How Many Friends Do You Have?

How many friends do you have? For many, a quick answer resides in Facebook. In addition to Facebook friends, some might consider Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections. But for most, the number of online “friends” overstates the situation.

Try removing social media from consideration. For a revised answer, people may count the number of email addresses in their email account or the length of their phone directory in their cell phone. But that still overstates things.

Let’s remove all technology from consideration. How many friends do you actually see face to face on a weekly basis? The number of “friends” is shrinking. But is everyone in this group truly a friend?

For me, my true friends are those I could call for an emergency at 3 AM. It’s a short list. How about you?

The Fervor Over Facebook

Now that the fervor over Facebook’s stock IPO (initial public offering) has finally died down, let me assert that they nailed their stock price. The fact that people are being critical over it, suggests only one thing: greedy speculators.

If an IPO price offered is too high, the shares do not all sell (and the company doesn’t raise as much funds as they wanted). If they do manage to sell all the shares and the stock price plummets, then everyone feels they paid too much and were ripped off.

On the other hand, if the price offered is too low, then the stock quickly sells out and the price jumps up, sometimes quite a bit. But when this happens, the company doesn’t benefit from the higher price — they merely get the amount they planned on — but the stock speculators make out like bandits. Many expected Facebook shares to do just that, sell out quickly and then skyrocket. When that didn’t happen, the speculators missed the quick profit they wished for — and began complaining. This merely exposed their greed and the expectation of making a quick buck without really doing anything.

The fact that Facebook’s stock sold quickly and they hovered around the offered price, confirms it was neither too low nor too high, but just right. This was the right thing for Facebook and all their existing stockholders. Facebook earned all the money they expected to but didn’t leave anything on the table for greedy investors trying to make a quick buck.

Facebook got it just right and I salute them.

My Summertime Schedule

For myself and many others, summer effectively begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.

This year the weather seems to concur that summer is over. Last Friday, temperatures in southern Michigan were in the upper nineties, with a heat index of 105 to 115. Today, the highs failed to hit 70, with a predicted low tonight of 45.

For the first time in months, I am wearing jeans and have donned a sweatshirt. It certainly feels like fall.

With fall comes a pledge to blog more frequently. If you’re keeping track, it’s pushing two months since my last post. It’s not that I have nothing to share — I’ve composed many a blog in my mind — it’s that I’ve not had a chance to write things out. So, I hope to begin catching up and write retroactively.

Another change is that the comments and trackbacks features are again reactivated. I had turned them off due to a high degree of spam, but with a software upgrade, things are again manageable.

Also, check out my other blogs, which I post to more frequently:

Going Forward

Regular readers of this blog (thank you, one and all) have noticed a decided decrease in posting frequency over the past six months. While Musings will remain alive and active, infrequency will become the new norm.

When I started Musings over three years ago, it was to provide a creative outlet, connect with others via the written word, and learn about the art of blogging. By design, Musings had no theme, other than to share the musing of my mind at that moment. While it was not a stream-of-conscience spew (that would be narcissistic and boring), it did bounce all over the place. No one would connect with all my topics, such as family, computers, nature, movies, politics, business, sports, weather, and even blogging about blogging.

Realizing the need to blog around a theme and for me to focus on areas of interest, I have begun to specialize. The result is that, going forward, I will primarily be blogging at:

I encourage you to pick the ones that interest you and follow me there, as well as occasional future posts here.

Thank you!

President Obama Visits Kalamazoo

I’m not sure if this was covered in the national news, but President Obama paid a visit to Kalamazoo yesterday. Of course, it was a huge deal here. The reason for his visit was to deliver a high school commencement address to the graduating class of Kalamazoo Central High School. It was, indeed, quite an honor. I heard sound bites of his speech on the news; what I heard was stirring, inspirational, and wise.

Even so, there is a clip of a napping member of the choir — pictured in the background, with the president in the foreground speaking at the podium. A classmate gives the snoozing student a wary look; he jerks to reality just in time to applaud the command-in-chief. Even if it is a hoax, it is sure to go viral.

News reports of the event indicate the Mr. Obama avoided politics and focused on the graduates and the opportunities before them. I was also treated to some reports and cell phone pics, courtesy of my Facebook friends.

While some people were rightly enthused about the president’s visit, many were also critical. This was in part because they feared he would use the event for political expediency, a few because they lack respect for him or his position, but most due to all the commotion and hassles that it caused — not to mention the incredible cost for security.

Interestingly, the news reported that President Obama flew into the Grand Rapids airport and not the much closer Kalamazoo airport. A fleet of helicopters transported him and his team the 45 miles between the two cities. The reporter did not mention what was found lacking with our local airport.

Notably, President Obama reportedly shook hands with each graduate as they received their diploma, likely creating a lasting and significant impression on each one. Thank you President Obama.

Do You Tweet?

Are you into Twitter?  Do you tweet?

Twitter, by the way, is self-billed as a “social messaging utility.”   I prefer an alternate description as a “micro-blogging service.”

Frankly, it’s been a challenge for me to keep these blog posts under my self-imposed limit of 300 words (this one stands at 278), so I can’t fathom being succinct enough to stay under Twitters 140-character limit (which is less than this sentence).

Regardless, many people are tweeting away.  According to Audience Development magazine, who was reporting on Nielsen findings, the growth rate on Twitter from February 2008 to February 2009 was an amazing 1,382%  That is an astronomically huge jump.

To check Twitter out I signed up for a couple of feeds.  First, is President Obama.  He (or at least someone purporting to be him) doesn’t tweet to often.  The last one was asking me to tangibly show my support for his healthcare reform plan.  I agree with his three principles (reduce costs, guaranteed choice, and ensure accessibility) but see them as being mutually exclusive, so I declined to sign his petition.

The other feed that I subscribe to is Erwin McManus, who recently embarked on a trip to Europe (he’s back now).  It was interesting to journey with him, albeit in 140-character increments, but I would often forget to check the feed.  I suppose if I received them as text messages on my cell phone it would be more convenient, but I block text messages on my cell phone because I don’t want to be interrupted with text messages on my cell phone.

I have better things too do.

Besides, I still need to carve out time to set up my Facebook account.

Going Digital

In the May 4 issue of Information Week magazine, there is a great quote from Colin Powell. He said,

“I was born analog, was raised analog, and lived most of my life analog. I had to become digital over the last 20 years, and I’ve had to work hard at it because my business required it.”

I’ve never thought of it in those terms, but I can identify with that. I, too, was born analog and raised analog. However, I’ve spent half my life in a state of migration from analog to digital. I’d like to think that I’ve transitioned nicely. After all, I embrace the Internet, I blog, I have several websites, and my work not only revolves around cyberspace, but I use it as the primary means of conducting business.

However, before I become too comfortable patting myself on the back for my digital sophistication, I must admit that the allure of text messaging evades me and Twitter seems more like a novelty that a practical communication tool (see “Do You Tweet?“).

So perhaps I’m not a digital as I’d like to be.