Google+ > Facebook

I am responsible for managing the online presence of our church. Part of my job involves the use of social networking – including Facebook. Although I used to have a Facebook account, I have had it closed for some time. This means that I have left the chore of updating the Facebook page to others who already have enough on their plate.

My main reason for not wanting to reopen my account is that I don’t trust Facebook with my personal information and I don’t like the way the site functions. Having said that, it is pretty clear that I need to help manage the church’s profile page.

So… I reactivated my Facebook account this morning, then deleted every one of my friends. It was a painful chore, but it is the only way I can manage our church’s page without using Facebook as a social network. I also locked down my account so that no one can send me friend requests, etc.

Maybe one of these days Google+ will replace Facebook as the top social network. Until then, I don’t see a way for businesses/organizations to get around using it. But I already have a G+ page for our church just in case!

Words from Dad

My father posted this on Facebook a few days ago. I was deeply touched by his words and wanted to share them here.

This post is FYI to give you a little bit of insight on how I feel and why I avoid strong opinions on some issues..this is a subject I am very touchy on so if you chose to read on you might keep that in mind..I will ask God’s forgiveness in advance if these words are out of line..some of you know but many of you don’t..my Son, Brian, is gay..I was 18 when Brian was born..he was my baby boy..his mother and I had a rocky relationship and I was too young and immature to be a good husband or father..I didn’t spend as much time at home with my little family as I should have..I detected he was different early on and I would sometimes try to toughen him up and try to force him to be manly..to be honest..at that age I didn’t really know what it really meant or involved to be gay..(I actually didn’t but I found out soon enough to became the typical homophobe)..but I thought daddys were supposed to teach their sons to be manly and that is what I tried to do as years passed..this caused some distance to come between us as he was growing up..he was treated differently by some..a few students and adults along the way were a bit hard on him at times because of his “difference”..Brian was sweet, smart and fun..his friends loved him dearly..they still do..he’d scream like a girl if startled..he can dance like all get out and will do so with complete abandon at the drop of a hat.. and he has a voice as pure and sweet as any you will find on stage..he loves people young and old..he loves God..he loves deeply and completely..he cannot stand to see anyone mistreated..his word is pure gold and if I had a trunk full of gold I would trust him with it..I never could nor can I now detect any speck of dishonesty in his make up..one Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1994 (he was 18) I spoke harshly to him..He and my son-in-law had ridden up to the neighbor’s to look at some livestock and the old man had mistakenly thought he was a girl..he told me about it and for some reason I reacted harshly..much too harshly..some of you will say “some times tough love is required”..(we do not have the qualifications to exercise tough love..that is God’s business)..later on that evening he overdosed on some of his mom’s prescription meds..we were able to get him to the ER in time to save him..he was required to attend counseling and was able to find the courage to tell us a couple months later about his sexuality..I was deeply impacted..changed forever..if you have similar experience you know..if not then you don’t..if you don’t then you need to either choose your words carefully or keep them to yourself..I love Brian..I respect him as no other human..he is now 2 years older than I was when I found out he was gay..38..I never caught him in a lie..I never doubted his word..I never had a reason..I look up to him..he has taught me more than anyone..now just ponder this a moment..you say it is a choice..he says it is not..whom am I going to believe?..he is gay..you are not..and if you insist that it is a choice then you must tell me when you made your choice..and how did it go?..did you look at the menu and think..hmmm..same sex?..opposite sex?..tough choice..if you are truly honest and truly believe it is by choice then you must have had to make one yourself..hopefully that is all I will have to say on this subject..

The Facebook conundrum

I closed my Facebook account many months ago, but there are times when I really miss it. I miss seeing what my friends are up to, since most either won’t migrate to Google Plus or only use it occasionally. Another thing I miss is when I need to ask for recommendations for home repair or other services. It’s always nice to have almost instantaneous feedback from people you know in real life and trust to some degree.

Google+ is a much cleaner, easier-to-use social network, but unless my close friends are using it, it feels a little cold and impersonal to me. Most of the people in my stream are only sharing and re-sharing news articles. I can’t really go there to ask for advice on local businesses, because I have very few local people in my circles and I get very little feedback there anyway.

There are times when I like the fact that G+ isn’t full of people who know me, then there are times when G+ feels like just as shallow and middle-schoolish (is that a word?) as Facebook. After several months here, I can already feel myself developing the same negative feelings about it that I have about Facebook and Twitter.

I know there is a lot of negativity on Google+ and the internet in general about Facebook, and I completely understand it. Just the thought of all those “Happy Birthdays” and juvenile updates showing up on my Wall makes me feel a little nauseous. If I do go back, I definitely plan on trimming my “friend” list down to people I really care about.

I don’t like the idea of using multiple social networks. I thought G+ could replace Facebook, Twitter, etc, but I am beginning to wonder if each one doesn’t serve a completely different purpose. Is it possible to use them all without feeling stretched too thin? Maybe I would be better off using Facebook for staying in contact with friends, Googe+ for keeping up with the news, and Twitter for following celebrities.

I truly believe Google+ is the next BIG social network and Facebook will eventually go the way of MySpace, but in the meantime, most of my friends are on Facebook. Maybe that’s enough of a reason to go back, but I can’t help thinking about that little thing parents like to say. Yes, Mom, if all my friends jumped off a bridge, I guess I would too.

Blogging is dead

I just went through my blogroll and discovered most of the blogs listed on there haven’t been updated in months. One didn’t even exist anymore. After editing out the defunct blogs, my list of links is quite short.

I don’t have any concrete evidence to back it up, but I am pretty sure blogging died sometime around the rise of social networks like Facebook and micro-blogging platforms like Tumblr. Perhaps our attention spans are too short these days to read more than a couple of lines of text.

Even though blogging might no longer be hip, I enjoy having a place to dump my feelings where they don’t get immediately lost amidst several hundred other status updates in someone’s Google Plus or Facebook stream. I might not get the feedback here that one expects to receive on a social network, but that’s beside the point. At the risk of sounding selfish, I do this for me.

Even though I don’t write as much as I used to, I won’t give up on this little project until they pry it from my cold, gay hands! I will continue to post the trivial, mundane, and often insignificant details of my life, and when I don’t have anything worth writing about I will fill my home page with photos of things I find interesting. Hopefully you will see something that strikes your fancy from time to time, too.

2011 in review

My obligatory end-of-year post.

  • We went to Chicago to see Dolly Parton.
  • We got new windows installed (twice).
  • We went to Kings Island in Cincinnati.
  • I ditched Facebook for Google+.
  • My favorite album turned 20 years old.
  • We wrecked both of our vehicles.
  • Honey bought me a Kindle – which means I have read more books this year than I probably have in the last ten years combined.
  • We saw Beth Hart in Nashville.
  • We planted 12 trees.
  • I observed Lent for the first time.
  • We lost John.
  • I was included in professionally-taken photos with Honey’s family.
  • We saw Maya Angelou live.
  • We celebrated our 6th anniversary.
  • I stopped drinking sodas.
  • We went to the top of the Willis Tower.

Happy New Year, kiddos!

In Google we trust

I make no bones about the fact that I’m a Google fan. I love their varied services and use them daily. In fact, it scares me a little to consider they probably know more about me than most of my friends do.

Almost everything I do online is either on a Google-owned site or facilitated by a Google search. My iGoogle start page is the first thing I see when I log onto the internet – using Google’s web browser. Heck, I even use a Google-powered phone!

Here are a few of the Google services that I regularly use:

  • Chrome browser
  • iGoogle start page
  • Google Plus
  • Bookmarks
  • Calendar
  • Gmail
  • Documents
  • Photos
  • Search
  • Music
  • Reader
  • Maps
  • YouTube
  • Sites

I know people who think this is “putting all your eggs in one basket,” but surely it is less dangerous to share so much of my life with ONE company that I trust instead of giving pieces of it away to a handful of different companies. We all know Facebook’s record on using and selling its user’s information to advertisers, yet look how many people are still using it.

Am I too trusting of a company that makes billions a year on advertising? Probably. But I also realize that no matter which company’s services I use, I am providing an enormous digital footprint that allows me to be easily targeted by advertisers. The “free” services we are used to using aren’t really free. There is a cost to everything.