SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTERFLIES

     The term “social media” is one of the current buzzwords around. This term generally describes the places on the ‘net where one can post notices about one’s self. It can range from basic facts, as well as likes, dislikes, and other notions that the user wishes to let others know about. Just about anything that is posted about a person is done so by the party itself. There are no hidden surprises, unless the poster is bending the truth for a bit, or totally  fobs off lies and mistruths.
     Unless one hasn’t been following on what’s part of social media, the big three out there is Facebook, LinkedIn-used for professionals on a career track, and Twitter, where one can comment about whatever one pleases in 140 characters of less. As stated, all of these sources, outside of many others out there, is available to anyone that has a desire to use it for their own purposes.
     How many folks are taking advantage of gaining this desired and/or needed attention?  According to a report filed by the Pew Internet Project, as of May 1st, some 72% of ‘net uses aged 18 and up reported to use some form of social networking sites — up from 67% in late 2012, and from 8% when Pew started polling those back in early 2005.
     Many people that use social media do so to keep tabs on others, from casual (this is where Facebook falls in), to corporate (thanks to LinkedIn), to the notion where one has a brief comment to post (Twitter).
     As expected, the Millenniums demographic-those born after 1980, are the biggest uses of Twitter (18% type in those 140 character notes.) However, all ages are increasing their usage of social media, including the Baby Boomers (age 49 through 67), as well as those age 65+. 60% of boomers take advantage of social networking, and 43% of those 65 and up are online. Again, the main usage is to keep informed of those they know or know of.
     It’s interesting to note that for many years, people would keep those up to date usually one time of the year by creating a generic letter enclosed within a Christmas (or related) card. These letters, generally called a “what-I-did-the-previous-year” letter, would give a condensed report of all of the noteworthy events that took place between January through early-middle December from the composer of the note. It reported upon births, deaths, marriages, once in a while a divorce or two, as well as vacation reports, family antics, and other small bits or fillings that are deemed important. However, thanks to this “always on” notion, these reports can come in as often as the writer chooses. Sometimes, they even come in on an hourly basis. No need to create a letter that comes out just once a year!
     Thanks to smart phones and other forms of portable gadgets, it’s a lot easier to keep those abreast of the latest news about whatever. These devices are the reasons behind the increase of social media. One can make a quickie post on one’s Twitter account wherever one may be. Ditto for Facebook. LinkedIn? Why not??
     So as the ol’ tired saying goes, there are eight million stories in the naked city, and one can become part of that eight million plus telling their tales and adventures to anyone that desires to know about it! That is what makes life interesting or just plain boring. Take your pick!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     Ernest Harden, Jr. stars in BEETHOVEN AND THE MISFORTUNE COOKIES, currently performing at the MET Theatre’s Great Scott Theatre space, is a solo performance about Kabin Thomas, a professor of music appreciation at the University of Arkansas who teaches his students about some of the world’s most well known and perhaps misunderstood figures within the art of musical culture.
     Told within a two part stance, the opening act shows Kabin Thomas teaching his students on the notion of music appreciation, first lecturing upon the particulars of Ludwig Von Beethoven-a composer of “longhair” classical works that had his own mishaps, such as being beaten by his father and his exposure to lead, the suspected cause of his deafness. Then he tells about Billie Holiday, a vocalist that sung the blues in the first half of 20th century (segregated) America. She too, had her hardships in her early life. (The two figures, just as Kabin, were of the Colored/Negro/African American race–even as Beethoven may have been himself!) In the second phase of this performance, Kabin, now away from teaching at the U. Of A. after eleven years aboard, is getting into other ventures, such as a “reality” show offer! But Kabin, just as Ludwig and Billie before, had his own personal afflictions within his earlier life. It’s a simple yet complex tale of a teacher learning about personal aspirates: The same method that his students learned about personal hardships from others.
     This one person play written by Joni Ravenna, is a honest portrayal of a college professor that wasn’t a real celebrity per se, but a celebrity within his own right. As an actual professor that taught a class that often had waiting lists to enroll, Kabin is a man that was well appreciated while he fought his own inner beings–not necessarily bringing that element to the attention of his class. Although he appreciated music, mostly the jazz, R&B, and “soul” music he grew up with, he himself learned a few notes on his own. Ernest Harden, Jr. as Kabin Thomas has the look and feel of a professor who would be popular with the student population he associated with. He brings out his characters into a new light, even though he being wasn’t well known outside of his classrooms. When he speaks to his “class”, the theater audience will be transported to a large and perhaps dumpy lecture hall. When he speaks outside of the classroom, he’s within his office space. That is the set seen within this show. Paul Koslo designs the show set that consists of a small yet cluttered desk with a “boom box”-type radio sitting upon it, along with a well worn love seat couch off to the aide as well as a few shopworn pieces of office furnishings–the typical objects seen in a prof’s work area that isn’t a classroom!
     Besides sets and stages, the real (and only) star of this presentation is Ernest. He can deliver his lecture into one that the viewer is nearly tempted to take notes for that pop quiz that might come around!
     Directed by T.J. Castronovo, BEETHOVEN AND THE MISFORTUNE COOKIES has more Beethoven and less misfortunes. (Actually, there are no misfortunes performance wise!!) As for the “cookies”? It’s within the same status of the misfortune part–none to speak of, but for solo shows, this production and performance deserves an “A+”! It’s also advised by this writer to enroll in his class, or one will wind up on the waiting list!

     BEETHOVEN AND THE MISFORTUNE COOKIES, presented by the MET Theatre and CRC Entertainment, performs at the Great Scott Theatre space (downstairs) at the MET Theatre, 1089 North Oxford Avenue (off Santa Monica Blvd.) Los Angeles, until September 15th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For reservations, call (323) 960-5773, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/Beethoven
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
I’m having a little surgery this afternoon to fix a trigger thumb…and if you know me, you know that waiting even 5 minutes after I get up to have breakfast is an almost unbearable burden. Right now, I could eat my keyboard.
-Vicki

Two year appointment with oncologist this morning. Given the thumbs up and all looks good! Grateful for every day….
-Nancy

WordPress is being snarky and now Pintrest is down. Is that the internet’s way of telling me to get back to work?
-Susan

Going to lay down cause of a bad headache. That is from reason I would rather not say. Be back soon! —
-Courtney

I dreamed about candy corn ice cream. Why is that not a thing?
-Evangeline
As of August 12th, Tiffi has 1,736 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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