In the three months since my self-imposed exile from Facebook, the geography of my social media world features two major countries: WordPress and Twitter. I do visit the beautiful island of Instagram and the buttoned-up principality of LinkedIn – but only when they wave their arms and yell, Hey! Steve! C’mere – you gotta see this! So, my new social media equation looks like this:

new equation2

As for G+… I’m certainly an enthusiastic fan of the Google – from my phone (Android – the OS that kicks your iPhone’s ass), to my email/calendar/contacts (Gmail) to my browser (Chrome) to YouTube, Google Photos, Maps, search, etc – but G+? Not so much. Why? What’s wrong with Google’s alternative to FB? Maybe nothing. But having demonstrated I can survive (possibly thrive) without Facebook, I really don’t have any use for a FB alternative. In fact, it’s the last thing I need. Plus, all those circles make me dizzy. My family, friends and acquaintances may, in fact, inhabit a massive Venn diagram… but trying to put them all in the correct, overlapping buckets just gives me a headache. Alas, I do “have” a G+ account because (unlike every other component of the Googleverse that I have opted into) Larry & Sergey force us into G+ by making it the default setting, the hub, the keystone, the master account. Whatevs.

All the various social media platforms are beginning to forge alliances with each other, allowing us to integrate our scattered online personas. For instance, my WordPress is set up so that when I hit the “publish” button on a post, it automatically shares that post on my Twitter, LinkedIn and G+. Gives The End a little more play, you know? I could also be sharing these posts automatically on FB… but since I’m no longer playing in that sandbox, seems rude to lob my notes-tied-to-rocks at ’em. (If you’re on FB, feel free to use the share button, below!)

Twitter, though, doesn’t travel as well as WordPress. There’s a widget over in the right column that shows my twitter feed and provides a handy “follow me” button. But I see lots of great tweets from others, and I want a way to share and highlight them here. Et voilà! A new category is born:

#TWEETOFTHEDAY. The hashtag is not functional, but a decorative way to accentuate the, well, tweetness of the category. I don’t promise a #TWEETOFTHEDAY (#TOTD?) every day, and I won’t limit myself to one-a-day, either. Just an as the spirit moves me kind of thing. I might choose a tweet that strikes me as sad or funny, political or puerile (or both), snarky or snarky. Oh look – here’s one now.

(Meanwhile… Paul Ryan was at CPAC talking about how kids who receive food assistance have parents who don’t love them. When is the rest of America going to wake up and smell the toxic spill of raw sewage that is the Republican Party? It had better begin on 11/4/2014.)

Illegitimum Non Carborundum

Harvard bannerOne of the more interesting things about the Grant Study is that it exists at all. This longitudinal study followed hundreds of Harvard men though 75 years of life – beginning in 1938. That alone is quite an accomplishment. But the study aimed higher. It wants to know (and dares to tell us): What makes us happy?

The Business Insider synopsis (link below) has a link to a lengthy article in The Atlantic from 2009, which goes spelunking into the caverns of data collected in this study. (I haven’t read the longer article yet. If there are moral or ethical land mines ahead, well, proceed at your own risk.)

Of course, from our oh so highly evolved vantage point 75 years later, the very premise of this study does seem a bit quaint – if not ridiculously condescending. Let’s compromise there and agree to call it somewhat limited in scope.

The only people qualified to be part of this study were men (presumably white) born c. 1920 who entered Harvard College (so, sufficiently educated and wealthy) in the late 1930s. They got their start in life just after the end of WWI and found themselves at Harvard just before the outbreak of WWII. They survived the deprivations of Prohibition and their fortunes had survived The Crash. All in all, they’d had a fairly cushy berth on the way to participating in the Grant Study. (A soupcon of context: JFK was just two years ahead of these Harvard plebes.)

But, it’s where each man went from there, what he went on to achieve, and how much fulfillment he reported over the years that informs the study and its conclusions. One drank himself to death before the ink was dry on his sheepskin. One said he ‘wouldn’t change a thing’ after 60 years of marriage. And everything in between. Or, as much of “everything” as this plaid-clad cohort is likely to have experienced in 20th century American life. Is there a formula for happiness? Can two people even agree on a definition of happiness? And might we surmise some natural divergence among the post-graduate experiences available to a man from Yale or Princeton, or – heaven forfend – Berkeley?smileyface

George Valliant, who piloted the study for three decades, has succinctly stated the study’s findings: “Happiness is love. Full stop.”

As for the fairer sex… this study would advise her to marry a liberal Harvard man who loves moderation and his mother – and then hang on tight. Your reward, apparently, comes in your seventh decade and beyond. Unless you’d rather be shopping, in which case you should choose a conservative Harvard man.

Grant Study Reveals What Makes Us Happy – Business Insider.

Extra Credit
One GET OUT OF DETENTION card goes to the first person who correctly identifies (in Comments) the source and meaning of the title of this post. (Unless you’re Kip Meyer, Class of ’84.)