By Mike Bradley
MAYOR’S COLUMN – APRIL 12, 2018
This column has become increasingly more difficult to write (Editor’s Note: Surely he means type). Now writer’s block is a regular occurrence when faced with the column deadline and the culprit is social media. Feeding the beast of Twitter, Facebook and a Web page daily eats up material.
In the 19 years of writing this column have always had a big file marked “Column Ideas” and anytime came across something worth sharing would put it in the file, often not using for years. Now need daily material. Let me explain the “creative” process to get over writer’s block.
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Step 1. Stare at blank computer screen. See in the reflection on the screen the blood vessels in your forehead pulsating like a satellite on its way to Mars.
Step 2: Tilt head sideways hoping ideas will occur.
Step 3: Go look out window, stopping to look in fridge for inspiration.
Step 4: Open beer found in fridge which immediately inspires to put on the baseball game.
Step 5: Three hours later when baseball game is over, tilt head sideways (not spilling beer) again hoping for ideas.
Step 6: Google “Column Writing for Idiots”. Unfortunately denied access as didn’t have the password.
Step 7: Go back to staring at blank computer screen till beer is done. Then visit fridge again. Contemplate why is there a light in the fridge and not one in the freezer?
Step 8: Notice computer screen needs cleaning as does keyboard and do so.
Step 9: Search for past columns as “research” for material. Discover that “mine” has been minded too many times.
Step 10: Stare at blank computer screen. Ignore the fact the computer keys are mocking you by building a pyramid out of accumulated beer cans.
Step 11: Stand up and yell “Eureka, Eureka”.
Eureka is a word used to celebrate a discovery or invention. In this case I had discovered a column topic which is to write about not being able to write a column. Archimedes, the Greek Scholar, invented the word “Eureka” when he tripped over his then unnamed vacuum cleaner and called it several names not suitable for a family newspaper before naming his vacuum cleaner Eureka. His dog, Dyson, was grateful for not being called Eureka.
Having watched and monitored Facebook/Twitter for years, little realizing when monitoring Facebook it was monitoring me, finally decided to tiptoe into the social media minefield. The tipping point sadly was the decline, shrinkage, decimation of the media, here, there and everywhere, over the last few years, and their ability to convey and cover issues, to investigate beyond media releases and communication spin from the paid propagandists. So two years ago decided to become a social nedia “Guru” now with FB page (16 followers), Twitter (12 followers) and a Web Page (6 followers). Spent months posting “fake” postings trying to find my “voice” before going live in early 2017. Have tried to keep the postings humorous, non-political (as I can) and highlighting events that matter where media isn’t present. Discovered the biggest hits are the sunset pictures from the Bradley Bunker, beach walking shots along Lake Huron, and live tweeting from events like Canada Day and the Mayor’s Honour List Reception.
It took a while to learn social media because when growing up my social media outlet was called “outside”. Discovered quickly the social media beasts need to be fed daily and repeatedly, sort of like having cats, but less expensive. The need for witty, sparkling, pithy comments dominated my thoughts although that is not the gold standard on political postings. Noted there are two types of postings by politicians. Many politicians’ tweets and posts are about themselves (surprise) instead of about the event they are at or the people they are with and, unless you are Donald Trump, posts are as bland as applesauce. Difference between my tweets and Trump’s tweets is I can’t start a war. Some politicians’ posts are angry and controversial and, unlike Trump’s, usually bring an apology following the most over-used words in today’s society after a “social media firestorm”. Example: Mayor mocks applesauce as bland. Apple growers take to twitter to chastise and ask for an apology.
Tweeting is a challenge with 280 characters to do so without sounding illogical, illiterate or incompetent on an issue. At the beginning of my tweeting was hitting grand slams of all three words, sounding like a Twitter Twit. Did learn humour doesn’t always translate. On Canada Day tweeted asking people to wear red to the parade and if they mentioned my name they would get into Canatara Park for free. Was way too subtle a tweet (need better writers) and brought response tweets suggesting wearing red was an order from the Liberal Party of Ontario (It wasn’t. Libs are not that organized plus if they can’t tax it they are not interested). Other response tweets asked “Why do we have to pay?” (No one ever had to pay for Canada Day–that was the “joke”). Key rule is not to respond to tweets and if anyone wants to contact me they are asked to use firstname.lastname@example.org to do so. Have witnessed too many social media ping pong battles by keyboard warriors to join into those battles. Example: “You are an idiot”. Response: “No, you are an idiot”. Response back: “Yes you are”. Response: “No, I am not but your dog, Dyson, is”. And this goes on till one keyboard warrior quits and goes back to listening to heavy metal music in their underwear playing video games (not that there is anything wrong with that).
So when people ask what you learned by reading this column about not being able to write a column, you can honestly answer absolutely nothing and add I am not a better person for reading it. I did cure writer’s block by writing about not being able to write, so next column will be about how not to do brain surgery, how not to parachute jump and about not being invited to the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle.
Website: www.mayorbradley.com (http://mayorbradley.com) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayorofsarnia/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayorofsarnia
If you have any ideas or comments please call me at 519-332-0330 Ext. 3312 or 519-336-8092 or email email@example.com