Monday, January 4, 2010

Blogs and Social Media

Blogs are not the definitive educational experience that most believe. Social media comments are not creating a positive outcome. Most are nothing more than negative comments about life and it’s dull boring existence for that individual.

Blogs are usually short, just a few paragraphs or at most the length of an article in a general purpose magazine – about 750 words at most. Social media comments are usually no more than 6 to 10 words.

A blog cannot capture the real essence of an idea, a technique or give purpose to life. A social media comment normally captures nothing and few understand why the comment was made or what it really means. They do present ideas, but seldom follow through with any real solutions to solving the mysteries. All too often they are a rant, an argument, or they pose a question but never gives the answer. They are little more than a sounding board for the masses – and the masses have far to much to say and little to contribute to the overall good of society.

Blogs and social media comments are little more than gossip, about one’s favorite restaurant or how the kids did in the school’s relay races. They are the short patches of conversation with readers clicking on to the next page like attendees at a cocktail party jumping to the next group in hopes meeting Mr. Right or hearing about a better job that is being offered.

Okay, so this is a blog, but what differentiates this blog from the ones that I spent the previous four paragraphs putting down? Simple, I present an idea, but I give a solution, or solutions, to make things better. Or, at least that is my mission.

I started publishing an Internet column, a precursor to this blog in 1993. It doesn’t seem all that long ago, but in computer years it is a age ago. I had this idea to write a column about the things I learned along life’s way and to make people think. This was pre-blog days. Blogs didn’t really exist at the time.

My blog, This Week I Learned, presents solutions to common every day things, such as how we look at others. I have written about the homeless living under a bridge near my gallery in Dallas, Texas, to the famous bondage model Bettie Page. I have written about my childhood in relating stories about growing up in a small Texas town some 60 years ago. There have been stories about junkmen, writers, artists, and more. In each, I have attempted to help others understand the people that I write about and create a better understanding of how we can be different yet live together in peace and harmony.

This is not an easy concept for some to understand, as we live in a world that thrives on both being as different as possible and also blending together. There are, and have always been, those that thrive on religious, race, and cultural differences. Far too many place a greater emphasis on difference than is necessary. They believe that there is only one true God – their own. They believe skin color determines a person’s ability to be honest, or in their ability to hold a job, or know love. They believe that one’s upbringing often creates impossibilities for one’s future. Of course, none of this is true.

What is the solution? I would ask each of the more than 112-million Bloggers, as well as other writers, artists, and creative types to learn to think and also to think to learn. I would ask each to be responsible to their readers in presenting solutions to make the world a better place through creating environments of peace and harmony. Think about it and learn.