Up until this September, the only social media I used were my blog and email. So when my University debuted a new class on Social Media Marketing, I jumped at the opportunity to take it. It wasn’t that I was adverse to social media or immune to its charms but I felt that there were larger overarching issues with too much information in the public eye. I guess you could call me a privacy advocate really, and that isn’t such a bad thing. For one, there is no Constitutional right to privacy enshrined in the American Constitution. People may beg to differ with me on this. I had no way to verify this fact when I first read it years ago but it was one of those gut moments when the truth just leaps up at you and you ‘know‘ something. Since then, I’ve taken a class on Constitutional History and found that it is indeed a fact. The only thing that gives us the privacy we enjoy, although we enjoy less of it than we once did, is legal precedent found in a system of law that is now defunct; Common Law. That’s right, a defunct body of law with all the word ‘defunct’ implies and for the record, Common Law did NOT become ‘defunct’ because of the Terrorist attacks on America circa 9/11/2001. Common Law was defunct well before that and what many call ‘Natural Law’ is actually nothing more than the remnants of this system, enshrined at the local and State level.
Lately, I’ve gotten interested in Pintrest. It is addictive and alot of fun! It’s social in that everyone post images from around the web and you can repin or like each others images. There are so many things out there on the internet to see and do and some things like writing down receipes, or remembering a craft tip often get lost in the shuffle. But no more. Along comes pintrest to delight your senses and tickle your fancy with an online pin board to keep track of all the things you intend to do if you can just find the time. If you don’t know what I am talking about you should definitely check it out!
But back to the erosion of privacy and social media’s role in it, I am not surprised to find that it isn’t the act of being social that presents challenges but rather, a limited understanding of ‘liberties.’ And in this context, I think the President is likely right to Veto the National Defense Authorization Act for this reason. Many commentators have opined, that the Presidents reasons for this are less than honorable and have cited his opposition to the Bill as morally degenerate. I respectfully disagree with such commentators about this issue. If they want to criticize him, pick a better target and remember separation of powers. If anyone needs help, here is a list. But I think he is right to preserve exceutive branch powers from the regulatory reach of the Congress.
But onward to how I interact with social media.
I post about Politics.
I did not set out to be a known blogger with a bevy of fans or followers. I simply aspired to be a unique voice in the wilderness. Something that offers a change from the daily grind of the reader’s regular internet surfing. But I do worry about how I will be perceived when the time comes for me to reenter the workforce with a new and updated skills set.
I used to have a blog over on Type Pad. I posted about more or less similar themes as I do here at WordPress but if I could myself look back over the year I spent there and what I have done here, I am sure I would see some sort of evolution and I think it would be cool, in a personal inventory sort of way, to see how and if, my views on various topics have changed. When I was with Type Pad, I had lost my job in late 2007. I was so overloaded mentally and emotionally, I dropped out of college. I began dealing with long-term unemployment in 2009 -10 and had to go on public assistance. The only reason I wasn’t thrown out of my apartment was because my apartment manager was able to get my rent reduced to zero, which also had the added benefit of allowing me to qualify for a utility subsidy. The last two are things I still have the benefit of being a recipient of, even though I am back in school and in my senior year of undergraduate work. The last thing I want to worry about is losing out on a prospective job because of something political I posted about when I was struggling so hard not to fall apart.
And then there are real things, outright idiotic and crazy things people have done online and reasonably lost their job for. Here is yet another list in case your unfamiliar with this new theatrical approach to village idiocy. The best advice in the article is not the commentary on what NOT to do with social media, but in fact how “Social media provides an excellent opportunity for showcasing your professionalism, intelligence, and maturity, which can set you apart from the competition.” In response, I can only say that I aspire to use this blog as such a platform and that my relationship with my blogging is beginning to change based on the class I have completed this semester. I haven’t got it all worked out in my head as such, and I don’t know that I want to change my idea of being a wandering voice in the wilderness of social commentary. What I do know, is that I want to give more thought and time to the articles I post on and about, to the personal commentary I share with the passer-by, and with the way I present this information.
I use a lot of video when I can and the time I have spent on Pintrest has given me new respect for photography and images in general. Google is great for the free images they offer but I really would like to find new places to look for great images to use in my blogging and for pinning. WordPress has a feature that mirrors pintrest, so that you can ‘grab’ images from the net and use them in your blog posts, provided you credit the original website with the ownership or copyright of the image where applicable. One new thing that I hope to be able to post about in the coming months will be on Orientalism in Western visual culture. I finally managed to find a book on it and it was synchronicity that I found it at all for a price I could afford. It is out of print now and going for over a hundred dollars on eBay so I count myself fortunate to have a copy on its way from England. All $40.93 of it. I will pay for good reading material! I just hope my nephew knows what kind of sweat, blood and tears went into the library he will one day acquire from me. And I know that this library of the future, will one day include my fathers. In my mind, I honor him, by knowing just what kind of price was paid for it, above and beyond the monetary price. And it makes the transmission and bequest of books a sacred act, worthy of preservation. Books and ideas are the best record that both my father and I could give my nephew in the ultimate event of our physical absence. Thru reading them, Julian will know what concepts and ideas shaped the kinds of people we became, what we found to be of value and of interest, and ultimately, I hope it will illuminate for him just who Papa Jerry and Aunt Heidi were.
I have always looked at social media in a sort of metaphysical way on some levels and the above bit about my nephew is the best part of it. Hopefully, he will have children, and they will have children and someone, someday, will trace the family tree and come across this written record from me. Their Aunt. My father does not blog or use social media and neither does my mother. My sister and her significant other, the foreign element that she introduced to our own personal Eden of two sisters, the man she deigns to call a husband in the absence of a wedding, use Facebook only infrequently and at this time, Dec 6th of 2010, do not blog. (Did you descendants of Heather Carter and Richard Cottner know that? I wish I knew what kind of bread crumbs to leave for you. Who knows what tidbits of history may fall thru the cracks of time?)
I don’t know that the internet will one day be a hall of Akashic Records for the generations of the future, but it might. And if it does, I want to be able to sing out from the past and reach the future. I want to know who they are, who you are, and how they and you, got that way. Family or Not. Just the idea that I might be read or turn up in an internet archive search in the next hundred or so years gives me reason to speak with purpose and to strive for some kind of clarity and extended meta narrative that those in the future could latch onto. It’s the former pagan in me still being pagan and pretending not to be. So from this angle, social media is and will continue to be a blessing that has yet to fully unfold. And that is best for the time being. I have a love hate relationship with historians that give pointless details or not enough.