Wednesday, December 31, 2014

JMR's Top "News" Stories of 2014

I could talk about ISIS, Ebola, Ukraine, Ferguson, Robin Williams and other newsworthy events from 2014.  2014 was not your year if you were a political animal.  Bad news was coming down from all over the globe, and many different discussions had to take place as a result of the news.  Race, war, disease, drugs, suicide, death, and rioting were all central themes to the news in 2014.  It seemed like everyone is just happy that 2015 is coming on us quickly.

But being the optimist that I am, I would rather talk about the biggest "news" events of 2014. JMR news. Whether, sports, pop culture, movies, games, social media, I would rather write snippets about the lighter side of the news in 2014.

8.  Jon Lester and Rajon Rondo are gone; LeBron James is back.  Cleveland finally wins, although they still have Johnny Manziel, but Boston ultimately loses.  The Red Sox don't need Lester and Rondo was perhaps the most overrated star in Boston Sports history.  We all win. 

7.  The Interview.  Honestly, I can't blame North Korea for getting a little high and mighty about this film.  The plot revolves around the assassination of a current head of state.  Even though it is a comedy (despite Seth Rogan's starring role), it's still about killing a non-fictional human being.  And nothing amuses me quite as much as G trying to pronounce Kim Jong Un.

6.  Sochi Olympics.  We were able to enjoy curling, freestyle skiing and the half pipe.  We will not watch those sports again until 2018.

5.  Instagram Generation.  I already wrote about this in some detail, but I thought I would add one more thing to the list.  Although I was the first one in the family to have an Instagram account, I am now the least familiar with the app.  Between C and G's posts and Mom's stalking/lurking, DLG and I are lagging far behind.

4.  Volleyball Firsts.  While Mom started her varsity program, DLG was joining her first team.  Even though she is only 8 years old, she was contributor on a U12 team.  No snide comments, just pride in my daughter.

3.  Swimming Pool.  This really does not count as news per se, but it was a big deal to the JMR family.  Now just have to get the darn thing finally finished and approved.

2.  Basketball and Baseball Championships.  How sweet it was for the boys to win some trophies this year.  G won his travel basketball league and C won his major league championship.  Now we just have to get DLG a trophy and we'll be a sporty family!

1.  Cooperstown Trip.  Although we have already talked about it, C's three home run game, Midnight start time and the Cooperstown Hall of Fame will always be great memories.  And the post of C's home run ball has not been deleted from his Instagram account.  If you are familiar with Instagram, you know that that means it is a big deal.  We might have another chance to go to Cooperstown again in 2016.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joining the Instagram Generation One Step at a Time

It wouldn't be right to have preteens in 2014 without having to hear the word (words?) Instagram.  Instagram - IG for short - is the primary mode of communication for adolescents in this day in age.  While celebrities and "wannabe" models use IG to their advantage in the most obvious way, kids will use this app as the central tool of their communication.  I have to admit that this phenomenon is interesting, but its also amusing for several reasons. 

Before we get to the interesting parts, I have to admit that I have an IG account.  I first signed up because some Internet guru told me that it was a good idea as a new social media outlet.  What ended up happening though is par for the course.  No one was interested in buying products or services from my Instagram account or because I had an Instagram account.  I guess the fact that I did not take any pictures contributed to my social media failure.  And once Google started to crack down on link generation, I deleted my account.  Or at least I think I did.  Nevertheless, I partake in IG vicariously, looking at C's and G's accounts when they go to bed.  Pretty mundane stuff to look at (they are just 12 and 10, respectively), but it gives me an insight into their lives - a secret life that they want to keep hidden from me and their Mother.  

Anyway, on to my favorite parts of IG...

1.  The FOMO quotient is off the charts.  "Fear of Missing out" is HUGE on IG.  Everyone is posting pictures of the fun times they are having, or the fun times that they had before.  They tag each other and then in the comments those who are not tagged, ask to be tagged.  If you aren't in the picture, in my mind at least, you should not be tagged.

2.  Another funny thing is the concept of a "like."  Instead of commenting (well except in asking to be tagged - see 1 above), people will like a photo.  If one does not get enough likes, then they delete the post.  Why post something to just to take it down a couple of hours later because only 54 people liked your photo.   And don't you dare like too many photos of kids that you don't know that well.  You will likely get burned or made fun of.

3.  Speaking of posts, one should not post too many times.  Don't you dare post twice in a night and if you do, you have to have a really, really good reason.  Even young adults make excuses for why they make more than one post.  Again, you will get burned by those trolls who notice that you post more than once in 24 hours and will comment on it.  Oh the irony.  (See 2 above).  And yes I am speaking as a parent-lurker.

4.  While the majority of IG post are pictures, some are videos.  Generally the longer the video, or the fact that the post is a video in the first place, the more likely that it is just not that interesting.  The sports and entertainment videos are merely rehashes from Sports Center or Entertainment Tonight and when the boys are watching them in the car, I guarantee that they will hear the words "stop with the data, wait until we get home to watch that video." come out of my mouth.

5.  Everyone on IG did the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? And everyone put a video up about it.  (See 4 above) If you asked my kids or their friends what the Ice Bucket challenge was, the words charity, giving and Pete Frates with NOT come up. 

6.  The begging is off the charts.  Begging for likes, begging for followers, begging for a tag, begging to be invited places.  Maybe charity is appropriate (See 5 above).

7.  You have to follow the right people.  You have to follow cool kids.  You can't follow the wrong people or the Juvenile Delinquents.  After a certain amount of time, you have to clear out people you are following so you can gain more IG cred by having more followers than those they are following.

I could go on and on.  But I don't want to seem like more of a lurker than I really am.  Now let me go so I can troll some people on my Twitter account.

'drops mike'