Blog post #2 COM0011 Fill in the blank: Social media helped me ___________________.

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How would you answer this question?

For my first “Fill in the blank: Social media helped me, I can answer. It helped me find an old friend who is fighting cancer.

Let me explain.

Last week whilst scrolling through FB, my buddy and former music biz colleague Bob Roper, posted this meme:

Source: Pinterest

Funny, right?

Now, Sam Kinison was one of the funniest performers on the planet back in the mid-80’s-early 90’s. He was what was known as a shock comic, or an insult comic. His best friend and fellow comedian, Carl Labove, was a friend of mine. Bob’s post reminded of the fact that I hadn’t thought of either of them in years.

Sam and Carl were also known as the ‘Outlaws of Comedy’. Sam’s iconic screams were so over the top he made a name for himself, carved out his own niche. He was fortunate to catch the eye of Rodney Dangerfield, who was very supportive. Rodney gave Sam his first big break with an appearance in his 1986 film “Back to School”. He also did stints on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman. His star was rising. Carl is also very talented, although by hitching himself to Sam, he tended to have to stay in the shadows. But make no mistake, Carl is very funny too.

Carl LaBove live, courtesy journeypictures

When Sam and Carl would play gigs in Toronto, we would always find time to hang out together. Hijinx and all-nighters would ensue. They were awesome guys, and hey, if I could make some of the funniest comics on the planet laugh, well, what can I say, it was all very cool.

So, I posted the following comment on Bob’s page:

I loved Sam Kinison and he died so tragically and too young. He would always come to my place in the Beaches and hang out when he was in town. His friend Carl LaBove was a good friend of mine too, and survived the car crash that took Sam’s life. But oh the laughs and good times we had together! Sam was a really, really sweet guy, completely different off stage. How he didn’t blow his voice with all that screaming, I don’t know! Thanks for the memory Bob.

As I mentioned in my FB post, Sam tragically died in a car accident on the way from LA to Vegas for a show. Carl was in the car with him and Sam’s new wife. They were hit by a drunk driver. Carl and Sam’s wife survived their injuries, Sam died on the scene.

In an effort to find out where Carl was these days, I thought I’d do a little online research. I found a 2013 article about him that brought some shocking news. It seems that Carl’s daughter was actually fathered by his deceased, and so he thought, best friend. Shocking, to say the least.

I kept digging and then found out some sad news. Carl has been battling cancer.

But, thanks to social media, Carl’s friend and fellow comic, Dan Pasternack launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to help pay for Carl’s medical bills. I made a donation (thanks to social media).

I kept digging some more because I couldn’t seem to find a way to contact Carl. But thanks to social media, I found Dan Pasternack on Facebook and sent him a note through Messenger. He kindly replied that he had forwarded my message along to Carl and that Carl was going to reach out to me.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Carl. I haven’t heard his voice in years, but I’m sure the time will melt away and we’ll share a few laughs once again.

Thank you, social media. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to find an old friend in his time of need. I hope to offer him some comfort and love. Maybe I can put a smile on his face too.

I look forward to reading your answers to my fill in the blank question today.

Danielle Tremblay

Does content make you content?

A social media diet digested by Danielle Tremblay

Should time spent online be counted like calories? And if so, should we get bonus points for digesting educational content? Lose credits when we waste time on junk? Earn heart credits for laughing out loud, and getting the warm and fuzzies when watching baby animal videos?

These were some of the questions that came to mind when I was asked to opine on social media and emerging technologies.

Full disclosure. The thought of producing this blog, did not sit well with me. Frankly, I don’t even like the sound of the word “blog”. Blog=blah

And, as a writer whose work is specifically designed to fly under the radar (my job is to write and not sign my name), producing something where I am asked to use my voice, what can I say…it filled me with dread.

How many devices does it take to change a generation?
The proverbial lightbulb moment

For those of us who know how a lightbulb works – because we learned about it in school. You know, where we had to look things up in books, encyclopedias and gasp, dictionaries!!??

Today, I see how easily time spent on the internet sends us down a rabbit hole plunging us into a vortex of information overload.

So, if information overload is the new addiction, how do we stay fresh in this environment?

The internet and technology were supposed to make our lives easier, more carefree. We were supposed to have more leisure time, but if we are spending that time on a steady diet of screen time, where is the leisure?

How hungry are we for distraction?
More is more is more

Does it soothe you to scroll through your Facebook or Instagram account?

How long does it take after your feet hit the floor in the morning before you are looking at a screen?

Or do you sleep with your technology on the pillow next to you and barely open bleary eyes before you are back in the vortex again?

I know that on most days, I don’t even get out of bed until I’ve completed my daily solitaire challenge, checked my inbox and google calendar. I have an ipad with a Bluetooth speaker to listen to SiriusXM or my favourite blend of music on Accuradio, I fire up two laptops.

I watch on-demand television: Netflix, Prime, Crave, HBO, AppleTV, I do have access to commercial tv stations but I hardly ever tune in. And of course, there’s Hayu (to get my fix of Real Housewives shows.)

Geez, come to think of it, my books are even on my ipad now, their hard copy cousins languishing on a shelf gathering dust. Shouldn’t I be the one languishing?

Do we use social media or does it use us?
The clock is ticking…

Is social media a time sucker or do we really grow our knowledge and expand our horizons learning about things we would never have been exposed to before the advent of this new brand of mass communication? I mean, now everyone can be a content contributor – but how do you wade through the noise and the click bait and horrible sales pitches?

Finally, some writers are finding new streams of revenue for their art through the new media gold rush of paid newsletters such as Substack. Maybe I could find my voice doing something like that?

Has COVID-19 really changed our lives?

For the last year, we have all huddled at home, everyone on their favourite screen, binging on Netflix shows, staying up through the night playing live stream video games, and sleeping until mid-afternoon before we get up and do it all again. But wasn’t it like that pre-pandemic?

I believe we need to ensure we have screen-free time each day or we will surely not be able to have a face to face conversation with friends and family when our masks come off. We will be speaking in sound bites, losing interest easily and twitching to get at our phones instead of having fulsome conversations and debates. But wasn’t it like that pre-pandemic?

Meanwhile, my vision board and journal sit empty, staring blankly back at me. I know they need me to pay them some attention, but until I put an alarm on my phone to remind me to put pen to paper, they likely won’t be completed.


The Ultimate Guide to Writing Irresistible Subheads by Gary Korisko

The Next Media Gold Rush, Vanity Fair article by Joe Pompeo, December 2020