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Facebook has unveiled its plans for the newer service “Facebook Lite” in an attempt to streamline the Facebook experience.  There will only be links to see walls, your friends’ walls, profile info, and photos and videos.  This sounds like a fine idea… But then, it also sounds like what Facebook used to be before the endless stream of changes that have taken place since 2008.

Remember the days of yore (because 2004 is so old-school now), when a bare-boned Facebook captured your heart, mind and credit hours with the simplest user interface out of all the social networking sites? There was no live feed of friends’ updates, there wasn’t even a home page initially.  Even at its simplest, Facebook was able to build a loyal following that grew beyond 200 million strong this past spring.

The situation feels like MTV2 revisited.  MTV brought The Box (a viewer request channel that aired music videos commercial-free) in 1996.  They turned that into MTV2 to have a place to show more music videos and a wider range of music genres. Because it had focused so much on developing reality TV shows and teen dramas, it was as if MTV literally ran out of space to fit music into its own channel. 

Facebook seems to be running out of space to fit… “facebooking.”  Now Facebook is overwrought with outside applications, Zuckerberg bought FriendFeed for who knows what reason.  And Facebook seems a little obsessed with Twitter, especially since failing to acquire Twitter in March.

There’s no longer any room for the charm that made Facebook what it once was.  So they have to start over on a new site.  But will one site be enough? (There are 5 channels of MTV in the US alone). For more info on Facebook Lite, check out the ever-useful Mashable and TechCrunch.


It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’ve just completed a challenging week of final exams and if everything goes according to plan, I will be a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication in 8 long days…

While I was taking a break from blogging, I’ve been working on some new ideas for Bobby Pens.  It took me a few weeks after joining in February for a class assignment, but I am now completely and totally addicted to Twitter. I had just a basic personal account when I first joined, but about a month in, I suddenly “got it” and became the micro-blog within the Bobby Pens blog.  You can and should use your Twitter account as an extension of your blog. I’ve found it doubles the interactivity.

  • A micro-blog is the same idea as a regular blog but it consists of much shorter written, audio, or visual entries (there are also macro-blogs, discussed on Bobby Pens as well).  The recommended length of a blog post is 250-500 words.  A micro-blog can be one sentence, 140 characters, a three-photo photo essay, a ten second video clip, a text message, or a quick status update on a larger social networking site, for example.
  • See: Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, Jaiku, Plurk for examples of micro-blogging platforms.

There are some great Tumblr “Tumblelogs” out there ( and, but Twitter is my micro-blogging drug of choice.  It forces me to confront my problems with brevity (you are limited to 140 characters per “tweet”).  It also reminds me how profound writers can be when they use their words (and multimedia) judiciously.

So I’ve decided to start tweet-logging, yet another term that I thought I’d invented, but to which someone already beat me. Life goes on… I suppose.

  • Tweet-logging is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a log of your tweets.
  • You don’t have to do it on your own.  There is software that automatically updates your regular blog with your tweets for the day (for example, LoudTwitter).
  • I will be manually tweet-logging, to showcase my favorite tweets on Bobby Pens and elsewhere. You can see a full feed of my tweets on the left-and side of this blog, or of course by visiting my Twitter page.

Unfortunately, there are no formal tweet-logs that I could find to share with you… Tweet-logs pop up in various forms on plenty of blogs, but always part of a larger blog, like this one.  But this is the internet. Give it some time!

Every day I receive at least 10 direct messages via Twitter, inviting me to click a link and find out how so-and-so got over 16,000 followers in less than 90 days, or how so-and-so got 15,625 followers in 30 days, and so on. “Dominate Twitter!” they write, as if that’s supposed to excite me into a clicking, re-tweeting frenzy.  Why would I try to dominate Twitter? I love Twitter! Besides, Facebook couldn’t even do it…

I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, “@SocialMediaGuruExtraordinaire,” but I will never click your link. I don’t want a million followers. And more importantly, I do not want that many followers in 30 days.

I would never get to meet them!

Sure, like every blogger I want people to visit my blog. It’s almost as important that they like it. But the fun of Twitter is the people (my tweeps). And how is one supposed to get to know their followers if they just blindly collect them like Beanie Babies? I know it’s been said that there’s no one way to use Twitter, and I agree. But man, there are plenty of awful ways to use it. Depending on your reasons for creating an account, Twitter relationships should purposeful. The tacky follow-mongering is really not a good look.

[This post will far exceed my self-imposed limit of 300 words… I couldn’t help it! This was a convergence of two of my favorite things in the entire world and it is all I can do to keep myself from writing a book.]



I’ve said many times before that I think the universe communicates with me through the Tyra Banks Show. Every time I’m going through drama in my life, Tyra does a show on it. And when I need some general catharsis, this show provides it in 60 minutes or less. The universe delivered AGAIN. Tyra did a show on Twitter (and Facebook). Message received, universe: spend more time online.


I’m going to recap some of the many highlights of this episode, in hopes that you appreciate this show’s dedication to thoroughness. They left no stone unturned in getting some thoughtful commentary…  Well at least for Facebook anyway.


“So everybody’s on Facebook, right?”




A lot of the show was dedicated to discussing Facebook and by the end I realized I was one of the “haters that are lovers” of Facebook—a complicated emotional state that only Tyra could put into words so eloquently. The audience was audibly impressed by news of the social networking site’s 100 million user growth in just eight months.  (For more on that, read this).  Tyra gave a shout-out to her Facebook fan page (I’m so upset I knew nothing about this before).   And we were introduced to Julian Smith, creator of a pretty awesome YouTube clip “25 Things I hate About Facebook” (which borrows from the plague-like viral Facebook meme “25 Things About Me.”


Discussion of some of the awful things we put up with to use Facebook (like being “poked” by strangers) prompted Tyra to give us the “Five Rules of Facebook,” a comprehensive guide to Facebook etiquette:


1)      Only tag a photo of your friend with their permission

2)      Only make friend requests of people that you actually know (Don’t they know “to friend” is the correct verb here?)

3)      Relationship status changes must be mutual

4)      Do not write inappropriate stuff on your friends’ walls

5)      Do not over-poke people, especially strangers



Other Facebook-centric segments included: a Tyra Show staff member who changes his coworkers’ pages when they leave their computers, a woman who broke up with her boyfriend by changing her relationship status, and a girl meeting her brother for the first time after first connecting on Facebook. By this point, I was tired of Facebook all over again. Move on to Twitter, please!


Again, the universe obliged.




 “Are you obsessed with Twitter?”


About 6 people in the studio audience cheer at the mention of Twitter as the next segment rolls along. How sad… You could tell Twitter sounded like the geekiest waste of time on the planet to the women in this audience.  They responded with horror and possibly disgust upon learning you can Tweet from your phone. Um, it’s 2009. How is that a foreign concept, people? 


Ugh, never mind. Cut to Tony and Ashley, a couple experiencing a romantic downswing because of Tony’s Twitter obsession (the audience was like, “Geek!” I was like, “I feel you, brother.”).  Leave it to Tyra to host “television’s first ‘Twittervention.’” Does everyone recognize the genius here? Okay, then I will move on…


I later “bumped into” Tony on Twitter, who was—what else—monitoring conversation about the show. I felt guilty Tweeting back and forth with him after seeing the show. That’s what you just got in trouble for, Tony! 


Anyway, Tony gave me the green light to share his experience on the Tyra Banks Show, which he wrote about on his blog. You can also see a clip of the segment.  You’ve got to love a man that gives his mom a shout-out! The only thing they were missing on this segment was a couch. They really needed to conduct the Twittervention with Tony sitting on a couch.


No matter, the last of my observations before I begin to wrap things up is a correction. “Tweet” is a noun AND a verb! We can’t go confusing non-Tweeters like that by not properly discussing the grammar involved in sending “tweets” or getting all “twitterriffic” (err, maybe I’m the only one who uses that).


Potent Quotables


Alright, can I just share some of my favorite quotes by one of the most quotable women on one my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows of all time? Okay great, thanks!


·         “Haters that are lovers on the internet”

·         “Does the building look like, like, the homepage of Facebook?” (She asks Julian, about his visit to the Facebook studio)

·         “…So you don’t even want to date her? So you’re gonna be celibate and not date at all?” (This was directed to the guest whose girlfriend broke up with him via Facebook relationship status. I was so with her on this. His lost: to the left, to the left!

·         “If you are creepy, you must suppress your inner-creepiness!” (When writing on Facebook walls)

·         And lastly, this AWESOME description of Twitter: “Twitter allows users to let people follow them all day long by constantly updating their status and answering the question ‘What are you doing? What are you doing? …I’m sitting on the Tyra show. What are you doing?  …I’m scratching my ankle. What are you doing? …I’m feeling for naps in the back of my hair.’” (Stir, simmer, and stew in the awesome, won’t you?)


This was by far my second favorite episode in the history… of… the Tyra Banks Show (my first favorite was “Black Men in America”… and incidentally, my third favorite was the one with Patti Labelle and Brandy. Yes I keep track of these things!) I’ll just politely ask that The Tyra Show covers this topic like once a month. So I can keep finding excuses for the time I spend doing the things I do.



So what’d you think of the show? Comment, and let me know what you think of the recaps, xoxo

So my involvement with Twitter has forced me to confront my age-old enemy: Brevity. Those 140 characters are a total buzz kill when you’re suddenly struck with the urge to pour out your soul on the topic of seafood bisque, as I often am. (I like mine chunky. Why must chefs blend it to a pulp so that I’m forced to drink my shrimp? Is that someone’s idea of cuisine? Because from where I sit, it’s just a glorified, aquatic-life-based protein shake.)

I’m not the biggest fan of conciseness. It does nothing for me. Eclecticism? Cool. Specificity? Awesome. Give me any topic, any story, but by all means, do not skimp me on the details. And for the love of Office Suite, don’t ask me to keep it short either.

You may not know me, oh, but you know someone just like me. The kind of person who tells a story that starts in one time zone and ends up just like that time my Grandma took me to see a taping of Wheel of Fortune, only Vanna White didn’t look anything like I thought she’d look up close, you know?

But I can’t function that way anymore… I start to write a blog entry that looks like a FAFSA application. And for what?! I can’t even tell by the end how the beginning got there. And it keeps me from saying all the things I’ve got on my mind. WHO OTHERWISE WILL SOUND THE ALARM ABOUT SEAFOOD BISQUE??

So I’m going to limit myself. I have to. For the sake of sanity, Bobby Pens is becoming a macro-blog. 200 words or less, per entry. For the next 5 posts (it’s trial run). Maybe 250 words if the topic moves me. Hey, you don’t get to make the rules! And you don’t need to count the words in this entry, either. Nope… no need.

This Month in Bobby’s Penning

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