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/// OP-ED E-MAILS TO BLIGHTY | by David Smith MEAN & SOBER | by Stad DiPonzi Mr Plow Popularity Pimps of the Internet P

AYING SOMEONE TO like you is not a new idea — hence the World’s Oldest Profession. Sadly, more than a few local people and organizations are

applying this business model to social media — giving prostitutes a bad name in the process. At the core is the digitally Freudian no-

tion that your electronic “Friends,” “Fans,” and “Followers” represent a rockin’ path to emo- tional (cue DJ voice: ‘and branding’) success. Get those numbers up and then “message” ‘til you puke — or pay someone to do it for you. Kids, I cannot tell you how much it reminds me of those heady days in the ‘90s when high-flying, well-funded companies like Pets. com and eToys put all their chips on driving website hits. The benefits would come, said the investment bankers and vulture capitalists. Oops. Today, we are seeing a similar, but more

depressing, obsession with social media as a means to personal validation, corporate suc- cess and emotional stability. We even have several of our own local impresarios who tout their social media brand expertise and guru- dom, citing their own massive follower lists as unassailable proof points. For a nominal fee, they are happy to give your company the secrets to becoming Heather #1 online, with the kingdom of heaven surely following shortly thereafter. They will even shill for you themselves via blog or tweet if the price is right. Even worse than these popularity pimps

are the otherwise sophisticated organizations guzzling the Kool-Aid, only to end up with an embarrassing purple e-moustache. Exhibit A is Priority Health, which is literally paying $100 to people who retweet the company propa- ganda. The winners are randomly selected each


Winter is here! Christmas was fun, New Year’s debauched, but now we have to get through the dark, cold, arctic days of January here in Michigan. If we aren’t burnt out by shopping, there are the sales. If we can slide to the pub, there’s beer. If we can put up with the Lilliputian-size hills, we can snowboard (skiing is for geeks, man!). However, there isn’t much time left after shoveling snow off the drive, salting the path, taking down decorations, knocking icicles off the gutters, driving slow, and making snowmen with the kids.

Sounds dull, right? Not in America!

month in painful YouTube clips that make you wonder if personal shame is gone forever or just hibernating. I could tell you about Exhibits B through

D — including the GRAM’s Facebook contest to meet Princess Di’s eulogizing brother, last year’s goofy Google Fiber Facebook obsession (anyone ever hear of Buzz...Google has), and even this magazine’s publisher’s shameful use of company gift certificates to win Facebook friends — but I won’t. As is so often the case, trust and loyalty

catch up with you in the end. The Priority Health Retweeter who takes $100 today will be just as quick to take $102 to praise Blue Cross tomorrow. The friends you buy through bounties, contests or faux blog endorsements are fickle bastards who don’t give a whit about your message, your brand or your foursquare status. They ain’t the Glengarry Leads. It’s like your mom always said, any friend

who is only there for you during the good times probably isn’t much of a friend (head pat). n

SDP has never paid for it, but isn’t opposed to the idea. He’s just waiting for the right woman to tweet him at @stadsohorney.

They have invented a number of fabulous customs to make life fun, my favorite of which is Snow Blowing. It involves using a winter lawn mower to mow your driveway. Unlike a lawn mower, it doesn’t collect its off-cuts, but instead shoots it out a spout on the top. Apparently, the custom is to not only clear your drive, but to blow as much snow as possible onto your neighbour’s drive, car, head or anywhere inconvenient to others.

They also have people called Mr. Plow who attach giant, A-Team-like scoops to their pickup trucks and try two or three times per day to block you into your driveway. If you manage to hit Mr. Plow with your snow blower as he passes your drive I think you get a tax break.

As a result, most people in our street snow blow several times daily. You get a bigger tax break if you snow mow late at night, and an even bigger one if you wake my kids.

Sadly I only have a shovel, but I’m trying to keep up with the spirit of tom foolery by clearing my drive after midnight and dumping the snow outside the neighbour’s front door. They seem a little puzzled and displeased each morning, so maybe I am missing some of the finer points of the custom. Maybe it’s because I wear a Mackintosh and Wellingtons rather than a puffer coat and Uggs. Or maybe I should blockade the back door too.

Well, Happy New Year, mind the roads!

My Advice: Ditch

the Resolutions | by Joe Gasmann

UST LIKE THE YEAR BEFORE, my 2010 New Year’s Resolution remains the same: Promise Myself Nothing. Though I still have zero plans to join you in your failure fest, I do understand


how tough it can be to stick to the plan. So, I’ve compiled a few of this year’s top New Year’s Resolutions and some tips for a softer landing:

Fit in Fitness This will probably be your first broken reso- lution since doing nothing at all feels way better than exercising and eating sprouts. Solution: Think of your favorite overweight actor or comedian. Then imagine that you are just as popular as they are, but in way better shape.

Quit Smoking This one is pointless to fight in any way. Immediately brew a pot of coffee and grab a pack of smokes! Use the lighter only on the first one, the rest will be lighted on the previous cigarette.

Get Out of Debt If you were capable of this then you wouldn’t have to make this a resolution. You will forever owe someone.

Quit Drinking There is no true solution to the mole person you call your significant other – you have something that allows you to love them as if they were attractive. You’ll also notice that other aspects of your life are stale and boring, like fistfights and driving.

Help Others Seriously, tell me you didn’t only say this to make yourself sound better than everyone else. You go F yourself for being such an ass****.


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