Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Technology

Nerds vs. Hipsters – Why it’s a thing

If you’re looking for the social media stuff, it has moved over to Social Media for the Common Man. I will be updating that with both basic and advanced techniques for interacting on the web with your fellow man. You’re free to take or not take my advice. I will also take suggests in comments, on Twitter, on Facebook, and through email. Feel free to contact me.

I’m working three jobs and having a fairly good social life (much to my surprise), so updates may be sporadic.

Speaking of a “social life”, I had a ticket to ComicCon (#sdcc) on Sunday and guys…

Seriously, guys…Nerd overload

Anyway, lately I’ve been contemplating Nerdom, my current status within the hierarchy of Nerdom (I mean, c’mon; I made the pilgrimage to Nerd-Mecca [on the Sabbath, no less]) and I wanted to point something out.

Nerds and hipsters are in a culture struggle. My real contemplation started when I pinned an infographic on Pinterest. At first, I thought it was a joke, but I got several responses to it.

Then, I tweeted something about Shark Week and soon found myself shoved into some hipster strewn corner of the Internet. It was like I was living on a Risk board. When did the hipsters take Shark Week?

In Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies, and Trekkies Can Save America (and Why They Might Be Our Last Hope) David Anderegg says,

“Young adult urban hipsters embrace nerd/geek stereotypes and costumes because this is a way of distancing themselves from mainstream America.”

The thing about stereotypes is that you tend to brush against the walls of your stereotype no matter how atypical you try to be. But, one of the really great things about nerds is that they usually don’t care. Often times, a nerd will place practicality over appearance. That’s not to say that don’t care about cleanliness (stereotype) or attracting a mate (stereotype), they just have other things on their minds.

I wear glasses because my eyes aren’t so good. I prefer to wear jeans, a t-shirt with a pop culture reference, and a pair of Converse. I really like the way those shoes look paired with boot-cut jeans. I suppose that’s my costume, but it’s what I’m comfortable in.

I’ve been working with web technology since 7th grade. I love Apple products. I grew up surrounded by them (my dad had a Newton!). I have a lightsaber, I love television shows, mostly scifi dramas, and Joss Whedon is one of my heroes. Not ironically.

Apple Newton

This. This is a Newton. Unpopular ancestor of the iPhone

The hipster is extremely concerned about their appearance, which is interesting that the opposite intent often yields the same result.

Nathan FillionHowever, the big difference between nerds and hipsters is enthusiasm. My ticket to ComicCon was too last minute for me to wear a costume (got the ticket Saturday night at 8, had to leave at 6am Sunday). I didn’t feel right throwing something together half-assed.

The thing I’m really getting to is: hipsters like things ironically. What does that mean? It means they’re either a) too afraid to admit they like something in actuality or b) they say they like something to sound outrageous or cool or hip.

Nerds don’t love things ironically. They squee. They freak out when they see Nathan Fillion. They work all year on a costume they wear once a year…and they don’t even get in the door.

Hipsters’ attitude and their tendency to disguise themselves as nerds may have led to nerd chic, but now it’s giving nerds a bad name.

The next time you see a hipster and mock them, stop and think.

Perhaps it’s only a nerd.

P.S. We’re f*&king taking back Shark Week.


Social Media for the Common Man – So, you’ve joined a social network

I was going to title this post “Don’t Be and Asshat”, but decided to be a little more upbeat with it. If you’re looking for something on not being an asshat on your social media platforms, especially if you’re a writer, I send you here. Chuck Wendig’s a little in your face, but he makes valid points and he makes them well.

So, you’ve joined a social network.http://www.yourcomputer.com/portals/0/images/QuestionKey.jpg

What do you put on there?

Well, here’s the good thing and the bad thing:

It’s really up to you.

Here are some things to get your posting started:

1. Find people who share your interests.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Social media is all about being social. You’re making connections and building relationships. You aren’t standing on a soapbox with a loudspeaker; you’re in the party working the crowd. First, you’re going to need to find some people who share your interests. And, don’t give me that crap about not knowing what your interests are. What are you looking for from people on Twitter? Book recommendations? Movie reviews? Humorous anecdotes about deep sea fishing?

There is someone out there broadcasting just that kind of information. Start following them, add them to your feed, read their blog.

2. Decide who you want to be.

This is a strange, philosophical order, but you need to pick your online persona. Not even I can be everything all the time. The most important thing is for you to be you. Being yourself in 140 characters in a daunting thought, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s okay to hesitate over a post. It’s okay to hit the delete button. It’s okay to leave something in the draft box. You can take some time to decide which parts of your personality shine through on the web. Sarcasm…not always understood. Irony…not always apparent. Remember that on Twitter and your blog, most of what you post will be viewable by the public. If you’re comfortable hanging your crusty underwear out there, go for it.

Personally, I wouldn’t want too much of my life on the web, but I did post pictures of my room on my blog. I’m comfortable sharing that.

Streaming video of me sleeping? Not really me.

3. Find the line between engaging and stalking and DON’T CROSS IT.

There are celebrities on Twitter. But, guys, they’re on Twitter. They came to the party. They can’t have the expectation that people aren’t going to try to talk to them. And, if you’re interested in them or their work, I would encourage you to follow them. On the flip side, be aware that everyone wants to talk to them. Did you tweet an alarmingly clever reply to something Lady GaGa said? Don’t be offended if she doesn’t answer. People are responding all the time. On the other hand, you don’t want to be that creepy nutbag who replies, @LadyGaga LOL!!! after everything she posts. While that won’t necessarily get you negative attention, it certainly won’t stick out when you say something charming and witty and worthy of response.

Choose your responses and choose them wisely. You don’t know how someone will react to your (sorta)unsolicited attention. Don’t say, “@joshgroban I want to wear your face.”Something like, “@joshgroban I enjoy your music” is a little less creepy. For smaller-time celebrities, just be aware that the first time might surprise them. When someone you don’t know starts talking to you by referencing something you just said, it’s surprising, but we humans are getting more used to it.

4. When in doubt, Golden Rule it

Imagine you had the worst week in the world and you tweet, “Just had a really bad week.” What kind of response are you looking for?

You don’t have to be looking for a response. You can simply be mentioning your bad day because it helps you relax. But, suppose someone sees it and responds with “@your_name LOL!! I haz a bad week, 2!!1!!!” That probably doesn’t make you feel any better. That person is being an asshat. DON’T BE AN ASSHAT!

It’s not that hard. Put yourself in someone else’s position. That’s actually a primary evolutionary trait we’ve acquired to deal with the need to socialize. How would you want someone to respond? You can add a personal touch and begin to work up a rapport, but just be aware of your own feelings to help guide you in your responses. You won’t always be correct; different people have different thresholds. It’s about relationships. Those don’t always start off with a bang.

Social media can be really fun. Don’t let anything deter you from trying it out. If you aren’t having a good time, stop doing it. I won’t judge you for it.

Remember, finding your voice takes time. Connecting with people takes time. Social media isn’t magic.

I will bring you some more content creation tips in…three days? I promise three days.


Bringing About the Apocalypse – or – Google’s Plan to Make Zombies

I’m convinced. Google is going to bring about the zombie apocalypse.

Either that or they’re trying to make the geek inherit the Earth.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Google has released several press releases talking about Google Glass. While they didn’t take my suggestion for their slogan (It’s a Computer…for Your Face!), Glass is something we can all get excited about.

Google Glass is a technological apparatus you wear on your face like, well, glasses. It’s like Blu-tooth with the smartphone integrated into the system. A forward facing camera allows you to interact with the icons.

The thing I find thrilling about this is that it basically gives you a heads-up display (HUD). For those of you familiar with gaming, first person shooters especially, you’ll know what I’m talking about. For those of you who aren’t, the HUD is stuff that appears on the screen while you’re running around your virtual world, like a map identifying threats, your health indicator, and other various things you should be aware of, depending on the environment.

Like this:

If you’ve seen Prometheus, they had this sort of interactive smart tech built into their helmets.

That sounds really cool, right? Gamers adapt to that within the virtual world, so, perhaps, that means people will be able to adapt in the real world and won’t be stuck running into a wall and not being able to turn around.

Hold the phone. If I’m so excited about that, what makes me think Google is trying to kill us all?

Not kill us, no. Cull us. You may have missed this article, too.

That’s right. Google Maps is now mapping interiors. You will be able to navigate inside buildings. This would definitely be integrated into the Google Glass display. It’d be like exploring a cave in Skyrim, except you don’t go in blind. It’s all laid out for you.

Partnered with this, I’m afraid Google is setting us up for an endgame. The early-adapters, the gamers, the nerds…they’ll have the upper hand. And, we know how this ends. The ones who are most prepared for the zombies are the ones that created them.

It’s the end of the world. You have your Google Glass, a 9mm, 50 rounds of ammunition, 3 health kits, standard shoes, shirt, jeans. Your objective?

Locate the Google facility.

It’s free roam. It’s open-ended. It’s adaptive.

And, you’re playing on hardcore mode.

Don’t forget to upgrade your weapons.


Notes on Social Media or I’m not from the government but I’ll help anyway

As you would have known from my previous post, I am true neutral.

But, in honor of my favorite Avenger, Agent Phillip Coulson, I am going to offer you some help in an attempt to put some rampant Internet rumors to rest.

There is no need to fear social media.

What are my qualifications?

Well, I’ll start with my baffling Klout score. I have kept my Klout score above 40 fairly consistently since I joined about a year ago. Is this because I want free stuff? No. Well, a little. But, really, a big part of maintaining my Klout score is by not actively attempting to maintain it. If you don’t know what Klout is, it’s an analytical tool (that is not perfect) that can be used to understand how influential you are and what you are influential about on several different social media sites.

I am the producer for Everything Internet Radio, a show dedicated to bringing small business owners and entrepreneurs everything they need to know about keeping their business uploaded and updated. We have a podcast, too, if that’s of interest. Anyway, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of not only the Internet, but the social media realm. We have two guests per show and at least one social media/marketing firm represented per show. I’ve been listening.

I was the Social Media Manager for the DFW Writers’ Conference, running their Twitter and Facebook accounts. A volunteer position that I could regrettably only give a few hours a week to.

Lastly, I’m under 30.

Still not convinced I’m qualified to give you advice on social media?

Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week when I post about something else. For those of you who care to stick around, here it goes.

A few things on social media.

1. Stop calling it your “platform”, “fan base”, etc…

What are you selling? Is it yourself? Because that reminds me of a different profession that has little to do with social media. When I stepped into my role with @DFWCon, they were working off bad advice. They had downloaded a program that automatically followed people with a particular hashtag, with the hope that these people would follow back out of some sort of honor based system of “Followback”. They had the same tweet going out once a day, just so there would be activity on the feed. I felt as though I were some captain coming out of hypersleep to find my spaceship drifting lazily through the void with a dull-witted automatic pilot, slipping my hands into the steering yoke to set everything back on course.

Why was this the wrong approach? Sheer numbers is not what social media is about. Social media is about building relationships. It’s about communication. What needed to change? We shouldn’t have targeted people in general, we should have tried to reach people interested in attending our conference. How? By interacting with our guest agents. James Rollins, our keynote speaker, was interacting with us on Twitter, talking about how he was excited to attend the conference.

Guess who follows James Rollins? People who like James Rollins.

Guess who should be attending our conference? People who want to hear James Rollins give a class/keynote address.

Is there going to be overlap?

Yes. A lot of it.

2. Patience.

Do you know how, in real life, when you meet someone, it takes time to build a rapport with that person? The same is true of social media. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re not going to start reaching everyone immediately, even if you want to. You know what also takes time? Learning the rules and shortcuts of the social network you’re using. Where does that @reply belong if you want everyone to see it? Not at the beginning of your tweet. When should I #hashtag? Depends. I like to do it when I’m being #ironic. What happens when I type the @ symbol in my Facebook status update? Well, try it and see. #evilgrin

My point is: Don’t get flustered. Look at it as a bright and shiny new tool, a new iPad, say. Here is this thing with potential. How you make it work for you is up to you. Relax. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask your followers. If that doesn’t work, or you have too few followers to get an answer, type your question into Google.

I could go on with tons of hints, but I’m going to stop after this next one. If you want to hear (read) more, let me know in the comments. Or not. I might do another one of these if I get frustrated at the fear-mongering again.

3. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

Not sure if you want to blog? Try it out. Don’t expect a lot of comments. If you don’t like it, go ahead and delete the blog. No one’s going to get mad at you. No one’s going to call you a failure. It’s not that big of a deal. Remember that age-old joke, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” Stop doing it.

Anyone who tells you that you “have to” do something is lying to you. If you don’t get any enjoyment out of tweeting or reading other people’s tweets, you can get off Twitter. Those people who say, “You’re not on Facebook? What’s wrong with you?”…there actually might be something wrong with them. I’m not against trying new things. Many things deserve to be tried. But, if you feel very reluctant about doing something online, don’t. We’re all friends here. We don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.

Don’t confuse the addicts with people who think you’re funny, sincere, genuine. Sometimes, people want to hear what you have to say and when they ask, “Are you on Twitter?” be honest. They’ll understand. Maybe not right away, but point them toward this post.

Social media is not something to be feared.

It’s something that promotes communication and relationships. It helps people stay in touch. It celebrates the human condition.

Enjoy it.


We have entered the timeline

I’ve started a new job. For those of you at home keeping score, that’s three I am currently working. Every Monday is about a 16 hour day (10am-2am), as I have a conference call for job #1, web maintenance for job #1, social media updating for job #1, organizational compilation for job #3, coffee slinging for job #2, and continued research for job #3.

Did I mention I have a hard time sleeping? I figure I might as well be doing something.

Anyway, to prove to boss #3 that blogging is not nearly as hard as most people like to pretend it is, I’ve decided to make another push on my blog and keep it updated. No more hypocrisy!

As research for job #3, I’ve been reading people’s blogs. This is usually limited to the people I know. I’ve started to notice a weird trend that is a little bit haunting.

I can see the moment I entered their life.

But, that’s not all.

I can see when I started having an influence on them. I can see when our conversations went from meandering coffee talk to brain worm. I can see where inside joke shifted to social media moment. I can see the moment I went from “that quiet girl” to “she’s super smrat”.

Facebook introduced the Friendship Pages back in 2010 where you could track your interactions with all your friends. I remember when I made friends before Facebook. It was a dark and fuzzy time, much like Kansas before Oz, but I digress. Some people have challenged the Friendship Page as another level of stalking, and yes, I suppose, if one is chaotic evil, that might be something they would employ, but is there something to be gained by pulling up the (Internet) history of every friendship? Can we measure the impact we have on people?

It’s scary. Can a blog post from four years ago incite an emotional reaction, even retroactively? Are we putting too much of ourselves online?

Go with me on this one: there’s a robot uprising.

While the whole world was confusing Cleverbot into becoming the lowest common denominator on the intelligence scale, the great robot overlord is out there compiling data (in this scenario, I might actually be the robot overlord). We tell Pandora what kind of music we like; we tell Amazon what books we like; Pinterest is the best way to discover someone’s true interests. Before you take this the wrong way, I’m not saying we should abandon sharing and the Interwebz before the robots begin the uprising by distracting us with cat videos. I’m more interested in the idea of social evolution.

Based on what people post on social media sites, I have the ability to know someone on a level that sometimes only a therapist will see. I can watch a lifetime unfold in a series of once a month book reviews. For someone who spends time deep in the philosophical mire of modern day society, I can’t help but wonder: as we make more of ourselves available to other people, do we become more selfish?

I admit I started this blog with the hope that my friends and family would have the opportunity to stay up to date with my wanderings and musings. After college, when you can’t just head down the hall to Heidi’s room or walk over to Banana Bread Cottage, there’s a sudden void that you want to fill. So, I started this blog with the cynical and acidic tone that my friends would be familiar with. Then, as I tried to pursue my writing career, I was told that I needed to write a blog that agents and editors would find appealing. That approach didn’t really work for me. I went back to the friends and family meanderings. Then, I get a comment from someone I don’t know.

I was shocked.

I mean, not that I’ve ever written anything that I wouldn’t want other people reading (that stuff ends up in the draft box). It started to change me. Suddenly, I was hyperaware of everything I put on the Internet. Who was my Internet self? Do people like the truncated Internet version of who I am? What could I say that everyone would want to hear in order to get more traffic in order to-what? What am I even doing? Who cares about how much traffic I get?

But the selfish thoughts were there. I’m slowly getting over them; slowly getting back to my attempts to just write what’s on my mind and be human, not a persona or a product.

I’m not Kate 2.0. I’m Kate .4.2.1. I’m still in beta testing.


The End is Nigh

I’m a little bit in love with rampant fatalism. Why is the idea of the end of the world so attractive? It seems like everyone wants to see humanity come to its inevitable end at the hand of some violent, foreseeable (preventable?) catastrophe.

And, I’m not just talking about the whole 2012 Mayan thing.

I think humanity can only exist with the looming threat of complete disaster. I mean it. Check here. We are constantly expecting the other shoe to drop. I suppose that makes the first shoe our existence in general.

I don’t believe that 2012 will be the end of humanity, Earth, the way we do things, what have you. I do wonder what the next big prediction will be after 2012 (*cough* moon breaking orbit *cough).

Instead of focusing on major catastrophe, though, I’d like to focus on the small ones that are expected in our lifetime (not ending in 2012). This list is courtesy of my mother forwarding me emails. I hit unsubscribe, but it hasn’t caught on.

6 Things that will Disappear in Our Lifetime

1. The Post Office

Really? Really. I will concede that the post office has been in financial trouble for a long time, but as far as being unsustainable, I’m not really sure that’s true. It’s funded by the government.

Regardless, here’s your call to action:

Save the Mail

Every week, go over your Tweets. Compile them into one convenient document and send them to your top twenty followers. All @replies should also be compiled and mailed directly to the intended recipient. I purpose this stamp.

2. The Check

I agree. This is useless. Dump it.

3. The Newspaper

Two words: coffee shops. What else are people going to glance at while they wait for their coffee?

Oh, and there’s nothing better to start a camp fire/cozy house fire with. Papier mache! Birdcages! Lining the table before commencing art projects! You don’t know what you’re talking about. The newspaper’s not going anywhere.

4. The Book

I’m not even going to take this one seriously.

5. The Land Line Telephone

Refer to answer for #2-The Check

6. Music

I could write a whole blog post on this alone. Disgruntled curmudgeons (read: old people) seem to get it in their heads that when the music they like is in decline, all of music is in decline. You are wrong. Music is a staple in human society. We have made music for thousands of years. We will always make music.

This is an example of putting business too close to art. It’s like saying, “If there aren’t any newspapers, there will be no news.”

That’s not how it works. Don’t equate an industry with the actual artistic expression.

You can argue all you want. Like I said, I love the fatalists, the doom-predictors, the naysayers. I also think you’re getting all worked up over nothing. And that’s exactly what our alien overlords intended.

Chill out, guys. We’re going to be fine.


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