Tumblr for the Lipitor generation


Here’s how I feel about the different social media sites and their uses:

  • Facebook, for the young, is for connecting and gossiping and embarrassing one another.
  • Facebook, for those of us who are no longer young, is for keeping in touch and swapping recipes and Simplicity patterns and posting pictures from thirty years ago and embarrassing one another.
  • Twitter is about branding and advertisement and being stupid in fifteen words or less. If you are not consistently very witty, you shouldn’t really bother posting, unless you’re Katy Perry or Justin Bieber, in which case it doesn’t matter.
  • Pinterest is for those who like to post and share pictures of fashion and decorating and jewelry and cute boys. Much though I like all these things, I decided after a few months that Pinterest was not for me.
  • WordPress is a nice stable blog website, full of people with all kinds of interests. I have made some very nice Internet friendships on WordPress.
  • Blogger / Blogspot ditto.
  • Tumblr is a friggin’ zoo.

Let me expand upon this last statement.
Tumblr is something for everyone and no mistake: lots of beautiful photography and art, lots of underdone cheesy humor, lots of selfies. Also lots of bizarre political thought and amateur porn. It’s a more freewheeling version of Facebook in which you don’t need to friend anyone, and in which most people use handles and aliases. Nothing comes to you automatically on Tumblr: you have to shop around for it. Once you find something with which you feel comfortable, those people will be reblogging from other similarly-oriented Tumblr blogs, and you can follow those in turn, and – within a month or two of careful tending – you will have a beautiful Tumblr garden / dashboard full of lovely and amusing images and texts to enjoy!

Let me give you a head start. Let’s say you’re a mature person, a little literary, a little artsy, with a taste for kitch and a goofy sense of humor. You might like to look at the following Tumblr blogs, just for entertainment’s sake. (And if you’re reading this on Tumblr, look these folks up; you won’t be sorry.)

  • Diane Duane. Diane (who blogs under her real name) is a successful author, mostly sci-fi and young adult. She lives in Ireland and posts wonderful pictures and texts, and she is very responsive to her fans and readers. She is very likeable, and I recommend her highly.
  • Devilduck. This is the ultra-kitschy Tumblr blog of one of the guys associated with the well-known Archie McPhee joke shop in Seattle. If you like pictures of people wearing horse masks and Christmas trees decorated with Cthulhu tentacles, this is the site for you.
  • Bad Postcards. What it says. Mostly 1950s and 1960s; mostly cute, some poignantly nostalgic, and almost all in brilliant Kodacolor.
  • 1950s Unlimited. Like Devilduck, but a little more on the sentimental side. If you get misty-eyed over black and white photos of people using cigarette machines, you’ll feel very at home here.
  • Well, That’s Just Great. The drily amusing / often hilarious daily chronicle of a man named Anthony Giffen who lives in central Florida with a dog named Ducky and a partner named Gizmo. Highly recommended.

There: I have sanitized Tumblr for you. I guarantee no porn, no dangerous radicals, no homicidal lunatics.

Now get in there and explore Tumblr and stomp around a bit.

You might just have fun.

Famous on the Internet

fame on the internet

There is a website called Klout, which tells you how influential you are on the Internet, on a scale from zero to 100. Only a few people have ever achieved a perfect score, and then they fall away again. I believe they give you a 15 or a 20 just for signing up, but then they monitor your Internet presence – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, other social media, blogs, et cetera – and make your score more precise.



Some examples:



Justin Bieber’s a 93, or he was the other day. The Boston Bruins have the same score: 93. The New York Yankees have a 95.



Among my friends: one of my acquaintances (a former Brown student) has a score in the mid-60s. Partner has a pitiful 12. Two of my other friends are in the 20s.



I am currently a 37.



What does this mean?



Well, I consider that my score is pretty good for someone who has less than a hundred Facebook friends (it’s in the sixties, actually). Partner has less than twenty Facebook friends.



I love asking my student assistants how many Facebook friends they have. Invariably they have hundreds. One, a serious young man who’s going to be a junior next fall, has over 500; one of his classmates, a girl, has over 900; two recent graduates (I mentioned one of them above) have more than a thousand.



What does any of this mean?



It means: you can be famous on the Internet, if you know what you’re doing.



Just be careful.


Goodbye to Posterous

posterous logo

I wrote something in late 2012 about leaving Posterous. It was getting treacherous, and the website was often difficult, and I decided I’d leave it.

But – here’s the thing – when it works, it’s wonderful! It autoposts to everything! It’s so convenient!

So I decided to think about it for a while.

Well, there’s no more thinking to be done. Posterous is done, as of March 31: finished completely. Twitter is absorbing its staff and its servers.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that I’m posting this blog in five places rather than six. My method currently is this: I post these blogs on Posterous and WordPress, and they automatically post to all of the other Internet properties (Blogger, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter).

Now what?

I began with Posterous because some of my favorite celebrity bloggers, like Mark Bittman, used Posterous. It seemed reliable and steady, and the create-post screens were pretty straightforward. Also: it autoposted everywhere.

Except that, once in a while, it got uppity and refused to do anything at all.


Well, no need to worry about that now. For those of you (not many) who read me or who subscribe to me on Posterous: please move over to futureworldblog.wordpress.com.

Rest in peace, Posterous.

Internet identities


I had a acquaintance some years ago who was active on every single social-networking site: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. He was anxious to make a name for himself. More than a name: an image.



(This is not me, by the way, so get that idea out of your head. It’s not one of those “I have a friend who . . .” things. This is a real story about someone else. You know I always tell the truth about myself. Well, most of the time.)



My friend’s LinkedIn image was professional: he’d had more jobs than you could shake a stick at. He was all over the place in his profession, rising from level to level. You could trace his career growth on a graph, if you wanted to: manager, director, executive director –



Except that it wasn’t true. I knew that he’d actually lost his previous job and wasn’t working at all at the moment. So: he was either making it all up, or misdating the information he was posting. I didn’t want to call him out – who wants to destroy a career? – but I had a strange feeling about all of this, as I watched him go from untruth to untruth on LinkedIn.



Then there was his Facebook persona.



On Facebook, he was Mister Philanthropist. He was all over the place: giving speeches here, making heartfelt appeals there. He was amazing. Some of his Facebook friends were buying it: he was getting “Congratulations!” comments right and left on his various philanthropic / altruistic posts.



(I, on the other hand, knew that he might or might not be making this stuff up. And, even if he wasn’t, he was certainly making the LinkedIn stuff up. And, for those of us who were following him on both LinkedIn and Facebook: we had to ask ourselves how he could possibly have the time to do all these things – be a stellar businessman and a stellar philanthropist – at the same time?)



So what’s a girl to do?



I could have messaged him, or confronted him. So could lots of other people, I imagine.



But I didn’t.  Oh, well, I thought.  It’ll blow up eventually. And, when it does, it will be spectacular.



And we (who knew the truth) will be able to say: “Oh, I had no idea! I thought it all sounded a little out of kilter. But I really didn’t know he was doing all of that . . . “



A warning to all of you fibbers out there: the truth will come out.



The Internet is built that way.


Representative Anthony Weiner


Folklore tells us that Alexander the Great grew tired of being lectured by his resident schoolmaster, Aristotle, on how sex was a waste of time. One evening Alexander sent a prostitute into Aristotle’s room, just to see what would happen.  He waited a while, and opened the door to find the prostitute riding the naked Aristotle around the room like a donkey.



Moral: sex makes smart people do stupid things.



I wrote a few months ago about Republican Representative Christopher Lee and his funny shirtless frolics with a camera and a mirror. Now we have Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, also playing “Candid Photography Click Click Nudge Nudge Say No More.”



When it’s a Republican, I hoot and whistle, I know. I can’t help it. When it’s a Democrat – Weiner, or John Edwards, or Bill Clinton, or Ted Kennedy – I just squirm uneasily. And I get all forgiving and moral. Does it make them bad lawmakers? Does it matter who they have sex with? Or whether they use cigars when they do it? Or whether they pay off their mistresses with campaign funds?



Well, um, yes, I think that last one does matter, now that I think about it.



All professions have their share of jerks. Jerks are sometimes actually good at their jobs; in some professions, it’s probably actually an asset. Rahm Emanuel comes to mind. By all accounts a horrible person; a very effective politician, however.



I think the thing that bothers me most about the Weiner story is the attitude he’s been displaying lately. He’s not contrite; he’s angry and hostile. Angry at being found out? Probably. Angry with himself for not being more discreet? Possibly.



Bitchin’ bod, though.



Who knew?



The Congressional weight room must have a dynamite conditioning program.




Twitter: more fun that I thought it was going to be


Last year I wrote a blog entry comparing Twitter (unfavorably) to Facebook. It’s less personal, I said. These people you’re following, they’re not really your friends. It’s really all about branding. Yada yada.



All of this is true. With the addendum: I’ve changed my mind. I can see now what it’s all about.



Largely this is because I’ve only recently begun to use a handheld device. In some unexplainable way, Twitter comes alive on a handheld. On my laptop screen, it just lies there lifeless; it reminds me of those old 1990s bulletin-board sites that were only one generation beyond MS-DOS. On my BlackBerry, however Twitter looks zippy and cute. I can scroll up and down with the touch of a thumb and watch the world skitter past.



Of course, it takes a while to figure out whom to follow. Here are some of my favorites:



  • My policy wonks, the snarky/cute Jake Tapper and the twinktastic Ezra Klein, both of whom always have something to say (and Jakie likes to take pictures out the window of the press helicopter!). (Fun fact: Jake dated Monica Lewinsky once or twice.)

  • The whole Chelsea Handler crew – Gary Valentine, Josh Wolf, Ross Matthews, Jo Koy, Sarah Colonna, Chris Franjola, Chelsea’s dog Chunk – all of whom can be relied upon for zingy one-liners, as well as the occasional pantsless backstage pic.

  • The Bronx Zoo Cobra. (Sample tweet: “Hey, everyone, it’s Glass Cutter Day at the zoo! Bring a glass cutter and get in for half-price!”)

  • A couple of astronauts, because they’re cute, and you never know when they might actually tweet something from space, and how futuristic would that be?

  • Harvey Levin of TMZ. I love the gossip (even though 75% of the people mentioned on the show are unfamiliar to me), and Harvey himself, all five-foot-three he-man lawyer inches of him, is adorable.



I used to follow the Jersey Shore cast, but they are so galumphingly stupid that it became tiresome to read them. (“I UP IN THE HOUSE HATERZ!” Bleah.)



Look for me in your message feed: @lorwil.



And remember: HATERZ GONNA HATE!





I started this blog on Posterous.com, because two bloggers I read and respect (Mark Bittman and Seif Nechi) use the site. It turned out to be a good choice. It’s versatile, and allows me to do a lot of interesting things, and it’s relatively easy to use (I caught on to most of its subtleties within a week or two).



It also allows me, charmingly and altruistically, to post my blog to other websites. Bandwidth hog that I am, I chose five: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress.



They are all very different places.



Facebook gives my friends and family an opportunity to see my blog. Eek! Do I want that? Sure. Why not? So what if my aunt Loretta sees my opinion of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”?



Twitter – well, again, why not? I liked Twitter for a while, but I tired of it. It has become a relentless branding exercise for grade-B celebrities. I barely glance at it anymore; when I do, I find that my Twitter feed is clogged with Snooki and astronauts and comedians from Chelsea Lately, and most of them have very little to offer (well, the comedians sometimes).



Blogger and WordPress are like Antarctica: frigid, windblown places. I don’t think I get more than five or ten hits a day from both combined. I’m not sure what gets you noticed there, but whatever it is, I’m not doing it.


Tumblr is sort of a rebellious Facebook community of people who’ve formed their own pirate republic, full of animated GIFs and kitties and sunsets and swearwords. It’s not all wasted space, to be sure. There are some real people there, and some real commentary, and some nice art. But you see the flashes of anger when someone unfollows someone, and you think – yikes! These people need to get out more!


But such is the Internet, my ducklings. A peculiar place, full of nooks and crannies, like a Thomas’s English Muffin. A place for everyone.


Ouch! Someone just unfollowed me! How dare they! What the f***!





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