Tag Archives | social media

Ask General Kang: How much time should I be spending on Social Media every day?

Ask General KangNone.

Next question.

No, seriously, what is the right amount?

It depends. Do you have other things to do? Like, I don’t know, a job? Let’s assume yes, and let’s assume it’s about eight hours a day. Okay, so that leaves you 17.


Sorry, I keep forgetting your stupid Earth day only has 24 hours. So, yes, 16 hours. Let’s book eight for sleep, which is average, so we’re down to eight. I’m going to assume you have an hour of commuting to get to work, because that’s the average here in Canada too.

Really, you’re living in Canada?

Crap. I really shouldn’t have said that, though I’m sure the RCMP are already tracking my activities. I have noticed an inordinate number of cube vans circling the block of late … anyway, let’s give you four hours for eating, drinking, personal care and household activities such as cooking and cleaning.

That should leave you with four hours.

So I can spend four hours doing social media?

Only if you’re a total knob. And don’t have children, pets, or anything else to care for. Also, you may want to leave yourself some time to exercise you gelatinous bastard. And what about a little community service? How about that?

Yes, I’ve got kids. And a cat. What if I’m writing a novel too?

Then you’re fucked.

But don’t worry, as soon as I take over the Earth none of these decisions will be of any concern. I’ll put you down for something in the uranium mines — the exercise will do you good, and you’ve probably built up a healthy resistance to radiation from all those years in front of a CRT.

Next time: If you are the last member of an elite and esoteric order of zen-like control freaks with mental powers, how would you go about recruiting new members? Would Twitter be a good idea?

Alltop is an elite and esoteric aggregator of humor. Originally published October, 2009.

The issue of social media fines: an open letter to Elections Canada

Dear Elections Canada,

This is a typical Canadian,
voting without the benefits
of time travel.

First of all, thank you for doing this job! I imagine it is somewhat of a thankless task, and I for one appreciate being able to vote, even though Stephen Harper tells me I shouldn’t want to. I certainly don’t begrudge you the hard-earned tax dollars that helps pay your salaries. (Unlike the loonies that got flushed for the G-20 summit.)

I understand that as “an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament” you can’t do much about the elections act, and the fact that a portion of the act prevents the “premature transmission” of election results across time zones. Obviously, this “transmission” could be done by CTV, CBC, hack newspapers, and, of course, individuals using Twitter. So, your threat that anyone announcing results too early could be fined $25,000 and suffer a thorough noodle-lashing is perfectly reasonable. You’re just upholding the law.

A thought occurs: a thorough implementation of this policy may be an excellent way to deal with the massive budget deficit the previous (Conservative) government has left us. In fact, if only 1.2 million Canadians say something about the election results before all the polls are closed, that should cover the $30 billion deficit. (16 million Canadians are on Facebook, more than 300,000 are on Twitter – and many of those will be repeat retweeting offenders – this seems like a reasonable proposition.)

On the other hand, you, like others, may feel this is an excessive response to what may be an innocent mistake. (Not every slack-jawed Facebook user is an Elections Canada Act aficionado, like your correspondent, who has a special drool-wiping gnome to help him with his slack-jawed Facebook use, and several cyborg pixies to help him keep track of the act.)

The answer to this issue is so obvious. I’m surprised it evaded you.

Change the time zones.

All you need to do is pick a Canadian Standard Time. Voila. If we all live in the same time zone, there will be no likelihood of Canadians (innocent and not-so) contravening the act and using their social media to tell their distant relatives and friends what is happening where they live. Granted, it may prove inconvenient to have the sun rise at 5 am in Halifax and 10 am in Vancouver, but we all must learn to make sacrifices. (Except in Toronto. Never there.)

Another (more radical) solution may require some research. My understanding is that time travel is theoretically possible. Perhaps we could somehow move populations through time so that no-one has to experience the horror of knowing what other parts of the country have done before them. Obviously, there will be some expense to this. But we can make it affordable by moving populations based on size and location. Once again, this proposal will mean that nothing will interfere with people living in Toronto – or Montreal and Ottawa (also important) – and their daily activities. Besides, people who live on the coasts should be willing to work with the inconvenience, because they’ve got all those positive ions helping them keep healthy and be happy anyway.

A third (extremely radical) idea, is that you could only release the poll results once all the votes have been counted. This would mean no time travel, nor subjugating the entire country to the diurnal dictates of one time zone (Toronto-time, we could call it), but it may work. You would have to count all the votes, and only release them to the media (and slack-jawed Facebook users, with and without gnome helpers) when ALL the results are in.

Of course, that would mean that people in Toronto would have to go to bed before they knew the results of the election.

Scratch that. Ignore that last idea. Crazy talk.

Yours (in) sincerely,


Professor Quippy: Raising Narcissists

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

Professor QuippyPlato said that in the 4th century BC (back when men were men, women were not, and boys had to be watch the men carefully — kind of like the Catholic Church today.) But I digress; his was only the most recent version of the complaint. There are Egyptian hieroglyphs worried about the same things, thousands of years earlier. I’m sure cave men had the same problem. It’s a fact of human behavior that old people are frightened by young people, because they’ve lost what young people have in excess: vitality and passion.

So I initially took the headline in today’s Globe and Mail with a pinch of salt: “Today’s college kids are 40-per-cent less empathetic, study finds.”

However, we are talking about a scientific study — or at the very least, a study of studies. According to the Globe and Mail:

“Today’s college students are 40-per-cent less empathetic than those of the 1980s and 1990s, says a University of Michigan study that analyzed the personality tests of 13,737 students over 30 years.”

Now that’s a significant number of people they talked to, and apparently, the same empathy tests were given to all the young people they tested in the study, so I think we have to take the initial finding at face value. There is a general lowering of empathy in our young. But reading the story, I notice that we leave the science really quickly, jumping straight to causes:

“The influx of callous reality TV shows and the astronomical growth of social networking and texting – technologies that allow people to tune others out when they don’t feel like engaging – may be to blame, the authors hypothesize.”

The biggest drop in empathy comes after the year 2000, and I suspect the partying in 1999 may be the cause, but the authors suggest the social networking sites of MySpace and Facebook may be connected. Really? Social networking makes us less empathetic?

Thankfully the Mop & Pail talks to some people willing to go beyond the grab for headlines, and posits that, I dunno, maybe it has more to do with parenting. Could it be that two-income families, the rise of single-parent families, and a general lack of time could be at fault? Was there some kind of change in parenting and teaching attitudes post-1980 that may be causing this lack of empathy? (I’m thinking about something that would give young people an unwarranted sense of entitlement and self-confidence — I mean, more than the usual bravado of youth.)

Personally, I blame the metric system.

Alltop doesn’t care about anything but funny. You can find the original article in the Globe and Mail.

P.S. Obviously, it’s not because of the metric system in the U.S. Clearly, there it’s because of the Republicans.

P.P.S. According to Wikipedia, the only other countries that don’t use the metric system are Burma and Liberia. So there it’s clearly because of aliens.

Are you SAD?

Downward trend graphA public service announcement from The Skwib

This time of year can be troubling for bloggers; the days get shorter, the holiday season has its own particular stresses, and for those running weblogs, there are the dangers of SAD.

Statistical Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by an abrupt and inexplicable drop in the visitor statistics to your blog. Early symptoms include:

  • sudden weeping
  • shout at the ceiling: “why, why, gods of blog … why?”
  • desperate attempts/plans/Fred Flintstone-like schemes to boost readership including:
    • massive increase in Tweets
    • hyper-active friending on Facebook
    • increased meme generation.

As the disorder progresses, you may find yourself:

  • bitter
  • angry
  • drunk.

And in the final stages, SAD can even lead to:

  • apathy
  • self-loathing
  • watching TV and reading books.

If you have any of these symptoms you may have SAD, and should seek qualified psychiatric help at the first opportunity. Alternatively, you could just turn off your damned computer.

Alltop and humor-blogs.com both suffer from FUN (Frequent, Uncomfortable Noobishness). Originally published in December 2005.)