Friends or Entourage?


Facebook
: a great way to stay in touch with the people you love. But social networking has a deceptive touch.

Most people have Facebook accounts and the Friends List included with them. (And even if you don’t have a Facebook, you’ve probably heard of this anyway.) If you’re out of this loop, here’s a lesson on becoming friends on Facebook:

  • Find someone you know, someone who knows someone you know, someone who shares your interests, someone who looks interesting, etc.
  • Click on their name, and in the next dialog box, click “Add as Friend” to send them a “friend request.”
  • If they accept your request, you’ll get a notification saying, “John Smith has accepted your friend request.”
  • Congratulations! You are now friends forever!

Don’t you wish relationships were this easy to start and maintain outside the Net?

That’s the superficiality of Facebook. Your “friends” could be the super fan who faints at your concerts, the girl in your school you’ve never met (but who requested you because you attend the same school), a random person in Brazil who thinks you have a cutest smile, or the man who’s trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest Friends List. Do those connections really mean anything?

How many “friends” do you have? Ten? Fifty? Five hundred? Well, aren’t you a star? But how many of them talk to you more than once a month? What are your conversations about? How many of your “friends” know you, instead of knowing about you? Have you met them all in person? Most importantly, how many of them truly love you?

The list shrinks, doesn’t it? Maybe ten people out of a thousand. The other 990 rot on your Friends page; they’re nothing more than your entourage. You may even have forgotten each other.

So, tell me. Who are your real friends?

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More Than Weather: NOAA Posts Links to Swine Flu Info


NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), generally associated with The National Weather Service, is pulling double duty by adding a green box of links marked “2009 Flu Info” to their home page. The links only lead to government health sites, of course, such as WHO, HHS (Human Health and Services), and the CDC. So if you’re someone who frequents NOAA’s website, you now have another place to get both the recent weather and health news.

Of course, this also shows the extent of the fear about the swine flu. Health may have a lot to do with climate, but to me, NOAA’s still seems to be stepping out of their boundary. Or maybe they’ve done this before—I don’t know. Can we go nowhere without getting the swine flu bulletin waved in our faces? As excessive as the hype is, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; that’s the intent of this move: to help people prepare.

WWWJDIC Gets an Upgrade

If you’re a nerd like me and frequent the Japanese dictionary site Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC, you’ll love the latest addition: audio clips! Now you can improve your vocab even more with sound files to help you speak like a native! As a bonus, some of these words are also now linked to lessons from JapanesePod101.com! Nihongo students, rejoice!

Here’s another great Japanese dictionary: Tangorin.com. The layout is clean and simple. Just type any Japanese or English word into the search box. Other languages like French or German work, too. There are other search options, like Kanji and proper names. Some of the Kanji listings even have stroke order diagrams, courtesy of Kanji Cafe! Very helpful! One con of Tangorin is that it doesn’t detect verb conjugations like WWWJDIC does. For example, if you search for まって matte, the dictionary will look for it alone but will not recognize it as a form of 待つ matsu (to wait). Regardless, I still recommend the site.

You can read more about WWWJDIC’s new sound bites here. Happy learning!