Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Digg This: Hijacked No More

Back in the summer of 2010, there was a tempest in a teapot about a group of conservative Diggers who were supposedly "censoring" Digg.

A group of about 100 Diggers calling themselves the Digg Patriots were apparently using the "bury" feature to regularly bury liberal stories. This shocking discovery was made by Alternet, a blog that may actually be farther to the left than I was when I was young and stupid. I will not dignify the articles by posting links to them here.

The alternet article must be written by the same people who think the mainstream media is too conservative. Other articles currently featured on this blog have titles like

"What Happened When Fundamentalist Christians Tried to "Cure" Me of Homosexuality"

"Why Are Believers So Hostile Toward Atheists?"

"Brave Woman Who Grabbed Clip from Shooter Blames Right-Wing Media and Rhetoric ... In Fox News Interview"



On what planet is Digg in danger of being snatched away from the many thousands of pornified, pro-marijuana, pro-gay, pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-Israel, anti-Christian Digg users by a group of 100 conservatives?  When I first got on Digg in 2006 or 2007 conservative stories on the front page or anywhere else were nearly nonexistent. Just because there are more than there used to be doesn't mean there isn't still a gross imbalance in favor of left leaning articles.

I have actually learned to love these guys, even the ones with whom there are no words to describe how vehemently I disagree. I have been where they are, and believed what they believe with equal fervor. Maybe they will change their minds one day, maybe not. I did, but it did not render me unable to have a conversation, or to "agree to disagree."

I don't happen to care for burying stories, even ones I don't like. I feel very strongly that having to hear speech I don't like is a reasonable price of a free society. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean other people shouldn't have the right to read it, though I will bury comments that are blasphemous, racist, or just plain evil.  If I don't like something, I don't digg it.  On the other side of that coin, I have often dugg stories that I did not agree with because they made me think, or I found them otherwise worthy of recognition. My liberal Digg friends know that I am willing to digg all kinds of stories.

Winston Churchill is said to have observed, “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”  The youth of most of the Diggers I know accounts for most of their opinions. But Churchill also said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” This is where many of the progressive Diggers fall short. They shout and name-call, but do not actually listen to opposing views, preferring to bury them instead. Perhaps the Digg Patriots felt that organized burying was the only way to balance the coverage.

I can remember once submitting an article about Barbara Bush recovering from a heart attack, just because I thought it was newsworthy. That was before I understood the anti-Bush vitriol on Digg that prevented any serious consideration of any article that even mentioned the name. The story was buried in the first couple of minutes. It wasn't a political story, just acknowledgment of a serious health issue experienced by a former First Lady that would have been newsworthy had it been about Hillary Clinton.

One of the charges leveled at the Digg Patriots is that they had multiple accounts, and when some of them were "banned for life" they came back in another incarnation.

Please. This happened every day of the week. Where was the outrage when liberals did this?

Anyway, that was before the unveiling of the publisher-heavy Digg 2.0, or 3.0 or whatever they are calling it. As far as I am concerned, that was the final demise of the "social" part of Digg that started when they took away the shout feature.

There is still a lot of interesting news on Digg, but it is no longer a daily, obsessive destination for me. I digg intermittently, and I am still in touch with a lot of the people I met there. I still follow a lot of the interesting blogs and sites I would never have known about if not for Digg. It is a great place to find out what the OtherSide is thinking.  But there are other social bookmarking/voting sites that have more appeal for me these days.

Glad to have my life back.

Photo credit:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Downside to Working from Home

More and more people are working from home whether they work for themselves or a company. However, many people jump on the work-at-home bandwagon without considering all of the drawbacks to working at home. While some people are naturally inclined to work at home, others find the transition more difficult to make. There are many benefits to working at home, but the drawbacks need to be considered before you make the choice.

The first drawback to looking for a work at home career is that your current career may not easily transfer to a work at home situation. If you work in the medical field or are a police officer, being a work-at-home mom or dad  might not be an easy transition unless you are willing to change careers entirely. Sales and administrative positions transfer well, as do creative jobs like design and writing. For those in jobs that can’t make the work at home switch, you’ll have to think carefully about what you want to do when start working at home and start investigating that field.

Cost is another important factor in deciding if working at home is right for you. Although many mothers start working at home to save on childcare, there are added costs to being a work-at-home mom. If you need health insurance, it will have to come out of your pocket instead of being paid by your employers. There are also many taxes that you will have to pay. Your record keeping must be excellent in order to keep track of your income and expenses, and to fill out your income tax return at the end of the year.

Working at home with children is not always as easy as it seems. If you have young children that aren’t in school yet, it may be difficult to work when they are awake. This can mean lots of busy naptimes and late nights to get your projects done when they are sleeping. Family members can help take care of your children from time to time, but the responsibility of both your children and your job will be firmly in your hands. With older children, it is sometimes easier to work from home. But you will still have to start and maintain a fairly balanced schedule in order to get everything done. If you are homeschooling, you have to carefully schedule time for school and time for work, and be sure to keep to those parameters.

Individuals who work at home have to be very self-motivated and disciplined in order to get their work done on time and correctly. If you are the type of person that is motivated by outside factors (such as a supervisor), then working at home may not be your cup of tea. When you work at home, there is no one there to look over your shoulder and make sure that you are still working. Be realistic and  you have to be even more disciplined if you work from home and not let what is going on around you be a distraction. Distractions like the television, Internet and housework can be hindrances to your work at home success. Conversely, working can prevent you from tending to the responsibilities of the home.  Working is infinitely more stimulating  to me than housework, and I find it difficult to carve out time to do the laundry or mop the kitchen floor.

Isolation is another problem for work-at-home moms, in particular. Working at home alone can get frustrating and lonely. Make sure you are comfortable with spending time alone, and that you take steps to combat isolation. If you are especially prone to being depressed, then the isolation that comes with working at home may make you feel withdrawn and sad. Taking steps to combat loneliness is an important part of your work-at-home success. You may not be technically alone if you have children at home, but if your children are not old enough to have meaningful conversations with you, it may help to consider your work an opportunity to have that coveted "adult conversation" that you crave.

After considering these factors, you may decide that working at home is not right for you. However, thousands of people deal with these drawbacks and still have successful work at home careers. These reasons should not stop you from working at home if that is really what you want to do.