She's not your Little Freak

Results may vary from those shown.... proceed with caution.

So this morning I was listening to my Thursday morning guilty pleasure, Wrong Number Flirting, and the mission on which Slutty Chelsea (the telephone decoy) was put upon was a bit different from the typical chick trying to find out if her man is a philandering man whore cheating.  Today's caller was a woman (let's call her L) who had been dating a chick (let's call her B) for about 6 weeks and was SO in love with her, but suspected that B still had her foot on the other side of the fence, i.e. she was still seeing men.  This was B's first lesbian relationship but had told the L that she'd never felt like this with anyone before, really cared for her, etc.  But thanks to a Blackberry and a bit of snooping, ole girl realized her new lady friend was still e-mailing her ex-boyfriend.  Enter Slutty Chelsea and her first lesbian challenge.

Slutty Chelsea calls B pretending that her girlfriend recommended B for hair coloring services.  Per usual, Slutty Chelsea goes on to play the "you sound hot let's meet up" card, to which B responds that she's flattered, but she has a BOYFRIEND.  Busted.  L comes back on the phone, hurt and asking for explanations, to which B replies in so many words "This was nothing serious..... I was just having fun."  And then her solution to the problem was an an offer bring a guy into the mix.  Aye dios mio.

As much as I laughed in my car at the whole scenario (as I do when anyone gets busted), a bigger part of me was pissed on behalf of L and all the other women who have had their feelings hurt by someone who was "just having fun."  Dabbling into the realm of bi-sexuality seems to be all the rage now. It's almost a rite of passage for women from 18 to 25 (or beyond).  Young women play around for a bit, then box up that phase in their lives and go on to marry Mr. Right and have her 2.5 kids, and might whisper about her exploits to her fellow soccer moms over one too many martinis.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.

The thing that pisses me off the most about the treatment of gays and lesbians by our society is that they are not seen as human beings with regular human lives and human emotions.  All our society sees is SEX, which for any heterosexual person is accepted as only a small facet of their life (unless you're a porn star).  ALL people have feelings, seek love, and avoid hurt.  B treated L like a game, something fun to do til she got it out of her system, while L was looking for a real committed relationship.

Does this sound familiar?

Let's change the scenario around.  Let's say L is a black female, and B is a white male.  B has only dated white women, but has always wondered what it would be like to shag a black woman.  So he engages L in what she thinks is a relationship, tells her how much he cares for her and how she makes him feel, and later she finds out that Becky has still been on the scene all this time while B used L as something to check off on his "Things to Do Before I Die" list.  Swap "black" and "white" for any sort of characteristic (fat, skinny, amputee, little person, visually/hearing impaired) and flip flop the genders..... in all of these scenarios, one person was objectified and treated as a novelty, while the other played with their emotions for the sake of experimentation.  People are not experiments, loved ones.

Going back to lesbians..... contrary to popular belief, lesbian women are not solely here for men's entertainment and sowing young women's wild oats.  Those girls you see tonguing each other down in the club are not the representatives for women who love being with other women.  I know lesbian couples who have been together for years, have homes, families, kids, LIVES together. They want love and happiness just like any other woman.  But they want that with another WOMAN, not your freaky ass and whatever dude you want to bring around to add to the mix.  Experimenting and dabbling is fine and all, but don't involve someone who is looking for a serious relationship and/or let her know up front what your intentions are.  There are plenty of other dabblers and Nicki Minja Little Freaks out there to accomplish your purpose.  There are also plenty of lesbian women who get off on "turning out" straight chicks and will enjoy using you just as much as you are using them.  Just let them know up front where you're coming from and let them choose whether they want to proceed.  Don't play with people's emotions and mislead them for your personal enjoyment, m'kay?  It's really a simple, universal rule for any type of relationship.

So ladies, do your thing, explore your lives, just make sure you're not committing woman-on-woman emotional crimes and doing the same thing to lesbian women that you don't want done to you.

Twitter for Blackberry: an Uber Disappointment


So yesterday I tried out the new Blackberry Twitter app. I've been an Ubertwitter user for over a year now, but I was eagerly anticipating what Blackberry had to bring to the table.  After all, it's their app designed for their phone, and who knows you better than yourself right? WRONG.  I used it for 5 minutes and switched back to Ubertwitter (actually never stopped using Ubertwitter, but rather parked the Blackberry Twitter app right next to it).  And here's why:
 
1)  No visual distinction in the timeline for DMs and @ replies.
 
Even though I love to read, I'm very much an "at a glance" type of girl.  I want information assimilated into my brain as quickly as possible, which is why I love the fact that Ubertwitter makes @ replies yellow and DMs green within my timeline.  As I'm skimming through new tweets, these catch my eye.  The Blackberry Twitter app (hereinafter referred to as BBT) makes no color distinction.  Sure, you can go to the menu and just go to your @ replies and DMs, but Ubertwitter gives you that option as well.  Slightly related to this is the fact that I love the prominent "In Reply To" button on Ubertwitter so I can follow a conversation all the way back.  Yes, BBT does this, but it's not as convenient.
 
2) Refresh > every 5 minutes.
 
Blackberry are you serious??  Do you know how many tweets an average Twitter user can amass in 5 minutes??  I don't either, but I know it's a lot.  I'd be scrolling forever to get caught up every time it would do a refresh.  Ubertwitter gives you the option to refresh as often as every 1 minute.  Sure it's more pull on the battery to refresh that often, but battery management is MY decision to make.  And that's what chargers and USB cables are for. BBT makes you wait an eternity to see your new tweets, leaving many Tweeps deprived and frustrated.
 
3) No editing for retweets.
 
Someone obviously didn't do their market research to realize that this feature from the Twitter website is loathed by just about every Twitter user on the planet.  It is as if nobody wants to admit that they screwed the pooch on this one and keep forcing it upon us to make us like it (dammit!). For one, I like to be able to add my own comments to RTs so I'm contributing to the dialogue, not just parroting someone else.  For two, I don't like these random strangers' names and faces showing up in my timeline when one of my friends retweets them. I want the person who retweeted's name and pic to show up, and THEN if I want to go to the original poster's profile & timeline, I can.  I'm all about choices, if you haven't figured that out by now.
 
4) No autofill of friends' names.
 
It's really pointless to do an @ reply when you misspell a person's name, because they won't see it anyway.  Ubertwitter solved the problem of trying to remember the spelling of people's names by automatically filling in names as you type.  Once you type the @ symbol, a list of all your friends pops up and gets sorted as you type out the name.  You can also scroll down the entire list and choose a name.  This really comes in handy when you're like me and have the memory of a goldfish and can't remember how a person's name is spelled, or if you want to @ reply multiple people or when you are drunk Tweeting.  In BBT, like the web, you either have to cut and paste (which doesn't work for multiple Tweeps on your Blackberry) or try to remember exactly how everyone's name is spelled.  That's just too much work.
 
5) Limited viewing options.
 
One size does not fit all, but BBT seems to think so. There is no option to make text size smaller to fit more tweets on the screen.  At most in BBT I could see 1 or 2 tweets, when in Ubertwitter I can fit around 4 for average length tweets.  Doesn't seem like a big difference, but it IS.  Ubertwitter also allows you to have different text sizes for timelines versus tweets, so your timeline can be smaller for skimming, while tweets can be larger for reading and composing.  BBT also gives you one line in which to composed tweets, as opposed to Ubertwitter providing an entire window so you can see your whole message as you compose it.  Call me a nerd, but there's a certain aesthetic quality to the arrangement of words and characters in Tweets that you just can't see in that little one line.
 
My verdict: the Blackberry Twitter app bites.  If you like the fabulously sucky features of the Twitter website, then maybe you'll like it.  If you're expecting Blackberry's app to do anything extra that Ubertwitter doesn't besides further clutter up your primary message list (which you can basically do anyway by enabling the "text on new tweets" option on the website, and then what's the point of having an app in the first place??) you'll be sorely disappointed.  Ubertwitter already does a great job of being fully integrated into Blackberry's features..... I've sent things to Ubertwitter that would take me forever and 5 steps to do online like sending pictures, music AND video.  I can take a picture either before or after I start composing a tweet, as it's fully integrated into not just media, but the camera function itself.  If you want visual notifications, it's hooked into that and can be customized from Blackberry's options screen.  It seems like Blackberry let Twitter design this app, and everyone knows that everyone else does Twitter better than they do.
 
Blackberry (and Twitter) you need to take some notes from Ubertwitter.  In fact you should have just done your product development like the Burger King did coming up with BK's sausage muffin sandwich and just copied the whole concept lock, stock and barrel.  Blackberry, I love you and we can still be friends, but you really missed the mark on this one.

This Ain't 1984....Yet, It Is

 You often hear about people Googling a man or woman they just met in order to get a little free background on them; make sure they're not a registered sex offender, make sure they're not wanted in 5 states, make sure that they aren't a featured member on some gay porn site, just a check up to see what they might not be disclosing in the first 1 or 2 dates.

But..... when was the last time you Googled yourself??

These days, we live our lives online.  We communicate with friends, we meet people, we share pictures, stories and thoughts with basically the entire world.  But that's something I don't think people think about.  We tend to think just about our "friend list" or our "followers", but in reality what you put on the internet is an open book for anyone to pluck off the shelf and peruse.

Here, take 30 seconds to do an experiment.  If you are on Twitter, go to Google and type in your screen name.  I don't care whether your account is "private" or not, I guarantee at least some of your tweets are going to show up as results.  And not just the tweets themselves, but other sites that analyze your tweets.  For example, according to Cursebird.com, I apparently curse like a gangsta rapper.  This site is solely dedicated to examining how much cursing is going on via Twitter, and will tell you exactly how often and what curse words you use. 

Now think about every site you're a member of, every e-mail address you have, every blog your write or comment on, every picture you're tagged in, every status update you post..... that is A LOT of info just flung out into the world wide web.  You post it and forget about it with the next post.  But guess what, loved ones: it's still there.  Still there for employers, lovers, friends, acquaintances, your pastor, a stalker, or anyone to find.

So.... what do you do?  This is an unavoidable issue for the vast majority of us, and removing yourself from the online community completely is not a very feasible option.  After all, there is some utility to being accessible online.  So, loved ones, here are some strategies I use to minimize the impact my online immortal words (and images) have: 

1)  Have more than one "identity" and keep them from commingling. 

I am essentially two different people online.  I have my "public me" that is on my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that is associated with my real name, info and photos.  I then have my "private me" with is associated with my blogs, Twitter, and Tumblr that always uses a pseudonym and rarely (if ever) uses a photo of my face.  The "public me" is the info that I don't necessarily mind an employer or a family member to see.  In fact, I have my mother AND my kids as friends on my Facebook page, so that right there acts as an automatic censor.  The "private me", oddly enough, is actually the REAL me, but being that I often say, think and write things that may make me seem crazy not necessarily be acceptable and appropriate in all settings and to all people, I like to make this persona not easily identifiable as being me.  Sure you could use context clues to put two and two together to get five, but it would take some effort and time.

I keep these two identities separated, in effect creating a Chinese Wall between the two. All these sites have the option to linking to other sites, cross posting and the like, which may seem convenient but it also creates an easily traceable path back to you.  I may link up my Twitter and Tumblr, but neither of these two are going to be linked to my Facebook page.  I don't have the option of simultaneously posting tweets as status updates, and that's is on purpose.  For me, East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.

2)  Use different e-mail addresses.

Along the same lines as the first point, have different e-mail addresses for different purposes.  My e-mail address that I have associated with my Twitter account is NOT the same e-mail address that is listed on my resume.  It is possible to do a search of an e-mail address and see every site that you joined using that address.  Also when you join social networking sites, they often give you the option to search for people via your address book.  If you don't want your boss knowing what crazy trending topic you went in on last week, don't use the e-mail address that he or she has for you.  

3)  Don't post crazy shit.

This is kind of an obvious one, but one that I see people get caught up with all the flipping time.  I cringe every time I see someone tweeting about smoking weed, or driving drunk, or any other illegal activity because that can be used against you by an employer, or worse, a court of law.  Be careful what photos your post and what photos other people tag you in.  Recently I went on my son's 17 year old girlfriend's Facebook page and saw a picture of a table full of booze bottles.  I'm not even her friend on Facebook, but was able to go peruse her pictures freely.  Also don't contradict yourself.  If you call in sick, don't then Tweet about chillin' on your friend's boat all day.  Don't post anything that will get you fired, dumped, or cause your family shame and dishonor for generations to come.    

4) Google YOURSELF.

Do the very same thing that you regularly do for the guy or lady you met in the club last week.  Every so often, do a check-up and Google yourself and see what comes up.  Put in your name, your name in quotes, your e-mail addresses, anything that someone (i.e. an employer) would obviously use to find you, and just see what comes up.  My first result that comes up is my LinkedIn profile, which is exactly the sort of result I want people searching for me to see.  My Twitter account doesn't show up, my blogs don't show up, nothing that I would be worried about anyone seeing shows up.  Through this check-up process, I did discover an social networking site I was no longer using that was still connected to my e-mail, which prompted me to go delete the page.  If I hadn't Googled myself, I wouldn't have even thought about it's existence. 

Basically this all comes down to not just common sense, but constantly being mindful that everything online, no matter what your privacy settings are, is public.  If you don't care about your image to potential employers, clients, or future mother-in-law, by all means say and do whatever you want and while you're at it go get a huge face and neck tattoo.  There's a time and place for everything, loved ones.  Just don't make it all the time and everywhere by putting every aspect of your life on the web.

*And if you have no clue how 1984 has anything to do with this, please go read a book.