Social Media And The Dreaded Clique

I debated on whether or not to post this, but here goes nothing…

You’ve decided to do it. Everyone else seems to be doing it, so why shouldn’t you, especially if you need to get your name out there to promote <insert product or service>? Therefore, you decide to go ahead and set up that Twitter account, Facebook profile, Google Plus profile, and just about every other damn social media platform you’ve been told to try. After all, you have to get your name out there, right? How else are you going to peddle your product to a large audience?

So, you’ve established your profiles. Over time, you’ve met some people and everything seems to going well; you’re chatting, mostly about superficial things here and there and meeting other people through the relationships you’ve already established. You’re just freaking swell and chugging along on the little social media train. People genuinely seem interested in what you have to say…. Until one day you start noticing little things here and there. It’s all subtle of course. No one is overtly saying I’m not feeling you anymore or that your content sucks. Yet, you notice actions, or rather inactions. People aren’t reading your blog posts or sharing them anymore. People no longer comment on the silly memes or articles you’ve linked to your profile. Ah! Somewhere along the line, people you’ve regularly conversed with are fading into the abyss of the Internet. It gets worse though. Not only do they seem to fade away from you, but they also seem to regularly converse with the same group of people. You know what I’m talking about. They share and comment on each other’s posts, comment on each other’s silly memes about work and life. Hmm. That’s when that dreaded thought first crosses your mind. Dare I say that social media is cliquish?

Ha! Pretty much summed up my sentiments.

Let’s face it. Cliques happen. But why are people cliquish? Is it just the nature of the beast that we call human socialization? Maybe. Ok. So I know you’re probably thinking; Stephanie, cliques only exist in high school. Or, how could they exist virtually? Ha! Walk on any college campus and stay for a while. You’ll soon see that cliques are very real. You could argue that they are just remnants of high school and that they fade with each subsequent year of college. Yeah. Tell that to those people who go to a fraternity or sorority “meet and greet” or “open house” and don’t get selected to pledge. From what I hear, the answer (if any is provided) is that the “would be pledge” wasn’t a good “fit” for the organization. {Side note: Surprisingly, or perhaps not, I’ve heard of this happening after failed job interviews as well.} As far as virtual cliques are concerned, hang out on a social media platform for a while and I’m sure you’ll start seeing certain people interacting more with the same group of people.

Recently, I was chatting with a fellow blogger/indie author/cool person of the social media community. I asked if she also noticed that people tend to form cliques on various social media platforms. She commented that it’s a trend that happens and you soon get used to it [clique forming] and you’ll move on accordingly. Damn. I guess. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.

And with that, dear reader, I continued to mull over social media group formations. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that perhaps my observations were too harsh and that clique wasn’t the right word, or rather description for what I observed on social media. After all, people naturally tend to be more friendly towards some more so than others, mainly due to commonalities. Furthermore, the more you have in common with someone, the more likely you are to repeatedly interact with that person and vibe with what they have to say. I don’t think that behavior is necessarily cliquish, but rather the natural progression of friendship once you get beyond the superficial layer(s).

As such, I decided to not dwell in the pit of social media despair. Instead, I thought my musings would make a great post on the blog. Who knows? Maybe there’s someone else out there who’s feeling similarly. I guess my fellow blogger/indie author/cool person of the social media community was right; you get over it and move on. I’m sure my words will gravitate to people who will connect with them.

Well, what are your thoughts about social media? Do you think that it promotes cliques? Groupthink? Harmony? Peace? I want to hear it all; the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. Leave your comments below.

British Invasion!

The Union Jack: Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The British are coming… To this blog over the next couple of days! Two lovely people from the UK are dropping by and chatting for a bit. First up, we have Kieron, who I met on (drumroll)… G+! If you’ve been keeping up with previous posts, then that should be no surprise. I meet just about everyone on G+.

Kieron is a bloke from England that runs a blog discussing all things movies and television (surprisingly, he watches a ton of American stuff). He kindly stopped by to talk shop. Today, we’re comparing British vs. American slang.

So, sit back, get comfortable, and grab a cuppa. It’s time to do a little chin wagging with Kieron:

General Expressions:

Wind me up = annoy me -> I think this would be the equivalent to someone here saying “are you kidding me”, or “are you trying to piss me off?”

Grab a cuppa = to get a cup of tea -> I don’t think we have anything directly comparable to this aside from “get something to drink.”

Cheers = goodbye or thanks -> We just say thanks or in some instances, “appreciate it” or “appreciate you.” Now we have many ways to say goodbye: deuces, peace, I’m out, see ya, I’m about to bounce, I’m leaving, etc. It’s endless!

Cock up = a mistake -> We’d say “I, or, so and so fucked up or messed up.” Sometimes we’ll say something is “jacked up” although I haven’t heard someone say that in a while.

Chuffed = pleased about something -> The closest word I could think of that’s similar is “stoked” or “excited.”

Ace = something that is good or awesome -> We’ll say that’s “dope” or “cool.”

All right? = Hello, how are you? -> Ok, what?! That must definitely be determined by voice inflection! We’ll say: “What’s up”, “[are] you good” or, what’s happening?”

Bladdered/Pissed = intoxicated from alcohol -> We say: “I’m drunk”, “I’m fucked up”, or “I’m pretty lit, tanked up, smashed,” etc.

Me and Kieron

Me and Kieron putting our heads together to come up with some slang comparisons.

Let’s get pissed = Let’s get drunk (together) -> “Let’s get tore up, tanked, smashed, trashed,” etc. I think we even say the vague “let’s go out” that implies drinks will be involved and subsequently, drunkenness.

Buggar = another word for bloody as in “bloody hell.” -> Maybe how we say “damn” out of exasperation or anger? I can’t think of anything that’s similar.

Cheesed off = Pissed off/angry -> We just say “pissed off” or “ticked off”.

Twat = a swear word -> We have a bunch of those. Take your pick! Lol!

Chin wag = chatting -> I don’t think we have anything cutesy for chatting except maybe “let’s chop it up,” or “let’s talk shop.”

Gaff = a small place to hang out ->  I wasn’t sure what to make of this one because Kieron insisted that it’s a small hang out spot. I asked if he meant like an apartment (or a flat as all my British peeps call it). He said it’s smaller than a house, but not necessarily an apartment. The first thing to pop into my mind was a treehouse, but I don’t think that’s what he meant. So, I think we know this as the vague “chill spot”, which can be anything from a house to an apartment, or even a public space such as a bar or park.

Bunking off = to deliberately miss school -> We say skipping school.

Mate = friend -> Buddy, homeboy/girl, or homie

Girls vs. Boys:

Bloke = a guy -> We say dude

Bird = a girl -> We say chick

Slag = a promiscuous girl -> We say slut, whore, hoe, skank, hoebag, etc.

Bollocks = testicles -> We’ll say balls

Well that’s all that we could come up with. Of course slang differs by regions, cultures, and other factors. Therefore, I’m sure I’m forgetting something from the American perspective. Anyway, thanks for dropping by Kieron! You can follow him on Twitter and G+. If you’re looking for a breakdown of scenes within TV and movies, then I’d suggest you head over to his site.

The British invasion isn’t over! Fellow indie author Adele Archer (also from England) is stopping by the blog tomorrow. Hopefully she’ll read this and add some more words Kieron and I didn’t think of!

If you know any more slang, either British or American, leave it in the comments below!

Is Love A Losing Game?

FullSizeRender-1 Amy Winehouse sure thought love was a losing game, as do countless other artists who write and sing about heartbreak and the frustrations that come with it. It’s true. From that perspective, love sucks. It’s the kind of suck that burns and eats away at you until one day you’re either: (a.) over it and don’t think about it ever again, (b.) accept that it’s over but occasionally think “what if, but oh well” (à la Jill Scott’s “Cross My Mind”, another great song), or (c.) never get over it (let’s hope few people land in this category). Either resolution still results in love being a losing game. However, even when you’re in a happy, healthy, committed relationship with someone, it’s still a losing game. Instead of losing the other person, you’re losing your absolute sovereignty.

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Or course heartbreak blows and unrequited love is the worst. After all, who likes it when the object of their affection doesn’t reciprocate the affection? Perhaps some masochist out there does, but I’m sure most people don’t. I know it was a hard thing to deal with when it happened to me (there were also many, many other complicating factors involved). The object of my affection was very smart and I enjoyed all of our conversations. He knew a little bit about everything under the sun. His vocabulary was extensive, off the charts. I learned new words in every conversation we shared. Long story short, when things got complicated, everything went south, quickly (similar to how it would in a theoretical zombie apocalypse). In the end, I had to pick up the pieces of my pride and in doing so, I learned what the word “lovelorn” means. In retrospect, he was right at the time; I was lovelorn, but hey, first loves are one of the toughest losses to shrug off.

FullSizeRender-3 Fast-forward 10 years and I’m married to a great guy, who says reading my posts give him insight into my thoughts. That’s cool. I’ve always said I’m a better writer than speaker. He even dropped a line in the comments section on one. (Thanks!) If you’re reading this post, thanks for giving me a strong dose of reality and a fresh breath of positivity when I really need it. Tu amor me hace bien. 🙂 I digress.

FullSizeRender-4 Anyway, when you love someone and you agree to be in a relationship, you have to give up something, essentially losing your total autonomy, your absolute freedom. From this perspective, love is once again a losing game, albeit a bittersweet losing game. I say bittersweet because it’s sweet that you’re in this amazing relationship with someone with whom you can unabashedly share all of your fears and aspirations. It’s bitter because you no longer have full autonomy. I don’t mean in the sense that your significant other won’t allow you to do certain things. That would be abusive. What I do mean is that you can’t just fuck off and do whatever you want. Someone else’s thoughts and feelings have to be taken into consideration. You can’t fully do everything you please on a whim because you lose that freedom to do so once you commit to someone. Honestly, it’s something I’m still learning to navigate. Just about everything I do, say, or even think has an indirect or direct effect on my husband.

Strangely (or maybe not), commitment makes me think of parents and children. I’m not a mother, but I imagine relationships are akin to parenting, where each individual is a co-parent and the relationship itself is the child. You have to nurture it and spend time with it in order for it to flourish and grow in a healthy fashion. You also have to be mindful about your actions and what you say so that it can grow to be the best that it can be. You have to be selfless, but not so selfless that you completely lose yourself. That’s not healthy either. It’s a balancing act.

Is love a losing game? Of course that’s subjective and contingent upon circumstances. However, love is definitely a game of reciprocity.

Dystopian Literature and Films

Pretty bleak

Dystopia: an imaginary community or society that is undesirable or frightening.

This is going to be an extremely short post on something that I see everywhere, especially on social media. I see it all over my Twitter feed and in pop culture in general (Blade Runner, Book of Eli, Elysium, etc.); “check out this dystopian fantasy” or “dystopian fantasy about a super bad chick/dude with (insert weapon here).” What is it about dystopian literature that has captivated the public’s imagination?

After a quick Google search, I found a plethora of dystopian lit out there dating back to the 1700’s (Wikipedia has a comprehensive list that you can find here). Admittedly, I really didn’t pay much attention to dystopian lit until I read The Hunger Games series. Since then, I see it everywhere. What  is it about dystopian lit that attracts so many writers and readers? Does the attraction stem from sentiments of discontent about how present day society and/or culture is operating? Is it just one of the more entertaining genres of sic-fi? Is it a combo of the previous two, or something else entirely different? I’m really interested in hearing your (dear reader) opinions on this. Please leave a comment below or find me on social media.

10 Facts About That Kush

We all know Rihanna likes to puff

My main man, AJ, is into that green business and he makes a pretty nice profit for himself. As much as weed has been in the news lately, I discovered that I really didn’t know shit about the drug, aside from the usual stuff you’re fed in school through those D.A.R.E. programs (if you grew up in the 90’s I’m sure you’re aware of those antidrug initiatives). Or, from the musings of a friend who’s high as hell and waxing philosophical about the ills of the world and how if every world leader smoked one, a lot of problems would get solved.

D.A.R.E. poster

So, I decided to look some shit up on this divisive little plant. However, I wasn’t interested in the mundane discussions on its medicinal purposes (although I do sprinkle some in the end) or how it’s a gateway drug that will have you itching for that next hit of rock outside that seedy downtown spot (which is probably gentrified by now if you live in Atlanta). Nor did I want to go into details about how although weed usage is even across the races, blacks are disproportionally imprisoned due to weed possession (aside from being outright sad and ridiculous, that also deserves a post all of its own). I wanted to dig for some other facts ( as much as my 2 a.m. brain will allow me). Therefore, after cutting through most of the mainstream malarkey, I discovered 10 interesting things about cannabis:

Courtesy of gifstumbler.com

  • Hemp is not marijuana. Cannabis stiva (weed) and cannabis stavia L. (hemp) are two entirely different things. The former contains the psychoactive compound THC, the latter does not. There are also many other strands of cannabis that also contain other psychoactive properties aside from the THC we’re familiar with.
  • Cannabis has been around awhile. It is believed to date back to Central/South Asia around 12,000 – 10,000 years ago. For instance, cordage made of hemp found in ancient pottery in Taiwan suggests that cannabis was one of the oldest known human agriculture crops. Chinese records document various ways hemp and weed were cultivated and used throughout the centuries.
  • Cannabis wasn’t always illegal. In fact, it wasn’t until around 1906 that the U.S. began cracking down on the cultivation of cannabis. Prior to that, King James I mandated that hemp be grown as one of the crops in the Virginia colony mainly for textile purposes. Many oils and serums made of hemp were marketed as medicines. However, due to charlatans mixing harmful ingredients into their hemp-based medicines and conservative social mores driving legislation, The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) was born and deemed cannabis oil a “poison” thus increasing regulation of it. This law preceded the Marijuana Tax Act (1937), which made the possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the U.S. under federal law excluding medical and industrial use. Of course those exclusions were levied heavily. By the 1950’s and onward, the laws around the criminalization of cannabis usage got even tougher.
  • In the U.S., cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Apparently that means it’s in the same classification as heroine and LSD. Damn.
  • According to some theories, xenophobia helped to criminalize cannabis in the U.S. Interesting on so many different levels. According to an article from NPR citing a 1994 Atlantic article, “Cannabis was outlawed because various powerful interests (some of which have economic motives to suppress hemp production) were able to craft it into a bogeyman in the popular imagination, by spreading tales of homicidal mania touched off by consumption of the dreaded Mexican ‘locoweed.’ Fear of brown people combined with fear of nightmare drugs used by brown people to produce a wave of public action against the ‘marijuana menace.’ That combo led to restrictions in state after state, ultimately resulting in federal prohibition.” Now this was during the early 20th century. What’s most amazing to me about this quote from NPR is how corporate interests played on the fears of the American populace. Arguably, corporations and other interests groups currently employ these same tactics. As far as the xenophobia, the more things change, the more the stay the same. Once again, this deserves a post all of its own.
  • How did we get the term ganja? Put your lighters up and wave your ganja in the air.I’ve heard the term ganja in many dancehall songs and automatically thought it was Jamaican slang for weed. Well, that’s partially true. However, ganja derives from the Sanskrit word ganjika. In Hinduism, ganja is associated with the god Shiva.
  • Even influential minds smoke that Kush. Shakespeare was one of them. While he probably didn’t smoke the Kush strand specifically, an archaeological dig did find pipes from Shakespeare’s garden that contained trace amounts of cannabis. I was surprised to know that even Oprah admitted to smoking it once upon a time.
  • In the U.S., cannabis ranks number 4 in crop value. At least according to some estimates. It’s kind of hard to track that since it’s illegal on the federal level. In some estimates, cannabis ranks as number 1 or 2 in California, New York, and Florida.
  • Cannabis is delicious. People eat it, including yours truly. And no, I’m not talking about those special brownies your homeboy made when you were in college causing you to have that God awful trip. I’m talking about products such as hemp milk, (I use the unsweetened Vanilla flavor in my protein shakes) hemp seeds (which are high in Omegas 3 and 6), and other edibles that don’t contain THC.
  •  “Marijuana” is not the spelled the same in Spanish. Hmm. This probably isn’t that interesting to most people, but since I took Spanish throughout middle and high school and was a Spanish major once upon a time, I find this interesting. In Spanish, it’s spelled “marihuana.” How did the anglicized version morph that “h” into a “j?”

So, that about sums up my 2 a.m. ramblings on random weed, sorry, cannabis related stuff. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you know any other good factoids about cannabis or do you have any good weed related stories? Leave them in the comments below or find me on social media.

Sources:

  1. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/48337-marijuana-history-how-cannabis-travelled-world.html
  2. Advanced Holistic Health. http://www.advancedholistichealth.org/history.html
  3. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug)
  4. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_foods
  5. NPR. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/07/14/201981025/the-mysterious-history-of-marijuana
  6. DEA Museum. http://www.deamuseum.org/ccp/cannabis/history.html
  7. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_history_of_cannabis_in_the_United_States