiently use up the rest of that data that was going to waste every month.  It was time to tether my laptop.

I had internet back at home.  It was great.  In fact, it’s been even better than before, because now I have internet wherever my cell phone has a 3G or Edge signal. I’ve used at least 80% of my data plan in each of the previous 2 months.  Last month I actually maxed it out a day before my billing cycle ended. Oddly enough, that feels like an accomplishment.  Like unused minutes that don’t roll over, I feel like I’m wasting more by not using the data than by spending so much time online.  But that’s okay, because I’ve built my life around the web.  It’s my passion anyway, and anyone that follows my tweets or my posts over on The Muse and Views knows I’m all about living passionately.

I declare the experiment a success.