Monday, January 27, 2014

Keep On Scrollin'

            A sad thing happened today. I lost a friend. Before you start extending condolences, let me clarify this was a Facebook friend. And I didn’t lose him physically...just on Facebook.
            His Facebook demise wasn’t sudden or without warning. He gave all his friends a heads up a few days ago that he’d be signing off. Something about “mountains being made out of molehills.” Don’t know what he meant exactly, but he sounded a little bitter. 
            We’ve all heard the complaints: Facebook is just a place to brag, to “overshare,” to bully. And, of course, there’s the constant, pervading complaint that it’s a waste of time. I’ve been known to register a few complaints myself. But here’s what I’ve learned about Facebook or any form of social media: It’s a tool to use however I want. In fact, for me, it’s one of the few areas of my life where I feel—for the most part—in control. 
            For instance, I can pick my friends. Well, the ones that subscribe to Facebook. And I have quite a variety. They run the gamut from left-wing liberals to far-right conservatives. From twenty-somethings to grandparents. From close relatives to people I know only through Facebook. I even follow a couple of authors I like, although I avoid any fanatical following of the rich and famous...or the rich and ridiculous.  
Best device I've found for
managing Facebook. Inexpensive,
lightweight, and (hopefully) I'll never lose it.

            Facebook provides all sorts of ways to manage friends so that I can choose which ones I want to keep up with most. But what I’ve found most effective in managing time and friends is...wait for finger. Yes, that little non-tech device that is with me wherever I go has enabled me to not only survive Facebook but to enjoy it.
             First, if I don’t have time for Facebook, I don’t click on it. What a concept! But if I do have some downtime, I enjoy scrolling through a few posts, catching up on what friends and family are doing, viewing pictures. That’s another way my finger comes in handy—scrolling. I generally glance at the recent posts on the news feed, pausing to read the ones I find interesting, and scrolling past the ads, most of the links, and posts of the 150 cute things someone’s kid or pet has done THAT DAY. If you happen to enjoy cute things that kids and pets do, great! That’s the beauty of Facebook. You can pause and read and even comment...or you can keep on scrollin’.
            Same thing goes for posts I’m pretty sure are going to irritate me. I scroll right past. I’m all for people expressing their opinions. I just don’t feel the need to read them. And I sure don’t feel the need to respond to them. Occasionally, I’ll hit “like” if I agree with a particular stance, but, in general, I prefer my political discussions to be in person. But, hey, if a heated Facebook argument is your idea of fun—or if you feel strongly led to publicly state your opinion—go for it. Just don’t get your feelings hurt when people feel equally led to disagree. Or drop you as a friend. As for me, I get enough political angst from watching TV news without getting embroiled in a Facebook debate.
             And speaking of TV, it comes with an “Off” button. That’s another place you can put your finger to effective use.   


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Master Brooks's Bookses: Imagine...

 Throughout my lifetime—all three years of it—friends and family have been instrumental in helping me build my personal library, which, I must admit, is impressive. However, another source also provides me with lots and lots of entertaining and age-appropriate books. For this post, I’m breaking with my tradition of reviewing a specific book and, instead, am sharing information about my other source. 
            In 1996, Ms. Dolly Parton, a very famous and very generous lady from my own state of Tennessee, had a desire to help the children of her home state. She decided the best way to do that was by establishing the Imagination Library. I could explain the program and why Ms. Parton chose this particular way to help, but if you click on the links, the website and video will do a much better job. 
This is me surrounded by a few of the many books I've received from
Imagination Library.

            When I was born, my parents signed me up, and to this date, Imagination Library has given me forty—yes, FORTY—books to add to my collection. By the time I’m five, that number will be sixty!
            Now you’re probably saying, “That’s all well and good, Master Brooks, but what about children who aren’t from Tennessee?”
            Well, the best thing about this program is that it was so successful it is now available all over the United States and even the world. The information for starting it in your state or community is provided on the website. Just think of the impact of every single child in the world starting out in life with his or her very own personal library. It staggers the imagination!

This is me surrounded by my cars. If you're wondering
what this has to do with books, it was a deal I made with
 Grammy Dee. I agreed to have my picture made with
my books, if she would take one of me with my cars.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Staying Comfy and Passing Along Great Advice

            I know, I know. I’m late with this blog. But it seems to me the beginning of a new year requires some sort of  “resolutions” post, and, unlike so many of my friends who’ve blogged fabulous ideas about how to start the year, I find myself woefully under-qualified in this area.
            Perhaps because of a l-o-o-ong history of making resolutions only to break them in a matter of weeks...days...hours, I feel more comfortable receiving this sort of advice rather than giving it. And although I know it’s healthy to step out of our comfort zones occasionally, I also know it’s sometimes good to simply yield to the experts. So while I can’t offer any original insights on how to get your year started right, I can pass on the wisdom of others. And that’s what I’m doing.
            Please check out these bloggers to learn fresh, inspiring ways to jump-start a successful 2014:

Wishing you a new year that is full of hope!