Social Networking & Social Responsibility

How about the social networking?

Isn’t it neat and cool?  Of course it is.

Now naturally I could spend the next several paragraphs talking about all of its features and benefits, however I would like to think that I really don’t need to.  Most of the regulars around here along with the reported millions of other readers of this site are already familiar with the likes of sites like Twitter and MySpace. 

Oh yeah, I forgot Facebook.

On a regular basis, members of Facebook participate in awareness campaigns started by Lord knows who by calling attention to the selected crisis de jour through either their profile pictures or even their status update.  Most notable are those for cancer awareness.  Women will post the color of their bra to raise awareness for breast cancer.  I’m still waiting for someone to post the color “clear”. 

I honestly have no problem with this.  If statements and actions like this raise awareness and move beyond symbolic gestures to an action which is substantive, that’s great. 

This last week, the friends who grace my Facebook page have updated their profile pictures to reflect cartoon characters.  A few of them have posted the following status to explain it:

Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood and invite friends to do the same. Until Friday December 03 there will be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of childhood memories. This is for Violence against Children, a great cause. If you care about your children or any children you know DO IT.

Ok, I can deal with that.  As a child I wasn’t abused, however I’m sure I gave my parents plenty of reasons to justify it.  The fact they resisted the urge to do so is commendable.  At the same time, there have been many times over the last several years where my own kids have inspired creative means and methods of “lovingly guiding them down the right path”.  Even then I’ve resisted the urge as well.

As I’ve stated before, I don’t really participate in a lot of the Facebook applications and activities.  The awareness campaigns tend to fall in the same category in my book.  Regardless, the little man dressed in red who stands on my left shoulder provided more than a compelling argument to participate in this one about the child abuse.  Accordingly, I updated my profile picture to one from my youth.  Granted, I was already in my 20’s by the time I was introduced to this particular cartoon.  Even still, I look back on those times fondly.

Now I’m sure a lot of people will look on my choice of Homer and Bart as a profile picture to be in poor taste.  The CFO even suggested she would de-friend me because of it.  Be that as it may, the posting of animated child abuse will do about as much to raise awareness about the practice as any other cartoon character that gets posted.

Thank you Facebook, for making me socially responsible.

Speaking of social responsibility, let’s talk about junk mail.

I’m pretty tired of this crap.  Aren’t you?

At least three times a week, the receptacle in which I receive snail mail gets littered with undesired and unsolicited trash which demands that I act as a means of conveyance for said piece of trash from my mailbox to the trash.  I don’t bother to open it at all.  The only attention I even give it is to verify that it’s junk mail.

At this point in the information age, I pay all of my bills on line.  I communicate with my loved ones through email and social networking.  For those electronic advertisements which make it through my chastity belt-like firewall, I promptly hit the unsubscribe link in the mail.  If the spam doesn’t have such a link, I track down the necessary information in the message headers and notify the ISP behind the note that their clients are committing shenanigans.

At this time, I have two goals to complete in the coming year.  One of them will be discussed here on TharpSter.Org later on, so stay tuned.  The other one is to expand my paperless world.  It has nothing to do with saving the environment, saving the rain forests, hugging a tree, or any other junk science hippy crap like that. 

When it comes down to it, my need for paper continues to grow smaller every day.  By the end of this month, I will have four binders full of daily calendar entries from my Franklin Covey day planner.  I’ve been carrying that thing around since 2007, and I have yet to successfully locate a tidbit of somewhat important information I may have scribbled in it on some previous day, month, or year.  Those things are taking up space, and I think it’s time to get rid of them.  Maybe I’ll post them on Craigslist.

All things being equal, there have only been two times that planner has really come in handy for me.  It’s served well in compiling my daily “stuff to avoid” lists.  The magic of my Lotus Notes at work will allow me to create those same lists, so that will be no problem.  The other time the book helped out was when it served as a chew toy for the star of the Pit Bull Diaries.  That one turned into a pretty popular blog.

Going forward, I’m going to start taking aggressive steps to eliminate all of the trash that gets into the compound.  I’ve done some research and found out how to reduce and/or even eliminate a sizable portion of it.  At the very least, I should be able to walk into the Post Office and have it cancelled all together.


Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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