Stupid Internet · 14 January 2017

The internet is stupid. Rather, getting to the internet is stupid. Or painful.

We have been wrestling with the internet for quite a while now. It seems that sometimes we get great internet and sometimes we do not. Sometimes we can stream on several devices. Sometimes we cannot even get one device to play a YouTube video. Sometimes we can surf the interweb and peek in on what other people are doing on Facebook. Sometimes we cannot even get to any social media site at all.

It is frustrating to say the least. But we live with it. I do anyway. Until it is time to post my blog or see what my Facebook fans and Twitter followers are disliking or unfollowing. When the internet slows to a crawl and I cannot surf anywhere, I just write more silly blog posts. Sometimes about the stupid internet.

Our internet provider did send us a solution to our internet problem. A new DSL modem. It is a modem plus wireless combination. Of course, the wireless does not have any of the features our current wireless has, so I figured I could make a simple adjustment to the new modem and make it work like our old one. Hopefully, a bit faster.

No such luck.

I spent a couple days scouring the internet for hints on how to make my new modem a bridge like I did with the old one. Then, I could not get the thing to work the way the old one did. The new modem with wireless would have been great if I could have set it up to take the place of the old wireless, but I could not get it to have the same password. It would not take any characters other than A-D-O-P-R-S-W. Sure we could arrange those letters any way and as many times we wanted to create PASSWORD (get it?), but what a pain. Okay, we could use all the letters, numbers too, but still, every internet security expert says to put in special characters into passwords to make them really secure. (Of course, unless you write them down, you will never remember them. But that is a completely different story.)

Well, the story of the new modem is not over. I am still fiddling with it. I work on it a bit and then go back to using the old one. Who knows what the final outcome will be. If there were more than one choice for internet providers, we might try them. But giving people a choice on who can provide internet service would be a preposterous thing. (There are still a few regulated monopolies out there.) I suppose it is just Ma Bell rearing her ugly head again and again saying, “See, I told you I was a good thing.”

Anyway. I have no idea what I am writing or what the outcome of our internet fiasco will be. All I know is that when it comes right down to it, the internet is stupid. Or at least getting there is.

[Note: I wrote this a while ago when we got our new modem (works okay) and new wireless router (which works great). It all works now, but I still wanted to post this so I could put out its sequel.]

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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#GreatBandNames · 7 January 2017

Original Vulture by Magnus Kjaergaard
Original Baggage by Billy Hathorn
licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I was on Twitter the other day and saw a great hashtag that I had to comment on. #GreatBandNames

Part of the reason I was looking at trending hashtags was because of a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. It is a book about using social media to get people to notice your company and get them to a place where they can buy what you are selling. It is a great book that got me thinking. And tweeting. At the very least, it has made me wonder what the heck it is I am selling. (Can you even sell drivel?) To be sure, it has helped me realize that I know little to nothing about selling myself and using social media to do it.

But back to the hashtag.

One of the important things Mr. Vaynerchuk says about using Twitter is that you ought to look at trending hashtags. (I know that it is technically called an octothorpe, but that is a different story.) And not just look at them, but add something called context to the story. That context could be promoting your brand and getting people to your point of sale (throwing the right hook or delivering the punch line). Or it could just be chatting people up getting to know them (having conversations) and what they are looking for (jabbing) so that you can deliver the goods (the right hook). It is a brilliant strategy that I have no idea how to take advantage of. But I tried. I had to try. Especially since I was given such a great topic.

Which brings me back to #GreatBandNames. And a nostalgic story.

Kevin was one of the guys I hung around with back in high school. Years and years ago. We had classes together and played soccer together. And we lied to Dave together.

Now Dave was not a gullible guy or anything. He was just trusting. And Kevin was pretty convincing. I am not sure how all the lying started, but it was probably something like the following.

Dave: “Hey, what’s that you’re drawing?”

Kevin: “This?” pointing to the picture he was drawing of vultures perched on luggage. “Oh, it’s just an album cover of a new band I saw.”

Dave: “New band?”

Kevin: “Yeah. It’s called Carrion Baggage.”

Dave: “Carry-on Baggage? That’s a stupid name for a band.”

Kevin: “Not carry-on like you carry on a plane. Carrion – C-A-R-R-I-O-N – like dead flesh.”

Me: “Thus the vultures.”

Kevin: “Right. Thus the vultures.” He probably looked over at me and winked. He certainly smiled.

Dave: “Well… That does make more sense. But it’s still a stupid name for a band.”

Kevin: “Their fans don’t think so.”

Dave: “Yeah. Well…”

Me: “Hey, thousands of fans can’t be wrong.” I am sure Kevin’ smile got bigger acknowledging my collusion.

Dave: “So what kind of band are they anyway?”

Kevin: “Well, they’re a mix between hard rock and punk.”

Dave: “Oh. No wonder I never heard of them.”

Me: “Yeah. They’re kind of obscure even in their own genre. After all, that stuff rots your brain.”

Kevin: “Thus the vultures. Again.”

Dave: “Thus the vultures.” Awkward pause while Kevin draws some more. “So how many albums do they have anyway?”

Kevin: “Two. But they are coming out with a third.”

And so it went. For months, maybe even a year or more. Kevin kept drawing album art with vultures and luggage. Dave kept not really believing him, but thinking Carrion Baggage might really be a band. I kept giving my oh so convincing comments.

Actually, I am not sure if the deception went on longer than a few months or even years. For all I know, Kevin might still be lying to Dave. (If you are, I am sorry I spilled the beans.) Actually, I am sure Kevin regretted the deception even though it was all in good fun, and truthfully, I do not know if Dave ever truly believed the ruse. After all, the only thing Kevin ever had as evidence was the art he drew and my corroborating comments. And of course, the #GreatBandName, Carrion Baggage.

So if you are ever out cruising the Twitterverse and see the hashtag #GreatBandNames, I hope you remember my friends, Dave and Kevin. And I hope you chuckle a little when you think of Kevin’s Carrion Baggage and the ruse we played (sorry Dave). After all these years, it is still one of my favorite hoaxes and certainly the best of #GreatBandNames.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Not a #TwitterBug · 31 December 2016

Photograph of Jitterbugging
taken by Marion Post Wolcott
This work is in the public domain.

I know that in this day and age of social media, writers and other content providers need to be self-promoters, but I cannot find it in me to be a #TwitterBug. At least not yet.

I do not know if a TwitterBug is even a real thing, but you would surely know one if you saw one. Those people who are constantly typing stuff on their phones. Sometimes, even while you are talking to them. In person. (They will tell you that they can listen and text, and they will prove it by texting you a reply to your in-person question.) Even though they might be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any myriad of social media sites (sorry, cannot name them all, but I did list the ones I am on, hint, hint), I liked the moniker TwitterBug. After all, it sounds like something already out there. A dance called the Jitterbug.

Now, I cannot tell you what the Jitterbug looks like, but I am sure there are lots of videos out there to show this old dance. You can learn just about anything on the internet and I am sure Jitterbugging is one of them. It is not quite as easy as “One, two, cha, cha, cha,” but it was popular at one time, so I am sure it must be fairly easy to learn. But probably not quite as easy to learn as TwitterBugging.

Then again, I am not quite getting the hang of this whole social media thing. After all, who has time to post and tweet and post and tweet and post and tweet? The answer of course, is anybody who is serious about attracting others to their content. Writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and anybody else on the internet all need to strut their stuff on the content catwalk. At least if they want to grow their audiences.

Which brings me back to this TwitterBug thing.

I used to be a bit of a shutter bug. I would take pictures of stuff all the time when I was learning. Back in those days, photography was a bit expensive. After all, you had to pay to print the pictures. All the pictures. I am not sure where all those old pictures are, but I have most of my negatives and slides I ever took. (The one roll of film I still wish I had contained the pictures I took of my grandparents’ old farm. It had a great picture of the old outhouse. At least it was great in my mind.) The point is that I had to get used to taking pictures to be a shutterbug.

I guess that is what I really need to do to become a TwitterBug. I need to learn how to post more than one thing per day. I need to learn how to interact with people on the internet. I need to promote my brand and still be authentic. Of course, being authentic is easy. Like Popeye, I yam what I yam. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk.

Maybe someday, I will be a TwitterBug. Not the kind that tweets and pretends to listen (I am not a multi-tasker), but the kind that interacts with and engages with content consumers. One that is engages with his audience. More than once a day. Hopefully, someday. But for now, I am just not a #TwitterBug.

© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi

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