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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Agencies Propose Extreme Measures to Reduce Conference, Travel Spending

During the past decade, travel and conference expenses for the Department of Defense (DoD), and many other Federal Agencies, increased to a level that recently caught the attention of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and DoD leadership.
Read more:
Agencies Propose Extreme Measures to Reduce Conference, Travel Spending

Friday, July 20, 2012

Buzzwords and Catch Phrases: The favored language tools of the lazy and unimaginative - An Interactive Blog Post

Recently I have become OVERWHELMED by the maddening overuse of clichés, catch phrases, and buzzwords. So much so, that I posted this to my Facebook wall:

 Our Lady of Hopeless Buzzwords and Sorrowful Clichés- Help me to stay silent and stoic as I endure hearing people say "outside the box", and similarly maddening phrases, over and over and over, each day. Amen.

I got some great responses and then I knew- THIS is the topic for the first interactive blog post!

I have been waiting for the perfect discussion for my first stab at an interactive blog post- Which means, I wanted to write a blog post that I could post responses from friends, associates and social media connections. Facebook is the perfect platform for this type of discussion.

Below I have captured the comments and opinions of the individuals listed. I have provided a short “blurb” about each of them to give their comments context. NOTICE: I used a buzz- word, “blurb”.  More on that later.

So, without further ado, THE INTERACTIVE BLOG!!

Karen Burch, Writer and Editor at “WayPoints by Karen Burch”-

I cannot stand "jargon"...things people say just to sound cool.

 One of my personal unfavorite is: “Ah-ha moment”.

 "Transparent!" Hate it.
“Authentic”. Hate it.

 Catherine Kustancy is an "online journalist". Her blog is called Play Anon. -

 As a journalist, you can imagine how often I run across this sh*t - from publicists (who are especially guilty of over-using tired jargon and boring cliches) to fellow digi-scribes...

 Honestly, I'm not sure if it's laziness or lack of creativity, time, and/or resources, but whatever the case... BASTA!

As a wordsmith, I'm fairly watchful of my language and try my hardest to avoid those cliches - but every now and again I fall into the "interesting" thing. MORTIFYING.

Nate Brookshire, Assistant Professor at Colorado State University, Co-Author of “Hidden Wounds: A Soldier’s Burden, and blogger -

I hear "second and third order effects" on almost a daily basis. The phrase is mentioned in the Field Manual (FM) Army Leadership 6-22 and several others. The military, as you know, LOVE US SOME buzzwords. Remember a couple of years ago with "tipping point."

The current overused phrase for me is "second and third order effects."

Here is an excerpt from one of our manuals that is one of the many that use the phrase.

Field Manual 6-22

Chapter 6 - "Mental agility is a flexibility of mind, a tendency to anticipate or adapt to uncertain or changing situations. Agility assists thinking through second- and third-order effects when current decisions or actions are not producing the desired effects. It helps break from habitual thought patterns, to improvise when faced with conceptual impasses, and quickly apply multiple perspectives to consider new approaches or solutions."

Originally the phrase was used as an illustration to describe tactical decisions that impacted the operational and strategic spheres.

A good example of this is the Strategic Corporal. There are many examples of tactical decisions that have had "second and third order effects."

We use this term A LOT and I am one of the biggest offenders.
Great discussion and it make me realize that my world is FULL of Buzz Words.


Aida Rasulova, a close person friend and professional linguist -

Stay ahead of the game”... Whatever!!!
 “Cerebral”- because “Intelligent “is not good enough anymore.

 Chelsea Hickey is a social media and email marketing strategist who blogs about everything you're thinking, but afraid to say.

She writes a blog called Diamonds, Dog tags, and Diapers, which recently won an award at the annual Milblogging Conference. -

"Am I right?" – Ninety-nine percent of the time it is not used appropriately. Most of the time it makes no sense for someone to ask if they are right.

“Totes Adorbs” – Apparently means totally adorable. Abbreviations are getting out of control.

"I know, right?" – Does this really need an explanation? Actually, it probably does. Are you asking for confirmation that you know something?

In the workplace, "Specifically", has become so overused and a big buzzword. You don't need to preface anything with specifically, rarely are you really giving specifics.

“Expert”, “guru”, and anything else of the sort, that will make someone sound high and mighty. Most recently, social media experts and gurus”. No. I doubt it. I am a social media strategist, for real.

“ROI” – Total buzzword with minimal understanding.

“Close of business” and “End of the Day” – Enough, just tell me when you need something. I don't know when you close or the end of your day is. Do you really want me to get you something by 11:59? Too often do people try to sound high and mighty via email?

Debbie Oliveri, A former co-worker -

"Welcome to my world", when I am told I am not able to get a pay increase. -This from my managers.

Dano DeBroux is a self-described, "Subversive Innovator and fan of all things blinky." -

Most common (and vapid) directive from senior leadership...anywhere: "Let's take this discussion offline."
 Most Over-used IT Buzz Word: The Cloud (oh, that's TWO words...)
The one I hate most: “Paradigm Shift “. “We need to be more innovative."
Favorite Mgt Phrase I've Used (stolen from Piccard):"Make it so!"

Clyde Willoughby is a childhood friend who works in internet industry -

 "It is what it is." Nearly always used by people who don't have the faintest idea "what IT is". It's kinda like "my bad" in some ways regarding difficult situations, like an avoidance of acknowledgement at any depth.
 I am laughing now at the similarities of "it is what it is" and "no matter where you go there you are." Perhaps two of the great truths of life.

Tom McCuin, Strategic Communication and Government Relations Expert currently working as a contractor for the Department of Defense -

 “Dialog” used as a verb. It makes the speaker sound like a new-age guru wannabe. Drives me around the bend.

Mike Jason, an Army officer in Afghanistan with 17 years of experience -

 “Synergy”.  It means nothing, but used all the time.
 “Win-win" situation; like anyone wants to lose.
 “Gain some "atmospherics."
 And when you have absolutely nothing intelligent to say, just say, "Huah."

James Black- “Not so undercover Police Officer”for an undisclosed jurisdiction -

 Funny, I always get punished by my establishment because I am non-conformist.

EVERYTHING I do is 'outside their box', it works, but they don't get it.
Then I have to hear the chowderheads talking about how we need to 'approach the situation with a new set of eyes" or be more 'proactive' by 'thinking outside the box'.
Sigh. I sit and point out what General Orders are holding them back and are now irrelevant in the eyes of modern technology and no avail. They are going to 'stick a pin in it' (ala Bolt) and get back to it later. 

Anna Sargent, College Student, Mom to a beautiful four year old (my granddaughter!) -

 “I beg your pardon.” I don’t use any of these nonsense words and phrases.
 When people overuse the word, "right??" Like they are asking a question.
 “Honestly”, “literally”, “awesome,” “yolo,” “hella.” Those are just a few that set me off!

Stephanie Chenault is the COO of Venio Inc., whose consultants serve as advisors to inform the development of policy, doctrine, and plans across the DOD -

 "Set the condition(s) .Its a buzz-phrase used in ARSTAFF frequently and across DoD .
 It's not that the phrase is bad, per se, just worn out!
I also see “verbatim”and “verboten” confused.
 And “apprised”and “appraised” used interchangeably. 

Traci Ault, Long-time friend and all-around expert -

 Well, if I hear another person use the word "literally" who does not know what it means, I might shout obscenities.
I'm getting pretty abrasive on the subject. A couple a weeks ago, a coworker said, "I literally worked my ass off," and "It grew back pretty quickly!" flew out of my mouth before I realized it. Luckily, she found it humorous.
 I'm thinking hard, but I don't think I use any of those catch phrases. I'm not in a nine-to-five office environment, though, so that might help. In my line of work there's a lot of "team player" use, which I avoid at all costs. It ain't baseball. I'm guilty of the incorrect use of the word "awesome," and probably say "okay" and "I know" too much. Verbal laziness.

I hate "proven track record”." Is there a track?! If so, how did I miss seeing it? Who's keeping this record? I just picture some guy with clipboard and a stopwatch following guys around the office
taking notes. "Good sale, Jim. Now, if you just shave a few seconds off your 100 meter dash time.”

  Deanna Weber Prine, A Research Program Manager -

 “Metaphorically speaking” or “in a nutshell” are used a lot here.
The PhD's are also horrible with using the overused "in summary" in their writing.
My first lit class in college squelched my initial thoughts about majoring in it--my professor wrote "Trite!" in the margins about a dozen times. Crushed me so much that it took me two years to take another lit course! I think using trite and cliché verbiage is one way that we engender and transmit societal norms and viewpoints. It wasn't until later in my life that I decided to discover my own truths.

And my own dear husband, David Miller, provided a great quote -

"If you use the phrase, 'Think outside the box,' then you’re not. That phrase was moldy ten years ago."

Wikipedia says: A buzzword (also fashion word) is a term of art, salesmanship, politics, or technical jargon[1] that is used in the media and wider society outside of its originally narrow technical context, often in an inaccurate manner, or for purposes other than the conveying of information.
Buzzwords differ from jargon in that jargon is esoteric but precisely defined terminology used for ease of communication between specialists in a given field, whereas a buzzword (which often
develops from the appropriation of technical jargon) is often used in a more general way, inaccurately or inappropriately. A person who chooses to use buzzwords may have one or more of the following objectives:
Intentional vagueness. In management or politics, opaque words of unclear meaning may be used: their positive connotations prevents questioning of intent. The most notable essay on this theme is George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" [2] (See newspeak)
·         A desire to impress a judge, an examiner, an audience, or a readership, or to win an argument, through name-dropping of esoteric and poorly understood terms in an attempt to inflate trivial ideas to something of importance.

Therefore a phrase is not in itself a buzzword: it becomes one in the context of inappropriate usage or usage with an ulterior motive.

I hope these comments have been as enlightening and amusing to everyone who reads this as they were to me.
I look forward to doing more interactive blog posts and am always looking for contributors and interested parties. Let me know if you would like to participate on a topic.
MANY THANKS to all those who helped make the point that BUZZWORDS and Catch Phrases should be used sparingly and thoughtfully.
(NOTE:  Please forgive the formatting issues! I am still working diligently to correct the problem with the application.)

Growing Trend of Government Telework Gives Employees More Options

The Office of Personnel Management’s annual report to congress found that 25 percent, or 168,558, of those eligible to telework did so at least one day a week. That’s up from 10 percent of the eligible workforce in 2009.

The report notes that among those employees who do telework, there’s a relatively even split between teleworking three days a week (27 percent), two days a week (28 percent) and one day a week (25 percent). Several agencies have high rates of telework... read more-
Growing Trend of Government Telework Gives Employees More Options

Friday, July 13, 2012

Recent Fare Hikes Add Insult to Injury for D.C. Metro Commuters

Recent Fare Hikes Add Insult to Injury for D.C. Metro Commuters
Public transportation is one of the most innovative and constructive concepts of the 20th century. Theoretically, it has the potential to make millions of people’s daily commute faster and easier. That is the idea, but in practice it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the growing problems associated with the daily commute for D.C. professionals and tourists alike.

For those who use metro for their daily commute to their jobs in the greater D.C. metropolitan area, the aggravations and continuing dissatisfaction with the quality of service has been become compounded by the July 1st fare hikes that are costing commuters far more than most feel they are receiving in return. A ride that once cost $1.85 (and only a few years ago, $1.35) is now $2.05. Many commuters can spend upwards of $12.00 per day on their commute to and from work.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Secret, secret, I’ve got a secret: The secrets we keep can be more unsettling than the truths we tell

We learn to keep secrets at an early age. Most people will get their cues about secrets and honesty from their parents or role models. If a child has been encouraged to keep secrets, or viewed their parents being secretive, they are bound to learn sneaky or concealing behaviors and believe them to be the norm.

Secrets are universal. Keeping secrets is part human nature, part cultural, and part learned dysfunctional behavior.

PostSecret is an entire website, and many books, that delves into the phenomenon of secrets and hidden events or thoughts. “PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.”

                                              - From the PostSecret Website -
I encourage everyone to take some time and look it over. Some of it may shock you. It can be an incredibly liberating experience being able to FINALLY tell a long-held secret. Some of the secrets are very sad. Others many incite a feeling of rage. Most people will be able to relate to some of the less dramatic secrets.
We all have had, or still carry, secrets. Some of them are harmless and banal. Keeping secrets about small things, like how many cookies we ate, or not wanting to admit when we made a minor mistake at work, are normal and to be expected. Secrets start to take on a life of their own when they involved BIG THINGS like our children, our spouse, or employer, our country, or our character.
Secrets are so universal that you could fill a library with books and films which bear the theme of secrecy, betrayal, lies, and hidden events. We often find secrets fascinating, repulsive, exciting, or frightening. Some people have affairs simply because their lives are boring, and they long for the "excitement" of secrecy.
Wikipedia says- “Secrecy (also called clandestinity or furtiveness) is the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups, perhaps while sharing it with other individuals. That which is kept hidden is known as the secret.
Secrecy is often controversial, depending on the content of the secret, the group or people keeping the secret, and the motivation for secrecy. Secrecy by government entities is often decried as excessive or in promotion of poor operation; excessive revelation of information on individuals can conflict with virtues of privacy and confidentiality.”

Some of the most terrifying things I’ve ever heard have started out with these sentences:

“I’ve never told anyone this before…”

“I know you are going to find this hard to believe…”

“I don’t really know where to begin…”

“I hope this won’t change your opinion of me.” or the similar, “I hope you won’t be shocked by what I am about to tell you.”
 I’ve had my share of guts spilled all over me. I've spilled mine over other people. It often isn’t pretty. Sometimes it can change your life. But sharing secrets is, more times than not, better in the long run than trying to keep them hidden.  I admit to unpleasant, shameful secrets, which have all come to light or I have finally shared. Many of them, I am not proud of.
Who hasn’t done something in their life they would rather forget? Who hasn’t been a less than wonderful parent, friend, or spouse? But keeping poor or dysfunctional behavior a secret means it isn’t being dealt with or addressed. In order to make a true amends, or correct the behavior which is being kept secret, the issues and situations must come to light.
Believe this- the negative energy and stress required in keeping a secret will only increase in time, and it will, for most people, begin to eat away at their soul. Secrets can be toxic and harmful enough to destroy a person’s entire life.

Almost everyone has shared, or had someone else share, a secret they would rather not have known about or wish they could forget. Wouldn’t life be so much easier and simpler if we didn’t have terrible and shameful things that we have either had to, or chose to, hide?

Many people believe it is better to keep their secrets. They convince themselves they are protecting others, or themselves, from pain, hurt, humiliation, or scandal. And every day you can see examples in the headlines, or  on television, of the terrible outcomes of that theory.

We see examples of the husband, or wife, who is trying to hide the affair from their spouse- because they don’t “want to hurt them”. The pedophile hides their evil deeds because they don’t want to face the shame and disgrace which will befall their family.
The unfortunate part is that it isn’t a factor of IF a secret will be revealed; it is only a matter of when. And perhaps more importantly, if a person doesn’t want to hurt their spouse or family, or even themselves, they shouldn't engage in the secretive behavior in the first place. That is the surest, more reliable, way to shield and protect those you love from pain, humiliation, suffering, and consequences.
Secrets rarely stay hidden. It may take months, years, or even decades- but in my experience, and from historical evidence, secrets almost always come to light. And one of the most unpleasant, and unfortunate, aspects of secrets is that the longer it has been concealed, the more distress, hurt, pain, and shock it will cause once it FINALLY comes to light.
Someone finding out a terrible betrayal or unpleasant event in real time is certainly upsetting and can cause problems in a marriage, job, or friendship. Finding out the same information five or ten years later can be devastating beyond repair.
The reasons for this are fairly obvious. As an example, if I do something wrong and I come clean and tell the other person about my mistake immediately, for one thing, it will show that person that although I have erred, I am sorry and I want to make amends.
If, on the other hand, I do something to break trust or faith with them and I conceal it, sometimes for years, when they eventually find out (and the percentages show that they probably will); not only has my mistake or lie been exposed- I have also shown that I had no remorse for my actions, nor the honor or integrity to admit it. A lose, lose proposition if there ever was one.
                                                                                             Roy Lichtenstein-CryingGirl
There are many lies people tell themselves when they are keeping secrets. Often a person tries to convince themself that the other person, or people, involved are better off not knowing. How many terrible crimes have been committed because of that self-deceit and cowardly excuse? And think of the Bernie Madoffs of the world and the John Edwards, and the Marion Barrys-   all prime examples of people who believed that they could “get away with it” and they were trying to protect someone with their lies. How convenient is that?
Tragically, children who have been sexually abused believe they have to keep their abuse secret or terrible, dangerous consequences will happen.
Having been sexually abused as a child, by a neighbor, I can relate to that feeling. I kept that secret all to myself for many, many, years. I felt that something terrible would happen if I told. My seven year old mind had convinced itself that if I told my parents, something would happen that would make my life unbearable. I was terrified that my father would kill my victimizer and would go to jail. I believed that keeping my secret was the only way to keep the people I loved safe. What an agony my parents went through many years later when I finally told them the truth. By that time, it was simply too late to do anything because the sexual predator had moved and no one knew of his whereabouts.
Keeping any kind of secret can create devastation and ruin. Gay politicians who fear for their careers and stay in the closet, even marrying a woman and having children- and all the while having affairs with men, keep their secret because they have convinced themselves that it is the only way they can continue with their “dream” of holding public office. That is a giant cop out and one of the most painful and shameful betrayals a person can lay on another.
Anyone keeping a financial secret from their spouse will surely learn that it will only be a matter of time before their world implodes in ruin. Believing that a spouse is better off not knowing is madness because both people will eventually have to deal with the fallout.
Parents will often keep the secret of a dead marriage from their children, wrongly thinking that they are somehow protecting them with the lie, but when the marriage finally collapses and the kids are shocked to realize that there were problems all along, the betrayal and hurt can destroy a family. How do you begin to build trust again after years of secrecy and lies?  It isn’t pleasant or pretty, and it can take years to heal, if the healing is even possible.
Last but not least, attempting to keep addiction a secret from family, friends, and employers, is one of the most futile and hopeless cases. There is no possible way for an alcoholic or drug addict to keep the secret of their addiction for very long. There are many who will be in denial about a loved one or employee’s addiction issues, but at some point the secret will be exposed and the situation will have to be dealt with accordingly.

Some other secrets that people believe they can keep, but rarely do:

  • Depression
  • Physical or mental illness
  • Gambling or shopping addictions, or secret debts
  • “Love children” or secret family members
  • Criminal record
  • Political scandal
  • Addiction to pornography
  • Internet addiction, to include internet “affairs” and inappropriate online relationships
  • Fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Stolen valor
  • Plagiarism
  • Internet dating secrets
  • Misrepresentation of credentials or degrees
  • False persona
  • Pyramid schemes or dicey investments
If you search the word, secret, on any of the top internet search engines, there will be a wealth of information. Secrets are a hot topic in almost every aspect of life. It is surprising that something so common still has the potential to be so upsetting.
I have learned the hard way that secrets have the potential to destroy the best parts of life. Losing integrity and self-respect is one of the worst aspects of keeping secrets. Secrets can keep people from truly sharing and connecting. Secrets breed more secrets and they eventually cause a person to despair.
In my humble and compassionate opinion, a life without secrets brings peace of mind and serenity rather than the chaos and hopelessness of attempting to conceal things which may or may not stay concealed.
If by some chance something does remain a secret, what price does a person pay when they have to look in the mirror each day and know that they are not true to themselves or others around them? That price is too steep for most and the cost may be everything.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Potential Defense Cuts Continue to Cause Alarm

If you work in the D.C. area, there is a good chance that your work is impacted by the federal government and the ebb and flow of today’s federal budget back-and-forth. In the past year, there has been a great deal of debate and concern regarding proposed cuts to the Department of Defense budget, and it has many in the defense contracting community concerned.

Much of the news coverage is setting an alarming tone. A recent Bloomberg Business article noted: “Contractors worry about a lack of leeway if the full $55 billion in cuts goes into effect. Last year’s Budget Control Act, which established the sequestration process, said cuts should be made at the “programs, projects and activities” level. Meaning that depending on which program or project you support, significant cuts are likely on the way.

The article went on to say, “Not all companies will be affected in the same way. If the budget ax falls, contractors that provide services to the Pentagon, such as Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) (CSC) in Falls Church or SAIC Inc. (SAI) (SAI) of McLean, probably will see a drop in revenue faster than weapons makers such as Lockheed Martin, analysts said.”

See more here:
Potential Defense Cuts Continue to Cause Alarm

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is Just Being Grateful to Have a Job Enough?

In many offices and organizations, expressions of appreciation or gratitude are often viewed as unnecessary by co-workers or supervisors. I think it is critical to show and articulate thanks to anyone who gives assistance or support in any aspect of life, to include places of employment. Studies have shown that happy and content employees are those who work in environments where they feel appreciated and satisfied with their job.

ScienceDaily reported: “Thomas Wright, Jon Wefald Leadership Chair in Business Administration and professor of management at K-State, has found that when employees have high levels of psychological well-being and job satisfaction, they perform better and are less likely to leave their job -- making happiness a valuable tool for maximizing organizational outcomes.”

Wright said: “Happiness is a broad and subjective word, but a person's well-being includes the presence of positive emotions, like joy and interest, and the absence of negative emotions, like apathy and sadness.” Wright continued, “ An excessive negative focus in the workplace could be harmful, such as in performance evaluations where negatives like what an employee failed to do are the focus of concentration’, he said. When properly implemented in the workplace environment, positive emotions can enhance employee perceptions of finding meaning in their work.”

See more here:
Is Just Being Grateful to Have a Job Enough?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blog and social media faux pas- the nasty business of too much information


I like to read blogs, and I read lots of them. I will read a blog about almost anything. I enjoy seeing how others write and the topics they find interesting. There are, however, a few topics I find quite upsetting and discouraging.

Last year, I wrote a blog piece called, “Crazy bloggers” may think their content is popular, but it’s all about schadenfreude”.

In that post, I described some examples of blogs and blog content that really set me off.  As I always point out, people can write whatever they want- it’s a free country. Unless you are breaking a law by posting something illegal or fraudulent, the first amendment protects free speech. Having given that disclaimer, I also like to remind a person that just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean it is a good or ethical idea.

   I am often offended and outraged by blogs that contain “TMI” or too much information. The information is almost always about OTHER PEOPLE.
A few examples:

1.       A blogger, male or female, who writes about their experiences on dating sites, or intimate relationships in general.

2.      Bloggers who share overly detailed accounts, and extremely personal things, about their children or family members (often without considering their feelings).

3.      Blogs that have a completely negative or unkind agenda.

4.      Any blog that’s sole existence is to shame, humiliate, and put down others.

  People write blogs for many reasons. I would venture to say that there is something for everyone in the blogosphere. I know that my tastes differ from other people’s taste. Variety is a good thing and gives audiences the ability to choose what they enjoy reading. That is one of the most incredibly valuable and wonderful things about blogs. Real people (hopefully), telling real stories about their lives, their interests, their opinions, and their thoughts. All those things have great potential for good, and bad.
As a writer, a blogger, and a human being, I have the right to voice my opinion about topics I feel are really inappropriate and should be omitted from blogs. I am not endorsing censorship! I am merely attempting to point out that too much personal information, especially about others, is unfair and unkind.
To explain, to begin with, I have never been a fan of internet dating sites. I know there are a percentage of people who have met their spouse or significant other on one. They should consider themselves fortunate.

 In my humble opinion, and limited experience, most people I know and have heard of, have had more negative than positive experiences. The “formulas” don’t really work very well for matching people up; especially when a huge percentage of people, male AND female, lie about themselves and misrepresent their information. But that is another blog post all together.

How it fits into the blog issue is really unfortunate. The situation, as I see it time and again, is the rehashing of the dates on people’s blogs, or social media sites. I find this behavior truly abhorrent. It isn’t funny or cute to betray someone’s private details or information.
Even though many people blog “anonymously”, and that too is another blog post, and they assume that there is a level of “privacy” in their anonymity. They need to think again. The internet offers no true privacy and everything that is written should be considered as public as the front page of The Washington Post.
Seeing people rant, whine, criticize, and complain about the people they have met on dating sites, or blind dates, or whatever kind of date on their blogs- makes my skin crawl. It is a behavior I find incredibly cruel and repulsive.

Dating can be a humiliating experience. Not all dates have happy outcomes. It can take years of dating to find the “right” person. A few light remarks about the incompatibility or precariousness of the dating scene could be a good blog post. Ripping apart individuals met on failed dates, and calling out all the horrible details, is not cute or clever. It is nasty and it is mean.

I wonder if “funny, snarky, cool, blogger” would appreciate being called out in public on their bad teeth, frizzy hair, or the goofy way they do whatever it is that they do on a date, which  is now being read in a PUBLIC forum. I surely wouldn’t. It is mean-spirited, arrogant, and cheap to set up dates with people and then write personal and unflattering things about them in a blog. And to be clear, even if the information was flattering, what happens on a date should be between the two people- not the rest of the world.

It seems ironic to me that these bloggers think t they are so perfect and wonderful that they have the right to spill personal things about another person, they set up to meet on the internet, through a paid dating site. One might wonder, if they were so fabulous, why they are using a dating site to begin with. But I digress.
Anytime a blogger starts to rely on extremely personal information about other people in order to produce content or entice readers, I am keen to shun that blog and discount the author.

Which brings me to my next set of gripes about bloggers who use their blogs to humiliate, criticize, or gripe about anything and everything. There is no end to the negativity in these blogs. Their sole focus and reason for existing is to run down all that is wrong with the world, the nation, “those people”, and everything under the sun.

Obviously, all bloggers have posts that can have negative or critical material. I’m not speaking of that scenario. Balancing positive, negative, and neutral posts is the sign of a great blogger. Having a wide breadth of knowledge and opinions shows that the blogger is intelligent and versatile.
 I am referring to blogs that solely and exclusively focus on negative and critical content. It becomes shrill and boring after a while. I don’t enjoy reading things that consistently bring me down.
I realize many bloggers, and some authors, have gained fame and sometimes fortune from writing about really awful things. Fine. Good for them. I guess if that is what drives their boat, ROCK ON.
There is a truly awful guy, who I shall not name, who has dedicated his life to writing a blog, books, and even a cheapo movie, about his sexual exploits. If the devil is in the details, he has a one way ticket to the 4th ring of Hell. He writes, in EXCRUCIATING and mind-numbing detail, about all the women he has supposedly slept with in his life. I am not a prude, and I confess I have enjoyed the “Sex in the City” series, but this “writer” is a narcissistic monster. And I might sadly add, wildly popular. But then again, so is porn. (Yet another blog topic for another time.)

So I see a lot of fantastic, clever, amazing blogs. I also see a great deal of rubbish. I would ask my fellow bloggers to consider what they are putting “out there” in the world. You don’t have to be all flowers, sunshine, puppies, and lollipops. NO! I am not saying that is the right path either.

Be honest, be real, be authentic and share, but have and know the limits of decency and boundaries. The whole world doesn’t need to know all the most personal and intimate details of anyone’s life, especially when you are offering up the personal details of the lives of others. And for the record, the internet IS the whole world. I have a dashboard on my blog that proves that fact. I have views from every country you can think of. Places I didn’t think there was internet access!

If you want to tell a great story about something personal, think about the other person. Would they want those details to be known by EVERYONE? Is divulging personal information about another person, without their consent or prior knowledge, a good or beneficial means of telling YOUR OWN story?
Writing very personal and potentially embarrassing information about one's own family, especially minor children, is really unfair. It may be a great story, but telling certain things in a public setting or platform can cross a line.
In summation, I want to say that I admire and love reading things about people, their lives, their hopes and dreams, their families. There are ways to tell these stories and share the truths in a respectful and modest way.

Modesty has become a nasty word to many people. It almost has a negative spin, but I think it is something that more bloggers should embrace. Err on the side of modesty. Don’t go for the easy or lazy attention or views by exposing the personal lives of others. Be creative and be clever, but try not to do so at the expense of others.