Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Many Faces of Twitter

After admittedly getting caught up in the addiction that is Twitter, I've begun to start noticing decisive personality types among other users. My own Tweeting habits range wildly: from snarky observational humor, to plugging my blog, to casual conversations regarding travel, sports, or politics. I'm not saying I've written the book on the perfect use of the social network, but I would like to think the way I use it isn't too obnoxious to all those following me. I'm not selling anything, so I guess all I have to market are my thoughts, opinions and ideas. Much like real life, I suppose. Which is what I've always felt social networks were, only over a computer, rather than face to face.

Some people, however, choose to use it differently. This is for them.
-The Self-Promoter: How do you know this person has a blog? They will tell you. No less than 100 times a day. Sure, they're obviously good with words, but the only time they use them on Twitter is to tell us that they've written something new about their amazing life as a single, female traveling the world. Yes, we get it. You have a great life and for that we're all jealous. But truth be told, people are only looking at your blog because of all the pictures you include of you and your friends wearing bikinis.
(I've been ridiculed for using Twitter to plug this blog. I try to keep my self promotions down to 3 or 4 times a day, preferably 6 hours apart. And only on the days that I write something new. I think that's fair, knowing that the site's audience changes drastically throughout the day.)

-The Vegan: This person is as obnoxious online as they are in person. Much like their diet, their Tweets have no substance aside from pretentiously asking around for new and exciting vegan recipes. Chances are good this person will also let you know that they don't own a TV, or that they live in Canada.

-The Non-Published Self-Promoter: This person doesn't have anything interesting to promote other than the fact that they just ate lunch at Sonic. They make great use of FourSquare to let everyone in the world, who couldn't possibly care less, know exactly where they are and what they are doing at all times. The most popular possessor of this personality trait is the thin female who likes to eat. She will let you know every time she opens that pint of ice cream. In your face, everyone that doesn't care! Another is the bar hopper. (I'll admit, I've been known to drunk FourSquare on a night on the town and regret it deeply the following morning.)

-The Social Media King/Queen: These could be some of the most obnoxious people on the internet. These are people who may have taken a couple marketing classes at the local community college and now think they hold all of the answers and know-how to properly market yourself, your business and your products using new media. Truth be told, 14 year olds are far more advanced in using the internet to get information out. As for Twitter use, it's hard to tell if these people are real humans with individual personalities, or if they're just computer programmed robots, randomly sending out articles on the latest social media marketing techniques. You want to know a secret? No matter what you're selling, marketing works best when you create personal relationships. Try that, robots.

-The King of Blogs: I'm writing this specific blog post because of this guy. I so wish I could remember his Twitter handle. This guy writes and Tweets about his blogs on how to properly write a blog, since, naturally, he holds all of the knowledge on how to do so. I want so badly to find him so I can congratulate him on being the most pretentious asshole in cyberspace. He once said that he doesn't respect writers who use free blogging sites (like this one). Words are words, douchebag. How are yours any better than mine since you chose to spend $8 a month to have them posted. He also doesn't think blogs should consists of lists. This one's for you, prick.

-The Chronic Retweeter: I don't even know why this person spent the time creating and profile or adding a picture, as they have no individuality whatsoever. The only time you see them pop up in your feed is when they copy and send something that they, for whatever reason, found worthy of seeing again. Let it be known, I am a fan of the retweet when necessary. Just don't let it become who you are and the only thing you're known for. Be yourself. But not if you're the Chronic Retweeter.

-The Promoter of Other Peoples' Stuff: This person scours the internet in search of articles they like that they feel other people should like equally as much. Again, no individual personality of their own.

-The Quoter: This person is all over Facebook too. Rather than using their own words to describe their thoughts and feelings, they use other peoples. Usually dead, famous people. I dig a good quote every now and then, I even use them from time to time. But, again, be your own person.

-The Compliment Seeker: I dated a girl like this once. When you fish for compliments, I'm not going to give you any. We didn't last very long.

-The Chronic Thanker: It's always good to be polite. Especially when using Twitter to build personal relationships to help push your brand. (Which I feel is what it's best used for) But when all we see on our feeds is you thanking your different followers for things we never saw, it just makes us wonder what we missed.

-The "New" Poster: There are some radio stations out there who still promote themselves as the "New Buzz 105" years after the format change. There are a number of bloggers who do the same. Not only have they plugged the same story multiple times throughout the day, but for days on end, they're still calling it a "new post." Eventually, it has to stop being new. Plug your work, that's cool. But do it honestly. After a day or so, it just isn't new anymore.

I'm sure I've missed some. These are mainly the ones I see on a daily bases. Is this you? If so, defend yourself in the comments section below. And if you get annoyed by a Tweeter type that I missed, feel free to add it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Songs About Travel

CNN Go had a recent article titled the 10 Best Travel Songs of All Time. I was excited to see their list. Sadly, that excitement didn't last long. So after complaining about it on Twitter for a bit, I felt it necessary to produce my own.

Note: This is just a quick, off the top of my head list dealing with songs about traveling. Not songs to travel to (I'll save that for a different time, as there is a big difference.) Feel free to add your own in the comments section below if you feel I have left anything out.

1. Holiday Road. A catchy song from a kick ass movie. Shame on your, CNN Go for missing this. I hear this and I immediately want to head to Wally World and punch a Moose.

2. Holiday. Classic Weezer and an even better travel philosophy. "We're going where the wind is blowin', not knowin' where we're gonna stay."

3. Wendy Clear. "Let's take the boat out on the bay, forget your job for just one day." Yes, Blink182. Let's.

4. Midnight Train to Georgia. Having Gladys Knight and the Pips makes any list better.

5. Ramble On. Led Zeppelin's "I'm goin' round the world, I gotta find my girl" speaks to many a journeyman's reasons.

6. Ramblin' Man. Sometimes it's impossible to try to get the rest of the world to understand your love for traveling, or your reasons for not wanting to be tied to one specific place. This Allman Brothers song gets that. "When it's time for leaving, I hope you'll understand. I was born a ramblin' man."

7. Carolina in My Mind. This is so classic I shouldn't even be commenting on it. When I'm not traveling by foot, I'm traveling by mind. This James Taylor song captures that perfectly.

8. Life is a Highway. From the opening drum beat, who can't like this Tom Cochrane song? Not you.

9. Proud Mary. I linked the CCR version. The Tina and Ike version will do as well. This song is what you'd get if Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Kerouac's On The Road made a musically-gifted baby. Two of my favorite books about freedom and adventure, put to sound. Awesome.

10. Time to Move On. "What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing. But under my feet, baby, grass is growing. It's time to move on. It's time to get going." -Tom Petty.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blood Alcohol Level: Irish

St. Patty’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Kind of like Cinco de Mayo in the way that it’s a completely borrowed celebration that has nothing to do with me or my heritage, but provides a perfectly accepted reason to drink. Not to mention, you don’t have to buy anybody anything.
This March 17th will mark the 1 year anniversary of last March 17th. And the 4 year anniversary of the following story. A day that opened my eyes to the lengths a woman will go to not have to spend the night with me. A day that gave rise to a story so rich in delight for my friends (who spent days making fun of me for it) that I suppose now, 4 years later, it deserves a blog of its own.
At the time, I was living in Birmingham. I had met a girl who I quite liked and was spending a lot of time with, but we had yet to take it to that next level. The sleepover. We both had full time jobs that were not conducive to late nights of stealing covers and cold feet, so it was seen right off the bat as not much of an option.
For those that know me, you know that it takes an act of God, or the planets aligning for me to actually find a woman that I’m interested in enough to spend any great deal of time with. Either they talk on their phone too much, watch shows like "The Bachelor," or expect me to pay a hefty amount of attention to them. But this girl, I liked. Misty. She was out of my league: attractive, successful and she had that kind of laugh that was contagious.  Try as I might to find fault with her, I just couldn’t do it. So it was only natural that we make plans to celebrate St. Patty’s Day together.
And celebrate we did. It was a Saturday, so we took full advantage. I wore a green shirt with a picture of two turtles mating with the words "Slow Poke" underneath. She wore a tight, green little number with a shamrock on it. Her friends had gathered for lunch and drinks...if I remember correctly, before noon.
For you LOST fans, consider this next part my story-arc flashback. To truly understand the great irony of this tale, I need to take you back about 12 hours to the previous night.
I had met up with some friends from work the night before in a shit-hole Alabama town known as Bessemer. We were at the local Ruby Tuesday’s bar. Despite the recognizable name, the place was a bore and filled with way too many toothless people with "The South will rise again" T-shirts on. It was a place that I gladly would never make the 45 minute trip from Birmingham ever again. In fact, I made that declaration in the parkinglot as we all parted ways for the night. I let it be known that not even a beautiful woman would ever get me to come back to Bessemer again. Ever. It was nearly an hours drive. And there was nothing there. Why on Earth would I ever go back?
Flash forward, back to the green beer for lunch.
The day went probably the exact same as many peoples’ did. After lunch we went and watched some Irish bands, played some pool, sat and chatted with other partygoers. By 6pm, it was time to go. Drunk, tired and hungry, Misty and I decided to go back to my place and order a pizza. As I called for the delivery she went to the corner store for cigarettes. (OK, so I lied. She did have one major fault. But that laugh...despite the fact that it was a smoker’s laugh, it was still enough to make me over look that horrible flaw.) She would later return not only with the cigarettes, but with a case of beer and a bottle of wine as well.
It looked like my holiday wasn’t ending as early as I had though.
Now, in the mind of a man, this is all playing out very well. A girl that I am in to and who is in to me is now suggesting that we add to our drunken state. She CLEARLY must understand that she can’t drive home in her condition. Add that to the crisp, spring, Saturday night and no work the next day and you can see where this is going.
(Insert record screech here)
After the pizza and wine she insisted that she had to get home. I told her time and time again that she was in no shape to drive and even went as far as hiding her keys in between the couch cushions. But she searched. And searched. Adamant that she leave and not stay over. She ended up finding the keys and with a kiss good-bye, stumbled up the stairs to her car.
I knew there had to be a way to stop her, but tying her to a chair just didn’t come to my already inebriated mind. And with that, she drove away.

Taken moments before the premature exit. She wouldn't be smiling much longer.

As with many nights after our dates, I waited about 10 minutes for her to call or text saying she made it home ok. The call didn’t come. So I called her. Nothing still. I figured she made it home, passed out and we would talk the following day.
So, on the morning of March 18th, I called again. Her phone went straight to voicemail. I remember spending the greater part of that day wondering if she had made it home at all. Had she been in an accident? Was this somehow my fault? Should I really have tried to tie her to a chair?
Then the phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize. By the time I picked it up, whoever was on the other line had hungup. So I did what most people do in that situation (or not)...I did a reverse phone number look up on whitepages.com
It was the Bessemer jail.
Now why the hell would the Bessemer jail be calling me? I had been there a couple of nights before, but it had been a normal, issue-free night that certainly didn’t require any representatives from the correctional system to be calling me on a Sunday afternoon. But I still felt it best to call back. The conversation went exactly like this:
"Bessemer Jail, can I help you?"
"Um...Someone from this number just called my cell phone and I didn’t pick it up in time."
"Do you know a little blond girl named Misty."
"Hello? Sir?"
"Is it legal to tie a drunk person to a chair?"
I was informed that the "little blond girl" would be calling me once her mandatory 16 hours were up. You see, in the "great state of Alabama," if you’re charged with a DUI, you have to stay in jail for 16 hours before someone can bail you out.
So 3 hours later I was standing at a Bessemer ATM machine taking out $80 in cash. That’s when it hit me. I had sworn off this God-forsaken place. Not even 2 days prior, I was standing in a parkinglot across the street saying I wouldn’t even come back for the wishes of a woman. And yet here I was. Back in Bessemer. Because of a woman. A woman who, only 16 hours before, insisted she not stay the night with me. It forced me to seriously consider subscribing to the "Never say Never" theory.
On the long drive home, we pieced the story together. Instead of turning left and being home in 10 minutes, she got confused, turned right and ended up getting pulled over more than half an hour later, nowhere near her place (or city, for that matter). She thanked me, paid me back the $80 I had used on her bail and we saw very little of each other after that. The DUI and ensuing record effected her job and, eventually, she had to move away. As I later found out, she had a secret boyfriend in Atlanta the entire time we had dated. Karma’s a bitch.
The moral of the story is this: As you find yourself in the throws of yet another holiday, steeped in drunkenness, come the next morning, it is better to regret who you might have spent the night with than it is to regret your choice to leave.

Happy St. Patrick's Day...no matter where you chose to celebrate it.