I am not a celebrity. I am not an athlete. I do not have a million followers. More people don’t care about what I tweet than do care. I do what I have always done. I tweet content that interests me. I argue with people. I get blocked by people. I block people. While there is a slight slant to legal issues and sports, my content is pretty much all over the board. Nothing out of the ordinary in a day of the life of someone active on Twitter. I was impersonated once with a bogus account but Twitter took care of that quickly. Never happened again. So how did I get that “coveted” blue check-mark that in reality wont even get you a free cup of coffee at Starbucks or a free Footlong from Subway that is really eleven inches?
About 4 months ago, I started getting Direct Messages(DM’s) from “Verified Accounts. It told me to click on a link. That link took me to a page that told me that if I answered a few basic questions about Twitter and gave a phone number I would be verified. My reaction? YEA RIGHT! SCAM! I thought it was a scam to get my cell phone number and start bombarding me with ” Big Butt Suzie” XXX porn texts. I got these DM’s for a couple weeks. I deleted them. I went about my business tweeting, blocking and arguing.
About a month after that, I logged into the Twitter web-based application. This time there was a banner from Twitter seamlessly integrated into my web browser again asking me if I wanted to get verified. This looked legit. I decided to go for it. This time I did not have to answer any basic questions about how to use Twitter. It simply asked for my phone number. I entered it and the coveted blue check-mark appeared on my account. I was “verified”. Why did they choose me? I don’t have a freaking clue. What does that mean? In reality, not much at all. My followers did not increase 10-fold. No interview requests from major media outlets based on my new status. My hemorrhoids did not go away. I was the same old guy. Tweeting, arguing, blocking, getting blocked and being a general douche at times when people annoy me.
So how do you get verified? I will leave it to the self-appointed social media gurus, mavens and rock-stars to outline all the gyrations and useless social media “techniques” that will help you increase your chances of that happening. I am here to tell you that in the end, except for some specific impersonation issues, it doesn’t mean squat.
Have a nice day!
A story played out all too often.
Night out on the town. We’re partying down. Too much to drink. No condition to think. I grab hold of the wheel. Behind 2 tons of steel. Lives ended and ruined. I’m under arrest. My friend’s in the morgue. I thought I knew best. -Brian Cuban ©2012
I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Sober since April 8, 2007.
When I was a child in the early 70′s bullying as a social phenomenon did not exist. Bullying was brick and mortar. The kid who stole your lunch money every week. The kids who repetitively made fun of your weight, physical handicap, racial or ethnic uniqueness. I have been bullied and have been the bully in an attempt to compensate for my shortcomings. I was bullied relentlessly over my weight. Words repeated do hurt and can inflict permanent damage. As a child and teen I had no real ability to reason through it. It caused significant psychological issues in my later life that I am still dealing with. Children are bullied every day. They need protection. They need to learn the tools to cope and “fight back” in acceptable ways when it happens.
What about adults? Can they be bullied? The short answer is yes. Even an adult can be in a position of unequal power that forces him/her to endure repetitive taunts whether its in the workplace, a relationship etc. The bully is still easy to spot. Unlike children however, adults generally have the gift of advanced reason and knowledge of options to deal with it.
With the advent of social media “bullying” has taken on a whole new meaning. People who say ugly things are now hidden behind Facebook pages and Twitter eggs. Hurtful insults are slung with a keystroke. It’s much easier and repetitive than stealing lunch money. Because of the ease of the repetitive keystroke, bullying has now taken on the broad based social media meaning of whatever hurts our feelings. Everyone becomes a “bully” when they say something unpleasant. This new concept of bullying irritates me. It irritates me because it diminishes and dismisses the true nature of bullying and those who truly need protection, our children. It also teaches our children that every stick and stone is bullying. This is simply not true and sends the wrong message.
The most recent example is Jennifer Lawrence, the Wisconsin news anchor who used her newscast as a platform to call someone a “bully”. A viewer sent her an email implying that she was too fat to be a news anchor and was setting a bad example for a children. Ridiculous? Yes. We are all more than our physical appearance. Hurtful? Sure. Even an adult and public figure does not like to be insulted. We are all human. If Jennifer wants to use her newsroom as a platform to call him out that’s her right. Is this guy a “bully” in the classic sense? NO! He’s an insensitive jerk. Not every insensitive jerk in the world is a “bully”
If Jennifer feels she was “bullied” that’s fine. We are all different and have different tolerance levels for assholes. However, for her to use her hurt feelings as a platform to teach our children that every perceived one time insult and hurt feeling they may experience in life is “bullying” was a mistake. She did them no favors. Children need to be taught the true nature of bullying and how it differs from the nature of some people to simply be jerks. It’s about power. It’s about repetitive conduct. It’s about intellect and mental resources to respond. It’s not about one adult telling another adult he/she is fat. As a society we need to step back and re-focus on the true nature of bullying and quit publicly defining it as anything that hurts our feelings
I am disappointed in the brutal sanctions leveled by the NCAA today. Disappointed in the sense that so many lives have been irreversibly affected for the worse. There are only losers. Losing is of course relative. We almost surely lose high level football. We lose lots of money. We lose wins. We lose scholarships. The most important thing we have lost however, is focus on what’s truly important at an esteemed institution of higher learning. Regardless of how bad it seems now, the things we have lost are transitory elements of life. They are replaceable. The passage of time will solve that problem. The victims of Jerry Sandusky lost so much more and it’s permanent. Penn State will one day have winning football again. Sandusky’s victims will never get their childhood back.
To the victims of Jerry Sandusky I have this to say. I apologize for the actions and inaction of those at my school who let you down. I hope for your continued healing in whatever form that takes for you. I wish you peace in life.
To those who have not yet answered for their part in this. I hope that justice is fair and swift.
To the Paterno family. I am sorry for your pain and anger. You have gone through loss of someone you love. That person is now under attack in every corner of the world while you continue to grieve. I understand. I’m not sure I could stay quiet under such circumstances. You are entitled to grieve for your loss and heal. That its difficult under fire. I hope however, that you will soon realize that if you want Penn State to be able to heal as a community(and I think you do) you are not helping the process by publicly defending reputation at such raw, emotional time for all affected. There may someday be a time and place for that but this isn’t it.
To Penn State the Board Of Trustees. I hope you will shut up. You represent all of Penn State, not just your personal agenda. There are legitimate issues of accountability in how this went down but when you bitch publicly about sanctions, it’s ill advised and you are not representing me. Please think before you speak. Once again, time and place.
After all of this, how can I still be Penn State proud? I have my degree right here. I am proud of it. I am proud of the professors who gave me a great education and prepared me to enter law school. I am proud of Penn Sate for hiring such great teachers. I am proud of the countless positive contribution Penn State makes to the world and the lives it has changed for the better that never had one thing to do with football. Because I know you still do these things, I am hopeful for the future. I am still Penn State Proud.
Brian Cuban ’83 Administration Of Justice