Social Media

My Social Media Diet

Many years ago I discovered something. Each morning I would leave for work in a fairly decent mood. I would be freshly caffeinated and ready to take on a new day.  By the time I finished my thirty-minute commute I was angry. In the beginning… I struggled to understand how or why my mood could swing in the span of leaving my front door and arriving at my job. What event was affecting my state of emotional well being?

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Then it clicked.

My morning commutes usually had my nose deep into a novel until I discovered the free newspaper. I’m not talking about Now or Eye Magazine, I mean the mini edition of the news. It was a new phenomenon that had men and women shoving them at you as you graced the threshold of the subway station. Eventually, I was enticed and began reading them on the way to work. An unusual step for me and one I now understand I shouldn’t have taken.

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Most of my life I have avoided the six or eleven in the evening news, it has mostly been a radio droning on in the background with my ears occasionally picking up the odd important bit of news. When the paper arrived I would pull out the entertainment, fashion or Arts sections of the newspaper. Something that drove my father nuts. Why waste your time on the fluff, the real meat was in the news section he’d say. You see, my father is a bit of a newsaholic. He will read the paper cover to cover and does so every single day.

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Why was I avoiding the news part of the paper?

I have always had a dark imagination and can go down some very horrible rabbit holes and because of this hearing about the horrors of the world affected me greater than others. I’m sensitive to it. I always have been. Growing up during the 80s there was always a threat of nuclear war and that weighed heavy on me. I would go out of my way to avoid reading or talking about it. It upset me.

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Fast forward to today and the news of the of the horrors of the world still does and to the point where it will throw me into depression. I realized this one weekday as I stared down at the free newspaper that was open in my lap. That was what was making me angry. That moment the bells went off and I chucked the newspaper into the recycling and haven’t picked one up since.

Oh… but wait… welcome to our new future. Welcome to Social Media.

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When I first joined Facebook, I loved it. I was able to connect with communities, find new friends and check in on old ones. It was an actual fun place to be. Now… not so much. That fun went away when they added the newsfeed. In the beginning, it wasn’t so bad. It was generally full of horrible Meme’s and false worlds created by the user. Then… that all changed. My feed was full of fake news that people thought was real, photos of animals being tortured and many other awful, angry posts. People took on new personalities thinking that this platform was a free for all to shit out any and every thought they were having. Yes… I too was guilty of this until that moment when I realized I was doing it. I would try avoiding the feed, but it was always right there when you logged on. On a few occasions, I would deactivate my account only to realize I needed it to help promote events. I hated the fact that I relied on this social media platform to connect with audience members and communities. I hated being on a platform that wasn’t social at all.

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Then I started feeling depression creeping in again. This time I knew what the culprit was but didn’t know how to throw it in the recycling bin. I wished there was a way to promote myself, my event and run my Vintage Groups without logging on. Someday I will find a way, for now, I have a temporary solution.

Wow… that was a long way around to talk about my social media diet….

I am now limiting myself to only five minutes a day on Facebook. It can be five minutes in one shot or over a few logons. But once those five minutes are up, that is it for the day. Oh… I also don’t look at the feed. As a matter of fact, all I do is check my notifications, my events, my groups and see if there are any other events I might be interested in and then I log off.  Let me tell you, not only has it lifted that heaviness I was feeling, I realized how much of my day was wasted on there. I now have chunks of time to fill in. I’ve started drawing again. I have dedicated time to sew my own clothing. I actually feel like being social again! I’m almost to the point where I don’t even need to log on at all. There is an app for messenger, there is an app to check my pages. I believe there may be one for events, now if they would just bring back the groups app!

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This all said I do still use Instagram. The difference here is I customize what I see. I follow vintage, artists, and people I like. I am inspired by much of what I see. It is a happy place for me.

Do you also avoid Facebook? Are you willing to try the five-minute diet?

 

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Look for the helpers. Look for the kindness. 

There is a lot of awful happening in the world right now and it’s found its way into the city I love, my city of Toronto. I don’t need to rehash it all here. Just go to any news source and you will get an eyeful. Oh yes, what a rosy way to start off this blog post. There is a point for this and I will get to that point. Please allow me to go on for a moment.

In the last few weeks, I have been trying to find ways to remove myself from a certain ‘Social Media’ platform. When I first joined in 2007, it was a fun way to interact with people. People I knew in person, people with common interests, people from all over the world. We had a lot of fun interacting, sharing and experiencing. Then… the fun stopped. It actually stopped a few years ago. The platform went from being actually social to a newsfeed filled with animal torture videos, reposts of mean tweets, horrible news stories of what was happening around the world… people just being cruel to other people. It was no longer a place to keep in touch with friends on the other side of the planet, contact long-lost childhood friends or find fun events to attend. It just became this horrible, horrible place. A place I no longer wanted to be a part of because I don’t like how it is making me feel.  But I didn’t know how to escape.

I’m a writer, performer and I run a small side business. I use Social Media as a place to promote myself, my events, my business and to find like-minded people. I, let’s say, need it. Or… do I? Raise your hands if you remember how we promoted all of this stuff prior to 2007. Show of hands, please. Just one? Just the guy way in the back??? Oh boy. Are we in trouble here? Well… how we use to do it was through postering, placing events listings far and wide, handing out flyers at other events and word of mouth. It was a lot of work and ‘Social Media’ not only made it easier, but it gave us a further reach. I run Vintage Groups on Social Media and we have members from all over the world! ALL OVER THE WORLD PEOPLE! Could I have done that pre-2007? Could I? That is my major conundrum, how do I go back to pre-2007 and still have the same impact? How do I get away from all of the awful?

Many moons ago I stopped watching the news and reading newspapers. I would go to work in an ok mood and by the time I got to work I was depressed, angry or both. Why? I had started grabbing the ‘free’ paper they gave out at the subway. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening, why I was feeling this way and then one day when the paper landed in my hand, I had bells going off! It was the culprit! I also figured out that I am super sensitive to all of it, so I stopped. Social Media is now having the same effect on me. Well, at least one platform is, the one that shall not be named. On the other side of it, platforms such as Instagram are having the opposite effect. They are bolstering my creativity and helping me build my business and career. I love how you can customize who and what you can see. It’s my happy place. I need more happy places.

Oh… right… the point!

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Last night, my fella and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It was a documentary about Mr. Rogers and an incredibly beautiful tribute to a man who taught us that we are special and that kindness is important. Kindness. Something I myself have been trying to pass along as an important message. Kindness. Something this world really needs right now. Humankind seems to be forgetting the lessons that Mr. Rogers taught us. We need to figure out how to change this.

Along with Mr. Rogers, I also grew up with other shows that taught us the same message, The Gentle Giant and Mr. Dress Up. We need more shows like this and not just for children.

As I watched this movie, I was continually reminded of how important these shows were to me as a child. How they taught me what was ok and not ok. How happy they made me feel. If Mr. Rogers, Mr. Dress Up or The Gentle Giant were with us today, they would be horrified by the state of the world right now. There is a scene in the movie that deals with 9-11 and seeing how sad, how upset Fred Rogers was, broke my heart. You could feel this happen collectively throughout the audience. This movie touched me, touched the audience. Most of the theatre was in tears by the end of it. So… here’s the thing. Can we start remembering what Mr. Rogers stood for? Can we stop being so cruel to each other? Can we be patient and compassionate? But most importantly, can we start being kinder to each other?

Thank you Mr. Rogers for reminding me of what kind of world I want to live in. Look for the helpers. Look for the kindness.

It’s Such a Good Feeling

Written by Fred Rogers | © 1970, Fred M. Rogers


It’s such a good feeling
To know you’re alive.
It’s such a happy feeling:
You’re growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say,
“I think I’ll make a snappy new day.”
It’s such a good feeling,
A very good feeling,
The feeling you know
You’re alive.

It’s such a good feeling
To know you’re in tune.
It’s such a happy feeling
To find you’re in bloom.
And when you wake up ready to say
“I think I’ll make a snappy new day,”
It’s such a good feeling,
A very good feeling,
The feeling you know that we’re friends.

“Oh Hi Mark” and why The Room is the best movie of all time

“There are people who have seen The Room and those who haven’t seen The Room.” Neil Traynor

*** There will be spoilers.***

I love terrible movies.  They are my happy place.  The schlockier the movie the happier I am. I show no prejudice for genres and have watched them all from horror to sci-fi to romantic; silent; film noir; b-movies; romance; expressionist; westerns and comedy. If it’s considered a badly made movie, I want to see it. My current two favourites are Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Screaming Skull.  In my heart of hearts I never thought any movie could knock either of those off the top of my list. Who could possibly beat Ed Woods and take his title? Always up for a bad movie challenge,  I was ready, willing and open to seeing if this could take the reigns.

For MONTHS now, our good friend Neil Traynor (1) has been telling us about The Room, insistent that once we watch it, we would never be the same again. Finally we were able to arrange a viewing and as Neil said, it was life changing. It might actually be the best movie of all time. How could this be, you ask? The Room has it all. Love, sex, romance,  action, violence, blood, family values, long drawn out sex scenes, drug intervention, x-files style disappearance of actors, belly button fucking, more long, drawn out sex scenes and best of all, no plot.

I’m serious.  There is no plot. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero! Not only is there no plot, I personally feel that one of the reasons this movie has become such a cult hit, is you cannot, in anyway, describe to someone what the storyline is. There is an amazing Wikipedia page that has a very thorough breakdown of the movie, the characters, many of the issues with the movie and the production of The Room.  However, even after reading the page, you still have no idea what exactly this movie is about.  You just need to watch it.

The Room is Tommy Wiseau’s directorial debut and what a debut it is.  Oh… did I mention that he also produced it, wrote it and stars in it.  Mr. Wiseau is a bit of a mystery man himself. He is famous for keeping his past and personal life secret.  Even the Wikipedia page about Tommy Wiseau, doesn’t reveal very much. Who is this mystery man? Is he even real? A figment of our imagination?  Only way to find out, is to attend one of the many Love is Blind events happening across North America.  If it comes to Toronto or even a city near here, I will be first in line to get tickets.  After all, I need to know why Tommy Wiseau wears two belts. Although… he does have his own YouTube channel, called Tommy Explains It All (https://www.youtube.com/user/TommyExplainsItAll), yet… he explains nothing.  

Social Media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have helped The Room’s infamy grow.

There are many memes.

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Quotes 

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Montages

and videos of critique.

 

All of this is helping to keep The Room alive. You could literally spend hours, hell, even days watching the many videos being created to celebrate this cult hit.  Oh, and I can’t forget there is a Star Wars Mashup!

The Room has a huge cult following and fan-base.  It also has  a play, a book , a video game,  a Facebook page dedicated to it, a-soon-to-be-released mocumentary, a documentary called Room Full Of Spoons and there is a movie being made about it, that James Franco is producing, directing, writing and starring in.  Sound familiar! How did this movie become such a huge hit?  It rivals movies such as Plan 9 and it’s huge fan base is dedicated and steadily growing. It is a phenomena with many, many unanswered questions.  Like the ones I have, such as:

What happened to Peter the psychologist?
Where can I rent that green screen?
Where can I find that 1880’s industrial shot?
How can it be sunny and smoggy at the same time?
Where did that new guy come from?
Will Denny survive without Johnny?
Will Lisa ever find love again?
Did Claudette survive the breast cancer?

Sooooooo many questions!

Back to my opening statement about this movie possibly being the best movie of all time.  Let’s take a moment to think about this. When I say best movie of all time, what I mean is best terrible movie of all time. When I watched it, I laughed till I was laugh crying.  I was laugh crying till my stomach hurt so bad, that I thought I was going to throw up. We discussed this movie indepth, for hours afterwards, my love and I talked about it as we were going to sleep and woke up talking about it.  All of our conversations for the next several hours have been dominated by it AND we have been quoting the movie. I have spend all of my time researching the movie, Tommy Wiseau and am agonizing over what happened to the actors, needing answers to my questions and searching to find out if a “Love is Blind” event is coming to a place near us. I have been feeling all of the emotions you would after seeing a movie that blows your mind.

How does this movie compare to my current top favourites Plan 9 From Outer Space and Screaming Skull?  The Room is definitely comparable in cult status to both these movies and over the top in terrible. Does it knock either of them off the top.  No, but it definitely ties for top spot.

You have to see this movie. It was even shot so you can watch it 2D or 3D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V10Px9xbrbU Apparently it wasn’t shot to be a 3D movie, Tommy Wiseau just decided to shoot with two cameras, because he could.  When you watch the movie, don’t forget to say hi to Mark.

(1) Neil Traynor is a Toronto born singer/songwriter guitarist/multi-instrumentalist.

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