jayfurr: (Jay with Balloons)
I use Twitter. Some days more than others, but most days I at least rear up briefly and indicate that I continue to be numbered among the living with a pointless, banal little tweet.

I have fewer than 200 Twitter followers.

I'm HAPPY about that.

I also have a blog, if you must call it that, based on the Livejournal platform. I've had it for years. It exists mostly to serve as a personal journal and to let the tiny handful of people who might conceivably care whether I live or die know whether I'm doing one or the other.

One of the things that amuses me tremendously about Twitter, and about social media in general, is the very, very large number of self-described "social media experts" out there. There are CONFERENCES where people get together in hotel meeting rooms and raptly listen to advice on how to boost the number of people who read your blog or follow your tweets. "Hold a raffle," the experts say, "and award raffle entries to each person who follows you, gets another person to follow you, mentions you in their blog, signs up to follow you via Google Reader or some other RSS aggregator, etcetera, etcetera." These same "social media experts" apparently counsel Twitter users to follow as many people as they can in hopes that the people they follow will dutifully follow them right back.

But when I look at the Twitter feeds of the people who follow the Social Media Experts'(tm) advice, they're bland as the day is long... endlessly mentioning their next raffle, or doing #FF (Follow Friday) mentions of random other people in hopes those same people will do #FF mentions back, and so on. And their blogs are no better -- half the entries are about the next raffle, or reminding people to sign up for the raffle, or announcing the results of the raffle, and the other half are shamelessly posting essentially advertising copy for various products in hopes of getting freebies from the manufacturer.

I gotta say, if someone told me I could get a free case of chocolate pudding by talking about how much I loved the chocolate pudding and dropping the manufacturer's name every six words, I might consider it, ONCE. Because, hey, CHOCOLATE PUDDING. But I can't imagine a more pointless, nugatory pursuit than dedicating an entire BLOG to that.

In order to get those freebies in quantity your blog would go from borderline interesting to "all advertising flackery, ALL THE TIME." And come on, who wants to READ that?

Little wonder that you've got to endlessly run raffles to get readers ... you want to be able to tell the manufacturers whose products you want to "evaluate" that you have zillions of readers, so they'll consider you a highly desirable target to ship some of their product to. But if your blog is nothin' but self-serving raffles and product endorsements, c'mon, how many of your "readers" or "subscribers" are actually reading any of it? You're probably sending some readers in the manufacturers' direction but I kinda doubt you're getting really all that much in return.

If I look at someone's blog, I'd like to think that there might be some interesting reading to be found there -- funny personal anecdotes, or perhaps just "here's what I've been up to lately", or in the case of my many Breast Cancer 3-Day buddies, letting me know how their training and fund-raising are going. And I'll be the first to admit that my own Livejournal-based blog is of interest to a vanishingly small number of people. I've never claimed to be a great pundit, product reviewer, wit, or expert. Read my blog if you have half a second to spare once every month or two, if it interests you. If I don't even know you, and you don't even know me, why would I really care whether you're reading all about my vacation to France or my plans to get in better cardiovascular shape?

So, yeah, I don't really give a damn if you follow my Livejournal. Glad to have the eyes on the page if you know me and I know you and you care enough about me to want to know how I'm doing. If not, no harm in taking your interest elsewhere.

So that brings me to my one of my favorite hobbies: raking through each day's Twitter follow spam. Each day, when I go home, I expect to find anywhere from five to ten "So-and-so is now following you" notices in my personal email. (I could check it during the day, but I work for a living, so it generally gets taken care of at night.) And when I look at each notice in turn, I'm hoping to see something like the following:

TWEETS 5 FOLLOWING 1130 FOLLOWERS 20

Because then I know what I'm up against: some dimwit who decided that the way to get tons of Twitter attention was to follow EVERYONE IN SIGHT and hope to get followed back. I was clueless enough at one point to wonder why they'd bother... if they had zero tweets or five tweets or twenty tweets, some tiny number of actual tweets. Then I stopped and thought and said "oh. of course. They just want me to follow them back, go to their profile page, see their blog or website, and go to THAT."

And so each night, as I review each new 'follow' notice, nine times out of ten I wind up happily clicking the "Block this user and mark them as spam" button, and go on my merry way.

Because, folks, if you're all Mr. or Mrs. Social Media Expert, come up with something more cunning than randomly following every user on Twitter who uses a keyword that you're interested in. I mean, God forbid that a Social Media Expert like yourself actually post something INTERESTING and WORTHWHILE that might make me WANT to follow you or read your blog or go to your website, you know?

But of course, I'm not a Social Media Expert(tm). So, obviously, I must be missing something. Never mind. As you were. :)

jayfurr: (Jay with Balloons)
I use Twitter. Some days more than others, but most days I at least rear up briefly and indicate that I continue to be numbered among the living with a pointless, banal little tweet.

I have fewer than 200 Twitter followers.

I'm HAPPY about that.

I also have a blog, if you must call it that, based on the Livejournal platform. I've had it for years. It exists mostly to serve as a personal journal and to let the tiny handful of people who might conceivably care whether I live or die know whether I'm doing one or the other.

One of the things that amuses me tremendously about Twitter, and about social media in general, is the very, very large number of self-described "social media experts" out there. There are CONFERENCES where people get together in hotel meeting rooms and raptly listen to advice on how to boost the number of people who read your blog or follow your tweets. "Hold a raffle," the experts say, "and award raffle entries to each person who follows you, gets another person to follow you, mentions you in their blog, signs up to follow you via Google Reader or some other RSS aggregator, etcetera, etcetera." These same "social media experts" apparently counsel Twitter users to follow as many people as they can in hopes that the people they follow will dutifully follow them right back.

But when I look at the Twitter feeds of the people who follow the Social Media Experts'(tm) advice, they're bland as the day is long... endlessly mentioning their next raffle, or doing #FF (Follow Friday) mentions of random other people in hopes those same people will do #FF mentions back, and so on. And their blogs are no better -- half the entries are about the next raffle, or reminding people to sign up for the raffle, or announcing the results of the raffle, and the other half are shamelessly posting essentially advertising copy for various products in hopes of getting freebies from the manufacturer.

I gotta say, if someone told me I could get a free case of chocolate pudding by talking about how much I loved the chocolate pudding and dropping the manufacturer's name every six words, I might consider it, ONCE. Because, hey, CHOCOLATE PUDDING. But I can't imagine a more pointless, nugatory pursuit than dedicating an entire BLOG to that.

In order to get those freebies in quantity your blog would go from borderline interesting to "all advertising flackery, ALL THE TIME." And come on, who wants to READ that?

Little wonder that you've got to endlessly run raffles to get readers ... you want to be able to tell the manufacturers whose products you want to "evaluate" that you have zillions of readers, so they'll consider you a highly desirable target to ship some of their product to. But if your blog is nothin' but self-serving raffles and product endorsements, c'mon, how many of your "readers" or "subscribers" are actually reading any of it? You're probably sending some readers in the manufacturers' direction but I kinda doubt you're getting really all that much in return.

If I look at someone's blog, I'd like to think that there might be some interesting reading to be found there -- funny personal anecdotes, or perhaps just "here's what I've been up to lately", or in the case of my many Breast Cancer 3-Day buddies, letting me know how their training and fund-raising are going. And I'll be the first to admit that my own Livejournal-based blog is of interest to a vanishingly small number of people. I've never claimed to be a great pundit, product reviewer, wit, or expert. Read my blog if you have half a second to spare once every month or two, if it interests you. If I don't even know you, and you don't even know me, why would I really care whether you're reading all about my vacation to France or my plans to get in better cardiovascular shape?

So, yeah, I don't really give a damn if you follow my Livejournal. Glad to have the eyes on the page if you know me and I know you and you care enough about me to want to know how I'm doing. If not, no harm in taking your interest elsewhere.

So that brings me to my one of my favorite hobbies: raking through each day's Twitter follow spam. Each day, when I go home, I expect to find anywhere from five to ten "So-and-so is now following you" notices in my personal email. (I could check it during the day, but I work for a living, so it generally gets taken care of at night.) And when I look at each notice in turn, I'm hoping to see something like the following:

TWEETS 5 FOLLOWING 1130 FOLLOWERS 20

Because then I know what I'm up against: some dimwit who decided that the way to get tons of Twitter attention was to follow EVERYONE IN SIGHT and hope to get followed back. I was clueless enough at one point to wonder why they'd bother... if they had zero tweets or five tweets or twenty tweets, some tiny number of actual tweets. Then I stopped and thought and said "oh. of course. They just want me to follow them back, go to their profile page, see their blog or website, and go to THAT."

And so each night, as I review each new 'follow' notice, nine times out of ten I wind up happily clicking the "Block this user and mark them as spam" button, and go on my merry way.

Because, folks, if you're all Mr. or Mrs. Social Media Expert, come up with something more cunning than randomly following every user on Twitter who uses a keyword that you're interested in. I mean, God forbid that a Social Media Expert like yourself actually post something INTERESTING and WORTHWHILE that might make me WANT to follow you or read your blog or go to your website, you know?

But of course, I'm not a Social Media Expert(tm). So, obviously, I must be missing something. Never mind. As you were. :)

Sodium

Sep. 3rd, 2010 07:40 am
jayfurr: (Default)
To the best of my knowledge, I don't really have a problem with sodium in food, not like my mom whose chronic high blood pressure is exacerbated by sodium and who started cooking almost salt-free decades ago (which is why my wife found my cooking curiously lacking in the first few years of our relationship... I had learned to do without much salt in food).

In fact, my blood pressure is excellent -- 113 over 70, stuff like that. When I'm rested and not stressed, anyway.

But that being said, I really wish that the makers of vegetarian meat substitutes -- the Morningstar Farms, Boca, Gardenburgers people, to say nothing of niche vendors like Helen's Kitchen and Amy's and so forth, did not load their products full-to-the-brim of sodium. I assume they use the extra salt to make them more, um, 'satisfying', or something. But for the love of Grod, if I find them uncomfortably bland I could always put some mustard on them. I don't need to be walking around with half the output of the Dead Sea in my blood system just because I ate 360 calories worth of Morningstar Farms Grillers California Turk'y patties.

Sodium

Sep. 3rd, 2010 07:39 am
jayfurr: (Habitrail)
To the best of my knowledge, I don't really have a problem with sodium in food, not like my mom whose chronic high blood pressure is exacerbated by sodium and who started cooking almost salt-free decades ago (which is why my wife found my cooking curiously lacking in the first few years of our relationship... I had learned to do without much salt in food).

In fact, my blood pressure is excellent -- 113 over 70, stuff like that. When I'm rested and not stressed, anyway.

But that being said, I really wish that the makers of vegetarian meat substitutes -- the Morningstar Farms, Boca, Gardenburgers people, to say nothing of niche vendors like Helen's Kitchen and Amy's and so forth, did not load their products full-to-the-brim of sodium. I assume they use the extra salt to make them more, um, 'satisfying', or something. But for the love of Grod, if I find them uncomfortably bland I could always put some mustard on them. I don't need to be walking around with half the output of the Dead Sea in my blood system just because I ate 360 calories worth of Morningstar Farms Grillers California Turk'y patties.

jayfurr: (Furr's Gifts)
In a nutshell, there will be no holidays for yers truly this year. Boo hoo, poor me.

But seriously, I've got to be in Boston all week every week between now and December 23. There are NO flights between Burlington, Vermont and Boston any more, and if I wanted to avoid driving I'd be flying to New York, Philadelphia, or Washington and then flying back north again to Boston. Flying through New York is just a recipe for disaster -- I've sat in LaGuardia waiting for air traffic control to release my flight home for six or seven hours at times and I'm not doing that any more.

And no, taking the train isn't an option.

Driving wouldn't be so bad except that when I started getting older I started experiencing paradoxical fatigue behind the wheel on multi-hour drives unless someone's with me to keep me awake and entertained, and even then (as Carole can attest) it doesn't always help.

And in any case, since I have to be here VERY early each Monday and may be here until rather late each Friday, I'd be getting home close to midnight each Friday, just fried from driving... and then would spend Saturday doing laundry and household chores, and then on Sunday I'd turn around and drive back again. And be tired all week from the experience.

So I decided to just check into a Homewood Suites right on the border of Arlington and Cambridge, the kind of place with a kitchen in each room, and I'm just staying down here right on through December 23. On the weekend I'll go out for a walk or something -- I've been to Boston six thousand times and I've seen pretty much everything there is to see here. Carole will cope -- I made tons of food for the freezer over Thanksgiving; she won't starve.

But then, here's the rub: Carole will be spending the week of Christmas with her parents in Ohio so she can see a close friend from high school who's been overseas for years and who's coming home for her brother's wedding... and she'll actually be leaving on December 18, five days before I get home. She gets back the day after Christmas, very late. I won't lay eyes on her, in all, for four consecutive weeks.

So that's my holiday season: I drive home on December 23, trade in my rental car at the airport for the car Carole will be leaving there. I spend Christmas Eve and Christmas completely by myself (well, okay, the cats will be there), and on December 26, I go get Carole from the airport. Yay holidays!

We won't even be putting up the Christmas tree this year and we won't be exchanging gifts as such. I've got the week off between Christmas and New Year's and then it's back to the routine in Boston again for more training. Fa la la la la, la la la la.



jayfurr: (Furr's Gifts)
In a nutshell, there will be no holidays for yers truly this year. Boo hoo, poor me.

But seriously, I've got to be in Boston all week every week between now and December 23. There are NO flights between Burlington, Vermont and Boston any more, and if I wanted to avoid driving I'd be flying to New York, Philadelphia, or Washington and then flying back north again to Boston. Flying through New York is just a recipe for disaster -- I've sat in LaGuardia waiting for air traffic control to release my flight home for six or seven hours at times and I'm not doing that any more.

And no, taking the train isn't an option.

Driving wouldn't be so bad except that when I started getting older I started experiencing paradoxical fatigue behind the wheel on multi-hour drives unless someone's with me to keep me awake and entertained, and even then (as Carole can attest) it doesn't always help.

And in any case, since I have to be here VERY early each Monday and may be here until rather late each Friday, I'd be getting home close to midnight each Friday, just fried from driving... and then would spend Saturday doing laundry and household chores, and then on Sunday I'd turn around and drive back again. And be tired all week from the experience.

So I decided to just check into a Homewood Suites right on the border of Arlington and Cambridge, the kind of place with a kitchen in each room, and I'm just staying down here right on through December 23. On the weekend I'll go out for a walk or something -- I've been to Boston six thousand times and I've seen pretty much everything there is to see here. Carole will cope -- I made tons of food for the freezer over Thanksgiving; she won't starve.

But then, here's the rub: Carole will be spending the week of Christmas with her parents in Ohio so she can see a close friend from high school who's been overseas for years and who's coming home for her brother's wedding... and she'll actually be leaving on December 18, five days before I get home. She gets back the day after Christmas, very late. I won't lay eyes on her, in all, for four consecutive weeks.

So that's my holiday season: I drive home on December 23, trade in my rental car at the airport for the car Carole will be leaving there. I spend Christmas Eve and Christmas completely by myself (well, okay, the cats will be there), and on December 26, I go get Carole from the airport. Yay holidays!

We won't even be putting up the Christmas tree this year and we won't be exchanging gifts as such. I've got the week off between Christmas and New Year's and then it's back to the routine in Boston again for more training. Fa la la la la, la la la la.



Jerks

Jul. 8th, 2008 12:10 pm
jayfurr: (The claws!)
Remember the bicycle art in downtown Montpelier?

Over the holiday weekend some idiots decided it'd just look so much better vandalized.

Jackasses. Thousands of hours of work on the part of dozens of artists, and some idiots decide to wreck it up in a freakish spasm of idiocy.

Argh

Apr. 5th, 2008 08:23 pm
jayfurr: (Profile 1)
I hate being sick.

Came down with this on Thursday. Felt awful all day yesterday. Felt awful all day today. At 8:00 PM, took my temperature: 100 degrees.

I don't think I'm on the mend.

Sigh.

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