February 09, 2007

Writing the Personal, Writing Personally, And Who Are You Online?

Toby's got a cool discussion going on about the ins and outs of sharing the personal on a professionally-geared blog, and vice versa. We're continuing it tomorrow at SoCon.

Questions -- Can you write 'personally' without sharing details from your personal life? Can a professional blog be personal and professional too and still be 'weighty' enough to matter?

What are the risks of integraing or separating your "selve(s)" online. And what about other social spaces--profiles on myspace, orkut, friendster, facebook; professional connections on linkedin, 'personalities' on second life; photos on flickr; videos, podcasts and everything else Media 2.0? Are we becoming more dissociated or more integrated?

How much of you are you willing to share, how personal are you willing to get, and at what cost?

And what about gender -- are women willing to go where guys fear to tread in the personal department? Is it true that male bloggers tend to separate their professional writing from their more personal posts (men who come to mind: mike arrington's "techcrunch" vs "crunchnotes"; stowe boyd's /message vs ambivalence; and scoble's -- oh wait, I guess scoble blogs like a girl).


eh? eh?

February 08, 2007

Kat Herding Media goes social!

My atlanta blog cohort -- my blogdivamia -- Toby Bloomberg and I will be leading an uncon discussion on Women and Social Media: Finding Your Niche at SoCon this Saturday. Last minute addition to the schedule, we said okay, and we'll do our best to evoke some interesting conversation--bring your wildest questions, sometime in the afternoon, to Kennesaw State. I'll be coming from Jenna's last basketball game, so let's be thankful they don't do overtime in the Upwards league. ;-)

see you there.

February 07, 2007

Chick-Fil-A and the Straw-Coke Thing

It’s not all that deep, nor is it terribly interesting, yet it’s important enough that I’m taking ten minutes to write about it, this straw-Coke thing.

In the South, we USians are fortunate to have a fast-ish food joint called Chick-Fil-A. My understanding is that it’s run by a conservative evangelical type, but I don’t know enough about the company to say if that’s true, and it’s not the point of the straw-Coke thing.

Well maybe it is, but I’m claiming it’s not.

I don’t go to Chick-Fil-A often, but as quick food goes, their chicken breast sandwiches are not all that unhealthy, plus they taste good.

What little tendency I have toward ADD seems to love the Chick-Fil-A brand. It took more than a year after first arriving in Atlanta for someone to stop and inquire, “What are you saying?” when I asked if they wanted me to bring them anything back from the drive through.

“Chick-A-Fil,” I announced. “I’m going to grab a sandwich.”

“You’re kidding, right? ‘Chick-A-Fil’?”

The entire front desk staff doubled over when it became clear that I indeed thought the name was Chick-A-Fil – as in ‘fill you up with chicken.’

Old Habits Are Hard to Break

Even after I learned the real name, it was hard to break the old habit. It became an office joke—I’d write post-it-notes saying, “at chickafill, be rt bk!” and stick them on my monitor. Countless lunch discussions focused around which brand would really be better for the company: A-Fil or Fil-A. You could call it a meme. Or not.

But this isn’t even about that.

It’s about this week and the straw-Coke thing.

There has been, no secret if you read here or there, a ruckus going on at Tara’s blog, which emerged from what some -- present company included -- saw as her dogmatic, even careless, approach to discussing a loaded topic with her commentors, an approach I happen to think she takes too often, nice though she may be.

I have been knocking the whole thing around in my head for a day or more, trying to figure out what part of the interaction was bugging me the most.

As it happened, clarity was waiting at the Chick-Fil-A drive-through window.

It Really Is That Simple

As I was paying for my chicken breakfast bagel this morning, the cashier handed me my drink with my change. As usual, I sat staring at my drink wishing she’d given me the straw that goes with it.

But they never do.

At Chick-Fil-A, they always give you the drink, and you have to fish your straw out of the bag later, once you start driving.

I was thirsty, so I asked for my straw.

She went and got one with a smile. And I decided to ask:

“Why do you guys always wait to hand out the straw? It's pretty stupid. I mean, why not hand it over with the drink? Drink-Straw, Straw-Drink.”

She explained to me that usually they try to “expedite” orders so that there is just a little time between the drink and the bag of food with the straw in it. But usually that doesn’t work. Especially at breakfast.

So I said, “You don’t even have the straws nearby do you?” She shook her head, “They’re with the assembler—he puts them in the bag after he wraps the food.”

I decided to talk to her a little more. “But I’m thirsty when I get my drink. Doesn’t it make sense to have a straw with the soda?” She shook her head yes. “You wouldn’t believe how many people ask me for the straw after I hand them the drink.”

I told her maybe I would let Chick-Fil-A know that the straw-in-the-bag thing isn’t working.

She smiled and said she’d like that because she spends a lot of time getting straws.

The Generosity of Saying, "That's Stupid."

Beyond remembering that flawed processes tend to get passed along in franchise businesses – and downstream to the customer in all businesses – the interaction at the drive through window brought me some clarity on what’s been bugging me the last couple of days.

There is a generosity in telling someone they’re wrong, and there is generosity in hearing it.

When you take the time to explore with me where I’m off track—that’s an act of generosity from you, no matter how much I think I’m right.

“Enlightened” is not shutting you down for telling me what I don’t know, and making sure everything resolves to the easy key-of-C “My Truth and Your Truth.”

Enlightened is owning up, is learning and reapproaching, is stepping down into the muck, not stepping away from common filth onto the pedestal. Enlightened is willing, is stupid and messy, but is so much more beautiful than pretty.

It’s saying, “The fucking straw does belong with the Coke. How’d I miss that all this time?”

And maybe even saying, "Thanks."

February 06, 2007

Calling Brooklyn, Come In Brooklyn...

George saw a youtube video wherein an Ex-JW gives a call to the Society to ask some questions about their stance on Prince's "worldly" (and incredibly wonderful) halftime show at the superbowl. After watching, are you left feeling like you don't quite know what the Society said? Precisely! ;-)

February 05, 2007

If My Purpose Isn't Higher, Then It's........

Tara Hunt falls prey to the Oprahization Movement, already in progress across Western Civilization.

Chris tries to take Tara to school, something he doesn't waste a lot of breath doing these days, rightly so. Instead of actually groking the links and facts-- never mind actually reading (the kids these days, they don't want to know), Tara tries to reason that even Hitler had a higher purpose.

Sphincter says wha? Define 'higher' kay?

You see, taking the time to learn, slows down posting.

And in the world of web 2.o, posting trumps everything. Even if it's a matter of say, eugenics, genocide, or other annoying topics that take us away from our net-naval-gazing and other important E commerce activities.

Oprahization Rule Number 1: when lofty concepts are threatened with facts, scream foul and claim higher purpose is a personal thing.

Oprahization Rule Number 2: Say, Good Point, now take it somewhere else. And watch your language.

Oprahization Rule Number 3: Have other clueless people reinforce rules number 1 and 2.

(p.s.: I got E. Commerce once from raw meat--I had to take Flagyl.)

ALL OF THIS is far less important than the fact that one of my favorite internet personalities is about to be abducted by aliens (see photo exhibit a)!!

Did Prince Just Say Goodbye to the Jehovah's Witnesses?

Any music fan who watched the Super Bowl last night could rightly walk into work this morning and say, "Did you see the bears and colts play football during Prince's Concert?"

It was that good. And, at other levels, it was interesting too.

For any artist familiar with the restrictive, cultish tactics of the jehovah's witnesses, watching the halftime show at this year's Super Bowl represented a lot more than catching a great live concert by Prince. The entire performance was riddled with symbolism that could only leave current and former JWs doing double take after double take, wondering what Prince was trying to 'say'.

I think Prince's merging of All Along the Watchtower with Foo Figher's The Best of You, followed up by Purple Rain, performed while doning his classic symbol, his signature guitar magnified as it rippled against the night sky, full and phallic, larger than life against a ghostly white backdrop, was Prince's way of saying goodbye to the Organization, was Prince's way of saying, "you're not messin with me anymore."

Maybe I'm projectiong. Maybe not.

It's not a simple thing -- the passionate belief and seeking of Truth, the sacrifice of self, the heart vs the mind, all targeted by well-honed thought control vs the single thread of hope for what being human means: Freedom of thought. You kind of have to have been there to grok it.

What I think? That Artist giving that performance at that event, performing those songs that way, wearing that symbol on that stage -- I think he just said goodbye to the Watchtower.

And if he didn't, and they don't disfellowship him for that display, well--it only further demonstrates the hypocrisy of the JWs that makes for madness in those who've ever been shamed at a Kingdom Hall.

(Video Transcription)
Prince's Watchtower Medley

All along the watchtower,
Princes kept the view,
While all the women came and wept —
Their foot servants too.

Outside in the cold distance,
A wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching, and
The wind began to howl.

Are you gone and onto someone new?
I needed somewhere to hang my head
Without your noose
You gave me something that I didn’t have
But had no use

I was too weak to give in
Too strong to lose
My heart is under arrest again
But I’ll break loose
My head is giving me life or death
I will choose
I swear I’ll never give in
I refuse

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

Has someone taken your faith?
It's real, the pain you feel
You must

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

I’ve got another confession my friend
I ain’t no fool.

screw the game, oh my prince!

The colts,
the bears,
who the heck

we got to see PRINCE, baby!

February 04, 2007

wtf is the deal with feeds?

okay, i did something out of my comfort zone and put that subscribe button up there at the top of my sidebar. I also went to feedburner, where i had an old allied feed that i'm not sure where it was ponting to but it has two subscribers and doesn't seem to lead anywhere. Maybe it once did, before the blogger migration -- i can't even find my feed url anymore as the settings/feeds page has changed in new blogger. To be truthful, i never understood this shit and i still don't.

so then i burned a new feed at feedburner, because not understanding something usually makes me do MORE rather than less to try to figure it out, and that's the URL i put with the graphic over there --->. Well, it's a pretty fucked up URL - http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/ZKHI - and i'm wondering, is that okay? I mean, will people be able to find my feed, if they care, (i don't even know if i care) with a url ending in ZKHI? WTF is that anyway?

And what about two people subscribed to the other allied feed--does it exist? I have no idea what i'm talking about.

feedberner says:
allied 2
ALLIED by Jeneane Sessum 3

can someone tell me what i'm doing and what i need t0 do? all i want is to have one of those cool subscribe buttons that takes you to feedburner and shows all the many ways people can subscibe and then they click and do it, just like i do when i go to other people's pages.

except i don't know what i'm doing.

i'm going now.

thnk you.


(threat alert, orange)