Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Great Categorization

“Alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits.  I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” - Bilbo Baggins

Ah, Facebook.  I do not wish to deceive you, Gentle Reader, I love it.  I never suspected that I would; however, I do.  It’s a great way to communicate & share ideas, thoughts, events, photographs, & adventures with your friends.  Unfortunately, you also share this information with your, “Friends”, which are two entirely different things.  If you have tooled around Facebook and have acquired a list of people on your, “Friends” list you know what I mean.  “Friends” should be more accurately named, “Acquaintances”.  I have thousands of acquaintances in real life and a much smaller group of what I would truly call my friends.  It is inevitable that Social Media would mirror this simple equation.  I’m pretty sure that if you were to look at your Facebook “Friends” list that you too would come to a similar conclusion.

Now I’m not necessarily saying that I’ve tuned up the grouping on my list of “Friends” on Facebook but I would imagine such an experience would be cathartic.  Let’s face it, there’s a lot of flotsam and jetsam in Social Media or our Facebook pages.  Gentle Reader, don’t deny it.  Yes these people are your, “Friends” but it’s YOUR Facebook experience NOT theirs.  Wouldn’t it be nice to take it back - to trim the vines, so to speak?

If you wanted to thin the great head here’s how it’s done.  Go to your main page and click on “Friends”, (currently located to the left of the page) a whole new world opens - a world of lists, categories, & groups.  This would be where you get the option to put people into whatever grouping you so desire.  You can post to individual sections of your groupings by choosing the option button next to “POST” in the dialog box.  In the future this will insure that your message is delivered to the group that YOU want it to reach.

“But I have a bunch of “Friends” - how can I arrange them all?”

With patience, a pinch of honesty, & half of an imagination you can find here are some possible names for arranging you “Friends” by groups.

True Friends



Friends who post Pictures of Cats



Lunatic Fringe

Friends with Agendas

Friends who Believe Themselves to be Constitutional Scholars

Friends who are Zealots - Religious

Friends who are Zealots - Political

Friends who are Zealots - Other

Friends who Believe

Friends who Do Not Believe

Friends who Used to Believe

Friends who Kind of Believe in Something

Friends who Want to Believe

Friends from Assorted Schools

Who Are These People?

Of course, you can have cross-sections and sub-categories.  Say you have a narcissistic, gun-toting, acquaintance from high school, who believes that alien technology is responsible for all the “dangerous” leaps in technology that we’ve experienced over the last 25 years and that the only way to protect ourselves from the world is to secede from the Union and to destroy all those who stand in their way as they reshape the world in their own image.  As you can see, it’s possible to be in several groups and sub-categories at once.       

If I were to embark upon, “The Great Categorization” and I were to filter all my “Friends” into designated groups so that I could reach and/or speak to the groups that I wanted to communicate with when I wanted to communicate with them I must confess, that would be pretty cool.  I have a sneaking suspicion that my “True Friends” category would not only the most precious to me but also the least populated.

Just like in real life.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Neil Gaiman & the Keep Moving Projects

This is a brilliant little idea from BlackBerry's, "Keep Moving Projects".  Neil Gaiman, one of my all time favorite writers, is looking for Tweeted suggestions for stories, one for each month of the year. It will be called, "A Calendar of Tales by Neil Gaiman and You". If you are interested give him a Tweet. Here are the details but you'll have to hurry the Tweet acceptance is between now and February 6th. 

Go ahead and Tweet.  Collaboration with one of modern literature's greats via social media communication.  Life is good.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Betting on the Super Bowl

“So what do you say we up the bet?” my friend from my place of business asked me.  “I’m tired of betting the usual.”  On such occasions he and I usually bet a single, solitary paperclip.  [NOTE: yes; we are both well aware that this is lame.]

“Well, what should we bet?” I asked. 

“How about a Schwartzie!”  A, “Schwartzie” is a corned beef hoagie with coleslaw & Thousand Island dressing from Primo Hoagies an awesome sandwich franchise from Philadelphia, PA.

“Ok, so if you win I buy you a Schwartzie and if I win you buy me a Nonna’s Veggie.”  A “Nonna’s Veggie” is an eggplant, sharp provolone, broccoli rabe & roasted red pepper hoagie that I have fallen in love with.

“I don’t know… who’s playing?” I asked.  I am not a sports fan.  I prefer the commercials and movie trailers to anything that’s happening on the field. 

“Baltimore & San Francisco,” he said.  “What do you think?”

“Well, Baltimore are the, ‘Ravens’, right?”


“Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite writers and Baltimore obviously cares about him too.  Still, Jack Kerouac spent some time in San Francisco…  Ya know, I’ve gotta go with Poe.  I’m for the Ravens.”

“Good!  Do you want to bet a point spread?” my friend asked. “I’ll go 27 – 20, San Francisco.”

“No.  I’m confused enough already.” I said meaning every syllable. “Let’s just stick with who wins the game.  If the Giants win then you get a Schwartzie and if the Ravens win then I…”

“The 49ers.” My friend corrected me.

YES, of course; the Gold Rush!  It all makes sense now.”  We went on to ‘seal the deal’ with a fist bump.  Win or lose, Primo Hoagies is in my future.  I’m hoping for victory on Super Bowl Sunday!

We shall see. 

What I’m really looking forward to are the tent-pole movie trailers and the commercials.  The Super Bowl charges upwards of 4 million dollars for a 30 second spot.  This is where the corporations with deep pockets come to display their wares to the public.  Being a member of the public and a purchaser of wares I might watch on a lark; however, from a psychological and advertising standpoint I find it fascinating.  These corporations are firing across the bows of ALL demographics when they advertise in this game.  There are hits and there are misses and each shot that is fired costs between 4 – 5 million dollars.  Those are expensive cannon balls.  This is what makes the spectacle interesting to me, the much larger game of demographics & advertising.  The studios and corporations are betting on US, the hearts & minds of the viewing public, to consume and invest in their wares. 

Making movies is a gamble in itself and there is no guarantee that a movie or a product will prove worth the commercial investment.  Here’s a brief breakdown for the tent-pole movies advertising during the Super Bowl from USA Today:  Disney is betting on two offerings with, “The Lone Ranger” and “Oz: the Great and Powerful”.  That’s 10 million dollars for two 30-second spots.  Those are high stakes.  For the studios and corporate entities that advertise it must be worth the price of admission.  That is the big game behind the Super Bowl.  That is what I find fascinating. 

I’m betting a hoagie but the big boys are betting on a whole lot more than that.  So, Gentle Reader, enjoy the Super Bowl for whatever reason you’re watching it.  For yours truly that reason is rumored to happen during the second quarter when the new Star Trek trailer is unveiled.

Go Poe!