View from the Left – The Upside of a Trump Presidency

I’m up early because it’s hard to sleep these days.

Work is fantastic and home life is good, but I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening to our country. As I lay awake, I realized, there has been something good that’s happened within our family and it extends to several of my friendships. We’re talking again. In a meaningful, purposeful way.

News of the day.

Growing up, Katie and I had this routine of coming together and I would always say, “Okay, news of the day,” and that would trigger her sharing highlights from her day and me mine. It was like our own little BuzzFeed. Headlines, stories, gossip, me sharing works stories, she’d share school stories, it didn’t matter it was how we connected. Then she got older and got a phone, then a car and honestly, finding time to talk became harder.

And then Trump decided to run for President.

We started connecting again. It started slowly because surely this was comedy and there he said funny things and made little sense. But when he won, it changed everything. It was time to talk and talk we did. I’ve spent the last month (is it a month yet?) talking with her every night explaining what’s been happening, how government works and what we can do to effect change. At the same time, she’s become (for her age) a voracious consumer of information, attenuating to headlines and going deep to really understand what’s true and what’s hyperbole or propaganda (the real words for fake news).

Oh yeah, I suppose we qualify as “the liberal elite”.

As a liberal elite family – I believe we qualify because we live in California, I have a master’s degree and she’s already in college – we are fiercely American. We believe in human rights, civil rights, democracy, freedom and a global economy. Katie’s traveled to more countries than I have and she’s interested in a career in journalism (I couldn’t be more proud, I think The Fourth Estate may well save us in the end).

While I fear what might happen to us based on the actions of the Trump Administration, I couldn’t be more grateful for the unintended consequence: we’ve put down our phones, come out of our homes, come together with our families, friends and community to stand up for what truly does make America great.

Mr. Trump, I fear your slogan, “Make America Great Again” is going to be your epitaph. It’s what we’ll all say after you and Bannon and anyone who rules by fear and intimidation are gone from office. Thank God it’s over, let’s make America great again.

How To For Beginners: Curate Twitter to Help You Stay Woke

ICYMI (in case you missed it), Twitter is the new water cooler: the best place to learn things you might otherwise miss in the chaos that is 2017. So for those of you new to this kind of media, here’s a quick primer to help you get started and curate a twitter feed that you’ll find interesting.

1. Get a Twitter account. I recommend grabbing a handle (name) that won’t embarrass if Stephen Colbert happens to read your tweet on his show. I like the mobile apps (iPhone, Android) but you can also consumer tweets on the web.

2. Complete your profile. Say as much or as little as you want about yourself. This is VERY public so use your discretion. Add a photo – it doesn’t have to be of you – because that, and your profile, helps folks know you are not a bot.

3. Start following people. And this is really the crux of this post. How you curate who you follow is how you’ll get the best information possible. There’s a ton of garbage, opinion and untrue stuff (I refuse to call it fake news – there’s just no such thing) on Twitter. You have to use your brain to evaluate it. But if you start with this list and approach, it will be a tiny bit easier. Here’s goes (and please comment below with your finds – let’s build a great list!).

About Hashtags.

This is the secret sauce of Twitter. When something is trending (see Explore page on the mobile app and Moments on web, you’ll see a hash for it. If you click that, you’ll see all the tweets about that topic that have used the hash. Know at that point, you will see raw tweets with emotion, flawed information, true information and everything in between. It’s good content but it’s super fresh so thoughtfulness isn’t necessarily the priority. Sharing is. Use hashtags if you’re live, in it or have an opinion on it.

Who to follow to get started.

@RealDonaldTrump – yes, follow him. God forbid he gets some real followers, not just bots.

@BarackObama – 44, he’ll be back.

@SenWarren – she’s often where the action is and is ruthless about fact checking.

@BreitbartNews – All Right, all the time.

@theHill  – skews conservative but good source of news.

@NYTimes – yeah, they are still in business. AND considered to be fair and balanced by those who evaluate the media (because that still matters).

@20committee – John Schindler, security columnist.

@W.JefferyBrown – journalist who oversees journalism.

@CNNPolitics – tweets factoids about politics.

@DailyCaller – conservative reporting that’s on the far right offering sensational click bait.

@SenJohnMcain – because someone has to speak up to stop American sanctioned torture.

@BBCHamedani – BBC reporter currently being detained by Homeland Security. I’m not kidding.

@WashingtonPost – because they get scoop.

@Voxdotcom – highly regarded as truly fair and balanced.

@JakeTapper – because he’s naming things and not putting up with #altfacts.

@CaseyNewton – if you are a Silicon Valley follower; offers political POV as well.

@RMac18 – reporter at Forbes, boasts 99% real news!

@KeithOlberman – because there should be some fun on your twitter feed (nuff said).

@FoxNews – offering a point of view.

@Moorehn – seasoned reporter who provides insights into the “why” of things.

@DavidMDrucker – senior correspondent on Capitol Hill.

@SeanSpicer – because, well, just because.

@RyanLizza – professor, writer, thinker.

@wikileaks – so you can see first hand how the game of leaking works.

@PaulKrugman – Nobel Laureate, author, thinker.

@JournalismAssoc – judge for yourself if journalists are truthful or not.

@Reuters – there’s a world out there beyond us, we need to know all things.

@JeremyCorbyn – from the UK, the current Labour Party leader.

@IamJohnOliver – because perspective and humor matter.

@StephenAtHome – Colbert with a touch of humor.

Okay, that’s a start. Hopefully folks will add more to the comments section – from various points of view. The point here isn’t about where you stand, it’s about sharing information, finding sources to check and double check what’s true and standing up for what you believe in.

You’ll notice when you follow someone, you’ll be served other people to follow as an option (this is especially true on the mobile app). Slow down and look those over and see if they interest you. It’s super easy to follow and unfollow.

ALSO, one last important tip: drill down. Don’t accept the tweet at face value, If it’s a retweet, drill down to the source. In all cases, check the link (another reason mobile is better because less chance of getting a virus). Your goal is to get to the source and then evaluate if it for truth.

Post more good stuff below. #helpAmericansthinkagain