I tweet, therefore I am.

Several months ago, I deleted my personal Twitter account because I felt it was one too many social networking site that was wasting my precious time, and I knew nobody cared what I thought about Adam Lambert unjustly getting voted runner-up on American Idol. Twitter felt like nothing more than a collection of Facebook statuses, and I didn’t need to have two separate accounts online to update in the same vein. So, smartly, I deleted my Twitter account.

Today, however, I find myself on Twitter multiple times a day, browsing news links and videos, wondering what I can comment on for my own updates. Yes, I have rejoined The Twitter, and yes, it has everything to do with me being unemployed.

Though a timesuck for sure, I based my decision to rejoin the world of tweets on the fact that I have nothing better to do than try and network with fellow bloggers, potential employers and whatever stores want to offer me hefty discounts on products I don’t need. Win-win-win, in my opinion. I also get minutely updates on world news that doesn’t require more than 140 characters’ worth of comprehension. Who needs to know WHY Obama recently gave a speech in Arizona?! Just knowing that he did is good enough.

Twitter was atwitter today (now yesterday) of the news that January 17th was the most depressing day of the year. Or The Most Depressing Day of the Year– that looks more doom-ish. In any case, I think someone messed up. Deeming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day The Most Depressing Day of the Year? #whoopssorrydrking

Man, I’ve already got my hashtag labels DOWN. Twitter, here I come.

The uninformed football semi-enthusiast

 As I sit here at my overheated laptop having just sat through two hours of fairly lame VMA performances (except Florence and the Machine), I log-on to Facebook. Facebook, though becoming increasingly lame each day, is still my go-to for quick, mindless entertainment before I do other important things like watch paint dry or look at shoes online.

Now that football season has officially begun, my news feed is sure to constantly be clogged with minutely updates on whichever game is “the game” of the day, as if people assume I know which game they’re talking about. Littered with impulsive NOOOOOOOOOs and EAT IT OCHOCINCOs, my news feed becomes a virtual warzone as haters comment on their now ex-friends’ statuses, harassing them for their poor choice in football teams.

Sitting here just now, these statuses assault me:

hail to the redskins, hail to victoryyy!

THATS GONE WELL REDSKINSSSS

Best. Game. Ever. I can’t move, I’m sweating, it’s like I just gave birth – but without the c-sections or drugs. Whew!!! HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SKINS WIN!!

So. Many. Exclamation points. Congrats on that, though, guys. But I’m a Ravens fan, so I don’t care how the Redskins are doing unless they’re playing the Ravens. (Hurl insults at me at your leisure.)

I must admit, I don’t know a whole lot about football. I do, however, enjoy a good game of football. I can get enthusiastic pretty easily and secretly would like a jersey of my own. I truly do consider myself a fan of the Ravens, but we have a casual relationship. I watch when my boyfriend watches or when I have four hours to kill and want to submit myself to several hours’ worth of commercials in between occasionally uneventful plays. But I could never be a hardcore fan. To this day, I still get confused when the announcers say things like “first and down,” and the only thing that comes to mind when I hear “tight end” is Jon Bon Jovi.

Another thing I’ve never understood is the whole fantasy league thing. Do I want to join your fantasy league? I’m pretty sure I’m out of your league. So, no, I don’t want to participate in anything that sounds like a come-on to join your testosterone-fueled Internet orgy.

I mainly think it’s funny that people take it as seriously as they do. It’s not that I have football completely misunderstood, it’s just that I don’t think one’s life should revolve around a football schedule, nor should a grown man have to fight to hold back tears when Detroit loses again. Nor should Tom Brady be making $18 million a year for having a good arm, but maybe that’s just me.

Clearly this abundance of online enthusiasm will always exist, which is fine—it’s all in good fun, and I gladly partake in game-related shenanigans, however uninformed I might be. But I know there’s gotta be other half-hearted football fans who are afraid to reveal that they, too, think the Superbowl Halftime Show is one of the highlights of the season. As for the Facebook statuses seemingly the products of stuck CAPS LOCK keys, there’s always the “hide” button, or the promise of a beat-down.

Also, don’t forget to submit your questions  for the advice column, which will hopefully have enough material to be posted by the end of the month. I know it’s a great idea (I thank you for saying so), but it’s useless without your burning questions!

Empathy for the people

McKenzie and I must be on the same wavelength, because empathy has been on both our minds, except she blogged about it first. She posted a really neat video here that explains why human beings even have empathy in the first place and how, like everything does, it has evolved over time. Whereas once upon a time people only empathized with those who shared their blood, people eventually came to empathize with others of the same religious backgrounds and nationalities. The video asks, Can we extend our empathy to the entire human race? And obviously, humankind has showed many signs of doing so in times of disaster and tragedy. Not all times, of course. It’s easy to recall a few years ago when the genocide in Darfur was what many said everyone SHOULD have been paying attention to, yet our own country contributed very little to the aiding of the victims there. The recent Haitian earthquake, however, proved against American heartlessness, as some people even still have not forgotten about the victims there and continue to donate money and efforts to help rebuild the nation despite the fact that it is no longer existent in the media.

The reason this very subject has been on my mind for the past few days is because of a somewhat troubling article I came across. (Read it, and don’t depend on me to summarize it all!) But basically what it says is that Generation Y is less empathetic than previous generations. In fact, Generation Y-ers “are 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago.” Isn’t that kind of creepy? The article refers to us (me and probably you, too) as the “Me Generation.” Because, though the video mentioned above says that we’re not primarily soft-wired to be self-indulgent, but rather to want to belong, there is clearly a high level of self-indulgence and narcissism common of people born somewhere between the late ’70s and early ’00s. (Some discrepancy exists over when Gen Y birth dates actually begin and end, but it’s around this time.) The article outlines how this is different from the general disposition of Baby Boomers.

I’ve come across plenty of articles in regard to recent college graduates going into the world with the belief that they actually deserve great jobs and great praise, despite having accomplished very little in the professional world. We as a whole expect others to accommodate our needs and are generally very high maintenance. And I agree– I see a lot of this attitude from my fellow students who expect easy As and want to glide through school as easily as possible. And the danger of it for me is that I believe I’m above all of that kind of attitude, but then doesn’t that belief alone make me susceptible to fitting that description of “us” pretty well, too? Would I then be more likely to go into the “real world” thinking I’m the “real deal” as opposed to my peers and therefore just expect to be handed some awesome job? I mean, kinda. I’ve got a lot to learn, and I know that there’s a lot I don’t know (at least I know that!), but when I listen to the occasionally idiotic conversations going on around me in class, it makes me cringe.

I’m starting to sound awful. I’m also starting to ramble.

Back to the point, though.


Clearly, this has a direct correlation with technology and ever-decreasing face-to-face communication. We are also known as Millennials, after all– the word implies so much. When one has over a thousand Facebook friends, how can one really tell the difference between an acquaintance and an almost complete stranger? This is just one example of technology potentially inhibiting our abilities to maintain genuine personal relationships, but people become greatly desensitized when they’re scanning through a news feed full of people they don’t really care about.

On the other hand, without technology, as, again, the video mentions, we wouldn’t have even known about the Haitian earthquake. Within one hour of the earthquake, the news was tweeted on Twitter. Through this and other media, word spread fast, and we were able to send help almost immediately.

But when a report shows that college students today are less likely to empathize with those less fortunate than they are, what does that say? It can’t all be chalked up to the fact that we’re young and haven’t experienced hardships and tragedies that become inevitable the older we get, because these studies are comparing college students now to college students of the ’70s.

Maybe if our parents hadn’t all given us trophies in soccer despite the fact that some of us never scored a goal all season (ahem, that would be me in second grade), we’d be a little less full of ourselves. Really, though– how often do you see Facebook statuses just begging you to pity that person or describing utterly mundane details of one’s life?

Ultimately, as long as we’re here, the world needs empathy. Without it, the people of the earth would have self-destructed by now. If we didn’t care about people affected by earthquakes and tsunamis, terrorism and oil spills, the world would have undoubtedly shaken off its irritating human inhabitants by now. So I take what I said back: the world doesn’t need empathy, we do. Any human being is crazy (and narcissistic) to believe that we puny humans could really destroy the earth. Yes, we should make our best efforts to take care of it, but the world won’t end because of us. Only we can end because of us. To keep that from happening for as long as possible, it’s important that, on a grander scale than everyday annoyances, we not think of ourselves as better than others, but as connected and relatable to others. Like the video says, we can forget about empathy in heaven, because there, there is no mortality or suffering, and therefore no need for empathy. Just ponies and trees.