I am at a loss

It's my intent to get back to blogging on a regular basis. I've even thought about tossing in a few podcasts every now and then. One of my goals with the podcast was to be positive. I can't say the same for my blog. You have to show darkness to see light.
 
I really feel lost. At a loss. Void of ideas or understanding. I really have no idea how to proceed, or if it's even worth the effort. My podcast used to focus on trying to be positive, or at least not negative. I just can't feel that way now.
 
I am talking about bridging the divide between people in America. Finding some common ground. Finding a way we can all settle down and start moving forward again. There have certainly been hotly debated elections in the past. Issues which divided many people and left feeling upset and betrayed if their side didn't win.
 
But this feels different now. I know some will say the internet amplifies fringe voices and they aren't a majority, but I don't know if I believe that. I'm getting the impression that the majority of Trump voters believe there is a liberal pedophile conspiracy. That anyone not rooted in old testament Christian beliefs are evil. That all brown and black people who don't act as white as possible are less than human. That socialism is equal to communism. That holding progressive ideals like treating people equal under the law, paying women and minorities the same as white men is necessary, that holding corporations accountable for their behavior makes you a weak libtard. That there's nothing wrong with the planet, no nothing at all. That having your leaders act like childish bullies is a sign of strength, and that just simple kindness is a sign of weakness. That making sure someone else has the same rights you do somehow diminished your rights. That overtly waving your hate in everyone's face is the most patriotic thing you can do.
 
Is this just the fringe? I don't think so. I really don’t. And I don't know if I think it's even possible to bridge this gap. As Kayla Chadwick wrote 3 years ago:
"I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People
Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society." (
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/i-dont-know-how-to-explain-to-you-that-you-should_b_59519811e4b0f078efd98440)
 
Facts don't matter anymore. Objective truth is dead. We're not disagreeing about the interpretation of one thing, we are not even speaking the same language anymore. I wonder if we are even the same species.
Comments

Something Nice

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. So simple, and though it may sound outdated and old fashioned, it would solve a lot of problems.

We are so far beyond simple disagreements. Far beyond SIWOTI (Someone Is Wrong On The Internet!). It seems most of the online conversation is just everyone telling you all you do is wrong. You're having fun wrong. You're rooting for the wrong team. You're playing that game wrong. Your shoes are the wrong color. You don't look like I think you should. You're doing something I don't like to do, therefore you suck. You like a thing I hate therefore you don't have a right toe exist. Enough. If you aren't actually being harmed, then shut up and move on.

What benefit do you gain from going out of your way to make yourself angry? So angry that you can't stand to be silent, and rather than making some coherent counterpoint all you can to is rage? Maybe it's a small number of people doing it, but it feels like there are as many people trolling all over as there are people "finding their tribe".

Honestly, if I have a magic wand I would probably erase social media. I might even kill the whole internet. I'm not sure the good outweighs the bad. I'm getting older. I'm an introvert. Social media isn't a good place for me. Am I just doing the same thing here? I sure don't have anything nice to say about social media.
Comments

Privacy: And How to Get It Back

Earlier this year author B.J. Mendelson emailed me and asked if I would like to talk with him about privacy and personal data in the era of Facebook. That was right about the time I decided to end the regular podcast so we didn't connect for a talk, but he kindly sent me a copy of his book Privacy: And How to Get It Back. I've recently had time to read the book, and since I have also recently deleted myself from Facebook, I thought it was a good time to finally get this review done.

Mendelson approaches this subject with humor and snark, and an eye toward what we can do about the use of our data in the 21st century. His book also ends each chapter with a summary, making it useful as a reference tool or textbook of sorts. It would be beneficial just to read this book so everyone can understand all the ways in which we generate data every day and how that in turn is used and sold. It's clear that we've plowed headlong into the era of social media with little forethought. But beyond that, Mendelson takes the time to give a brief history of privacy, data collection, and the laws and behaviors of the government and companies even going all the way back to the late 18th century. We may have new ways of blithely putting information about our lives out where anyone can find it, but in many ways it's not new. It's just much easier now for that information to be bought, sold, and misused.

And to be sure this goes far beyond social media (for a more Social Media centered book, read Mendelson's
Social Media Is Bullshit). Everything from our growing "Internet-of-Things" to our DNA profile is potentially on the sales block, and the laws that exist in the US are woefully inadequate. But not all is lost and there is a lot you can do to protect yourself in the online world. Start by reading this book to actually comprehend what's going on in the black box of modern data collection. And when you're done, Mendelson offers up a long list of further reading at the end of the book. We're living in the time that Carl Sagan feared, where more and more people rely on technology they don't understand. B.J. Mendelson's book will arm you with some valuable tools to combat your own ignorance, so that you can join others in leaning on the government and tech companies to behave better. We got here very quickly and the road back might be slow, but now is always a good time to start.

B.J. Mendelson, is a keynote speaker, author, and comic book writer. His books include Social Media Is Bullshit from St. Martin’s Press and Privacy: And How We Can Get It Back from Curious Reads. His comic books include Vengeance, Nevada and A National Story of Minor Significance.

Buy his books here
Buy his comics here
Support his newest comic creation here
Comments