Tag Archives: social media

No thank you …

I have reached my boiling point with these so-called social media “friends” who scour the Internet looking for people with whom they allegedly want to become acquainted.

An individual who presented herself as an attractive young female asked if we could “chat.” I asked “her” what she wanted to talk about.

“She” said she wants to “get to know” me better.

I hit the ceiling. I responded with this: “I have more than enough actual friends with whom I have trouble staying current. I don’t need or want any more Internet ‘friends’ who have no interest in me. Look elsewhere. Good bye.”

I probably shouldn’t have responded to this individual … but what the hell. I just had to get it off my chest.

This is my way of saying, I suppose, to anyone on the hunt for pigeons to lure into some sort of Internet relationship that I ain’t your guy.

My new life remains a work in progress. I intend to get it all sorted out in due course. I’ll just have to stipulate that it won’t be via any sort of “come on” from someone who more than likely is not the individual “she” purports to be.

Social media: warning, warning!

I feel the need to use this blog to vent about social media and the threats they pose to individuals of a certain age and demographic … such as yours truly.

Here’s the deal. I am a 73-year-old male who admits to being a bit too involved with at least one social media platform; that would be Facebook. 

Lately, say, within the past four or five months, I have been getting these “friend” requests from individuals who send them to me accompanied by a picture of an attractive — in some cases drop-dead gorgeous — females.

I don’t know these individuals, obviously. It’s tempting to engage them and I am willing to acknowledge that temptation. I prefer not to do so, believing that there’s a chance that the individual seeking my “friendship” might be looking for something other than an individual with whom she can converse.

As those of you who have been following this blog know, I have been writing about the journey I have undertaken since the passing of my dear bride, Kathy Anne. My journey remains a trek without a clear destination, which I suppose brings me to the point of this blog.

It is that social media in all their forms can become predatory weapons for those willing to use them in that fashion. I am not a Snap Chat or Tik Tok participant, nor do I use Instagram all that much; Twitter is fading away and LinkedIn is for professionals and I am a semi-retired former full-time journalist.

I also am alert enough — and perhaps even cynical enough — to presume that the individuals seeking to become “friends” have no relationship with the pictures they send me via Facebook. Put another way, I am immediately suspicious of a picture of a gorgeous female, thinking that the sender of the “friend” request might be some toothless, hairy-backed knuckle-dragger looking to play a dirty trick on this old fella.

I know I’ll get to where I am intended to go eventually. This journey is taking its natural coarse and I trust the forces that are guiding it — and me. I am just trying like the dickens to keep social media temptations at bay.

So far, so good.

Defining ‘woke’?

I saw this meme on my Facebook feed today, so I thought I would share it here.

It helps define the term “woke” in a way that I understand. I keep hearing the term being tossed around as an epithet. Frankly, I don’t really even know the origin of the term. I am reluctant to use it any context, given my ignorance of the term as a derogatory statement.

Whatever it means to you, this definition of the term that I saw today works for me.

With that, I will proclaim myself to be “woke proud.”

So … there you have it. I am standing tall.


Love abounds from … strangers!

Our English language lacks the words to describe adequately the feeling that fills my heart at this moment.

My bride is ready to do battle with the cancer the team at Medical City/McKinney found inside her brain. Her resolve is remarkable, indeed.

What has been astonishing has been the love that has poured in from people we know quite well but, more to the point of this brief blog post, from those who barely know either of us or do not know us at all.

It is coming from individuals who are friends of friends of ours, or those who know our sons and our daughter-in-law. They are Facebook “friends” who read this blog.

Their support, prayers, good thoughts and karma coming toward us fill us both with gratitude beyond all humanly measure. It has been astonishing and in this challenging time it has helped sustain us as we seek to make sense of the changes in our life.

So … I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to those who have taken a few seconds or minutes to express their love and support for my heroic bride as she prepares to bulldog this latest of life’s challenges.

She is a champion of the first order. Her stellar and steady outlook is buttressed by the “thoughts and prayers” that come her way.

Thank you.


Everyone is famous … for 15 minutes!

Andy Warhol clearly was ahead of his time.

The avante garde artist once declared that “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” I don’t believe he foresaw the advent of social media when he made that declaration.

But it has happened. Social media in all its forms have delivered fame to many millions of human beings who don’t deserve it, but who have it anyway.

Who knew?

To be brutally honest, the instant — if fleeting — fame is one of the aspects I detest about social media. I get that it’s an efficient way to get messages out there. I heard today how retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who got crossways with Donald Trump over the Ukraine matter that led to Trump’s first impeachment, continues to use Twitter to deliver his version of the truth.

Many of these instant celebrities have used social media, namely Twitter, just to promote themselves. That’s fine. I use Twitter, too, although my roster of followers is nowhere near where it is among many millions of others.

Thus, I cannot claim any sort of “fame.” No worries. I don’t intend to seek it.

I’m just going to sit on the sidelines and watch others grasp for fame. Many of them will get hold of it. They might keep it for a while.

I just wonder what Andy Warhol would be thinking today as we all watch his prediction pan out. He is likely laughing out loud!


Stop the lies!

The current political climate is giving me pause, forcing me to rethink a pledge I made on this blog many years ago, which was that censor or block anyone on my social media network because of their politics.

You know, of course, that I consider myself to be a “center-left” blogger. I extol what I call “good government progressivism.” That’s another way of saying that I do not accept some of the wacky progressive notions being tossed around. Free college for everyone? A non-starter, man.

But wait! There are a ton of individuals on the MAGA right wing of the great divide who keep telling lies. They use my blog to foment those lies when I comment on them. They will respond to a comment I offer about why I consider The Big Lie – the one about alleged theft of the 2020 presidential election – to be a threat to democracy. They say there was widespread fraud. Yet they provide the same amount of evidence of such fraud as the Godfather of The Big Lie, Donald Trump: none!

I am not going to be a pansy about criticism of my comments. I don’t mind receiving barbs. Seriously. It’s OK with me. What troubles me are the lies that critics use to buttress their shameful responses.

They contend that President Biden is suffering from a lack of cognition. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They continue to insist that Biden wasn’t elected POTUS legitimately. Texas has a congressman, first-term Republican Ronny Jackson, who insists that Democrats are seeking to destroy the nation’s democratic process. He is full of sh**!

All of this leads to ponder whether I want to renege on my pledge to allow this blog to be an open forum for discussion. Well, I won’t take it back. I am not going to allow the fomenting of lies.


Change is inexorable

The more I lament the changes occurring in the world of media and in the delivery of news and commentary, the more I realize that I likely am seeking to do the impossible.

That would be to stop the inexorable, inevitable change that is occurring right in front of us in real time.

Now that I have recognized the obvious, I ought to declare my belief that there always will be a need for people who do what I did with great joy — and modest success — for nearly 37 years.

There just will be fewer of them and they will deliver the information — and, yes, the commentary — in different forms.

I have lamented the shocking (in my view) decline in newspapers’ standing in people’s lives and in the communities where they live. Two Texas newspapers where I worked — the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise — both have gone through grievous slashings of staff and resources in this changing media climate. The absence of reporters blanketing the communities served by these newspapers has taken some adjustment for many of us.

Then I have to remind myself that someone, somewhere, in some capacity is writing text that tells communities about what is happening there. They’re delivering that news via those “digital platforms,” which newspapers still are struggling to understand sufficiently to make enough money to keep going.

That brings me to one more point: There was a time as recently as the early 1990s when newspapers were highly profitable for their owners while at the same carrying huge payroll expenses. I heard of mid-sized daily newspapers operating at a 40% profit margin. I can tell you that there are more than a few Fortune 500 company executives who would kill for that kind of bottom line. It well might be that newspapers got lazy and didn’t think enough “outside the proverbial box” to prepare for the change that arrived suddenly in the early 2000s.

As sad as I get at times at the demise of the industry where I worked for so long and which gave me so much joy, my sadness is offset by the realization that I no longer must live in the middle of that turmoil every working day of my life.

I’ll leave that to the up-and-comers who are joining the fight.


Calling all comments!

As much as I enjoy blogging and foisting my world view on those who take the time to read my musings, I now want to express an annoying frustration with High Plains Blogger.

It is the lack of varied responses. My blog draws responses from a narrowly defined audience, as best I can tell.

Do not get me wrong. I appreciate those who do take the time to comment on my offerings. They read them on a few social media platforms I use to distribute these posts. I also am acutely aware that High Plains Blogger is being read by a worldwide audience. Readers from dozens of countries on every continent inhabited by human beings have read these offerings.

More to the point. I am astounded at how so few of them take the time to comment on the “reply” block on the bottom of my blog posts published on Word Press. One guy is a regular commenter. He’s a critic of this blog. I generally don’t engage in debate with him because there’s little point in individuals talking past each other. He won’t change my mind and I won’t change his mind.

Another gentleman chimes in on occasion, often to respond to the critic. I hear from maybe two or three other commenters who take the time to reply infrequently to my Word Press posts.

I guess I am using this post to call for greater, more varied response to my offerings.

Or … could it be that I am boring the readers of this blog? Gosh. I hope that’s not the case.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep slogging on with a word of thanks to those who take the time to read these messages. If you have a response to share, then by all means speak up.

Oh, and I fully expect the critic I mentioned earlier to offer his usual brand of venom.


Staying away from initialized responses

I want to say a few words about a trend that became prevalent with the advent of social media and about how — as a general rule — I choose to communicate like a semi-normal human being rather than relying on this social media trend.

The trend is the use of initialized phrases. You know what I mean: LOL, SMH, LMAO, BTW, ICYMI … whatever. I can’t remember ’em all.

What’s more, I am not at all nuts about other abbreviated word forms that appear on my Twitter text messages: plz and ur come to mind immediately.

I prefer to write in complete sentences, using actual words with real definitions that one can find in a standard desk dictionary.

Why mention this at all? I guess it’s because I fear we are bastardizing our language, turning this complex language called English into something not entirely recognizable.

It was bad enough that my journalism career contributed to the destruction of my penmanship skills. My fellow journalists out there know of which I speak. I was forced over many years to write as rapidly as I could to be sure I can publish the quotes accurately from the individuals who were doing the speaking.

The result was a gradual decline in penmanship … for which I received good grades when I was in elementary school. I once was proud of my handwriting. No more, man.

Social media have taken that destruction to another level.

I am somewhat active on social media. I use email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn mostly. I just want to resist the urge to type those silly initialized references to phrases I normally would write or speak, although I do understand the reason for their existence in the first place: Twitter allows only a few characters to generate a message, so these are space-savers.

Oh, this modern method of communicating. It drives me nuts.


Trump legacy leaves scars

No matter what happens to Donald J. Trump and his political future, the individual’s legacy is going to leave lasting scars and wounds across the landscape.

The scars remain in the millions of destroyed friendships his presence on the political scene has inflicted.

I know of what I speak. I have lost some friends over the past five years because of disagreements over Trump’s “contributions” to American life. I blame Trump for that.

It sickens me terribly to admit these relationships have been torn asunder because of disagreements over policy. Except that Trump brings out the worst in many of us. I count myself as a casualty.

Even during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, I maintained friendships through serious disagreements about President Nixon’s role in that hideous crisis. Of course, there was no such thing as “social media” in those days. We relied on TV and radio and printed media in the form of newspapers and magazines. These days, the communication is instantaneous, and it allows those of us to say things without giving our remarks a first– let alone a second — thought before speaking out.

Trump has mastered the manipulation of social media to the extent that he knows the impact he has on people’s relationships.

What troubles me the most is that some of these severed relationships — not many, mind you, but a few of them — involve people with whom I have been friends. Others, though, have involved individuals with whom I have casual contact, or who I have known only through social media. If they decide they dislike my world view and my loathing of Trump, they’re free to go their own way. I have done the same thing.

Many relationships have remained intact, largely because we don’t discuss politics when we’re in each other’s presence.

It’s the actual friendships lost that I mourn.

For that I will not forgive the source of that loss.

Damn you, Donald Trump!