Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Reflections


I'm sitting down to write ths the day after Christmas, Saturday December 26th, 2009. It's around 0730am and I've just finished sipping a cup of coffee while reading the morning newspaper. It's a very gray, wintry morn, and I was up early to slide-shovel a thin coating of icy snow off the driveway and walkway outside.

2009 has been the best of years and the worst of years for me personally... I'm just wondering what I'll do next... just let life unfold around me... or take a more active role in that unfolding process? I have a great job that I love. I'm getting by. Not rich but not poor. Middle class? No, I don't think we really have one anymore.

The newspaper has an article about mortgages and it seems the home-buying market right now is totally upside-down. Many families forced out of their homes due to mortgage situations or job loss or both. For the moment I have a safe place to stay where I am warm and there is food on the table. (Takes a moment to give thanks.)

Airline terrorism is back in the news. They say airport security will be stepped up to a higher level. Sorta like locking the barn door after the horses have taken off. But, "they" have to do something to save face. A month before 9-11 I took a flight from Albany to Miami. I arrived at the airport with our bags at 0740.I boardedthe plane and was in the sky a little after 8 and landed in Florida around 0930-ish, if I remember correctly. That flight started a wonderful trip in a rented van from Miami to Orlando to Indianapolis to Chicago to Washington DC to New York City - an adventure in itself -sadly, many of the places I went to and things I did in DC and NYC are not available to the public today, thanks to terrorism.

The Grim Reaper in 2009 took a lot of celebrities. Many of those deaths were especially sad and quite unexpected. It's that "thief in the night" lesson from the scriptures. Death will come to us all, and we won't know the day or hour. The GR will blindside you and I. A car crash. A heart attack. Dug overdose. Skiing into a tree a la Sonny Bono. A sleep from which there will be no awakening.

A small newspaper article about a celebrity with marital problems. For the lower classes, MONEY is at the heart of most marriage difficulties. Why can't people be thankful and enjoy the blessings they have? Despite the publicity given to those like Tiger Woods who engage in infidelities, I believe most married couples are tight and loyal. Those material thing-issues can be nutcrackers in a relationship. One couple I know, really did "have it all" but "all" was not enough for one of the partners, who goaded the other into senselessly dissolving the marriage. As the house got bigger and vehicles more numerous, one partner did not feel fulfilled, had a yearning for "something different." Now there are two lonely people and a disillusioned child. A huge drop in class and standard of living for all. Getting by for both now a struggle. Two fine people. They live in a very distant city, and I always remember them in my prayers. And I always wonder what it would take to open that one partner's eyes and wash the nonsense or distress away.

Then there's the story of the woman who assaulted the Pope. Psychiatric problems. Maybe that's what's going on with that couple I know, something psychiatric but borderline enough that it wouldn't be noticed or even qualified as some sort of verifiable disorder.

The global economy and climate change have been making headlines. I can't recall who the economist was who cautioned about a possible "double dip" recession. But I do wonder if that might be what is happening right now: "indicators" and "experts" assuring us that we're heading out of recession / depression territory. ??? With so many jobs lost, homes foreclosed on, people can't get loans to buy new cars, banks just not lending to anybody for any reason... maybe the S hasn't yet hit the ol' fan. As far as climate change goes, all we need is for one of the major volcanoes to blow (like what happened in the 1800's when there was that 'year without summer') and cool things off in hurry!

As for blogging and tweeting and facebooking and technology: best advice I can give is just keep your eyes open, You never really know what the next "big hit" will be - or what might end up taking a "big hit." Many lament missing the opportunity to jump in and buy Google stock when the search engine first went public. I remember it seemed quite pricey at the time, and who would've thought it would have quadrupled in value? Some things appeared on the scene and no one had any inkling they'd take off: twitter, youtube, facebook... And who would have guessed MySpace would have morphed into whatever people think it is right now. The there's MyBlogLog: so f'n great yahoo forked over millions to buy it, and now they're shutting it down. MBL could have been Facebook or Twitter but took a wrong turn somewhere along the Information Highway!

"Lifestreaming" seems to have gone the way of "Vlogging" as far as becoming "the next big thing after the blog." I conclude there is NO such thing as "the next big thing after the blog." Anytime you hear some alleged "marketing genius" or "web guru" apply such terminoloy to any widget/product/service, steer way clear of it! It's the same poisonous thinking as "So-and-so is the new So-and-So" - there is NO replacing the original: those in the public eye who are most successful in careers are the folks who are NOT compared to someone else when they're starting out or coming up. The same goes for stuff on the Net. So next time you hear about something that will kill all blogs, kill 'it' instead!

WiFi-enabled smart phones and Netbooks are all the rage as we head into 2010. I've previoulsy written that I'm not at all keen on "cloud computing" and we'll see where that goes.

As we engage in the reflection process, monday-morning quarterbacking the year 2009, Social Networking sites and bloggers have joined the frey: Twitter came out with its list of the most discussed topics of 2009. Facebook then released its Facebook Memology.

Although I realize it's simply one man's opinion, Mashable Co-Editor Ben Parr's article concerning "What Twitter and Facebook’s 2009 Trends Tell Us About Ourselves" is just a bit off-mark.

Parr is actually dead-on EXCEPT for where he comments about "Trends Reflect Differences Between Facebook and Twitter Users" - (Snippet:::"Facebook (once limited only to Harvard students) is still about personal connections: The fact that family ranks so high indicates that more mothers and fathers have joined the service, mostly to connect with their friends and their kids. The fact that religion popped up as a top trend supports this assertion.") YES but, I wonder if Parr realizes that outside the United States Facebook's role is that of those now defunct "MyFamily" type websites that in the mid to late 1990's offered a place to communicate, share photos and text, create calendars and notify other family members scattered around the globe about birthdays, anniversaries, family gatherings and other special events. Facebook's role WITHIN the states has taken three paths:

1 - bringing users together on a professional basis (kind of a 'LinkedIn' where most of your friends are professionals but a family member or an old friend who is NOT is not barred from being your friend)

2 - becoming the replacement for both MySpace and Friendster with easier-to-load pages and a much more friendly interface

3 - Yeah Yeah the family & friends part

Conclusion, Facebook is NOT as 'PERSONAL' in the USA as Parr may lead one to believe.

Gaurav Mishra at Gauravonomics lists five reasons why Facebook is good for your soul... YuMe, a Vietnam-based social networking site with more than 2 million members, is Facebook's main competitor in Vietnam.

The act of blending Facebook and Twitter (My tweets post to my FBK and I can tweet out of Facebook via "twitgether") makes the two even stronger and more endearing. Just about everybody I know online has FBK or tweets or both. And a few have LinkedIn. And all of my old MySpace buddies rarely do any interacting on the site. if they are performers they upload stuff that other can download, but I've noticed they've put thier twitter or FBK URLs directly onto their MySpace icons... get the picture?

I DO AGREE WITH BEN PARR that This Year’s Big Technology Wasn’t Google Wave, It Was Twitter.
And guess what: I don't think WAVE is gonna catch on the way Google thought it would. It'll become Google's "MyBlogLog" in time!


I'm not sure what 2010 has to offer me. I'm not sure what I can offer it. Let the New Year unfurl: I am ready as I'll ever be!

1 comment:

BETTINA PERRONI said...

I enjoyed reading your 2009 reflections.

I didn`t know about the Airline Terrorism, I saw on TV the woman who assaulted the Pope. I think Global economy and climate change were the main discussion... yes, I joined Twitter...


Sounds that 2009 another crazy year ;)

Happy 2010 dear!

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