Social Media Schizophrenia

November 8, 2008

Politics, Social Networking


It is Saturday afternoon and I’m spent.  This week has been full of lows – and highs.  Here is the brief rundown:

1. My CountryThe lows: The election has confirmed my belief that conservatives are now in the wilderness. The Republican party got thumped in the election – and deservedly so.  The only thing the Republicans didn’t lose was the ability to conduct Senate filibusters.  Everything else was washed away in the tidal wave of anti-Bush sentiment.  And if I could have voted up/down on Bush alone, I would have joined the masses.  But I was unwilling to cede all power to the Democrats simply to send a message to the Republican party.

The highs: As I noted last week, the rejection of the current Republican party establishment is a GOOD THING.  We need to purge ourselves of encumbrances like “party affiliation” and “reaching across the aisle” to embrace watered-down policies.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I am in favor of embracing our fellow Americans – even when we disagree.  But let’s not be so willing to compromise our principles in order to be loved by all.  The prophets of the Old Testament dd not worry about whether their message was accepted by their listeners (and readers).  Rather, they spoke truth to power.  And that is what the conservatives in exile must begin to do.

I think I may be writing a whole lot more about this in the future.  But for now, know that I am both disheartened as well as elated.  I don’t believe that conservatism has been rejected.  Indeed, we haven’t seen real, honest-to-goodness conservatism for quite a while.  So now is our chance to proclaim that truth.

In the meantime, I am so incredibly proud of my country.  First, there was tremendous participation in this election.  Second, we took one huge step towards erasing a legacy of social schisms.  Our forefathers struggled about whether to include emancipation of slaves into our Declaration of Independence.  The first step towards John Adams vision of equality came with the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln.  The second step came with the US Civil War.  The third step came with the civil rights efforts of the fifties (esp. the US Armed Forces) and the Civil Rights Act of the sixties.  And the most recent step came with the election of an African American President.  This was truly a remarkable election that every American should be proud of.  It demonstrates all of the best things about America.

2. My FamilyThe lows: My middle daughter has been having a very tough time at school.  I really don’t want to go through all of the details as this blog is publicly available – and her challenges are very private.  But suffice it to say that she started the week very disheartened.

The highs: After several days of struggling with herself and seeking the counsel of others, she has come to some decisions.  In candor, I do agree with her decisions. But I am still brokenhearted as I don’t know if she is fully invested in her decisions.  Indeed, I suspect that she is only grudgingly accepting he unanimous counsel of others.  But she has taken the first steps towards returning to the mission that God has set out for her.  I’m praying that God speaks to her in intimate and affectionate ways.  I’m praying that she sees His hand guiding the way – even while His other hand is lifting her up to keep her from stumbling.

My third daughter came home for the weekend.  And she brought seven friends with her.  They came to KC so they could experience First Fridays in the KC arts district .  They were all thrilled to walk around art exhibits, munch on appetizers and act all artsy-fartsy.  OK, that is harsh.  I can’t truly appreciate the visual arts because of my poor eyesight.  But I really shouldn’t discount the joy that some people receive when looking at a wonderful piece of art.  Fortunately, they all enjoyed the art and the joi de vivre they experienced.

BTW, Bailey has some great friends.  They spoke with us.  They laughed with us.  They discussed politics with us.  And they ate our food.  So a good time was had by all.

And the biggest family high point this week was my wife’s return to full-time employment. Three months ago, her previous employer had to terminate a large number of employees.  And my wife was assigned to projects that were being reduced.  So she was released.  And while I know exactly how Cindy felt, I couldn’t really help bear her burden. She has had to bear a lot of the emotional burden herself.

But as of this past Monday, she is now fully employed.  And her work is both more challenging and more rewarding than her previous assignments.  In almost every way, she has been kicked up the work ladder.  For this, I am so very grateful to a God that has met our family needs while He guided her to the right interviews with the right people.  Now I’m paying for her success with a new team and a new company.

3. My Job The lows: One of the projects that I was working on was halted.  The software worked.  The inter-corporation communications worked.  But the product was still canned.  And the basic reason for the project termination was the general economy today.  Our key financial partner declined to under-write the loan instruments that were pivotal to the product.  So the product has been suspended – at least for now.

The highs: While the one product was terminated, the overall system will be used for other products this season.  So work proceeds.  And even if it didn’t, I have so many other projects that I am working on.  I’m not worried about my continued employment.  Nor am I worried about my standing in the eyes of executive leadership.  In many ways, I have the privilege of being considered a “go to” person in the organization.  So I am quite pleased.

4. My Twitter Egosphere The lows: About a week ago, I was reading a note from Jennifer Leggio (a freelance writer for Ziff-Davis) about her philosophy concerning following and unfollowing people on Twitter.  Actually the article was about Qwitter, an app to track who quits following you (and what the last posted tweet was before they quit following you).  It is a true vanity app.

Early in the week, I got a note from Qwitter that Jennifer had unfollowed me.  Normally, I don’t care about who follows me.  But this time, it actually struck a raw nerve.  After everything else that happened this week, I actually felt a little upset that someone I respected had unfollwed me.  I didn’t feel so bad that I sent Jennifer a note.  But I did feel bad enough to tell Noah about it.

The highs: Noah sent a quick note to Jennifer and asked her what had happened.  It turns out that I hadn’t offended her with anything I had said.  Rather, she was having Twitter problems and inadvertently unfollowed a ton of people.  So Jennifer sent me a very heart-warming note apologizing for unfollowing me.  That was truly unexpected.  But it occurred at the same time that everything else was swing upward as well.  So this warm note and ego boost came when everything else was on an upswing.

5. My Social Media MetaverseThe lows: I have way too many social media networks that I am part of.  The current list includes: Twitter,, Friendfeed, Brightkite,, Google Reader, Flickr, GoodReads, StumbleUpon, GMail, Jabber, GTalk, AIM, Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger,,, and a few other services.  I am often overwhelmed by all of this.  So I’ve focused on Friendfeed as my social media aggregator.  And the folks from Friendfeed have now added the ability for Friendfeed posts to be sent to an IM account.  In my case, I’ve decided to try this with my GTalk account.

The low associated with all this integration is that I have so much social media stuff and it is now funneling to one place – me.  I can’t just turn stuff off.  I have grown accustomed to the buzz.  I hate being swamped.  But I love being informed of all sorts of things at the same time.  I have so many inputs now arriving at my frontal lobe.  And every beep, tweet, blip and alert is begging for me to switch focus.  It’s great to be connected.  And it is a real pain to be connected.  But as of now, I can’t imagine not being connected.  I feel like an addict that just needs one more hit of stimulation.  Arghhh.

The highs: After the addict comment, I don’t need to repeat the highs associated with social media and networking .  But I am quite excited about the levels of integration that are starting to coalesce into something almost discernible.  As everything begins to congregate through Friendfeed, the link to IM poses an amazing integration point.  With XMPP based IM integration, it will be possible to set up processes that run on my system – and under my control.  These processes can be intelligent agents that will consume XML from an XMPP server.  And as XMPP and OpenID are starting to come closer to one another (see, the possibilities become quite mind-bending.

Whew.  That list just skims the surface of highs/lows for this week.  There really was so much more.  But amidst all the sensory and emotional input that is causing my “virtual” schizophrenia , there is one thing that remains constant.  No matter how much is going on in this world, I know that my God loves me.  And I know that however I feel (whether high or low), nothing can separate me from that love.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things yet to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.



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