Handwritten Thank You Notes: There’s an App for That?!

January 6, 2013

You’ve survived another holiday season, but have you written all your thank you notes yet?

Do you find handwriting thank you notes to be tedious? Do you feel like you are too busy to write a thank you note for every gift you received or every party you attended?

If you value ease more than etiquette, then have no fear, Blabbbers, as now there are smartphone apps that will solve all your thank you note “problems.” After all, Blabbbers, we wouldn’t want you to write a card instead of playing video games or watching your TV shows on DVR instead. ūüėõ

Robot w Pencil

That’s right, despite the fact that handwritten notes are special because they are personal, there are now multiple services that will aid you with your thank you notes. “Problem” solved?! Here’s a brief introduction to these Blabbb “life savers” …

  • Thank You Pen:¬†The Thank You Pen app is about as Blabbb-y as can be. First, using their app on your smartphone, you choose your own card — with or without including an optional gift card. Second, you type out your message. Third, you choose from two (yes, only two) different handwriting options. Then the Thank You Pen scribes handwrite the card in their handwriting, add your gift card and mail out your “note” as instructed. It’s like having a personal assistant … who can’t duplicate your personal handwriting. Let’s hope the recipient of your “note” can’t recognize your handwriting!
  • Inkly:¬†The Inkly app claims to be “personal.” First, using their app on your smartphone, you choose your own card from their many options. Second, you actually handwrite your own card message with your own handwriting — on scrap paper, toiletpaper, whatever. Third, you take a photo of your message and send it to the Inkly peeps. Then Inkly duplicates your handwriting with some “magical”¬†Blabbb technology, prints your card and mails it as instructed. You basically go to the effort of writing yet slack on getting a card and going to the post office for a stamp.

Should we fear that this impersonal alternative will catch on? If the now-defunct Thank Thank Notes¬†app is any indication, maybe people aren’t as lazy and impersonal as we dread they are.

Then again, there are now pre-formated thank you notes for children, where all they need to do is fill in the name of the gift giver, the gift and the child’s name. So even parents seem to be slacking now by not teaching their children how to write and mail thank you notes. When did laziness become acceptable? Well, as¬†Miss Manners explains, form letters are not cute, not even from toddlers.

Robot Writer

Yes, we live in a busy world. And, yes, sending any thank you note in this day and age — even one with the aid of a smartphone app — is much better than doing nothing at all. Still, how can one argue that a smartphone app is a personal touch? Is this better than an email or text thank you, which is rather impersonal as well? What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? ūüėČ

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Little Blabbbers

August 18, 2011

“I believe the¬†lil’ blabbbers¬†are our are future.
Teach them Facebook and let them lose the way.
Show them all the blabbb they possess inside.
Give them a false sense of blabbb to make life crazier.
Let the lil’ blabbbers’¬†Skype-ing remind us how we used to blabbb.
Everybody searching for a blabbber. 
Blabbbers need anyone online to chat with. 
I never found anyone to fulfill my blabbby side.
A lonely place to be,
so I learned to depend on blabbb …”

As we continue to figure out our own¬†feelings about this modern techno world, as it evolves (and gets crazier) before our very eyes, the question that many of us are asking ourselves is what to do about our children. Should we allow our children on Facebook and online social networking or are they too young for the crazy Internet world? Blogger Andy Affleck¬†recently addressed¬†this very dilemma, as¬†his child is approaching his teenage years. Read Affleck’s blog post here and NPR’s wonderful analysis of this parenting issue here.

“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be blabbbers …” ūüėČ

Blabbbers, do/would you allow your children to join Facebook at an early age? Do/would you have issues with your children chatting with other video gamers from around the globe? What do “you” (not “u”) think? …


DVR, Reality and Blabbb Puffs

August 3, 2011
Blabbber Ryno sent us the following link for some overdue Editorial Blabbb. Thanks, Ryno! ūüėČ

Chuck Klosterman (yes, the dude who wrote Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs) writes a compelling piece about how, when it comes to his sports TV viewing, the live version always trumps the recorded one. In his essay, Space, Time and DVR Mechanics, Klosterman specifically describes how sporting events on delay or DVR cannot compare to the live, real-time experiences.

To¬†expand upon Klosterman’s theory: If delayed/DVR events cannot compare to¬†live experiences,¬†is there a¬†parallel to be made¬†about¬†how we interact with¬†each other on the Internet as¬†opposed to¬†in real life? In an ideal world, we interact much more “live” with those closest to us (be that, in person, talking on the phone or even video-chatting online).¬†That said, is “reality”¬†reliant upon¬†our¬†real-time sensations and interactions?¬†We’ve noticed¬†that there’s a¬†modern trend to not reply to Facebook messages and real¬†emails nearly as¬†quickly as we do to FB wall posts, tweets and text messages. Why is this?¬†Do¬†we find more meaning in one particular form of communication? As Klosterman questions, what is true reality?


Is¬†“reality” predicated on¬†how fast (ie, “live”) we perceive something?¬†Is it about the experience itself? Or is the totality that we just cannot really enjoy¬†witnessing¬†something “new” transpire in this day and age unless we watch it unfold live? And, if¬†we are now, in a way, addicted to live, unfolding¬†“reality,” as Klosterman theorizes he is (at the end of his essay), then does that explain the success of Facebook, via which we watch each other’s lives unfold in news-ticker fashion, as if we’re watching a reality TV show (or the¬†final three seconds¬†of a tied basketball game)?¬†

No matter if¬†DVR’ed football games are your cup of tea (or Gatorade) or not, how¬†does our Blabbb world challenge you and your sense of reality and¬†live experiences?¬†What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? ūüėČ


Blabbb Pyramid: 1.0

July 13, 2011
Blabbb Pyramid is an on-going collection of observations and discussions about techno communication etiquette. Blabbb Pyramid¬†posts are¬†not rules, per se, but rather recommendations for a “healthier” life on the Internet and beyond. Like the USDA did with its (now defunct) Food Pyramid (since replaced by the official Nutrition Plate in 2011), we at Blabbb¬†are simply¬†offering some advice to the blabbbing public.¬†How you blabbb (and what¬†food groups¬†you eat)¬†is entirely up to “you” (not “u”) …
 
After recently posting about President Obama’s “first Presidential tweet,” we consider how politics and communication converge in our techno world. Obviously, politicians will always blabbb; after all, part (if not all) of¬†politicians’ jobs is¬†to talk and talk and talk some more. But what about us, the blabbbing public?
 
There has always been a¬†Cardinal rule: never discuss politics and religion in casual social settings, such as “at the dinner table” or “at a cocktail party.” Well, now with social networking sites, it’s easier than ever to communicate, and we’re practically living our daily lives “at the dinner table” or “at a cocktail party.” Do our open, modern means of communication¬†permit us to, all of a¬†sudden,¬†break such a Cardinal rule and blabbb about such touchy topics as politics and religion?
 
For example,¬†during voting season¬†every year, our Facebook News Feeds¬†are saturated with¬†friends’ personal opinions¬†about politics and religion (as the two¬†topics often conflict with each other). Next thing you know, we’re either (a) arguing online with¬†one another in an uncivilized,¬†frenzied manner,¬†(b) hiding opinionated¬†“friends” from our News Feeds, or (c) making jokes about¬†our friends blabbing about¬†politics and religion.
  
So,¬†we ask the¬†question: Why do we blabbb online about religion and politics?¬†We live in¬†a diverse world, and we’re sure to be “friends” online with those that disagree with us, who are equally¬†entitled to their own opinions. Politics and religion are two topics that people never ever universally agree on. Instead,¬†such¬†matters¬†most often lead to ugly, uncivilized¬†arguments and even¬†violence and war. Why do we shove our opinions down each others’ Internet throats?
 
Do you blabbb about religion and politics online? Are you bothered when others do? Tell us what “you” (not “u”) think …¬†

Twitter Town Hall: President, Too, Is Confined To 140 Characters

July 7, 2011

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm)
that I will faithfully execute the office
of President of the United States, and will,
to the best of my ability,
preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution of the United States …
and Tweet with the blabbbing public,
within 140 characters, of course.
White House Woot!”

Many social media “experts” and political journalists reported and (over)analyzed President Obama’s first Twitter Town Hall yesterday. If you missed it, you can check out the Town Hall’s Twitter page or read the full Town Hall transcript.

As we have stressed over and over again, like them or not, Twitter and Facebook are modern forms of communication that, in one form or another, are here to stay.¬†So it’s only natural for political figures¬†to utilize such “blabbb.”¬†After all, politicians are often¬†accused of talking much more than acting anyway. ūüėČ
 
 
Instead of analyzing the pro’s and con’s of¬†the¬†President using¬†techno communications to interact with the public, Blabbb ponders the question: Why do we use Twitter?¬†More specifically, why have 200 million (yes, two hundred million!) people jumped aboard the Twitter bandwagon and agreed to communicate within the constraints of 140 characters?
 
Where did the 140 character limit come from? According to Dom Sagolla, one of the original employees at founding company Odeo, Inc., the 140 character limit was, believe it or not,¬†based on text messaging. According to Sagolla, the standard text message length in most places is 160 characters per message, and¬†Twitter reserves¬†20 characters for people‚Äôs names. That’s it. Nothing random about the 140 character limit; no Twitter conspiracy theory.

Obviously, the 140 character limit speaks volumes about our techno world, how we now (generally speaking) do not read anything more than a headline, let alone a full article or a full book.

Does the 140 character limit bother you? Are you troubled by future generations (let alone the younger generations now) who will grow up interacting and expressing themselves within such limited confines? Should expression be controlled like this?

Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers …
 
And, yes, this blog post is¬†1881 characters long. So thank you for reading more than the first 140. ūüėČ

Happy Social Media Day: Woot or WTF?

June 30, 2011

Seeing as today is “Social Media Day,” we at Blabbb wish you a very very very¬†… Happy Social Media Day! So … uh … are we supposed to say “woot” or “WTF” here?! ūüėČ

What is Social Media Day? On the record, on one hand, this is the day for all those who use the word “woot” to get together and celebrate. And, off the record, on the other hand, it’s¬†a time for us computer geeks to unite, a time to get together and celebrate all those quality human relationships that we’ve¬†forged by typing on¬†keyboards¬†and smartphones while¬†we’re lonely at home by ourselves. It’s even a time to meet total strangers at social media events and then return home and “friend” them online after one tiny conversation. (Yes, this paragraph was loaded with sarcasm.)

In all seriousness, today there are events scheduled throughout the country for people to get together and celebrate¬†our online¬†social networking groups. Mashable, Meetup, Yelp and other online social¬†networking groups¬†have meet-up events scheduled everywhere¬†in honor of this grand day. So get out there and “woot” it up, y’all! ūüėČ

This leads us at Blabbb to ponder the question: Why do¬†we participate¬†in online social networking groups? Why would we consciously elect to “meet up” with total strangers online first and then later forge human relationships¬†with them in person? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Do you make friends with total strangers¬†on Mashable? Meetup? Yelp? Happy Social Media Day, Blabbbers! Tell us what “you” (not “u”) think …


Facebook Tag(ging): You’re It and … You’re You!

June 29, 2011

An adaptation of the following post was originally featured on AllFacebook. We were thrilled to be asked to contribute a piece to their awesome site. Check out the original post here.

***

In 2007, if you asked most people what tagging was, they would have tapped you on the shoulder and said “You’re it” as if¬†they were children on a playground during recess. Now, tagging photos of each other has become absolute commonplace on Facebook.

Tagging on Facebook has been a key driver in its exponential growth. After all, a few years ago, Facebook’s original tagging application was one of the major differences at the time between Facebook and its competitors. Since then, many other websites have added tag features to their photo uploads, including Google’s Picasa and Myspace.

As Facebookers acclimate themselves to the recent addition of the ability to tag products and pages in photos and the upgrade to visual recognition, we ponder the question: Why do we tag?

Obviously, tagging is a way of letting our friends and family know that we posted photos online that include them. But couldn’t we just send them the hyperlink to the online album instead?

The current Facebook profile layout features five of our most recently tagged photos at the top of our profile pages. Some suggest that this new layout is Facebook’s way of promoting its tagging application. In a backwards way, this current layout might motivate us to tag ourselves and others in order to arrange the top of our profile with the photos we want featured.

Years ago, if we were tagged in another’s photo, our Facebook friends could see that tagged photo and the entire photo album that it was included in. Now, with upgraded privacy settings, our friends often do not even see others’ photos in which we are tagged. If our friends cannot see the photos in which we are tagged, has Facebook tagging become somewhat irrelevant even as it gains in popularity?

Many Facebookers tag themselves in their own photos. Why do we do this? Our friends and family already know who we are and what we look like. Is there an underlying need for attention from others that somehow motivates us to do this?

Do you tag yourself in Facebook photos? Why? Why not? Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think about tagging (the Facebook tag, not the playground one) …


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