Too Much Weather

I’m not talking about the rain. There has been too much rain lately with more on the way. I miss our dry hot summers. Maybe we can get a nice, cool, dry October. I doubt it. Anyway, I mean there are too many people out there giving weather forecasts. You have the TV weather guys, the newspaper weather guys, former TV weather guys with a website, amateur weather guys with Facebook pages, science teachers with a Facebook group, etc.  There’s too much weather out there.

Anyone with a computer and an interest in the weather can become a social media weather guy. I could start a page right now in less than five minutes and start posting my thoughts on the weather. It wouldn’t make me an expert. It would just make me a guy with a computer and time on his hands. I could probably still get a few people to follow me and, if I guessed right a few times, swear that I am the most reliable weather guy on Facebook.  Maybe I should experiment by posting weather guesses on my Tater page and see what happens.

There are multiple problems with the multiple weather guy issues. TV weather guys need viewers. Retired weather guys with a website and a business needs clients and clicks. Random weather enthusiasts feel good about the number of people following their page. How do you get the attention? HYPE! Sensational posts and headlines highlighting the worst case scenario. Push for the idea that the NWS snow totals are low and we could get a massive snowstorm instead. Pick the model that shows the hurricane will come closest to the area and cause the most damage. Who cares if you create unnecessary panic. You got some extra hits and some more money from ads and clients. You got some more people liking your weather page. More people are watching the news. This is what it’s all about, right? Not accuracy. Accuracy is for nerds.

There’s also the “I don’t really know what I’m doing” issue. These are the guys who are weather enthusiasts, but don’t really know how to read the models properly This is who I would be if I started a page. I can look at a radar and a model forecast and make some guesses about what will happen, but it really is just a guess. If I guess right a few times, people will think I really am an expert. When I’m wrong I will just throw out some meteorological babble that sounds good and gives me a reason why I couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. I don’t think these guys are purposely trying to fool people. I think they like the weather and like trying to forecast it. The problem here is the people who use them as their main weather source. Why are you asking them about the forecast instead of going to more legitimate sources? Do you think the rest are fake new?

An example of the bad weather forecasts: Yesterday, the Washington Post weather people, the TV weather people and the one weather guy I trust on Facebook(Christopher Bressi) all said our area could expect 2-4 inches of rain from Florence based on the current models. Pretty good agreement there. It could change because models can be wrong, but for right now, that was the estimate from almost everyone. Soon after these forecasts were released, a guy with a Facebook group put out a post that the area would get 5-7 inches of rain. That’s 3 more inches than anyone else is projecting. That is a significant difference and there are people who will only read what he said and not the rest. Where did he get these numbers?

So, be careful who you are trusting when it comes to weather forecasts in the case of extreme weather.

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Facebook: Keeping You Safe From Tater Since 2018

I know that being on Facebook isn’t cool anymore, but I’m still there(because I’m not cool) and get more interaction there than any other social media site. I share my blog posts on Facebook and routinely share articles and news I think my friends will enjoy. This week, I seem to have been caught up in Facebook’s crackdown on fake and spam accounts.

I am an Atlanta Braves fan living outside Baltimore. When the Orioles traded two players to Atlanta, making that now five former Orioles on my team, I shared the article I saw on Twitter to Facebook. An hour or so later I had a notification telling me that Facebook had removed the post because it looked like spam. I clicked the “this isn’t spam” thing, complained about it, and it was restored. It was a minor annoyance and means nothing in the general scheme of things. I complained(because that’s what I do) and I moved on with life. It is annoying, though, that the majority of my feed these days are people sharing quizzes, “what would you look like as the opposite sex” things, articles from dubious sites, etc and they somehow all make it through the screening process. I recently shared a Snopes article after multiple people shared a prayer request that has been floating around since 2010 and is not even an accurate account of the original incident. That seems OK to Facebook.  But an accurate article about a baseball trade” THIS SHALL NOT STAND! Ok, maybe I am still a little bitter.

Yesterday, I noticed a blog post didn’t share to Facebook and then I received an email from WordPress telling me that Facebook no longer allows WordPress to share posts to a personal profile. I can share it to a page(and now this will post to my Tater page) or I can share it manually to my profile. I just can’t have it share automatically to my personal profile unless I make it a page instead. So, it can still be there, I just have to use one extra step to get it there. I guess they think if I’m a Russian agent trying to topple our democracy that one extra step will thwart me.

“I have to post this article that will destroy America manually? That will take another 30 seconds. Damn you Facebook! America lives to see another day!”

On the plus side, Facebook seems determined to save my friends from my Tater posts. I’m sure they all slept better last night.

Where Else is Tater?

I had no words this morning and, thus, there is no real post. I’ve decided since I have a few new followers to do a nice simple post with links to places to find me(because who wouldn’t want more of me). These are also on the blog, but maybe I have designed it to make them hard to find…  So

Twitter – It is mostly links to my blog posts because I post mostly on Facebook where I get more interaction. I always plan to be better at Twitter, but it will never happen.

Facebook – This is my very neglected Facebook page. I really should have my blog posts feed there and post more, but I keep my personal Facebook  public and get more interaction there, so I have just neglected the page. One day, maybe, the page will rise from the ashes.

If you ever feel the odd need to support my blogging habit or buy me a cup of coffee, you can click here  to do so.

Thus endeth my boring post that is basically begging for follows and money.

Please Read Before You Comment

I really don’t understand why people comment on articles without actually reading the article first. Yesterday, an article about a South Carolina school system replacing snow days with assignments kids can do at home was shared in a Facebook group. The article specifically states that the assignments do not require the internet and that kids have five days to complete them(to account for power outages and tech issues). The person who shared the article posted it with a comment about how this wouldn’t work for kids with no internet at home(answered in the article). Many of the comments were also people saying it wouldn’t work where they live because so many kids don’t have a computer or internet at home(answered in the article). It was obvious that many people, perhaps including the person who shared it, had not read the article before commenting.

I’ve shared articles on Facebook and have had at least one case where someone actually said “I didn’t read the article, but..” You didn’t read the article? No? Then stop typing, read the article, and then comment. How do you think you have something to say about the article or what I said about it if you didn’t even read the article? Is it laziness? Stupidity? Belief that you are so smart that you don’t need to read the article without expressing an opinion? It’s not just these two cases. So many times the comments on posts are people asking questions that are answered in the text of the article. People are commenting and questioning based only on a headline. I know I should just not read the comments, but sometimes I have commented, so I get notifications that others have done so. Sometimes they are comments on my posts, so I see them.

Of course, reading the article doesn’t always help with comprehension. Sometime today Drew Magary will start posting his “Why Your Team Sucks” series. Each day he will write a humorous article making fun of an NFL team. Many of these poke fun at the city where the team plays. I love these and share them all on Facebook along with one quote(in quotations) usually the one making fun of the city. One year, I shared one about San Diego and a friend from high school’s wife read it while using her husband’s account. She took offense to the quote because she felt it insulted the Navy(her husband was in the Navy). She attacked me for “my” writing about the Navy and didn’t back down when multiple people tried to explain to her that I didn’t write it, hence the quotation marks,  and it wasn’t insulting the Navy. Her husband then chimed in and defended her and said that I shouldn’t post things negative about the Navy. We are no longer friends on Facebook. I’ve had other instances where I’ve shared them, friends have commented, and then friends of friends see it and get mad because I’m insulting their city. No one seems to see the humor. I also share the one for our local team and share the insulting quote about us. It’s all in fun, but no one seems to get that 1. I am not the author and 2, it’s humor and not meant to be taken seriously.

So, the point of this post(if it has one) is 1. Read the article if you plan to comment. 2. Read carefully and look for the answers to your questions before commenting 3. Look to see who the actual author is and 4. Try getting a sense of humor.

A Depressing Post for Your Thursday

I recently found out that someone I only knew online passed away.  We followed each other on Twitter, but did not communicate much there. We had both been active users of Friendfeed before Facebook bought and killed it. I didn’t really know him, but we he was one of the people on Friendfeed I could count on interacting with my posts. If not for a post on yet another social media site, I might have never known about his death. It’s possible that others I have known online have passed and I missed the news for various reasons.

This made me think – how would people know if something happened to me(I’m pretending here that random people online would care). Facebook friends would be easy. That is a more personal place for me and the majority of the people there are real life friends and family. I’m sure someone in my family would post something and tag me and then people who didn’t already know would know. I’m not really active anywhere else online except for posting here. I do wonder, though, if I should have something in place for the blog. Maybe I should give someone my password so they could post any news that I would be unable to post myself. I would hate to think that my blog would go quiet and no one would ever know why. Hopefully, this will not be something I need to worry about for years, but the death of my online connection put it in my mind.

So, my question for you – do you have someone who is tasked to post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc if something were to happen to you? If you blog, do you have a plan in place for someone to post if something were to happen to you? Do you prefer not to think about such things?

Social Media is Depressing Me

I don’t know why I keep looking at Facebook. I don’t really enjoy it. It is probably half habit and half hope that maybe there will be something there besides the constant political arguments and sharing of memes. There rarely is. I know why I don’t deactivate my account – I still like to see the occasional pictures friends and family post and I need some place to share my blog posts and stupid things that pop in my head. I just need to break the habit of looking at it a lot. Here is a sampling of the types of things I see in my feed following the shooting in Florida:

Memes supporting gun control

People saying guns are inanimate objects and can’t be blamed

People saying the problem is that we don’t spank our kids

People saying the problem is there is no prayer in school

The meme where God says he didn’t stop it because he isn’t allowed in school(weird meme for Christians to share in my opinion)

No one is listening to each other. No one wants to actually hear an opposing opinion. Everyone picks a side and their side winning is all that matters.

In non tragedy days it is – Someone posts a negative post about Trump and it is followed by Hillary is a criminal! Obama was worse! Fake news!

I need to be done with this. I need to put the phone down. I could probably fix some of it by muting and unfollowing a lot of people, but maybe just deleting the app from my phone is the better solution for now. It is not good for my mental health.

I’m not saying it is wrong to express your opinion. I do plenty of that myself. I’m just saying that there are better and healthier ways to have the discussion and the first step might be to step away from social media for a while.

 

 

My Life as a Jailbrarian: Life on the Inside Leads to Life Online

It’s been a while since I’ve written a “jailbrarian” post. It’s hard for me to decide where to start with my life in the county jail. As I mentioned in the last post, many days in jail are boring and uneventful and that is what you want. Boring and uneventful, coupled with the job being a very solitary job can make for a very long day.  At the beginning if my time as a jailbrarian I was in jail 8-4 four days a week. I only worked with other librarians one day a week. It was a very isolated life. There was also a lot of down time during periods when the inmates were locked down for count, lunch or emergency situations as well as times when only a couple of people attended library and sat and read magazines for an hour.  It was a small library, so tasks like shelving, weeding, etc didn’t take a lot of time.

All of this lead me to find ways to connect with other librarians, readers, and other random strangers. I joined email lists for librarians and book lovers. I joined one email list for book lovers that soon lead to me joining other outcasts in a new book lovers email list with fewer rules. This was The Book Barn and was my main escape from the monotony for a long time. I made several friends via the Barn and we are still friends today via Facebook. I even went to Pittsburgh for a weekend to meet some of them in person and survived. I joined bulletin boards, the best being the Christopher Moore board where I again made friends with whom I am still friends today.  I joined a site called FriendFeed that was eventually bought and killed by Facebook. It was my favorite social media site. There were a lot of librarians who posted regularly, so I felt more connected to the field.  It was perfect for actual conversation on a variety of topics. I’m still sad Facebook killed it. I did eventually join Facebook and Twitter as well, but they are not nearly as good as Friendeed. I actually started this blog with the thought that I would use it to post about library stuff, but decided early on that I didn’t really want to post about library stuff and also that I didn’t want to worry about what my employer thought about my thoughts on library stuff.

This may sound like I spent my time in jail doing everything but work, but I did all of this on breaks, at lunch and during times when I was watching two guys read magazines and couldn’t do anything else. It helped make a solitary librarian feel a little less alone.

Next time on My Life as a Jailbrarian perhaps I will talk about the handful of fights that occurred in the library.