Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Facebook thinks you are pathetic and lame.

Don't worry. It thinks I am too, but just doesn't tell me to my face.

No, instead it shows your picture off in the corner with a sad little note saying, "Help Becky find friends. She only has 8," or " Write on Josh's wall." You are the sad little kid at the playground off by yourself who gets pity friends sent over to you by the playground monitor.

"Go over and play with Timmy. Look, he's all alone."

So this whole pity friend suggestions has me wondering, how many people are ignoring Facebook's suggestion to come over and talk to me? Look how sad and lonely I am. No one has written on my wall in weeks!

Thankfully, I do not judge my worth as a human being by how many friends I have or how often people write on my wall or tag me in a photo. I have a life. I have work to do. I don't check Facebook every fifteen minutes to see what everyone else is doing.

I totally just lied my pants on off. They are on fire, it was such a fib. I AM pathetic! I DO need friends!

In fact, I am so 'facehooked' that I even considered getting a cell phone data package at the insanely ridiculous rate of $80 a month just so I could check Facebook updates and messages remotely. (Thankfully, my paycheck is way too small for that to ever work, so I did not subscribe to said stupid plan.)

I have in the past mused to myself that Facebook is just the social dynamics of high school all over again with a few more people. Now I'm thinking it's getting closer to Kindergarten--in which case, won't you please, please won't you be, my Facebook neighbor?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Missed it by that much.

I don't understand. The world continues to turn. People go about their daily lives around me as though nothing has happened. Don't they know?

Does no one understand the pain I'm in?

Grades were posted today.

Suddenly, Maxwell Smart's mantra is droning through my head...."missed it by that much!"

I am 10 points, 10 POINTS, short of an A.

Not only that, this is only the second B I've earned in my entire college career. This is a total ego crusher.

The first B was doled out by the most boring, brain numbing teacher ever to try to teach Records Management. I hated the class so much that I didn't even care that I got a B. I was happy just to have the torture stop.

But this B, this B is from a teacher I actually enjoy in a class I actually liked. This is like having your mother tell you that your sister is prettier. And not even following up with, but don't worry, you have a nice personality.

My husband has no sympathy for me. None. He was happy to earn B's in school, which was decades ago, so therefore he cares not an iota about grades now. His reward for hard work comes in a paycheck.

I, on the other hand, earn a pittance and am still going to school so that maybe one day I might get paid a hair above a pittance. But until then, grades are the only reward I have for hard work. That A was my replacement for a healthy salary. Now that I have neither, I think I might have to start drinking. (OK, so drink more.)

Now I'm not some physics major that has a lot to be proud of in getting straight A's, but it's still a painful reminder that I'm not really that smart if I can't earn an A in Group Dynamics. Perhaps it's all this egocentricity that was the root of the problem to begin with. After all, Group Dynamics is all about learning to relate and work with other people!

The first thought that occurred to me when I saw the grade roster was maybe I can buy those points back. After all, teachers don't make that much money, and really, what could 10 points cost??

Unfortunately, my instructor has scruples. So I know she won't go for that.

In my defense (here comes the last ditch effort to salvage said ego and scrape together some sympathy), I did have a newborn to care for and was working full time when taking this class. And I did earn an A in the other class I was taking. So those three things should ease the sting, right? I'm not a total failure.

Nope. Doesn't help.

That B just keeps staring at me like grim death.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Believe that North Dakota Does Not Have a Sense of Humor

UPDATE (12/8/09, 9:47 a.m.): I received a response from Ms. Otte-Coleman. She thinks it would likely be a waste of money to bring JJ here.

I quote, "We could spend a lot of time and money trying to convince people who just plain want to be heard that we offer a great lifestyle. In some ways we just call attention to the limited view point of one high school student – who likely has not traveled west of the Mississippi."

So, sorry JJ. I guess you aren't coming here on our dime! But don't let that stop you from visiting--again. (Sara must have missed the whole part about how you drove through ND on your way to Canada.) We'd love to take you for a drive down the Enchanted Highway (what do you mean, this gift shop looks like an alien experiment station? Pay no attention to the tentacles behind the curtain....).

Original Post
This week I received an email from a colleague of mine at the state level calling me (and everyone else on the list serve) to action.

It seems a malicious article had been penned and posted on the web claiming North Dakota did not exist. It went on to falsely assert that North Dakota was in reality the home of Area 51 and that all of its residents were aliens.

We as God-fearing, Flag-waving, State-loving North Dakotans were encouraged to set the record straight. After all, no one, and I mean NO ONE, makes fun of North Dakota and gets away with it! (See Dave Barry video clip at the bottom to see what we do to people who do.)

And who was this slanderous, hurtful maligning journalist that dared write such horrific untruths?

None other than a high school sophomore from Connecticut in his school paper opinion piece for the week entitled I Believe North Dakota Does Not Exist.

I would like to share some of the comments left by those whom I assume to be offended North Dakotans:

Well, me and many others I am friends with are actually from ND. We still live there and I don't think we are aliens........

Now, if you were an alien, why would you admit to it? It would totally blow your cover.

You're an idiot, North Dakota is way better then Connecticut.

First, I'm glad this person used the correct version of you're. And secondly, yes, ND is better than Connecticut. But I don't think calling the writer an idiot helps prove that.

I came to North Dakota when I was 15 from Yuma Arizona. I could say a lot of thing to you about your sensless ramblings but you obviously wouldn't have the mental capacity to understand what I would say. However there is help for your problem and it is right here in North Dakota! It is called the North Dakota State Hospital. It is located in Jamestown N.D. I am sure they have an extra spare rubber room and a nice straght jacket that will fit you. Linda Perleberg Jamestown College

I think this might (maybe) not be the message we want to send to people from out of state--If you think or speak differently from us, we put you in the mental hospital. Actually, this again seems proof positive we are, in fact, aliens.

This is completely inaccurate. Why would you post this publicly? It makes you look completely uneducated and you look like a huge jerk. Not impressed to say the least.

Yes, it is inaccurate. That's why it's funny. The only one who ends up looking uneducated is the one who thought the kid was serious.

Congrats ND! We are smaller than a football field according to JJ! Ok, this might have been funny if you talked about how cold it is or some of our weird traditions or something. But saying we have area 51?? That's not even funny. P.S. Ever heard of Phil Jackson, Roger Maris, Lute Olson?? Wonder where they're from?

They are from--SPACE! Didn't you ever see Men in Black? This is just more proof we actually are the home of Area 51--Phil Jackson is definitely an alien!

I am not a resident of ND, but I go to college there and I just got an email telling all of us to read this "'spoof story' that does not depict North Dakota in a positive light" and respond with all the wonderful things about ND. Your article was funny, and these posts are rather entertaining as well!! You sure got quite a few people's panties in a knot!! You need to give ND some credit though, after all they do have the World's Largest buffalo, holstein cow, sandhill crane, and many others I assume! Not to mention the Enchanted Highway... I even saw a tree one time. WIth all that, who wouldn't love North Dakota?

And yet another thing that proves we are an alien infested area--freaky giant cows, cranes, and especially the Enchanted highway.

ok listen here little one i have lived in North Dakota my whole life and I'm pretty sure that me and all of my friends are not aliens and this is not some Area 51 cover up like you think it is. And lets think about this really quick North Dakota has the Badlands and Medora..... and I'm pretty sure that everyone knows about both of those. And i agree with whoever posted the last comment lets bring this idiot to ND during the winter and see how he likes it.

This person I actually agree with--I think we should bring JJ to North Dakota. I think it's a great marketing idea that the Department of Tourism should seriously consider. How much would it cost to bring JJ and his/her family here for a vacation to show them what North Dakota really has to offer? A few thousand dollars? I bet they spend more than that on a magazine ad, and this would probably get some national media attention.

So, I plan to draft a note to Sara Otte-Coleman right now suggesting exactly that.

And in the meanwhile, take a deep breath, try to loosen up and enjoy these other instances of people making fun of North Dakota. Who knows, you might actually laugh!!

Michael Moore's Mockumentary--Why ND is the least visited state:

Dave Barry--Why you shouldn't make fun of ND:

Conan's theory as to why ND is in the black (Link)

And lastly, a great little farce about my hometown icon, Tommy Turtle:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thank You to the Knight in Blaze Orange

I was going to write about something trivial and marginally humorous like Facebook insinuating that some of my friends are sad and pathetic by asking me to post on their wall or suggest friends for them (and wondering if I'm in that category on my friends' pages).

Perhaps another week.

Yesterday, I walked out through the snow and ice to start my car, wondering to myself why I hadn't done this ten minutes earlier so my car would be nice and warm. I saw the guy parked next to me scraping his windshield.

After I climbed in and started my car, I leaned over to see if I had an ice scraper anywhere in my vehicle. After all, it's only December. Why would I need one of those already??

As I'm fumbling around digging in the car door and side cubby, I hear a loud grating noise on my windshield.

I look up.

There is the guy who was parked next to me, scraping my windshield! I was dumbstruck. I really didn't know how to respond. In fact, I think probably my mouth was gaping as I tried to comprehend what he was doing.

Chivalry is not dead!

After he finished scraping the driver's side, I thought, that was really nice and was about to put the car in reverse. Then I see he's scraping the passenger side.

And then the back window.

And then the side windows!

This guy is unbelievable!

He scraped all the windows on my car. And all I could muster was a big goofy grin and a thumbs up.

I have no idea who this person was. Probably a student here. But he has shaken my deeply held prejudice against 18-year-old males. (Sorry guys, but so many of you are just slackers!)

Anyway, I highly doubt he will ever read this cyber shout out. I realize I have a loyal readership, but I doubt either of you know who this guy is either.

I'm hoping that by sending this thank you out into the universe, maybe someone else will be inspired to do something so thoughtful and unexpected today too.

I know I plan to!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday, Black Frimorning, Black Frursday....Oh just make it Black Thursday already!

Black Friday has been starting earlier and earlier every year.

I remember watching the line outside of my local Pamida press up toward the front doors about ten years ago on my way to work. It was about 6:30 a.m. and they were opening at 7 a.m.

Then a few years back it seemed like 6 a.m. was the new 7 a.m.

Then Wal-Mart moved in and 6 a.m. became 5 a.m.

People are losing a lot of sleep. This is not healthy.

Now I see that Old Navy is opening at.......(drum roll)

3 A M

Really?!?!? 3 AM?

First of all, in order to be there at opening doors, a shopper will need to get up at 2 a.m. (so really, why bother going to bed?) to get to the store at 2:30 a.m. to be in line.

Secondly, I can't think of one thing that Old Navy has in their Black Friday Flyer that is worth getting up at 2 a.m. (or not going to bed at all) for which to stand in line at 2:30 a.m. to push other retarded, sleep deprived people out of the way.

So my next question is when does all this ridiculous one-ups-manship between stores just push everything into Thursday? Why not just open at midnight instead of 3 a.m.? Lots of stores do midnight releases of games and movies. Why not save us all the short night of sleep and just let us come in after our Thursday afternoon nap? We'll be all rested and ready to run for that ultra cheap LCD TV.

Wouldn't this likely cut down on the car accidents from some mad shopoholic driving in the wee morning hours when he/she is over tired from only sleeping two hours and texting to her friends that Wal-Mart is out of Snuggies?

Or perhaps I am missing that people are actually starting their Black Friday shopping on Thursday because they go camp out in the parking lot of Best Buy Thursday afternoon. They bring their recliners and portable HDTVs, unzip, kick back, and watch football there instead of at home.

This might actually be a good thing. All the rest of the family is saved from seeing Uncle Bob's furry keg spilling out the especially grateful-to-be-finally-unzipped waistband. They can relax and let their turkey digest in visual peace whilst the rest of the Best Buy clientelle enjoy the scenery.

Whatever the reason and whatever time you start out, I hope any of you who are brave enough to wade through the endorphin-crazed bargain hunting crowds get your coveted zebra print Snuggie!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going Batty over New Moon

I'm so sick of reading status update after status update about how this person can't wait to go see new moon. They are counting the minutes. They have their tickets and OMG isn't Taylor SOOO cute????

Barf, barf, barf, barf.

But now the entire marketing industry has been bitten too. A story on NPR went down a laundry list of marketing gimmicks that have latched onto the neck of this movie and are sucking as much blood as this series will give.

Ken and Barbie will now look like Edward and Bella (I can't believe I even know their names!!).

And of course there are the usual do-dads everyone must have--t-shirts, key chains, posters, underwear. I'm sure Target and Wal-Mart are packed with vampire tshatashkis. After all, doesn't everyone need a vampire toothbrush for keeping those fangs pearly white?

I can't help but be reminded of high school when a popular kid would coin a new word (like in the movie Never Been Kissed when the popular guy decided Rufus was the new word for cool) and everyone starts saying this word because then maybe they'll get to be cool too!

It's coolness by association. Perhaps I'm just bitter because I was the nerdy Josie Geller of the group and would have followed right along if given the opportunity.

Marketers like Burger King making a New Moon meal, although really not any more ridiculous than any other strategy they use, seems sort of desperate.

But perhaps even more desperate (or is the more correct term ingenious?) is the link Volvo has made with their promotion. They have used this movie and the incredible appeal to young viewers to draw attention to their rather old brand. Let's face it, soccer moms drive Volvos, not hot vampires.

So I guess while I see the marketing frenzy accompanying New Moon as cheesy and rather vampirous in itself, I can see how this can make these brand a lot of money--even if they look rather silly in the process. But then who has ever cared about looking silly when millions of dollars are on the table?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Local farmer trades family farm for one in Farmville--says it's more profitable and less stress

I have never played Farmville, but all my friends on Facebook do. They all seem to think it's really fun.

Here's why I don't play Farmville (I played Tetris in school): Link to video

I can't fathom why anyone would want to pretend to farm. Doing it for real is bad enough! (This girl thinks 300 coins for a cow is bad, try $1000!)

Now I hear that virtual farms are becoming as dangerous as the real kind.

This morning on the CBS Early Show, I was alerted to a new scam that farmers in Farmville are dealing with.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Now, not only do farmers have to worry about getting their arms torn off in the auger, they have to watch out that they aren't racking up hundreds in cell phone bills besides!

When my now husband proposed to me 14 years ago, he asked if I would like living on a farm, to which I replied, "Sure. What's not to like?"

Now, with a few good years (and a whole lot more terrible ones) under my belt, I can safely answer that question--Lots.

Here is a short list:

1) Weather is not small talk--it is the biggest and most stress inducing subject of the day.
2) No paid vacation, holidays, overtime, or health insurance.
3) The combine repair comes before the dishwasher repair.
4) Single parenting during planting and harvest.
5) Your tractor is worth more than your house--way more.
6) It will take 50,000 bushels of barley to pay for the fertilizer it took to grow 30,000 bushels.

Somehow, the math isn't the same in Farmville. Farmers in Farmville are making money hand over fist.

Which is why I've decided to trade up.

We are going to be virtual farmers from now on. At first glance, there seem to be a lot of good reasons to go digital. I think this is something that warrants further exploration.

Here is my pros vs cons list:

Pros to virtual farming:
1) No government paperwork.
2) Access to fields from anywhere in the world--no need to live in dial-up country anymore!
3) No tracking mud across my floors.
4) No greasy ripped pants to mend.
5) No trips to the ER when limbs become entangled in machinery.

Cons to virtual farming:
1) No real income made--wait, how is this different from real farming?
2) No fresh air (take the laptop outside)
3) Can't actually see plants grow and chew grain kernels to see when ripe (I really can't fix this one)
4) Will really miss the gals at the FSA office.
5) No more flirting with insurance rep to get a better payout on crop losses.
6) My daughter will miss the rides in the combine.

OK, so it is a toss-up. I guess the Erdman Farm will continue here in first life for another year--at least until Farmville can figure out how to give virtual combine rides.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My house is worth saving, but I'm not.

Everyone is probably sick to death of hearing about health care reform.

Yeah, me too.

Actually, I don't really have a clue what is even being suggested for possible solutions. It's all way too bureaucratic and cumbersome for me and I don't have the mental energy to try to go through it. I keep waiting for a news report to spell it out in plain English, but that hasn't happened yet. The ones that try to always end by restating that they don't really know and there are lots of ifs and buts.

This is the question I have to the powers that be and everyone else:

Why is it that if my house catches fire, a firetruck full of firemen rushes to put it out and even rescue me from the second floor and I don't get a bill.

And as a kid growing up, my teacher taught me all kinds of stuff that I would need to be a happy, healthy, productive member of society, and I didn't get a bill (well, at least not until after high school).

And if a mugger assaults me and a policeman happens to be near, he will rush to my aid and I don't get a bill. And if the mugger is arrested, he will be prosecuted and defended without a bill to me. If he is convicted, he will be housed, fed, and provided medical care at no cost to him (except of course that he does not get to live free).

However, if this mugger stabs me or shoots me, and I have to be rushed to the emergency room, have emergency surgery, and have to recuperate in the hospital for a few days, I will get a bill.

A really really big bill.

Depending on how much it cost to save me, I might even wish they had not bothered.

I understand that I do pay for the above mentioned services through my taxes. And I'm happy to do that. (Well, not happy like YAY! Tax time! But happy in that I believe those services are good and necessary, and if less taxes meant no firemen, then I'd go with more taxes and a fireman.)

I just don't understand why it's such a sacred cow that health care be a business. In fact, I think it's a little bit morally slimy to let money decide if people live or die. How much is your life worth? A million? Two? Maybe only a few hundred thousand?

And does this dollar value depend on your job or your family or what?

Not so long ago I figured out based on my salary what I was worth using the business principles of revenue vs. expense. After I took out expenses like food, clothing, housing, etc, I was only left with a net contribution of $12.57 per day. So pretty much any major medical procedure would take more than my lifetime to recoup.

If we had to get estimates on the cost of treating a disease like we do on our cars when they need to be fixed, would we treat our lives and bodies like cars?

Well, the car is 10 years old and it's really not worth it to overhaul the engine if the rest of the car probably won't go much longer anyway.

Well, Grandma is 70 years old. Is it really worth it to put so many thousands of dollars into her when she's just going to die in a few years anyway??

I'm guessing most people go over the first scenario each time their car makes a funny noise but find the second version reprehensible.

So why is the idea of health care as a business ok?

No, really. I need an explanation. Does anyone know?

I'll just wait here until someone can explain it, and hope I don't get sick in the meanwhile.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A penny (or two billion) for your thoughts

So apparently my random and pointless Facebook comments and status updates are worth A LOT of money.

Turns out there are companies out there that pay a heap of money to get data on all kinds of little tidbits found on Facebook and other social networking sites, blogs, product reviews--pretty much anywhere on the net where you have a profile and volunteer information.

According to a piece run on NPR this afternoon, "There are now companies that mine social sites for data to sell to marketers."

What in the world could they possibly find that would be worth selling, you ask?

Yes, I wondered the same thing. Well, let's see. Today, a friend wrote on her status update that she can't get the song "I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map. I'M THE MAP!" out of her head. I replied (along with several others) with some alternative lyrics such as, "Backpack, backpack. Backpack, backpack."

Just from that little exchange, these site crawlers, or whatever they are called, have determined that all of us who responded have small children. Guess what we'll be seeing soon on our Facebook sidebar? Ads for diapers, toys, GAP kids clothes, and who knows what else. We are a very attractive demographic!

How about this exchange I read just now:

Sara XXX needs $1000 to make the coming ski season better.

14 people respond.

All 15 of these people are now known to be definitely interested in winter sports. Not maybe because they shop at Scheels or because they live in Montana. Definitely. Now they'll probably see ads for Vail and Big Sky packages on their page.

The pressing issue for me is not privacy, although I suppose that should be my primary concern. I suppose I should care if just any random person can find out my age, sex, marital status, hobbies, religious affiliation, employer, and number of children. That's why I have a pretty blank profile. And also why I pretty much never take surveys or quizzes on Facebook.

But what I really want to know, where's my cut?? If my information is so valuable, why not just ask me? I'd sell my medical records if the price were right. (Don't worry, Grandma. You're shirt is still safe.)

So don't be mad if I don't join your pillow fight or accept your lil' cove fish or whatever it is people are sending now. I'm just stalling until I get a better offer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MySpace = SuperPumper?

When I was in high school, all the loser kids hung out at SuperPumper at night and on the weekends. The cool kids would go to whatever party was going on or would cruise main street. (I'm not going to go into the third, even more lowly category I fell into...the invisibles.)

Yes, it is really mean to call them all loser kids, but you remember high school, right? High schoolers are mean.

Anyway, the more appropriate and accurate description from my current older, more dignified perspective would be to say they were the lower income, underprivileged, possibly dysfunctional family kids. And the cool kids were likely the white, middle class kids--also likely dysfunctional, just better at hiding it.

So jump to the digital age. Kids hang out online now. They pick favorite social networking sites and they text and they Tweet.

Is MySpace the new SuperPumper? According to a report on NPR yesterday, it might very well be.

According to the report, MySpace is out and Facebook is in. The reason? As one teen interviewed stated, "It seems trashy to me. The only people who use it are trashy people."

And as the reporter went on to find, the 65 million "trashy" people on MySpace have their own theories about who uses which medium.

(Quoting directly from the article)

"I have friends who are white," says 19-year-old Diego Luna. "They are my white people friends and they are mostly on Facebook. That's why I use Facebook. My brown people are on MySpace.".....Benito Rodriguez, 16, adds, "Not to be racist or anything, but there's more white kids on Facebook."

Are MySpace and Facebook the modern version of the Sharks and the Jets?

And if so, where do we sign up to learn the dance moves?

I think I would have to identify myself with the Jets/Facebookers.

Not because I'm white--I am very white. Unfortunately exceptionally pasty white.

But more because all my friends/gang members are part of the Facebook crew. And once you're a Facebooker, you're a Facebooker all the way, from you're first wall post to your last status updaaaaaaaaaay--te.

But according to the article, the artsy-types hang with the Sharks/MySpacers. I love artsy types. I want to be an artsy type. I'm going to have to start creeping around behind my Facebooker friend's profiles to see what the MySpacers are up to, maybe pick up some great design tips or new hip band suggestions. At least most MySpace profiles are viewable without doing a friend request. I would for sure be blacklisted if my Facebook friends found out I'd been friending MySpacers.

It's going to be a difficult life trying to bridge these two worlds, but I guess I (along with all those salivating advertisers out there) will have to try. It's just too morally rupugnant to me to live in such a digitally divided world!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Woody, you sneaky bastard!

I hate you Woody. You are a loser.

You plaster yourself all over TV telling me about how all I have to do to get a free burger is become a fan of you on Facebook.

So what do I do? Sorry pathetic gullible patsy that I am, I do it! I become a fan. I give you my email address. I read all your silly updates about how you're close to a million sandwiches! Oh, and make sure you give me your email address so I can send you your free sandwich!

So I wait.

I planned a weekend in Bismarck, and according to your winsome sweet nothing promises, it should be in my mailbox by the time I go. Yay! Free meal for me!

It doesn't show up.

I check again the night I get into town.

Still not there.

I check again the night I'm going to leave.

Still not there.

I get home late Sunday night. Well, will you look what the cat dragged in??

There it is in my mailbox, snottily staring back at me, mocking me now that I am 200 miles away from the nearest TGIFridays.


I open it even though I know it's too late. And there I see it--the damn coupon is only good from the 11th through the 14th. I would NEVER have been able to use it!

Why promise me the world and then fail to mention it's only available from the hours of 2 and 4 a.m. on the 32nd of December??

So I am a teensy bit mellow dramatic.

But it could just as well have been those ridiculous stipulations. If you really wanted to give me a free sandwich, Woody, why such a narrow window? Could it be that you were secretly hoping I would NEVER BE ABLE TO GET MY FREE SANDWICH??

I think you know the answer.

I hope you can live with the shame your deceit has caused. I hope your so-called million sandwich giveaway ends in a food poisoning lawsuit that bankrupts you. I hope all the people who did come in for their free sandwich ordered only the sandwich and nothing else. I hope they failed to tip and in protests all your servers quit.

I hope all your Facebook fans block you!

Oooh look! Free appetizer coupons!

Damn you Woody! You got me again!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Are you LinkedIn?

I am!

Well, I have a profile now. But I'm still looking for contacts.

And frankly, I'm amazed at how few of my contacts have
LinkedIn profiles. As someone who hammers into her students on a daily basis how important networking is to finding employment, I find it interesting that of all my colleagues in the Career Services sector, only three have profiles!

Maybe LinkedIn is too new and they just haven't discovered the importance of it yet, but that fact does not seem to be missed by other career professionals. In a recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, writer Matt Krumrie states that, "Using LinkedIn is a must for job seekers and professionals looking to connect with others."

I totally agree with this given that the statistics are that
80% of jobs are not advertised and found through networking.

To be fair, a person can network on
Facebook or MySpace just as much as they could on LinkedIn, but networking on Facebook is more like meeting someone at a party whereas LinkedIn would be the equivalent of a professional networking event or visiting them at their business.

At LinkedIn, everyone is expecting professionalism. When a prospective employer looks at your LinkedIn profile, they'll hopefully get a good handle on your work experience and capabilities. If they are checking out your Facebook profile, they are more likely to find out about your weekend activities, family, and vacation photos.

That's not necessarily bad, and really everyone looking for a job should make sure their Facebook page is cleaned up. But LinkedIn is by far the more professional first impression you want to present.

So, to all of you who are not yet LinkedIn, Please! Please go create a profile. Upload your resume. Add a PowerPoint presentation you've done (God knows we've done enough for these classes!). Synch your email contacts. Find a professional picture of yourself and upload it. Write a killer summary of your experience and talents (If you can't, get someone to help you becuase this particular part is really important to getting noticed.).

And, by all means, add me as a contact in your network!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tweeting is for the birds....

It's official. I am a Tweeter.

Or is it Twitter-er?

Whatever, I'm on Twitter.

I fought it long enough. But when my alma mater and current employer invited me to follow them, I had to. It would be rude not to, right?

So anyway, I don't know what to do with this. Updates on current happenings at my school will be handy, but another batch of emails! I'm going into information overload. I've just gotten the hang of Facebook. And it's stealing a lot of my time, both professionally and personally.

I have to update my Facebook group for my professional organization. I have to manage the status updates from all my 'friends.' I still have my regular emails--three addresses and counting--and let's not forget the old fashioned phone and voicemail. I don't know if I can handle one more communication venue.

I do see some value in having updates on weather conditions, road conditions, sports scores for my favorite teams, maybe sale notices from a preferred retailer. But I get all that in email, so why do I need it again on Twitter? I don't have unlimited texting, so I'm not going to have these tweets sent to my cell phone. And if they are sent to my email, then that's simply a duplicate of the email notifications I already get.

I propose that all those marketers, public relations and communications specialists out there please consolidate. Please just give me one form of contact and I promise to pay attention. After all, isn't that what you want? My attention? Isn't that the new commodity?

And really, any other kind of personal updates, like I'm shopping till I drop, or FML, or I just picked my nose--I don't really care. I'm not going to subscribe to yet another form of narcissistic egocentric me-ism. I'm inundated enough with all my Facebook updates and Youtube videos. If I have to waste my time on any more useless information, my eyes will bug out of my head worse than SpongeBob. Wait, that already happens when I watch SpongeBob.

I guess what I've decided is that Twitter-ers are like the real birds--full of....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Farm Girl's Best Friend

OK, so this is not new--it's been blogged about all over the place. And it has nothing to do with Web 2.0 or social media. But I just learned about Go-Girl and I'm sold!

The Go-Girl is a portable device that allows women to pee standing up.

I'm sure this is just going to fuel the whole penis-envy theory, but imagine the freedom!

No more hovering over disgusting public toilets.

And my daughter will be able to urinate in my parents' back yard without soaking the front of her pants.

(Back story)
I'm potty training my daughter. It's been a long hard road. She's 3 1/2. I've been trying to train her since she was 2. I was beginning to think I'd have to start buying Depends.

But we had a breakthrough in the form of candy kisses. Two candy kisses every time you pee. It was working great. She'd been on a candy-coated sugar high for a week.

Then we go to Grandma's house, and I look out the window, and my darling girl is standing in front of some Hostas with her pants unbuttoned thrusting her pelvis forward.

I squint to see what exactly she's doing.

I call my sister to the window--What is she doing??

Quick, hand me your camera.

Then, suddenly, she drops her pants and squats down on the ground.

I run out the patio door to see what she's doing. By the time I get there she has her pants back up and is back to standing in front of the plants.

What are you doing dear?

She asks, Is this a bush?


Just let me pee a minute. I'm peeing on the bush.


I see on the ground, there is a fresh steaming pile, which I immediately decide will be blamed on the dog.

I can't believe my daughter just used my parents' back yard as "the facilities."

But hey--she didn't go in her pants! YAY!

So back to the Go-Girl. One day, my lovely daughter will be out on the tractor with Daddy and this thing will come in really handy. After all, if Daddy pees off the side of the tractor, why shouldn't she have the same freedom?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Bloggers--Give Our Bullets Back"--Traditional Media

In the September 14th issue of Newsweek, Daniel Lyons wrote a sweet little article entitled "Exterminate the Parasites." His was a response to the bold idea blogged by Mark Cuban, billionaire internet entrepreneur, that mainstream news media should stop any other sites from linking to them.

His contention was that all of these "aggregators" were just riding on the content for free and if the sources stopped their linking, the little ticks would die. People would be forced to go to the original source of the news.

Of course, all along the internet model has been free information for all. Lyons compared this model to fighting a war but supplying the enemy with the guns and bullets.

But I thought that's what we did here in America. Teach the little countries how to fight and give them ammo. Then act all miffed and shocked when they decide to try it out pointing at the US.

But really, isn't that what all media does? Just this morning on CNN, the anchor was interviewing a reporter from an independent newspaper. And windy radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh feed on what mainstream media supplies. He's currently bellering about Newsweek's cover story last week about babies and racism. So if Newsweek decides to block me from linking to the story from my blog, then are they going to tell him he can't talk about their stories either?

Mainstream, old school media is scrambling to figure out how to swim in the new media waters. They can't sell paper anymore because no one wants to bother with another thing to carry. And think of all the trips to the recycling bin they save. They probably live an extra 20 years just based on that time savings alone.

So what would bloggers blog about if we couldn't link to other people's writing?

Well, today I cleaned the toilet. OK, so only the inside of the bowl. The outside is still disgusting. But the baby started crying and that seemed like the perfect excuse to exit my less than pleasant chore. And since she doesn't use the toilet yet, what does she care if it's clean or not?

The reality (and this was duly noted by Lyons) is that no one will block linking because they are all afraid the competition won't block linking and all the traffic will go to and through their site meaning all the salivating advertising druids will run like lemurs for the competitions' site leaving those blocking the tick bloggers to waste away.

So not to worry. No one will have to endure any more toilet details, at least not any time soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Facebook Etiquette--How not to get virtually kicked underneath the table

This week in class we're discussing digital publishing. I would wager that most people posting on Facebook don't consider themselves publishers; but honestly, more people probably read the average Facebook post than the last paper my professor published. (No offense, Dr. VanHorn. I'm sure your paper was riveting.)

So, because of that and the fact that I have a feeling I committed a Facebook faux paux, I decided to do some research on what is and is not OK etiquette on Facebook.

I found lots of top five and top ten articles on dos and don'ts for Facebook. Some had to do with not breaking up on Facebook. (I hadn't even considered this possibility, but now that I know about it, it seems like the perfect option for the passive-aggressive-spineless type afraid of conflict. Only slightly better was my cousin's boyfriend texting her they were through.)

This great little video by the same site (I believe) gives some super tips:

Some tips were more business/work oriented, like don't post on your friend's wall that you want to meet for drinks at five unless you want her whole friend list joining you. This is probably better done in an private message. Unless you want to meet all your friend's friends in person. Maybe then you can add them to your own friend list and break the 500 mark.

A news article on related the story of a woman who's husband was going to post to Facebook that they were on the way to find out their baby's gender. She didn't want him to do this because she didn't want her closest friends to find out on Facebook--it was too impersonal.

I had a similar, but scarier, experience when my friend from Wisconsin posted to my Facebook wall, "Congrats on the pregnancy!" I wasn't telling people at work yet, whom I had as friends on my Facebook. I did get her post deleted before anyone saw it (I THINK), but the experience made me realize that instant information can be too instant.

Facebook itself has a very good list of etiquette suggestions; however, it does seem to promote their own interest of you using Facebook more and also giving them more information to sell. My favorite piece of advice from this list was #15--" You obviously check Facebook every 5 minutes, so please respond to your messages in a timely manner. Chances are you're making the message-sender extremely insecure."

It's true--I sent a message to my friend asking if she got the package I sent. It's been five minutes and I'm feeling insecure already.

Oh yes, so what was my faux paux, you ask?

A 'friend' posted some pictures and status updates (which, in my defense, would be a no-no according to the etiquette I read about) and I shared them with someone else who decided to share them with another person who did not approve and shared them with this friend's parents.

Needless to say, I'm not her 'friend' anymore. Oh well, I didn't really need to see her latest half naked party pics anyway. But my husband will miss them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Internet Addiction--Crack for the 21st Century

I've heard of internet addiction before. I might have even had a touch of it when I first got the internet in my home over ten years ago.

I felt the overwhelming need to check my email every 15 minutes and spent hours browsing websites for freebies (everyone had a freebie back then if you just looked hard enough).

Eventually I could see that I was wasting time and needed to limit myself. But for some people, either this realization never comes, or even if it does, they can't limit themselves. They need outside help.

That's where Hilarie Cash comes in. She's the therapist and executive director of the ReStart Center in Washington state that specializes in treating internet addiction. (The picture is a link to photos of the center from which is the author of the picture.)

The Associated Press did an article on the center. The article noted the irony that this center to treat internet addiction is located not far from Redmond, WA, home of Microsoft.

Someone seeking treatment will pay $14,000 for 45 days of treatment which includes therapy sessions, doing chores, and going on outings.

This sort of makes me think I should become a psychotherapist and turn my grain farm into a treatment center of some type. $14,000 for a month and a half sounds pretty decent.

What could I treat? Let's who can't quit farming even when the money is gone. Or maybe deal-aholics who end up spending more time looking for deals and coupons and freebies than actually enjoying life. How about Knitters Anonymous for people who have developed hand deformities from holding knitting needles too much. The possibilities are endless.

I'm not saying I don't think this treatment could work, although the article pointed out that the jury is out on the effectiveness of it. I know when I force myself to stay off the computer for a full day and work around the house or outside, I feel like I've really accomplished a major feat. Imagine 45 days of that!

What I really like about the premise is getting someone to pay you to do chores around your compound in exchange for not letting them near technology. This could really solve the farm hand shortage we seem to be experiencing at the Erdman farm.

I wonder if they would like to open a satellite clinic in the Midwest?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Untangling My Social Web

I used to think I was tech savvy.

People would ask me computer questions and I'd be their tech hero by quickly copying and pasting with a few small keystrokes or finding the "lost" window at the bottom of the screen.

Then the tech world exploded into a bajillion networking, sharing, chatting pieces and I'm still trying to put enough of them together to sound mildly tech coherent.

Sure, I'm on Facebook, but who isn't? I'm on Flickr and MSN messenger. But then there was the Yahoo account from a lifetime ago that I can't remember the password to. Before instant chat was so instant, I was on ICQ and had a number for that, which of course I do not remember. To view my friends postings on MySpace, I had to create an account. But then I realized only trashy people who wanted to hook up posted on MySpace. I had to create a Google account for something else so now I have that email too. I don't remember the password to that either. And I just created a Shutterfly share site. If I have to be on anymore networks, I won't remember where I posted what or how to get back to it.

The other issue, and it's not small, is the time these wonderful help-me-keep-in-touch-with-everyone-I-forgot-I-knew sites suck out of my day. Before Facebook, my time nemesis was email. But now email is only the carrier. I will get a message that someone posted something on my wall in Facebook, think to myself, "I'll just go type a quick reply," and two hours later realize I just wasted two hours on Facebook. This is a problem at home when I would rather be spending my time with my kids, but it's even worse at work when I should be, well, working. If I have to start tweeting, I know I won't have a day left. The computer will have eaten it all away.

This class I'm taking (Digital Media) is supposed to help me differentiate between all the different types of social media and which to use when. We'll see at the end of the semester if the teacher is successful in untangling my worldwide web of confusion.