Tag Archives: internet

Please Say That Tyler’s Story Will Change Just One Heart

Yesterday, I posted the faces of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei in my anger. Angry at them for their callous disregard of our right to privacy. I wanted everyone to see who pushed Tyler Clementi over the edge. I want their faces to be known so that they can’t “just move” to avoid recognition.

Yesterday, I was angry.

Today, I am sad. So very, very sad that a beautiful human being has left this earth. A violinist. A student. A friend. A son.

I want to tell his parents how very, very sorry I am that they lost their son so tragically. I want to tell them I can’t imagine the pain and loss they are suffering. I want to tell them to “just breathe.”

Maybe it’s because of the losses I have endured these past few weeks. Maybe it’s because I lost a dear high school friend to suicide during our first month of college. Maybe I am hoping upon hope that Tyler’s death will be a wake-up call to every amateur videographer out there.

Just maybe.

“Yes, I understand that every life must end, aw-huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go” – But this was much too soon. And I ache knowing that Tyler felt so desperate, so alone, that he felt his only choice was suicide. And I can only imagine the pain and heartache those close to him (most of all, his parents) are feeling. Such guilt for not helping. Unneccessary guilt, unfounded guilt. But guilt, nonetheless.

“Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands
the ones I love,..
Some folks just have one,
yeah, others, they’ve got none” – I am so blessed to have an amazing support system. And Tyler’s death reminds me of those out there who have precious few in their lives to turn to. I wish my arms were long enough to reach them all.

“Let’s just breathe” – We can only do what we can do. We can love our children with all our might. We can remember those in times of need. We can cling to our spouses, lovers or friends. But some days it’s all we can do to just breathe.

I chose to write about this again today because many of you commented that you were unaware of Tyler’s story. Tyler Clementi deserves more press, more than Ravi and Wei, that is. His is the spirit that was shattered. His is the life that was ended.

Nothing can bring Tyler back. But maybe his story will reach through the internet and touch hearts. Maybe it will turn hearts and change just one soul out there, encouraging kindness, compassion and most of all, privacy.


Filed under Be-Causes, Music, People, Relating

Trash Comes In All Kinds Of Colors

The suicide death of Tyler Clementi still has me reeling.

When I first heard of the story last week I was shocked. Not shocked that an 18-year-old college freshman took his life. That is, unfortunately, not terribly shocking. Not shocked that he was gay. I’ve been aware that gay people exist in our society since…..well, since I could identify sexuality.

No. I was shocked, appalled, horrified that a personal, private, behind closed doors, intimate encounter was broadcasted all over the internet unbeknownst to him. That his roommate secretly set up a webcam and then tweeted to all of his twits out there, announcing when to watch.




What if that had been you? Or me? Any one of us in the middle of what we think is a private, personal consensual act and it gets broadcasted over the internet air waves for everyone to see. Our children. Our parents. Our neighbors. Our employer. Our mailman.


Think of how differently everyone would look at you if they saw that video. Could you still go to the grocery store without titters or stares?

“So move,” someone so eloquently said on a blog, “You don’t have to kill yourself.” I agree, suicide is extreme but let’s get back to your first suggestion. Move? Move where? Where don’t they have the internet? Where do you suggest dear Tyler Clementi move to?


And when I read it was his roommate and a friend of the roommate’s who did this? I have to admit. I didn’t form a very politically correct image in my head. I pictured two caucasian, homophobic yahoos. From uneducated, backwoods families.

And then I read about their background and saw their photos.

Two young people who may have suffered the same, baseless prejudice themselves. From educated families. Who attended some of the best schools.

What is it about our technologically crazed society that feels it is OK to video tape someone without their knowledge and consent and then post it for the world to see? I’ve had this discussion with my own daughter, who taped a man singing on the subway with her phone. She and her friends laughed over it. I made her erase it. It wasn’t obscene. But it wasn’t “quality” singing. And they were laughing at him. Not his t-shirt slogan. Thank goodness she didn’t post this anywhere. (At least, after our talk, I’m fairly certain she didn’t post this. And if she did, I darn well hope she took it down.)

My daughter’s lack of boundaries when it comes to strangers is common. More common than we’d like to admit. So common, in fact, that we’re focusing on the kind of sex that was broadcast by Ravi and Wei – not that any kind of personal, private, sexual moment between two people should ever be broadcasted over the internet. Ever.

The pain Tyler Clementi’s family is going through is unimaginable. The parents of Ravi and Wei must be devastated, as well. Hopefully, Ravi and Wei are feeling infinite regret and remorse for their actions.

But I’ve learned I am guilty of stereotype. I’m embarrassed that I wanted the accused to be white. It’s easier to perpetuate stereotype than to realize we are all fallible. We are all equal in that regard.

My mother was right.

Trash, does indeed, come in all kinds of colors.


Filed under Soapbox

What Does Your Facebook Page Say About You?

I have been both fascinated and repulsed by Facebook.

Strong words? Maybe. But let me explain.

I first began a Facebook account because my daughter wanted a MySpace account and I said, NO! I explored Facebook and tried to become adept at it, to stay one step ahead of my teen. Ha! She’s now had her account a year less than I have and she is light-years ahead of me in skill. We call her Tech-Support.

Sure, I connected with many people from my past that have been so nice to touch base with. Yes, it’s been so easy to check in with friends and family who live far away. I kind of like the little sound bites (every now and then) of what my friend is up to: how she’s buried in laundry or he just witnessed his daughter’s first step or letting me know of a great film I should see.

And then, an amazing thing happened to me with Facebook.

A dear, dear friend from high school and swim team popped up. We friended each other. We started catching up. And discovered that we live only 45 minutes away from each other, even though we grew up together 1000 miles away.

Freaky coincidence.

Our friendship is renewed. We crack each other up, just like old times. And marvel over the amazing thing that is Facebook.

I honestly don’t know how we would have found each other without it (or something like it.) Both sets of our parents have since moved away from our hometown. Friends are scattered far and wide. We may have been able to find each other another way, but it wouldn’t have been easy.

Not as easy as the click-type-click that it is on Facebook.

That’s the fascinating part.

What is repulsive is the self-absorbed culture it is turning us into. I don’t care about the minute by minute updates. You think you’re funny? But you are funny only about 10% of the time. In our neighborhood, Facebook has become a popularity contest. It reminds me of high school – the public bragging about vacations and which party you just attended and the great time you had with Biff, Skip and Buffy. 

I now hide certain people (because I don’t have the guts to unfriend them) so I’m not tempted to fall into their trap.  Wondering why I wasn’t invited to the girl’s night out. Or pool party. Wondering why we can’t afford the cruise or trip to Europe or new car. Reading their brag posts, I find myself slipping into a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that I abhor.

So I hide. I ignore their posts as if they didn’t exist. I stick my head in the sand and create my own little bubble.

And then there’s the trick of people finding you on Facebook when you don’t want to be found. A dark period of my past came up and almost bit me. I ignored the friend request and panicked. How much had he found out about me and my adult life? Did I have all the right privacy settings in place? Why oh why was it so easy for this stalker to find me again?

Tech-Support (dear daughter) assured me that he only saw my name. And then she taught be how to disappear from him and any of the close friends I could remember that he had by blocking him and the rest of his posse.

Close call.

Rogue Pictures

NPR had an interesting review of two up-coming films about Facebook. Catfish (about a Facebook friendship) and The Social Network (about how Facebook got started) They both sound very interesting and I look forward to checking them out. But what interested me more was the way in which Bob Mondello (the NPR reviewer) chose to describe his “like” of the films. It is a clever review that is worth the listen.

And like Bob, I don’t want to say much more than that. But it got me thinking about how our lives have changed forever with social networks and how we now operate. How soundbites and friending and unfriending have become normal, every day behavior that influences how we operate and what we expect. The sense of immediacy it creates. It cultivates impatience and unnecessary worry. Yet it connects us in ways we never imagined it would.

Facebook is here to stay. Fascinating or repulsive, we’re left to use or abuse its abilities. I only hope we become bored with the mundane updates and more sensitive about what we post on our profiles. After all, our Facebook pages are an extension of who we are and how we want to be perceived.

What does your Facebook page say about you?


Filed under How We Roll, Observations

Bad News Is Free. Good News Comes At A Price.

When I was in college, I read at least 3-4 newspapers a day. Not cover to cover. But yes, I scanned 3-4 daily. The college paper, the local paper, the larger state-wide paper and a large city paper like the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, or The LA Times. I loved getting different viewpoints on various topics. I thought I wanted to be a journalist someday.

Fast forward to 2010, and we don’t even have a newspaper subscription anymore. I get all my news from the internet. I have a number of large news organization pages bookmarked. And, of course, I read what pops up on msn.com and yahoo.com.

Most of it is depressing. Just tonight (the night before you’re reading this) I saw the headlines for: 4 Decapitated Bodies Hung From Bridge in Mexico, Mosque Dispute Sparks NYC Rallies, and Iran unveils “Ambassador of Death” Bomber.

Drugs, dissent and destruction.

News isn’t news unless it’s negative. Where is the good news? Where are the uplifting stories of the other 98% of the world population?

Google to the rescue!

The Good News Network! I read about how Ethiopia has “halved malaria deaths in just three years.” Or about the Good News reporter who believes he can randomly point his finger at a page in a phone book, call the person and find an inspiring story. There’s a story about an “army of good Samaritans” or a forestry hero.

Excited, I clicked on one of the stories of interest.

I was directed to a subscription page. For just $24 or $47 or $97 a year (you pick how much you want to send them) you, too, can hear about all the good news going on around the world.


Apparently, bad news is free.

Good news comes at a price.


Filed under All In A Day's Work, Observations

SMH and LOL at Internet Speak

There is a whole world out there, a whole language in which I feel woefully inadequate.

That would be internet-land and its language.

My daughter is always laughing at my ineptitude.

“GBH & K!” she yells to me, running out the door. (Great big hugs and kisses)

I stand there, looking mystified, as I try to figure out the latest abbreviation.

“Oh! H&K, too!” I shout. But she’s already out of sight.

My daughter is so good at KPC. (Keeping parents clueless) Just when I think I’ve got it she throws a new one at me.

KWIM was her favorite for a long time. And she’d pronounce it, like it was a word. “Kwim?” she’d ask. (Know what I mean?)

Or “ADK!” she’d roll her eyes, exasperated with her little brother putting on his shoes. (Any day now)

I never really worried about her on the internet. I should have. I know the dangers. I used to teach at one of the first laptop high schools in our state. I felt more comfortable when I was teaching. My students would share with me things they’d never tell their parents.

But  now, my daughter is old enough (almost 18) and savvy enough (everything is password protected) that I have very little control over what she is doing. Oh sure, I could use spyware, and in my defense, we’ve only recently cut the majority of the apron strings. But she’s going to be in college classes this fall. (dual enrollment with her high school and the local college) And out of the house next year. You’ve got to start somewhere.

It’s too late for me. And my daughter thinks chatrooms are “lame.” But texting is ripe with abbreviations. Some are funny. Some not so funny.


ROFLAPMP = Rolling on floor laughing and peed my pants

HMS = Home made smiley

BUDWEISER = Because you deserve what every individual should ever receive

100 = Nature calls/Pitstop

FAAK = Falling asleep at keyboard

Not So Funny

PAW = Parents are watching

TAW = Teachers are watching

MOS = Mom over shoulder

LMIRL = Let’s meet in real life

NIFOC = Naked in front of computer

The internet is an amazing, wonderful and scary tool. In my day, we passed notes in class with the frightening chance that a teacher (or the boy we’re mooning over) might find it. Today? There’s text, chat, email – instantaneous communication that can be intercepted, sent to the wrong person, or allow you to come in contact with very scary people two states away without your parents ever having a clue.

SMH over here. (Shaking my head)

I’m not LOL anymore.

(Update: Ok. Things just got scarier. After reading some of your comments I decided to add a few reference lists so you, too, could educate yourself on internet abbreviations every parent should know. Down right frightening! But so important that we try to keep up! Check out: Top 50 Internet Acronyms Parents Need to Know and 99 texting acronyms you (and every other parent) should know)


Filed under children, Lessons Learned

Hello blog world!

I am so glad Al Gore invented the internet! This is amazing. Sitting here, at my computer, sending messages to……..? Who will read this? Who are you? What caught your eye to visit this page? I am so new to this blogging concept. And what is so amazing is before I ever entered my first blog I did a little research on you other bloggers out there. Did you know that there are grandmothers out there who blog? Seriously! Grandmothers! Now I am REALLY feeling behind the times. I’m somewhere between 30 and a Wal-Mart greeter. Not yet a grandmother, thank God!

So. Welcome, Me! Looking forward to seeing exactly where this will all lead.

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Filed under Uncategorized