Social media should still be social


Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution to blog more.

Did I blog up to my expectations? No. That said, I did blog at least 300 percent more in 2016 than I did in 2015. I consider that a success. (2015 was a very bad blogging year, but still.) Baby steps.

My 2017 resolution (for online purposes, at least) is not only to up my blog posts, but my overall use of social media. Not in the I-have-no-life-and-I-need-instant-gratification kind of way. But the look-at-the-power-of-social-media kind of way.

Specifically, I speak of Twitter.

Yes, you should follow me.

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Dumpling Night and the food blog you should read

china housej

China House on Cecil B. Moore Avenue in Philadelphia, the place that originated Dumpling Night. (Courtesy: Google Maps)

As far as I was concerned, every Monday night in college was officially dubbed Dumpling Night.

Monday was production day for The Temple News. As editor, I would generally get into the office around 1 p.m., and I wouldn’t leave until the digital copy of the newspaper was sent to the publisher. That time often ranged between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

As a reward for our hard work, we called China House, one of Temple’s fine take-out establishments. The conversation went like this:

Me: “Hi. I’d like to place two order of steamed pork dumplings for pickup, please.”

Them: “OK. Ten minutes.”

Me: “Thanks!”

Simple. Straight-forward. Delicious. This began my dumpling obsession.

I tell you this story because of my best friend, my most favorite person in the world, LeAnne Matlach. She was the reason for the second order of the steamed pork dumplings. And now, she is sharing the stories of food and recipes in a new blog called Big Taste Tiny Space that you need to read.

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Reporters’ Guide to Twitter, or #HowTwitterShouldBeUsed

A screen capture of my Twitter timeline.

A screen capture of my Twitter timeline.

It’s so hard to cram so much into 140 characters.

I have several categories of tweets I send. My main requirement is that I must find what I type interesting – the thought process being that I can make something interesting to someone else.

Sometimes, that entails retweeting the governor of Virginia. Sometimes, that entails retweeting Wawa. Because I love Wawa.

My tweeting categories range from work-related tweets to Charlottesville happenings to hometown pride to “just for fun.” A number of my followers rely on my Twitter account to know about what’s in the news (recently, I tweeted updates from the scene of a plane crash in Albemarle County). But not all my tweets are Charlottesville-specific, as not all of my followers are specific to Charlottesville.

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SEPTA unveils more user-friendly Web site

SEPTA launched a more accessible Web site this afternoon.

In the second “long-time-coming” post in a day, more Web site news to share.

SEPTA, the sixth-largest public transportation agency in the country, has launched a sleeker, new Web site.

Schedule information is much more accessible (though, as of today, there are still bugs to be worked out — Regional Rail and trolley schedules are MIA), and important links for riders — including customer service comments — are conveniently posted on the home page.

Next on the agenda, from a rider’s perspective, should be a new “Plan My Trip” feature. The old one is still in tact, but SEPTA also gives the option of Google Transit. But an in-house feature would be much easier to use. I gave up on Google Transit almost immediately.