Tag Archives: social media

What took so long to build has collapsed in virtually no time at all

It took print journalism, chiefly newspapers, nearly two centuries to attain what used to be a virtually exalted status among their consumers.

And yet, the craft has all but collapsed in virtually no time.

What took years to erect has all but vanished in the blink of an eye.

That observation came from a dear friend of mine with whom I used to have a professional relationship when I worked in Amarillo as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. My friend was a freelance columnist; he had a regular day job, but wrote for us because he was good at it. Our professional relationship ended when I left the newspaper in August 2012. Happily, our personal friendship remains intact.

We were visiting the other evening when he made that stunning observation. His point is that newspapers climbed for a long time up a proverbial mountain to attain an important status in people’s homes. Readers of newspapers depended on them for news of their community, of their state, nation and the world around them. If you wanted to know what was happening in the world, you collected your newspaper off the porch, opened it up and spent a good deal of time reading what it reported to you.

We believed what we read. I mean, if it’s in the daily newspaper then it had to be true. As my friend noted, it took a long time for newspapers to achieve that status.

Then it all changed. Rapidly! Dramatically! Newspapers fell with a loud thud!

The Internet arrived. I can’t remember when it happened, but suffice to say it was the equivalent to the “day before yesterday.” Cable TV exploded. Social media burst forth, too.

All of that media took huge bites out of newspapers’ influence in people’s lives. Has print journalism become less reliable, less believable, less credible than before? I do not believe that is the case. Americans are still reading some first-class reporting from major newspapers that remain important purveyors of vital information.

And yet, we hear the president of the United States refer to the media as “the enemy of the people.” Right-wingers blast what they call the “mainstream media.” They accuse newspapers and other legitimate media organizations of peddling “fake news.” The attacks have exacted a terrible toll on newspapers.

The smaller papers, those that tell us about our communities? They are struggling. Many of them — if not most of them — are losing the struggle. The Amarillo Globe-News, my final stop in a career that I loved pursuing, has been decimated by competing media forces and — in my view — by incompetence at the top of its management chain of command.

My friend’s analysis, though, rings so true. It saddens me beyond measure to realize that it has taken so little time for it all come crashing down.

How does POTUS find time to tweet like that … when he’s ‘working’?

Donald Trump visited on Christmas Day via laptop computer with troops overseas. He wished them a Merry Christmas and told ’em he was at Mar-a-Lago, the resort he owns in Florida.

He said he spends his time there “working.” Hmm. It got me thinking just a bit.

How does the president of the United States find time to fire off dozens of Twitter messages each day when he’s busy making America great again? Or solving the myriad problems he found on his desk when he took office? Or dealing with trouble spots around the world? Or looking for ways to put America first?

How in the world … ?

I guess perhaps the president mighta been, um, lying to the service personnel with whom he spoke when he said he was busy “working” at the glitzy resort where he spends a lot of his time.

You’ll recall, I’m sure, how he said he wouldn’t have time for golf once he became president. That turned out to be a false statement, too. His golf outings at various Trump-owned properties have totaled something on the order of $118 million; the cost covers security, transportation to and from the locations and assorted ancillary expenses.

Trump’s time working hasn’t interfered with his golf fetish. Understand something: I don’t begrudge the president playing golf as he is always “on the clock.” What is maddening is how he insisted repeatedly that he wouldn’t do such a thing. It’s the lying about it that I find so troubling.

So now he’s telling the troops in harm’s way he’s busy working at Mar-a-Lago, all the while firing Twitter rants about “evil Nancy” Pelosi, Democrats, the House that impeached him and the “hoax” investigations that have put many key aides in prison.

Weird.

‘Trolls’ are out there, but not sure they’ve found me

Someone who I do not know has begun following High Plains Blogger and has emerged as an individual I gather appreciates the point of view expressed in this forum.

Lately, though, this person has begun questioning the quality of the “trolls” who criticize my point of view. This individual believes I should get “better trolls.”

I’m an old guy and I am not entirely sure what an Internet “troll” really is, so I looked the term up. Here’s what I found:

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses and normalizing tangential discussion, whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.

This definition has me wondering: Do I even have anyone who follows this blog who fits the description mentioned? I am not entirely sure that I do.

I have plenty of critics. They weigh in frequently when I criticize the president of the United States. When they do, they often draw responses from other High Plains Blogger readers who take them to task for what they say. When those exchanges begin, I generally stay out of the way; I’ve mentioned already on this blog that I prefer to let my commentary stand on its own and let others have the last word.

Now and then, though, the back-and-forth gets pretty darn fierce, even ferocious. That’s when this particular individual — again, someone I do not know — takes Internet foes to task, all the while urging me to “get better trolls.”

Even though I have been blogging for about a decade now I do not know how to do what this individual is asking of me. Nor do I even fully believe I have “trolls” as defined by the example I have provided who are weighing in regularly.

Whatever. I’ll just keep plugging away and take the brickbats along with the bouquets. Hey, it goes with the territory.

Cameras are … everywhere!

Walking through a teeming crowd of Christmas revelers this weekend, I was struck by the sight of the 21st century’s most ubiquitous device.

Cell phones, man! Everyone has one. And, yes, they all are equipped with picture-taking “apps” that turn these telecommunications devices into cameras.

It begs the obvious question, which you well might anticipate.

Why in the name of social media invasion do celebrities of any stripe — politics, entertainment, athletics, whatever — allow themselves to be photographed doing something they shouldn’t be doing?

Every person is a potential paparazzo. They see someone famous acting up — or acting out! — they point their phone/camera at them and snap pictures to be recorded for everyone to see. By “everyone,” I mean potentially every human being on Earth; at last count that number was well north of 7 billion.

Yet we keep hearing about individuals who get caught punching someone out, or acting inappropriately after consuming too many adult beverages.

I suppose this is my way of saying that if it’s understood by most of us that cell phone cameras are as plentiful as we know they are, then celebrities who get caught misbehaving deserve the recrimination that comes their way.

Trump engaged in frontal assault against freedom of the press

Leave it to Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” a staple of Donald Trump’s favorite news/opinion cable TV channel, to put it in perspective.

Wallace said this to a gathering at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.: “I believe President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history.”

Oh, brother, is he ever!

The man who played on his “experience” as a reality TV celebrity host, who once courted the media because they found him, um, entertaining is now launching a full frontal assault on the constitutional guarantee of a free press.

He routinely bullies cable, broadcast and print media representatives. He accuses them of peddling “fake news.” He curries favor with media outlets and then blasts them to smithereens when they don’t do his bidding; Wallace and the Fox News Channel serve as a prime example. Trump has labeled the media as the “enemy of the people” and has applauded right along with the know-nothing faithful who cheer his frightening rhetoric.

Presidents dating back throughout the history of the republic all have noted the adversarial relationship with the media that is built into the presidency. None of them — not until Donald Trump came along — has blathered the kind of incendiary rhetoric toward the media that this president has spewed forth.

As a former full-time print journalist, I — along with many of my former colleagues — take this kind of treatment personally. Now that I am writing for myself, I still take it personally.

Moreover, I continue to salute and honor the great work that media organizations of all stripes continue to do in reporting the goings-on regarding this presidential administration.

The good news for all of them — and the rest of us — is that Donald Trump won’t be president forever. He’ll be gone from the halls of power and will no longer be able to bully the media.

I am waiting for that moment of deliverance from this attack on our essential press freedom.

Trump’s Twitter rampages are expanding … imagine that

Donald John “Tweeter in Chief” Trump keeps setting unofficial records via the Twitter device that he must sleep with at night.

He reportedly launched 60 or so tweets in a three-hour span to complain about impeachment, Democrats, the “fake news,” Time’s teenage “Person of the Year,” and whatever else got under his orange-tinted skin.

Think about this for a moment. This is the president of the United States. He vows to “make America great again.” He says that “I, alone” can cure the ills of the nation.

How does someone with all that heavy-duty responsibility find the time to pound out misspelled, mangled-syntax, incoherent messages via Twitter?

Oh, I get it. He’s not actually working as president of the United States. That explains it.

Facebook becoming infected with negativity during The Season

I’m getting a bit of buzz from my network of Facebook friends who are complaining about the negativity they’re seeing on the social medium as we enter the Christmas holiday season.

I am going to agree with them … to a point.

I use Facebook to distribute by blog. Facebook will get this post, too, as soon as I’m finished with it. I won’t refrain from posting political commentary on this blog, which then will shoot into cyberspace via Facebook and other social media. What it produces in the way of commentary, of course, depends on who’s responding to any particular blot post.

What I have sought to do during my involvement with Facebook is to avoid getting tangled up in too much negative give and take. I post the comments, folks respond either happily or angrily. If they like what they read, that’s nice. If they dislike what I post, that’s fine, too.

As for the complaints that are sneaking into some of my Facebook friends’ comments, I will honor their concern only insofar as to avoid engaging in rhetorical swordplay with those who oppose whatever thought I toss out there.

I acknowledge also that I occasionally get a bit too wrapped up in Facebook rants. I read ’em. I might acknowledge some of ’em. I won’t get into the type of name-calling and insult games that some of my cyber acquaintances play.

Go for it, boys and girls. Just count me out.

Absolutely stunning!

Yep, this picture is a product of Donald John Trump’s Twitter account. I saw it and at first I could not believe it actually came from this individual. It did.

I have virtually nothing to say about this picture, other than to toss out a few pejoratives: such as revolting, repulsive, disgusting, bizarre in the extreme.

I am left only to ask once more: Is this the individual you want representing this great nation as its president, its head of state and as its commander in chief?

Unbelievable!

This impeachment debate is getting personal … and graphic

I just performed a rare — for me, at least — social media act.

I severed a social media relationship based on something this individual posted. I don’t like admitting it, but I am doing so now.

Here’s my side of the story.

The impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s conduct as president has drawn some amazing commentary on both sides of the great divide among Americans. It has stormed onto social media in ways I did not expect.

This evening on Facebook, I got a message from someone I know — although not well — that made me wretch. It contained an encrypted picture that had a note that it contained a graphic image; I had to click on a link to view it, so I did.

It turned my stomach. It showed a terrible image of what was described as a U.S. envoy being tortured; juxtaposed with that image was a picture of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch with a caption that said she had her “feelings hurt” by Donald Trump.

I put the encryption back on the picture and then “unfriended” the person who posted it from my Facebook network.

Yes, this is the kind of anger that the Donald Trump Era of Politics has brought us. I do not like it. Not in the least.

Although I have to say that the debate over Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as president and the inquiry into whether he should be impeached is revealing a lot about people I thought I knew. I am finding that some of my many acquaintances harbor some pretty nasty tendencies, such as the picture that one of those individuals posted on a social media platform.

I have lived through two serious presidential crises. The first one involved President Nixon and the Watergate scandal; the second one concerned President Clinton and the White House intern scandal. Nixon was on the way to getting impeached, but he resigned the presidency; the House impeached Clinton but he was acquitted by the Senate at trial.

In neither of those crises do I remember the intensity being exhibited by partisans on both sides of that divide. However, the image I looked at today — yes, I saw the warning, but looked anyway — goes so far beyond the pale that I parted company with someone who I thought was better than that.

I am afraid this tumult is going to damage a lot more relationships.

‘Boomer’ becomes a negative term?

Social media have this way of injecting curious judgments into everyday terms and phrases.

Those who use social media, for example, have suddenly decided that the term “Boomer” — as in “Baby Boomer” — is a negative term.

I guess some of the younger among us think that “Boomers” are too old to be relevant in contemporary issues debates and discussions. I saw a video of a New Zealand member of parliament put down an elderly heckler with an “OK Boomer” response. The video went viral and has become something of a talking point throughout social media.

Well … pardon me!

I am proud to be a Boomer. I have been referring to myself as a Boomer since I first heard the term. I cannot remember when that occurred, but that doesn’t matter to anything.

I was born in 1949, which puts me near the front end of the Baby Boom Generation. Dad returned home from World War II in late 1945. He was one of about 16 million Americans who suited up to save the world from tyranny. He and Mom got married in August 1946. They got busy right away producing a family. They delivered a baby boy in 1947, but he died shortly after being born.

Then in December 1949, I came along. I’m about to hit 70 years of age. I am proud to be a Boomer. I also am proud to declare that I have most of my marbles, I enjoy relatively good physical health (a few annoying aches notwithstanding), I am fully engaged in issues of the day and — my sons might not believe this entirely — I do seek to embrace 21st-century technology. That last item does get me a bit confused at times, given that I am not entirely fluent in what I call “techno-speak.”

Still, “Boomer” ain’t a pejorative term in our house.