Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Math Problems Run Amok

Being a writer, I'm not much of a math person. Sure, I can do basic stuff. But, algebra stumped me, and don't even try to talk calculus to me. My eyes will glaze over.

Still, every time I fold socks in my house, and I don't have anything going on so my mind wanders, I think of a math problem. A specific math problem. One from grade school.

I don't remember exactly how old I was, or even the exact wording of the problem. I was probably in third or fourth grade. And the problem went something like this:

The power has gone out at Mike's house and he has to get ready for school. He has no flashlight. He knows he has 10 red socks and 6 blue socks in his dresser drawer. What's the likelihood he will choose two matching socks?
Even as a third or fourth grader, I remember thinking Mike was an idiot. Why would you not fold your socks so they were mated? Then you wouldn't have problems like that if the power went out! Today, 20-odd years later, I think the writers for that textbook needed to get their heads screwed on straight.

Though, I do sometimes wonder if Mike made it to school with matching socks. ;)

How about you? Do you have something from your school days that sticks out in your head, that just won't leave you alone years or even decades later?

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Poaching is a Crime

Ugh! Behind again! I did so well in September, and then the last two to three weeks fell apart for me--including one ER trip for my son--and I'm back to having the weird blogging schedule again. Oh well. ;) I'm now the mother a five-year-old--how the heck did that happen? Overall, things are going well with my son, so that's about as much can be hoped for at the moment.


Today's post is something that's been driving me nuts lately: Poaching.

I'm not talking about boiling meats, either, or illegal hunting of wild game.

The type of poaching I'm talking about is cyber-poaching. This is where Friend A from one circle you move in decides to befriend on Facebook or Google+ Friend B of yours from a completely different circle of your friends. They otherwise would have no other reason to be friends with each other besides the fact they both know you.

Some people may not see why this is harmful, but it is, especially if the person in the middle has no idea it's going on until it's too late. You say something to Friend B that Friend A misconstrues, and then you get a snide note from Friend A. Or they jump into the conversation which was supposedly otherwise "private." (Although, let's be realistic: just how much privacy do you really have on the Internet these days?)

Honestly, I find poaching rather creepy, especially when it's done from friends to family or vice-versa. My friend, Chila Woychik, has also agreed with this in the past on her own Facebook page, and actually labeled it what I'm calling it. Why does, say, Friend B need to befriend my cousin? Or, why does my uncle need to be friends with an author friend of mine? (These are examples--they are not real, just so you know.) Pre-Facebook, there would have been no way for most people's different circles they move in to come in contact with other circles, except, perhaps, at very specific instances--birthday parties, weddings, funerals.

But, just because the way to connect with others has gotten easier doesn't mean we shouldn't show some restraint. And, I'm not talking about honest-to-goodness networking--where you're a business-owner and reach out to another person who is doing what you're doing to learn from them and their experiences. However, next time you're tempted to make a friend request to someone because you have a friend in common, stop and ask yourself why you'd want to be friends with that person. If it's only because of that other friend, maybe you'd be better off not pressing that friend request button.

That being said, here are my general rules for how I handle my social networking.

  • Do I know the person in real life? This can be through a menagerie of ways: church, family, writers, politics, old school chums, etc.
  • Do I have a legitimate reason to know this person besides our friend of a friend? For instance, is this person another writer? A politician whom I would like to keep track of? A pastor or support staff at my church?
  • If I do not know this person, do we have a lot of mutual friends where I can easily identify which group of friends they belong to? For instance, if they're friends with K.M. Weiland, Linda Yezak, and 216 other friends who are writers, the likelihood is this person is a reader or a writer, and probably okay to befriend.
I use these guidelines when I send a friend request, and I also use it when I'm sent a friend request. If someone is new to Facebook, it is quite often the case that when I receive a request, I do not see many, if any, common friends, so I will sit on the request for a while and wait for more friends to be added. If none come to light, I ignore the request permanently.  Another option, being that I manage four pages (including my Author Facebook and Google+ pages), I'll direct that person to whichever seems the best fit.

How about you? Do you find "poaching" a problem in your cyber-life? Do you have guidelines on how you handle networking and mutual friends? If so, share below!

Until next time,

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