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#NationalPoetryDay, 140 Character Challenge

October 6, 2016 1 Comment

Today is #NationalPoetryDay, a time when good, bad, silly, and stuffy poets come out of the woodwork.  Twitter is all a twee with creative use of language, both in rhyme and free verse.  All the classics are on hand from the bard to Lisa Simpson.  The political rhymes are flying along with Rumi at his best.  If you have not followed a hashtag or written poetry before, today is your day.  The Japanese form known as haiku is often attempted on twitter, but there are more forms from which to choose.  Try your hand at a short poetic statement and join your fellow poets on this special day.  You will find that 140 characters is more than enough to express sincere sentiment.  Be part of history.  Join #NationalPoetryDay October 6, 2016 to stretch beyond your current limits and have some fun.  Here is my first of the day:


The Tweet is Mightier Than the SWAT

May 23, 2016



I want to convince the commander of my local police station to learn more about the progressive use of social media. Controversy and conflict spread like wildfire on all platforms today.  This is a reflection of our relationships in real life.  It is easy to get into a political argument but not so easy to locate community spirit.  We drastically need dialog and understanding to build better neighborhoods.  The tension between police and citizens must be treated. Lack of trust must be brought to light and replaced with understanding.  We need better communication, and I believe it can be achieved with judicious use of social media.  I believe twitter has the power to prevent crime if used with imagination and good strategy, just as it has influenced some to fight for ISIS.  The only way to stop an evil force with a twitter account is with a loving force with a twitter account.

In the photo above a young detective is joking around with SWAT Officer Salisbury, who was working showing off the SWAT stuff at the station the other day.  I had just asked him what he detected about Officer Salisbury.  He was telling me he that his colleague is very speedy. Their camaraderie is evident and the good nature of the joking between them was fun to see.  These young men are charming and professional, but I certainly hope I will not require their services. It is fine to hang out in the parking lot, but I don’t want them to come to my house in the middle of the night.

It was all fun and games until I said, “I know you saw the PBS special last week about SWAT.”  They didn’t really say much, but they indicated that this PBS reference had bummed them out.  I don’t blame them because it is another blow to the already ragged respect for police across the country.  News coverage brings scary evidence that violence is escalating in certain cities.  Tucson is one of them.  These young cops face ever-growing danger with no hope of a pay raise in sight.  For them, as well as for all of us, we need to find ways to communicate to prevent crime of all kinds, particularly crimes against cops.  We will find ourselves unable to recruit people who are willing to take the job if we don’t kick in and help them reduce crime and violence.

I believe social media has the potential to transform crime prevention because

  • A picture is worth a thousand words
  • A penny saved is a penny earned
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  • A stitch in time saves nine
  • The tweet is mightier than the SWAT

What do you think, gentle reader, is the answer to the social disorder we are experiencing today?



#WorldPoetryDay and the Poet in You

March 21, 2016 1 Comment

Today is World Poetry Day, so twitter is all aflutter with haiku.  UNESCO is running a thread for pros and amateurs to enter the fun using the hashtag #tweetku.

There are some funny and inspiring poems flying around, and we see coffee houses where they are accepting poems for payment today.  This celebration has grown and become more popular since last year.  I urge you to join the creative fun, even if you are not feeling very poetic at this moment.  Read some of the other tweets for inspiration or just to tickle your funny bone.  I know that we are all poets because I write a poem each day for poetry month in April for #NaPoWriMo. I have no particular talent or style, but after 30 days of poetry I feel very accomplished and more creative.  I use original art or photography on my April poems to make them a little more interesting.  The important part is the practice rather than the poems themselves.  I am hoping to expand my subject matter again this year.  My first year was way too drippy, all about spirit, dreams, and tinkle tinkle reality..pretty dull and one dimensional.  Last year I did some new topics like my ancestor’s beheading at the Tower of London.  The art and the poem were infantile, but I did give it a whirl. Practice does not really make perfect in my case, but it does make psychological inroads into my own thinking and ability to write.  I am warming up for next month today:

Here is one I love, with a little pun:

Let the poet in you loose on the town today..or at least read some.



Live Tweeting for Entertainment

February 24, 2016 2 Comments

For those of you who have not used twitter I want to explain the advantages of live tweeting. This modern phenomena is accomplished by following hashtags to join in a conversation during a live event. Sometimes it is a news story, like a tragedy or an ongoing crime situation. In these cases live twitter is a way to stay abreast of news as it happens, often with live video. This is useful simple to inform oneself. Another popular use of this tool is to join others in commenting on a broadcast like Downton Abbey or a political debate. This is my favorite way to participate because it is like being in a classroom with the whole world commenting on the lesson.

Downton Abbey fans have become my tight buddies over time because we meet each other on Sunday nights to snark, make jokes, and predict what will happen. The attitude can be sarcasm or fandom, but there is always a great deal of humor. Some Downton fans are freaking out because the show is ending, leaving a big hole in our twitter social lives. There will always be more shows to tweet, but this one has gathered a big following.  Other events I like to live tweet are:

  • Superbowl (and the ads)
  • political debates and town halls
  • big international news stories and events

If you are new to the idea of hashtags this is how it works.  Go to the little search symbol that looks like a magnifying glass and enter a hashtag such as #DowntonAbbey, #FatherBrown, #SuperBowl2016, or the very popular #DWTS (dancing with the stars) I have not done #DWTS but I know it has a large following also.  The stream will appear with all the comments that include that hashtag.  If you decide to join the conversation you need to remember to include the hashtag correctly spelled in your tweet, or the gang will miss your commentary.  Tonight we have a GOP town hall, aka #GOPTownHall.  The tweeting gets heated but is extremely funny.  Here are a couple of examples, just in the warm up:

Once you catch on to the language of hashtags it all makes sense..except for the politicians.  I will be live tweeting this one for as long as I can stand it.  There will be some very good jokes.  Perhaps I will see you there, gentle reader.



The Mind’s Eye and Poetry

April 8, 2014 8 Comments

Poetry is an expression of wonder.  Painting a scene with words is one way to keep a vision eternal.  I can see the Asyrians come down like a wolf on the fold when I hear this poem.  The colorful battlefield Lord Byron creates poetically lasts forever.  He was not at the battle, but he has made it part of our cultural memory.  Each of us has experiences that are unique to us, that only we can express.  Poetry is a vehicle for these stories or impressions to reach the mind’s eye of the reader.  If we do not tell those tales or color in the details of the scenes we have seen, they will not be told.  A sense of wonder and willingness to write are the only tools needed.  There are good reasons to write poetry:

  • Vocabulary can be used in new ways and expanded
  • Creativity  and self expression can be enhanced
  • Memories can be savored and expressed
  • Places and events can be chronicled
  • Emotional elements can be exposed and refined
  • Personalities can be developed artistically

Consider celebrating Poetry Month this April by writing some of your own.  You will not meet the poet within until you try.  Tomorrow, April 9, 2014, at noon  you can join NPR on twitter writing a collaborative poem.  Using the hashtag #CSPoetry contribute a line to the poem.  The Code Switch poem will be presented in the stream when completed.  You just don’t know what will happen next.  You only have to think of one good line.  Go for it, Gentle Readers.  Do some gentle writing.

#Hashtag It

September 26, 2013 3 Comments



Those who do not use the blue bird for communication often say some amusing things about twitter. What is funnier is reading twitter streams to feel the pulse of the twittaverse.  I recommend @Pontifex to any twitter beginner just to get the feel of the thing.  I tweet less than I did when I first began to explore the possibilities of twitter. I have not joined a chat for months, but leave that option open for the future.  I do still enjoy joking and being silly with other silly tweeps, but spend less time engaged in #sillyhashtagfun.  I recently tried to explain the use of hashtags to my neighbor but I failed miserably.  Now I will be able to send her this video clip so she can understand fully the grave importance of #hashtagging and tweeting itself.

#AlQaeda Reaches Out for Media Ideas

August 16, 2013 2 Comments

@Pontifex Punts

February 12, 2013 1 Comment

To tweet as the holy father of the Catholics was a much dirtier job than Benedict could ever have imagined.  His twitter stream is full of everything that life contains, much of it funny and irreverent. Since he longhand wrote his tweets (in Latin?) and was assisted in the typing of 140 characters, we can only assume he did not read all his tweeps remarks to him. He kept a certain distance from his own stream, since this was the first papal twitter stream and had to be approached with caution. Ironically he is the oldest pontiff elected in 300 years, so his decision to enter social media was a little off beat.  The Vatican social media experts will now need to make some decisions.

Does the handle stay with the office or will Benedict be tweeting as @Pontifex in his retirement?  Will he start to type his own and read those of his tweeps? Is he finished with twitter?  Will the tweeps be more kind to him now that he has end of life issues in public?  Will the new Pope have a fan page and G+ account for hanging out?  Will the Vatican social media presence develop customer service that wows Catholics back to church?  Will prayers be launched to protect the church and the Pope from trolls?  These and many other questions will face the new Pope. #Paxvobiscum.

Depth of Conversation Diet

January 6, 2013 1 Comment

the bird

the bird

Charlie Rose talked last week on his show with the creators of twitter about how long and how deep our conversations are today. The adaptation to 140 characters is natural in our world now and creates possibilities.  The flying about of links creates interest in larger deeper meaning.  I agree with them that all the various forms of engagement offer a different way to approach exchange.  My personal favorite link right now is Alan Simpson dancing Gangam style with the can that is being kicked down the road.  To tweet that gives me a high degree of  pleasure because it has great social and political import.

Since I have limited myself to reading only three books this year on the Three Book Diet I have noticed that I read constantly, book or no book.  The way we read and write has not surpassed the book, but if you give up books now, you notice that reading inundates everything, and Google is the best little librarian anyone ever imagined. The data is with us.  In this process I have turned my attention to homework long overdue to my own self.  Writing, drawing, and active creativity needs to balance all the reading.  I used to say you don’t get a healthy body to get a healthy body to get a healthy body…You get a healthy body to enjoy life or the whole thing is stupid.  Literacy is the same ,I now learn.  You don’t read to read to read to read ( except in elementary school).  You read to acquire knowledge and skill to be productive in some way, or reading the entire library is for naught.  What began as an experiment has been very instructive to me in terms of balancing my creating/sucking practice in the written word.  I do love books and research.   Had I not stopped to take note of the imbalance I would be sucking down a book right this minute, rather than writing this to you, gentle reader.

Charlie and the guys eventually discussed the depth of meaning diet.  The conversation diet is similar to the book diet.  It asks you to balance snacks (woot!) with more substantial meals (blogging), and an awareness of same.  A healthy diet today consists of media production as well as consumption.  The interactive phase has just begun.  Tweet seats at live events tell us something about where the twitter bird is heading.  The nature of all the new connecting technology is that it is more crowded every second.  The individual conversation, taking place everywhere all the time is well represented by the little blue bird in flight.  We need to have deep conversations about the state of affairs today.  Let the bird fly for peace.  May the twitter bird be free.  May the twitter bird be happy.  May we use it for the highest good and deepest connection.

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