Category: Rants


On August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m., MTV: Music Television launched this new form of media with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” spoken by John Lack. This was appropriately followed by the first music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. That can easily be seen as the definitive change in how a large portion of society interacted with music…because viewing a music video is agreeably an interactive experience. The sights, the musical metaphors played out on screen causing the connection to the artist that much more visceral.

So it shall be with print media…

Those remotely familiar with the humble beginnings of Twitter would agree it was an “in like a lamb” scenario. What began as a “daylong brainstorming session” in 2006 that was held by board members of Odeo, a podcasting company, to break their collective creative slump, Twitter was born. The father of the fledgling “Twitter” is 33 year old Jack Dorsey, an American  software architect and businessperson, had introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group.

Speaking on the inception of “Twitter”, Dorsey says:

The working name was just “Status” for a while. It actually didn’t have a name. We were trying to name it, and mobile was a big aspect of the product early on … We liked the SMS aspect, and how you could update from anywhere and receive from anywhere.

We wanted to capture that in the name—we wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you’re buzzing your friend’s pocket. It’s like buzzing all over the world. So we did a bunch of name-storming, and we came up with the word “twitch,” because the phone kind of vibrates when it moves. But “twitch” is not a good product name because it doesn’t bring up the right imagery. So we looked in the dictionary for words around it, and we came across the word “twitter,” and it was just perfect. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.” And that’s exactly what the product was.

According to the most recent figures released, Twitter has 105 million registered users — and counting! So while “Twitter” entered the media scene like a lamb, it has become a lion with no signs of exiting. Twitter is used by everyone from the arbitrary youth as a conversational tool to major brands for advertising and news agencies as a means of immediately distributing breaking stories.

I personally am not a huge fan of raw statistics but Mashable.com recently rolled out some that are too compelling to overlook. Based on a sample of 2,259 adults, of those who find news online 75% get it either forwarded through e-mail or posts on social networking sites, and half of them (52%) forward the news through those means.

According to the report, 59% of those surveyed get news from a combination of online and offline sources. 7% are getting information from a single media platform and 46% of Americans claim they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. When you drill it down even more:

  • 78% of Americans say they get news from a local TV station
  • 61% of users get news online
  • 17% (yes, that few) claim they read news in a national newspaper such as The New York Times or USA Today

These numbers are in constant flux because the more advances made in means of online delivery fewer and fewer people actually defer to physical print media.

So how does Twitter fit into all of this? With many news agencies dictating that it’s journalists must utilize social media platforms such as Twitter. For example, Peter Horrocks, the new director of BBC Global, has informed all of the BBC news journalists to use social media as a primary source of information. Horrocks said it was important for editorial staff to make better use of social media and become more collaborative in producing stories.

In Ariel, the weekly in-house staff newspaper for the BBC, Horrocks said:

This isn’t just a kind of fad from someone who’s an enthusiast of technology. I’m afraid you’re not doing your job if you can’t do those things. It’s not discretionary.

In Reuters’ “Handbook of Journalism”, there is a section on “Reporting from the Internet and using social media” that includes the do’s and don’ts of Twitter use. For example:

There are several ways in which Reuters News journalists are using Twitter to micro-blog as part of their professional duties:

  • Specialist journalists use Twitter to share articles and build up a following (see twitter.com/reutersBenHir and twitter.com/bobbymacReports)
  • Online Editorial staff and bloggers use Twitter to distribute news and solicit reader comment (see twitter.com/mediafile, twitter.com/Reuters_FluNews and twitter.com/reuters_co_uk)
  • Reuters journalists are using Twitter during live events such as Davos and to solicit questions for newsmaker interviews

With every major news agency utilizing new media to disseminate breaking news, continuing stories, and every inconsequential piece of information imaginable what will happen to those agencies who opt out of using platforms like Twitter or Facebook…Well, I’ll let Trevor Horn explain it in song.

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Unfollowing with Class

Neal Wiser (@nealwiser) wrote a fantastic article titled “How To Unfollow On Twitter With Class” and considering that I myself have landed in hot water more than once for unfollowing one person or another it may be time to remind the Twitterverse that when or if someone unfollows you it is for their own reasons. The action of unfollowing can be done many ways but I personally choose not to make a show out of it and just leave it be. Perhaps it’s because I would not take it personally were someone to unfollow me because I understand that it is an open forum and not everyone will like or agree with what I have to say and I would hate for anyone to feel they HAVE to follow me to spare my feelings.

I suggest reading “How To Unfollow On Twitter With Class” to perhaps help gain the understanding that to unfollow someone is a choice we all have and should never be afraid to exercise in fear of adverse reactions. I’ve included the most important part of the post below…the steps to unfollow with class:

How To Unfollow With Class

So, you need to unfollow a large number, if not all, of those whom you are following. Here’s how you do it, with class.

  1. Establish a Following Policy.
    All you need is a simple statement of why you will, or will not, follow someone. While some feel any policy is too much, I’ve found having a Following Policy allows me to both clarify what I want to get out of the relationship and allows me to set some “ground rules.” I’ve written previously about establishing a Following Policy here on Twitip. Also, you can use my personal Following Policy as an example.
  2. Ask yourself why you are cutting yourself off from your Followers.
    Following is a relationship with a real person, especially if that person follows you back. As such, you should have a good reason for unfollowing because you are cutting yourself off. While that person can still reach you through “@” messages, you will miss everything else they tweet.
  3. Know the risks.
    Beware; some people may think less of you and even think that you aren’t organized enough to handle something as simple as following. This could even hurt your career if someone you unfollow is a coworker, client, etc.
  4. Decide how deep you want to cut.
    Do you want to cut out everyone, or just select groups of people? Try trimming first before going nuclear.
  5. Decide whom to tell.
    While you should tell everyone, there are several tiers of people you must make sure to tell.
  • Your Closest Followers
  • Your Friends & Family
  • Your Co-workers & Clients
  • Your Fans
  1. Clearly explain why you are unfollowing.
    Keep things in perspective. You are not breaking up with a “significant other.” The best notifications are short and to the point, unlike this post :) . However, it’s still a relationship and a clear message shows that you respect your followers and reduces the chance that you will damage that relationship. Just realize that some Followers will be offended no matter what you do. It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality.
  2. Decide which Channels you want to use for notifications.
    If you are unfollowing from a specific platform, notify people on that platform. Writing on someone’s Facebook wall that you’re unfollowing them in Twitter will only cause confusion (and may make you look stupid). You can also send an email to specific, important followers such as an employer, client or family member. But remember, whatever channel you choose, don’t assume that everyone will see the notification. Expect that most won’t.

Call To Action

Wednesday, February 3 and

Thursday, February 4, 2010


  • Protest Uganda’s Pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill

(and the American religious right encouraging it)

  • Demand the Entire Ugandan Delegation be Dropped from

The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast

  • Quell Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Movement By

Limiting U.S. Government Financial Aid

  • Require U.S. Asylum for LGBTQ Ugandans

  • Challenge The Family and National Prayer Breakfast Participants To Live Up To The Christian Ideals
    They Espouse

A Call To Action

A Call To Action

Join Full Equality Now DC on February 3-4, 2010, to protest the American-encouraged Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently being crafted in the Ugandan Parliament that calls for death sentences for AIDS victims as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens.

This repressive bill is the culmination of the work of a secretive “christianist” cult known as “The Family” that oversees questionable and unsanctioned political and business dealings with the highest echelons of foreign governments.

Uganda’s proposed legislation would intensify and legalize the existing brutality and persecution of its LGBTQ citizens, including life sentences for the “aggravated homosexuality” of being HIV-positive. All Ugandan citizens would be required to report homosexuals to the police or face three years imprisonment. Any “promotion of homosexuality” would carry a seven-year prison sentence. Only recent international outcries have tamped down, at least for now, provisions for the death penalty for three-time “offenders” and people suffering from AIDS.

The Family’s February 4 National Prayer Breakfast is this organizations only public U.S. event each year. It brings together American elected officials and businessmen, many of whom support the sentiments of legislation’s authors, and their international counterparts. “Homosexuals must forget about human rights!” recently exclaimed Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, a co-author of the bill and member of The Family.

The night before the National Prayer Breakfast, February 3, participate in Full Equality Now DC’s Protest and Rally starting at 5:30 p.m., at one of The Family’s tax-exempt centers at 133 C Street SE in Washington. Stand against the pending anti-LGBTQ legislation in Uganda and in particular The Family’s actions supporting it. While expressing its religious hypocrisy and promulgating repression of homosexuals worldwide, The Family enjoys U.S. tax protections for its numerous properties, including C Street’s low-cost dormitory for Family members such as sex-scandal plagued Nevada Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

What: Protest and Rally at The Family’s DC location

When: Wednesday, February 3, 2010, 5:30 p.m.

Where: The “C Street House,” 133 C Street SE, Washington, D.C.

Organized and Sponsored by: Full Equality Now DC

The next morning, February 4, concurrent with The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast and as an alternative to it, engage in the District’s American Prayer Hour, part of a decentralized series of powerful and inspirational events across the country that morning, including Dallas, Chicago, Boston, and Berkley, California.

What: American Prayer Hour/DC

With: D.C. Faith leaders and renowned gospel singer Ray Boltz

When: Thursday, February 4, 10 a.m.

Where: Calvary Baptist Church, 755 8th Street NW

Organized by: Truth Wins Out

Co-Sponsored by: Full Equality Now DC

Most important, stay alert and continue to work to scuttle this legislation in the weeks to come, and stand in solidarity with LGBTQ communities throughout the world, especially Uganda.

Members of The Family include current and past conservative members of the U.S. Congress, and anti-gay lightening rods such as Pastor Rick Warren. Family members and anti-gay extremists in Uganda are working together to craft this life-threatening legislation. The new bill’s chief authors are Family members Minister Buturo and Member of Parliament David Bahati, both of whom have proceeded with the encouragement of Ugandan President and Family member Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Only in response to mounting international pressure, The Family recently “disinvited” David Bahati to the February 4 breakfast, and this pressure must not cease.

Ugandan Martin Ssempa, Family member and vocal fundamentalist pastor, is championing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and has forced LGBTQ citizens and activists into hiding by publishing their names and addresses. Most recently, Ssemba has been organizing a “Kill The Gays” million man march demanding life imprisonment or death for every gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Ugandan.

The Family is based in the U.S. but operates more than 10,000 cells worldwide to promulgate its anti-homosexual agenda, especially in African countries where a fertile bed of homophobia has existed for decades. Although The Family has recently made rather specious statements saying that they are the secret allies of the LGBTQ community, its adherents were instrumental in setting the stage last year for so-called anti-gay experts to travel Uganda to help officials justify the extreme vileness expressed in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

If The Family wants anyone to actually believe that they are advocates for human rights, we must challenge them to now publicly affirm their organization’s support for worldwide LGBTQ equality, less their recent statements again prove that they are the hypocrites and anti-Christian bigots they so obviously appear to be.

President Barack Obama has already condemned the bill but he must do more. President Obama must certainly boycott the Breakfast because of The Family’s support for the Ugandan bill. He should not be seen anywhere near the Ugandan delegation, much less share the dais with any one of them. In the days leading up to February 4, we call on President Obama and each elected U.S. official to come forward publicly to disassociate themselves from The Family and the National Prayer Breakfast and the scheduled Ugandan state delegation.

The Ugandan government has long misspent and wasted millions of dollars of U.S. funding intended for HIV/AIDS prevention and wellness services, and American elected officials have done nothing to make sure our tax dollars aren’t wasted or used to persecute LGBTQ citizens in Uganda or anywhere else.

Should this draconian measure pass, we will join together to call on the U.S. government to explicitly condemn it and to offer asylum to LGBTQ Ugandans, all of who personify the definition of refugees with a “well-founded fear of persecution.”

In the latest issue of The Public Eye, Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican Priest from Zambia nails it, saying, “Ironically enough, although American conservatives repeatedly accuse progressives of being imperialist, it is their dealings with Africa that are extremely imperialistic. Their flow of funds creates a form of clientism, with the expectation that the recipients toe an ideological line.” This sums up the explicit modus operandi characterizing all of The Family’s work.

Washington has one of the highest rate of HIV infection and has seen a meteoric rise in local hate crimes against our LGBTQ citizens, so we, especially, must redouble our efforts, protesting The Family’s actions, squashing Uganda’s pending hateful legislation, and fighting against the repression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere. It is surely a matter of life and death.

Full Equality Now DC is a grassroots organization dedicated to local and national actions in support of full federal equality for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification. It was founded by the original DC Host Committee that helped bring a quarter of million people to the October 2009 National Equality March in Washington, DC.

F U L L    E Q U A L I T Y    N O W    D C

www.fullequalitynowdc.org

More equality activists have expanded membership through weekly meetings where actions are decided through democratic means. Recently these have included a public protest of WMATA bus advertisements that singled out LGBTQ citizens for discrimination, and a series of actions to interfere with the Ugandan politicians forwarding repressive laws that would jail its homosexual citizens.

For more information, go to www.fullequalitynowdc.org.

What is Gained through Gossip.

This morning, just this very second I typed in “Celebrity Gossip” into Google’s search engine. When I limited the search to changes made within the past 24 hours can you imagine how many results were returned? An astonishing 36,400,000! It can easily be said that it is human nature to discuss the human nature of every other human in nature! However being that these are celebrities they put themselves in the public spotlight knowing every tiny action they make will be greedily sought after to make the headlines. Just ask Tiger, Lindsay, Charlie, and the list goes on.

Celebrities are the unwitting parents of bastard children in the form of Perez Hilton, Ted Casablanca, and any other Celeb Gossip columnist, blogger, twitterati, you can imagine. I myself quite enjoy a healthy slice of celebrity gossip but the question has to be asked…why? How would I feel were I in their shoes? Is my glass house so solid it can withstand the same stones? I think not!

This all dawned on me earlier this morning when I was a part of a local Twitter conversation where the statement was made regarding how quickly information gets around in D.C.; when “one knows, they all know” but this really is nothing new no matter where you live. There are persons who thrive on either end of the gossip spectrum…either they love to be the one WITH the information and happy to share it or they simply love to be the topic of conversation, good, bad, or indifferent just as long as they are the topic.

I am by no means stating that I’m innocent, nor were someone to tell me they have never participated in any form of gossip would I believe them. Either by relaying or simply passively listening you play a part. Now please don’t think I’m judging anyone because this has simply become part of our culture. The ability to access, transfer, and look up information has become so immediately gratifying that it’s no surprise every person out there is in the position to become a point of conversation.

Being a gay man, it’s written in the bylaws that I love and commit to memory every line of “Steel Magnolias”.

Steel Magnolias: Poster design by B.D. Fox Independent

Steel Magnolias: Poster design by B.D. Fox Independent

Specifically when Clairee Belcher (portrayed amazingly by Olympia Dukakis) states “If you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit by me”. We all love a good story, furthermore we all love a good story when we aren’t the topic! Showing my gay card again with my love of musical theater I’m reminded of the song “Schadenfreude” sung by Gary and Nicky in the riotous “Avenue Q”. Schadenfreude (German in origin) is the malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else’s misfortune. This essentially is the root of why most people enjoy gossip, since generally it is less than flattering in nature, it raises you up to a different level.

Gossip is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing (unproven) facts and views. The functionality of gossip are varied, author Frank T. McAndrew gave several examples in “The Science of Gossip: Why we can’t stop ourselves“. Scientific American:

* normalize and reinforce moral boundaries in a speech-community
* foster and build a sense of community with shared interests and information
* build structures of social accountability
* further mutual social grooming (like many other uses of language, only more so)
* provide a mating tool that allows (for example) women to mutually identify socially desirable men and compare notes on which men are better than others.
* be used as a form of passive aggression, as a tool to isolate and harm others
* provide a peer-to-peer mechanism for disseminating information in organizations

Knowing that generally the “dirt” that is spread can be harmful to others why is it done, especially considering the backlash that can transpire to the individual(s) spreading the “dirt” in the first place. It could be an adult onset of the bully syndrome. It’s not socially acceptable to push someone down physically but you can certainly tear apart a persons reputation thus lowering their social status in the eyes of their peers.

Knowing it or not each of us is reaching for a higher status on the social food chain. This “Achieved Status” is important sociologically because it comes with a set of rights, obligations, behaviors, and duties that one is expected to adhere to. Moving up, or perhaps down, the social stratification is due (in part) to the flow of information. Who knows who, and who knows what…but this is a fine line that is not easily navigated.

The crux of gossip is this…for an indeterminate amount of time you may be the one with such salacious information that you indiscriminately share it at your leisure, UNTIL those listening determine your trustworthiness is lacking then you become the topic and drop straight to the bottom of the social ladder you clawed so hard for to reach to the top.

In the end what is really gained through gossip? A good story? Usually yes. A laugh? Almost always. Be careful how you use information though because it will most certainly turn on you in the end.

Pelosi Puts Our Rights on Back Burner

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has privately instructed the more politically vulnerable Democratic members to not address “controversial” bills in 2010 unless the Senate acts first. This would include such issues as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” immigration reform, and partner benefits for gay federal employees.

Pelosi has decided to shift gears for the 2010 election to help avoid any further action that might put the Democratic majority at risk.

According to The Hill:

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the president of the freshman class, said that Pelosi came to last Wednesday’s freshman breakfast to deliver that message, and that it was met with wide spread approval.

“I think freshmen, particularly, are not enamored of the idea of being asked to walk the plank on a controversial item if the Senate is not going to take any action,” Connolly said.

Verizon Wireless calls the iPhone a homo

As a gay man watching this Droid ad why does it feel like Verizon is calling the iPhone a homo! To quote:

Its not a princess, its a robot. A phone that trades hair-do for can-do. In a world of doesnt. Droid Does.

nypost:

ABC has booked Rihanna-beater Chris Brown for an interview and a performance on “Good Morning America” — right after the network canceled guy-kisser Adam Lambert.

Brown will do a taped tell-all with Robin Roberts, followed by a performance of songs from his new album. But TV insiders say the appearance, slated to air the week after next, has outraged feminists and gay activists who wonder why a convicted girlfriend abuser is more palatable to the network than an openly gay man who broke no laws with his raunchy performance on the “American Music Awards.”

An ABC source said, “The network is giving a mixed message — that it doesn’t trust someone who shocked with an unpredictable show and a gay kiss, but then it is happy to go ahead with Chris Brown, who was convicted of felony assault.”

ABC News has insisted that Lambert’s sexual orientation did not play a role in its decision to pull the plug on his “GMA” appearance this week.

Trying to assemble the pieces

Twink, bear, queer, fag, homo, dyke, butch, femme, circuit queen, fairy, otter, wolf, “straight acting”, lipstick, leather daddy, submissive, master….

How many words does it take to say one thing….GAY! I will admit I have read countless articles on the “Gay Condition”, each of which pointing out how fractured the gay community really is. Each article detailing what it is to be gay detailing how the twinks don’t socialize with the bears, they both hate the circuit queens, most of the lesbians I know think otters are nothing BUT semi-aquatic fish-eating mammals. That being said, as well written as they have been, the problem I have found with nearly every article I have read is it was written from the perspective of an author who has only belonged to one of these groups. While I am not transgendered so I cannot speak on behalf of a post operative male to female lesbian, I have been a part of each and every one of the rest of these groups.

Little Me (not in the dress but the fashionable matching vest)A very brief history includes me coming out at 17 years old, fresh out of high school, with a string of boyfriends until this month where I am now happily Domestic Partnered to an amazing man whom I love with my entire being.

I was a slender child and a slender young adult but various life events led to an expanding waistline which inevitably led to making new and different friends and trying out different social situations.

It is clearly not news to anyone that the friends we make in life are mostly those we share common interests and perhaps attributes with, either emotionally or physically in some cases. At this particular part of my life I found myself far more comfortable hanging out with the bear/cub community. Not because I had any issue with the smaller and more fit parts of the community but simply because I felt I had more in common with the bears, cubs, wolves, etc etc. What I discovered quickly was a good portion of my new friends had a distaste for the twinky or jock community which was attributed to feeling ostracized. None of my existing more gym prone friends had the reverse issue and were just as content socializing with the bear community. Although there were the fair amount that made the fat jokes etc but would that was  due to their own insecurities thus lashing out so they felt better about their own shortcomings.

I remained a solid 270lbs for several years before deciding I was done with being tired all the time, done with a lack of clothing choices, just simply done. With that thought I started up at a gym and within about 8 months I slimmed down to around 155lbs.

It was at this point where life begun to change in ways I had never foreseen.  I found I was no longer as welcome with the group of friends I had been regularly hanging out with. I was even told at one point I no longer belonged…..Simply because they felt I had betrayed them by choosing to lose weight. This led me to begin making new friends and even start a bartending job because the customer base liked a smooth, slender, tattooed young guy who didn’t mind mixing cocktails with his shirt off. My bartending experience led to making even more new friends and experience different situations. I had learned at this point I was happy hanging out at the bear bars, the leather bars, preppy sports bars and even the straight bars. I’d gone from one extreme to the other so I developed an understanding of what it was to belong and not belong all at once. The unfortunate side affect to this transformation would have to be that it caused me to close myself off somewhat as well. It was very disheartening to be told I didn’t belong in one way or another while I felt like the same person all along.

Then here we are today, I am surrounded by so many different types of people and my partner and I travel from one group to the next and back again simply because we simply look for people who are secure enough in themselves to not care…large, small, old, young, hairy, smooth, tattooed, pierced, male, female and any combination of the above. I find myself looking at the gay community as one large puzzle, so many different varying pieces yet all essential to form that one beautiful whole.

I hope the piece of advice you can take away from my post is step outside yourself if you never do you’ll never know how much you’re missing!