Stop Using Facebook as a Weapon

Do you remember the three essential rules of keeping a mogwai from the eighties movie Gremlins?

1. Do not expose the mogwai to bright lights or sunlight
2. Do not let it get wet
3. Never feed it after midnight

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that young Billy didn’t quite stick to the rules and so all sorts of nasty things happened. More and more ‘gremlins’ spawned and set about causing havoc. Some people were killed, many others injured and it took a massive effort from Billy and his friends to bring order back to the town of Kingston Falls.

Do you remember the golden rule from the early days of the internet (which is just as relevant today)?

Don’t feed the trolls

Unfortunately the trolls have been eating very well and have continued to spawn and cause havoc. Where are Billy and his friends when you need them?

In Internet slang, a troll (/?tro?l/, /?tr?l/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement. – Wiki

Unfortunately a lot of people seem to be infected with a little bit of ‘troll’.

I see it on social media platforms like Facebook every day. People say things in the public space of the internet that they wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face.

Why is it that we mostly follow mum’s advice to ‘mind your manners’ when we’re with other people yet completely lose all sense of respect for others when we’re online? Why do we feel that we can take the role of judge, jury and executioner when we’re in front of a keyboard or phone screen? How do we think it’s alright to be so Jekyll and Hyde?

We’ve got to stop using Facebook as a weapon.

Before you post a reply to something you’ve seen online, stop and recognise that real people are involved. Real people will read what you write and may suffer real hurt.

It’s OK to disagree with someone. I’m not advocating that we all be saccharin sweet when we have a different point of view but we don’t need an AK-47 to kill a fly. Where’s the nuance in our conversations? Instead of acting like everyone involved in an online conversation is just a fictitious character, only existing in cyberspace, imagine you’re sitting opposite that person at a cafe and think of how you could help them see your point of view. Consider how you can thoughtfully add to a discussion rather than throwing in a grenade and running.

…. and speaking of cafes ….

Another way many people use Facebook and other social media as a weapon is to mercilessly berate businesses such as cafes. Sometimes it may be appropriate to call out bad service but too many times I see people telling the world about their bad experiences before taking matters up with the business involved. I’ve used email and private messaging to voice disappointment a number of times. I’ve had great results by respectfully and privately taking my gripe to someone who can do something about it.

On the other hand, how many of those who use social media to bludgeon businesses who don’t get it right every time actually drop a compliment or two on the public pages of businesses that exceed their expectations? When was the last time you publicly thanked a business online for being good at what they do?

There’s a better way.

I think we can do disagreement better. I think we can disagree without destroying relationship. We can honour others who hold a different point of view. The internet isn’t a competition to be won by vitriol.

We all get to be agents of change in turning the tide against the nastiness. Let’s all resolve to let grace and kindness flood our use of social media. Let’s decide to look out for opportunities to leave compliments on the Facebook pages of businesses that are doing a great job and to handle our complaints privately.

We’re all ‘grown ups’. Let’s start acting that way and stop using Facebook as a weapon.

(And whether you agree or disagree with what I’ve written, let’s have a robust yet respectful discussion about it in the comments section of this post.)

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Stop Using Facebook as a Weapon? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

Soundtrack of My Life – Almost Threw It All Away

Soundtrack of my Life This is one of a regular series of articles highlighting some of the music that has played a part in my life. You’ll find a range of songs from old to new. Whether it’s the lyrics, the music, a time in my life, or a combination of reasons, the songs in my soundtrack are part of who I am.

If you take a good look you’ll probably find music that has been part of the soundtrack of your life too. You can also check out some of the other songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.

Almost Threw It All Away – Charlie Peacock

I’m not one of those people who generally remembers where I was the first time I heard a song … but this song is different. It was early in my radio career back in the late eighties and the Program Manager at the radio station called a few of us into his office. He had just received a cassette sampler of some new music and there was one song he just had to share.

With all the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning, Barry told us we juts had to listen to this song. He hit the play button and for the next six minutes and eleven seconds … we listened.

I don’t know what was happening for anyone else at that point but for me it was like listening to one of your all time favourite songs. It was instantly part of the soundtrack of my life. How could this song feel so familiar and at the same time be so fresh? How could a song grab me so quickly and make such an impact with just one listen?

Back in the day, we’d get sample cassettes, then at some stage get the CD copy, and then record the song from the CD onto a broadcast cartridge to play on-air. Not with this song. Barry wasn’t going to wait for the CD. This song had to be heard and so the cassette copy was recorded direct to cartridge and it was being broadcast later that day.

I still get a chill when I hear this song.

I was driving to work a few days ago with my iPod set to random shuffle. Almost Threw It All Away started playing and the volume immediately went north. I’m sure that most of the cars around me on the freeway were wondering why the ‘old guy in the blue car’ was playing his music so loud.

I can’t guarantee that this song will grip you in the same way that it still grips me, but I do hope you enjoy it.

I remember when you were just a girl
I was a boy in a big man’s world
We had no idea what time would reveal
Little did we know that
Over a million tears had to fall
That is no exageration
‘Cause I’ve counted them all
Every sad and senseless incident
Has been mine to recall

You never gave up, you never gave in
You didn’t say no…I can’t take anymore of this
You never gave up on me, you never gave in
You refused to believe that love had come to and end

I almost threw it all away
Traded truth for a lie, diamonds for clay
Oh I, almost threw it all away

Through some clever thinking and a strong imagination
I could twist the truth into any configuration
And find myself doing things
That I never dreamed I could do

I’ve known the kind of pain
Where you can’t catch your breath
You sayt if this is life
Then please bring me death
Thank God that that wish I made never ever came true

You never gave up, you never gave in
You didn’t say no…I can’t take anymore of this
You never gave up on me, you never gave in
You refused to believe that love had come to an end

True love doesn’t come and go
Here today then gone tomorrow
Doesn’t speak the wicked word
That breaks the heart in two
Doesn’t renegotiate
What it knows is true
Doesn’t give up, give in, throw it all away

I’d encourage you to get involved too. Let me know about some of the songs that are etched in your mind. What are the tunes that bring back a flood of memories every time their opening notes start cranking out on your stereo? Are there songs you love for their music and others that speak deeply through their lyrics?

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Soundtrack of My Life – Almost Threw It All Away? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

On the Other Side

radiothon-2016

For many years I worked in radio at 98five. For the last three years I’ve been working for Compassion Australia.

Last week I was on the other side of the broadcast desk. After conducting hundreds of interviews during my time in radio, I was instead the one being interviewed when I dropped in to take part in 98five’s annual Radiothon. I was a guest during the breakfast program with Kirste and Morro.

If you want to hear how it all went, just click the play button on the audio player below.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading On the Other Side? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

Road to Bethlehem 2016

manger

It’s just under a month until Christmas and I’m getting ready to journey on the Road to Bethlehem once again.

Travel back in time and take a journey through the streets to Jesus’ birthplace – Bethlehem. See a wise man discovering the prophecy of Jesus’ birth and enjoy the atmosphere of the marketplace. Discover the extravagance of Herod’s palace and the excitement of the shepherds as they are told of Jesus’ birth.

But watch out! Don’t get in the way of the soldiers or you may end up spending the night in prison. Be wary of the perfume salesmen in the marketplace – they won’t take “no” for an answer.

Admission is free, so take some time to enjoy the food available for purchase from the food stalls and the family entertainment in the Welcome Area.

There is plenty to do and see including Camel Rides, a Bouncy Castle, Joseph’s Workshop, Christian Bookshop, Health Assessments and much, much more!

The Road to Bethlehem 2016 will run for three nights, from the 12th to the 14th of December, at Livingston Seventh-day Adventist Church and Community Centre. It’s just opposite Livingston Market Place Shopping Centre in Canning Vale.

Our family visited the annual event for a number of years before I was invited to join the cast. This year I’ll be a wise man (no really, I will) and my son James will be a shepherd.

If you’re tired of all the usual hype at this time of year, come and revisit the true meaning of Christmas.

You can find out more or book a few tickets at the official Road to Bethlehem website.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Road to Bethlehem 2016? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

Soundtrack of my Life – How to Make Gravy

Soundtrack of my Life This is one of a regular series of articles highlighting some of the music that has played a part in my life. You’ll find a range of songs from old to new. Whether it’s the lyrics, the music, a time in my life, or a combination of reasons, the songs in my soundtrack are part of who I am.

If you take a good look you’ll probably find music that has been part of the soundtrack of your life too. You can also check out some of the other songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.

How to Make Gravy – Paul Kelly

We’re less than a month from Christmas and so I’ve added a heap of Christmas music into my iPod playlist. I love all the Christmas classics but Paul Kelly’s How to Make Gravy is something special. It’s a heartfelt song that brings many to tears when they hear it each year.

It’s not your usually cheery Christmas song but I think it touches on the reality of the season for many. It’s not always a happy time. Sometimes it’s a reminder of bad choices and fractured relationships.

How to Make Gravy is a four-track EP by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly and was originally released on 4 November 1996 on White Label Records in Australia. The title track was written by Kelly and earned him a ‘Song of the Year’ nomination at the 1998 Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Music Awards.

It tells the story of a newly imprisoned man writing a letter to his brother, in which the prisoner laments that he will be missing the family’s Christmas celebrations. The same character appears in Kelly’s earlier songs, “To Her Door” (1987) and “Love Never Runs on Time” (1994).

The gravy recipe is genuine – Kelly learnt it from his first father-in-law. It was covered by James Reyne on the 2003 tribute album, Stories of Me: A Songwriter’s Tribute to Paul Kelly and on Reyne’s 2005 acoustic album …And the Horse You Rode in On. It has also been covered by David Miles, From Nowhere, Semicolon, Ghostwriters, Karl Broadie and Lawrence Agar. In September 2010, Kelly titled his memoirs, How to Make Gravy. On 29 September 2012 Kelly performed “How to Make Gravy” and “Leaps and Bounds” at the 2012 AFL Grand Final. – Wiki

I’d encourage you to get involved too. Let me know about some of the songs that are etched in your mind. What are the tunes that bring back a flood of memories every time their opening notes start cranking out on your stereo? Are there songs you love for their music and others that speak deeply through their lyrics? Maybe you can let me know about which Christmas songs bring back great memories for you.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Soundtrack of my Life – How to Make Gravy? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂