Social Media is a Sketch Pad

Witty. Funny. Common words I’ve heard and read so many times from different people who would describe my ideas and how I write. I’m not good at accepting compliments, nor giving one, but it always gives me the needed kick to keep writing whenever I receive such.

Countless times I have encountered writer’s block and I know it will happen again–and make it as an excuse again. Even the most prolific writers dread it. Managing writer’s block is key to overcoming it. Like how you manage your boss–related but it’s another story.

Churning out ideas forming inside our head requires turning individual words into one that makes sense. One that is fluid, harmonized, or at least structured. (While I type at this moment I struggle already so bear with me.)

Sometimes the intent to impress by being verbose is the culprit, a trap leading to a draft that won’t be published ever. So writing something brief but catchy does the trick in keeping that writing brain running. Let loose and type away.

Many people online appreciate news digests. It’s become the trend since information technology overloaded the world wide web of anything under the sun. I don’t have the exact stats but I am quite sure I’m not the only one who would do a quick glance and scroll to the next that interests me. Nobody nowadays likes spending too much time on one article. Agree?

This is why I now treat social media as a sketch pad or a writing testing ground. I love the challenge of writing something short but interesting that I was among those who hated the day when Twitter decided to go let go of its 180 characters limit. Twitter was more fun back then.

Then there’s Facebook. Its “What’s on your mind?” is always a come-on to express something in the form of words or images or a combo of both regardless of quality of context. Done properly, however, posts could solicit the desired impact, reactions, or interactions. The challenge lies in knowing who your readers or friends are, how they would respond. So far my recent activities prove that being creative, clean, and having rant-free posts mean more likes, love, and laughter.

Sometimes one like is more than enough.

I also realized that posting beyond my circle of friends is also a good test of how my ideas and insights would be received. I once shunned commenting on news on Facebook as it exposes me open to the public, specifically to the trolls and grammar Nazis–karma sucks, I know. But I discovered that posting comments or opinions is one way of getting timely feedback about my writing style. So what works based on recent personal experience? Staying relevant to the topic, respecting the opinion of others, and infusing some wit (or sarcasm) do get good reception.

Practice, practice, practice they say. So whether perfection comes–if and when–or not I will try to write, write, write, and write more. It’s not going to be always easy but it would be a shame if I don’t even try to let my ideas see the light of day at least for fun or for a paid job. Which reminds me to check if there are job orders already…

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (All boys day today! Wifey’s day out.)

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Understanding the President

This blog rarely contains political posts as I would avoid doing it as much as possible. I see such as one that usually contains rants and more often than not it is similar to any drunken social media post that anyone would regret the following day besides nurturing a bad hangover. But sometimes it has to be done on a whim especially when there is a challenge to do so.

In the recent days since I started being confined in a cold room at work–so cold I swear it feels like below freezing–with nobody else but one person I realized I am not totally introvert after all. I need to talk to someone, anyone, and so Facebook became the perfect place. My then dying MyPhone Rio didn’t deter me from answering “What’s on your mind?”

Little did I know that I would do more than just catching up with friends. I discovered that news and posts on my timeline has become more political. (There’s still a fragment of adults who continue to believe in copy-pasting hoax and requesting to type amen on comments but it’s another story.) Soon I would find myself getting so involved in the discussions.

I do not consider myself yellow, neither I’m a big fan of the current President who has continued to take an aggressive stand against the drug trade. I like this guy’s vision for the country but I don’t like his methods. Recently he and his loyal fans cry foul over the media that they accuse as biased, as an organization who openly take the President’s words out of context. Yesterday his allies crafted another defense. They called for everyone to open their minds and have a creative imagination so that the nation would understand our main guy. I heed the call so I made a pop quiz for my Facebook friends.

***

Pop quiz! How well do you know the guy. No cheating. #digong101

1. When he says “Go to hell”, does he mean:
A. Go home
B. Go to hell
C. Go to hill
D. A and B
E. None of the above. It’s just his bipolar ego talking.

2. When he says “For the life of me, I’d rather kneel before the king of Brunei or Thailand but I will never before the Americans”, does it mean:
A. He loves the King of Brunei.
B. He loves kneeling in front of the King of Brunei.
C. He was once a Brunei beauty in his past life.
D. He plans to one day kiss the King of Brunei.
E. A and B
F. B and C
G. A and D
H. All of the above
I. None of the above. It’s just the media getting him out of context.
J. An American once broke his heart.

3. When he says “… there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Did he mean:
A. He owns a slaughter house.
B. He will personally slaughter all these addicts.
C. He needs help to slaughter all addicts.
D. Not really all, it’s just a figure of speech.
E. It depends if he finds friends wrongly included in the list.
F. All of the above
G. None of the above. Blame the biased media.
H. F and G, depending on which bipolar trait is currently in control.

4. When he said he will “ride a jet ski while bringing the Philippine flag”, is it because:
A. He plans to show defiance and aggression towards China.
B. He plans to surrender the island with a Philippine flag on it like an icing on a cake.
C. It’s pure propaganda composed by a paid troll who is now likely part of the cabinet.
D. Our country does not have any decent boat he can use.
E. All of the above
F. None of the above. Misquoted.

5. When he swears, does he really say “F*ck you!”?
A. Yes, but it’s just a harmless expression because he was once poor.
B. No, PI is the preferred word because he is Filipino.
C. Nope, he does not swear. The media is only using bleep in the news to make him appear as if he swore.
D. A and B
E. Next question please.

6. When he said he will get rid of the drug problem within 3 months, does it mean:
A. Yes, 3 months only.
B. 3 months x 2
C. 3 months x 4 x 6 years
D. It depends as there are 3 million addicts.
E. Did he say that?

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Some light bulb moments could get us in trouble.)

DMD Moms

It was another well-deserved Saturday morning when a notification icon on my new phone shows a red number beside it. Sooner I realized it is from the Messenger app and when I opened it there were like 5-8 messages waiting to be read. Some more than a year old already, some from people I know, others from people I choose to continue to ignore. But there’s one that caught my attention the most. It was from someone I had a chat with more than a month ago using our laptop, she invited me to join their Facebook group. I would normally shy away from such invites but this time I eagerly agreed.

It was DMD Moms. As the name implies, the group is mostly composed of moms of kids with DMD just like Marcus. This is our second online contact with others who have the same case as we do. The first one was Muscle Dystrophy Philippines but DMD Moms seems more personal and active–one you would expect when you gather a group of chatty moms. That same day, I informed wifey about it and in no time she joined the group as well.

While being the latest members of the group, it didn’t take long before we see familiar stories. Stories of despair, stories of strength, stories of hope, stories of love and commitment. According to the one who invited me, the group has currently less than 30 members, us included. We also learned that some are located close to where we live so a meeting could soon happen and when it does, it would be the first time Marcus would meet someone who also has DMD. We are looking forward to it.

***

For the second time, I got a new phone courtesy of wifey. While I’m waiting for the MyPhone store to replenish its Rio batteries, wifey had secretly ordered something from Lazada. So here’s me with a new Flash Plus 2 which is more than enough to run my Kindle. Well, it made me discover the benefits of the Facebook  and Messenger apps. Oh, I tried some selfie while alone at work but camera didn’t make me look good. I wonder if there’s like Photoshop or the popular beautify setting like what most of my Facebook friends use. You’ll know when I found it. Out of the box, it’s a good phone so far.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Pain on my right back is almost gone.)

Do you know your Facebook likes?

Image from Google

This week the Zuckerberg finally announced that Facebook users will soon see the button that most, if not everyone, have been waiting for: the Dislike button. I’m one of those who waited, prayed even, so it’s really about time. Once implemented, the new button may be a game changer, it may become a cause for alarm, irrational paranoia and even result to shattered friendship. Just imagine seeing a notification: Anne Nonimous and 9 of your friends dislike your post. Boom. There goes your day, there goes the start of the end. You now find that unfollow button or, worse, you decide to click the ultimate option. Your Facebook account is now ten friends lighter.

But before you burn bridges just because someone disliked one—or more—post you just placed on Facebook, you must try to understand first if the existing Like button is indeed one that shows sincere like. So let’s see some reasons your friend liked your post.

The true like. It is good to know that the world still has people who does not resent your happiness—even in its simplest form, your success and even your daily selfies. Normally, these are your true friends and they are not necessarily your family members or relatives.

The peer pressure like. This happens when someone realizes everyone seems to have liked your post except him. The fear of being ousted from your circle of close friends now takes over and thus he lifts his heavy finger, with heavy heart, and clicks the like button anyhow. Usually this like is followed by a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

The reconnaissance like. Ok, that’s a long word so we’ll call it the spy like. Remember the quote ‘tell me who your friends are…’? This is what we should watch out for as this is normally employed by parents, girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse who would like to know more about your activities by looking into what your friends say on your post. If you are not aware of it yet, whoever likes your post would be also notified if someone replied to it which means that it will be an open book to everyone who liked the original post. Be ready to be judged by those who use this as an espionage tool.

The clumsy fingers like. Sometimes our fingers would do the walking on its own and would accidentally hit the like button sending an embarrassing notification that you have just liked something you are not supposed to. This may also be referred to as drunken like and should be avoided at all cost. Once your religious mother calls you unexpectedly, then check your timeline if you have clicked on an adult site.

The request-to-like like. My pet peeve. This is similar to peer pressure like but this one comes from specific individuals like a friend whose child joined a popularity contest no matter how undeserving; a colleague who are now into networking and expects you to be a downline; a boss who wants to connect through Facebook.

So by now you must be already aware that even the seemingly harmless Facebook Like button could actually have one or more meaning behind it. Trust me, it is not always a likeable like. Now with the introduction of the Dislike button a new challenge is presented–reading between the lines will become more difficult and subjective. But look at the bright side, who knows, the friends who disliked your post may have good intentions for doing so and may after all those whom you really need to keep.

**

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Sick but with a document to be signed.)

Why Our Son Will Soon Be on Facebook

Do you know that creating a Facebook account for your young child is actually a good thing? Yes, that is what I have realized after reading the article 10 Ways to Future Proof Your Child. According to this Wired Magazine’s online article, opening a Facebook account as early as now prevents someone from creating a fraudulent account with your child’s name which could be used for malicious purposes. And by signing up on behalf of their child also gives parents a head start to place the appropriate filters and security settings, making the account safe and clean and ready to be used when their child starts to beg for his (or her) first Facebook access. All these with the assumption that good parenting has been established and that Zuckerberg’s site is still preferred over Google+ 5-10 years from now.

But the tip I like the most from this article is about getting a child his own domain name. It made me feel maintaining and paying a minimal fee for this blog site justified despite not being able to update it as often as I wished to. Although our son’s online activities nowadays involve frequenting iTune’s App Store in his hunt for games, his recent interest in writing/typing his own name with which his current favorite hero’s name is also attached is encouraging enough. I would love to see the day when our son becomes a contributor to the content of this blog and if ever that happens, watch out for the blog post author named Marcusben10. Oh before I forget, please like his own updates on facebook, just in case.

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Trying hard to get rid of writer’s block.)

10 Types of Facebook Likes

(Image from Google.)

Not all facebook Likes are the same and here are 10 types I have defined. Now see for yourself if you can relate to some of it.

  1. Peer-pressure Like. There  are days when you realize that you are the only one left who has not liked a friend’s status or post and you have no choice but to follow suit, else risk being called anti-social or worse, unfriended.
  2. Boss-says-so Like. (Not so) surprisingly, **s-kissing, like other one-celled organisms, has evolved with technology and it is now part of social media. And along with this Darwinian process are some people who came out thinking that their job performance depends on how frequent they have liked their boss’ status. They do this either consciously or unconsciously.  (Note: This person is usually the first ‘Liker.’)
  3. Contests Like. It is one of those Likes you do, just because a friend asked a favor to like a picture of his/her friend (including son, daughter, and other relatives)  who joined a photo contest, despite believing that the photo was badly photoshopped.
  4. Country’s-pride-at-stake Like. (Similar to Contests Like but in broader context.) In the spirit of unity and nationalism, you do this or—again—face the risk of being tagged as unpatriotic or apathetic. This has been a proven formula in winning Ms. Photogenic or Ms. Social Media awards.
  5. Finger-twitch Like. Usually happens when one is bored, annoyed, drunk, or just simply fidgety  and as a result has unintentionally clicked on the Like button. (Tip: Make someone smile, do not unlike.)
  6. Self-centered Like. Trust me, everyone has at least one friend who Likes his/her own status. (Please be cautious around them.)
  7. Commercial Like. Thanks to Zuckerberg’s need to maintain investors’ confidence, and stop facebook’s profit from dwindling any further,  ads and commercial pages have become so common. The number of Likes on these pages have been useful in measuring demographics and pinpointing market niche. (Someone somewhere out there knows that your 8-year old plans to buy next Fifty Shades of Grey. Be warned.)
  8. Poser LikeSadly, there are people who exploit the Commercial Like by clicking on pages with the only intent of letting their other friends know that they have just liked branded products such as Apple, Nike, Subaru, Louis Vuitton, etc.
  9. Pure Like, Rejoice! The good news is that this Like still exists although  leaning towards rarity or extinction. Until when this type of like will remain, I don’t know.
  10. Unlike. Period.

How about you? What other types of Likes can you define?

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Had adobo for lunch. Pure Like.)