Happy Birthday to All (The Blabbbers)!

February 17, 2013

Well, January is complete. So, the first question is: Are you still sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?  The second question: When’s your birthday?

Allow me to explain … Believe it or not, my New Year’s resolution is to wish you a happy birthday. Well, that is, if you are my friend … (and have your birthday listed) on Facebook.

Now, as you may know (if you have actually read this silly blog of mine before, particularly this post), I was a huge fan of Myspace when the social networking era began. I felt this way mostly because I do not enjoy our lives being ruled by and displayed in a timeline/newsfeed manner. In order to stay up to date on Myspace, you had to proactively participate in friendships and relationships, while Facebook, and its newsfeed, which has been duplicated by practically every site, has turned our lives into ticker feeds.

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Now, that quick background information aside, let’s get back to the matter at hand. When I made the switch from Myspace to Facebook in 2008, I was shocked about how birthdays were announced on Facebook.  Based on my experiences, when we develop relationships with people that we care about, we often ask them when their birthdays are. When we know of a friend’s birthday, we make mental notes and add their birthdays to our (now digital) calendars.

Remember when we were in grade school and the daily birthday was always listed on the chalkboard? When I joined Facebook, that’s how Facebook birthdays seemed to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to receive birthday wishes, and, of course, it’s polite and friendly to say happy birthday to someone when you know it’s his or her birthday. However, when I joined Facebook, I couldn’t help but feel like we, as adults, were wishing each other happy birthday because Professor Facebook had scribbled our birthdays on the blackboard of the Facebook classroom. Seeing as we’d wished each other happy birthday for years (decades, millenniums) before, Professor Facebook’s birthday “chalkboard” made me unsettled, to say the least.

World-Wide-Web-Birthday

It truly is fascinating to see how even unlisted birthdays can go “viral” on Facebook. For example, let’s say a Blabbber actually knows a friend’s birthday, but that friend doesn’t list his or her birthday on Facebook. If said Blabbber posts a happy birthday message on that friend’s Facebook wall, guess what then happens. Other Blabbbers who are friends with both people see it on their news feeds and chime in. Why do we feel the need to do this?

A friend of mine once purposefully posted the wrong birthday on his Facebook wall to see what would happen. Sure enough, hundreds of friends started posting birthday wishes on his wall. He thought it was a hoot. Many of his friends, when they found out the truth, did not appreciate the humor in his prank. However, this really begs us to ask the question: Why do we wish people happy birthday just because Facebook tells us to?

All that being said (and maybe still questioned), as I’ve said before in this blog, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, especially the Blabbbers. After all, that’s what this blog is all about. Questioning what we do on the Internet while being an active participant in all social antics on the Interwebs.

FreeVector-Facebook-Meet-People

I’ve come to realize that my old-fashioned stubbornness is leaving me somewhat alone online. I still believe that true friends know their friends’ birthdays without needing Facebook reminders. However, I recognize now that all those well wishes on Facebook are just that … well wishes. And what’s wrong with well wishes? Well, nothing at all. So, count me in.

I am proud to say that I plan to wish each of  my Facebook friends a happy birthday online this year. Likewise, I will  also finally list my birthday on Facebook, which I refrained from doing in the past. I look forward to sending and receiving positive energy by interacting with others online throughout the year.

In the end, my Blabbb education has reminded me that no two people do things exactly alike. People use Facebook and social media for all sorts of various reasons. Extending birthday wishing to friends is a good thing, not something worthy of any judgment … that is, unless the birthday date was fake and part of a prank.

In conclusion, I leave you with two questions.: What’s your New Year’s resolution? … And when’s your birthday?

What do you (not “u”) think about online birthdays, Blabbbers? 😉


The Yearbook Effect

February 8, 2012

Do you know where your high school yearbook is? Do you remember who signed it? Do you remember what your classmates and “friends” wrote to you?

Maybe your yearbook is currently on your bookshelf; maybe it’s tucked away in a trunk; or maybe you or your parents threw it out or lost it a long time ago, without much care or concern.

There are a lot of parallels between our Blabbb world, especially Facebook, and our high school yearbooks.

Its seems like there are two kinds of people in this world: Yearbookers & non-Yearbookers. Yearbookers are super nostalgic, saving every memento; non-Yearbookers are not nearly as sentimental and clearly do not put any stock into nicknacks. Yearbookers, on the one hand, actually saved their yearbooks, remembering exactly what everyone said and wrote, having reviewed the yearbook over and over, when their yearbooks were new and fresh and prompting constant review; on the other hand, non-Yearbookers hardly had anyone sign their yearbooks, and they tossed theirs aside and never really looked back at them.

This contrast is now amplified in our lives with the overwhelming presence of Facebook. Obviously, Yearbookers are obsessed with FB, logging on all the time, staying up to date, maybe even “checking in,” posting photos and clicking “Like” a lot; while non-Yearbookers do not engage in much daily Facebook use. Interestingly, FB has grown so prevalent that even non-Yearbookers have FB accounts; they just don’t seem to use them that much or with great frequency.

Take this a step further, and we can see some clear cut parallels towards are personalities. Yearbookers are more likely to save things, be that ticket stubs, photos, mementos, nicknacks with personal meanings and postcards from friends and family; while non-Yearbookers find most of that stuff to be clutter. Heck, there’s probably a parallel we can make about Yearbookers and non-Yearbookers with organized and disorganized collections of digital music and photos.

Our differences are obvious. The interesting factor is that the Yearbookers seem to be so invested in the Facebook world. Yet FB lacks the permanency that Yearbookers appreciate so much. Why then do Yearbookers communicate today in a non-permanent manner? Sure, it’s nice to communicate at a rapidly fast pace and to share things across the globe with great ease. That said, what happens when a Yearbooker is sitting around at night and recalls a memory of what a special someone wrote on his/her FB wall back in February 2009? How many times can you (and Facebook, for that matter) click the “Older Posts” link at the bottom of your wall to get back to that era in your FB life. Sure, old links or postings are “there” somewhere, but they’re extremely difficult to find. Why are Yearbookers addicted to such impermanent communication? When we started developing this Yearbook Effect theory, we originally were ready to jest that sentimental Yearbookers should start printing out screenshots of their favorite posts from significant special people in their lives so they could physically retain the memory/moment. Not anymore …

Now, with the introduction of Facebook’s Timeline, we can easily get very nostalgic. We can easily jump back to look over times in our lives from years ago. In a way, FB has become a virtual shoebox, and, as we said, Yearbookers love shoeboxes filled with mementos from times past. That said, we don’t usually leave our personal shoeboxes out on our coffee tables for others to look through. Yet, the Timeline does just that. It allows new friends to check out our old lives. Sure, you can go back and review every single post from the last four-plus years and edit each one for custom privacy issues, but who is really going to want to go back and do all that?

Since its invention, unless you really wanted to waste serious time, the past postings on your Facebook Walls were quite simply that: in the past, distant memories, long gone and, for all intensive purposes, unretainable. We initially thought this was a sad flaw about Facebook, that communications, from birthday wishes to inside jokes, became abstract, virtual dust, never to reappear. At least, though, we got used to it. Now, with one might flick of a mighty Facebook “switch,” Mark Zuckerberg and his FB team are opening up our entire pasts to those who, quite frankly, we might not want to grant such access.

So, whether you’re a Yearbooker or a non-Yearbooker, assuming you’re on Facebook, get ready to have your “virtual Yearbook” placed on your virtual coffee table, whether you “like” it or not. Facebook’s Timeline is coming your way, and, yes, you might have some editing to do (or some conversations that you might want to sit down for) …

Blabbbers, what do “you” (not “u”) think about Facebook’s Timeline and the Yearbook Effect?  😉


Crossing The Blabbb Lines

August 31, 2011

Tell one racy joke to one friend, and then try telling that same joke to a very different friend. Chances are they will react differently. One might laugh; one might get uncomfortable.

Linda Holmes wrote a captivating piece about a recent Blabbber who foolishly went onstage for an open mic comedy event and ended up telling a horrific sex story that could possibly result in his going to jail. (Read Holmes’ full NPR essay here).

While the story in Holmes’ piece is an extreme example of “How Not To Blabbb,” it should act as a reminder to us all. We encourage all Blabbbers to think about what we post on the Internet before pressing that Send/Publish button. Even a harmless joke can offend people. As Holmes stresses, Your Friends Are Not Your Audience.

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Meanwhile, author Adam Frank wrote a recent piece for NPR which deals with his reluctence to join our techno world. It wasn’t until this past year that Frank finally joined Facebook (due to the pressure from his own children/Little Blabbbers) and Twitter (at the encouragement/insistance of his publisher). (Read Frank’s full essay here.)

Frank recalls how many people have always hesitated to join technology movements throughout history. After all, there is no predicting what will be a fad/failure (MySpace, for example) and what will become commonplace (Facebook). Frank is now following the popularity of video chatting, such as Skype, to see if it will go one way (success) or another (belly flop).

It really is interesting to see how quickly people jump on board a new trend. Do we wait for others or do we start off alone by ourselves? The new social networking site Google+ will be quite interesting to watch: Will it succeed? Why? Why not?

In the meantime, congrats to Adam Frank for joining the techno world. As we’ve said here on Blabbb many times before: Love this techno world or hate it; if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. 😉

What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? …


Blabbb News: 3.0

August 23, 2011

Blabbb News is an ongoing collection of Blabbb-related news that we bumped into and wanted to share with our Blabbb community. If you ever see something Blabbb-related, please drop us a line and share it with us. We’ll even give you a shout-out and a “wink!” 😉 Enjoy this week’s Blabbb News!

You think you are dropping some modern blabbb lingo when you say “sexting?” Well, think again. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary recently added 400 words to its dictionary, including: retweet, woot, sexting and cyberbullying. Earlier this year, OMG, LOL and ❤ were added, as well. In response to these additions, we at Blabbb have released the following statement: WTF?! 😉
 
Maybe those young computer geniuses are not quite the computer wizards we thought they were. According to a recent study, college students are not very good at using Google for research. The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (ERIAL), which is a collaboration between five Illinois universities, set out to understand students’ research habits. What did they find? To sum it all up, as one first-year student said, “I’m lazy, and I use the Internet.” According to the study, though, not very well, young Blabbbers. 😉
 
Next time your boss reprimands you for surfing the Interwebs, tell the big honcho that time spent on the Internet actually improves work performance. And, now, with the help of a recent study, you’ll actually have some data to support your theory. According to researchers, Web-surfers are significantly more productive and effective when actually engaged in work tasks, as opposed to those who do not surf the Web during work. We’re still waiting for a study that finds similar results for blog-writing during work. 😉
 
Have you forgotten to post something on Blabbb’s Facebook wall in a while? Well, you are not alone, as researchers recently reported that Facebook use could have possibly plateaued. According to their report, Facebook use (such as virtual gifting, FB messaging, joining an FB group and IM-ing on FB) is on the decline. Facebook does not seem concerned, and you know what? Neither is Blabbb. (BTW, have you “liked” us on FB yet?) 😉
 
So what’s the moral of this edition of Blabbb News? Maybe, we should all Google “sexting the dictionary” while at work and then refrain from blabbbing about it on Facebook? What do “you” (not “u”) think? …
 
 

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 …” 😉

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? …


Anonymous Hackers: Operation Blabbb

August 15, 2011
Last week, the hacker group known as “Anonymous” posted a video on YouTube, claiming that it would “kill” Facebook on November 5, 2011 and then confirmed its mission, known as Operation Facebook, with a Tweet, as well. The original video has since been removed, but it has been reposted by many:
  
 
While many laugh at the video; some are fearful and frightened. From the little we’ve read, it seems plausible that one day, Facebook could be hacked, just like any other website. Yet, based on most reports, this recent plot was simply a “dud.” So, have no fear Wyclef fans: Facebook will not be “gone by November.” 😉
 
We wonder: What would happen if we woke up one day and Facebook was gone? Such an online “killing” reminds us of the social messages from the endings of V For Vendetta and The Truman Show, where everyday people had to decide what to do with themselves once the whole Vendetta/Truman “party” was over.
 
  
If Facebook is “killed,” maybe we can take a deep breath and acknowledge the end of an era/addiction. Then we can open up a book or two and read more. We can step outside and go for a walk or a run. We can strike up a conversation with the person we’re seated next to, instead of using our smart phones and laptops as bumper zones, shielding us from human contact.
 
While we do not support vigilante behavior, especially hacking; this “threat” from Anonymous can, at the very least, provide us with a moment to self-reflect and think about what role Facebook plays in our lives and if we might want to consciously turn the Facebook “volume” down a notch or two.
 
What do “you” (not “u”) think, blabbbers? 😉 … 

Unplugging With The Poet-est Of Them

August 15, 2011

Author/poet Craig Moreau just posted a nice piece, entitled, “Falling Out Of Love With Facebook,” all about how Facebook has changed the way we relate to and love one another. He’s even gone so far as to unplug: Indeed, no Facebook, cellphones, or even checking emails with any regularity for Moreau these days.

Blabbb honors you, Good Sir, Craig Moreau, for un-blabbbing (ie, unplugging) and championing a much needed (real) voice.

Could you unplug to the lengths that Moreau has? Could you consciously leave your cellphone at home when you go out? Could you refrain from checking Facebook and your regular emails? Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers 😉 …


Blabbb Hall of Shame: 4.0

August 11, 2011
The Blabbb Hall of Shame is an ongoing collection of people who “blabbb” so inappropriately that even Gilbert Godfried asked, “What were they thinking?” 

From legal blabbbing to moronic sports tweeting: Without further adieu, here are the latest additions to the Blabbb Hall Of Shame. Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen. You “blabbb” with the best (actually, the worst) of them. 😉

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Nationally syndicated radio host Tony Bruno probably wishes someone stuck a big blabbb foot in his techno-mouth before he got himself in a ton of trouble for a horribly insensitive tweet he sent recently. Bruno was discussing a recent fracas between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants on his radio show, while, at the same time, tweeting away like an irresponsible blabbber. We’re still waiting for scientists to figure out what part of Bruno’s brain made him think it would be appropriate to tweet the following about Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez, who happens to be from the Domican Republic: “… Bochy is a coward for having his illegal alien pitcher hit a guy …”  Of course, Bruno deleted the racist tweet as soon as he received backlash and has since apologized, but the damage is done and Bruno’s reputation has been seriously stained. Congrats, Sir Bruno, you are now a proud member of the Blabbb Hall of Shame.
 

Apparently, Anthony Weiner is not just a blabbber; he is a trendsetting blabbber. Earlier this summer, just after “Weinergate,” a photo of Kenner (Louisiana) City Councilman Joe Stagni in his underwear went viral. Unfortunately for Stagni, he actually took the underwear photo himself and then, as many blabbbers seem to do, forwarded it on to a city employee. Well, once the image showed up on the city computer server (because the employee who received it forwarded it onto another and so forth), Stagni had to admit his blabbbing. Now we all anxiously await his press conference about being inducted into the Blabbb Hall of Shame.


Um, just in case you didn’t know this … When you’re a juror in court, you probably shouldn’t link up with the defendant on Facebook and definitely shouldn’t chat away online about the legal matter. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what two blabbbers did in the United Kingdom, and they got caught with their smiley faces, winks and all. Ramifications? Well, after some “harmless” online chats, the defendant (who got off due to the blabbbing juror’s help) received two months in jail and the juror, a mother of three, received an eight month jail sentence for contempt of court. That’s a lot of time to think about your blabbb regrets and being inducted into the Blabbb Hall of Shame.


Speaking of regrets, a recent study says that thirty-five percent (yes, 35%) of Americans live with online regrets, especially those with smart phones, specifically iPhones. So, here’s to you, 35% of American blabbbers, welcome to the Blabbb Hall of Shame. Sadly, if you’re reading (or blogging) this, that probably includes us, as well. 😉

Do you have any BHOS nominations?  Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers …


DVR, Reality and Blabbb Puffs

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

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? 😉


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.

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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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