Seriously, SeaWorld?

Here’s a tip for all social media users: when you’re embroiled in conflict, don’t open the floor for discussion.

It seems obvious. Controversial figures walk on eggshells with the public. Their words are calculated, careful and don’t encourage the public’s probing.

If SeaWorld could get their heads above water they probably would’ve realized this. Instead, they decided to make waves with this week’s PR Face Palm – the Ask SeaWorld campaign and #AskSeaWorld hashtag.

The infamous theme park has been at the center of controversy since 2013’s Blackfish, a documentary about Tilikum, a SeaWorld orca, and the other captive whales. The documentary woke up the public and SeaWorld was left reeling, with plummeting stocks and low attendance.


I know what you’re thinking: “SeaWorld has so much money they’ll hire a great PR firm and calm the waters of public outrage.” That’s what I thought too. And then we got the #AskSeaWorld campaign.

Mashable collected some of the best tweetsThey are sharp, smart and scathing zingers. I love it. My favorite is this one:


Mic drop.

When SeaWorld was mum, Twitter users created a #AnswerTheQ hashtag. SeaWorld decided to take the high road, saying most of these tweets were from bots or crazy PETA people.

“A full 70 percent of the questions thus far have come from PETA and other animal rights groups or bots.” 

And then they condemned Twitter activists by saying this:

“It’s unfortunate that these people would try to drown out thoughtful and honest answers by flooding social media with repeated questions and troll account.”



DROWN? Like what your captive whales do to their trainers because you mistreat them????

For lack of better words, I CAN’T EVEN.

Seaworld: fire whoever created that disaster, and #EmptyTheTanks while you’re at it.


Katherine’s Scientific Guide to Photo-Sharing Platforms


Facebook: you see them all

Instagram: you see the best

Twitter: you see pictures of things I think are funny (I don’t upload any real pictures here.)

Example: I was a bridesmaid in a wedding on Friday. At weddings, cameras are on crack. Cameras on phones, video cameras, fancy DSLR cameras, people staring at you like they’re taking a picture, etc.

The wedding party took pictures outside The Carolina Theater in Durham. We were out there for at least an hour and we got every combination of poses possible. Individual bridesmaids, bridesmaid with bride, everyone together, everyone spread out artsy kind of. But hundreds and hundreds of pictures (all ruined by me blinking).

And then the photographers take behind-the-scenes photos of us getting ready and then before we walk down the aisle, etc. (There are lots of etc’s here).

And then someone filmed the whole thing from the balcony.

And then the reception was just a cesspool of camera phones.

I took 2 pictures the whole day. One was a selfie of me and the bride smiling. The other was a selfie of us thuggin’ it. Because no one does thug better than two middle-class white girls.

I instgrammed the thug picture.


It was the best I had. And I’m sure I’ll instagram my favorite when the wedding photographer gets off her ass* and gets those pictures back to us.

Because that’s what Instagram is for, it’s for the highlights. The best photo you have, the one that most encapsulates the beauty or emotion of a place or event. It’s the top dog on your camera roll. So you slap on a filter to hide your paleness, tack on a wedding hashtag and post!

But Facebook is different. Facebook has albums. Uploaders use less discretion. Instead of a couple of the best photos on the big day, a Facebook album would show all the captured moments. Not every picture taken, but every moment captured.

And I just tweet for the J’s (jokes).


1) not every photo-sharing platform is created (or used) equally 

2) Someone loves me enough to make me a bridesmaid.

*She was actually very nice and professional and it’s only been 3 days.

Make A Difference with Indiegogo

I’m doing this Indiegogo for a new phone. Trying to spread the word. This is how to raise money in 2015.

UPDATE: March 22, 2015

I’m afraid my Indiegogo campaign for a new phone has plateaued.

Here are my donations so far:

  • $50 from an anonymous donor (me)
  • $11 from a family friend who said, “so shameless I couldn’t help but contribute”
  • $1 from my friend Robert
  • $10 from my friend Maria
  • $10 from my friend Lauryn
  • $10 from friend Zach
  • $50 from my dad (he owed me money anyway)

So a total of $142. Which leaves me a hefty chunk short of my $650 goal. I don’t see any more significant contributors so I’m going to hang up my Indiegogo cap.

I posted it on my Facebook. Two people shared it, 30 people liked it and there were about 20 comments. On Twitter I shared it and it got a couple of measly favorites. BUT MY CAMPAIGN HAS 3,986 VISITS! PEOPLE SAY CAPS LOCK IS LIKE YELLING SO IT’S OKAY BECAUSE I’M YELLING BECAUSE I’M SO POPULAR!!!

All caps aside, it was interesting to try crowdfunding. I have mixed feelings about crowdfunding, depending on the campaign. It’s awesome for charity or community programs. But then there are campaigns for people who just need money. Like this tech journalist who won’t be published and has bills to pay: What the hell, Kim? And what’s that photo filter called, Death Knocking?

Even though Kim is an irritating whiner, crowdfunding has done a lot of good and it shows the immense power of social networks. For instance, Brandon, the famously famous Humans of New York Facebook page (remind me to write about that later) occasionally finds someone on the street and the person is randomly inspiring and Brandon starts a GoFundMe and like 25% of all Internet users send him their bank account numbers.

Here’s the original post:

And then this happened:

And the kid got to meet Ellen:

Like it or not (and all in all you should like it) online crowdfunding is here to stay and it’s revolutionizing the way we communicate causes, utilize our social networks, and raise and spend money.

The Watch Isn’t A Bad Apple

Stop harping on how you think Apple Watch will suck. It’s personally annoying me.

The watch is a first generation. Apple didn’t just wake up and create the perfect product. They created products and constantly improved upon them. Business Insider made this list of “failed” Apple products, but these were part of the process – they told Apple what consumers like and inspired future (very, very) successful devices.

Take portable music:

Earlier there was this:

Then, in 2001, the iPod came. And now we don’t even use iPod because our phones have music.

Should I talk about the computer?

Technology is about evolution, it’s not an instantaneous bolt of enlightenment. Just because it’s a product doesn’t mean it’s a finished product.

“Ya jerks”

The older generation bemoaning the digitalization of news finally has a youthful ally – an 8-year-old boy in Bloomington, Indiana. He’s being lauded by AARP newspaper subscribers as a hero. The boy left a voicemail for The Herald Times in Bloomington, Indiana berating editor Bob Zaltsberg for cutting out some of his favorite comics. The voicemail is raw, passionate and includes language I learned in high school.

Here was his list of demands:

Ziggy, Close to Home, Garfield, Frank and Ernest, Peanuts, Garfield (again), Dilbert, Nancy (then his mom gave some other lame requests from the background),  Peanuts (again), Garfield (for the 3rd time), Close to Home (again). Then his dad says, “You don’t care about Doonesbury do you?” Not so fast, dad. Doonesbury makes the list at the last minute.

He closed with an ultimatum (kind of): “I’ll give you all my money, if you just give us it back. Idiots, jerks, shitholes…shitholes.”

*Mic drop”

On its surface, the voicemail is hilarious because it features a kid cussing and it’s a scientific fact that society finds it funny when children, grandmothers above 75 and middle-school teachers, curse.

But on another level the voicemail is priceless because it’s so unexpected. I’m sure the editors expected a quiet comics transition with mild email backlash. Instead, the editor got owned by an 8-year-old and now everyone knows Bloomington’s newspaper changed their comic strips.

I do think this boy is an anomaly. Not only because he calls people shitholes, but because he reads the printed comics. After he reads the comics he probably hops on his Schwinn (without a helmet) and rides down to the soda parlor before the ice cream truck rolls by his cul-de-sac.

It’s funny to us because we don’t expect children to like comics anymore. At least not printed comics. You can Google “Dilbert” and the day’s comic comes up. How easy is that?

We’re constantly harping on how children these days are screen-addicted, lazy little shitholes. But times are different. Children do spend more time in front of screen, they have their own iPad Minis, but that’s because they’re future people.

Which makes it all the more funny when someone born in the 21st century gets so worked up about the back page of a newspaper.

Thank you, handwritten thank you notes

A few months after my grandmother died my sister and I discovered a stash of Christmas present thank you notes addressed to her from years ago. They were stamped and unsent, languishing on my mom’s sweater shelf.

We were furious. Not because my grandmother would never see them, but because our mother had always drilled into us the importance of thank you cards (I mean we would’ve written a thank you note to the stranger in the van for giving us candy.) And here she was – a hypocrite.

To this day (literally, I just texted her about it), I heckle my mom for her forgetful faux pas. That being said, she still makes us write, and send, thank you cards and she has raised a thank-you card tyrant in the form of a 21-year-old college senior.

I’m constantly shocked by how little value my peers place on handwritten, sent-through-the-mail thank you cards. Instead of stopping by Student Stores and picking up a pack of blank cards, most of my friends opt to send an email. An email! I’m rolling my eyes just typing this.

Here’s a song I made up about thank-you notes (if it sounds familiar it’s because Taylor Swift copied me):

You got that long words
Slicked back, white envelope
And I got that good girl manners and that tight cursive
And when email comes crashing in,
We come back in every time
Cause we never go out of style.
Send me off
(You got the idea, you got the idea)

People argue that with technology we can communicate our thanks more easily. But when it comes to showing appreciation, snail mail wins out.

Thank you cards aren’t formal, stuffy or outdated, they are intimate, meaningful and necessary. They express a more personal gratitude and more concerted effort than a paragraph email. Because saying thanks should take an effort. It should take more than a quick email or text.

It’s hard for me to articulate what it is about handwritten thank you notes that make them so superior, but they mean something to me. An email is nice but it’s not meaningful, it doesn’t make me feel appreciated – and that’s what thank you’s are all about.

Garney, if you’re reading this from Heaven (I don’t blame you if you aren’t, I bet it’s fun as hell up there), thanks for the fuzzy socks.

#MariasBachBash IRL

One of my closest hometown friends and Taylor‘s sleepy roommate is getting married in 3 weeks. So Taylor and I (and 8 others) are deep in the Airbnb wilderness of Swannanoa, NC for a bachelorette weekend. Because both of us still have a blog post to do this week, we decided to take this margarita-filled experience and see if we could write about how social media has affected it.

But here are things we’ve done so far:

-played a game called “family”, in which everyone has to guess who wrote which famous person on a slip of paper (I give the game a 5/10)

-played Heads Up!

-talked (ugh, so last millennium)


-read excerpts of “The Doctor’s Premarital Medical Adviser” – it’s from 1969 and hilarious with a sprinkle of racism and misogyny

Here’s an excerpt:

“If there’s an opportunity to participate in the activities of the “night off,” without causing inconvenience or unpleasantness, a spouse should try to do so. Many women learn how to bowl quite well, and they often can play poker better than men. Also, wives of ardent golfers should learn to golf!”

-learned to golf

-watched a movie together and people weren’t on their phones the whole time

Earlier this morning we started the hashtags #onelesshoover (the bride-to-be has 5 adopted siblings) and #MariasBachBash. We prodded the other girls to post on social media so we make a Storify and talk about how technological advancements in communication have changed decades-old traditions.

Taylor and I wanted something to write about. We were confident the other girls would race to their phones and flood social media with our boring hashtags. They didn’t. So here we are: tipsy with no blog post idea.

But mine and Taylor’s experiment isn’t all for nothing. For one, we grew closer. Also, we learned that social media isn’t a mirror of reality. By that we mean, despite all the ominous predictions made by older generations, maybe social media isn’t killing our social skills. There are still times when we would prefer to be offline. Interpersonal can trump the Internet.

On the other hand, we now have a small selection of tweets and Instagram posts that we can easily locate using our clever hashtags. After tonight’s festivities (can you say reservation for 10?), we will probably have a few more. The mountains are beautiful, and we both want to remember this time with our friends. Thanks to social media, we can do that. Our Twitter feeds and our Facebook timelines aren’t our biographies, but they can be used as a tool to tell our stories as long as we don’t forget to live out those stories first.

Photo on 2-28-15 at 1.55 PM