Caramel corn

One of my favorite memories of my great grandmother was making caramel corn. This is her recipe, and it’s super crisp. She taught me how to make it – it’s one if the first things I ever cooked, although I haven’t made it in years.

Once, she made a batch and we laid it out to cool. Then we went to break it up with our fingers and save it. Somehow, every single kernel of that batch went to either her mouth or mine. We finished the whole thing. She winked at me and made another batch for everyone else. I still remember that conspiratorial wink.

To Frances Finley, caramel corn maker extraordinaire.

Ethical Internetting

All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my employer

It’s hard to be lately what you want to spend your limited horrified energy tackling. But I was listening to a podcast, and it was talking about 2018 predictions. One of the predictions which had come true exactly as stated was that social media had been the primary driver of a genocide. In this case, Facebook and the genocide in Myanmar of the Rohingyas. How can I ethically contribute to making that platform successful – especially given Facebook’s lack of caring about the impact of its platform?

I’d already been uncomfortable with Facebook. There’s the whole Russian election meddling, the emotional experiments, and the fact that it’s both addictive and makes you feel crappy when you’ve had too much of it. I’d quit it if I could. But I can’t. I think that looking at the places where there is no legitimate competition to Facebook raises interesting questions that only regulators can answer. For me, I need to run my church social media presence (Facebook is a big part of that). I have a number of communities which are only collected on Facebook. And there are people I care about where my communication with them only happens there.

Additionally, I have been connecting and posting my thoughts on the internet since there was a public internet. I have been making status updates since they were a .plan on our PINE system. I *like* connecting with people online. I like writing short autobiographical segments. I think that I am perhaps beginning to be a writer whose writings I’d be willing to read, and that’s due almost entirely to my practice in digital media – this somewhat neglected blog being the primary venue, but the short thoughts having their place too. Facebook killed Livejournal, where I did this before. But I cannot find the thing that is killing Facebook. It needs to be widely available to reader, low barrier to entry, access controllable, mobile-friendly or mobile-first, and not a propaganda tool of the Russian government. Ideally I’d control what I read instead of having that algorithmically decided for me. There are a bunch of new entrants and throwbacks (and I’ve tried most of them at some point), but none of them have really delivered. The things that are closest, like Instagram and Twitter, have their own deeply problematic elements. (Instagram is owned by Facebook. Twitter is, well, Twitter.)

I finally decided that the thing that comes closest is… this blog. I’ve been using it for in depth, long form pieces. (And I’ve been having trouble getting those out lately.) My posts average about 1000 words, which takes me about an hour to write depending on how much research I need to do. (I know it doesn’t look like my posts have any research. But sometimes they do.) But what if I mixed it up? What if I kept my long form pieces, but then felt no hesitation in posting a picture and two lines in the interim? Like a bloglet? I know that many fewer people will read my blog than read my Facebook. History says that I’ll have many fewer comments and less interaction. But maybe it will scratch a portion of my itch. And maybe it will help ease a tiny bit of the stranglehold of Facebook if people don’t need to be there to keep up with *me*.

The holidays are a great time for this kind of experimentation. I tend to write a lot during the holidays (it’s one of the things I like to do when I have free time). So I’m going to try creating “bloglets” on this site. They won’t be edited. They may feel random. I may cross post them to FB manually (FB decided to make automated cross posting not possible due to them wanting to make things like this harder). They will also cross post to the soon-to-die Google+, Twitter at fairoriana@, and Tumblr “I sought fit words”. I’ll be posting the kind of stuff I usually post to Facebook/Instagram. (I may keep using Instagram, haven’t decided yet.) I’ll likely still read in Facebook (see also: they have me in a spot I can’t just walk away from). But we’ll see.

#bloglet #experiment