When I was in school, asking someone to go to Prom was a big deal.  However, it usually consisted of the boy (back then the boys did most of the asking) somehow getting word to his friend or the girl’s friend, to find out if she was realistically going to say yes.  A teen angst reconnaissance mission, of sorts.


My actual prom.  That blue thing on the right?  A phone.  The danger of tanning beds was not fully researched in the 1980’s. 

Today though, social media has changed the game, when it comes to the mere asking someone to Prom.   Since Prom season is here, I thought it would be fun to look at how asking someone to Prom has changed.

Prom season is in the Spring, which means you have to line up a date in the Winter.  Even if that means getting down on one knee, in the snow.

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Photo credit: Pinterest /

Nevermind that getting down on one knee used to be reserved for marriage proposals.

Definitely try to have your date lined up by St. Patrick’s Day – even if it means asking her at the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade in your town.  The background bagpipes will help set the mood…

Keeping your clothes on is usually a good idea, fellas.  But apparently some girls don’t mind you bearing your heart, or your butt.

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Photo credit:

I think if someone did this to my car, if I’d had a car in high school, I would have been annoyed.   Well, then again, I guess it would depend on if I liked the guy.

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Hey, if you can bake, this is your chance to really impress your potential date!

Local business owners might be willing to help a guy out.

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Photo credit:

Enlisting friends for the big ask might be the way to go.

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Photo credit:  CTV News

Fortunately, it seems even the kids who hate all the other kids can find that one special person to take to Prom.

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Photo credit:

I do wonder if this Spring, the Promposals will be overshadowed on social media by the calls for gun control, following the Parkland school shooting.

The teenagers of today continue to impress me.  Obviously, the recent school walk outs and ongoing conversation following the Parkland shooting has put teenagers in the spotlight.  They are not quieting down, and they are a powerful force.  They are putting lots of adults to shame.  They are demanding to feel safe in their schools.  And they are right.

I would love to see these kids make a difference on the issue, and bring about change, so that they can stop having to march, protest, and plead with adults for something as basic as their own safety.  My guess is that most of these kids would prefer to just to be normal kids.  I bet they’d probably rather go back to talking about simple, fun things – like some cool and creative Promposals.


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Facebook in Hot Water…Again

Image: Semantiko

Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling company  that worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and its related company, Strategic Communications Laboratories, stole data from over 50 million Facebook users.


Image: The Advocate


As a startup company, Cambridge secured a wealthy Republican donor, Robert Mercer, who invested $15 million and wooed Steve Bannon with the promise of tools that could not only identify the personalities of American Voters but also influence their behavior.



Cambridge paid to acquire personal information through an outside researcher that claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes.

Image: News, Now, Today

Aleskandr Kogan, was the third party researcher that violated Facebook terms by providing user data to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook says it knew about the breach, but had received legally binding guarantees from the company that all of the data was deleted. However, sources close to Cambridge say that this data was still accessible as recently as last year.


Image: Me.Me


The data in question was gathered via an app called thisisyourdigitallife, which was created by Kogan. The app offered Facebook users personality quizzes and those who downloaded the it voluntarily turned over reams of personal data about likes, where they live and in some cases, who their friends were.



Up until 2014, apps could collect information on every users’ friend network. Facebook shut down that capability for app developers in mid-2014 but allowed a grace period for some apps that were already up and running. During that time, Kogan was able to create 30 million psychographic profiles of Facebook users. Unlike demographic profiles, psychographic profiles describe people based on their personality types.

Christopher Wylie who helped found Cambridge said “They want to fight a culture war in America,” he added. “Cambridge Analytica was supposed to be the arsenal of weapons to fight that culture war.” He was referring to wealthy conservative investors. It is alarming yet not surprising that our social media data is being used to influence our behavior. We are actually giving them the data they need to influence elections. Think about that before you agree to do a “what type of bread am  I?”  survey on Facebook.  The cost is too high to see if you are sourdough or Rye bread.



Posted in Facebook, Politics, Social Media & Psychology, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A More Truly Social Media

It’s called Playbook, and it’s a new app that is starting to catch fire…

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Photo courtesy of

The premise of Playbook is to help you find out what other people are doing around you, so you can join them offline.  What I find most fascinating though, is that the company actually doesn’t want its users to be spending very much time on the app; they would truly prefer to assist their users connect with others in person, and that’s what I love about this new phenomenon.

Most popular throughout college campuses, Playbook was designed as a way for students to keep in touch with their friends over the summer.

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An endorsement by one of Playbook’s users, shown on the company’s home page.


Students then had the opportunity to travel to new and exciting places while staying with friends.


Eventually, the focus of the app shifted to what people were doing in their every day lives.  “We saw an opportunity not around scheduling time in advance but spontaneously,” said Luke Heine, one of Playbook’s founders.

Once a new user has signed up for the app, they can then post their plans (referred to as ‘plays’, in the app) for the rest of the community to see.  These plays could be anything – heading to the park, playing frisbee, or even studying in the library.  “We reckoned that while the 5 friends we message might not be able to play basketball in 15 minutes, someone on campus we know would, if only they knew not only that I was around but also that I wanted to play basketball,” said Heine.

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I think this is a great idea for a new app, and I hope it catches on throughout the greater population; not just on college campuses.  To me, it embodies more of what I think social media should do for us: help us to actually be more social.  It presents great opportunities to make new friends, meet up with old ones, and explore more of the world around us.  Bravo.

Posted in tourism, Travel, Vacation | 2 Comments

Group Texts – A Technological Annoyance


Oh, the group text.  How useful you are but how painfully annoying you can be.  We often do not want you but need you in order to efficiently share information with a group of people.  You are like email’s annoying little brother that refuses to stop talking.

Yeah, this is pretty much my reaction when stuck in an unrelenting group text thread.  Sure, I can silence my phone as the number of texts in the thread grows from 20 to 50 to 80 and so on, but I know they are there, slowly growing in the dark like an unwanted mold problem.

A group text thread is like a rain storm.  The initial text is like the beginning drizzle of the rain storm.  Soon, however, everyone is texting, adding their commentary to the discussion, and the drizzle becomes a full deluge that seems like it will never end.  Like a rain storm, a group thread eventually comes to an end, but we all know that there will be another storm in the near future.

Oh, and my family’s group texts are the worst.  They last way too long and are usually nonsense (wow, writing that just made me feel like a grumpy old man).

But this is very similar to my experience on a typical Saturday morning:

My family finds some reason to engage in a group thread just about every Saturday(while writing this, my phone just chimed again letting me know that the current family group thread is still alive when I foolishly thought the rain had stopped!).  This week it is about Saint Patrick’s Day, so everyone is trying to one-up each other by sharing a funny video or picture related to the holiday.  A typical example of the nonsense that I must endure would be someone texting the picture below and saying that it resembles someone in the family.  Not to be outdone, everyone would then feel compelled to add a “funny” remark and send additional photos that would then solicit additional remarks.  This sometimes goes on for over an hour.  I kid you not, OVER AN HOUR.



Photo from the movie Leprechaun courtesy of 

I am sure I sound like a curmudgeon and perhaps I am, but these threads are so common and unrelenting that they are a real pain to deal with .  If I put my phone on silent, then I might miss a text or important call from someone else.  I can’t get out of the thread because it is still the way that my family shares important information, like whose house we are going to for Easter.  Also, if I ask to have them not include me, then I am essentially being a total antisocial jerk.  I guess I am just stuck with no option but to wait the storm out each time it starts.  It will eventually stop but it sure is annoying while it lasts.


Posted in Uncategorized, technology, text messaging, cell phones | Tagged | 2 Comments

Rex Tillerson: I Hope Trump Finds Out He’s Impeached on Twitter

President Trump has raised (or lowered) the bar of Twitter as he once again used it to fire a subordinate, in this case a very high one, the highest-ranking member of his cabinet, the Secretary of State.

He did it with former FBI Director James Comey, he did it with his former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, and he uses it daily to, in his words, act like his own New York Times, “except without the overhead.”

In his first year, from the morning of his inauguration through its one-year anniversary,  Trump has sent out a whopping 2,568 tweets. That amounts to just a bit more than seven tweets per day.

The president’s most recent firing via Twitter was the butt of late night talk shows:


Some people say he’s just being modern: breaking up by text.  If so, Mr. Tillerson has a lot of company in who Mr. Trump has broken ties with since becoming president.  And given that he’s been president just 1 year and 2 months, we may be approaching enough folks to fill a Guns N’ Roses performance before he’s done:

These are some of the key people either sacked by Donald Trump or who have resigned from the White House since Trump took office, many by Twitter.
Chief strategist
Days in office: 211
Chief economic adviser
Days in office: 411
Communications director
Days in office: 88
National security adviser
Days in office: 25
White House adviser
Days in office: 218
Communications director
Days in office: 405
Deputy national security adviser
Days in office: 119
Director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison
Days in office: 366
Staff secretary
Days in office: 384
Deputy national security adviser
Days in office: 357
Chief of staff
Days in office: 190
Communications director
Days in office: 10
Director of Oval Office operations
Days in office: 243
Press secretary, communications director
Days in office: 183
Secretary of State
Days in office: 406
Deputy chief of staff
Days in office: 70
Pictures: AFP (Bannon, Flynn, Porter, Scaramucci, Schiller, Spicer, Walsh); AP (Cohn, Hicks, Priebus); Reuters (Powell)

Whether Mr. Tillerson gets his revenge by seeing news of the president’s impeachment reported first on Twitter is anyone’s guess (either way–impeachment or reported or seen first on Twitter by the president), but it’s clear the White House and the president, who serves as his own director of communications, and increasingly now as his own cabinet and staff, is using social media to be the main channel for the White House and presidential announcements, firings, hires, and policy statements, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders notwithstanding.

Having U.S. policy and White House communications limited to 140 characters, perhaps rising to 280 soon as announced by Twitter, seems both infantile and non-sensible.

Mr. Tillerson perhaps sealed his fate in October 2017 when he was quoted as saying the president was a moron, but having the President of the United States believe he can conduct policy, either foreign or domestic, by himself and explain it via Twitter, comes close to the former Secretary of State’s observation of his former boss.

May I be please be wrong.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Where is Colin?

Today marks what the National Football League calls the “Legal tampering period”, a time when you can openly court players that were under contract with other teams. It is an important time because teams are not obligated to provide compensation to their competitors for the opportunity to employ members of their previous organizations.

I have a question that may have seen more interesting days of being a talk-point already. Where is Colin Kaepernick in all of this?  I know that teams have the right to hire anyone they choose but I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are people playing in the NFL that are not the most personable of human beings. Is it that Colin was too political by saying that he was against standing for the National Anthem because we as a nation had failed to live up to the credo that we solidly stand by………in theory? Or is it because we allowed ourselves to spun on the issue by the president who made it about the military so we dare NOT collude with a traitor that would have the audacity to exercise his right to free speech?


Many of us as fathers would love to raise our boys to be professional ball players. I would be honored to call Colin my son! I’m with Kap!



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Who’s mad about the madness?

It’s that time of year again where everyone, of every age, everywhere in the country becomes a basketball fan. Whether it’s because you’re watching it on purpose, or because your husband won’t allow anything else to be played in the house by the time the sweet 16 rolls around; we will all catch a glimpse of young talented athletes participate in what is presumably the highlight of their lives thus far.

Speaking of highlights, it isn’t just any old program for broadcasting companies CBS and Turner. The 14 year, $10.8 billion agreement the companies made with the NCAA in 2011 may have seemed like a hit to take, until you factor in the $1.24 billion they made on Ad sales in 2016 alone. CBS and Turner are so pleased with these revenue potentials they have already contracted the NCAA for another 8 years. While chump change compared to the Ad sale revenue, this factors out to be $1.1 billion from 2025 and beyond for NCAA. This doesn’t even factor in ticket sales, concessions and merchandise. For some, it begs the question: why aren’t the athletes who are making the NCAA and the schools this money getting paid?

Make no mistake, these kids aren’t exactly playing for free. Most of the division I schools afford them scholarships that allow for free education, meals, athletic gear, medical care, stipends, and it goes on.

Nevertheless, the sports world sounds off:


Most of the general public with large student loan debt likely feel that a free education is more than enough. However, the amount of money that these student athletes are bringing in for their universities and the NCAA has reached a point where it far overshadows the cost of a college education. Let alone the physical endurance some of these individuals are subjected to, i.e. football players, and the risks they take with their bodies in process. In addition, these athletes serve as the ultimate recruitment tool for the university as a whole. As someone who sees a debt free education as invaluable, I am left conflicted. If you are an art major on scholarship, you can sell your paintings. If you are on a music scholarship you can play paid gigs. I wonder if I were in possession of these God given talents, why wouldn’t I be looking to get paid?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments