Nov 17, 2010

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.

Afternoon, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.

This week on the Internet, an update: Our Cook's Source editor from last week's discussion has emerged from hiding to apology? An explanation? A trainwreck? on her mostly-defunct Web site. For your discussing pleasure.

Also, I'm eschewing a poll today, because my friend Melissa Bell already has a fabulous one up here.

In short, Jimmy Kimmel has declared today "Unfriend Day," proclaiming that we should escape the tyranny of knowing the intimate lives of the people we spent high school trying to forget. Will you join in the purge? And what criteria will you use to pare down?

Let's do it to it.

Is there a timeline for how old something can be before it's expired- at least expired in one's ability to forward it to friends and share with people? I just found this almost 4 year old blog- and I find it fanstastic and think it should be shared, to make everybody feel better about themselves and their math skills, and because I think the guy here deserves an award. Basically- he gets people to agree theres a different in 1 dollar and 1 cent, between 1/2 dollar and 1/2 cent, but .002 dollars and .002 cents. What makes it even greater- is that the amount of frustration he must have had to deal with and time he spent complaining about it is monumental compared to the amount of money he's trying to save.

Oh, you went and got me all intrigued by this guy, and then you forgot the link!

To answer your question: There is a complicated bell curve for acceptable forwarding practices. I would rather receive something obscure and four years old -- something that I probably missed the first time around -- than I would like to receive something huge and two months old (i.e. if it is any version of a Lady Gaga parody, we have probably seen it).

Use your judgment and consider your audience -- how much time they spend online and what you think they might be interested in.

Rereading my explanation, "bell curve" was an entirely incorrect usage. The math guy in this hypothetical blog would take my metaphor out and have it shot.

Here's a really funny Taiwanese (I think!) video about the current great meme: TSA and junk touching. Enjoy!

I will always break for a good Taiwanese news video. Did you see Wired's fun feature on these guys from a few months ago?

found this video of a newscast that is having a difficult time getting things started.

Links, people! Links!

Are clueless and will forever remain clueless. Maybe the general public will Cooks Source GW Bush and his cowriter's liberal interpretation of what constitutes research.

The verb you are looking for is "Judith Griggs." It's the Cooks Cource editor whose name has become synonymous with banjaxing other people's content.

Not a question, really, but I liked your piece this morning on William and Kate's wedding. Is there a royals watching site you'll recommend? GSTQ

GSTQ! Finally appropriate!

I really like Marilyn Braun's blog. It's newsy, but it's also really personable, i.e., she gets talks not only about what's happening, but how we should feel about what's happening.

For all-encompassing royal addiction, you really can't beat Majesty Magazine.

I've done a few minor purges in the past, though I continue to have more high school "friends" than I care to. My criteria generally fall into four categories: interest/amusement, appreciation, nostalgia, and diplomacy.

Interest/amusement: If I didn't know you well or we weren't close, I will keep you anyway if your status updates add to my day -- i.e., if you are more often than not funny, enlightening, and more interesting than you were when I didn't care about you in h.s.

Appreciation: If you often "like" my status updates or vacation photos, I will keep you because I like the attention. (And I will make more of an effort to "like" your stuff too, because I'm not a total jerk.)


Nostalgia: You may be boring or annoying now, but we did have some good times and we were close enough to have double-dated for prom, so you stay. But I may block you from my news feed; you don't have to know.

Diplomacy: I wish I could get rid of you, but we have 15 mutual "friends" (and I actually do like about 10 of them), so it might be awkward to dump you now. But you're blocked from my news feed too.

This is a geniusly simple way to categorize just about everybody on Facebook. May I suggest that you organize them as Nostalgia, Amusement, Diplomacy, and Appreciation, so that the acronym is "Nada?" As in, "if you don't fall into one of these categories, you get nada."


Could also be a word for "JUST ONCE someone got what they deserved!" It could be a cautionary name like "the boogeyman will get you!". Watch out or JanisGriggs will bit you in your buttt!

I know it was an unintentional typo. But I like that halfway through this post you invented a fake sister Griggs. Judith and Janis, haunting your dreams.

I've been avoiding Four Square because a) I don't want my whereabouts broadcast everywhere; b) I get sick of facebook updates that So and So is now in the Peoria Airport (lovely as that place is); and iii) I know that Mark Zukerberg is waiting to glom my information and sell it to Steve Jobs. Yet I see more and more cool applications that are tied to Four Square. I'd be interested in your or anyone's thoughts on this.

I think it never hurts to try something new. I also think it never hurts to try something new, decide you don't like it, then try it again in six months once the kinks are worked out or once the audience has grown enough to be useful. A big part of whether you'll like any social networking site is how many of your friends are already on there. Anyone else?

You're right, I think it would actually be governed by Pareto's Principle, don't you?

Exactly how similar is that to the Geppetto principle?

Thanks, Purging, for the method and WH for the acronym. I just did a purging of every shirttail acquaintance from high school whose politics seemed so insane that it was like having invited trolls not only to live in my page but to eat cheetos on the couch. Would that I'd had more sense up front!

But you must feel so squeaky clean after such a thorough virtual couch-vaccuuming! Other tales from the purge?

Version of Cee Lo's song you've heard? Forget You is pretty bad. Fox News was funny for maybe the first verse. And I heard the F You version in a Pho place which I think is the most "real." Shatner's version on Lopez didn't get to the crying, which was unfortunate. I would have liked to see his take on it.

Considering my really unhealthy Gwyneth Paltrow obsession, I could never, never personally nominate this version. But I will put it here for others.

Does it matter who first asked who to be freinds when unfreinding? The few I want to declutter were folks I asked (what was I thinking?). I don't like people who post too much every day, it clogs my page.

I think you can unfriend, even if you were the first to extend the request. Maybe the other person has also realized it's not working out. Maybe they need more from their Facebook friends. You can't indefinitely continue every relationship you initiate, or else we'd all be married to our freshman Homecoming dates.

Love the previous posters' four categories. I have one more: the people who make you feel better about yourself. Like the super popular mean girl from high school who now complains about not fitting in her jeans. This is obnoxious and immature, I know.

So it's different than "Appreciation," because what you're appreciating is how crappy their lives are? We shall call this category "Ego Boost." Unfortunately, this ruins the acronym.

Have you seen this video of Up and Over It, a sort of avant-garde Irish dance duo? I cannot stop watching it:

I think I posted this here a few months ago, but I'll repost because this video really is mesmerizing.

Who cares how cats drink milk, when the more pressing question clearly is how small of a box will Maru try to get in?

Video of the week! I started laughing even before Maru appeared on screen.

Is there any chance that 4chan is actually behind Palin winning. There has been talk in the past of them sabotaging online voting contests and this seems right up their ally.

I'd be surprised -- every time they've rigged something in the past, they've been quick to take credit, or it's come out into the public pretty quickly. It would be pretty incredible for such a large hive mind to keep quiet until after Bristol wins -- which, from the audience voting, looks like actually might happen.

I woke up on Tuesday morning to find that my Facebook page had been disabled. So after sifting through their page to find out what happened, I sent an email requesting what happened. They responded by saying the my page was "fake". Hmmmppp, I said. What ever gave them that idea? So I responded by asking what proof do they have and I can show proof myself with a Passport which says I am who I say I am on my FB page. They have yet to respond of course, but I think that my chances are slim to none in getting my page reactivated. I'm curious to know if anyone else has had this problem and if so, have they been able to resolve this. I get that it's a free service, but to claim I'm lying about myself is poor business practice. Any other ideas/thoughts?

Do you have an unusual name, by any chance? I did a story once about people who were denied Facebook accounts because no one thought their names were real (a whole family of Batmans living in Indiana).

Or have you been sending a lot of invitations or posting a lot of events, to the point that they might belive you're a spammer?

So, my BOC arrived recently, and contained the following: three lawn sprinklers, two 2010 "Would You Rather..." desk calendars, two 2010 "Fact or Crap?" desk calendars, a sling backpack thing from some sort of golf thing, and a cap from the same golf thing. Definitely $8 worth of crap!

Fact: Most of what you received is Crap?

No question, just want to make sure you have enough links to select from this afternoon. I had to dig around a little to find this after hearing it played on one of the 'net radio stations I listen to (Ghetto Radio, if you were wondering). Not new, but new for me.

Just posting...

Will it kill the show, by undermining too many viewers' faith in the fairness of the voting (i.e., that a favorite of a segment of viewership is "stuffin' the ballot box")?

But if that segment of the viewership (The Mama Grizzly Segment? The Spunky Teen Mom Segment) is responsible for her continued wins, then the voting -is- fair. Bristol haters could just as easily vote for others they wish would win.

What might kill viewers' faith is the realization that huge swathes of people are voting based on personality and not dance skills.

The recent --and final, one hopes-- post at CooksSource is truly a masterpiece of cluelessness and denial. In a way, it was a public service to show us the "thought" processes behind someone who posts on the internet, as a sort of worst-case scenario. I had not followed the whole thing closely last week but this time looked for the name of the editor, simply in order to avoid her in the future. And -- she removed her name from the Cooks Source website, while simultaneously repeating the name of her victim (!); her "apology?" is unsigned. The post is truly a disaster, and full of fresh accusations against the person she wronged. While I certainly wouldn't write to her or want others to do so, I looked up her name to better avoid her writing: it is Judith Griggs. You just know she'll be writing again, and frankly the rest of us should be warned.

I'm getting a few along these lines. I'll post a couple, but not belabor the point.

"But one night when working yet another 12 hour day late into the night, I was short one article... Instead of picking up one of the multitude of books sent to me and typing it, I got lazy and went to the www and "found" something. Bleary-eyed I didnt notice it was copy written and reordered some of it. I did keep the author's name on it rather than outright "stealing" it, and it was my intention to contact the author, but I simply forgot, between proofreading, deliveries, exhaustion." In other words, the dog ate my homework.


I'm thinking about purging those who constantly post cryptic status updates. I don't know if it's a cry for attention or they're just trying to be seen as interesting, but it annoys me.

You are only inviting another vague status update: "Is so sad about people abandoning her."

Have you seen the Facebook mess with Bristol and Willow Palin? Wow!

The scuttlebutt this poster is referring to can be found here. I just heard of it before the chat started so I haven't had a chance to suss out the veracity or do any extensive reading.

I've been purging for months. I'll go through and delete 35 people in a weekend. Lots of people from high school; recent "friends" who are always posting about the parties they throw and things they do but never invite me; and people I don't like but enjoy mocking - I need to grow up. It's be awesome. People occasionally ask other people why I deleted them, or try to re-friend me. If someone deletes you, let it go...

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo, If someone deletes you, let him go.


When The Engagement was announced yesterday, I noticed that Prince William has transformed from a cute, handsome young gentleman into an awkward, balding, younger version of his funny-looking father. In your professional, expert opinion, do you believe long-awaited The Engagement was the direct result of PW or one of his advisors alerting him to this development?

Ahem. I personally alerted him to this development several months ago.

Ethical question. I'm a past president of a professional association. I'm "friends" on facebook with the current president, who I know just a little. Her status updates regularly include snide comments that I perceive as harmful, albeit in tiny ways, to the organization. Today, for example, she's complaining on facebook about the hotel for the group's annual meeting. Not only do I see this as bad form, I actually believe she has a fiduciary responsibility not to engage in damaging actions. She seems not to recognize that many/most of her facebook friends are also members of the profession and vice versa. I think I know what I need to do, but I don't have the guts. Advice?

You need to find the guts.

Since her complaining is on Facebook, I think you can keep the discussion to that medium. In a private message, tell her what you said here, in more casual language:  "Erin -- I saw you ragging on the hotel in your last update. I get it, but I'm worried that this is going to make the organization look bad, especially since things have a way of being misread on Facebook."

She'll call you a fuddy duddy, but you'll still be right.

But I thought the Irish never moved their hands when they were dancing. That's all this couple does. This is like Bizarro Irish dancing.

That's what makes them...Amazing! And the only Irish dancers I want to be best friends with.

Me again. Love your acronym. And the poster with mean-girl-schadenfreude can be "Nyah nyah." We'll just tack it on the front -- NNADA -- and say the first N is silent!

Good. Much better than "Nadan," which sounds like something Britney Spears might name her third child.

Palin haters also vote FOR Bristol cuz it just adds to their lack of credibility and increases the chances of embarassing quotes.

Well, see? If everyone's voting for Bristol, she really can't lose.

What are your thoughts on Facebook's email endeavor? I'm thinking I will avoid it. I don't think The Book is evil, but I'm wary of the prospect that one service or company would become My Everything. I'll keep my personal information eggs in several baskets thank you very much.

Personally, I tend to agree. But I think a lot of technologically exhausted people might like just one site to log into for all of their personal business.

No, I don't have an unusual name. I did get married though and someone posted something that said "that's not the name you told us this weekend". I of course wrote, My husband doesn't want me to use my married name"....for identity theft purposes...which I get. So I don't know if they're reading this and thinking that's why it's a fake account. I wrote them and told them that just because I got married, doesn't mean I should change my name on FB. frustrating. Maybe it's a blessing! HA

Update: You're not alone. Facebook is saying that a programming glitch caused lots of people to be locked out of their accounts. You should be back to normal soon, we hope?

It's a bug:

Yes, this.

That term makes me mad, as if liberals don't care for their kids. hrumph

You can have any other bear you like. Panda? Koala? Kodiak? Choose your ursa.

At long last.

A skim of this looks like it's an investment, but hopefully a worthwhile one?

Well, or someone else got going on a Face account. That picture looks suspect for an account you'd be managing yourself.

Kodiaks aren't grizzlies? Anyway, we'll take polar bears. Because they are fierce and beautiful, but sadly endangered.


Not Ursidae. :)

I don't know what chat you've come from, but we don't discriminate by species in this chat.

I've been following the story all day about the Willow Palin homophobic rant and profane outburst, first on websites like TMZ and towelroad but increasingly as it's being picked up on the New York Times and other sites. On the one hand, the comments attributed to her, complete with screen shots supposedly of the pages, don't surprise me. On the other hand, there is certainly the possibility that this is all being swift boated. I appreciate, then, the WH restraint in withholding comment. I'll just note that here's a live example of "news" creating its own reality as it circulates and recirculates. If it proves to be concocted, it will still remain "true" on the internet. It it proves true, I'll hardly be surprised.

Your point is so true. It gets at the scattered-feathers nature of the Internet. Impossible to collect them all, and even proven false stories retain a mystique.

Here's a detailed and helpful article about how to back up your entire facebook site. Alas, it doesn't have a time machine to return to before facebook decided you weren't you--although it's clear facebook still has every byte you posted.

Actual usefulness here? Insanity! And thanks.

Well, since we got the Donkey in the Elephant/Donkey flip, we deserve an animal Bigger and Meaner than the Grizzley!

You're just really begging for some overweight celebrity joke, aren't you?

Let's end with this, today. We can let the marvel of this technology wash over our brains and simultaneously wonder why one would want to CGI an apple when there are so many lovely real apples already.


Until next week, GSTQ. And God Save His Soon-To-Be-Married Royal Highness, too.

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Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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