Tag Archives: Social media

What Do You Say?

I’ve been trying to come up with a clever introduction for this post. I’ve also spent time considering the tone of the post and how I can make the topic more reader friendly, more optimistic. I decided that the idea needed a more direct approach. 

What you say is important.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking to yourself while addressing a golf ball on the fifth hole.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about your spouse to coworkers.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking on social media.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about people you don’t even know, like actors or athletes.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking to your kids.

It doesn’t matter when, who, or what you are talking about. What you say is important.

Here’s why.

Words are powerful. They create emotions. They create community. They create works of art. They can build or destroy a relationship, a team, and even a nation.

Words create the way we see the world around us. I could give a thousand examples, but the message would be the same. What you say has power. It is your responsibility to handle that power. What do you say?

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What are the Words?

A few weeks ago I attended an online education conference. The keynote speaker shared some information that got me thinking. He said that the use of the word “Love” had been decreasing in music. He did not provide any reference for this information. I tried to find a source to collaborate what he said. I couldn’t, but it still got me thinking because I use pop culture in my classes to make connections for the students. So, I decided to do an unofficial analysis of the top three songs from 2020, 2010, 2000, 1990, 1980, 1970, 1960, and 1950 according to Billboard’s Year End Hot 100 chart. I thought the top three songs from the years listed would give a good snapshot of what was popular at that time.

I created word clouds from the lyrics of the top three songs for the year. The most used words are larger in size. Stop words were automatically deleted (this was a challenging decision because these words were used in titles, but using them cluttered the word clouds). I removed all words that only appeared once in the songs. I’ll start with the word cloud, list the top three songs, and then share my insight briefly. Again, this is an unofficial look at these songs, but it is worth thinking about. Let’s start with 1950.

1950

1 . “Goodnight Irene” by Gordon Jenkins & The Weavers

2 . “Mona Lisa”  by Nat King Cole

3 . “Third Man Theme” (Instrumental) by Anton Karas 

It is obvious that names are the most used words in this word cloud, especially since one of the songs was an instrumental. “Lovely” does appear in the list.

1960

1. “Theme from A Summer Place” by Percy Faith

2. “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves

3. “Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers

“Love” is a main word, but not the most used. The overall feel of the word cloud is about relationships. I find it interesting that we have a name again as a main word.

1970

1. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

2. “(They Long to Be) Close to You” by The Carpenters

3. “American Woman” by The Guess Who

This word cloud is tough to get a general feel for because the top three songs are so different in theme and style. The word “love” does not show up in any form.

1980

1. “Call Me” by Blondie

2. “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II” by Pink Floyd

3. “Magic” by Olivia Newton-John

Knowing the songs, I was surprised that the words “brick” or “wall” were not more prominent. But “love” appears as a main word again, even with such a diverse group of songs.

1990

1. “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips

2. “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette

3. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor

These songs had a similar vibe, which actually made for a smaller word cloud. “Love” is present now in three out of five word clouds, four if you count “lovely” in the 1950 word cloud.

2000

1. “Breathe” by Faith Hill

2. “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas

3. “Maria Maria” by Santana featuring The Product G&B

“Love” makes it into the word cloud (I did not place it in the center). Funny how Santana owned the year 2000, his name is a prominent word in the word cloud, too.

2010

1. “Tik Tok” by Kesha

2. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum

3. “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train

This word cloud is filled with a variety of words, but “love” is not one of them. The songs range in topic and style, which presents a mumbled visual. I did notice that there are now words like “drunk” and “party”. Not that these words have never been in a song before, but these are the top three songs for that year.

2020

1. “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

2. “Circles” by Post Malone

3. “The Box” by Roddy Ricch

“Love” makes it into the word cloud, but what you don’t see in this visual may be of more importance. This is the first word cloud that I deleted derogatory terms and the F-word. 

This is an unofficial look at the lyrics of popular songs. It is by no means meant to make a blanket statement about music or our culture. But it is worth thinking about because words have power, and our kids are singing these songs, making TiKTok videos to them. Pop Culture delivers a message to our society. Songs are part of that message. What are your thoughts on what you see happening with lyrics over the decades?

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Blueberry Muffin Rant

I was going to write a post that just ranted about life.  About student apathy. About the cruelty of social media. About drivers that run red lights. About how parents abuse their children. I was going to rant about everything. As I made muffins this morning, I was in a sour mood for a number of reasons.

But as the timer went off on the oven and I pulled the muffin tins out, I had to smile as the warm aroma of blueberries and chocolate chip muffins filled the kitchen. I returned to cooking the scrambled eggs wishing everyone could have a Sunday morning breakfast like ours.  My youngest daughter came bouncing into the room, “Is it muffin day?”

“Yes, little one. It is muffin day.”

She curled up on the couch in a blanket, then started to ask me 5 year-old questions.

To be honest, I still want to rant. But I realize that my rant won’t change the unfairness in this world. Or stop somebody from writing a hurtful comment on social media. My rant would not save a child’s life today.

 

Sadly, I know that this post won’t do that either.  But instead of ranting, I choose….

I choose to believe that education is about growing as a person, not a grade.

I choose to read more books instead of looking at a screen.

I choose to listen instead of talk.

I choose to believe in sunsets and sunrises because you can see them from anywhere.

I choose to write poetry, blogs, and stories so that someone reads a message that they need.

I choose to post crazy photos on Instagram.

I choose to tell dad jokes to everyone.

I choose longer hugs and holding hands with my wife.

But most important, I choose to love, no matter how much the world keeps trying to hurt me.

I choose to love.

I choose LOVE.

 

 

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Happy Birthday?

What does it mean if I only had two people wish me happy birthday on social media?

In the overall scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much.  I could have written a post to notify everyone that it was my birthday and received the traditional responses.  But I didn’t.  And therefore there was no stream of birthday wishes on Facebook or Twitter.

So, why am I writing about it if it didn’t matter?… Because it is a chance to explore social media’s connection with human relationships.

Birthday Cookie

My family sang “Happy Birthday” to me as we shared birthday cookies from Eileen’s.  I got cards from my parents and friends, and laughed with my best friend about getting “old” and the irony of our age getting closer to our golf scores for 9 holes on the phone. I also got to host a workshop I designed for creative apps in the classroom.

The two birthday wishes I got via social media made me feel good, especially as the day wore on and nobody else wrote anything to me.  Of course, it got me thinking about what social media is and what we expect from it.

First, what did I expect from my social media connections?  Some of my connections are with people I consider friends; others are people I know I would be good friends with if we worked together or lived in the same area.  Even more connections are surface relationships made through social media because we are interested in the same things or working in the same field. Then there is connections, especially on Twitter, that are purely one sided.  I follow bands, athletes, and/or other powerful people that do not even know I exist, even if I do reply to one of their tweets.

What do these connections mean for me, for anyone?   It lets us be heard.

That is a powerful motivator (as expressed in the above movie clip from 12 Angry Men). We now can all be quoted. But that single aspect can lead us to believe that social media is more than it is. I see (or read) many people who use social media as the main facet of living.  The worst example is reading as a marriage disintegrated into divorce through Facebook updates.  Comments left on social media is not living.  Yet we can find ourselves sitting in front of a screen waiting for something to happen, most of the time just a response to our post… a reinforcement of our existence.

At this time in our society we are working through these social issues.  Finding that balance between our life in front of a screen and the life we have in front of our eyes.  The hard part is both affect our hearts.

The only answer I have at the moment is that I believe that social media, even just technology should be approached with the idea of enhancing our lives.  Allowing us to feel, share, or express our lives on deeper levels than we could not do without it.  From sending pictures of the grand-kids to the grandparents as we play in the park, to sharing lesson plan ideas with a teacher in Georgia.  Social media and technology allows us to experience and share life with close friends and family, but even more powerful is the ability to make connections that enrich our lives.  But we need to remember that life happens away from the screen and that there is a person behind the avatar.

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24 hours

In the last 24 hours I got a real look at what technology can do for us in our lives.  I will try not to bore you with an extensive look at my day, but I think it is important to share with you how technology can be a great tool for us.

24 hours ago I posted a blog on shoveling snow.  The weather didn’t improve and I decided to work from home and that started a great 24 hours.

The Scratch Cat

I needed to communicate with the teachers for both of my class responsibilities, which meant email.  But that was not the only email I wrote (as I watched Storage Wars).  I sent an email to a TECH student who is interested in app development.  I also sent an email to a teacher about the Scratch program she was interested in teaching.

I then had to revamp some assignments for class.  The TECHS class wasn’t too much trouble because we were watching informational videos on Java Script that were already posted on Angel.  American Lit had to be changed to a purely online assignment.

I was then going to grade assignments for American Lit but got into two conversations about life.  One conversation on Facebook and one conversation on Twitter.  Both were with former students. The kind of conversations that energize you because they go beyond the basic; “Hey, what are you doing? Nothing. What are you doing?” routine. The conversations covered deep aspects of life (Fatherhood, Highs and Lows of Life).

I finally got to bed just before midnight.  I got a little extra sleep because the kids’ school

The Blue Moon Coffee Shop

had a late start because of the weather.  I got to drop off my two little girls at day care and then headed to my other office, The Blue Moon coffee shop.

As I drank coffee I was involved in a Twitter conversation about connecting with students on social media sites, sending information about Symbaloo for someone and read a couple of powerful articles.

I headed home so I could Skype into a Social Studies Teachers meeting a colleague (Deanna Stall) was hosting.  I demonstrated Socrative to them (a cloud based clicker tool for the classroom).

When my time was up I noticed a friend and colleague (Mr. Badura) was on Skype, so I shared Socrative with him.

I ate lunch (but didn’t tweet about it). 😉

Then I called each of the schools individually in my American Lit course with my iPad using the Polycom app.  I spent about 15 minutes with each school covering the guidelines of the assignments, answering questions about upcoming essays, and a few classes got a small tour of the house.

And now I am posting another blog.  To build on yesterday’s post, what technology did in the last 24 hours for me was to make small meaningful connections.  To share, to laugh, to help, and to make real personal connections with a wide range of people.  Now, I will take face-to-face conversations any day, but honestly, what happen in the last 24 hours could not have happen without technology.

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