Business Shopping Technology

My iPhone X

images-2I recently purchased the new iPhone X. I mainly got it because my other iPhone wasn’t holding its charge, but in addition, the photography capabilities of the new iPhone X were something of a turn-on to me. So I ordered it and will pay an additional $15 per month for the rest of my life to pay for it. Whatever.

So now I am using the phone, and let’s just say, I am not a happy person.

I will lead into why with a quote from my grandmother upon acquiring her first push-button phone:

“I don’t like this. I don’t like that if I make a mistake, I can’t figure it out, and keep calling the wrong number. What was wrong with the rotary phone?”

I rolled my then-ten-year old eyes and patiently walked her through the process of just using the tip of her finger when pushing the numbers. And I thought to myself, ”Geez, she’s old.”

Well, now, I guess, it’s my turn.

The iPhone X’s lack of a home button is not only disconcerting, it’s stupid. I get that it took up screen space, but it was the mother ship of the phone. I’m now floundering in the high seas of maneuverability issues around apps, turning off my phone at the end of a call, and scrolling up to enter stuff, which is not as easy as it sounds; trust me. There is a whole host of other new things to learn that require reading instructions that didn’t even come with the phone—which really doesn’t matter because I never read them anyway. It’s actually an act of protest because I’m certain instructions are written by men who have no idea how to get from point A to point B with any sensibility. Don’t get me started down that road. Suffice it to say, instructions aren’t an option for me.

There is a fine young woman who works at my company, Blue Shoe, and she has crossed from her desk to mine in our open-air office numerous times to help me.

She gently told me to just ask for Siri, and she will answer me. I use the word “gently” here because, let’s face it: It’s really condescension with a hint of kindness because I control her paycheck. Or, at least, I used to do so when I could access my bank accounts from my phone, which ain’t so easy anymore.

Well, her Siri direction isn’t right. It’s a lie—a lie like a Sarah Huckabee lie. I have asked nicely, yelled not so nicely, and used words that don’t belong in my blog . . . and nothing. Nada. Siri has left me—most likely, for good. Well, screw her; I’ll figure things out for myself.

I use my phone’s ear buds because I don’t want to get brain cancer when I’m already struggling with Aspartame dementia from diet coke, which Trump has helped me give it up cold turkey because I have no desire to be like him in any way. He drinks as much DC as I used to drink, so I have him to thank for saving what was left of my brain. Anyway, because I’m on the phone a good chunk of the day, I keep my phone plugged in to the juicer. Well, guess what? You can do one or the other, but not both. Apple got rid of the plug for the ear phone and now it uses the same plug as the charger. Seriously? Don’t they pay their engineers billions of dollars? Maybe the engineer doesn’t ever talk on the phone because he’s too smart to speak dummy down english like the rest of us. I don’t know.

OK, now let me talk about this face-recognition feature. I set it up. I turned my face every which way from Sunday while the phone registered it. I’m telling you that if someone has an iPhone X and gets arrested, they can simply send law enforcement the images from face recognition, and not have to stand in front of those cameras that have to be the height of humiliation. Save the government money. That’s on my 2018 agenda.

But that’s not my main problem with “Face ID,” as Apple calls it. Here is the problem: If someone robs you, they have to take you with them when they take your phone or they won’t be able to do anything at all with it. Yep, you heard it here first. You can plead all you want, but your face is central to the success of their theft over the long haul, so you not only lose your phone, your family loses you, which in the case of my family these days, might be a welcome relief.

So, the bottom line is that I’m an old lady who is beginning to yearn for the days of the flip-top phone. I miss those good old times when my life wasn’t spent on apps and staring into my phone for recognition—recognition I used to receive from others when they felt grateful for something I’d done for them.

Business Technology

Facebook Content: Who is Responsible?

Occasionally, I bring my work hat to Freesia Lane. I am in marketing, where social media plays a large role in our day. This posted on Blue Shoe Strategy’s blog this morning. I know most of you are on Facebook. Thought you might find it relevant. Christine

17bits-fbdiary-tmagArticleAn excellent piece by Jenna Wortham ran in the The New York Times today, Facebook’s Existential Crisis. She challenges the worth of the content of Facebook, its relevance to our lives, and marvels that the numbers are rising in usage while offering less worthy information. She mentions that others she talks to agree with her; Facebook has become boring. Unfortunately, she places the blame and responsibility for changing her sad state on Facebook. Typical.

Jenna Wortham appears quite young when I Google her in Google Images. And, like others in her generation, she places the blame for her Facebook life of quiet desperation on someone other than herself. Facebook isn’t the culprit in her lackluster Facebook life; she and her friends are. Facebook doesn’t provide content.  Facebook presents the content you provide. The responsibility for the poor quality of what we have to read when we spend an average of 34 minutes a day on the page lies with those who are on on Facebook. Yep, it’s not the ‘parent’ at fault, but the Facebook participants not recognizing the power they have individually in the make up of their Facebook content. Facebook is not like watching a T.V. show where the fabulous Shonda Rimes has decided what we see and the messages it sends to our subliminal minds about who we are. Facebook is one of the few places we get to go to receive information where we decide what we see (who you follow, what pages you ‘like’), when we see it, and how much time we spend commenting or digging deeper into it. It’s the ultimate in free speech. It’s the ultimate newspaper self designed to provide information on that which you decide is important to you. And the way in which you yourself participate will determine the worth of what you – and those that follow you – get out of it.

Just as in life outside the computer screen, we are who we surround ourselves with. Facebook is the disseminator of our messages. So, Jenna, you and your friends need to take responsibility for your own boredom. Get rid of those and that which bore you on your Facebook feed. I have unfriended those that I know provide me with the downer of the day that might not lift me to my greatest heights. I work very hard to provide content on my feed that is relevant to my friends and family. And, I read a variety of pages that inform me, including those that annoy me. (Can I mention Fox News here?) I want to be informed and I take responsibility for that which goes through my brain in the precious time I spend on Facebook.

So, ask not what content Facebook is providing you, but rather, what content you are providing Facebook?


Ebay Online Help

I am not going to comment. I’m just going to cut and paste the “conversation” I had with a “person” at Ebay online. No judgement. No harsh criticism from me. No sarcastic tone. Just the simple conversation – seventeen wasted minutes of it. (I couldn’t help but use the word wasted, which of course makes the rest of the paragrah a lie.) You judge for yourself. And, I state here, that I have not changed one word of the conversation.

Ok, I can’t help it, I have to say something – and I say this with all due respect. I remember when you simply called customer service between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and somehow the world made it work.

8:25:24 AM EDT System


Initial Question/Comment: Billing / Subscription

8:25:29 AM EDT


Thank you for contacting eBay Live Help!

8:25:29 AM EDT


Murphy C. has joined this session!

8:25:29 AM EDT


Connected with Murphy C.

8:25:38 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Hello! Welcome to eBay Stores Live Help. My name is Murphy, may I start by confirming your User Id and First Name?

8:25:47 AM EDT


I want to change to a different pay pal account and can’t find my way to do it.

8:26:03 AM EDT


My user ID is DuckToller and my name is Christine

8:26:26 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I can understand your concern in this situation.

8:26:29 AM EDT


And, hello Murphy. Sorry for my rudeness, but I have not mentioned any concern.

8:27:19 AM EDT

Murphy C.

May I know if you are trying to change the Payment method for receiving payments or for paying listing fees for items listed?

8:27:59 AM EDT


No, I’m trying to change my pay pal account that was connected to Ebay. THe one you have listed – I closed – and want to move to my new one. I would like a person please. You are clearly not a person.

8:28:40 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I am real person like you are…

8:29:04 AM EDT


Well then can you assist me?

8:29:04 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I will be glad to assist you with changing the PayPal account..

8:29:08 AM EDT



8:29:14 AM EDT

Murphy C.


8:30:05 AM EDT


So? Hello???

8:30:25 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Firstly as you have changed you PayPal account, I would request you to link your new PayPal account with your eBay Account

8:30:34 AM EDT

Murphy C.

and then while listing an item on your account…

8:30:37 AM EDT


how do I do that? I have tried and there is no where to do that. That is what I told you?!!! I can’t find a way to do that!!!

8:30:51 AM EDT


I have an item that sold. They sent payment and I can’t receive it because it’s going into the closed account.

8:30:52 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I will help you with the steps..

8:31:54 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Oh! well, you can contact your buyer and ask them to cancel the original payment and then repay for the item directly through PayPal..

8:32:22 AM EDT

Murphy C.

To link your PayPal address to your eBay address book:


1. Go to and click “My eBay” at the top of the page. You may be asked to sign in.

2. Place your cursor over the “Account” tab and select “Addresses” in the drop-down menu that appears.

3. Click the “View all shipping addresses” link that is just above “About Addresses.”

4. Make sure you’ve linked your address book to your PayPal account. If you see the “Add PayPal Addresses” button, your address is not linked.

5. Click the “Add PayPal Addresses” button.

8:34:56 AM EDT


It is LINKED TO THE WRONG PAY PAL ACCOUNT: one that I closed. Are you there?!!! I told you!!! There is an account listed and it’s closed!

8:35:14 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Also once you have linked your PayPal account with your eBay Account, once you are ready to list an item, you may click on the Sell Tab and change the PayPal email address on the Sell Your Item Form..

8:35:38 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Yes, when you change or close your PayPal account, it is not automatically updated on your listings..

8:35:42 AM EDT


I want a real person. I am trying to change my pay pal account within ebay. I have told you this from the beginning. 

8:35:44 AM EDT

Murphy C.

and on your account..

8:36:00 AM EDT


how do I change the account in my Ebay account?

8:36:24 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I will explain this to you..

8:37:10 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I would like to inform you that on the page which is showing the incorrect email address, you need to remove the PayPal email address and then link it again..

8:37:24 AM EDT


What page? THere is no page!!!

8:37:35 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Would you like me to walk you through the steps to get this resolved?

8:37:38 AM EDT


Please send me to a real person.

8:39:45 AM EDT


are you there?

8:39:51 AM EDT


This is ridiculous.

8:40:10 AM EDT

Murphy C.

I am real person, however you would still not able to get this resolved with another real person..

8:40:19 AM EDT

Murphy C.

you may try contacting our Stores Phone Support.

8:40:26 AM EDT


what is the number?

8:40:40 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Let me get you the number…..

8:40:43 AM EDT


and you are totally lying, you are a not a person.

8:41:35 AM EDT

Murphy C.

What makes you realize that?

8:41:42 AM EDT


what is the number please?

8:42:15 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Here you go..

8:42:34 AM EDT

Murphy C.

Phone: 866-322-9103

(6am-6pm PT, Monday-Friday)


Technology Women

Women, Business, Power

Okay ladies, gather round.

I have always loved Google Chrome. Since it came on the scene, I have unfailingly used it as my browser. Its clean lines, its easy search, its surety of providing the latest content. Those cool pictures they use sparingly around the search box, so when they show up you smile or marvel at the coolness of it all. Google is the Apple of browsers. You feel good using it.

But I have also always felt that it was male-oriented. Come to think of it, all browsers are male-oriented. It’s never really bothered me; I am sort of male-oriented. I believe there is no crying in business. I believe that flirting in order to get someone at the office to do something for you denigrates my hard work and makes it harder for me to be taken seriously. I believe that business should be genderless, but that’s impossible, so I muddle along doing the best I can with what I have been given.

I was reading the Wall Street Journal the other day, and the front page of the business section had two articles centered around female CEOs. They weren’t about the fact that they had women CEO’s, which was great, but the front page was littered with women’s pictures and I couldn’t help but take note. One article was about Meg Whitman’s struggling Hewlett Packard (not my thing), and the other one was about the fabulous Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo, and her plans to prioritize product development. The headlines were more about her pregnancy than about her becoming CEO. Whatever. It felt good to have women dominate the front page of the WSJ’s business section―they rarely do. I loved it, and when I love something, it gets me thinking.

There are three women in the top management structure of Google. That’s three out of twenty-one individuals listed on Google’s web site. I’m not all that great at numbers, but we are talking about less than 15 percent. Now, let’s review their responsibilities. One is head of, which is the not-for-profit organization that gives Google Foundation money away. Another is VP of Advertising, and another is Head of Communications and Public Policy. Now, I do not in any way want to cast aspersions on these women’s jobs, all of which are important and require intelligence and hard work. But let’s be real here; none of those in the arena of how it all works and the language that it speaks will have my gender perspective. So why am I passively giving Google my business?

We women make up more than half of the U.S. Let’s take that out for a spin, ladies. We never do that. We never do! Why is that? Are we the crazies who continue to be downtrodden because we never realize our own strength? What if we all decided to move from Google to Yahoo? Seriously, we can make the change we want to see. We can demand stronger representation and more say in how things go with sheer numbers. What if, the day after Ms Mayer’s baby is born, we all promise to spend an entire day only using Yahoo?

Yes, I do know that this is not unique idea. Girl Power has been around since Gloria Steinem put on her marching shoes without heels. But it hasn’t been usedsuccessfully  in social media yet. Come on ladies, whadaya say? You in? Let’s take our power out for a spin and let’s give a sister a leg up. While she doesn’t appear to need the leg up; it would be nice if she knew we were in it for her to win it. It’s time.

Other Products Shopping Technology

My New Prius

Those of you who read me regularly know I have had some serious car issues. There was my poor Audi, which was hit in Utah by Buck, the twelve-point male deer around Thanksgiving a few years ago. Then there were the minor accidents I kept having in LA, where parking is complicated by hidden nightmares like cement poles that are supposed to mark the spots, but only serve to dent my fenders. Then there was the rental car that was towed. I had no idea what kind of car it was, which made it difficult to pick it up at a lot where it was hidden among hundreds of other cars that were recognizable to their drivers. Never did find that car.

But I have recently added a new car to my fleet. My name is Christine, and I bought a Prius. I wish to be a stronger member of the “I want to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the world” club, and since ice cream and my advancing years are making my physical person larger, I’m working on making my footprint smaller. Membership in this club calls for thoughtful spending and usage of resources, so I followed my little sister’s lead and bought a Prius.

When I was test driving it, the very nice and patient sales person, a friend of my cousin Cliff’s, explained that the correct way to drive a Prius is to hit the gas pedal gently, which allows for slower acceleration and less gas consumption. They even put this gauge on the dashboard that shows you how many miles per gallon you are getting, so you can actually see that the slower you accelerate, the less gas you use. At its best, a Prius can get 100 miles per gallon. This is a good thing… or so you would think. But truthfully, it’s beginning to get on my nerves, to say nothing of the other drivers behind me. I now glance from the road to the gauge over and over again throughout any driving expedition, trying to keep that line over 50 miles to the gallon. This was fun for a day or two, but not so much now. And while I grant you my Mario Andretti ways were probably not in the best interest of the environment, my ridiculous granny-driving is greatly reducing my billable hours per week.

Then there is the problem with the sound of the engine. The engine makes no sound, and there is no key in the ignition, which is another thing that seemed like a great idea when I bought the car, but is now a nightmare. I keep leaving the car running overnight. When you stop and put the car in park, there is no sound, which makes it easy to forget to press the “power off” button if you are on the phone (hands-free of course), or just thinking about important things like whether you remembered to TIVO Oprah’s latest Master Class. How many times have I left it on, you ask? I’m almost sixty and my memory—especially short-term—doesn’t serve me well, but I can safely say it’s more than five, and I have had the car for three months. Okay, that’s a lie, I have had the car two months.

But the biggest problem centers around interaction with people. I am not a friendly person by nature. I realize that sounds bad, and I don’t mean it to be, but I am busy trying to be a strong, thoughtful friend and family member, and time is a precious commodity. That means I don’t have a lot of time to make new friends in parking lots, which they never mentioned when I bought the car is a “benefit” of belonging to the “I Own A Prius” club. Membership automatically comes with purchase; it’s not opt-in, and unless you want to feel really bad about yourself as a part of the human race, there is no easy way to resign.

“Oh, I see you have a Prius. I’m thinking of getting one. Do you like it?”

“Oh, I have a Prius too! Don’t you love yours? Can you believe the gas mileage?”

“Oh, would you mind if I got inside? I just want to see if it feels as small as it looks from the outside!”

This last one is especially upsetting, because you are not supposed to let strangers in your car, so I always get out of the car and say, “Try the driver’s side.” This is problematic because I always forget to turn the car off, especially when I’m distracted by someone at my side window, and they could easily drive away and leave me standing on the corner dialing 911—assuming I remembered to remove my cell phone, which hooks into the car’s telephone system.

This last thing I am about to tell you is a secret because it’s really bad and I hate to share it with the world, but here it is. I was really feeling low a few weeks ago, sitting in my car listening to Adele, and sure enough, when I parked, there was someone waiting to ask me about the car. I pretended to be deaf. Yes, deaf. I know, I know. But that is what I did, and it wasn’t until later that I realized that since I was listening to Adele at a zillion decibels, they likely figured out that I was lying. To say nothing of the fact that I no longer live in LA, where the likelihood of twice running into someone you met in a parking lot is a lot lower than it is here in Cape Cod, where only I and a few others choose to live in the dead of winter. I’m sorry, and I will never do it again.

But I do feel good when I get into my Prius. I do. I feel proud of myself. I am happy that I am saving about as much as I am paying for the car in less gas used—or at least my feeble financial mind thinks so. All in all, it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made, and I am happy to be a part of the club. I just wish I could be a silent member.



Let’s talk about the abbreviated language of our lives.

On the back window of my car, I have a bumper sticker that says HLS. A friend was getting in the car and asked what it meant. When I told her Harvard Law School, she said, “Sheesh, for what you pay for her to go there, you would think they would do bumper stickers that write the whole thing out.” Even though Sarah’s dad pays (bless him), I saw her point and then started to see brevs (short for abbreviations, my daughter’s friends made it made it up) for everything.

TMI Mom!”                   Too much information.

FML                                   F*(&^ my life. I never use that one.

BRB                                    Be right back.

LOL                                    If you need an explanation, I can’t help you.

I think chat rooms were the originators of brevs.

I think we need to stop brevs from shortening our thoughts. So little time, so few words? Not so much. I want to go back to full sentences. Emails that are not phrases. If I am happy, I want to write, “It’s a good day and I’m happy,” instead of 🙂 which, let’s face it, demeans the feeling. And, if I’m sad, I’m going to say or write or text or facebook, “I’m sad today. Alas.”

So, while this may be an abbreviated blog in its length, it’s a promise of no more brevs to come. Join me. Let’s take back the world of sentences.

Personal Essays Technology

Freesia Lane is a year old…

So, Freesia Lane is a year old today. Yikes. Happy Birthday to me.

My goal was to write it for a year to get me writing on a daily (minus the weekends) basis and to see if I could find a voice before doing my book that has been marinating in the back of my head for a long, long time.

So, because I’m a maudlin, weepy-eyed kind of woman, I was thinking about how Freesia Lane came to be and what it’s brought me this past year. All of this leads to Paula.

Paula and I have been friends for fifteen years. We met online. We met in a Compuserve forum and really came together from like-minded interests. It’s a great way to make a friend. Imagine yourself in a sea of thousands of people. How do you pick out the one that should be your friend? Everyone in a forum wears a sign around their necks listing things that interest them. They post items from that list on threads in the forum. This makes finding like-minded souls amidst thousands of people easy. That’s how Paula and I found each other. We wrote a book together (not our finest hour, we are both Alpha girls). We have traveled together. We have talked kids together. She has been through the loves of my life. She was at my step father’s funeral crying in the aisle. I met and loved her father who left a few years ago. Bottom line is that Paula and her husband David are among my closest friends.

The interesting thing is that because of the way we met, we know no one else in common. It makes our friendship such a safe haven to tell all. There is no one else it will affect. Everyone should have a friend like that. And, everyone should be a friend like that. And, this story is one of the great stories of what the World Wide Web has brought to society, and personally to me.

Paula believes in my writing ‘voice’ and set up Freesia Lane for me. She is the smartest woman I have ever met, a loner, and a techie from self-taught tenacity. She doesn’t often let the world in, and I am grateful to be someone who has had the opportunity to see inside her amazing brilliance and incredibly sensitive soul. She has read every book I’ve ever seen the cover of, and she can speak ahead of the rest of us on most issues.

Lest I go too far, Paula’s politics are misguided. We try to stay away from the topic, and I remind myself that even really smart, successful people sometimes get lost in the forest. Thank God I’m around to make sure they find a road back. I have not been able to lure her to the pathway to sunshine in political America, and I’m proud to say it’s not from lack of trying. She would say the exact opposite; that it’s me who is misguided, but all of you and I know the truth.

So, it’s ode to Paula day. Her gift to me of Freesia Lane is, aside from Ms. Sarah, the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten. Thanks Paula.

And, as I read through some of the posts over the past year this morning, I realize that it’s been one of the funnest and interesting things I’ve done. The way it grew was surprising to me. That people would actually read what I write and look forward to receiving the blog, was a side, surprise gift. Putting my thoughts to paper (virtual paper) was the funnest part, and I look forward to the coming year. I actually kept it up, and I surprised myself doing it. I’m a short distance runner, not a marathon girl, and I am so happy I kept my personal commitment.

Thanks everyone for your emails and support. Really do appreciate it all. Enjoy the spring and onward Cyber soldiers.

Business Technology

Don’t be Evil

Google has a motto, “Don’t be evil.” When Google was first growing they were concerned about cliques and groups forming with different agendas and the resulting demise that the growth and resulting ‘groups’ would cause the company. They assembled some peeps together from different segments of the company and charged them with coming up with a motto for the company that would ensure they didn’t lose their cohesive culture. “Cohesive Culture” in a company. Hmmm.

The group came up with things like “don’t mistreat people,” “don’t lose focus,” “play hard but keep the puck down (what the heck does that mean?).” At the end of the day, someone said that all the phrases they’d assembled added up to “Don’t be evil.” Voila. Google had their motto.

Don’t be evil. Wow. A motto at one of the largest companies in the world that says, “Don’t be evil.” Remember when corporate mottoes were things such as “The customer is always right” or “Have it your way.” My how times have changed. It’s not about how to act anymore, it’s about how to be. The pressure.

I pictured someone coming into Google’s Human Resources offices and the conversation that ensues.

“You were evil today.”

“I know, I will never be evil again.”

“Two more evils and you are out.”

Always up for a challenge, I spent an entire day yesterday with “Don’t be evil” on my desktop, on a sticky on my office and cell phone, and in my notebook page for the day’s ‘to do.’ It was surrounding me. “Are you normally evil?” I hear you ask. Evil is a strong word, but I am often sarcastic, biting, exasperated, and add them all together and it could be construed as ‘evil.’ Anyway, I spent yesterday going out of my way to leave adjectives behind where someone on the other end might not feel fabulous. I was good to go until noon. Then something happened, and I became the person of biting sarcasm and forceful ‘are you kidding me?’ that is not in the Google motto mold. Looking back over the day, I am not sure it was the right day to practice not being evil. I am going to start over today. I think it could really work today because I have no scheduled calls or appointments.

I’m a Google fan. But, I do have one constructive thought for Google though. (Did you notice how I couched that in a non-evil way?) We are living in a day of positive positioning, so presenting what not to be is not as effective as presenting what you want them to be. A motto that says, “Always be nice” might work even better than the fabulous “Don’t be evil.” Please tell me you noticed how I presented my constructive crticism in a non-evil way. I could have said, “If you guys are so smart you would have known that it’s all about presenting what you want someone to do, not what you don’t want them to do. Sheesh, are you guys idiots?” I only point it out because I had to rewrite the sentence three times for it to come out that nice. I want you to see my efforts.

So, today is a new day, and I’m a new me. No longer an Obama Mini Me, the new goal is to be a Google Mini Me. Wish me luck.


Reply to All: The Demise of Many of Us

We’ve all done it. ‘Reply to all’ when really you meant to reply only to the one who sent it to you. The worst one for me was when I was working with a politician. He emailed me something another elected official sent him and brilliant strategist that I am, I sent the following email back to what I thought was my politician client, “I told you he was an idiot. He’s even dumber than I thought. Distance yourself quick!” I got an email back from the politician to whom I referred which read, “Tell me how you really feel about me. And, who’s the idiot?” He had a point. I emailed apologies to everyone except his mother, and I vowed I would never err like that again. I have done it again, but never as bad as that one.

Then there is the problem of forwarding emails so much that the earliest ones which shouldn’t be read by those now in the string of emails is read by them.

Ten years ago the worst thing you could do is lose your temper on someone’s answering machine. Now there are tens of technologies to catch you in the mistake of saying something you wish you hadn’t. It’s exhausting.

The key is to never, ever, ever write down anything in an email, in a text, on a twitter, in Facebook, or on someone’s voicemail that you don’t want to be heard by anyone in the entire technology universe. This is your only hope of sleeping well at night. It really is, and as for pictures, let’s not even go there. I keep telling the younger generation that once you post it on Facebook it’s out there forever. Forever is a long time. I would say to just ask Paris Hilton about that, but she’s not smart enough to realize that tape is still out in cyberspace and will be for her children’s children.

Well, I learned my lesson. Hope you have as well.


Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year: Unfriend

Oxford Dictionary has announced that the word of the year is Unfriend. What to do with this? Unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook. I’m not sure what to do with this.

To give some perspective, last year’s word of the year was Hypermile. “Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs a gas saving website. “Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques. Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding EPA ratings for miles per gallon.

Back to unfriend. We are a country that loves to make things disappear. The homeless in New York City are gathered up sometimes and sent to a farm upstate. As long as they stay hidden from public view, they are fine, but the minute they show up in public, they are removed. We take away through plastic surgery anything that just doesn’t look quite right. I actually know someone who had the scars of riding boot rubs removed from her daughter’s legs at the age of 10 because she didn’t like the way it looked. I still have the scar on my toe where I stepped on glass on Cape Cod walking barefoot into town to play miniature golf. And now, according to the stately Oxford Dictionary, we can now take away that which we have previously called a friend by a sweep of the keystroke on our computer.

I have unfriended people on Facebook. You can do it without the person knowing. The software doesn’t alert them that they have been unfriended. One person, who was constantly complaining day after day on Facebook who I unfriended just to get some relief, actually emailed me and asked me what happened? I, being the strong speak-my-own-truth person that I am, said, “Gosh, I have no idea. Must have been a mistake,” and reinstated her. I have no backbone.

I used to call a handful of people friend. Really, if you asked me how many friends I had, I would have rattled off my college friends and a few lasting friends over my adult years. Maybe ten at the top. Now, if you ask Facebook how many friends I have, you will see that I have hundreds. Literally hundreds of friends.

I’m thinking that maybe ‘unfriend’ shouldn’t be a word at all, but rather ‘friend’ should go back to being a word with a larger meaning. We have bastardized the word friend, creating the need for the word unfriend to accommodate that which having friends who aren’t really friends at all has created. That was a mouthful but you get the point. It’s really about us diluting too many things in our life. We dilute through excess and friends on Facebook is a good example. If my Facebook really was only filled with friends, I would give more information on my page. I would tell things as they were really happening. It could be amazing. I would be listed as having 10 friends and be able to keep in touch with them in a way that would be much stronger than it is now.

I think they should change the word on Facebook from ‘friends’ to ‘faces’ instead. Or, change the number of friends we have to reflect accurately our friends list. Thanks Oxford for helping me see why I don’t much like Facebook.