Posts Tagged ‘ United States ’

Facebook: The Nature of the Beast

I, once a strong-willed man, caved. I reactivated my facebook.

I know what you are thinking, I never thought I would either. Most of my friends can tell you, I was very stubborn in my rejection of the popular social media site. I had no problem reminding people, “I don’t have facebook.”

That, however, is in the past now. As much as I did not want to, I rejoined facebook because of what my time away from it told me. I lost touch with a lot of people…a lot of people. I did not intend to, but without that constant blip of status updates and photos, I simply forgot about people. It does not mean that I meant or wanted to, I just did.

I made it a goal this year, kind of a New Year’s resolution, to pay more attention to news. After all, being a journalism major essentially requires you to be in touch with what is going on in the world.

For the most part, I think I have done a good job. I will remember articles that I have read, videos I have watched and the like during everyday conversation with folks. But it dawned upon me last week that I was not in touch with the news that should matter most to me: The news of my friends and family.

It was not until last week when I realized the “media” aspect of social media. I realized I had been going about facebook all wrong. When I was young and stupid (i.e. two weeks ago), I despised the idea of facebook because I did not want “everybody” knowing so much about me. I did not want my information easily accessible on the Internet, despite having nothing to hide, mind you.

Then I realized that American journalists have fought for transparency since the origination of this country. What I was doing by removing myself from public view was eliminating transparency.

As journalists, we are the representatives of the public and we, therefore, become public figures in doing so. That realization made me go back to facebook.

Does this mean I am going to post everything I do on the Internet? Not in a million years. Even public figures need privacy. But I see this return to mainstream society as a way to reconnect with the people closest to me and the content they produce.

This brand of news is that on which I should be educated the most.

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Ohio v. Buffalo, Part II: My Nose is Still Running

Remember yesterday when I gushed about the joys of covering baseball at Bob Wren Stadium at Ohio University? All of that goes away when it’s 45 degrees outside and you have to pee the whole time but are too embarrassed to ask where the bathroom is.

After Ohio handled Buffalo Saturday, I realized that I have a conditional love for covering baseball.

I do realize also that this is just part of the reason I love what I do, the unpredictability. It’s difficult to think that one day I could perhaps be paid to watch sports. Like Dick Vitale says, “It’s like stealing money.”

To robbery,

–BP

Election 2012: Voting Strategy

In an election report by Peter Alexander on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Alexander noted that Mitt Romney attacked President Obama 12 times by name in a matter of 18 minutes during a campaign speech.

Here lies one of the problems with the upcoming election and many of the past few elections. Attacking the opponent tells the voters nothing about the candidate. All voters hear is what the other person did or did not do rather than what the candidate did, is doing and will do.

James Madison warned against an uneducated public from his early days in Washington. With candidates taking shots back and forth, focusing on the failures of their opponents, what is left with the voters? Rather than knowing and understanding the successes and achievements of the candidates, voters are left scratching their heads at the candidates’ failures.

Voters are left to decide on which candidate they dislike the least rather than who they can relate to the most. Candidates are playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

Another issue is the perpetuation of the two-party system. Again, relating back to history, George Washington warned that the two-party system would be the ruin of American government.

Tying into the uneducated public, people are voting simply for an “R” or a “D” instead of the candidate to whom they best relate. There isn’t an election report to be found that does not begin with the word “republican” or “democrat” in the first five words outside the reporter’s introduction. As long as political parties are shoved down peoples’ throats, the United States will not have a true democracy. People don’t vote for what or who they agree with, but for the party with which they identify.

Americans will see current problems continue if they do not know who or what they are voting for. It takes an educated public with a filter for political parties and their agendas to yield positive election results. Americans being active in their government and understanding how it works will dig the United States out of this hole. An educated and unbiased public will prevail.

I haven’t jumped on the political train since high school. I wrote about politics for my school paper, but entered a state of political apathy for the past few years.

Now, in an election year, I have decided to take initiative and become more involved in government. I want to know what’s going on. I haven’t voted once since I earned the right and that’s a shame.

Therefore, I’m developing this new political strategy, as you just read, that ties back to some of my favorite tenants of American government that I learned in my AP US History class senior year. I’m going to get involved.

People want to say that they don’t have a voice in American government. Turns out we do, but we’re just not using it right. Let’s change that together.

Peace be with you,

–BP

That Ohio Weather

Meteorologists must be losing their minds right now. At the very least, those in the midwest must be a bit confused.

Yesterday, as many celebrated Leap Day – how one goes about doing so, I do not know – people were treated to warm temperatures. Thermometers swelled to nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit in Athens while thunderstorms moved across the Southeast Ohio region.

The forecast calls for snow Sunday with temperatures on Sunday and Monday barely creeping out of the 30s.

Yes, weather has a tendency to fluctuate often in the midwest. This brand of fluctuation, however, is an entirely new beast. Walking between classes in a college town like Athens come with the soundtrack of happy students discussing how nice the warm temperatures are on days like Wednesday. Who can blame them? 70s in February comes around once in a blue moon.

But then when the temperature drops the next day and its back to wearing coats, parkas, gloves and scarves, out come the complaints. It’s almost a given that someone will see his or her Twitter timeline sprinkled with a few statements about “that Ohio weather.”

“Only in Ohio,” say countless self-proclaimed geniuses across the Twitterverse. Despite popular sentiment, it is not just Ohio that deals with dramatic changes in weather. Ohio isn’t a bone stuck in the heart slot in Mother Nature’s giant game of Operation causing her to unleash her wrath on Ohio.

There is no debate, warm weather is nice and cold weather is a pain. That won’t change any time soon, but the rants and raves should come to an end.

People won’t be so happy with 70-degree temperatures in March when it’s 110 every day this summer. Plants will grow back too soon, thinking it’s spring, only to end up being choked when a cold spell hits the region. Thus, food supplies will shrink as crops are killed by spurts of freezing temperatures and prices will rise…and people will complain.

Doing the math, people will be  complaining as a result of something they cheered for months earlier. Seems backward. Then again, so does “that Ohio weather.”

Here we are, one day into my challenge and I didn’t write yesterday. Woof. You know what that means: two posts today. It’s on. Be on the lookout later today.

Peace be with you,

–BP

Our Girls

Our Girls

The US women celebrate after a goal against France. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Unity is something I love about sports. Not just the unity of the players and coaches, but the unity of the fans as well.

Watching the United States women chase the World Cup was truly amazing. I don’t claim to have followed our girls religiously in their quest for World Cup glory and I don’t think many others can say it either.

To be honest, I didn’t start following until I saw numerous angry tweets from soccer fans on my timeline after the United States were called for encroachment on a penalty kick against Brazil.

I knew the Women’s World Cup was going on, but it wasn’t until then that I tuned in. But like what I would hope is the majority of Americans I was hooked.

What the United States women gave to us was a place to come together. With all of the divisions in the United States whether political, religious or whatever it may be, we could all rally in support of our girls, the United States Women’s National Team.

The historic run put on by the team most likely won’t spike the popularity of soccer in America for more than a few months (as per the usual with soccer in America). But what it will do is it will give us something to remember, much like the men’s team in 2010.

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach celebrates after her goal against Brazil. (Martin Rose/Getty Images Europe)

Even though our girls didn’t bring home the cup we’ll remember those great moments: Abby Wambach’s game-tying header in the dying moments of extra time against Brazil, the perfect passing of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan scoring her first World Cup goal, and so on.

We’ll remember those moments just like we remember Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria and Brandi Chastain’s winning penalty kick.

For me, I’ll remember watching the last three games with my mom and cheering at the top of our lungs with each American goal.

We’ll remember those little moments of unity where we were all on the same team: the United States of America.