Another “F” Stories Reminder and a Few Hints

If you’ve read the “F” Stories, the writers hope you voted for your favorite of the trio HERE. That’s also where you can find links to the stories in case you’ve yet to read them but want to participate in the voting. 

You still have a few days before the “G” Stories go up, but don’t dillydally.

Yes, COVID-19 stuff takes precedence, but  — you know — if you’re bored out of your skull and have lost all sense of taste, perhaps these stories are just what you need to remind you how to identify mediocrity.

Anyway, yesterday I showcased the Common Grackle. Today, a few — very few — photos of other birds.

That’s a female American Cardinal and, again, all these were shot using fairly high ISO values during cloudy days. Hence why a bit noisy and less-than-tack-sharp.

Here’s the male. They always seem to travel in pairs, hence why Melisa and I identify with them; we’re hardly ever apart.

These next four photos are all of the same bird . . . the last one is my favorite.

This will have to be it for now because I’m tired and want to unwind by doing a bit of reading before drifting off.

Oh, wait . . . I forgot the hints. Well, these are hints on how one might go about replacing the missing person-to-person social interactions one is accustomed to with virtual equivalents during the lockdown (and maybe beyond).

1 – Don’t use Twitter or Facebook. Yes, I know, it seems everyone is on them platforms, but trust me on this  . . . they are there for their benefit, not yours. What should you use if not the premier social vehicle for obtaining Fake News and getting worked up about stuff that only matters at the moment?

Edited to Add: A slight adjustment to my advice. Twitter and Facebook can and do have vibrant communities of people sharing common interests, but both platforms are geared toward a different type of communication and discussions than forums or blogs. Meaning, if you find meaningful and valuable interactions on either platform, go for it. I happen to think they are more for people who already know each other, but I could be wrong.

2 – Well, my one and only recommendation are blogs. Now, I know, I have a blog and it may seem like I’m selling myself. Au contraire, mon lectures. Find a blog about something you like and that interests you. And here’s the rest of the hints . . .

2.1 – Edited to Add: forums on sites dedicated to specific interests are an even better avenue for (virtual) social interactions, however many have entry requirements or are pay sites.

2a – Read the “About” pages . . . most people will tell you what they hope to accomplish with their blog. Personally, I stay away from people who are selling stuff, but after that, I look for a few other things. And here’s where using my blog to illustrate what to look for . . .

2c – My blog happens to cover different things. Writing (fiction — stories, flash pieces, and stuff about the craft), writing (opinions — almost anything but usually politics, religion, entertainment, and some current affairs), photography (photos and how-to and travel photography, and equipment). Few people read everything; most will pick and choose; some come for the writing (a few readers), some come for the photos (a few more readers), and some come for my brilliant wit and amazing insight into the human condition ( two, sometimes three readers). However, most blogs are more focused and thus offer a better experience, especially if they cover something you’re interested in.

3a – Look at the comment section of the blog and gauge if you’re seeing a clique or if the comment section is open to all. Also, whether it’s interactive. Some people like to lurk, but that not what you should plan on if you want social interaction. Try leaving a short comment and see what happens. In my case, I typically respond to all comments. But, here’s the thing . . . I respond in kind. Meaning, if the comment is something like “Nice” I’ll answer with “Thank you” and that will be the end of it. If you want more of a conversation, then start one; meaning, leave a longer comment and you’ll get a longer response. For instance, either ask a question or add some information relevant to the particular post.

3b – Don’t ask the person to subscribe to your blog (if you have one). Don’t try to sell anything.

3c – If you want to start slow, leave a “like” and perhaps do so on different posts over a period of a few days before leaving a comment. Don’t “like” six or seven posts in the space of ten seconds . . . the person will know you’re not reading and will ignore you.

3b – Be patient. It takes a while to establish a meaningful rapport with strangers. And, be realistic. If it ain’t working, move on to another blog (there be millions). One thing . . . if it’s a popular blog and yours is one of tens of comments, don’t expect to “break into” the conversation right away, if ever. I follow a few of those just to read the content, but I quit trying to interact because newcomers drown in the cacophony of people who have established relationships with either the blog owner or each other.

One more hint . . . blogs are not Twitter or Facebook . . . they require a longer attention span than 10 or 20 seconds. And, they can become a commitment, just like real relationships, so thread carefully and don’t saddle yourself with more than you can handle.

As usual, you can click on each photo above for a version twice as large or go to THIS SmugMug gallery for the full-zoom versions of the photos.

Anyway, stay safe, and if so inclined, read the stories and then please vote.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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