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.

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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Unexpected Rudeness: She Tried To Yuck On My Yum

A short story from real life. Mine.

Wherein, while at lunch, an aquaintance, who I shall call Grumbly Gertrude, was rude to me for no discernible reason.

I don’t know why what I do makes Grumbly Gertrude unhappy, but it does.  I barely know the woman however I’m guessing I bring out her inner demons.

As they say.

Anyhoo here’s what happened: at lunch with many people sitting around a table Sam the Sincere asked me politely about how my blog was going.  I answered in a few sentences saying, in essence, it was going well.

Sam the Sincere turned to Grumbly Gertrude and asked her politely if she had a blog?

Sam the Sincere, for some reason, was under the impression that because Grumbly Gertrude and I were English majors in college at about the same time, that it’d follow that we both wrote personal blogs.

He was being a kind guy keeping the conversation going, you know?

Welp, Grumbly Gertrude seemed annoyed with Sam the Sincere’s question, choosing to glare at me while she answered the question by saying that she did not have time to have a blog because SHE. HAD. THINGS. TO. DO.

Unequivocalness? She had it. Politeness? Not so much.  A blog? No way.

Of course everyone at the table started looking at me, waiting to see what I’d say back to Grumbly Gertrude and her odd passive-aggressive response to Sam the Sincere’s innocent chit-chat question.

And do you, my gentle readers, know what I did? You’d be so proud of me.

I smiled. Like Mona Lisa.

A smile inscrutable in its meaning, polite, but hiding my real thoughts about what the heck is wrong with Grumbly Gertrude and her snarly answer.

And about how a delightful blog post story had just been handed to me while I did the things I had to do– in addition to writing my blog.  🙄

Overheard: I Know How Old An Old Person Is, According To The Neighbor Girls

I believe the children are our future… let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

With a hat tip to Whitney Houston, here’s a short conversation I overheard when the neighbor girls next door were playing outside with their cousins and friends.

In total there were seven girls, ages 6 to 12.  They are creative girls, boisterous, and oh. so. funny. when they get together.

Girl #1: I know. Let’s play theater up on the deck.

Many voices, shouting at the same time: Yes! *yay*

[Sound of small feet running all over wooden deck as they drag metal furniture around on it.]

Girl #1: I’ll play the sister!

Many voices, talking over each other: I’ll be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah* No me… I wanna be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah*

Girl #1: OK. Now we need someone to play the old person.  

[Complete silence. Nary a peep. Total quiet.]

Girl #2: I’ll be the old person.

Many voices, filled with concern: Are you sure? Really? You want to do that! 

Girl #2: Yes, I’ll do it.

Girl #1: How old will you be?

Girl #2: I’ll be… (dramatic pause)… seventeen.

Many voices, in unison: *gasp* That old? {indistinct jibber-jabber} Oh my!

And that, my gentle readers, is all I heard because the girls started talking quietly among themselves, presumably to prepare for their big performance.  Of an unnamed show that I can confirm has at least one sister– and an old person in it.

Break a leg, girls. Happy Friday, everyone. 😊

Smiling In Hello-Land: 1921 Telephone Etiquette For The Social Elite

Doing research for last week’s Thursday Doors post I fell down a rabbit hole that had zilch to do with what I was supposed to be learning about.

[I’m sure you’re not surprised, are you?]

However this tangent was not in vain. I found something unique + entertaining, meant for a blog post, as you will see.

Keep reading.

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The following came from Mrs. Devereux’s Blue Book of Cincinnati Society, the go-to source for lists of club members and their home addresses for the social elite circa 1921.

Below are little snippets of telephone etiquette advice printed at the bottom of some pages in Mrs. Devereux’s book.

These snippets, put there by the printer I imagine, filled the page with text, while at the same time SUBTLY TEACHING THE SOCIAL ELITE HOW TO POLITELY USE the newfangled thing called a telephone.

These six little snippets tell a charming instructive story that I’ve transcribed at the bottom of this post.  It is a story, in fact, that I’ve gone so far as to dub: How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users.

Enjoy!

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How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to lose the better things– the finer qualities.  About the cheapest abuse in the world is the abuse of people at the other end of a telephone wire.  It is the trait of a gentleman– the proof of good breeding– just to smile when you telephone.

The voice with the smile is the voice that wins.  The smiling man or woman who uses the telephone in a sensible way always enjoys the best service.  They never get the hydrophobia when delays occur in answering a call.  Quite often the operator is not responsible for delays.  To complete quick service the party called must immediately respond.  

Did you ever see the Girl at the Switchboard during the rush hour?  If you did you never would kick again.  Some of the people who are loudest in their criticisms would drop dead of heart disease if they were under the strain which is just part of the everyday life in Hello-Land.

There are some people who in ordinary ways of life keep within the bounds of calmness and sanity, but they shy at a telephone and look upon it as the vent for all the accumulated spleen of generations of grouches.  The Supreme Court of New York has ruled that telephones may be taken out if abusive language is used by the subscriber.

Edward W. Bok, editor of the “Ladies’ Home Journal,” declares that one sure sign of an imminent nervous breakdown is a disposition to lose temper when delays occur in telephoning.  When you feel inclined to go to pieces at the ‘phone– consult a doctor.  You have rung a danger signal for yourself every time you growl over the ‘phone.

The great majority of the Grand Army of Telephone Users know the value of keeping sweet.  It is a pleasure to serve them.  They have sensed the disaster that lurks in the poison which is generated in one’s own system every time a fit is cultivated.  It saves doctor bills to smile when you phone. 

The End

If A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In August, Do We Get A Polar Vortex In January?

Look closely.  The above is a photo of a butterfly landing on salvia.  I took it, while standing on our stone path by the side of the house, last August.

Seeing the butterfly then made me happy because I’m working on turning one quadrant of our garden, by the stone path, into a butterfly habitat.  So far, this is a project in its infancy having attracted only a few butterflies.

But I have dreams. Big Butterfly Habitat Dreams.

And now, not to put too fine a point on it, I have a cheerful photo, perfect for sharing here today, whilst we’re in the midst of the Polar Vortex.

People, it is cold outside.

Yesterday it was 7ºF in the early morning and I thought that was cold.  I had to go to the doc’s office for routine blood work so I bundled up and navigated the plowed, but still slippery, streets to get there.

It was an interesting drive.

Today, at the same time in the morning, it’s -3ºF outside and I’m going nowhere.  Nowhere I say.  Yep, I’m staying at home inside, being the reasonably prudent slacker that I am at heart.

Why?  Because I can [the obvious flippant answer that we all know and love].

And because you, my gentle readers, are out there in the world wide web, waiting, I hope, to comment on this post so that I have something meaningful to do with my time today.

What up, kids? Life treating you well?

How To Turn A Bully Into A Fool [Part 2 of 2]

[Part 1 of this childhood story is here.]

The next time Karl started hassling me was in class a few days later.

He sat a row in front of me and turned around to torment me, the quiet girl named Alice, by mocking my name in a sing-song fashion: “Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland.”

I was mad.

Following my father’s advice I turned to Karl and said loudly: “So who are you? The March Hare?”

As fate would have it, our teacher, Miss Thomas, a maiden lady [as they used to say to describe unmarried women over 50], was standing at the end of my row.

She was a known disciplinarian, seemingly devoid of whimsy.

However, my adult putdown of a kid who she knew was going to be trouble for years to come caught her off guard, and she burst out laughing.  At which point the rest of my class joined her in laughing at red-faced Karl, former bully turned class buffoon, thanks to a few well said words at the right time.

Thank you, Daddy.

From this experience I learned three valuable lessons that have stayed with me to this day:

  1. Words have power;
  2. If you can make people laugh, you can make a point;  and
  3. Bullies are weaklings who you can take down, one way or another, if you just apply yourself to making them look like fools in front of their peers.

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