Friday, 7 October 2016

The Insidious Degradation of Society: Why You Must Vote

Whatever candidate is your choice, even if you hate both of them - YOU MUST VOTE.

It is so sad that there is frequently so little voter turnout in both American and Canadian elections. IMO, this is a slap in the face to our societal, if not biologically direct, forefathers and mothers who fought for the RIGHT to vote.

Please THINK about that.

Not long ago there was a large percentage of our population that was not allowed to vote, even if they wanted to.* In many countries around the world -TODAY- there are still many citizens who are not allowed to vote, even if they want to. If someone told you that you were not allowed to have a say in how your country is run today, what would your reaction be?? If someone told you that half the population of your country was not allowed to vote (including ONLY whatever gender, religious or ethnic background you particularly ascribe to) what would your reaction be??

As a citizen of a "free" country, YOU ARE LUCKY. Be thankful that you do not have to risk your life to obtain the basic rights and privileges of a democratic society.

Remember that this is only possible because citizens who came before you stood together and demanded change. People who came before you sacrificed and, in some cases, gave their LIVES in order to obtain the opportunity to vote.

 I believe we, as members of society, are obligated to honour those who fought before us AND those who are currently fighting across the globe (our fellow humans!!!) for this right. You are taking the PRIVILEGE of voting rights for granted by neglecting to get off your ass and get to the polls no matter the inconvenience. I guarantee you it will be much more than an inconvenience when your right to vote is taken away because so many people clearly don't care and the (eventual) 10% who do turnout vote to not give lazy asshats a choice in the matter anymore.

 Yeah, yeah, yeah. One vote will not change anything. One vote is only a drop in the bucket. But MANY water droplets can create a rainstorm or even a tsunami if they work together. A crowd of voices can shout louder than one.

To the same point, every apathetic breeds more apathy. And more. Until so very few are engaged that the ones who remain so take control. Then, it's "Hello Lybia".

You MUST make an effort to vote. You MUST submit your two cents. We may not have pennies in Canada anymore but cents are still money - they still have worth!!! Two cents may not have physical presence anymore but they still have value. Maybe not as much value as you'd like but still SOME.


If all you have to spend is two cents... why are you choosing to NOT spend them????

That two cents is the only way you get to have a say in how your immediate world works. That's so cheap!!!! What a deal!!

But wait. Isn't your voice worth more than that?? ...Yes, it IS!! But the only way to ensure your two cents is worth more someday is to INVEST IT! The only way to invest it is to add it to the collective.

Here you have a choice!! Choice is a LUXURY, my friend, don't forget that!!! And which way to invest your two cents is your choice, yours and yours alone. Nobody can tell you where to spend your two cents. No one can tell you which piggy bank to put it in.

So what are you going to do? Are you going to put them in the glass bank? the one made of candy floss? that titanium, unbending, unbreakable muther..? the biodegradable bank? Or are you going to put those two pennies into a random piggy bank?

Choice too hard? Is it easier to just chuck 'em than make a decision? You can't keep those two cents forever and you can't chuck them either. One way or another they will be invested. You can invest in apathy and the insidious degradation of society or you can invest in a cause. How much effort you put into choosing that cause is up to you.

I hope to God people get off their lazy, spoiled asses and remove their heads from said rectums.

Good luck.

Yes, That Asterisks Mean Something
* In Canada, women won the right to vote only 100 years ago (in 1916). That was only SOME of Canadian women, btw. Quebec was the last province to give women the right to vote... in 1940. My father was born that year, FYI, and my biological grandfather was born in 1919 -- only three years after his mother was considered equal to his father (in theory). This is NOT THAT LONG AGO.
In the USA, the fight for women's suffrage (the right to vote) took 80 YEARS. The first election American women were allowed to vote in was in 1920. Again, my own biological-grandfather pre-dates American women's right to vote.

And it was only in 1965 that black Americans** were afforded the right to vote without impediment. To put that into perspective, 1965 is the year my father immigrated to Canada, four years before he met my mother. 

**Interestingly, gender was more of an impediment for Canadian voters than race. After the abolition of enslavement (a gradual process ending around 1834****), black men in Canada were considered British subjects and, therefore, entitled to the right to the privileges of such status. Racism and various requirements for eligible voters inhibited black voters to an extent but the legal right existed. Black women were not discriminated against for the colour of their skin, only their gender, as they didn't win the right to vote until did white women.

Of further interest, in 1963 (two years before any black American was granted the right to vote), the first black Canadian was elected to parliament and three years after (in 1968) Canada's first black member of parliament was elected. 

**** NOT A TYPO!

Reference Resources

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Getting A Handle On Twitter By Using Lists

Originally published in the Sep/Oct edition of BIFHSGO's eNewsletter.

I bet you’ve been wondering how the heck some people follow SO many accounts on Twitter. You can barely keep up with the barrage of tweets from the 300 or so tweeps you do follow and you can’t even begin to imagine how celebrities can follow MILLIONS, right?

One way to combat that problem is to let go of being afraid to miss something. When I first began using Twitter - way back before Ashton Kutcher was the first tweeter to get 1 million followers - I used to “go back to the beginning” every morning and try to read through what all the people I was following had tweeted overnight. There was a TON of stuff to get through! Sometimes it wouldn’t even scroll all the way back to timestamps before my bedtime; frequently, I just ended up scanning good chunks of the history. It was cumbersome. Things fell off my To Do List. I felt pressured and anxious about keeping up and annoyed by people who posted “too much crap’.

The first thing I had to realize was that not everyone sleeps at the same time and, for most of the world, that is because they exist in alternate and sometimes drastically different time zones! Twitter is a global tool, it never sleeps!

Secondly, it’s impossible to follow everything that everyone posts. Even if you only follow 10 people, chances are someone will occasionally go on a bender and publish one tweet (or, even easier, one retweet!) every 30 seconds for hours on end. You probably won’t care about all of them, even if they’re from your celebrity crush. Chances are that you won’t be interested in every single tweet published by every single person you follow. Twitter is not meant to be read like a book; it’s meant to be scanned. Almost feels superfluous, wasteful or even shameful, doesn’t it?

Once I realized that Real Time is FAST, Real Time is NOW, that any given tweet has a lifespan of only about 18 minutes* (in other words, it’s not meant to be looked at after 18* minutes have passed) and that, if something is really important or exciting I won’t miss it because MANY people will be tweeting about it, not just a few and that any earth-shattering subject I want or need to know about will likely be talked about for longer than 18* minutes -- then I was able to relax and begin to enjoy Twitter the way it’s meant to be used. Twitter is a real-time tool that allows people to participate, share, comment and engage en masse from the four corners of the world, different boroughs of a city, or beside each other on the sofa. It is for the immediate dispersal of information. The 2011 Libyan Revolution (the organization of which Twitter is credited with) is a perfect though more serious example of Twitter’s purpose. An uprising is what the younger crowd would call “Hard Core” Live Tweeting.whereas Live Tweeting a genealogy conference would, perhaps, be considered “Soft Core” Live Tweeting.

[Of interest: The Truth About Twitter, Facebook and the Uprisings in the Arab World]

Important reminders, announcements and news stories will be covered by slower, more permanent forms of media and social media that one will have less chance of missing.

Another way to manage the mass influx of tweets is with Twitter Lists. You can create public or private lists of Tweeters (whether you follow them or not) to curate content into whatever groupings you desire (ie, genealogy topics, home location, research locations, repositories, friends, family, co-workers, societies, crafts, professionals, businesses, artists, etc, etc, etc). Then, instead of relying on your main feed which includes everything from everybody you follow, you can digest more manageable portions depending on your need, available time or particular interest by going directly to the appropriate list.

Twitter How-To Links
* RE: a tweet's lifespan is 18 minutes**
** CORRECTION NOTICE: In the Sep/Oct 2016 BIFHSGO eNewsletter, I used the number 12 in this article instead of the (correct) number 18 when talking about tweet lifespan. I think I have "number dysmorphia" sometimes... strange.