Once in a while (like if there's a moon or sun or cloud in the sky) I pretend I'm standing on Hyde Park Corner railing against whatever power has sparked my wrath.
An aside - my husband's friends had a game they played when we were in college. It was a contest to see who could get me up to a full head of steam the fastest. It never took long. Phil was the champion.
The sun's peeking through the clouds today and there are issues taking up enough mental energy that I cannot focus on my goals. Lucky you!
First the easy one. This is Banned Books Week. YouTube is featuring short readings on the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out channel. Included are excepts from children's classics and many books I read growing up. Books that have lingered in my memory far longer than others. Books that forced me to examine my own life and the world around me. Clearly dangerous.
I have to share my shock (channeling Claude Rains here) at the announcement that Russia's President Medvedev wants Putin to run in 2012. Not much can make me look favorably on our own political morass, but Dmitry pulled it off.
As to our own body politic - not going there. Ditto the economy.
Which leaves me with ... Facebook. I'll try and keep this short, but you might want to get comfortable.
I was slow to see the value of social media. It took my far-flung family sharing photos of weddings and babies to get me onto Facebook. I pleaded for photos to be emailed to no avail. So I caved. Then I began to add genealogy friends, getting to "know" the people behind the blogs I so enjoy. I drank the Kool Aid and loved it.
For those of us passionately interested in areas that bore our real world friends to tears, who don't always fit in the slots we occupy, social media is a chance to connect with those who share our passions. I've gotten great advice, encouragement, even prayers when needed from people I may never see face to face. It's gotten to feel like Cheers - a spot where everybody knows your name.
Yes, I know it's a public forum and that anything I post could be shared or broadcast the world over. I am reasonably circumspect - no photos of drinking games or silly hats or wet t-shirts (that would be a picture!). I don't check in or use Foursquare. Don't broadcast my occasional Scrabble triumphs or "like" dozens of pages. But I do chat. And tease. And vent. Things I might do sitting on a bus, or at a bar knowing the people around me could overhear. Things I'm MUCH less likely to do with a camera pointed straight at me recording and broadcasting my every movement to the world. There is a difference between knowing my chatter could be public if another person was determined to seek it out (a talent my geneafriends have, I might add) and having it presented to anyone walking by - now or ten years hence. Instead of having a bit part in Cheers, I'm suddenly in The Truman Show.
My readers and genealogy buddies know how tentatively I've gone public. It was over a year before I wrote using my own name. There is no post-1960 photograph of me here. I don't even do frequent whatever clubs because I don't like the information being tracked.
Yet I persuaded myself that Facebook was a safe place where I could keep up with family and get to know other genealogists. I no longer believe that to be true. I have removed the link to my Facebook profile from this blog. I plan to limit my contacts to family and intimate friends (though I hope I can persuade them to leave).
So where does that leave me? I drank the Kool Aid, remember. I like the virtual social relationships I've formed. It leaves me with Google+.
My initial reaction was that was too public, that I wanted more "privacy". Delusional. Repeat after me. There is no privacy online. If I want virtual relationships I need to realize they are public. That said, every Google+ post includes a choice of who to share it with AND the ability to prevent it being further shared. Do I want my comments about the St. Louis Cardinals or a local art show to go to everyone? Do all the genealogists I "know" need to see my chatter with the few I have a more personal relationship with? Do I share political links with the world or only those I'm hoping to convert? It's not a bad thing to pause and think about who I'm talking to.
It's taken time to set up my Google+ circles. I'm still thinking about how I receive and share posts. But I'm the one making the decisions, deciding on the limits of the relationships. If there were a Facebook "like" button I'd push it.
These posts are worth looking at if you want to read more about the changes at Facebook:
- Facebookprivacyandsecurity's post on the changes
- Carole Riley's overview of the Timeline feature at Social Media and Genealogy
- Facebook, You're Not a Newspaper by Richard MacManus on ReadWriteWeb
- While we wait for Facebook to respond, again at Facebookprivacyandsecurity
If you're curious about Google+ check out these links or pull up a bar stool and find me there. The first drink's on me.