Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.

Revisiting The Quaker Questions: Say What? Naked Who?

This is a photo of a deer standing on the side of the hill in our backyard. This deer is not being a pest per se because he’s eating shrubs that grow wild. He is naked, but to my knowledge is not a Quaker.

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Sometimes, I dunno.

I looked at my WP list of Top Searches wherein I can see the list of questions and queries that, through the magic of search engines, have brought people to The Spectacled Bean.

I generally get people looking for information on deer as pests OR information on replacing door handles on interior doors OR [oddly enough] issues Americans can agree upon.

However, and this is where it gets interesting, to my knowledge no search engine has ever sent anyone here who wrote as their query: “naked quaker questions and answers.”

Let’s unpack this query, shall we?

I can explain the Quaker Questions part.  You see, years and years ago I wrote a post [HERE] about answering the Quaker Questions.

Z-D and I were in the process of joining a Presbyterian church and instead of having everyone in the new members group jibber jabber about who he or she was, the leader of the new members group had us answer the Quaker Questions.

But I can assure you that the questions in question were intended to be questions answered while wearing clothes. There was no nakedness involved with these questions nor with our answers. Plus, and I’m assuming here, the Quaker who originally asked these questions was [probably] fully clothed.

It’s an odd subject to be researching, but that’s not what worries me about this particular query.  What I’m wondering about is the twisted reality underscoring a search engine’s algorithms so that it sent someone to find the answer to that query on my sweet little PG-13 blog.

Naked deer I got.  Naked doors I had.  But Quakers?

The ones I’m familiar with wear clothes. 🙄

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THE QUAKER QUESTIONS

[We were asked the following questions. My answers are in the comment section below. Do what you will with this information.] 

Where were you born?

When you were 7 years old how did your family heat your home?

What person in your real life growing up influenced you in a way that makes you who you are today?

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Presented For Your Consideration: 7 Writing Prompts + 1 Photo Challenge

Another busy week here so I’m going to do something fun & different. I’m using the following back-to-school writing prompts AND I’m snapping my first #bumblebeebookstack photo. Tell me what you think…

Teacher Turned Mommy is hosting a blog hop in which she has provided these 7 prompts. Click HERE to be magically taken to her blog where you can learn more about it.

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ONE

My memories of the first day of school involve two things: ANXIETY about what my new teachers would be like & CURIOSITY about who I’d be sitting by.  People, figuring them out & getting used to them– that’s what I remember from my first days of school.

TWO

My favorite school supply was paper.  Whether it was lined or with grids, plain white or a beautiful color, small size or large, loose or in a spiral notebook– I LIKED PAPER.  [Still do.]

THREE

The teacher who made a difference for me was my freshman high school English teacher, Mrs. L——-,  who believed everyone could be a writer if they followed one simple rule: BE SPECIFIC. [Years ago in response to a prompt I wrote about Mrs. L——- here: The One About My Favorite Public School Teacher.]

FOUR

Here’s the thing about apples, they are my favorite fruit.  I LOVE APPLES, all varieties.  Cooked, baked, raw. In salads. Turned into juice or cider. With peanut butter on each slice. With chunks of cheddar cheese to go with.  With popcorn, even.

FIVE 

Getting a new box of crayons was [and is] a treat.  My mother, who had strong opinions on this topic, felt that one child with 64 crayons was excessive and unnecessary, so I MADE DO WITH 48.  Periwinkle and Cornflower Blue were my favorite colors.  I did not like Raw Umber.

SIX

When I think about new friends I’m reminded that I went to three elementary schools in four years.  I walked into the first two schools only knowing a few kids from church, but the third school was different.

It was a new school with a new building that combined about half the kids from each of the first two schools I went to;  therefore, for the first time, I KNEW ALMOST EVERYONE.  And this made me happy.

SEVEN

Answering what’s in your lunchbox is difficult for me because my mother didn’t believe in packing lunches.  She was all about a HOT MEAL so she made me buy my lunch every stinking day until I got to high school when I was allowed to pack my own lunch, that I put in a brown paper bag.

Some of the cafeteria food wasn’t so bad.  I liked the fish sandwiches and the Spanish rice and the baked beans and the no-bake cookies– but the salmon loaf was beyond bleech.  Subjecting innocent children with their tender taste buds to it was cruel.

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I got this idea from Instagram. This is what is called a Bumblebee Book Stack. Finding the books was easy, but photographing them was more difficult than I thought it’d be. Go figure. 

As Summer *Unofficially* Ends, It’s A Party In The Parsley

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This hasn’t been a good summer for our flower beds and shrubs and the flowers in the outside pots of floral prettiness that I insist on scattering around the grounds… until I feel at home.

[Gold star to anyone who gets that reference.]

But on the other hand in the end it’s been a great summer for parsley.  After a slow start the darned stuff has thrived in this hot humid weather.

Each spring I start parsley from seed inside the house, then either add it to my outside pots of floral prettiness as a filler or just put some parsley by itself in a pot to grow.

[It doesn’t spill, it doesn’t thrill, but oh my goodness it does fill.  My parsley-centric adaptation of the classic how-to create an outside pot of floral prettiness.]

I do this because black swallowtail caterpillars, who turn into beautiful butterflies, like to munch on parsley. Oh yes they do.

They have a voracious appetite for it and I’m more than happy to feed them what they need.  ‘Cuz I like to see butterflies flitting around our yard.

Happy Labor Day to everyone who will be celebrating it this weekend. Catch y’all on the flip side, kids.

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Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been

Let’s heAR it for Ms. Bean

This summer, after yabbling about doing this for years, I finally enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program.

The online application was easy.  The total cost was $85.00 for five years.  But it did require an interview with a real person at a TSA-approved IdentoGO office that happened to be nowhere close to where I live.

My interview appointment time, the soonest I could get, was 4 weeks from when I sent in my enrollment– and then it was 10 days after that before I got my official TSA Known Traveler Number [KTN].

For me this was not a fast process

Do I need this TSA PreCheck status?  I dunno.  But after some of my air travel experiences, most notably standing in the Las Vegas TSA line for 1 hour 45 minutes, I’ll do anything that *might* make the process less painful.

[Click HERE to read an article that helped me to better understand the program.]

And on that note, having talked about the practical side of travel, I’ll share the following fun and pretty stuff.

I created these images using the Visited Countries Project on Douwe Osinga’s website. You may already know about this because it’s been around for a long time.

Nonetheless here is where I’ve been
I’ve been to 9 countries which amounts to 4% of the world.

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I’ve been to 34 US states which amounts to 68% of the country.

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I’ve been to 3 Canadian provinces which amounts to 23% of the country.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Where did you go for your worst vacation ever?  

Got any travel plans for the rest of this year?

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This Is How I Make 2 Types Of Images For My Blog

Have you ever heard someone say that their mantra is to always be recommending?  I love that idea.  Information is part of what makes the world go round.  

To wit, here’s what I use to make 2 types of unique images that I share on The Spectacled Bean. I’m often asked about where I get my images, so here you go.  

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WHEN I TURN PERSONAL PHOTOS INTO ART I use a free app called Waterlogue.  It’s on my phone, ezpz to use, and offers a variety of looks.  Here’s an example of a before and after image.

First I took a photo with my phone.  This is that photo.

Then I used the app choosing one of their filters, in this case the Illustrator, to make my photo look snazzy.  This is the after.

As you can see the app has taken a so-so photo and turned it into a bombdiggity blog-worthy picture.

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WHEN I CREATE IMAGES WITH TEXT I use Canva on my desktop computer [or here for your phone].  It’s a graphic design website [or an app for your phone] featuring a variety of free templates, many pre-sized for any social media you might use.

First I picked a template.  This is the before.

Then I did a fast little rewrite using the first movie quote that came to mind, thus creating something clever and unique.  This is the after.

In this example I did a color change & resized the font but there were many free and $$$ options I could have used to make this image even more amazeballs.

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I hope that this information is of some value to you.  

If you know of other ways to create blog post images [preferably free] please recommend them in the comments below.

And on that note, with nothing more to say here, I shall wish all of you Happy Blogging.

At The Grocery Store: You Say Potato, I Say Bosc Pear

A conversation in the checkout lane in which I once again educate the youth of today, a boy child, about the produce one finds in ye olde Kroger…

Cashier Kid: What are these?

Me: Pears.

Cashier Kid: They don’t look like pears.

Me: They’re pears. Bosc pears.

Cashier Kid: What’s that?

Me: Pears.

Cashier Kid: Really?

Me: Yes. Look them up on your list.

Cashier Kid: How do you spell it?

Me: Bosc with a B.

Cashier Kid: Huh, they’re here, BUT THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE THE PEARS MY MOM BUYS.

Me: Uh huh.

Cashier Kid: What do they taste like?

Me: Pears.

Cashier Kid: Why are they so brown like potatoes?

Me: Because, like apples, there are different types of pears. There are golden delicious apples and red gala apples and green granny smith apples, right? Well, there are different kinds of pears.

[Long pause while cashier kid glares at my bag of Bosc pears, presumably thinking about what I said. A learning experience?]

Cashier Kid: Hmmm…

[Second long pause while Cashier Kid stares at me as if he thinks I’m pulling some kind of con on him and the entire Kroger chain of grocery stores.]

Me: These are Bosc pears.

[Finally accepting my explanation of the pears in question, Cashier Kid weighs them so that I might be permitted to buy them.]

Cashier Kid: Bet my mom wouldn’t like these pears. She likes the green ones, THE REAL PEARS.

And so endeth the conversation about pears…