The 5 people who un/follow you on Social Media: er… part 1

I’ve been making a study of this thing you humans call ‘social media’.

Ha!

Got you thinking I’d gone all Mr Spock there for a moment…

No.

That’s not it at all, obviously.

But I have been spending time on Ye Olde Sociale Media… e

Anti-social media, more like.

I’ve stuck the part 1 bit on there, because I know what’ll happen. I’ll get started and before long the post will be so lengthy your grandchildren will have to finish off reading it.

As it’s coming up to the time of year that I usually head for un-sunnier climes, I’ve been spending more time on the internet. All these platforms (that is the right word, yes?) are great ways of self-advertising, screaming out for attention and generally alienating the rest of the world.

I’ve read that they’re actually great tools for communication, sharing and building a brand, but frankly, I’ve seen more of my definition. I’m sure the general intent is probably meant to be more in line with the official stand, though.

Anyway, I’ve been watching and learning, and definite patterns emerge very quickly. And you know how I love my patterns. And my bright colours. And shiny things. Don’t forget the shiny things.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I guess we’ve all had moments where we’re feeling a bit low, vulnerable, and what doesn’t help is you’ve put so much energy in building an online following, only to check it and find your numbers have plummeted. So, this is to let you know you’re not alone in that feeling of disappointment. There’s a lot of others out there who know exactly what you’re dealing with. Because it can actually affect you humans more than you realise.

So… those five.

Well, there’s more, but these few will do for now. So let’s get started.

  1. Follow for follow

I’ve seen any number of these. Like the flu, they seem to come in waves, subtly changing with each fresh batch.

And by subtle, I mean as subtle as a smack in the face with a wet cod. Because that’s the level we’re at now, since everyone has routinely started uploading their every sneeze for all the world to see. But you have to admire their tenacity.

The tagline is always the same – follow me and I’ll follow you back. Here, here’s a list of 30,000 people to follow. And they’ll all follow you back.

Er… No they won’t.

Dude (is that still a word?), you’re following about 60,000 people! Are you really saying that you went to that entire list to find me just so you could unfollow me?! I guess I should be touched.

It’s more annoying when you only followed them back out of politeness. Because oh yes, I actually do have a deep and abiding interest in a company that manufactures those funny angled staples that hold cardboard boxes together. Where have you been all my life?!

You have about ten minutes to like/follow them back. But don’t worry if you can’t – they’ll be gone within a few hours anyway.

I heard someone once say that a following on social media is like your weight when you’re middle-aged – tending to fluctuate.

Oh, if only.

I’d say it’s more like an investment – ‘the value of your investment may go down as well as up.’

Usually down.

So, let’s say, a following is more like the sea when the tide is changing. There. Poetic, and it works both ways.

May your tide be always be coming in…

*********************************************

Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire

You know you want to.

And while you’re at it, check out @PictPublishing

www.pictpublishing.com

 

 

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Drat!

It happened again, didn’t it?

Not only did I lose all track of time, but I said that last time I would write something about the internet, but I didn’t.

Not only do vampires have an absolutely rubbish sense of timing, but we (I say ‘we’, but…) also get distracted horribly easily.

What distracted me?

Well, not surprisingly, it was something shiny. I’m telling you, if anyone ever drops a pin or the back of an earring, I’m your vamp. I’m also great at spotting bits of foil, coins, suspicious wet patches on the pavement… The list goes on…

There was this one time when I was living in London and I went to a twmpath. It’s essentially a Welsh barn dance. Okay, so there aren’t that many barns in London, but there is a surprisingly large number of Welsh people there.

(Oh – pronunciation… in Welsh, ‘w’ is a vowel. It makes the same sound as ‘oo’ in ‘good’)

So, anyway, at the end of the evening, the person I went with is a friend of the band, so we help them take their gear back to the storage – which just happens to be in a crypt in a graveyard somewhere in the eastest of the East End. There were riots going on at the time, so we got an impromptu police escort to the church.

We drop everything off. We head back to Leicester Square (why, I have no idea), and from there, watch the sun rise over Taco Bell…

At which point, the guitarist starts complaining about his eyesight being fuzzy.

Cue jokes about putting more water in it, being emotionally affected by the sight of a sunrise etc.

I’m fine with sunrises, by the way. As long as the light isn’t too bright. I just have to be asleep before the sun comes up because after that, there’s no chance. I just have to wait it out till the following day.

And as soon as someone cracks a joke about ‘something in your eye?’ that’s when he realises… No, there isn’t something in his eye – but there should be!

He’s only gone and lost a contact lens, hasn’t he?

Now, in those days, they cost a fortune. None of this daily disposable thing. They were the equivalent of designer bespoke tailoring for your eyeballs.

Everyone looks around the immediate area.

Nothing.

Bad luck, mate.

You’ll have to be more careful in future.

Why don’t you just wear glasses?

So we all peel away and return to our various abodes. Most to sleep like the dead; me to, well… stay awake until the next sleep window comes around.

Then that brain worm starts niggling. It niggles me until I admit defeat and grab my coat. I head for the cemetery, which now looks quite different in the (rather bright) Sunday morning sunshine.

And no – I know what you’re thinking. Cemeteries are not like a second home for me. That’s a myth. They’re just nice quiet places where a vampire can sit and gather her many (many) thoughts without being distracted / pestered / annoyed by the residents.

So… I walk around a bit. The grass is lovely and wet around my ankles (please let that be dew, I’m thinking). And there it is… twinkling like an errant diamond (or a half-sucked Jelly Tot) in the grass is the missing lens. I managed to find this tiny piece of whatever in an area of over an acre of grass, gravel and tombs.

What was I talking about?

Oh. Yes.

The sun.

It was the sun that distracted me.

Bright, yellow and very, very shiny.

And almost unknown in this part of Wales (or any part, come to think of it)

Here comes summer?

Summer’s here! No it isn’t… Well…

People always joke that you can tell it’s Christmas because Easter eggs are in the shop. Well, we’ve just done with Easter (there are still loads of eggs in the shop, mind you) so, one could be forgiven for thinking that it must be summer now. Is it just me that gets confused by this, or do you humans have a problem with it too?

True, it rains all the time here, so it could very well be summer and nobody has told me. But the rain slamming down on the conservatory roof feels at odds wth the flip flops and picnic paraphernalia I saw half an hour ago in the shops.

The clocks have gone back. The body clock however is having slightly more difficulty adjusting. I’d hate to wake up late one morning and realise that I’d missed summer. It is, after all, the best day of the year. Yes, I know. I don’t like sunshine. It hates me back. But a summer’s day is delightful, if confusing in the wardrobe department.

Sunhat and wellies?

Scarf and sandals?

Waders and sunglasses?

Oh, the combinations are endless.

The furball continues to take me on long walks (she’s currently mapping the local area in her little doggy brain, and enjoys knitting places together in the oddest combinations). She also continues to try to drag me into the sea after her. And all the while, she still refuses to stick her nose out of the door if it’s raining. Consequently, she’s in the conservatory, surveying her kingdom from the warm, dry safety of her sofa. And while she’s out there doing her ‘Mistress-of-all-she-surveys’ routine, it’ll hopefully give me the opportunity to squeeze in some yoga without her

a) giving me an impromptu face wash

b) mistaking my ‘downward dog’ for me wanting to play with her (that often ends up with a rope toy swung into my face)

c) showing me up with how weirdly bendy she is

Our earlier walk was, surprise surprise, on the beach, which this past week has been increasingly populated by tourists with their free-range mutts. Next week, she’s got a shock in store. I’m starting running again. And she’s coming with me.

Ah! I know what the giveaway thing is. I’ve remembered why I keep thinking summer might be on its way.

Endless holiday adverts and people bashing on about being “beach body ready”

Huh?

The beach is ten minutes down the road.

I have a body.

Boom.

Job done.

Oh! You mean the body has got to be perfect?

And by that, you mean so skinny that I could snap in half if caught in a high wind?

Well, that’s going to take a bit longer.

Because I refuse to be told what to look like.

Because even if I did, the vox populi (which thanks heavens, is not vox dei) would still find something to binch about.

Because I prefer to be strong than skinny.

And because, in order to fulfil this impossible and fake ideal, I’d probably have to give up chocolate.

And I’m no quitter.

 

There’s no business…

…like snow business.

First of all, I hope everyone is keeping well and warm. I don’t have a problem with the cold weather. One of the advantages of my vampire metabolism. I don’t feel the cold the same way that you do.

I have to admit, the only problem I do have is that when I’m writing, my hands have a tendency to get a bit chilly, but that’s about it. I think they move so fast over the keyboard that the blood gets confused and doesn’t know where it’s supposed to be… Still, it’s a great excuse to have lots of hot drinks.

Here’s my current favourite: turmeric latte. Get your spices mixed… 3 parts turmeric, 2 parts cinnamon and 1 part each nutmeg & ginger. Throw in a pinch of finely ground black pepper (helps absorption). Keep it in a cute jar. Heat up a mug of milk, stir in 1/2 teaspoon and sweeten. All those lovely spices will warm you up and just taste downright naughty. Obviously, I use non-dairy milk (coconut works best with this), because, well, vampire metabolism… Can’t touch most animal-based stuff. Ironic really.

The furbaby is refusing to leave the house. While other people are posting photos and videos online of their doggies leaping around like joyful loons in the snow, mine has turned into a teenager.

She’s staring at me, sandwiched between two (yes, two!) duvets.

“You need to go outside.”

Silence.

“Food?”

Flicker of interest.

“Walk?”

Death stare.

Last night, just after midnight, she leapt up and decided she had to go out. Now. Right now. Now! Come on, hoomin!

You have got to be kidding me, pup.

So she darted out, neatly dodging the knee-high drift at the back door. She hared around, did what she needed to do, and threw herself back inside, in much the same style as a stunt man in an action movie.

And, pretty much like a stunt man, she decided to make use of available props…

Like the snow drift.

Cue internal explosion of snow. A wall of cold froth boomed its way into the conservatory (the same one she’d been sunning herself in only a couple of days previously).

Result? Snow on the floor. Snow on the walls, the windows, the ceiling (what the-?!), and one snow-coated vampire. Head to foot.

So while she thunders her way back upstairs (probably nicking my space in the bed), I’m stood there picking potential snowballs out of my ears, mouth, nose…

We’ve gone from action movie to comedy in ten seconds flat.

Thanks.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And if you can help anyone else to, please do.

Take care.

Re:Fuel

Serious post time.

Bullying.

Harassment.

Call it what you will. It takes many forms. I’ve been reading up on all this a lot recently – surprise, surprise and while there’s a lot of stuff out there on bullying, it’s still mostly school-oriented. I observe it everywhere. I may be a recluse, but I still like to sneak out and people-watch. The problem is, it doesn’t stop when you leave school. There is no age limitation on being a bully. Or on being bullied. There is still very little is about bullying in the workplace or within families – even with recent events. ‘Straightforward’ harassment / abuse, yes, but not much else.

So, what have I gleaned from my research and my own observations? It’s like that story of the three people in the dark room with an elephant… One feels the leg, thinks it’s a tree. One feels the trunk, thinks it’s a snake (he may have been the one who ran screaming to find the light switch), while one feels the tail and thinks it’s a rope.

I’ve realised that all these little snippets of information form a cycle. I suppose it’s also relevant to continued bullying in general. All of these little snippets feel like platitudes until you link them all up…

1) You’re kind/pleasant to the bully.

2) The bully mistakes this for weakness.

3) The bully tries to control you (and hopefully fails).

4) The bully realises they can’t (hopefully).

5) Then follows abuse, lies, misrepresentation, manipulation of how others see you.

6) There’s a break.

7) Reconciliation of some sort.

8/1) You’re kind/pleasant to the bully.

AND OFF WE GO AGAIN

And that’s only if you’re lucky. Sometimes the process ‘succeeds’ (for the bully) at step 3). Usually the target cracks at that step. If they’re lucky /strong / have support, the targeted person may get to step 4). If you don’t have support, then please, please, please find some.

The difference being that hopefully the bullied person learns and either stops the cycle at 6) or changes themselves before they re-enter the fray because, let’s face it, the bully will never learn. They’ve been way too successful for way too long to stop using a winning formula. Plus, if an outsider calls them out on their behaviour, all it takes is a few crocodile tears and they’re safe again.

Sadly, for my own part, I realise that most of the major changes in my life have come about as a result of being bullied… Leaving my home country (twice), becoming a first-time homebuyer, leaving a profession (the same one – twice)…

And why does it keep happening? Because of step 1). Does that mean we take it out of the equation? No. Let’s face it – bullies won’t change. I mean, why would they? They’ve got a winning formula.

So…

You say to yourself…

If the bully/harasser isn’t going to change what they are or what they do, then I’m not going to change what I am (let’s face it, I personally wouldn’t be able to). But I do need to change what I do.

So stop the process at 6). Don’t go to 7). Let them try doing a little of 1) for a change. But it’s quite safe, because we all know they won’t. They won’t ‘lower’ themselves to ‘your level’. They’re too proud / powerful. They have too many people already in their pocket to make it worthwhile. And you can always tell who those people are – they’re the ones who say things like:

“Surely it’s not as bad as that?”

“I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”

“I think you’re overreacting.”

“Well, you’re not exactly perfect, you know.”

“Ignore them, they’ll soon get bored.”

“Well, I’ve never found X to be like that at all.”

“Some christian you are. Aren’t you supposed to forgive /l ove everyone / turn the other cheek?”

“It takes two to tango.”

But, whatever you do…

DON’T STAY SILENT.

Does it take guts? Undoubtedly.

But is it possible? Heck, yeah.

Confessions of a fur-mama

 

Be warned, there’s something in here that may be genuinely distressing to anyone with even half a heart. Doubly so if you love dogs. But there’s also some funny things too, so, it’s all good. Read on.

So, we’ve had our rescue fur-baby a couple of months now. We’re still trying to untangle that mangled little mess that lives inside her head. We don’t know much about her. We know she’s an older dog. We know someone has been nice to her at some point. We also know that someone (or someones) hasn’t.

How?

Sadly, by her physical scars. And, even more sadly, by the psychological scars that little by little, she’s allowing us to see.

One example.

A training clicker.

The sound terrified her the first (and only) time we tried to use one. We were mystified. My hyper-perceptive vampiric sleuthiness (it’s a thing) was stumped. And then the penny dropped some time later. The sound is identical to a cigarette lighter. Now put that together with some of her smaller scars and…

Well…

If I ever meet the ones who did that to such a gentle, loving animal (or any animal), then my ‘no-biting-humansrule may become more of a guideline.

But in the meantime…

She’s sprawled out on her favourite (for she has many) fleecy throw, snoring and farting away to her little heart’s content. She’s still in that ‘can’t-quite-believe-it’s-real’ phase and gets really panicky if she does something wrong. Our hugs and reassurance still puzzle her.

We are now dealing with some separation anxiety issues. Which, to me, is a good thing. It means that’s she’s now attached to us. It means she trusts us (as does the sitting on my foot with her back to me). But she’s getting over them. She knows we’re definitely Team Fur-baby now.

We’ve learned this about her:

  • She hates puddles and getting wet
  • She already knows ‘high-five’, ‘shake hands’, ‘roll over’ and – bizarrely- how to cross the road safely (!)
  • She learns very quickly
  • She pulls like a train and loves her rope toys (if you have a dislocated shoulder, she could easily reset it for you. However, if there’s someone you don’t like and wish they had a dislocated shoulder, it wouldn’t work. She’d just call 999/911. She’s about bright enough to.)
  • She can be hyper focused, but also easily distracted (ha! she takes after me!)
  • She’s obsessed with food. Especially chicken (nope. Not me. Well, the chicken part.)
  • Even more than being given food, she loves finding it herself.

ME: I’m just going out, Pup, I’ll be gone ten minutes.

DOG: No! Pleeeeeease! Don’t go!

And then, when faced with a puzzle ball containing treats…

ME: I’m just going out, Pup, I’ll be gone ten minutes.

DOG: (30 minutes later) Nom-nom-nom. Did somebody say something? Nom-nom-nom.

She’s also very communicative. She lets you know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And doesn’t want!

Do parents of small human children have this problem?

DOG: I wanna go out for a walk.

ME: Okay, let’s get your harness and lead and everything on and you can go out.

DOG: Don’t wanna.

ME: Then you can’t go out for walk.

Five minutes later…

DOG: I wanna go out for a walk.

ME: Then we’re putting your lead and everything on.

DOG: Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.

ME: You know the rules.

DOG: (grumbling) Pfft. Ohhh, alright then.

Gets harness and everything on (with much muttering on her part).

DOG: Don’t wanna go now. Spoilt my fun.

ME: Oh, we are going now!

10 minutes later…

DOG: Woweeee! This is the best day ever!

And nearly an hour later, after lots of (shall we say) negotiation as to route, we get back. I’ve enjoyed the fresh air. She’s enjoyed the stretching-her-legs.  And the sniffing. There’s always lots of sniffing. Grass verges are like Facebook for dogs. “Hmm. Nice post. Just leaving a comment…” We’ve both enjoyed the exercise. She is nicely worn out.

So what does she do next?

Run around the house like a thing possessed and then charges out like a mad fool into the garden.

Surely she can’t still have some reserves of energy in that little furry body? Have I not walked her enough?

Nope.

She is simply running out to survey her kingdom. For she is… Wonder Pooch! There she stands: ears up, tail up, right paw up, in full-on protection / surveillance mode. Have there been any threats to the kingdom in her absence? Any pretenders to her throne? Any evil crows, seagulls or (heaven forbid!) cats with a wicked design to overthrow her benevolent rule? Are there any individuals (regardless of number of legs) who have dared trespass upon her property to upset those under her kindly protection?

Nope.

Okay, all good.

And she trots back into the house again.

She plonks herself in front of the fire and gets back to one of her favourite jobs – destroying her rope toy.

All’s well with the world. I have protected you another day, my beloved hoomans. Chomp chomp chomp.