Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Jul 17, 2014

Hi Everyone -- the Internet awaits us; let's get started at 2.

Afternoon, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. What should we talk about today? Here is a thrilling Ninja Warrior clip to put everyone in a good mood.

I estimate I click on and watch less than 10% of all the videos my friends post on FB. I can't watch them at work, and at home I'm just too overwhelmed to watch 20 videos when I'm eating dinner. Am I in the minority? Do most people actually watch every single dog-hamster-baby-musical prodigy video that pops up on their feed?

Heavens no. Nobody watches all of that. Ten percent seems about right to me. Anyone else?

We love you, Elaine Stritch. Let's all enjoy this appearance on Letterman:


I just know it.

Plane crashes are such terrifying things, playing on this very visceral fear that we are all floating in the air where we do not belong.

Also, y'all are quiet today. What's going on?

I need a refresher. I've just finished watching everything that has ever been recommended on this chat.

Bear with me for an unorthodox recommendation: "Awkward," an MTV show about a 16-year-old high school student and her desire to date the popular guy, is fully on Amazon Prime and surprisingly addictive.

One caveat: The titular "awkward" character is drop dead gorgeous, which is one of my pet peeves in any show about nerds. But I think they work around it pretty well.

Here's #21. But trust me, it's worth it.

And here I was certain this was going to be a link to Weird Al Yankovic's "Blurred Lines" parody "Word Crimes."

First of all, I confess, I'd never heard of this competition, let alone seen it, but after a billion people in my FB feed linked to it, felt like I needed to watch in the name of cultural literacy. I started watching, had a "hey, I could do that" with the first move, then realized quickly that I could do none of the rest. Did anyone else imagine they could do any part of it?

I could do no part of it. Too much grip strength required.

(I'm not sure about the announcers who keep remarking, "This is going to be tough for her; she only weighs 100 lbs." Some of those stunts seem like they would be easier if you were very, very light).

Too many dogs, is what's going on. I've ended up with a third dog who was supposed to be "temporary" but we are not having success finding her a new home. Taking care of three dogs entails waking up at 5:15 to make sure they all get walked before work. *yawn* Does anyone want a sweet old lady Lab?

Do you have to walk them all independently? Can they be trained to walk together?

While the story is a tragedy as 295 people died, many more die each day on the roads here in the US. I think we have a "normalized" deaths and "non-normalized" deaths where the latter make us stop and think about it. Really, life is fragile and you never know when your timeclock gets punched so enjoy each day.

I think this is right. But how often does something have to happen in order for it to become "normalized?" A daily occurrence? A monthly? Or are you not talking about frequency, but some other marker?

Missed last week, but wanted to chime in on Nerd Sports with a story. When husband was in high school (mid 90's), he won a programming competition which gave the school a lot of money. It was supposed to be used for computer equipment for the students, but the school used it to re-sod the football field. Even when we nerds win, we can't win.

I am retroactively outraged on your husband's behalf.

That sounds like a lot. I think maybe 2 per month is my limit. I love my friends' kids, but not nearly as much as they do.

Oh, I wasn't even assuming we were talking about personal kid and pet videos. I was thinking generic viral videos. The kid and pet percentage is probably more like 3 percent.

What I find so fascinating about it is how men of different ages use it differently. The younger men, 20s and 30s, trade a bunch of messages, getting your cell number seems to be a sort of score, love sending and receiving pictures, and some can practically establish a relationship through texts without ever meeting. Older men, say 40's and up might trade two or three messages then *GASP* suggest meeting in person.

I wonder what will happen when those 20- and 30-somethings age up. My guess is they'll bring their dating habits with them -- we all are most comfortable with the native dating space in which we were raised. If that makes sense. (FYI it took me three tries to spell "habits.")

Trying to get everything done before I leave today to start my vacation.

Lucky duck. Have a splendid time.

I am too old to know what JonTron is, but the birdie is cute.

Fair enough.

Since you often answer social media questions, let me ask this. I have 2 kids and have a lot of friends with kids. I like seeing other families' pictures on FB but rarely post anything myself. Mostly just once a year on my kids' birthdays. My friends always ask me why I don't post more. My honest answer is that I don't want to make their lives too public before they have a chance to create their own identities, which ends up sounding stupid. Also I secretly feel that posting "Hey look we're on vacation in Maine!" is the same thing as saying "Hey come burgle my house, no one is at home!" We do send lots and lots of pictures and funny stories to family members, I just don't post publicly. Am I weird and are my kids going to hate me for not capturing daily how clever and ridiculous they were for all the world to see? I also think that FB is not the best place to archive your family memories because who knows where it will be in 10 years.

It's not weird at all, and your feelings are valid, and it's your profile to do with as you wish.

On the other hand -- if there is an other hand -- consider this: I would argue that there is a currency exchange on Facebook. The currency is information and it's used to build trust. If we are Facebook friends, and if I have posted several stories or photos in a row -- stories that might showcase my vulnerability, or be self-deprecating, or reveal tender information (the death of a pet, the illness of a parent) -- and if you have posted no stories, then I might start to feel uneasy. I might start to wonder if this online relationship is unbalanced. After all, you now know a lot about me, but you haven't revealed anything about you.

Your friends might be questioning your posting choices not because they think it's weird that you don't post more often, but because your lack of posting makes them aware of an imbalance in your online relationship. Right now, you have all the power.


Does that make sense? Chatters, any other takes on this?

I perfer to think of it by reason versus frequency. Some things are getting more frequent (i.e. school shootings) and they should NEVER become normalized. However, accidents (assuming they are truly accidents) can easily (and should be) normalized. This doesn't mean we don't learn from them and maybe make changes. For example, if this plane was shot down by terrorists, it shouldn't be normalized and we should be outraged and demand action. If it was a mechanical problem, NTSB (or similar) should investigate and see what (if any) changes could prevent it from happening again but an accident is part of the risk of living life.


I'm assuming you were as amused by Weird Al's parody as I was?

Sort of. But the longer I write for a living, the more annoyed I become at grammar police. Mostly because they're usually -not- people who write for a living; they're people whose writing never becomes public, but who take inordinate glee in pointing out the single grammar error in a 2,000 word story that was written on deadline.

(Not that this applies to you. Or anyone on this chat. You know the type I'm talking about).

Something scary happened re: my ladyparts and I should probably go see a doctor but instead I'm googling which is making it so much worse. I'm going to die!!!

Stop Googling. Immediately. Call your doctor. You are going to be just fine.

This is infuriating because it's the kind of thing an adult might have known to challenge through the proper channels (alerting the organizers of the competition, taking the switch to the local media), but not probably not a high-school student, just due to the lack of experience in navigating red tape. I went to a high school that had a football field covered in goose poop but multiple Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists. I'm so sorry your husband didn't get to go to a place like that - for what it's worth, my classmates would have thought he was super-cool for that win, and our administration would have been extremely proud.

I'm posting this to post it, but also to say: Hey, Chatter, who submitted this posting. Can you try submitting questions using a different browser? Every time you submit something,  it comes through nine or ten times. I think it did the same thing last week (At least it did with someone).

If you post "Hey look we're on vacation in Maine!" then yes, you're also saying "come rob my house." So post "Hey look we WERE on vacation in Maine!" when you get back. All the share, none of the risk.

Yes, forgot to add that.

Tremendous editing job in that video. And love the image of the flaming fire engine labeled "Irony" vs. rain on your wedding day labeled "Weather."

Still, I stand by that Alanis Morissette tune as righteous.

You're worried people will rob if they see you are on vacation? Do you realize that everyone who sees that you are on vacation are "friends" of yours? I believe you can set your settings to ensure that only your "friends" see your posts, not "friends" of "friends". Or are a lot of your "friends" criminals? Is what's in your house so fantastice it will drive an otherwise law-abiding "friend" to a life of crime?

Several people have written in to say, "Don't you trust your friends? Are they robbers?"


But I get that concern. Even if your privacy settings are tight, there are always ways for information to leak out online.

Monica, have you been watching the current season of Awkward? I enjoyed past seasons of it, but heard that the show-runner/creator had left for this season (and maybe did last year?) and they'd made a bunch of changes. I've been ok with not watching it, but I'm curious if it's held up.

Not on the current season -- I just discovered it a few weeks ago and am plodding my way through an episode or so a night.

OK, I never thought of it like that. Certainly I exchange lots of stories and parenting stuff in real life with friends and co-workers, which is probably why people keep me on as a virtual friend. I also do "like" and comment on the things my friends post (so I do give back in that way.) My husband is also wary of FB so I guess we have together shunned social media presence for our kids. I am also worried that no matter what I do my kids will say "You don't love me! You overshared my childhood on social media!" or "You don't love me! There is no evidence of my childhood on social media!"

In general, I think the childhood scales tend to tip more in the balance of, "Mom, you're embarrassing me, stop telling people my business," than "Mom, you don't love me, talk more about me." But I could be wrong.


Most parents intuitively know the difference between the innocuous things their kids wouldn't mind being spread around ("Look, my kid goofing off at a swim meet") and the truly embarrassing ones. ("Hey, can anyone identify this weird rash on my 13-year-old's tushie?")

If you're privacy is set up right, only your friends should see you're on vacation. If they burgle, then by all means don't tell them you're out of town. And, if you're uncomfortable with the certain kinds of 'over-sharing', then take the lead to steer you're part of the conversation to areas you're comfortable with. It really is a give and take, and by participating fully, you can reach a comfortable level. I have my comfort level and find the overall medium to be fulfilling.

"It really is give and take"

Yes, this.

Ranch Ball... this is everything. I used to live in Montana and a big group of us came up with this game with Calvin Ball as the inspiration. Basically looked a lot like baseball, except we played with a tennis ball and used a fence post as a bat. The number of players each game would determine the number of bases we used (4-8). Often getting to the next base involved jumping a small creek or crossing a fence. Everyone brought their dogs and they were in play; so if a dog took the ball and ran you had to get it from him, and if they caught the ball on one bounce or less it was an automatic out for the batter. The kicker rule was that other than the dog plays, a player could challenge any call in the game. So you could be out by 10 feet, but you could challenge the call. All challenges were decided by the rest of the players coming up with a competition for the two players involved... ex. first to climb a tree to a certain height; swim across the river and bring back a rock from the other side; etc. Winner wins the challenge. Clearly beer was involved too.

This sounds like the greatest sport in the history of all sports.

EEK, didn't mean to clog your feed. This better?

Huzzah! Thanks.

My father-in-law posted pictures of his new gun cabinet. His son came over while he was on vacation, with some of his buddies. Guess what was empty when the father-in-law came back? The police figured it out.

See? There's no harm in being cautious. Or in trying not to birth children who will come to your house and steal your stuff while you're on vacation.

Are you saying the tune, i.e. the music, is righteous? Or are you endorsing her definition of Irony?

I'm just saying if that song is on the radio, I am going to sing along to it, and I will know all the words.

Sounds right to me. I remember reading an article about rock climbing a year or two ago that said it was a sport that didn't skew in the favor of either sex, because although men tend to have greater upper body strength and longer reach, women are usually lighter and have greater agility. But I'm inclined to believe that men have the advantage when it comes to the Warp Wall.

I can't remember which death-defying instrument of torture the Warp Wall is.

If you are going to spend some time browsing for youtube videos, search out some of the jazz giant, bass player Charlie Haden and read his back story. His kids are performers too. One of his daughters is married to Jack Black, which somehow makes that Weird Al "tacky" video less funny to me, timing wise. You could also find some Johnny Winter, who just died on tour in Switzerland. Finally, I happened to flip over to ESPN last night when Stuart Scott was given a Jimmy V award in his fight against cancer. Moved me to tears (video online is probably readily available).

Thanks. Posting so we can all go watch later.

I can walk two of them together, but the third is spazzo-Red Bull-Energy-Overload-Beast and has to go by himself to run.

A certain person I know sometimes walks their energetic dog via brisk bicycle. Not that I would encourage people to try that at home.

I agree with you on day-to-day grammar sanctimony. I have my own pet peeves, but I keep them to myself. One exception I make, though, is with books. Specifically e-books, often self-published, and I've seen them get pretty bad. (Actually, it's probably not grammar so much as general punctuation/spelling/copyediting stuff.) I'm wiling to overlook the occasional mistake, but when a book is peppered with them, I get angry at an author who expects to be paid for an unfinished product. Am I the only one who feels rage when I see a declarative sentence closed with a question mark?

We all have one or two misuses that will send us into tailspins of rage. If the writing is otherwise good, it will bother us less than if the writing is bad.

OP, the choice isn't between "Maintain Privacy" or "Post Everything About My Kids." Just link to a few interesting news articles and post some funny observations about things you encounter in your daily life ("Great, now there's a bee nest in the backyard. Anyone have a spare FLAMETHROWER lying around?"), and that'll be enough to keep everyone satisfied about your post volume.

Exactly, thanks. I meant to raise this, too. Just look at the Twitter or Instagram feeds of celebrities. They're masters of making followers feel like friends, while actually revealing next to nothing about their personal lives.

I almost never post photos of my child on FB. That is my preference because I feel it is his image and it is not up to me to use it publicly, because all the security settings in the world don't change my assumption that everything I post can be seen by the entire world. If other people want to post photos, that is their decision and I hope they respect mine.

Absolutely. But see the previous post -- you can post photos without posting photos of your kids. You can post photos of your prize rose bush, the cake that turned out better or worse than expected, the funny sign you passed on your way to work. On and on and on.

I call them flubdubs.

I rage at people who don't use turn signals. Together, we would be a nightmare at crosswalks in general.

Only post the most favorable things about your family. Nobody wants to hear why your spouse is an asshat, or what stupid thing your kid did. Also, your kids are going to complain about you in therapy no matter what you do. Just leave them enough money so they can afford the good therapist.

Or just keep telling them, "This will all be good material when you're grown up."

That video and your response to the original question remind me to bring up something that has been irritating me for a while. I see so many errors on news and entertainment websites from professional writers. I understand that there are deadlines to meet and I can excuse minor errors. However, more and more I see flagrant violations of language - incomplete sentences, no punctuation, and missing words. There are references to people, but no explanation of who those people are (e.g., "Smith agreed with the decision...", but no mention of this person prior - probably was edited out). I see this more with breaking news or TV reviews. I know there's a rush to beat every other outlet to the story, but it's almost like these pieces are never edited before they are posted. I enjoy reading print more because it seems those pieces are at least glanced at by a copy editor.

There's a decent chance that they weren't edited before they were posted. I hear your frustration and sympathize with it. There is probably a tipping point, wherein any points for being first to a story are promptly lost because said story is unreadable. It's a tough balance.

I understand what you are saying about general participation levels, but people NEVER say to me "oh, why don't you post more photos of yourself, or your rosebushes, or say more or whatever." It is always, "oh, we wish there were more photos of your kid." Which then makes me feel like I have to somehow explain myself.

If you feel comfortable with your choice, then this should be an easy brush off:

"We wish there were more photos of your kid!"

"So do I! I can't ever get Annie to sit still. Now what were you saying about your vacation plans?"

Just because some people want to share all the minutiae of their lives doesn't mean that I want to share mine! A lack of a filter on their part is not a requirement for me to behave in the same fashion. If they are uneasy with my privacy that's their problem. Of course, I'm only friends with people I actually know IRL.


I am definitely an undersharer on fb. I had never really considered that I might sort of have a responsibility to post things to keep up my end of the social networking. Interesting.

I didn't bring that up to create a moral rule, but rather to explore a dynamic that happens online, and in real life. If you had a friend IRL who never told you anything private, or what was happening with them, but who seemed eager to know all of your business, wouldn't it make you feel kind of weird?

who don't understand that, by law, the pedestrian has the right of way in a crosswalk, and use their cars to bully pedestrians crossing the street legally.

True, true. But if I'm a pedestrian, and I run up to a crosswalk with seven seconds left to cross, and if there is a car that has been waiting patiently to turn, then rather than me try to run across in six seconds, I will let that car turn.

If these are parents, consider that they only want you to post more photos of your kid so that they can feel better about flooding your feed with THEIR kid. I don't have kids, and honestly, I wish there was a little button I could click to limit the kid photos and updates to... I'm no grump, but y'know, 10% of the volume I'm getting now.


I am a flubdubs then. I walk into the crosswalk as soon as the walk sign turns on.

In one way or another, all of us are flubdubs.


That's it for today! See you next week. GSTQ.

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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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