Category Archives: Social media

Job (In)Security

We may live on a small island but our proximity to the US means that we’re made aware of its many controversies, so in the latest episode of “He said/She said what????”, an American sportscaster is starring as the newest person trying to pull his foot out of his mouth – since speaking freely sometimes ends up costing a lot.

Because some people are so thin-skinned that you expect it to tear at any minute, you really can’t call them names or say that you don’t like them or what they do. Add to them, the people who have suffered at the hands of others or who declare themselves to be minorities in some way, and you will realize that it’s a minefield out there.

There really should be something in there first Image credit: tumblr.com

There really should be something in there first
Image credit: tumblr.com

But as my husband would say, there doesn’t seem to be any learning taking place. Some people continue to only think several days after they’ve already spoken and then end up deepening the ruts they’ve made when they find that they have to back that shstuff up.

So this sportscaster guy decided to blame the victim by saying that when some women are abused it’s because they somehow brought it on themselves and that they really need to stop doing the things that cause it to happen.

Well, (as we say locally) “who tell he say dat”? Didn’t the comedian DL Hughley already put his foot in it a few months ago (on the very same topic) and end up having to prostrate himself on the media altar because people didn’t get the joke? And given that social media is where everything’s happening these days you can’t tell me that this guy didn’t hear anything about it.

So of course, after the twitterverse went crazy on his posterior, he did what everyone else who gets caught in that situation does and proceeds to put things in reverse while declaring, “Well what I really meant to say was…”

Now confidentially, I have to admit that I’m not shaking my fists and thumping my chest in indignation, but any fool can see that his words were poorly chosen. But I am going to get on with my day because I’ve heard this story before and I know how it ends. Either it dies down until the next outrage surfaces and/or his head ends up on a platter.

But the really confounding part for me refers to the reason for the sportscaster’s comments in the first place – a football player’s mistreatment of his fiancée in the worst way.

The only reason that there is any evidence at all of the incident (besides the bruises she would have had), is because an elevator security camera captured it. The video didn’t show this, but I’d bet that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Nonetheless it didn’t seem sufficient reason for her to call the wedding off, but maybe him sitting out a few games is penance enough for her.

I’m not aware of whether she pressed any charges, thought about pressing any charges, or dropped the charges, but it seems that she and a million other people believe that the ones who pay his salary are the ones who should teach him a lesson.

Not the justice system or even the person directly involved. Because a worker’s actions have to be corrected if he or she is to keep the job.

But you can’t please everybody, because even when he is reprimanded and he’s made to feel it where it hurts the most, some people still think the employer didn’t go far enough – since they’ve been keeping score. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow sports all that closely, but it seems like once you get to the big leagues these people can be all up in your bed grass.

So maybe it’s because of who he works for – or where he works.

Can you imagine if as an employer I said to my employee, “You know what? I’m aware that you’re using your hands/feet/mouth in ways that aren’t socially acceptable so I have no choice but to suspend you for a few weeks and dock your pay while I’m at it, because you have to be made an example of and besides, everybody’s looking at me”.

But I don’t pay my workers nearly enough to be able to do that. And I don’t make enough money to have that kind of clout. Or maybe we haven’t developed the right sensibilities yet.

However, in those utopias where everybody gets along, where people always play fair and where everybody’s rights are equal and respected, there is also the freedom to punish those who disturb the reflection of perfection. And most will feel secure in the knowledge that it’s the right thing to do.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Ray Rice and Stephen A. Smith – The Manifestation of the Hypocrisy of Sports – The Shadow League

Stephen A. Smith apologizes for domestic violence remarks – The Root.com

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What’s Not To “Like”?

It’s amazing the things that people can make money from these days. This one is several years old now but who would have thought that you could have made a legitimate business out of selling people “followers” and “likes”?

My mother would call that buying friends but I think it’s really about influencing people, because you’re not really paying for people to like you – but rather to just stand around and look interested.

Image credit: engagementillinois.edu

Image credit: engagementillinois.edu

The real object though, is to get as many followers and “likes” for your Facebook page, your Instagram or Twitter accounts (and all the other numerous look-at-me sites),  in an attempt to compete in the biggest popularity contest that we’ve been in since we left high school.

Admittedly, a lot of people want to increase their number of followers to attract business, make money or sell their own products, but I know some people look at the numbers to determine just how many people they’ll get to show off to today.

“Likes” on the other hand are mostly used if the viewer doesn’t have the time to say anything meaningful, because he’s got to catch up with all the other people he’s following too. Giving a “like” is also an efficient way of saying that you came, you saw and it was a’right.

But the fondness for using “likes” for social media accounts got me to thinking about what else could benefit from this idea. Similar to raising a paddle at an auction, one could indicate one’s satisfaction or lack thereof with just about anything.

Did you enjoying seeing that pretty woman walking down the street? Instead of the usual catcall, whistle or annoying “pssst”, go ahead and give her a like to indicate that you appreciate what she’s working with.

Image credit: ak7.picdn.net

Image credit: ak7.picdn.net

What about the guy who has clearly been working out and is not afraid to show it – in that webby netty thing he’s calling a shirt? Okay, go ahead and give him a like but accompany it with a warning because we don’t really like those shirts.

On the other hand, if you see that girl in the too-tight dress that is giving her curves in all the wrong places, or the guy who doesn’t realize that width does not equal muscle, do like you would on social media – laugh and point, then pretend that you never even saw them.

Is your daughter doing that thing you told her a million times not to do but she still insists on doing anyway? Just stand there and give her “the look”, from which she will rightly deduce that she won’t be getting any likes for that one.

Had a good customer service experience when you were perfectly prepared to suffer through a miserable transaction? That deserves two likes, but don’t worry about wasting them at that establishment because it’s guaranteed that you won’t be using them there again.

Image credit: blog.perspectivesltd.com

Image credit: blog.perspectivesltd.com

Did you totally agree with all that the preacher had to say or did you feel that he or she wasn’t really speaking to you that day? Give a very enthusiastic like if it’s the former and just pretend to like it if it’s the latter – because sometimes you just have to give some people a pass. Look at who they’re representing?

Besides, a little like never hurt anybody.

Nazis or Ninjas?

Image credit: beautyramp.com

Image credit: beautyramp.com

I really try not to pay too much attention to controversial issues on social media, because everybody and her mother will have something to say – and I can almost always imagine what the sparring points will be.

In addition to that, there’s probably nothing I could add to the conversation that hadn’t already been said.

I’ve discussed the issue of hair somewhere else before so I’ve never felt the need to address it here. When I had talked about it previously, it was about the popularity of us women attaching hair to our heads that used to belong to somebody else and using it as one of the benchmarks of our personal beauty.

But the length (or at least longer lengths) of our hair is not the only thing that makes us beautiful – or so we’re told. Wearing our hair exactly the way it grows out of our heads should be everyone’s ultimate goal.

The natural hair movement, complete with Youtube tutorial videos on hair care, hair styles and hair typing adds to the confusion. “Natural Nazis”, or people who look down on you if you go near a hot comb or a tub of lye relaxer, may or may not be the same type of people who think that it’s okay to use a wig just as long as you sign a declaration that you’re only using it as a “protective style”.

With that brief background, you can understand why I chose to ignore the discussion centered around a Change.org campaign designed to get a popular American singer to comb her daughter’s hair. Joke or not (which the instigator initiator later claimed it to be), it was meant to show up a mother who decided that she would let her daughter’s hair be free – of (supposedly) a comb.

Image credit: BlogSpot.com

Image credit: BlogSpot.com

As a girl growing up in the Caribbean, and as a descendent of African slaves, I knew that my hair grew up and out, didn’t bounce and sometimes had to be manipulated in order for it to “behave”. Some West Indian mothers don’t discriminate between a boy and a girl when they’re babies, so you have to pay close attention to the clothing and not assume that the girl is the only one with her hair out.

These are probably the mothers who hold out for as long as possible before cutting their son’s hair, but that doesn’t mean they don’t comb it – even though it might look that way. Starting school means that boys get their first haircuts and girls enter the wonderful world of hairstyles – which for some mothers means seeing how many different ways they can put their daughters’ hair in “one”.

Over the years whenever I would see a little girl with disheveled hair I’d say to the mother (silently of course), “Wait, can’t you comb that child’s hair”? Because I thought that surely she could take a little time to wave some Vaseline over the child’s head and put in a couple of bubbles since, left to most kids, playing will always win over getting their hair done.

Even with all that, I never considered it appropriate to tell somebody else what to do with this thing called “hair”, but there does come a time in life when some things need to be dialed back – and we need to (gasp) conform.

This is how my determination to say nothing about this hair debate was foiled; it happened when I read that a woman is suing her former employer because she was fired for refusing to “tame” her hair. As a cancer survivor, she decided to eschew the use of chemicals that would make it easier for her to have a hairstyle that (to put it delicately), didn’t make her stand out as much.

Her large afro seems a bit on the unkempt side to me, but maybe she’s decided that a brush would mess up the look that she was going for. I’m all for being able to express yourself – even through your hairstyle, but I fail to see why the woman (who preferred standing on principle over having a job), didn’t just go to Youtube for a couple of tips, because some youtubers are really (hair) ninjas in disguise.

Image credit: onlinehairacademy.com

Image credit: onlinehairacademy.com

But who knows? Maybe she was afraid of the Nazis.

Look at Me!

Who needs a mirror when we have selfies? Because the only reflection that counts nowadays is the one we see when others view our pictures on Facebook, Instagram and newer photo based sites such as snapchat or the iphone app “selfie.im”.

I’m taking this one with a grain of salt, but a study undertaken by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, says that some plastic surgeons are reporting that more people are wanting to undergo the procedures because for some, their self portraits are causing them to take a more critical look at themselves.

And seemingly, some of them aren’t liking what they see.

I’ve never been a fan of the “selfie”, since I consider it just a visual version of Facebook’s “look at me” status updates. And even though, somewhere on the web there’s probably a place that instructs you on how to take the perfect selfie, it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick for some people.

But I think we need to cut ourselves some slack. We are our own worst critics, so it’s very likely that we don’t look half as bad as we think we do. However, if we’re concerned about the numbers game, it can seriously wreck our self-esteem.

I always tell my husband that even though the experts tell us that women dress to attract or impress the opposite sex or even to impress each other, I actually dress to please myself, so that if I ain’t happy with the way I look, I ain’t leaving the house. I don’t care how hot off the runway it is.

But social media is a whole other animal, so as long as you can afford it, I suppose surgery is a viable option to fix what you think is wrong with you.

If you’re shallow like that.

For the rest of us, who need our money for more important things – we’ll just have to turn off that “like” button.

Are You Gonna Tweet That?

birdphotAs if there aren’t enough avenues to communicate with people we know, gaining popularity in my neck of the woods (but old hat in others), is another vehicle that allows us to correspond with a lot of people we don’t know anything about. And it doesn’t matter how mundane, pedestrian, unkind or taboo. We are becoming very comfortable with putting just about everything out there. Doesn’t matter who’s looking.

Tweeting has become the medium of choice for showing people what we’re up to, or – let’s face it – for telling people all about our business. It’s very popular with celebrities who are followed by those of us who are less famous and it’s making Facebook (and its proclivity to attract potential employers), seem so passé.

I suppose most like it because of the fact that you can use fewer words or characters to express your thoughts. This need for brevity fits right in with the way we communicate these days when we message or text, by using the abbreviations and acronyms that fit our quick download lifestyles.

As a consequence, most tweeters keep it short and sweet or whittled down and witty, but some have no problem doing concise and cruel. And unlike Facebook and Instagram where the poster wants to be known to his ‘friends’ or ‘followers’, if there’s no notoriety, people who tweet can decide to remain anonymous. There’s a bully in every class isn’t there? And a coward too.

Tweeting is perfect for giving blow by blow commentary of an event – if it’s interesting. And therein lies the rub. Similar to the other social network platforms, tweeters thrive on giving status updates, so the medium is full of users who have absolutely nothing to say. Or users who are convinced that everybody’s interested in where they are or what they’re doing today (oh yeah, same people).

And then there are the users who send ‘selfies’ – pictures taken by the man, who wants the world to know how he really looks without his shirt on. Or the woman who shows off her post-baby body, or her latest blinged out manicure. I don’t mean to be macabre, but pretty soon they’re going to be able to call any one of us to identify the body.

But even though pictures may be worth a thousand of them, words still rule the day, because some people take careful aim with them, and if the target rises to the occasion, accommodates what’s called a twitter war. And if you are following any of those persons, you too can be on the front lines.

Some people ask why we don’t call each other anymore and settle our differences face to face without everybody else having to know about it; but with our commitment to full disclosure these days, it’s clear that a battle isn’t nearly worth fighting if there isn’t anybody watching.