This is how you respond to a group text

 

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If you’re a human being with cell phone contact to the outside world, you’ve surely come across a group text. You know, the kind between your roommates updating each other on visiting guests or griping about how dumb it is to pay rent. Or the ongoing thread between close friends where you share ridiculous posts of people you used to go to high school with. But there’s another kind of group text out there lurking behind the matrix: The Event.

The event group text is something you get informing you about-DUH-an upcoming event. Maybe your friend is coming back in town and has texted you along with 9 other numbers that are foreign to your phone’s contact book and thus your IRL social network. There’s nothing wrong with sending or recieving a group text like this: the sender wants to get a quick, informative message out to a select number of people. Efficiency at its best in the modern age. However, it’s how the recipients act that can make this particular group text a pleasant stroll in heaven or a boiling soup of textual hell.

group text

Most of the time, it is an unwritten rule that you don’t have to respond to a group text of this nature. “Hey everyone. Party tonight. 11pm. My place. BYOB. PEACE SUCKAZ” is pretty straight forward. But there’s always a couple of dinks who responds to the entire anonymous group of folks with either a useless “wooooo” or a vacant “k”. Stop it. Stop it now. You’re flooding the inbox of people you don’t know with useless responses, and setting them up for the falsest hope we could ever imagine in this cold, dark, dependent technological world.

When I hear my phone sound off with a text, it sends me into endless possibilities of heavenly plans. Maybe it’s that sexy beast asking me out finally. Maybe my mom sent me a picture of the family dog. Maybe my friend Jeff is finally out of his existential funk and wants to get some cheese fries! But no. It’s still the empty responses from the group text sent an hour and a half ago about the party that had all the information possible in the lead text. The same empty group texts that transform faces around the globe from sheer excitement into gray-tinged smart phone-induced disappointment.

Of course it’s not the end of the world to recieve these kinds of texts, but that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying. If anything in this world full of murder, chaos and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood addicts, lets try to bring the daily annoyances down a little. Who knows, you might save a murder someday by refraining from texting “k” to a group of strangers. So next time you get a group text, do the right thing. Either accept it with a symbolic nod of your IRL head, or open up a new little text to the OT (original texter) and send your jubilations or follow up questions there. You could be saving a life.

 

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Celebrité: Amanda Bynes is getting annoying

Everyone knows Twitter is full of useless information: jokes about dying alone, endless/useless fights about politics and details about strangers’ day to day lives. But once in a while, some fairweathered tweet about a useless celebrity sets me on fire.

Amanda Bynes erratic behavior is becoming a bore

Image via People
Image via People

It’s sort of beating a dead horse at this point to say “Why do we CARE about these people?” Is it because our love lives are stale? Our cubicle is depressing? We don’t have enough interesting things going on it our lives? Probs a combination of the three and a BAJILLION others, but I digress.

My problem with this tweet, and most gossip columns tweeting about AB, is that her crazy weird behavior is something we care to know about. Wearing crazy wigs to court because she shaved her head to wear bad wigs? SHOW ME THE PIC. Mumbling to herself all over NYC? YOU GOT A SOUND CLIP? Throwing a vase/bong out of a high rise window? I LOVE GLASS CHIPS. Entering stores and locking herself in bathrooms to “apply makeup”? DAMN THAT GURL IS HIP. Sure, calling Drake ugly and everyone else ugly is kinda funny and entertaining. But seriously, what the hell is her game?

I will dissect this in three ways:

  • Amanda Bynes is having a mid life identity crisis. Not legit crazy, which would explain why she has never been held by a court for incompetence. It also explains why her friend Drake Bell (granted I don’t know anything about him besides he starred on her show “The Amanda Show” in the early 00’s) said in an interview with OK! magazine that “She’s a sweetheart. I had lunch with her yesterday, and she’s brilliant. She’s good, and she’s healthy.” Without actual mental issues, there’s little anyone can do just because she’s acting weird and rude.
  • She is uneducated and starved for attention. At least Joaquin Phoenix’s weird year was for art. Unless Amanda Bynes is writing a dissertation on the absurdity of post-modern media, or planning to compile a book of tweets that mirror modern life in the era of useless information, I’m gonna continue to think she’s acting out for attention.
  • She thinks acting erratically and getting media attention will bring her career back to life. She’s not wrong, which is even sadder commentary on modern American pop culture and how to be successful. Be a dick! Be crazy! People Love it!

No matter what, the Amanda Bynes news is getting old. Either she’s going to continue to spiral into even more erratic behavior for more and more media/twitter attention, resulting in who knows what, or the public is gonna get bored of her weak attempts at staying relevant. Only sweet time will tell whether our fave semi-crazy B is gonna take it too far or reign herself back in. Oy. Vey.

Social Butterfly: The Voicemail

Quit leaving voicemails, and stop wearing that hat. Image via ehow.com

Somewhere between the shift from phone calls to text messages died the use of the voicemail.

I admit, I am sometimes guilty of leaving a voicemail here and there. After all, they aren’t totally useless if you need to get some excitement or personality through in your message, that sometimes text messaging just can’t do.

However, I will never understand the type of person who leaves 6 voicemails that say the exact same thing, only changing the fake severity of each message as time goes on. “I need to talk to you, call me back.” “I really need to talk to you. Call. ME. BACK.” “I’m going to shave your eyebrows and make you eat them the next time I see you. CALL ME OR YOU and everyone you know will DIE.”

Voicemails can be confusing. When is it appropriate to leave a voicemail? Here are some situations that might help guide your next voicemail decision in this increasingly text-y world.

Voicemail Appropriate:

  • You got a new job and are REEEEEEEEAAAAALLY excited about it. Excited voicemails are always fun to listen to. Just no screaming right into the mic plz.
  • You just came up with the best comeback ever, and said it to your arch nemesis. You’re on a high from being so awesome, and you gotta share it with your BFF. Or your nemesis if you have their number, so they can relive the humiliation FOREVER.
  • There’s a deal on sun hats at Target.
  • You’re stoned, and you feel like explaining your homemade taco to your college roommate. Just like old times!
  • Somebody hit your car and ran. You’re pissed. Gotta let off steam. You’re saying “fuck” every other word and out of breath from yelling. You’re threatening everyone around you, even the baby in the stroller and the yippy dog barking at your from the comfort of it’s window perch. You’re totally gonna “kick somebody’s ass.” Empty threats are voicemail gold.

These, not so much:

That shit is creepy. Image via innogage.com
  • Breaking up with someone. Seriously? No. If this ever happened to you, thank the lord of the galactic universe that he/she did, because that shit is LAME and they need to erase themselves from your fabulous life like, yesterday.
  • The “just to chat” voicemail. It’s obvious you were calling to talk. I’m not above it though. I totally do it. When I’m really bored on a long drive, I leave these sometimes to feel like I’m talking to someone so I don’t go nuts. Caffeine and driving equals PHONE CALLS TO CHAT. Chat chat chat. BAH!
  • Someone died. What a horrible message to leave!
  • Any kind of bad message, like “Hey just calling to let you know I broke your French Press and took a shit on your pillow. Have a nice day.” True story. Just kidding. Only the second half is true.
  • Calling someone to let them know they need to call you back. Yeah. That’s what that whole ‘missed calls’ section on your telephonular device is for, genius! (Mom’s are reeeeally guilty of this one. But we can forgive them. They are Moms, they get a free pass for almost everything. ALMOST!)

The Demise of Guys: How video games and porn are ruining a generation

“…We are in a national, and perhaps global, Guy Disaster Mode that needs to be noticed and solutions advanced to fix a totally novel phenomenon, which will only increase in intensity and breadth without the concerted efforts of educators, gamemakers, parents, guys and gals. It’s time to press play and get started reversing these trends.”

via The Demise of Guys: How video games and porn are ruining a generation – CNN.com.

Forever Young: Pay phones

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Remember being stranded at the mall in the late 90s, and only feeling security in the fact that you had a quarter and there was a machine that would take it in exchange for one grim, helpless phone call? Then there was 1-800-CALLATT which was just a big fuck you to whoever you had to call.

Plus remember how scary it was to hear one ring?! who’s calling me?! Who knows I’m here????

Some of these unique devices still exist. Even more rare is to find one that still works AND doesn’t have a clipped cord. It’s a historical, technological monument!

But really. Thank God we have cell phones people. Just thinking about not having one gives me anxiety.

Amazing: Take Ivy league classes for free

Image via hackededucation.com

If you’ve found yourself graduated from college and wanting to keep learning without paying a ridiculous amount of money, check out Coursera.

A very informed friend sent me a link to a website where you can take a very limited amount of courses from schools like Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania and U of Michigan FO FREE.

An excerpt from their website explains what the driving force is behind the site and free online classes from some of the top universities in the world:

“We are a social entrepeneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”

Read more on the background of Coursera from the New York Times here.

Image via simplerna.com

There’s also another website, Udacity, that offers limited computer science and cs-related courses for free. Their twitter account simply states “Democratizing higher education.” 

This is simply amazing and a really cool step into free education through the power of the internet and interconnectedness. The internet was invented to share pictures of cats for the sharing of information, and making education available to all through the seemingly limitless power of the net is a strangely progressive step, especially in a world that is obsessed with high profit margins and the Kardashians.

The basic format of the online classes are taped lectures and some homework assignments. So it’s like Youtube, but without all the bat-shit crazy commenters and with a little more elbow grease.

The course selection on both websites is highly limited and centered upon computer science and technology, which is useful in an every-growing technological world both personally and professionally. This is an amazing first step into the world of open source, free online education that does not discriminate, unless of course you don’t have an email address and refuse to register for free things. It’s nice to know that there are people in the world working hard to provide education and information to the people regardless of the personal economics of the masses. Right on.

Right now there are a bunch of computer science related courses that start today (April 23rd) on Coursera and more that start at different times throughout the year. Udacity allows you to sign up for their courses at any time, which is beyond convenient to manage in between everyone’s 2-3 part time jobs. Computer Science 101 anyone?! We can share notes!

Social networks are the new time capsules

I had 4 years of unread emails because I literally forgot about an email account that I used in high school and while I was studying abroad. It was a case of forgotten password and probably a lot of ex-boyfriend emails that I never wanted to look at again.

The findings:

I had a billion emails from Papa Johns, Barnes and Noble and a few wayside Linkedin invites. Also, before Facebook took over the world, Brazilians used Google’s Orkut social network, and since I had finally recovered my password, I could look into a little time capsule that was left behind from my sparklier days.

This is what I love about social networking and Facebook pages. To be able to go back to 2008 when I was living in Brazil and see my Orkut, or to 2007 when your Myspace page was BLOWIN UP and had 10,000 friends is a luxury for memories when we are old.

Image via ME

It also gives a peak into how your love life was doing at the time. I know who I was dating during this email address, and I read some email exchanges that were pretty cringe-worthy. Like, desperate, can’t-let-go-of-shitty-first-love desperate. Yikes. The whole “let’s be friends!” bullshit that I’ve thankfully left behind (because it NEVER works) was written over every breakup-themed letter I’d written while using this email. I’m so glad I’m not 20 anymore (because 24 is so much better! HA.)

It’s fascinating to see what kind of things I was writing to ex-boyfriends, and what they were writing to me. Being a little bit older and hopefully a little bit wiser, these messages are time capsules of figuring out this whole love biz. I was unsure, sensitive, bitchy, insecure and just trying to get along dating in a foreign language and culture, while still being stuck in contact with a past bf that was totally self-destructive. Take out the foreign element and you’ve got practically any 20 year old discovering how to act with people in relationships as semi-adults.

This is also why Facebook’s timeline is a good idea, even though we all hate the shit out of it now. I never delete anything from Facebook, because I want to preserve the virtual time capsule of my life. I want to be able to look back and read posts I exchanged with friends and family, pictures and their comments, being happy with old boyfriends, pictures of random things from around the world, etc. How cool would it be to look at your grandma taking shots when she was in her 20s, or to read how people spoke to each other back then? Tres cool.