A Social Media Cheat Sheet

I was recently commissioned to produce an informal cheat sheet about social media and social networking. The aim of the project is to help Baby Boomers better understand their children and grandchildren, and to better navigate the ever-shifting currents of the intertubes, possibly to wade into the waters themselves.

At first I figured there must already be something out there, but the more I searched, the less I found. Aside from a typically dry and vague Wikipedia page and a bunch of charts geared towards designers or advertisers/SEO experts, there wasn’t much for the general public. But this is a good thing! Because it meant I could actually make a contribution to society (…I know, I’m laughing too).

By the time I finished the cheat sheet and shipped it off to the client, it had morphed into a detailed “educational supplement” and handy deskside reference to the web. (It looks great printed & laminated, too! It won’t be out of date for another few weeks, I promise!) During the design process I also realized that oh so many other people I’ve met could likely benefit from something similar—my own parents included.

So, I’m sharing it with you all here, for you to spread to anyone else in your lives who might benefit from increased internet fluency. Enjoy!

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Download a printable PDF here with fully functional hyperlinks.
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*Caveats & Disclaimers*

  1. As I mentioned, this is an informal cheat sheet, not a dutifully fact-checked compendium. I put the bare minimum of research into this, relying mostly on my own knowledge base and personal internet explorations over the last decade or more. The “Core Audience” column in particular is half-sarcastic conjecture, with a dollop of intuition and a pinch of half-remembered data. I did try to get the “# of Users” column correct, though.
  2. Yes, I know I missed [insert your favorite niche social media site here]. Again, I stuck with the basics. But it’s hard to argue with importance of knowing at least half of my list, based on traffic alone.
  3. My Internet Glossary of Terms is also obviously woefully incomplete. But based on conversations I’ve had with n00bs and…people with accumulated wisdom, the few things I did include should give some useful perspective, with some bias toward my own interests.
  4. I don’t shy from using the full, glorious breadth of the English language, so if your grandmother’s neighbor is sensitive to swears, they are welcome to learn about this stuff from another source.

On “Another Middle”

Whether you meant to end up here or not, welcome to my blog! Here, you’ll find links, articles, videos, images, and more that I find interesting, inspirational, amusing, thought-provoking, and assumption-challenging, in addition to random tidbits that I feel like sharing with you all. Enjoy it!

Meaning

Wherever we are, we’re in the middle. We can see as far ahead of us as we’ve already left behind us. Think of it this way: When you were 5 years old, you could look 4 years back, and imagine about 4 years ahead. Similarly, when you’re 40, most people think in terms of their past 40 years, and project about 50 years into the future.

Another way of looking at this idea is that at every new horizon we reach, we can suddenly see newer and more spectacular horizons still to come. Say you worked your whole life toward the goal of becoming CEO of a company. As soon as you reach that goal, new dreams and goals suddenly pop into being—why not run an even bigger company, or start a second business, or run for public office, or something else entirely?

“Another Middle” therefore signifies that there’s always more to learn and discover, and there are always new ways to look at the world. Personally, I also take it to mean that there’s never any rush to get anywhere or accomplish anything in particular, since there’s nowhere to go—you’re already Here right Now, and there’s nowhere else to be. So have some fun with life!

Content

Since this is as much a personal blog as it is a “professional” one (whatever that means in this day and age), there are several disparate categories of posts here. I’ll explain each.

Perspectives

Although there are fewer of these than other types of posts here on Another Middle, I consider these the primary focus of this blog (I have a number of ideas on deck for Perspectives posts, but they’ll take time to compose and publish). These are the content pieces that I put the most thought and effort into, and where I delve the deepest into the world of ideas, and my own mind.

They are where I bare my soul, and put my thoughts, feelings, intuitions, ideas, connections, experiences, hypotheses, and observations out into the universe, to be shared, applauded, argued, agreed, debunked, debated, and dissected by anyone and everyone. Because I’m a masochist, I suppose.

But also because I feel strongly that the world needs more profound, reasoned, and expansive thoughts out there, to begin to balance the scales against the neverending tide of inanity, banality, triviality, stupidity, ignorance, negativity, and narrowness that constantly clouds Society’s discourse. Though, there is nothing wrong with fart jokes, either.

So I do hope that you, dear electronic passer-by, are able to take the time to read and react to some of what I have to say, and perhaps even share, comment, or connect with me.

Articles of the Moment

These posts began as emails to a small group of family and friends way back in my early college years, and which contained an assortment of articles, studies, and websites that piqued my interest. I’ve been a voracious consumer of internet content for over a decade now, from RSS feeds of EurekAlert, Science Daily, Science News, Futurity, Slashdot, Global Security, and Language Log, to news aggregator sites like Fark and Reddit, among many others. Especially before the Facebook Newsfeed became a ripe ground for sharing such things, emails with links and brief commentary seemed like the best way to spread information.

I have re-posted updated and edited versions of some of my old Articles of the Moment emails here (backdated appropriately), and will continue to fill in old posts over time. I also intend to make new “AotM” posts going forward as well, because there are even more fascinating and potentially life-changing ideas being created than ever before, and despite increased social-media-based news-sharing by everyone these days, most people only encounter a small fraction of them.

We’ll see though. There is a reason I called them Articles of the “Moment”—there’s no way I’d commit to a regular schedule of posting. Real Life keeps getting in the way.

Travel

There are no such posts yet, but I do plan on gradually posting bits and pieces of a travelogue I’ve been writing on and off for well over a decade now. These posts will chronicle my adventures during a Gap Year in 2000 and 2001, and will serve as teasers for a book I hope to publish.

Personal

Most “Personal” posts are from my college days, and are leftovers ported from a defunct Blogspot page that was somewhat active from 2004 to 2008. They are largely unchanged (merely minimally edited for grammar and flow), but I don’t necessarily have all of the same opinions or beliefs shared in them. It certainly is fascinating reading one’s own writings after many years of intervening growth.

Otherwise, any more recent Personal posts will likely deal with my day-to-day meanderings, travel anecdotes, work experiences, or my family or friends, among other general topics.

Recipes & Reviews

These are pretty self-explanatory, and are bits that every self-respecting “blogger” can’t avoid writing for very long. After all, food and opinions (and opinions about food) are second only to porn in driving web traffic around the world, right?

I don’t post many recipes unless I am supremely impressed with them, or they’re something I have been making myself for a while, since the web is already inundated with amazing food ideas merely a search away.

It’s a similar story with book or movie reviews—I’d sooner leave an Amazon review than post something here, unless the book or movie is exceptionally horrendous or amazing.

History

This forum for sharing the cacophony of ideas that pop into my head had its roots back in 1998, when I started a Geocities page that I had grandiosely and naively intended to become something like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Too bad I wasn’t remotely technically skilled, well-connected, or motivated enough, or I might have beaten Jimmy Wales to the punch by a few years. Ha! As if. (The only “interesting” thing I really did on that old Geocities site was compiling some comprehensive, alphabetized lists—all the named stars in the sky by constellation, all musical instruments in the world by category, and all the domesticated fruits of the world by climate. In retrospect, those were fairly obsessive and niche things to do, and probably representative of the single-minded, compulsive list-making that still dominates on Wikipedia and the Web in general today).

During the first half of college, I abandoned the Geocities page and bought my first domain, growing an actual personal website as I taught myself web design. There was a fair amount of interest-related content back then, including a large number of pictures and descriptions of my Gap Year travels, all hosted on the 20Mb of “free” webspace that Penn provided to students. Throughout the rest of my collegiate career I added a (since-deleted) Blogspot blog (which is where the Articles of the Moment originated), and gradually refined the design and coding of the site, eventually moving to my own rented webspace.

It was in 2011 when I began taking seriously suggestions from those around me to become a life coach. So I began to half-heartedly refocus my websites toward that goal, and away from purely personal content. But it still took another 3 years of life and work experiences to bring me to today, and to Alex Lorenc Life Coaching and AnotherMiddle.

Conclusion

If you’ve read this far, then you clearly need a hobby, but nevertheless thank you for your attention and readership, and stay tuned for much more to come in the future!

On Chiropractic

I recently received a query from one of my readers regarding my opinions on chiropractic, so I’ll try to briefly address the subject here.

The majority of alternative and traditional medicines, remedies, and practices out there are definitely based on grains of truth. Especially since it has so many adherents who swear by it and/or practice it happily, chiropractic in particular must have some of that truth to it as well. However, having personally had experience with many other similar therapies like Rolfing, Feldenkrist, Alexander Technique, osteopathy, craniosacral therapy, and more general manual therapy, I’ll say that chiropractic is definitely far cruder than most other body manipulation therapies.

As chiropractic revolves around relatively gross adjustments and spinal manipulation, when it does have an impact, it’s a very noticeable and immediate impact for the patient—hence the one area that chiropractic is actually proven to work with is lower back pain. Especially because of the Western public’s Big Media/Big Marketing-brainwashed desire for immediate gratification and sublimation of all pain, many people adhere to chiropractic’s offerings. And, for some types of stresses and injuries, such major adjustments can actually be quite helpful and therapeutic.

In general, however, it’s my view that chiropractic is actually one of the least beneficial therapies when it comes down to overall and longterm health and musculoskeletal fitness. The other techniques I mentioned above, plus many others, including self-administered yoga and even just regular exercise, can all be just as useful in not only relieving pain and curing ills, but also in preventing future issues. Additionally, most other therapies are much more low-impact than chiropractic can be, and since even popping your knuckles too often can lead to lower grip strength and inflammation, cracking one’s back too often, over the long term, can’t be too good.

There is one major caveat here though—as in many other areas, medicine (whether alternative or standard Western) is practiced by people, and even the worst person in a med school class can become a doctor. Therefore a lot of the bad press that many therapies get, including the recent spate of anti-chiropractic news out there, can often be traced back to individual idiots, bad practitioners, mistakes, and ignorance. A great chiropractor might be more knowledgeable and helpful than a bad doctor, and vice versa.

All that being said, as someone who tried a variety of such physical therapies as a child due to severe knock-knees, restricted breathing, and other physical problems, the mode that ended up fixing the issue for me (permanently, I must add), was manual therapy, an offshoot of osteopathy that deals with more minute manipulations of the fascia and other smaller connective tissues. There’s a good description of it here. Combined with a regular low-impact yoga routine, I’ve personally never felt better in my life.

So ultimately it’s up to you, as an individual, to find out what works best for yourself, by finding the best individual practitioners of whatever medical or therapeutic practice makes the most sense for your situation.