Where everybody knows your name.

Making your way in the world today, takes everything you got. Taking a break from all your worries, it sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see, the troubles are all the same. You want to be where everybody knows your name. You want to go where people know, the people are all the same. You want to go where everybody knows your name.

“Cheers” by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart-Angelo
Sam Malone, via cheers.fandom

A few years ago I had a conversation with a friend of a friend, Maggie, which has remained with me. It was about a new running group that she had joined. <A little bit of background info: Maggie had recently moved back to the city she grew up in, but no longer had the same social circle. She is married to a doctor, who was completing his residency and spent a lot of time at work.> So I’m listening to Maggie talk about this running group, and she mentions that it is made up of people who love running AND Harry Potter. It is a Harry Potter running group. I’m intrigued, I must now know more: where do they meet, do they wear costumes, etc. Turns out, it is an online group, through Facebook, in which the members encourage each other to achieve running goals and share their love of being Potterheads ™. That is when I knew, social media platforms, such as Facebook, were an absolutely wonderful thing.

A place for everyone, literally.

Do you like knitting? There is a Facebook group for that here.

Want to be part of a Pirate page? Sure, that exists here.

Avid ghost hunter? Find your fellow Paranormalists ™ here!

Do you love cats? Follow any of these hashtags on Instagram: #cats, #catsofinstagram, #catscatscats.

Pirate cat, via Onlineamericanstore

This list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Social media platforms have created safe spaces for groups of like-minded individuals to gather in the online world. Whether it be to share, to support or simply to encourage each other, people who might otherwise have felt alone, can have a feeling of belonging. Social media allows for traditional barriers, such as mobility limitations, geography, cultural practices, etc., to be non-issues.  As long as you have an internet connection and a device (computer, table, smartphone), you can create an account and have access to a community made for you.

Making your way in the world today.

As the song goes, making your way in the world today, takes everything you’ve got. And that, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. In an increasingly complex and moving (usually) world, safe spaces and welcoming groups can be crucial to someone’s happiness and well-being. Shared experiences, like-minded individuals, and a sense of belonging have been made possible by social media. And though it can be argued, as I have done in my first two blogs, that social media has its negatives, I believe the positives outweigh them. And that is highlighted so much more today, when during a global pandemic we are being asked to social distance ourselves from others, to stay home, social media allows you to connect and be present. I think that this ability to connect, and Maggie’s Harry Potter themed running group, are the best things to come from social media.

What do you think? Are you part of any social media groups of communities? What is the best group you’ve been a part of, or even, just heard of online? I’d love to know!

Facebook: Where Everybody Knows Your Name: A Place for Everyone in Social Media. #Belonging #Cheers Read it at https://bit.ly/3c1euZT

Twitter: Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Read it at https://bit.ly/3c1euZT #weallbelong #cheers

What do you meme?

If you were to take a look at my Instagram feed or my Facebook page, you would see that the majority of my content is made up of memes. I love memes. I might go so far as to say that, in my opinion, memes are one of THE BEST things to have resulted from social media. Bored? Look at memes. Sad? Look at memes. Happy because you’re looking at memes? Share them with friends so that they can be happy too. Overwhelmed by the dire realities of an ongoing pandemic outbreak? Look at memes!

What is a meme?

A meme [meem], as defined on dictionary.com, is a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way (Dictionary.com).  Memes can be shared across all social media platforms, and are, constantly. Nothing is off limits when it comes to these entertaining images. They take on anxiety, dating, politics, work, current events, Tiger King – it doesn’t take long to find a meme on the topic of your choosing. Memes can bring a light of sorts to dark moments, and laughter into a situation where there had been none.

Sleeping clay penguin, source unknown.

How it all started.

The first meme is thought to have appeared around approximately one hundred years ago, in a satirical magazine. (Gerken, 2018). Though they didn’t reach their height of popularity back then, the advent of social media platforms has created a medium for them to flourish. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., all allow for easy sharing, and make it possible for almost immediate reaction to current events.

Image by yarmalenko via MemeCenter

Make your own memes!

Interested in making your own meme but aren’t sure how? This wikihow page can teach you. Yours might be the next meme on my feed!

Sharing is caring.

Though not everyone may feel as strongly as I do, I’m confident there have been a few memes that you’ve found worthy of sharing. Let me know if you’re a fan of any in particular, or if there are any I should search out. I’d love to know, what do you meme?

Image by @charlieamber94 via cheeseburger.com

Facebook: What do you meme? A look into the cultural phenomenon that are memes.

Twitter: What do you meme? #memes #whatdoyoumeme


Dictionary.com. 2020. Meme. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/meme#

Gerken, Tom. 2018. Is this 1921 cartoon the first even meme? BBC Trending. Retrived from https://www.bbc.com/new/blogs-trending-43783521

Love in the time of Social Media

If there is one thing that most humans have in common, it is the need to love and be loved in return. Our constant quest for companionship, validation, acceptance, and ultimately love, is what pushes us to be social, to better ourselves, and is how the population grows. It is also, however, our Achilles heel. It makes us vulnerable and susceptible, targets for those who would take great advantage of said needs and who prey on those simply looking for love. And while this concept is not new, the prevalence of romance schemes and the resulting financial loss is increasing at an alarming rate with the help of social media.

I know we’ve just met, but I think I love you. Can I borrow $5000?

As I mentioned, love scams aren’t a new phenomenon, they have been occurring on dating sites for probably as long as dating sites have existed. But what IS new is the spread of these frauds to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the list most likely goes on. Romantic connections have become so prevalent on Facebook that they recently created their own dating app! These frauds begin with a seemingly harmless DM from a stranger, but can quickly escalate to much more.

According to a CTV News article, romance frauds are the number one fraud in Canada. It is estimated that in 2018, Canadian victims lost more than 22.5 million to this type of scam (Otis, 2019, p. 3). This figure represents the losses of just 760 victims, meaning that victims were out, on average, nearly $30,000 each (Otis, 2019, p. 6). And while that sounds bad, it gets worse: the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) believes that only 5% of victims are filing reports (Otis, 2019, p. 3). (Note: 2018 was the most recent year for which I could find statistics, but based on trends, we can assume these figures will be higher for 2019.)

There are some warning signs that people should look out for:

  • Someone quickly develops a long-distance romantic relationship with you.
  • They claim to live nearby but work overseas.
  • They claim to be involved in a lucrative business but need financial help. (Otis, 2019, p. 14)
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What can singles do to play it safe? The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has some tips:

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels
  • Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.
  • Talk to someone you trust about this new love interest. In the excitement about what feels like a new relationship, we can be blinded to things that don’t add up. Pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
  • Take it slowly. Try a reverse image search of the profile pictures. If they are associated with a different name or with details that don’t match up, it is a scam. (Fletcher, 2019, p. 6)

To love, or not to love.

Given the prevalence of romance fraud on social media, one has to wonder whether people should refrain from any type of romantic relationship online. When people lose their life savings in the search for love online, one would think that perhaps a return to the old ways of meeting face to face first might be best. But the convenience of meeting people online, of meeting a greater number of people in a shorter amount of time, might be something people just don’t want to give up. The question then becomes, how much are we willing to wager that we’ve actually found our love, in the time of social media?


Fletcher, Emma. (2019, February 12). Romance Scams Rank #1 on Total Reported Loses. U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved from https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/data-spotlight/2019/02/romance-scams-rank-number-one-total-reported-losses

Otis, Daniel. (2019, February 13). No. 1 Scam: Romance Fraud Costs Canadians More Than 22.5M in 2018. CTVNews.ca. Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/no-1-scam-romance-fraud-cost-canadians-more-than-22-5m-in-2018-1

Facebook: Love in the time of Social Media: A look at the modern day love affair. https://bit.ly/2Uc0Hto

Twitter: Love in the time of Social Media #Moderndaylove #RomanceScams https://bit.ly/2Uc0Hto

Everyone is an Expert.

It used to be that you had to go through years of schooling, and then just as many years of experience, to be considered an expert on a subject. Or, you had to find a professional, make an appointment, take the time to go in to meet them, and have a discussion to obtain their expert opinion and advice on the matter at hand. Today, you simply have to grab your laptop, tablet or smart phone and jump online to find a slew of self-professed experts ready and willing to provide their opinion (and usually for free!). While the rise of social media has provided us with an endless ability to share and discuss with millions of strangers online, it has also opened the flood gates to a wave of individuals who claim expertise where none exists.

Everyone has an opinion, and they want it to be yours too.

From health to wealth, fitness and relationships, legal and moral, there is a plethora of advice available on the World Wide Web telling exactly what you need to be doing to be living your best life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and are just a few of the platforms available for any Joe (or Jane) Blow to disperse their recommendations.

And that’s not to say that only those doling out the advice are to blame. Sites such as Reddit’s Amitheasshole page allows people to ASK the friendly strangers of the internet to pass judgment on them! The issues that come up are often more entertaining than anything, but every now and again a question will be put forward that clearly required the help or guidance of an actual professional. Antivaxer groups exist to warn of the supposed dangers of vaccinations, a cite information that is without fact or support. Becoming rich is now easier than ever, with someone who claims to have done it, willing to part with their knowledge for a fee. Or, people who know what investment strategy you should be using, even though they know nothing of your goals. And don’t even get me started on fitness. 

How do we filter the good from the bad and should we?

Sometimes people are simply out there looking for an opinion that confirms their own, other times they are in genuine search of help. People have a personal responsibility to seek out information from an appropriate source, but there should also be a responsibility to refrain from preaching a sermon they might not actually know. So what do you think, is this increased accessibility to advice and opinions beneficial, or is social media giving a platform to those who should maybe stay on the sideline?

Facebook: Everyone is an Expert. You can probably be one too! https://bit.ly/2WgtQoS

Twitter: Everyone is an Expert. #Inmyopinion #Imnotanexpertbut https://bit.ly/2WgtQoS