Archives For social media


adjective / ˈsnärkē /  sharply critical, cutting, or snide


Fresh tomatoes have their place.  And that place is not in my mouth.

Mexican restaurants are the worst perpetrators, probably because they are simply awash in fresh tomatoes.  They put fresh tomatoes on and in everything.  Therefore, even when I order my burrito with “NO TOMATOES,” I still routinely find rogue stow-away chunks of tomato pulp hidden among the tender folds of my flour tortilla.  I can’t escape them. So I’m forced to eat my Chipotle burritos with great caution, carefully scanning each bite for refugee tomato chunks that have slipped in among the pinto beans unannounced.  Sure as shootin’ if I eat my burrito with abandon and blind trust… BAM. I’m going to bite into a chunk of unwelcomed tomato pulp and get a case of the jigglies*insert shudder here*

Here it is: my distaste for fresh tomatoes parallels my feelings about snark in the Church.  I have been known to enjoy hurling a sarcastic tweet into the wild now and again.  I admit it.  And I admit it with some degree of regret, because I recognize it as a part of my fallen nature.  More often than not sarcasm cuts deeper than can be justified.  I’m trying to change my ways in this regard.

Now when I’m listening to a brother or sister in leadership, or reading from a fellow Christian blogger or columnist, when I run headlong into a face-full of snark, it puts a bad taste in my mouth.  Like a chunk of fresh tomato. Uninvited.  Unappreciated.  Unwanted.  Ineffective.

Mark Driscoll just got a talking to from his elder board. Mark is a guy with whom I agree on a broad spectrum of theological issues.  I’m in his camp most of the time.  And I love his passion to minister to and engage the 20 and 30 something MEN of the Church.  No doubt, we need strong voices calling men to be leaders and fulfill their biblical calling to be the head of the home they are made to be – and to lead the Church with a mix of Spirit-led confidence and humble grace.

However, Mark does have a cocky side.

The dark side of strong leadership gifts is a propensity toward pride and rash decision-making.  As much as I have loved brother Mark over the years, this was a foolish thing to do.

Earlier this month, Driscoll posted the following question on Facebook:

Yep, he did. Yuck-o.

Now blogger/speaker Rachel Held Evans has publically taken him to the woodshed.  His elders have taken corrective action.  And Mark responded with a non-apology, but an acknowledgement that he lacked judgement and is glad to be under the authority of elders who will reign him in when necessary.

All of this is like a big, gnarly chunk of tomato in the proverbial burrito of my Mark Driscoll relationship.

I have written about this kind of “since I’m right you’re not worthy of respect” attitude in the Church before – check out the related links below this post. It matters to me because it matters to the church.  I don’t bring up the Mark Driscoll junk in order to join any bandwagons, or to make this debate about Mark and his ministry.  Rather, this is an example.  A real time example.  Mark has lost some credibility in my eyes.  His snark has a cost. He may have important things to say to the men of the church.  But this snarky tone is unwise.  Uninvited.  Unappreciated.  Unwanted.  Ineffective.

Because of an overload of pride and snark, Driscoll has lost the opportunity to effectively share the Gospel with thousands of people who will now write him off as an unkind, homophobic chauvanist.  I mean, there are plenty of people who already had come to that conclusion.  Now even more will tune him out, and that’s a net loss for the Kingdom.  When he speaks of the saving power of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross on our behalf, he is clear, he is potent, he is offering the only hope we have of eternal life.  But now, how many will ignore (or worse, discount with prejudice) whatever he has to say about Jesus Christ… all for a moment of snark?

When you are a Christ-follower, and a leader in the Church, no less, the consequences are eternal.

Snarky = sinfully caloused to the spiritual reality that we are ALL sinners who need the grace of Jesus.  No exceptions.  There is a place for watchdogs in the Church, calling out “Danger! Danger!” when false teachers are threatening to steal from God’s flock.  Wolves among the sheep.  However, I am wary of those who make “watchdog” their identity – if they wear the title with pride – and wield their opinions with more snark than love.  We are to be motivated by awe and love, yes, rather than sarcasm and guilt?  Snark is unkind, and it raises defenses. A kind word turns away wrath, and even those we disagree with are more likely to listen if we engage them with respect.

My world will be that much closer to heaven when I see less snarky barbs being hurled between brothers.  If you intend to hurl tomatoes at other brothers and sisters in the Church, I’ll ask you to consider a less caustic approach to dialogue. And I’ll ask you not to get any of that pulpy mess in my Tex-Mex, thank you very much.

Talk to me…

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“yes, i’d like some sound biblical teaching with a side of discernment and extra intergrity… hold the snark” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

It’s that time again.  Once in awhile it is healthy to take a break.  Because I’m an active technology user, I need to step away once in awhile to remind myself that I use technology with a purpose, or it will use me.

This weekend is the unofficial (but recognized) kick-off to summer, and our family is heading up North for a little vacation.  We have often taken JUNE off from television/technology in the last few years.  I’m going to follow that tradition this year, too.

Also, for those of you who know me best, you have seen how much of my life has been wrapped up in late nights and early mornings studying.  My family has not seen much of me these last nine months, and I haven’t seen enough of them, either.  I’ve got a few more assignments to wrap up before next Friday, and then I’m deeply looking forward to going on more dates, playing catch and reading with my kids, and basically being present with and for them.

I’m overdue for a tech Sabbath.  It seems like the time is right.  I’m not done blogging or tweeting or Facebooking altogether (unless the Lord so leads), but for now, I’m getting off the train.  Catch up with y’all later this summer!  God bless.

Here’s my theory:  God created people like this to reveal His genius.  When we create, and what we create is beautiful and real, we honor God by reflecting His nature.  So go CREATE.  🙂  Enjoy this…

I’ve been using RockMelt, a brand new social-media infused browser this past week, and I love it.

RockMelt is fast, like Chrome (built using the open-source Chromium platform from Google), and looks similar in many ways.  But it’s injected with awesome sauce, like social media rocket fuel for the attention deficit disorder crowd.  Of course, as with all things tech, the interwebs are already glutted with elitist opinions being spouted with zealous contempt for those on the other side.  RockMelt is building a base of enthusiastic new users whose main evidence for it’s sheer awesomeness is that they are using it… and loving it.  On the other side are vocal critics who lambaste the new browser as nothing new… or a major step backwards.

I say, if you like it… good times. I don’t think it is revolutionary… it simply leans on FaceBook’s infrastructure and allows you to connect other media sites (ala Twitter, Picasa, Vimeo, Posterous, Tumblr, etc., etc…) right into your browsing experience.  But it certainly seems like a logical and well designed method of “synthethizing” your on-line presence and connections while you browse.

NOTE: If you’re not that interested in social media, this browser won’t appeal to you.  On the other hand, if you’re reading this right now, you most likely found it through my FaceBook, Twitter, or Tumblr connections… so you may be the target audience.  You may also prefer to do one thing at a time.  This browser is built for the ADD afflicted, the multi-taskers, and the relationally-wired web set.  Like I said… I am LOVING it.

You can use RockMelt by invitation right now.  I’ve got a handful of invites to distribute.  If we are connected on FaceBook, leave a comment if you want to give it a shot, and I’ll hook you up! 


Yesterday I registered a new domain.  Once I get all the kinks and links worked out, I’ll formally unveil to the world.  If you stumbled onto this post, consider this a sneak preview.  As of yesterday afternoon, I’m a part of the Tumblr community.

So why Tumblr?  Some of you are probably asking… what IS Tumblr in the first place?

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to their tumblelog, a short-form blog. Users can then follow other users, similar to Twitter, or choose to make their tumblelog private.

Up until now I have also been using Posterous for the purpose of simple post microblogging up until this point, and I will continue to do so.  For me, Posterous has been a FANTASTIC and easy platform for uploading life-in-real-time photos, videos, and small batch photo albums from an event, for example.  I have also used it when I need a place to post something that just doesn’t seem to fit on Twitter, Facebook, or this blog.  But it’s ease of use (universal, multi-platform posting through email) is genius.  I’m not leaving Posterous behind.  In fact, I just gave my Posterous site a facelift.  You can take a peek here if you’re curious.

So why add another layer to my on-line life right now?  A few quick reasons:

(1) Tumblr has a lot of momentum right now.  They are one of the fastest growing sites on the web, and they have a fiercely loyal user community.  I want to surf ahead of the oncoming technology wave, and building connections through Tumblr seems to be a smart move.

(2)  Two words:  easy and free.  Like the best of the web 2.0 world, Tumblr is FREE, and getting signed up is a cake walk.

(3)  Tumblr’s reblogging function.  With a buton click it is easy-peasy to “re-blog” someone else’s post into your blog stream… where it can be re-blogged again by your followers, etc.  Tumblr provides an easy format for sharing info – which is what on-line social media is all about – and their community has proven to be generous and loyal with the link love.  If I want to share thoughts and ideas with a broader audience, Tumblr seems like a GREAT platform.  And I’ll undoubtedly build new connections along the way.  Win – win.

(4)  I often have conversations with people asking how I keep all this tech stuff straight, and why I have multiple sites for different content, and how it all works together.  I’m going to post a new blog article soon simply laying out my web-life strategy for the curious.  But right now, without a chart and visual aids and a cup of coffee and half an hour, all this online stuff can blur together into a complicated mess.  I’ve been looking for a way to aggregate my online content, fromTwitter and Facebook, videos, photos, audio, quick thoughts and longer conversations, blog posts and all in ONE location.  Simple. Clean.  I’m hoping to make jskogerboe :: connected that place.

Tumblr is providing me another link in the chain right now – I think it will be a solution for the simplification problem I’ve been trying to solve.  Over the next few days I will be continuing to expiriment.  To see if I can make all my online content upload to my Tumblr site.  Actually… truth be told… this very post is a bit of an expeiriment.  I want to see if it will link to Tumblr.  I’ll keep tweaking until it’s working smoothly, and then I’ll do a more fanfare-laden unveiling.

In the mean time, I’m pretty excited about this.  And if any of you are Tumblr users, I’d be honored to have you follow me.  I’m a Tumblr rookie, so advice is welcome, too.

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“why i’m adding tumblr :: social momentum and on-line aggregation” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This made me happy.

I love the passionate undercurrent of unchecked self-confidence and Don Juan worthy machismo in Grover’s final, “Now BACK to ME.”  So good.

I don’t have an iPad.  They are super-freak cool, don’t get me wrong.  But up until today they have seemed to be primarily designed as amazingly slick individual entertainment devices – at a pricepoint I can’t justify just yet.

But today I ran into this… Apparently the hipsters and techno-files are all a-flutter over a new iPad App called Flipboard.  I’m a little Twitterpated myself…

Flipboard bills itself as “Your own personalized social magazine.”  Drawing content from your friend networks on social media sites like Facebook an Twitter, its content is updated constantly and presented in a magazine publication design format.  Brilliant.  Custom content + social interaction.  This is the new interwebs, people!  Web 2.0 leaves isolation behind and trades it in for a shiny new “connected” experience where personalization and interactivity trump static content.

This is a big deal.  This is not your father’s internet… wait… your father’s internet was called “books.”  Too far back.  Um… this is not your older brother’s internet.  In other words, we have seen a tectonic shift in the way the internet functions.  This is a whole new era.  We need to change our thinking…

Bottom line:  the first decade and a half of the internet’s rise to prominence was marked by a presentational model of communication, developed and based in the linear paper-and-ink style.  Email, and most websites viewed by the general public, were set up in this way.  You would visit a site address and read what was presented to you.  Businesses set up their web sites like digital magazine ads.  Presentation.  As if what was on the screen was simply a digital reproduction of what we could just as well read or view on paper.

Visit any prominent organization or business’s website today and what do you find?  “Follow us on Twitter.  Join our fan page on Facebook.  15% Foursquare discount if you check in on site.  Check out our blog page…”

Interactive.  Personalized.  Communal.  Digital community.  So goes the web.

As a church leader, I see huge upside to being “connected.”  I see huge upside to making our church websites interactive… to harnessing the digital space on Facebook and Twitter to keep community interacting between weekend services or Tuesday night Bible study groups.

I get excited about a day when I open my Flipbook on my very own iPad, and it is filled with pictures, videos, and status updates from my church family…  links to articles they are reading, and threads of conversation about what has captured their attention this week.  I mean, we do that already, communicating with our tribe on Twitter and Facebook.  But I see the integration of connection, technology, and everyday life becoming more and more the norm.  Flipboard is representative of this change.  Connection is coming to us now.  Smart-phones an laptops and iPads make it possible (if you want to) to stay connected to a digital community from almost anywhere, at almost any time.

Of course, there are some dangers that accompany this new interconnected “life-streaming” technology.  Such is the case with EVERY technology.  The printing press first mass produced God’s word.  It also produced pornography.  Films like “Schindler’s List” inspire deep and important thoughts about life and faith.  But the same technology can be used to produce vile, life-sucking content.  Every technological advance comes with an upside, and its very own dangers.

As a part of the Church, I want to help embrace and harness the upsides of this social-media inter-connection for greater community and greater Kingdom impact.  We are God’s agents of redemption.  Let’s take that calling into digital culture and be a connected presence online, representing our King with humility, conviction, and honor.

Sure, I could just sit by myself watching Transformers 2 on a new iPad…  But apps like Flipboard remind me that there is far more value in “connection” that in “isolated distraction.”  Web 2.0, I say bring it on.


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“flipbook + ipad = yes :: connection is the new isolation” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


I bet she wishes she could get a do-over.  Not so much.  As of yesterday afternoon, CNN Middle East news correspondant Octavia Nasr is out of a job because of one tweet.  In a moment she now says she deeply regrets, Ms. Nasr expressed her respect for the recently deceased Hezbollah leader (and terrorist) Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.  Apparently, the masses were paying attention, and they were not impressed.  Octavia Nasr and CNN were deluged with angry feedback questioning her judgement.  In the end, less than 140 characters brought down her career.

I’m not focused on the politics of this story.  What arrested me was the fact that this woman actually lost her job because of a moment of transparency online.  Oops.  The moral of the story?  Tweeting life can be dangerous.  It requires a careful blend of honesty and discernment, but done well, I believe it is tightrope worth walking.

I’m continually amazed at what is possible with smart-phones today.   Instant connection.  Moment by moment play by play, complete with GPS tagging, TwitPics, and streaming video.  I’ve even programmed my phone to sing me to sleep at night and cook me breakfast in the morning.  Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and all of the world’s newspaper headlines are available right now – wherever I am.  A complete interactive community of “friends” and “followers” ever-present to connect with and stroke my ego.  It’s amazing, and seductive, and powerful, and dangerous.

The new world – plugged in, social media fueled, web 2.0, YouTwitFace world – allows us to live our story transparently.  We can post a stream of details.  Where we are, what we’re doing, and what has captured our interest in the moment.  We can share resources and encouragement, or cut people and their ideas down.  We can refine our thinking, and we can fritter hours away with an unlimited flow of distraction-on-demand.

Healthy life-streaming requires healthy boundaries.  There are amazing opportunities and overwhelming advantages to tweeting life in real time.  And there are distict and profound dangers.  Just ask Octavia Nasr.

And the problem is, once a post or tweet has gone public, it’s a living piece of history that can NEVER be put back in the bottle.  Everything we post – EVERYTHING – is available.  It’s searchable.  It’s eternal.

“Don’t you dare put that on Facebook.”  This is a phrase that is ALWAYS welcome in our house.  And while I almost always follow it up with an enthusiastic, “OF COURSE I wouldn’t post THAT” following one of our family squabbles or a particularly embarrassing child-rearing incident, I make it clear that setting boundaries out loud is welcome.  Boundaries do not restrict – they give freedom.  Like a fenced-in back yard for the kids to play in, boundaries define the “safe area” where there is room to play.  Thankfully, Amy lets me know what is safe, and what is out of bounds.

So I tweet life with this in mind:  I want to live a good story.  And good stories are fraught with conflict and growing and pain and triumph.  I am a child of the One King, and He’s put me here to enjoy His company and tell the world about His sovereignty and His grace.  If our family is willing to hear His voice and GO when He calls us, life will be a faith adventure.  If we can live out a great story, and do it transparently with joy, I hope it can encourage others to trust Jesus, too.

But it must also be true.  Land mines.  I want to share my REAL life.  Danger.  I am acutely aware every time I hit “send” that this could (and probably will) be seen by many sets of eyes, and it could live on (and on… and on…) for years.  So I walk the tightrope of living transparently while protecting the privacy of my friends and family.

At the end of the day, I want to reflect a life lived well.  Healthy faith, thriving family, and joyful service to my God and the people I rub shoulders with.  I want the people in my life to get in on my thoughts – to be a real community – and to refine and enjoy each other in the process.  But I won’t tell you everything.  I can’t be a totally open book.  I saw the land mine Octavia Nasr stepped on.  I know what Amy is OK with and where she has staked out the “do not cross” barrier.  And if you step out onto the YouTwitFace technological tightrope with me, remember that every step – every post – every tweet – every status update – will be permanent.  You can’t take it back.  It’s a living part of history.

Step carefully.


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“tweeting LIFE :: thoughts on strategic transparency, storytelling, and landmines” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This guy has some serious guts.  Or a social disorder.  Either way, he’s kind of my hero right now.

Kenny Strasser (who sometimes goes by Kevin Strassberg) is a mystery.  One thing is certain… a yo-yo master he ain’t.  However, through a fake website, some fallacious “testimonials,” and a phone call from his “agent,” Kenny/Kevin  “K-Strass” was able to dupe his way onto at least six morning news showsin the last month.  Claiming to work for a non-profit organization raising environmental awareness, K-Strass was billed as a yo-yo master, warming the hearts of children and adults alike with his amazing yo-yo spledasticality.

I love it. “K-Strass” is a total fabrication.  And a total genius.

I think the video above is probably enough food for thought on this beautiful Memorial Day weekend, but it did spark this reminder in me… What you see of someone on the internet is what they want you to see.

When asked how the Programming Directors of all of these news organizations could be taken so hard, several of them mentioned the Zim-Zam Yo-Yo website.  Yep.  Seems legit to me.  That’s some hard core investigative fact checking there, boy.

Here’s where it hits home…  The other day I updated my status to say something about taking a bunch of extra kids to Isaac’s soccer practice “just for fun” so mom could get a break.  In no time at all, I was getting digital back-pats on Facebook and Twitter.  Just as I had planned it.

The truth is, I was tired out from a day at work.  I had my one-year-old with me.  If I took the extra kids with to soccer practice, I could bum him off on the older brothers and sit in a chair on the sidelines at practice.  THAT was maybe my primary motivation for bringing them with.  Laziness.  So the “what a great dad” comments rang a little hollow.  I had to come clean.

Anyway, all this to say that we now live in this fishbowl (by choice, and it’s not all bad) of social media.  I actually embrace the opportunity to live transparently (to a degree) through on-line tweets, posts, pictures, and status updates.  But I recognize how easy it is to “tweak” the truth to my advantage.  I mean, who wouldn’t, right?  The temptation to glaze over the worst of our character and put highlighter on our good side is always there.  If you have an online presence, it’s there for you, too.  The choice.  To be as real as possible.  Or to create a new you.  A shinier you.  Photoshopped life.

Well, Kenny… or Kevin… my bright yellow hat’s off to you.  While you first may have  fudged the details JUUUUUST a bit regarding your yo-yo prowess in order to get a booking, you have shown us the reality of your “skills” in all of their splendor.  You have been transparent.  Kinda.  For that, we laugh at you.  Or with you.  Or at least near you.

As for me, I’ll try to be as real as I can be, so that I don’t have to worry when you meet me in person whether I can keep up the facade in real life.  While I sincerely appreciate the genius that is “K-Strass,”  I could never pull it off.  Hopefully, all ye who know me best will hear my real voice on these here interwebs.  Truthfully, the people that have had the deepest impact on me through their online presence have been the ones willing to reveal their not-so-shiny, not-so-polished, not-so-skilled side once in awhile.  I want to have the courage to follow their lead.

Bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers, friends… who’s with me?


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“of yo-yos and chicanery :: what i learned from ‘K-Strass'” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

This past week I received baked goods in the mail.  Need I say more?

Twitter and Facebook have changed the way I live.  Before Christmas I sent out the following tweet/status update:

Eggnog is just liquid fruitcake. It’s only around during the holidays. And I’d rather get kicked in the knee than consume either one.

So began a heated and entertaining debate on the merits of eggnog.  And fruitcake.  Passions rose.  Lines were drawn.  And then… a challenge from my Cincinnati Twitter friend @utech…

@jskogerboe you need to send me your address so I can send you one of my Christmas Spice Cakes (aka fruitcake)…

So, I did…

@utech OK, you Packer-loving baking machine. Make me a believer. 4401 Adair Avenue North, Crystal, MN 55422

Smashcut to me cutting open a toaster sized cardboard box last week.  Looking at the return address. UTECH.  A)  He baked.  B)  He took the time to package it up like a nuclear weapon in multiple layers of foil, plastic wrap, and those awesome biodegradable packing foam peanuts.  C)  He paid to ship it.  To my house.  In Minnesota.

I don’t care WHAT you think about the delectable or unsavory nature of fruitcake.  There is NOTHING BETTER than receiving baked goods in the mail.  Except maybe for a huge check.  Or a letter from a long lost brother you thought never made it back from the war.  But still… baked goods are right up there.  Top five.

When Social Media connection spills over into real-life interactions, life is better for it.  When Social Media takes the place of real-life interactions, life is robbed by it.  But I submit this hypothesis for the skeptics…  I think that second scenario is rare.  I think that Social Media, like every technological advance in communication, is a very real change in the way our world works – and whose BENEFITS far outweigh its dangers.  I think YouTwitFace has redefined community – and I like what I see.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, *fill in the blank* are often derided as frivolous by the skeptics.  For those not wired (pardon the ironic use of metaphor) to be interested in technology, Social Media is often written off as a passing fad.  An unnecessary distraction from REAL relationships – and the learning curve is just TOO high to deal with.  Therefore, it must be bad.  Or childish.  Or insignificant.  If this is where you live, it’s time to consider moving…

My network of relationships is spread around the country and around the world.  Today I have laughed, argued, and/or had direct conversations with connections from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.  I recruited a bass player for our church this week via Twitter.  I’ve had intensely personal chats online in Facebook this week.  Prayer requests spread through the Social network like a wave.  Life can be lived transparently now – tweets and status updates sharing information, thoughts, concerns, ideas.  Social Media provides real time connection between the face to face interactions of life.

I have never been very good at staying in touch with family and friends.  But now, I can easily pop in and out of conversations.  Share pictures and video clips.  Articles and blog posts.  Little touch points with people that matter.  I thank God for YouTwitFace.

It took a long time for my good wife to jump into the Facebook pool.  But she tried it…  Dipping her toes in at first.  Now she’s a regular Michael Phelps.  (But way more attractive, and unencumbered by dodgy illegal drug use photos.)  She loves watching relational connections multiply.  Earlier this winter she used Facebook to arrange for an out-of-state childhood friend to join her for a Women’s Ministry event at Living Hope Church here in the Twin Cities.  Now she is watching her friends from her work life, from her church, from her childhood all connect and stay in contact and interact by way of YouTwitFace.  It’s awesome.  And I mean that with some gravitas.  It is *awesome* to see how technology can fuel relationships.

The local church – your church – needs to embrace YouTwitFace.  Social Media is more than “Just had a sandwich. Changing my shirt. LOL.”  We used the printing press to make Bibles available to the masses.  Social Media can deepen relational connections.  The technological change is as big now as it was then.  The world is different now.  It’s time to get in the pool.  It’s time for the church to do life together.

I can’t guarantee that Twitter will lead to baked goods for you.  But it might.  How has YouTwitFace made your life better?  Post a comment below.  The world has changed.  Get in the pool.  Oh, and I prefer my chocolate chip cookies with no nuts… just a note for whomever might be so inclined.  My address is clearly and intentionally listed above.  Good times.


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“of twitter and fruitcake :: open letter to social media skeptics who will never read this because they won’t see the tweet…” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.