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Facebook Sent Users' PRIVATE (and Sexy) messages to Random People

Posted by JD on Friday, February 26, 2010 , under , | comments (0)

My relationship with Facebook is sort of like my relationship with cable. I don't want it, don't use it all that often, but I have it because, well, everyone else does. I don't have many good things to say about facebook at this point--funny because 2 years ago I loved it. But now, I don't know how to use a lot of features (I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to see ALL the updates from people I'm friends with), and I live in fear that Facebook will make yet another huge privacy change or update while I'm not paying attention.

One of my goals this week is to scrub my account of all pictures and status updates before making a final decision about whether or not to delete it. It was really at the prodding of others that I signed my blog up for a 'fan' page...which I actually do see as useful, except for I hate the word 'fan' and the lack of control I have over certain page components.

FB has made a number of missteps over the past year, in particular with regard to user privacy. While perusing these here innanets, I ran across yet another Facebook privacy fail. For a few hours on one night, Facebook sent the private messages of some of its users to unintended recipients. Can you imagine? We all know the "interesting" conversations that take place behind the scenes in social media inboxes from twitter direct messages to Myspace mail, we've all sent things we'd rather not have anyone else see outside of the intended target.

In this case, one of the receivers of 128 private messages not meant for his eyes, happened to work for the Wall Street Journal. I have a feeling if not for these messages going to a reporter, we would have never known about this glitch--a glitch that FB has yet to explain.

Worried About the Wrong Thing: Tavis Smiley/Al Sharpton Edition

Posted by JD on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 , under | comments (9)

If you haven't heard, Tavis Smiley and Al Sharpton got into a bit of a tiff yesterday. Smiley appeared on the Tom Joyner Morning Show yesterday morning and gave a convoluted monologue in which he accused Sharpton, among other prominent blacks, of saying that President Obama doesn't need a black agenda. Smiley is part of a growing cadre of black pundits who seem to believe Obama is getting a pass on racial issues. [I don't have even 1/3 of the energy it would take to explain how it is inherently impossible for Obama to receive such a pass, but I digress...]

Sharpton got wind of Smiley's comments and had Smiley call into his own show to discuss. Sharpton wasted no time berating Smiley for misportraying comments that he and other popularly quoted activists have made.

The sticking point was a quote that appeared in the NY Times in which Sharpton was quoted as saying that President Obama is "smart not to ballyhoo a black agenda." Smiley isn't convincing me when he says that he interpreted the quote to mean that Sharpton doesn't believe Obama should promote a black agenda. I think it's pretty clear that Sharpton was encouraging President Obama to be savvy in his approach to any sort of black agenda--not to eliminate it entirely.

Whatever the case, here is the latest example of public figures arguing about the wrong thing. I have no idea what Smiley or Sharpton mean when they say "black agenda," but I do know this: Black activists and thinkers aren't giving President Obama much to work with in terms of specific policy recommendations and regulatory suggestions. What I see is our most prominent black leadership writing books, organizing shows, and pursuing punditry. In other words, there is a push to promote thought rather policy.

Unfortunately, very few blacks are pursuing opportunities at think tanks, nor are they conducting research nor are they pursuing lobbying careers or even careers in program management for the Federal government. So many are focused on writing books and speaking on panels. Unfortunately, even most of the books that are written by black political 'thinkers' today are OBSERVATIONAL not research-based. Much of black discussion is centered around and promoted by academics, a circle that is largely inbred, lacking true political relationships, and decidedly more liberal than the rest of the black community. Out of touch is one way I would describe the circle of black thinkers who have become most popular in the blogging and punditry world.

At some point someone has got to do the dirty work of assisting the President in pushing through a political agenda that benefits black people and I'm sorry to report that blogging, writing books, attending conferences, and giving speeches simply isn't enough to get things done. Someone has got to write legislative texts, comment on proposed regulations, and actually perform the research that lawmakers and lobbyists use to justify positions. We have too many Michael Eric Dysons and not enough Robert Drummers.

Certainly, there should be people who lead the discussion of what the big picture of a 'black agenda' might look like, but what happens when everyone is discussing and no one is acting?
If President Obama has ideas in mind that he believes should be implemented that are specific to issues that disproportionately impact black people, he still can't move on them without catalysts and people to execute those plans. So while Smiley and Sharpton focus on their radio and TV shows and panels, I wonder who will actually do the work they both seem to believe should be done. Work that is behind the scenes and devoid of the publicity so many seem to crave.

A Glimpse Into My ADD Mind...Keys, Purses, Confusion

Posted by JD on Sunday, February 21, 2010 , under , | comments (6)

Inside my head:

"Where did I put my keys...oh I know on the coat hook, I've been pretty good about putting them there." *goes to coat hook* "Shit! Not there. Hmm. Oh yeah, they're probably in my purse...I remember thinking that keys should probably be kept in my purse since I never have my keys without my purse. Well, unless I go running...or a quick run to the store...maybe putting them in my purse isn't such a good idea especially since I change purses almost everyday...

I should probably put them on my lanyard. But then again I don't take my lanyard to work. I guess I could start though? I could probably make a couple extra sets of keys, put one on the coat hook, one on the lanyard, and one in my purse. I should write that down before I forget. I need a piece of paper. Oh no no no. I'll put it in my phone! Well...I've been trying to keep a paper calendar since it's more visual than the phone so yeah I'll put it there...but then again I can set alerts in my blackberry.

Hmm maybe I'll write it in my calendar AND my phone. Good idea. Double backup. Where's my calendar. Shit! It's at work. I'll put it in my phone now with a reminder to write it in my calendar when I get to work. Okay, where's my phone? Probably in my purse from yesterday. Which purse did I carry yesterday? I don't remember. Shit. I wonder what I wore yesterday. That's so weird. I don't remember what I wore haahah Oh well..." *checks nearest purse*

"Damn. Not there. oh god, I'm gonna be late for work" *runs upstairs and searches frantically for phone, runs back downstairs* Ugh! WHERE THE FUCK IS MY PHONE. *gets angry...hears it ringing...gets happy... and runs back upstairs, finds phone behind bed* "Ah! Here it is!" *looks at the time* "Oh god! I've gotta get out of here. *runs back downstairs* "okay, time to go. Shoot, I forgot my lunch. I wonder if I even have time to grab it." *paralyzed in thought* "I don't know...I guess I could buy something at work. But then again, I'm trying to eat healthier. *still standing still thinking...5 minutes passes* hmm, maybe I'll just grab a protein shake. Dammit, I forgot to make it last night. Okay, let me get out of here." *grabs purse and laptop goes to the door* "Oh Shit! Where are my keys?"