Category Archives: Social Media

Menagerie

Shamelessly mirroring one of the blogs I follow, I’m going to combine prompts in a wild menagerie.

File_001 (40)

Last night I was riveted to Twitter as I followed the saga of #MPRRACCOON. If you’ve been away from the news, this was about a plucky lil “trash panda” who got trapped on the ledge of an office building in St. Paul, MN, and when some workers tried to rescue her, she scampered onto the UBS tower next door and started climbing up up up. Now, some of you may remember the story I poasted a while back of a raccoon who killed one of our parking lot cats. Since then, I’ve not had a favorable view of the creatures. But all that changed yesterday as I (along with loads of other folks) rooted for the Twin Cities bandit to make it through her ordeal safely. We held our collective breath as she began to climb again, hoping she wouldn’t plummet to the ground. She stopped, went down, and seemed to be done for the night. I went to bed not knowing her fate and checked Twitter as soon as I woke this morning, so happy to see she had made it to the roof!

Speaking of buildings, the other night I had a very weird dream. I was in a house with my daughter and we couldn’t find our cats. So, naturally we decided we needed to look in our other house. I love that in my dreams I have not only one, but two houses! Yay me. We walked outside into the snow ~ apparently it was normal for there to be snow in southern California, but it wasn’t that cold. We didn’t have coats on and just tramped through the snow in our regular shoes. Crunch, crunch. We did remark on it, like oh yeah, it snows now ever since the something. I wish I could remember what “the something” was in my dream. I’m sure it was important. Anyway. We entered house number two, and there were the kitties. But inside this house everything was all snowy. I guess roof construction hadn’t caught up with “the something” yet.

The most vivid dream I ever had was when I was around 7 years old. I was at the zoo and a wolf either got loose from an exhibit or I entered his cage by mistake. He trapped me in a corner and ripped out my throat and I died. I know you’re not supposed to die in dreams, but I did. Then I woke up and had strep throat. This is not to bash wolves. I have huge respect for them and wildlife in general.

That’s it for the prompts, except one, and nope I am not introducing zoobloggery to my repertoire here ~ it’s just a coinkydink that all the snippets have to do with aminals this time. Soon we will be back to noodling about movies, food, and migraines, patting myself on the back again for leaving Facebook and dating sites, whining about writing, etc. You know, all the topics that make this blog so darned irresistible to fans everywhere. Until then… mwah!

Advertisements

Misty Memories

Butterfly

It’s fitting on this last day of the Daily Prompt, which is retrospective, that I take a look back through the mists of time to the beginning of my blogging experience.

I started on a whim in September 2003 with Ultrablog, since my fellow writers from Usenet seemed to be jumping in. The name came about because my Usenet handle was Ultraviolet and I tried to stick with a purple motif, though the details changed. I had butterflies and various templates on blogger, and then I bought my domain ~ and I even purchased an artsy template once when I had loads of hits per day. I never monetized any of my blogs however. Too much work.

My Ultrablog topics ran the gamut. Opining on funny pieces of news, poasting about aminals, sharing family events & pics, mocking things I found online, offering up Sunday word games for fans, etc. I jabbered fairly frequently about writing and my writing progress, or the lack thereof. I was fairly open in calling out people who could have recognized themselves in my takedowns, but mostly I sailed through okay.

But I got into a flamewar over pitb*lls, which became insane, and I wanted to delete those poasts and some comment threads. I ended up ruining my comment numbering system and couldn’t get it right again. This drove me bananas. I decided it was time to archive Ultrablog and start a new, lighter blog with no flaming.

Thus was born Cats, Cupcakes & Shooze, the most boring blog in Blogville. It didn’t last long, maybe a year, and I didn’t even bother archiving it. Around the same time, my mom was dying, so I began a private blog to record my thoughts and feelings about the situation, and to get support from close friends. I still have that blog archived.

For around a year or so, I was blogless. IKR? But I was in a relationship I couldn’t talk about, going thru a divorce, still upset about my mom, etc., and it seemed pointless to start another blog when I’d have to self-censor about so many topics. I was very careful on all the other social media too. But ultimately I missed blogging too much and revved up this WordPress account and my domain name.

At first, I poasted only poetry, song lyrics, book reviews, cupcakes pics, etc. But then in the summer of 2011 my divorce became final, and a few months later my unspeakable romantic relationship crashed. After that, I felt freer to poast as I pleased, with very few limits. That said, I frequently delete poasts I don’t like having around, but that’s my own choice. Only once I deleted a few poasts upon request.

People gravitate to personal stories ~ I know I do. That’s how we connect with strangers on the internet, by glimpses into each other’s lives, shared interests, mutual points of caring. I don’t want to read some blogger’s opinion on the news headlines. Boring! I said this all the time on Facebook ~ why are you peeps regurgitating CNN at me? I know how to read the news. I’d rather hear about a fun new restaurant you found or something cute your dog did, or even that you stubbed your toe, so I can offer sympathy.

I always tell myself to poast more about writing and read serious writers, but I enjoy so many things that I keep adding “non-writer” bloggers to my feed anyway. I add bloggers who mostly poast photos of flowers. I love flowers! And kitties! And sunsets. And doggies scampering on beaches. And travel stories even though I don’t travel. And philosophy. And movie reviews. And comedy! There are so many wonderful things to love in this world. But if you poast dark sad twisted poetry, I’ll probably love that too.

Fifteen years of blogging, more or less. Wow.

I think we’re up to date.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Retrospective

My Trophy Life

For a long time, I thought I was doing online dating incorrectly and that’s why I was always so unhappy about it. Whenever I’d poast about it here, that feeling would be reinforced by all the (well-meaning) advice I received. I’ve deleted most of those poasts because they and their comments annoyed me in retrospect. After five and a half years of online dating (including some breaks), I gave it up for good around a year ago. As it turns out, I wasn’t doing it wrong ~ it’s just wrong for me and many others like me. Millions of people. Not talking about the creepy process of selecting our dates by specs like we buy a TV off Amazon, though that’s horrible enough. Not even talking about the brutal way we reject people because they have a scratch and we think we deserve a flawless model no matter how imperfect we are ourselves, nope. Talking about this:

Last year, Match.com released a volunteer-based study on recent dating trends. Although the survey wasn’t scientific, the results were revealing. Almost one in six singles (15%) reported feeling addicted to the online process of looking for a date. Millennials were 125% more likely to say they feel addicted to dating. Men were 97% more likely to feel addicted to dating than women, but 54% of women felt more burned out by the process. [Source]

It’s addicting for people who get addicted to things, and that’s a lot of people, myself included. Hell, I just became briefly addicted to Spider Solitaire after Windows 10 updated itself and installed it on my machine. OOH WHAT’S THIS? Must play game. I played 135 games. In less than a week. They sent me a notice that I’d flipped over 10,000 cards and I got very excited. It was a gold trophy. SHINY! Got a few more goodies. Then I thought wtf am I doing? I’m supposed to be writing a novel, hello. So, I deleted the entire app from my laptop.

Every time I joined a dating site I told myself I’d just be chill and let things unfold. But that isn’t my way. It’s just not. I had to check out the profile of every man in my area who fit my criteria. I had to try to figure out why someone rejected me if they viewed me and didn’t say hello. I’d make up my own stories about each one. I overanalyzed every chat. If a man criticized me in some way or was drive-by mean, I took it personally. It was hard to shrug that off. On and on. And these were the guys I never even met!

But people with OCD are particularly susceptible to spending too much time fussing over stuff in general (obviously), and for whatever reason technology tends to exacerbate that tendency. Online dating is like a game, isn’t it? Or a job hunt. We are driven to “win” or to achieve a goal, whatever that means to the individual, and we keep playing, clicking, swiping, liking, checking, turning over cards, whatever, until we get that shiny trophy. And then what? Well. There’s a question for another day.

In the meantime, here’s a study from 2016 that links addiction to mobile devices with depression and anxiety. Again, it’s more relevant for people who already have issues with OCD in the first place. An online dating site is that perfectly irresistible magic mix of toxic elements coming together for someone prone to anxiety. Definitely not a safe place for someone like me, which I always suspected. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, except for joining to begin with! Those sites fed my existing problems and that’s why I became miserable while dealing with them.

It wasn’t me; it was them. This last year has been so much better since I gave up online dating, and even better still in the last two months since I left Facebook and Instagram. Onward to more shiny goodness!

File_001 (37)

The Story Is Everything

H&M

One of my friends asked about The Wedding on Twitter. She was developing a slight interest but was still perplexed at the intense fascination it held for some people, mostly women a little older than herself. I fall into that group. Now, I’ve not been obsessed with The Wedding itself; in fact, I found the relentless coverage as irritating as anything else the “news” media decides I must have shoved in my face 24/7, whether it’s the KarJenner baby mama drama BS or that horrible man’s lawyers’ lawyers’ lawyers’ lawyers.

However. I loved the story of Diana (and cried at the tragedy). Her story kept me vaguely interested in her children all these years. William and Kate’s story was sweet, but the Meghan Markle story is fascinating. Everything I learn about Meghan is fabulous. She’s a proud and accomplished feminist! She went to Northwestern! She has a rescue beagle! I think she is utterly gorgeous and her mother is gorgeous too. I adored seeing the dresses and silly hats on the royals and celebs at the wedding and after-party. (I didn’t watch the actual ceremony ~ I’m not big on vids.) And the children were adorable! Meghan’s little doggie rode with the Queen, omgawd!

And I clicked on bunches of pics that “proved” Meghan and Harry were in super duper lurve because of all their PDA, which is generally Not Done by royals but they don’t care. They’re so cute and wonderful, proving that soul mates exist in this scary terrible world. It’s the perfect time to be reminded of that. Yes, I have examples of soul mates in my own life, but this is different because it’s a story for the world to witness as one.

This is why people love a fantasy. This is why romance novels outsell every other genre. We want to believe in the love story. We want to believe in magic and romance. We want the fairy tale, the prince and the princess, the horses, the gowns, the flowers, the kiss that lasts a lifetime, all of it.

We want the story.

No Jokes Allowed

Twitterblock

I felt awkward all day from something that happened on Twitter early this morning, wherein I got blocked by another poet and didn’t know why ~ had I committed a weird poetic faux pas by retweeting with a joke, must we always be serious when replying to a fellow poet, what, what? ~ but there was nothing I could do about it until I got home from work. Once home, I logged into my other account (yes, I still have one for Anna) and tried to see what was going on. Stalker alert!

Apparently this particular poet haz a sad because he isn’t getting the numbers he thinks he deserves from his heartfelt poetic tweets (I have liked bunches of his stuff), while silly tweeps rack up hundreds and thousands of hearts and retweets. I totally get it. Don’t I also complain regularly about this issue in one way or another? This morning, he had written a line about how we aren’t alone in our madness, and I retweeted it with a lighthearted comment (“that’s what I was afraid of”), nothing mean or negative, but he clearly got so irritated he threw me out of his tworld forever. I see now that he isn’t one to joke around at all, but I did not know this about him earlier. Oh well.

Thing is, I can’t really bitch about what happened or say he was unfair. Why not? Cuz I do the exact same thing and will continue to do it. That’s one of the good/bad elements of interacting online ~ you can make snap judgments, act on them, and just be done. I have blocked a zillion people on Twitter for their annoying/horrifying political stances and it’s a relief not to deal with them further. In real life, interactions are more nuanced. You often have to accept the complicated mishmash of a person in order to have any kind of relationship or friendship at all.

But on Twitter? Pffft. Just block them. Easy peasy. Block Nazis. Block hookers. Block poets who make jokes. All annoying people into the oubliette!

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Awkward

The Persistence of Me

File_001 (24)

I confess I don’t know much about Tom Wolfe (RIP), but have only begun learning about his brilliance this past week from his obits and write-ups in the news. Of course I’ve used the phrase “The Me Decade” to describe the 1970s, never even knowing that he coined it. How embarrassing! I’m adding The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Bonfire of the Vanities to my reading list.

I think a strong argument can be made that the Me Decade hasn’t ended and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. All the selfies and oversharing, plus the endless quiz-taking, are encouraged by industries whose purpose is to make us feel insecure about ourselves, and are part of an infinite loop of superficial self-examination, wasting our time and energy as we search for enlightenment in our belly button lint, rather than expanding our horizons outward for fulfillment. I’m no stranger to these behaviors myself.

But something interesting has happened, a small thing, but interesting nevertheless: since I quit Facebook and Instagram two months ago, I haven’t taken any photos of food. My life is no worse for this; I don’t miss these pics at all. In fact, that was simply another superficial way to “connect” with people online when we really had nothing in common. In my opinion, this obsession with selfies, including food pics (unless you’re a restaurant critic or recipe blogger), is part of the narcissistic sickness of society. Notice me! Like me! Follow me! We see our favorite celebrity posting 857 photos of their face and we think we should too. It’s headshot day! Gah.

I suggest that the me-ness of the Me Decade never disappeared but instead spilled into online life, splashing over all we did, turning the entire social media experience from information-based, when it began, to communication-based, for a time, and finally now into a monstrous narcissistic ouroboros that not only controls how we behave online but offline too. We are even more self-centered now than we were in the 1970s despite allegedly “connecting” with all sorts of people different from us all over the world. We don’t actually do this in any kind of meaningful way. I doubt most of us even begin to relate to people in our own neighborhoods and what issues they might have in this primary election, if they are different from our own. All I see is people ready to bully, disparage, and dismiss anyone who thinks differently from them, more now than ever.

If you don’t conform to my reflection of myself, I push you out of the picture. Turn the camera back to selfie mode. Ah, much better. Smile. Click.

*

I know some of you probably thought I would jabber on about the narcissists I’ve dated and link to my new poetry book All She Wrote, which explores quite a bit on that theme, when you saw the prompt “narcissism”… well, surprise! I actually do have otter things to say sometimes besides look at my stupid mistakes. 😀

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Narcissism

Popularity Observation

File_001 (28)

I’m not a popular blogger. Not sure I want to be ~ I had a tiny taste of it many years back and it was a lot of work. I constantly checked my stats and felt as if I failed when I didn’t keep outperforming the previous week’s totals. Every day I pressured myself to write at least two posts and one needed to be funny. I tried to find ways to link other bloggers in posts. I also made sure to visit many other blogs daily, old friends and new hopefuls, and leave comments to encourage them to visit me. Ughhh! Needless to say, just like my Facebook obsession, this left little to no time for Real Writing. And it was pointless as well ~ the blog was neither monetized nor promoting any writing. It was simply an exercise in ego.

Now? Some days I get less than 10 visitors here, though it’s hard to tell if more are simply reading via a reader or in email. Visits are only recorded from click-throughs. Usually a day with a new post will generate 20 or more visitors, but not always. If I link to the word of the day, I’ll get more. I haven’t SEO’d my blog, and I’m not even sure what that is, but it seems fake, like fake FB friends. Why would I want that? Are those people going to leave real comments and care about what I say? Are they ever going to be interested in buying my writing on Amazon? Hah.

I know some of my fellow bloggers must be SEO’d up the wazoo because their post will appear in my reader as an hour old and already have 200 likes. WTF? And it’s a poem or something, not exactly the most popular form of writing out there, but yet 200 people have somehow found it and liked it. Right. That happens. What does this mean? Does it translate to money? How much? I suppose I could google this properly, but why not just fling my question to the winds and wait for a wrong answer from one of y’all?

On Twitter, I’m a nobody, a nothing, a speck of dust. I heard about this thing called a shadow-ban, where you see your tweetles but no one else can since the PTB have put a block on their distribution, and like a cyber-hypochondriac I thought ooh maybe I haz that! But no. I’m not worthy enough to have any kind of ban obviously. That’s not why no one notices my twips. No one notices them because they aren’t noticeable. It doesn’t matter how witty I think I am, or even when I remember to hashtag a particularly clever thing… nothing. But occasionally a friend likes one, so I know I haven’t been shadow-banned. Then a popular twatter says something and gets 800 hearts in three minutes… the count rolls over into the thousands as I watch. It’s not even that funny, but there it goes. Whatever.

Again, I’m trying to figure out some of these popular tweepers. They seem to be on Twitter all day long. Are they getting paid? They churn out a comment after every blip in the news. Then they immediately have thousands of likes and retweets. What’s their source of income? They can’t all be stay at home moms. Some are men, but the ones I’ve observed are mostly women.

If it’s just an ego thing, pffft. The reason I’m curious is I’d like to know how to get more people to see my tweets as a way of promoting my writing. I observe so many writers there hawking their books… doesn’t seem like a fabulous strategy. If everyone is doing it, is anyone really clicking and buying? I don’t think I got any sales that way, but then again, I’m not a popular tweep to begin with. I can’t believe that if all you do is promo you’ll be more popular. That’s so boring! If you’re popular for being funny and smart, and oh incidentally every once in a while link to a product for sale, then I can see people clicking on it. But why would someone buy something you’re selling if they don’t know who you are in the first place? This is why celebs are desirable salespeeps, isn’t it? If only I could get Meg Ryan to promo my books for free. LOL

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Observe

Abrupt Victory

File_001 (26)

Somehow I stumbled onto a giant conspiracy ridiculousness this morning that’s been raging for the past 6 months or so around social media, yet I’ve been (until today) totes oblivious to it. I consider that a victory, my friends. I don’t know how I managed to avoid this idiocy on Facebook, which I exited only this past March, and Twitter ~ even though I have loads of political stuff blocked on the twit, gobs squish through anyway, and that is indeed what happened in this case.

I’m going to be very careful describing the thing here because I don’t want to attract any wackadoos to my blog (not counting you nuts who already are fans, natch, and I lurve you all very much). Apparently there is a fantasy hero named Q in our gobblement who is part of a storm that may be coming to usher in WW3 or stop WW3 (one of the two)… well, sort of a co-hero sidekick to the main dude, right-hand of God guy, you know who, our savior (insert eyeroll emoji), yada. This Q is hashtagged with an anon after it, which I’m not spelling out here because of the loons, and all other conspiracies and general bad things of the past 20 years that are ever mentioned by these crazies are followed with this tag on general principle (to alert others of their ilk that they’re all woke to the thing).

Yes, I spent over a half hour reading these nutjobs’ tweets because I am fascinated by mental illness. What can I say? If I could do my life over I would be a shrink. They have several themes: hating Hillary, carrying on about Obama being a Muslim, praising you know who, trying to decide if Jews are good or bad (they’re very confused about this point except they do despise Soros of course), ragging on the British royals, the Pope, Pelosi, Bill Gates (who is always trying to kill us all, the rascal)… and they really loathe white slavery and pedophilia rings. Well, good on them cuz those last two things really suck. Don’t they? I mean gah!

Every once in a while the standards are mentioned also: fluoride, chem trails, The Wall, etc. But those are pretty much in the background right now. Hillary is always fresh. You just can’t have too much Hillary with these lunatics. She’s on their minds 24/8. They eat, sleep, and dream Hillary. It’s hill-arious.

But like I said, I managed somehow to avoid these tinfoil nutballs for a long time and I’m proud of that. Yay me! I will return to my “normal news” now where I am allowed to see only tidbits doled out by the Deep State and be happy in my oblivion. ThanQ very mush.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Abrupt

All She Wrote

It’s been a month since I created space to write in my free time again by deleting the bulk of my social media. This was tough to do and I lost a bunch of friends and fun chitchats in the process, which I knew would happen and so I procrastinated for a long time, but I’m a writer and I have to do Real Writing or else I get frustrated, angry, and depressed.

These very apt bitmojis magically appeared in my app today and made me smile:

File_001 (10)

File_001 (11)

File_001 (12)

File_001 (13)

I’m also smiling because I finished that poetry book I’ve been nattering on about for a kazillion years and it’s up on Amazon for sale right meow! Some of my awesome friends who have hung in there with me already bought a copy and reviewed it ~ one of them had this to say:

“YOUR NEW BOOK IS OUT!!!! IT’S A FREAKING TREASURE!”

How lovely is that? And I didn’t even have to pay her. ❤

I feel so great to have finished this book and it means a lot to me to have the support of my peeps. Some of the poems were painful to write (and probably to read, haha), but each one is important to me in its own way and represents something authentic about where I’ve been emotionally the last several years and how I regained my strength. I’m ready to dive back into some of my unfinished fiction writing and get those stories done now too. I feel so productive and fantabulous! Should have done all this ages ago, but I think I needed everything to simply percolate. This was the right time for many reasons, both to cut back on social media and to publish All She Wrote.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Authentic

A Glimmer Is Not Enough

File_001 (8)

I’ve been doing more deleting, my peeps. Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram were the big ones, but that was just the beginning of my webhousecleaning.

Actually, that’s not true. I began this back when I dumped all the dating sites for good in 2017. And I’ll tell you something: I do not miss them one bit, nor do I miss dating. It’s the most stressful thing in the world, not fun at all, and I’m sleeping so much better since I quit. Turns out, I do not have insomnia! I had dating-related anxiety. I sleep through the night just fine almost every night now just like back in the old days before I began any of it. Anyway, last month was FB & Co.’s turn to get the heave-ho. But what about the other sites?

I had a Meetup account since 2011 and over the years joined various groups ~ Scrabble, writing, walking, board games, etc.  But my favorite writing group never meets at a time that’s convenient for me now. New groups that sound interesting are always too far away or some other annoying thing. The rest of the groups are too sportsy or too young or too costly or too dating-related or whatever. Every week or so I look in with the glimmer of hope there will be something fun and nopety nope nope. Waste of time. Isn’t my new motto to quit wasting time on things that aren’t productive, healthy, or fun? Yes, I believe it is. A glimmer is not enough to justify time wastery. Meetup account DELETED.

Deleted some Yahoo groups for the same reason and quit getting email notifs from a few otter ones. Why spend time reading things that are of no value? That’s time wastery. For some of that stuff, there isn’t even a glimmer of a chance anything interesting is going to come of it. It’s barely one step above actual SPAM. People I don’t know jabbering about things I don’t care about. WTF am I reading this? Habit, a bad one.

And then I figured that it’s just Not Good to have random idle accounts sitting around “out there” due to nasty hackers, evil Russians, alien pods, and whatnot. So I went on a spree, whacking accounts like DISQUS, Quora, Ello, and various otter sillinesses that I don’t even use or waste time on but don’t need to have my name associated with either. Paranoia, it’s what’s for dinner. You guys forgot about Ello, dincha? 🙂

I’m debating Goodreads. On the one hand, it hardly takes up any time, so it doesn’t count as a waste of same. On the otter hand, I find it vaguely irritating. First it doesn’t let me delete my own books. I have unpublished a few (couple short stories I decided I don’t want as stand-alones, wish to edit them, and then have them as part of my book of longer, connected short stories I hope to have out by the end of this year). So, if you click on the links, they don’t exist. Of course this drives me bonkers. Why can’t I delete them from my bio there? That’s one thing. Second, GR makes me feel compelled to finish a book even when it’s bad so I can have that book added to my book count. Okay, that’s not Goodreads’ fault; that’s my OCD again. Regardless, that’s how it is and being on the site creates this issue. But perhaps this isn’t a bad thing? At least once recently I ended up enjoying a book I wouldn’t have finished otterwise. So, hmm.

Guess I’ll leave GR for meow, but they’re on the watchlist. I’m sure they’re terrified.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Glimmer