Humor, Life

Social Media Etiquette

Most people know how to act and handle themselves in public, but not on their social media profiles. Why? The answer seems to be that our perception online lives are governed by a different set of rules than how we would conduct ourselves in public. From my own experience, I believe this to be, for lack of a better word, bullshit.

Like the title suggests, I have some ideas on social media etiquette that I hope people will recognize as somewhat important. I’m not speaking to everyone on my high horse. When I list some of these transgressions on online conduct, I am most often guilty of these things at some point too. My objective is to for us to hopefully recognize some of these social media transgressions so that we may improve our online reputations. I’m still working on following my own advice and I know I will screw up sometimes, but hopefully I can limit how often that happens.

Anyways, let’s look at some issues that I’ve noticed…

Religion/Politics/Money

I think most people are aware that you should try to not bring up any of those topics in conversation. So why do people sometimes ignore this when posting statuses or tweets? Sure, there are several times when posting about those topics may make sense and even be expected, but it’s far less often than you would expect.

Take last year’s election for example. The political atmosphere was very heated and, in my social network, many of us were voting for the first time in our lives. Sadly, many people took this opportunity to post extremely politically charged status updates and tweets. Example:

politics

Now, talking about politics, religion, or money on any public forum is just asking for trouble. It’s great that you support a candidate and closely follow them, but is it really necessary to publicly bash/insult a candidate that someone else might support? It really just makes you seem inconsiderate and immature.

A common argument against this is usually along the lines of “I feel very strongly about this and I know my friends do too and appreciate what I post” This may be entirely true, in fact, a quick glance at the number of likes seems to suggest so. However, most people have hundreds of friends, are you really sure that all of them agree with you and don’t mind having their feed clogged up with your “passionate” statuses?

I know some people will get mad at me and say, “It’s my Facebook, I can express whatever opinions I want. If you don’t like it, un-friend/follow/subscribe me” I tend to somewhat disagree with this as I do believe that expressing your opinions is important and Facebook is very helpful for doing so, but I also believe that Facebook shouldn’t be your own personal soapbox from which you can post controversial stuff in a non-civil manner that only polarizes your audience. There are many better platforms in my opinion for this kind of stuff, namely blogs and/or dedicated Twitter feeds. It is very possible to express your opinion on these sorts of topics while still remaining considerate of your audience. Just ask yourself: is there a nicer way of expressing my opinion? If the answer is yes, revise your post until your point is clear and you’ve communicated it in an effective and considerate manner.

No, I’m not saying you can’t have a strong opinion on something. I’m saying that before posting, you should be considerate of others and express your views in such a way as to not spark a needlessly heated argument.

Religion is a little trickier, but I believe the same idea applies. You’re more than welcome to post about your love for your religion, your dislike of religion, or whatever. Again, you just have to be aware of your audience and be considerate of them. The same goes for people responding to these types of posts. If you strongly disagree with someone’s post that isn’t rude or inconsiderate in any way, then you’re just being a troll. Example:

religion

Now, this is a fairly neutral post by someone who is obviously religious. It’s not making fun of anyone, not being purposely confrontational etc. yet in the comments, you can see that someone took it upon themselves to champion their beliefs and start an argument (the thread continues past the screenshot quite a ways) Social networks are a melting pot of different people, beliefs, values, and experiences. Recognize this and be aware of that before starting arguments like this. Nothing good ever comes out of it and everyone involved looks stupid.

“Checking In”

I use “checking in” as a general reference to the feature on many apps to check into a location and share it with your followers. Not everyone does this, but enough do to warrant its inclusion in this list. Checking in, like a lot of things, is good in moderation. Do we really need to know that you’re getting your car fixed or you’re buying groceries at Whole Foods? No. This feature is most useful when you are both with friends AND have someplace interesting to check into. I realize interesting is a vague term and whatever satisfies this condition is very arbitrary, but I merely urge you to use discretion when checking in someplace. No one really cares about your mundane day-to-day activities.

So when is it appropriate to check in? Like I said, it’s hard to say “this should be a check in, this shouldn’t!” because it’s highly contextual. The aforementioned guidelines should at the very least help you get an idea of whether or not it’s important that your social media friends know that you’re at McDonalds with Dave and 4 others. Effective check ins can really be useful. Here’s an example from my Path:

checkin

This check-in was well placed as I was hanging out with friends and visiting a froyo place which is something I don’t do very often. In doing so, I was able to connect with a friend who was nearby and we met up with a bunch more people and had an awesome evening.

Inside Jokes

Inside jokes are fun and all (I have so many among my group of friends) but they do not need to be your status. Most people have around 400+ friends I’m guessing, so how many people are going to get that your status update about iguanas is actually a reference to something your friend said last night that makes no sense without enough context. It’s quite obvious that these kinds of post are meant for 5 people at most. If that’s the case, then just post on one friend’s wall and then tag the others in the wall post. That way you contain your inside joke to an area that is mostly unique to those who would appreciate your status.

Weed/Alcohol Pics

This should be fairly obvious, but posting pics of your weed and alcohol has negative repercussions for when you decide to grow up and get a job. Especially if they’re easily searchable (most people who post on Instagram don’t enable privacy settings)

weed

Some people are under the impression that posting pics of these things is “cool,” but to be honest, it really isn’t (unless of course, you happen to be an Ent) Although that’s just my opinion, the potential consequences of posting such things should be enough of a deterrent to make you stop posting these.

EDIT: Someone brought up a good point, if you’re familiar with how to use privacy settings and enable them, then by all means post away. My personal dislike of those kinds of pictures is sort of irrelevant I realize.

These are just some of the common issues I see with how people conduct themselves. I have some more that I want to talk about, but I feel that this post is too long right now, so I’ll do a part 2 in the near future. Also, before anyone assumes I’m a republican and Christian loving person that only chooses examples that go against my views, please note that I voted for Obama, I am an atheist, and I have no problems with weed or alcohol. My problems with those examples have little to do with subject matter, but more of the context in which they’re were communicated.

If you have any issues with what I said or would like to suggest something for part 2, feel free to leave a comment. If you know that you’re the subject of one of my examples and would like me to take it down (even though I removed all identifying information) just send me a message on Facebook.

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Life, Misc.

Another year wiser

I turned 19 yesterday. It was fairly uneventful. This is the awkward year between the beginning of adulthood and the end of being a teenager. I don’t have much to say, so I’ll just share a few things I’ve learned in my first year as an adult:

  • Mistakes now cost money
  • The cons of being in college outweigh the pros (so far)
  • Success is the offspring of passion and dedication

I wish I could see future me and have him tell me these things so I don’t have to wait a year to know this.

I have a ton of saved drafts for blogs posts that I’ll be revisiting later this week or next week. Stay tuned.

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Life

Why So Bitter? My Experience With Coffee

As a college freshmen studying for my first round of finals, I’ve been coming to coffee shops in order to study because the school facilities and libraries are crowded. Naturally, I must order something in order to be able to use these coffee shops as a workplace.

Now, I have never been a coffee drinker. It was always either water or some other soft drink for me. Coffee smells good, but when I was little, I remembered the taste as being very bitter. Given that I’d be spending a lot of time around coffee, I figured I’d adopt an open mindset and try coffee again. I seriously needed some caffeine in me in order to say awake these days, and maybe my taste buds would’ve matured by now, who knows? All I knew was that I was ready to try anything.

I walked into a local chain (has about 5 stores total, all in the surrounding area) rather than a Starbucks, figuring that the quality would be better than a hastily made Starbucks drink. I looked up at the menu and saw many strange names that were completely foreign to me. The people in front of me in line were quickly ordering their favorite drinks and the baristas (who were dressed as if trying to reinforce hipster-barista stereotypes) were quickly bustling around behind the counter making numerous types of drinks. I had originally planned on asking for a recommendation on what to get since I was still completely lost when looking at the menu. However, the people in line seemed agitated and, not wanting to hold anyone up, I instead just picked something random and hoped it would taste good.

The guy at the counter was wearing a black turtleneck, sported a huge cowlick hairstyle, and thick, black rimmed glasses. He asked, “What can I get for you?” in a hurried tone. I said “A small Macchiato please.” I paid $2.85 ($3.07 plus tax) for it and walked away. Once I received my drink a few minutes later, I sat down and looked at it. It looked really good, the smell wafting from it was amazing, and I was imagining what it could possibly taste like.

I took the first sip. Immediately I gagged, spurting it out onto my laptop and the table, much to several onlooker’s disgust. What went wrong? All my sensory perceptions of this drink had indicated that this, this cup of beige joy and happiness, was meant to be simply amazing. The taste was something completely different than what I had expected, it was bitter and tasted like the feeling of someone who had just eaten burnt cardboard. I got a cup of water and sat down staring blankly into the cooling cup. After several sips of water, I figured I ought to research what the different types of coffee were before making another selection. I was not going to let one bad cup ruin everything for me.

English: Espresso Macchiato as being served in...

Why, oh why must this taste so bad?                                  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across a chart titled “An Illustrated Guide to Coffee”. I saw “Espresso Macchiato” labeled. I learned that it was composed of a shot of espresso and milk foam. Thinking that the absence of milk/cream might be the problem, I decided to get a latté. I took a sip of the latté and, for a split second, didn’t react violently like with the Macchiato. Maybe,  just maybe, this wasn’t so bad. Then, the aftertaste hit. The taste was as bitter as a jaded police officer who was just waiting the years out in order to be eligible for his pension. Fuck. Never have I ever been more disappointed than in that moment.

Dreams of enjoying a hot cup of coffee on blustery winter day while browsing reddit/doing homework were crushed. Never can I ask a girl if she wants to get coffee because then I would have to awkwardly explain that I do not, in fact, like coffee at all. My shitty, undeveloped palette had rejected this liquid that so many others consumed with sickening enthusiasm and regularity. In the days that followed I tried every other variant I could buy. Vanilla and caramel lattés, cappuccino, mocha, regular coffee, etc. You name it, I tried it.  With each successive drink, my hope diminished that I would find something good. Sure, I could drown out the flavor with mega-fucktons of milk and sugar, but that’s a cheap cop out that doesn’t get around the fact that the coffee tasted like regurgitated elephant dung. Trying other coffee shops didn’t help either.

I sit here now, in a coffee shop, reluctantly sipping my caramel latté that I’m drinking for the sole reason that I paid for it. I ask myself, am I just one of those people that will never like coffee? I figure I ought to try tea next and try coffee again in the future. Perhaps it’ll taste better then. Most likely it won’t.

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Life

1000 Hours

What can you do in 1000 hours? You could: write a novel, knit a giant blanket, draw a portrait, compose some music, torrent a couple of blu-ray movies, learn a new skill. The last one is the reason for this post.

You may have heard the song “Ten Thousand Hours” by Macklemore in which he describes the grind he’s been going through to become a successful rapper. He references the idea originally put forth in author Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book “Outliers” (some of you IB folk may remember reading it) For those of you who haven’t read his book (I highly recommend it, great read), Gladwell talks about his “10000 hour rule” which basically says that to become truly great at something requires roughly 10000 hours of practice.

So what am I babbling about with this “1000 hours” nonsense? Well, young one, Gladwell’s 10000 hour rule really applies to only those who are considered “elite”. These are people who are not only good, they are damn good at what they do. These are people like Tom Brady, Viswanathan Anand (World Chess Champion), Yo Yo Ma, Eminem, etc. This is what Mackelmore aspires to be in his song, he wants to be considered “elite.”

English: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performing at...

Macklemore, yo.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I, however, don’t. While the idea sounds great, the grind involved in trying to become the “best there ever was” (*cue Pokémon theme song*) is not really worth it at this point. If you hold such lofty expectations for yourself, more power to you. I instead came up with a different system. The goal of my system isn’t to become a master at a particular skill, but merely to become proficient. I use “proficiency” in a vague sense here, that is to say that I will ultimately decide whether or not I have become satisfactorily proficient at a skill. Like the title of this post suggests, I reason that 1000 hours is enough to become proficient at something. I neither have the attention span nor the dedication to seriously apply myself to a select skill for 10000 hours so why not become just proficient in a whole bunch of things? I’d like to be able to play an instrument, draw stunningly realistic pictures, develop apps for iOS and Android, etc. Putting 1000 hours into something is still challenging given my self-imposed time frame of a year. It works out to about 2.8 hours a day, but one must realize that 1000 hours is in approximation, just as doing something for 10000 hours isn’t a guarantee of success (as I’ve found out trying to beat God of War on God mode), it is just an approximation. That being said, my goal is to amass a wide variety of skills, have fun while doing so, and perhaps even discover a new hobby/interest that I never knew  I had. For now, I plan on doing this for 10 years. In 10 years I hope to become proficient in 10 skills. More than likely, one or two of these isn’t going to work out but who knows, it’s all about the journey…or something along those lines.

Now comes the question: what should be the first skill I attempt to become proficient at? Well that is something that I currently do not know, but I have until January 1st, 2013 to decide! Suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. I will try to document my struggles as best I can/want to. If this is something you think want to do, then do it. I don’t care.

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Humor, Life

What Scares You?

No, I’m not talking about the spider that just scurried across the floor or the zombies in a George Romero movie. Those are superficial fears (well mostly superficial, some spiders…*shudders*). I’m talking about the fundamental fears, the ones that shake you to your core. I’ll start with an obvious fear of mine…

Shower Curtain

I always check behind the shower curtain to make sure an existential crisis isn’t lurking              (Photo credit: ianqui)

Death

This one is pretty obvious. Death is a very scary thing because we don’t know anything about it, yet it’s so prevalent in our lives. It’s not so much dying that scares me, rather it’s thought of ceasing to exist. Many people have coping mechanisms for this such as religion which offers numerous explanations for what what happens after death, most of which allow peace of mind by guaranteeing that existence goes in some form or other. For those who cannot take comfort with this explanation that requires the utmost faith, death is a much scarier concept. Thinking more about it doesn’t really help though. It just invites paradoxical discussion about life that ends up leaving you with a sense of disappointment. Really the best thing to do, for me at least, has been to try not to think about it and just indulge in as many things as I can (like Cheez-Its).

English: A pile of Cheez-It crackers made by K...

Life is too short to NOT eat as many Cheez-Its as possible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not Being Able to Tell the Difference Between What’s Real and Fake

No, I’m not talking about being able to tell wether or not that Yu-Gi-Oh! card you just traded for is actually a Chinese bootleg, I’m talking about being disoriented so much so that you for some reason can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s an illusion.

20120406 Yu-Gi-Oh!

Hey, I’ll sell this card to you for only $5, my mom got it in China, it’s legit!                                   (Photo credit: kbrookes)

Look around you, everything you see seems tangible and you can say with confidence that, according to your perception, it’s real. Now imagine if that were not the cas. What if those same things you believed to be real were just an illusion? I feel like it would be like dreaming except you never “wake up” and return to a world of consistency. If it helps, imagine the last scene of Inception, yeah, just like that.

Solitude

No, I’m not talking about being left home watching Netflix on a friday night because you’re friends forgot to invite you to something, I’m talking about the absence of sensory engagement with the world. When left to our own devices, we become more aware of ourselves because that’s the only concrete thing left. It’s like self-reflection on overdrive. Everything about your being is suddenly brought to forefront of your mind. Hopefully you get a sense of what I’m trying to describe, I’m not always the clearest writer and I will not apologize for that.

So, what scares you?

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Humor, Life

3 Things I’ve Learned While Working At Smashburger

Before I begin the actual content of this post, I must say, it’s surprisingly nerve-wracking thinking of what to put as the first real post for a blog. It seems like the first blog post is a statement that dictates to people whether or not your blog will be worth reading. Then I realized that I could care less if you don’t want to read my blog just because my first post isn’t up to “par”. Anyways, I digress…

Like a lot of you reading this post, I have a job. Like a lot of teenagers in and just out of high school, my job is at a fast-food (well, more of a fast casual diner) joint. Therefore, many of you will be able to relate to these observations I’ve had about people at Smashburger. Now, I’ve only been working at Smashburger for a few weeks but my long shifts and numerous interactions with people have still allowed me to pick up on a few things like…

1. You Can Really Predict the Orders of People Just By Judging Them As They Walk In

Thanks to the corporate team at Smashburger, they have developed a menu that caters to wide variety of people. If you want your burger with bacon and anything else we have that can fit in a deep fryer, we can do that for you. If you’re a tree-hugging vegetarian, we also have a wide variety of menu items to cater to you as well. So when I’m bored at the register, I’ll often play a game with myself in which I predict what people are going to order based on my assumptions of them as they walk through the door.  The overweight mom with 4 kids clinging to her and whining for food is not going to want to hear about our signature salads, they’re going to order the greasiest, cheapest things we have on the menu. The man that just parked his semi truck out front could probably care less about the Black Bean Vegetarian Delight burger, he’s going to want the BBQ, Bacon, and Cheddar Burger. The soccer mom who just came from yoga is almost guaranteed to want to order the Chai Tea if I mention that we have it. It was quite surprising the number of orders that I was able to predict just by judging people. I’m still trying to decide if this a good or bad thing.

2. The Best Orders Are From the People That Base Their Order on Their Diet

Now, I’m not talking about people with dietary restrictions e.g. gluten-free, lactose intolerant, etc. I’m talking about people who come to a BURGER joint and try in vain to stick their “healthy eating” diet. For example, everyday I’ll take the order of middle-age women who are a little on the husky side but you can tell that they’re trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle. They’ll order our regular signature burgers but substitute the regular buns for “whole-grain” buns which somehow deludes them into thinking that what they’re eating is any healthier. I amuse them anyways and substitute the bun while thinking to myself “Honey, you really think that bun is gonna make your grease-bag burger (which is still very good I might add) any healthier? Oh that’s cute”. In what I consider to be a jokingly manner, I’ll ask if they want a salad on the side and to my surprise they’ll say “yes and with extra ranch, bacon, and blue cheese”. Stunned, I repeat the order to them, “So you want a greasy-half pound burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried chillies, and guacamole on a WHOLE WHEAT bun with a side salad?” in a vain attempt to somehow make them realize that their efforts are pointless. The answer is always “and I’ll have a diet coke with that too”.

3. Fat People Will Never Like You

First off, this is not necessarily true for EVERY fat person. I’m restricting this to people that fall under the category of “obese to morbidly obese”, and again, this doesn’t apply to everyone in this category and this observation may be due to my limited exposure to these people. From the various encounters I’ve had (I’d estimate around 30 or so) with these sort of people, they always seemed to be pissed off when ordering. It’s as if I’m an obstacle to their instinct to just walk into the kitchen and start munching down on the food. As such, they’re usually a dick about their order. One guy questioned me as to why I didn’t alert him to the fact that you can put a SECOND half-pound burger on your burger and then he told me that I should learn to be more knowledgeable about our menu. Maybe I didn’t tell him that because no one decides the one patty is enough. Apparently I was mistaken. Hopefully my perception changes as I work more but wow, a lot of these people are very annoying.

UPDATE: In hindsight, glucose isn’t “basically the same thing” as gluten. Fixed.

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