Making Social Media Fun Again…for Me!

I hesitate to do this, but I must. It’s time to lay down the law for you people. You need a set of rules for your use of social media. I’m not so much concerned about how you interact with each other. My concern is more personal. It’s about how you can better interact with me. After all, that’s what important here.

A few years ago, I prepared a simple users guide for newcomers to Facebook. I must say that you failed miserably in following my advice. I am undaunted. My enjoyment of social is important to all of us and certainly worth preserving. Let’s get started.


If I follow you or we’re friends on social media, your posts appear on my timeline. Think about that. I see what you post. You may not have thought that through. Your memes, photos, status updates and sundry ravings all pass before me. Let’s try to keep it entertaining.

What do I like? A lot of things. Babies are cute. Most small kids are, too. Jokes are good, too, as long as they’re funny. I like a clever pun. Pictures of you are okay, too, but try to make them interesting. Your selfies get tedious, unless you’re really attractive. It’s best not to risk it. Let’s keep it PG-13, too. There are other places to go on the Internet for more “mature” material.

There are many things I don’t need to see. Abused children and animals top that list. If there is a person who must see photos to know these things are bad, that person is either  stupid or insane. As far as you know, I am neither of those. Oh, and no one needs to see dead people. People who want to see pictures of dead people are dangerously disturbed. Don’t indulge them.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m unsure of what to do. What if my posts aren’t entertaining? There are three categories which never fail to entertain me:

Baby Pandas

Post a picture of a baby panda or multiple baby pandas. I’ll like it. I might even comment on it. Here’s one:



I’m smiling. Don’t confuse Giant Pandas (the adorable ones) with Red Pandas. According to my research, the Red Panda is a weasel-like beast, a kind of tricked-out raccoon. I’m not saying that they don’t have their merits, but they aren’t cute enough to entertain me.

Monkeys Riding Dogs

Several years ago, a friend of mine posted a video of a monkey riding a dog recorded by him at a minor league baseball game. I laughed. I LOL’d, as it were. Here’s a picture of monkey riding a dog:


I just laughed again.

I realize not everyone likes monkeys riding dogs. Here in Lexington, Kentucky, our local minor league baseball team actually cancelled a dog-riding monkey show because people complained. I guess it’s not good for the monkeys or maybe the dogs. I disagree. I’ve watched those videos. The monkeys are clearly having a blast. As for the dogs, they seem fine. Dogs are pretty affable, you know. It’s not like they’re riding Maltese or Chihuahuas. If it were apes, there might be a point. Apes are big and can be dangerous. Besides, we humans ride horses. We even race them, and I’m not 100% sure the horses even know they are in a race. We are in no position to judge monkeys–or dogs, for that matter.

Cars Hitting Buildings

I’ll admit that this is a little odd. What can I say? I’m a fan. I live in Lexington, Kentucky, a city which has an usual number of car-on-building accidents (if that’s what they really are). I’ll just say it–I am the one who first identified this phenomenon. It happens all the time here. Here’s a typical post:


I don’t know why this happens, but it entertains me, and that’s the point. One rule–don’t post about one if someone gets killed or seriously injured. The humor is in the property damage. Some folks are so kind as to post these and tag me so that I don’t miss out. Those people get it, and I like them for it.


As much as I dislike the topic, I must mention politics, specifically your politics. I’ll be blunt: No one cares about your political views. By “no one” I mean me. I once mentioned this in a Facebook post. One “friend” commented that I was wrong and that all his friends were very interested in his views. This same guy later called me a bigot for saying that the presidential election wasn’t the end of the world. It seems unlikely that he actually has any friends. I certainly can’t be counted among them.

I want to be clear about something. I’m not saying that you can’t post about politics. Of course, you can. That’s what the blocking and unfollow functions handle. I don’t have to see them. Prattle on if you must. Where we need to be careful is on commenting on my posts. I rarely say anything political. If I do, it’s fair game. Comment all you want. What you musn’t–nay, can’t–do is make a political comment on a decidedly non-political post. Here’s an example. Let’s say I post this status:

Wow. I can’t believe this warm weather we’re having.

This banal post doesn’t even merit a comment, unless you want to point out that where you are is actually quite cold or some other such equally uninteresting comment. Here are examples that won’t fly with me:

If Trump has his way, global warming will make every day like this.

What I can’t believe how great it is to have Trump as president. I don’t even care about the weather anymore.

The rule is simple: If my post is not political on its face, your comment cannot be.


Unlike politics, I have no problem with religion. I like all kinds of religions. Like Thomas Jefferson, I don’t care if you worship 20 gods or none. Good for you, I say. It’s important, though, to keep it to yourself most of the time.

As with politics, I’m not too concerned about your posts. I can’t force you to be entertaining. The same rules about political comments apply here as well. If I post about a recent sporting event, I don’t need to be reminded that God doesn’t care about it. I also don’t need a bunch of Bible passages cited or quoted. Believe it or not, I know a lot about that stuff–probably as much as you do. You’re not really teaching me anything.

A lot of people ask for prayers on social media. I’m cool with that. Pray for me, too, if you want. One caveat: I can’t participate in “unspoken” prayer requests. You know the ones:

I have an unspoken prayer request. God knows about it.

I don’t know what you’re asking for here. Maybe you’re calling down a curse on me or praying for something like the eruption of a super-volcano. God knows I can’t have that on my conscience.

As much as I am uninterested in your religion, your views on the religion of others is even less compelling. Resist the urge to deride anyone’s religion on my pages or walls or what have you. This is particularly applicable to my atheists friends–and I have quite a few. You folks tend to be very proud of your non-beliefs. Hey, I would be too if I were confident that all the many religions are wrong. Nevertheless, you must resist the urge to continually remind us of your superiority. Careful now, don’t do it in response to this, either.

I’ve not covered everything–sports, for example. It’s annoying when your favorite team wins and you act like you actually contributed to the win. I do the same thing, so I’m not exactly on the high road with this one. Likewise, we carry on about what fabulous, sainted parents we have, forgetting that we know people whose parents were little more than monsters which could procreate for some reason.

You’re probably wondering or perhaps even saying aloud: Why should I care what his clown thinks about what I do on social media? That is, indeed, a valid and thought-provoking question. I suggest, however, you consider that if you can make one person happy every day, you have not lived your life in vain. If that one person is me, we both win.

© 2017

Help A Drowning Man


I am awash in a sea of bad information. How did this happen? I’ve spent too much time in the ocean of social media where information is plentiful, but accuracy is sacrificed for speed and volume. How does this happen? The easy answer, of course, is that people are idiots. This knee jerk response is just as flawed as the flotsam vomited out on social media even as you read this. People love outrage. More precisely, they love to be outraged. This is especially true when politics and religion are involved. This causes otherwise intelligent and thoughtful folks to randomly post thoughts, memes and links which are related to reality only by the thin thread of having originated from someone’s mind.

Another answer might be that I spend too much time on social media and should do something else like a read book.  No thank you, Egg Head.  That ain’t happening.  We need to work together.

Phil Robertson is now the millstone around my neck.  If you don’t know who Phil is, then good for you.  You aren’t into social media and perhaps spend your time writing poetry.  If so, you’re probably not reading this anyway. Phil is a “reality TV” star.  His show, Duck Dynasty, is entertaining.  It certainly seems scripted to me, but what do I know?  Perhaps Phil and his family became multi-millionaires while bumbling about like…well…reality TV stars.

I won’t rehash what Phil did.  There’s no point in doing so.  He said things that pissed people off or made people happy.  Outrage ensued.  Many folks–again, otherwise intelligent–have risen to his defense by citing his right to “free speech.”  One poster on Facebook said “What the hell happened to free speech in this country?” The answer is nothing, because Phil’s opinions have nothing to do with free speech.  “But, but, but…he got FIRED!!”  You are correct.  He did get fired.  Free speech, unfortunately, doesn’t prevent that.  “YES, IT DOES!” you screamLet’s read the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[Note how I helpfully highlighted the part about “Congress.”]   Congress has made no law regarding speech which affects Phil at all.  In fact, no government official has done anything to Phil.  Maybe you love what he said about gay people and African-Americans.  If so, you have found some common ground with radical Islam.  Maybe you’re a Libertarian sort who supports everyone’s right to speak his or her mind. I really don’t care.   But, let’s all agree to never invoke the First Amendment again on this issue.  We’ll all feel better.  I know I do.  Thanks.

It’s not only the plain language of our Constitution which cause confusion.  Easily verified claims also drive us to hysteria.  Here’s a favorite example. Occasionally, a meme makes the rounds about Presidential and Congressional pensions. It reads:


Salary of retired US Presidents……………………….$450,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of House/Senate members……………………$174,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of Speaker of the House……………………….$223,500 FOR LIFE

Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders………………….$194,400 FOR LIFE

Average salary of a soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN ……$38,000

Average income for Seniors on Social Security …………………$12,000

I think we found where the cuts should be made! If you agree, pass it on!

Aren’t you outraged?  This is patently insane.  Why would these people get paid for life!?!?!  What kind of country do we live in?  That’s a valid question but not because of this.  The above information–while outrageous–is incorrect in almost every way. None of these people–not even the President–gets full salary for life. It simply is not true. Does this stop folks from being outraged about it? Of course not. Variations of this meme have been posted many times on social media.  The comments are fairly frothing with their condemnation.   Here’s my suggestion:  When you see something that is so inane as to make you want to immediately post it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, stop and think.  Since you’re probably on the Internet at the time, do a simple search.  Check the facts.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is to confirm or counter such things.  Again, we’ll all be better for it, and you won’t look like an uninformed ass.

Then there are the half-truths, those items of interest based in reality but twisted into something sort of whole truth.  Here’s a meme making the rounds:


The House of Representatives passed a budget bill cutting pensions for veterans.  (Not “Veteran’s”).   That much is true.  The reduction is actually a reduction of the cost of living increase for certain pensions.  It’s what I call a “Government Cut.”  A “private cut” is where you make less money next year than you made this year.  It only applies to certain veterans–ones deemed young enough to re-enter the work force.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  This seems like a bad idea.  We’ve worn out our military with endless wars.  The least we could do is leave their pensions alone.  On the other hand, don’t worry about veterans actually getting a cut in their pensions.  The private sector, where there are no pensions anymore, is the only place that happens.

This is a prime example of excellent propaganda. Take a grain of truth, twist into something outrageous and scare everyone. Remember that Hitler got elected by scaring the hell out of people. There’s a reason he had a Ministry of Propaganda.  It works.

Finally, there are those debates that rage over opinions.  Most of these involve politics or religion–two topics which civilized people never discuss.  Bear this in mind:  There are two sides or more to each such debate:

  • Obamacare:  POINT–The program is already failing and far too expensive for the country to afford.  Socialized medicine will lead to reduced services for everyone.  COUNTERPOINT–It’s the law.  Give it time, and the kinks will get worked out.  If socialized medicine is so horrible, why do we provide it to our military veterans.  Wouldn’t they be better off buying their healthcare in the market?
  • Phil Robertson:  POINT–He’s free to speak his mind and express his faith.  Leave him alone.  COUNTERPOINT–People are also free to be offended by his comments.  We don’t have to leave him alone.
  • NSA: POINT–The Government is only gathering data. They have no way to do anything with it. COUNTERPOINT: Yet. There is nothing more un-American than spying on your citizenry.
  • TAXES: POINT–Let’s raise taxes on the highest earners. This would quickly fix all our fiscal problems. COUNTERPOINT–Our government has a history of spending every penny it brings in–and more. Until we fix that, more revenue won’t help.

These few examples show how it works. There are two sides to all theses issues. It just depends on your political prism.

Of course, acknowledging differing opinions isn’t our way. God forbid that we be asked to actually respect another’s views.  We prefer to be right.  In fact, we demand it, even when we are wrong.  I am fortunate to have friends from all walks of life.  Their politics range from Left-leaning Communists to budding Neo-Nazis.  The Right’s take on current events is a combination of moral outrage, moral superiority (always Christian), the U.S. Constitution  (if you don’t like something, it’s unconstitutional) and some nostalgia (such things as whipping children are fondly recalled).  The support Republicans and like all Ayn Rand quotes.  The Left approaches these issues from a different angle, of course.  They are intellectual titans ready to make fun of religion (always Christianity.  They don’t say anything about Islam, Judaism, et al.), cite obscure authors, and engage in relentless name-calling often involving obscene language.  They support Democrats and love to quote Barack Obama, Mahatma Ghandi and hate all Ayn Rand quotes, even though most of them are atheists like Rand.

Here is a typical social media exchange regarding Mr. Robertson, who has eclipsed war, world hunger and random violence as the issue of the day:

  • Original Post:  I stand with Phil!  The Bible says that we will be persecuted for Him! Christians have freedom of speech, too!  Our country is being destroyed!  I will never watch TV again!

[See how our friend has concisely encompassed the significant elements of right-wing rage.  The Bible, persecution, morality, patriotism and broad and incorrect legal principles.]

A response from the Left naturally flows:

  • Comment:  You can stand with that bigoted, homophobic, racist if you like.  I have never seen his show.  In fact, I do not own a television having traded mine for a Navajo Dream Catcher.  Freedom of speech is not an issue here–offensive, racist, homophobic rhetoric is.  The Bible supports all manner of prejudice.  I suggest you read the collected works of Bertrand Russell instead.

[Our Leftist chum has countered with his own salvo.  He engages in name calling that far exceeds anything Mr. Robinson has done but does so from a perch of intellectual superiority. He is above mere TV watching.  He concludes his concise commentary by inferring that atheist mathematician/philosopher Bertrand Russell is a better source for moral guidance than the Holy Bible. Well done.]

This exchange will continue with many additional posts by these and other commentators.  The Right will contend they are right because, well, they are right…or Right.  The Left will froth and name-call, even resorting to the use of vulgarities to make their points.  Ultimately, no one makes any sense and everyone is angry.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have engaged in this foolishness on occasion, especially when legal principles are misstated.  I forget my advantages in this regard:  1) I have actually read the Constitution; and 2) I graduated from law school.  I, too, have been called names.  One Lefty even called me a racist for correctly noting that the ubiquitous George Zimmerman is Hispanic.  I countered with own my stream of obscenities.  It’s easy to fall into this trap.  I do not judge.

Let’s all commit to work as one to make all this easier for me.  After all, wouldn’t the world be a better place if things suited me?  Don’t be a racist, homophobic, liberal, conservative, Communistic Neo-Nazi, Bible-thumping Atheist.

© 2013

The Politics of Facebook

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Facebook.  I first joined in 2008 to see what my kids were doing on there.  After I figured out that they weren’t joining any cults or plotting my demise, I started to enjoy it.  I post something almost everyday.  It has brought me in touch with many folks I’ve lost track of over the years.  I would never be able to catch up with all the people I know on FB.  Now, I’m up to speed on people who I knew well for many years, a lot of whom I’d forgotten.

I find social media superior to actual socializing in many ways.   I don’t have any way to keep up with this number of people on a daily basis.  I don’t hang out in bars or go to parties.  I don’t like talking on the phone.  Even if I did, I’d still only be in touch with a small number of people.  Social media doesn’t require awkward chit-chit, although I am very skilled at small talk.  I like looking at photos of people’s families but–unlike the slide show of days of yore–I can cut out when it gets dull.  There are also folks that post things that make me laugh.  I’m really big on laughter.  If you can make me laugh, you have a fan for life.

When I first joined FB, I was amazed at how quickly I could find folks I hadn’t seen in years.  We all enjoyed posting photos and updates on our current doings.  It was like a huge class/family reunion.  At the time, young people dominated it.  Over time, they’ve drifted away, just like with MySpace.  Now, it’s dominated by adults.  As such, of course, a lot of the fun has been wrung out of it.

Religion, dogs, cats, babies and random musings are all still very much present.  Oh, and don’t forget all the games.  Mafia Wars gave way to Farm Ville which has given way to City Ville and poker.  I don’t play any of those, that’s cool. Just don’t expect me to give you a cow or horse or something.  I don’t play.  Myself, I try to lighten the mood on FB.  Oh, and I brag about my kids, also a common FB topic.

As with all good things; however, there is a dark side.  The dark side, as in real life, is politics.  Today at lunch, out of curiosity, I scrolled down my wall and counted 26 posts about politics.  I’d say on a typical day the number approaches 100, far out-stripping dogs and religion–two other ubiquitous post topics.

Everything is political on FB–religion, contraception, medicine, the weather, gas prices, energy, war, peace.  Everything.  Except dogs.  Everyone loves dogs.

Facebook does a decent job of filtering out religious hate groups, so you’ll have to do some digging if you want to join a group bashing a religion.  On the other hand, if you want to wander into the political maelstrom, FB is your place.  Here are just a few of the Facebook groups awaiting you:

  • Republican Bigotry Hate Lies Fears and Distortion.
  • Republicans are Idiots and Arguing with them is a Waste of Time.
  • Obama Is A Dumbass.
  • Obama is A Disgrace to America.
  • Romney Is An Asshole
  • Obama Is Gay.
  • Obama Is So Stupid.
  • Obama Is A Llama.
  • Romney Is A Tool.
  • Romney Is An Animal Abuser.
  • Romney Is a Big Government RINO.
  • Democrats and Republicans are Destroying America.
  • Republicans are Morons.

These are all real.  If you don’t believe me, look them up.  These groups provide a veritable mother lode of material for you to post on YOUR wall, in case your friends don’t belong to the group.  For example, I’m not sure what Obama Is A Llama is about, but they probably have all kinds of good stuff about him being born in Africa.  You post enough of that stuff and people will believe it.  Seriously.

You can go to any of these groups and find incendiary and controversial things to post like these:

I could caption this: Projected welfare spending over the next 80 years and cause a monstrous debate.

You can post this with the comment: IF YOU DON’T WANT THIS FUTURE, VOTE FOR SOMEONE! Of course, I made up this graph and the statistics.  That’s insignificant.  I’m trying to make a point about something important.

Here’s another one I made up:

This chart is made up from whole cloth with no explanation of what it means. Yet, I assure you I could get many “likes” of it on FB.

This bit of total nonsense would be taken seriously and reposted by many.

Another favorite is to post a photo of a politician with an insulting and perhaps inaccurate caption, like this:

The President has never said this, as far as I know. That wouldn’t stop me from posting it.

Or, if your political bent is to the left:

The possibilities are endless.  Scroll down your wall on FB and see the many, many variations of this theme.  Doesn’t it influence your choice?  Oh, it doesn’t.  Welcome to the club, I suppose.

Now, please read the following:  I AM NOT TELLING YOU NOT TO POST SUCH THINGS.  I HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO DO SO.  Okay, let’s continue.  I just have a few helpful thoughts regarding this endless wallpapering.


We all know that politics is like religion.  It can be fairly be thought of as religion’s stupid, obnoxious, deadbeat brother-in-law.  Like religion, people believe what they believe.  Let’s say you’re a communist.  God bless you, I say, although admittedly you may not be receptive to that.  As a believer in the collective nature of property and the state’s obligation to dispense resources, you won’t listen to my well-reasoned endorsement of capitalism.  Likewise, endless FB posts won’t change anyone’s mind.  They remind me of what I heard someone say of religion:  No one was ever shamed or screamed into church.  Same goes for your views.

Even if I were subject to being influenced, what would I believe?  Barack Obama is either a socialist, communist, anti-American, Kenyan Muslim whose sole goal in life is to destroy America and redistribute the wealth to illegal aliens and welfare mothers OR he’s a charming, brilliant, visionary who saved the country from destruction and will lead us into a new era of enlightenment.  What of Romney?  He’s an out of touch elitist who hates the poor, loves the rich, belongs to a religious cult, cheats on his taxes and wants to create a society of super-rich titans OR he’s a visionary businessman, who will cut everyone’s taxes and restore prosperity to every man, woman and child, as well as return American to its rightful place as the leader of the Free World.  Your posts confuse me.


Remember, the more you talk about politics, the more likely you are to offend someone.  That someone might even be your friend.  We all know that some religions believe that you should proselytize, which means try to impose your views on others.  I suppose that politics works the same way.  If you think you can do that without offending people,you are sadly mistaken.  It’s long been recognized that politics and religion are two topics you should never bring up, unless you’re ready for a fight.

In my early days on FB, I had experience with this.  One of my “friends” posted a hateful post about Muslims, suggesting that they should all pack up and leave the U.S.  I commented that we are entitled to worship as we see fit or not at all.  I was told that America is a Christian nation and that if you don’t like that leave, suggesting that I probably need to leave, too.  Let’s just say that the discussion deteriorated from there.  I was “unfriended,” the harshest of all social media rebukes.

As far as I can tell, everyone on FB is either an evangelical Christian or an atheist.  Imagine that I start posting-multiple times a day–anti-Christian photos, jokes, etc.  I’m pretty sure my FB friends list would dwindle rapidly.  Why?  Because I would offend.  I’m surprised that the political posts don’t draw the same fire.

This is probably because that most of us accept political debate.  So, there must be a high level of tolerance for this stuff in social media, too.  But, if you do offend, don’t be surprised.  Now, understand that I am NOT offended. My friends-both on FB and in real life–run the gamut from left wingers who would gladly be Communists if it were still fashionable to ultra-right wing extremists who would have no problem with wearing a swastika were it not for the obvious associated stigma.  We get along fine.


I’m a bit of hypocrite on this point, because I post a lot on FB–probably enough to annoy most people.  I’m sure that a lot of my “friends” have blocked my posts.  If you’re one of them, to Hell with you, I say.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah, politics.

Here’s the deal:  Although politicians hold to the old standard of saying the same things over and over, I’m not sure it works in social media.  One or two posts a day on a particular topic

You don’t want to be accused of ranting.  Ranting is the act of lunatic.  If you’re a lunatic, no one will listen to you, unless they’re in the Tea Party.  (THAT’S A JOKE!  See how I like to lighten the mood?)

The biggest problem with repetition is that it’s just dull.  Who wants to hear the same things over and over and over?  Obviously, some people do, but most of us don’t.   One can be forgiven for being opinionated.  Boring is unforgivable.


As usual, I don’t have one. I’m one of those odd people who don’t mind other people’s opinions, even if I disagree or they get ponderous.  People much smarter than I am have long observed that it’s hard to learn anything if one only listens to people with whom one agrees.  Whoever came up with that would love Facebook, because it’s not possible to go on your wall and not disagree with something.

I don’t discount the possibility that you don’t want me to agree with you.  Maybe you’re a pompous know it all.  That’s cool.  Maybe you hate people and need to vent.  That’s not so cool, but I understand.

I’m going to continue to post odd status updates, brag on my kids and post links to this blog.  You can continue trying to convince me to vote for someone.  It’s a free country, at least until one of those bastards wins.

© 2012