Text of Speech by Dr. Robert Cargill to Madera South High School Graduating Class of 2015

MADERA SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL STALLIONS
COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS – JUNE 4, 2015
DR. ROBERT R. CARGILL, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

Good evening.

I want to thank Mr. Lile for the invitation to speak to you this evening.

It is indeed good to be home. And I know that I’m home because my name is Robert, and yet ever since I’ve been back in Madera, everyone keeps calling me “Bobby”. On TV, I’m Robert. When I write books, I’m Robert. In the classroom, I’m Dr. Cargill. But in Madera, I’m Bobby. And it makes me smile, because it’s good to be home.

And please allow me to be among the first to congratulate the 2015 graduating class of Madera South High School, the best high school in Madera.

Now, Mr. Lile has informed me that you are not permitted to use your cellphones to text or take pictures during the ceremony. But, since no such rule was given to me, I’d like to take and text some pictures for you. What do you say we take one cool-looking graduation photo?

I’ll post this picture on my Twitter, which is @XKV8R, that’s X-K-V-8-R, later this evening, and you can re-tweet or save it from there. Got it?

OK, now remember, this picture is going to live forever, so don’t do anything that some prospective employer is going to question, OK?

OK, here we go. 1, 2, 3. #MaderaSouth2015

Dr. Robert Cargill snaps photos of the 2015 graduating class of Madera South High School. PHOTO BY JACK PORTER/BIG VALLEY NEWS (More: http://www.bigvalleynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7367) Dr. Robert Cargill snaps photos of the 2015 graduating class of Madera South High School. PHOTO BY JACK PORTER/BIG VALLEY NEWS (More: http://www.bigvalleynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7367)

Tonight is a special night—a night for celebration. I even wore my favorite blue dress.

You’ve worked hard for many years, and you’ve earned this diploma, and so tonight we celebrate and honor your achievement.

Now, it is at this point in a graduation speech where the speaker traditionally bestows upon you pieces of advice that are supposed to make your lives a bit more successful. But I’m not going to tell you to “be all that you can be”, or “reach for the stars”, or to “think outside the box”, or to “wear sunscreen”, because you’ve heard all this before.

What I will tell you is what I’ve learned as a fellow Maderan, who has been “out there”.

I’ve learned that you should be nice to older people, especially your grandparents, and not just because they put money in your birthday cards.

Be generous with both your time and money.

Be on time. Showing up is half the battle, and showing up on time is another third.

And be nice. Be kind. I’ve traveled all over the world, and you simply cannot realize how much being generous, being kind, and being on time pays off in life.

And I’ve also learned that you should never, ever forget where you came from.

Never forget Madera!

Listen to me. I was exactly like you 24 years ago. I grew up in Madera, and like most other people I knew, all I wanted to do was get out of Madera. And not just to Fresno. I mean I wanted way out.

But I have learned that this feeling is not unique to Madera. It is the same feeling that every 17- and 18-year old feels in every city, in every state in the country, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York—everywhere!

You’re young, you’re full of hope and potential, and you’re ready to launch out from here and see the world. And that’s good. But never confuse a sense of adventure with a rejection of your hometown.

This place is a special place. And before too long, you will find yourself wanting to return to your home, to your family, to your friends, and to DiCicco’s.

Even those of you who swore that you would never come back to Madera will do exactly that, and this is a good thing!

You will use the education and experiences you gained working and traveling elsewhere, and will return to make this city—the City of Madera—a better place.

Because this city was made what it is today by those who have given their lives to make Madera a better place.

Take, for instance, your principal, Mr. Lile. Now, I went to high school with Mr. Lile, and, let me dispel a rumor you might have heard: back then, he had great hair!

And Mr. Lile and I graduated and went on to see the world. But here’s how much Mr. Lile loves this city: after giving his time and energy learning and practicing the craft of education as far away as Honduras and Dubai, he then returned to Madera to give his time and energy and life to serving you, and to serving the City of Madera, to make this place a little better than it was when he was a kid.

And this has been my experience with so many Maderans who contributed to my growth and education. This is what Bill and Pat Schawrtz did for me, and my first baseball coach, Ken Turner, and my Jefferson Junior High teachers Gary Espenship and Jeannie Lakeman all did for me. And when I was younger, it’s what my John Adams Elementary School teachers, Connie Barsotti and Jan Duke, did for me. I remember them both fondly and I miss them both very much.

And wherever I go, whether I’m writing a book, or appearing on the History Channel, or doing archaeology in Israel, or lecturing at the University of Iowa, it is all a result of the education that was begun here, and of the values that were instilled in me here, in Madera.

Like you, I am a Maderan. This is my hometown. I grew up in a house at 2305 Howard Road, across from Lions Town & Country Park. I played football on this field. I played baseball on that field, Mel Parker Field.

And I’m telling you all this for this reason: I am 42 years old, and I haven’t achieved anything that you can’t also achieve.

I am simply you, 24 years from now.

I’m that Madera kid who played little league on Field One for the Lions, who got Big Gulps at the 7-Eleven on Howard, before it was a Starbucks, who went to the Madera Fair, who got sugar cookies at Perlongo’s Bakery, and who had birthday parties at Madera Valley Bowl in Parkwood.

My great-grandparents and my grandfather, Ray Cargill, who served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War 2, are all buried at Jay Chapel. And both my parents, Len Cargill, and Sharon Costáles, spent their careers contributing to making Madera a better place.

I have been fortunate to experience tremendous successes, and to meet fascinating people, and I have experienced tremendous failures in life. And it was my Madera family and my Madera values that helped me through it all!

I, too, am a Maderan.

And if I can do it—a kid who grew up just down the street—then you too can have successes in your jobs, in your businesses, in athletics, and in your relationships.

So ask yourself: what will you be? What will you become?

Because being from Madera is an asset, not a liability.

Like many of you, I too was intimidated by other kids who were from big cities, who graduated from much bigger, and many times, private high schools. I went to public schools, Fresno City College, Fresno State, and UCLA. And many of the people I was competing with for admissions into colleges and graduate schools, for scholarships, and later for jobs were from wealthy families, who attended private prep schools, and then went to Harvard and Yale and Princeton and Dartmouth. And like you, I know that it’s an uphill climb competing against people who have had many advantages in life.

But let me tell you what I’ve found. I found that when I was applying for admission into a program, or for a job, the interviewing committee notices that some people are advantaged over others. And they can see when someone has had the best of everything, while others have had to work their tails off every day to overcome the fact that their families weren’t wealthy, or they weren’t from big cities. They recognize that you had to work hard. They recognize that you may have experienced the death of a parent at a young age, or have disabilities, or served your country in the military, or had to raise kids.

And they not only recognize it, but they soon realize that it is often the candidates from the small towns, the blue-collar kids, who have already proved that they can work hard and have what it takes to succeed in college, in jobs, and in life, who are often the better candidates.

You must continue to work hard. I’m a tenure track professor at a Big Ten research university, The University of Iowa, and I regularly admit that I’m not the smartest person at the university. I’m not even the smartest person in my department. But I make absolutely sure that no one will ever, ever outwork me.

Now, I’m also not going to say, “You can be anything you want to be,” because to be honest, it’s not true. Some of you cannot and will not be certain things, just like I cannot, and will not ever dunk a basketball.

But while you can’t “be anything you want to be”, you can be many things that you might think are out of your reach right now. Just because you didn’t do well in math doesn’t mean that you won’t get the hang of it two years from now, and become an engineer. Just because you didn’t have a lot of friends in high school doesn’t mean that you won’t have many, good, real friends in college. Just because you didn’t go on a lot of dates in high school doesn’t mean you won’t find a wonderful partner and live a happy life. And just because you use a wheelchair to get around doesn’t mean you can’t be voted Prom King! Where is Lucio Garcia anyway?

So while you can’t do anything, you should still dream big, set lofty, but attainable, incremental goals, and continue to prepare yourself for success.

Because you live in a magic time in history, and in a place where many, many things are possible. And what you can’t see at this moment is that a series of events is about to unfold in each of your lives, and a number of opportunities are about to present themselves to you. And while you have no way of knowing what they will be, or when they will occur, what you can do is put yourselves in the best possible position to be ready for when those opportunities arise.

You have already taken the first step; you have completed the necessary requirements to graduate from Madera South High School, and if I might add, the best high school in Madera!

But graduation from Madera South is not the end of your journey as a Stallion, it is just the beginning, because like me, you will take what you have learned here in Madera, along with the friends and relationships you have made, and you will work even harder to make your goals a reality, beginning today.

Well…maybe tomorrow, because tonight—tonight, we celebrate!

So be proud that you grew up in Madera. And be proud that you are a graduate of Madera South High School. Never forget the work you had to do to make it this far, and use this taste of success you experience tonight as incentive and motivation for your next great adventure.

Congratulations to all of you!

Have fun and be safe tonight!

thank you fresno city college – transcript of robert cargill’s 2011 fcc commencement address

Fresno City CollegeI offer my heartfelt thanks to Fresno City College for this honor.

I was truly humbled by being named one of Fresno City College’s 100 Stars for 100 Years late last year, and I am once again humbled and honored to be named 2011’s Distinguished Alumnus and for being invited to speak as the 2011 commencement speaker.

As one who has experienced every level of California public education:

  • John Adams Elementary (Madera, CA)
  • Thomas Jefferson Jr. High (Madera, CA)
  • Madera High School (Madera, CA)
  • Bullard High School (Fresno, CA)
  • Fresno City College (A.A.)
  • California State University, Fresno (B.S. Human Physiology)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (M.A., Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations; Ph.D., Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

I can attest to the fact that the California public education system works. California public education can continue to be the premier education system in the country, but only if we continue to fund our teachers and students, and only if we do not seek to bail out our state’s fiscal mismanagement by forcing our educational system to bear the brunt of the financial burden. California’s public universities (Junior Colleges, CSUs, and UCs) should not have to pay for California’s fiscal missteps elsewhere.

Education is the magic bullet in the heart of poverty, socio-economic inequality, racial tension, social and religious intolerance, and unemployment, but we must continue to fund our public universities at all three levels or else risk mortgaging the future of our state to avoid some present discomfort.

Special thanks to President Anthony Cantú for the invitation, Vice President Christopher Villa for the warm introduction, and to Kathy Bonilla and Ernie Garcia for making the entire experience flawless. Thank you to Ray Appleton for having me on his show. Thank you again for this honor. I hope that I can continue to advocate on behalf of public education for years to come.

Below is the text of my 2011 Commencement Address:


2011 FRESNO CITY COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D., UCLA

President Cantú, Marshal Larson, Vice President Villa, Members of the Board of Trustees and President Smith, Parents and Relatives, Ladies and Gentlemen, and most importantly, members of the Fresno City College graduating class of 2011: thank you for the honor you’ve bestowed upon me today, and for the invitation to address this commencement ceremony this evening.

Graduates, I am you, 18 years from now.

18 years ago, I received my Associates degree from Fresno City College. And since then, my life has had its ups and downs.

I am 38 years old, married, divorced, and now married to my wife, who makes me both proud and very happy. I have a daughter, and now a son on the way. I bought a house, sold it for a profit, and used the money to buy a new house, which is now underwater.

I am you, 18 years from now.

I have experienced tremendous successes, and some terrible failures. I have gotten to meet many fascinating people throughout my young career, and I’ve watched many people dear to me die long before their time. I have done things of which I am incredibly proud, and I have made decisions I truly regret.

I am you, 18 years from now.

After receiving my AA, I enrolled at Fresno State and received my Bachelors in Human Physiology following a pre-med curriculum. Wanting to pursue matters of faith, I enrolled in Pepperdine University and completed my Master of Divinity degree. I experienced both the boom and the bust of the dot com bubble. Wanting to study biblical literature and archaeology, I enrolled in UCLA and earned an MA and PhD in these fields, and now, having taught at UCLA for the past few years, I have accepted a position to teach Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. But all of that – ALL OF IT – began right here at Fresno City College.

I am you, 18 years from now.

I enjoy the things you enjoy. I like watching the Fresno Grizzlies play ball. I love playing Angry Birds obsessively every time I pick up my phone, planking various landmarks in the Tower district, and like you, I am always quick to argue against anyone who even hints at cutting funding for education and for California’s Community Colleges.

I ask the same questions that you ask. Will she love me? Or will she leave me? Will I be rich? Will I make my parents proud? Will my children be proud of me? The only thing I possess that you do not is nearly two decades of experiences that all began with me sitting right where you are right now, because I am you 18 years from now.

So if I may, I’d like to share with you 3 things I’ve learned over the past 18 years that may help you in your next 18 years:

Number one: Be nice. Be kind. We live in an aggressive and cynical world, especially when we are young. We are taught to compete for jobs, compete for partners, and compete for goods. And yes, you have to compete in life. But while you are competing, be nice. There is nothing more comforting, nothing more disarming, and nothing more enjoyable than someone who is kind. Be kind. Be patient. Don’t go off when you’re wronged, but give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t set out to “earn respect.” Simple kindness will make far better impressions on people than any harsh words you might use. So be kind. It’s simple, it’s free, and it will do more for you than just about anything else you can possibly do.

Number two: Be proud of having attended Fresno City College, and of being from Fresno. We get to make fun of our hometown. Letterman can make fun of New York because he lives there. Conan can make fun of Los Angeles. And we all can certainly tease about Fresno because we’re from here. We carry the membership card. But never apologize for being from this beautiful, vibrant, diverse town. Never apologize for having to work hard to earn what you have. Apologize when you’ve wronged someone. Apologize when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings. But, be proud having attended City College. It only makes you stronger, and when you make it, it will only make those around you all the more impressed. Be proud of Fresno and be proud of Fresno City College.

Number three: Say thank you. Be gracious. There is an Arab saying which says: “Blessed is the one who can say thank you in a thousand languages.” People love to be thanked, and people love to be around grateful people. So say thank you to your parents for raising you. Say thank you to your friends for sticking up for you, and covering for you, and for supporting you. Be sincere, look people in the eye, and say thank you.

And if you’ll allow me, I’d like to practice what I preach and take this opportunity to say thank you to a few people.

First, thank you to my coaches, Ron Scott, Eric Solberg, and Mike Noakes. I played baseball for these coaches at Fresno City College and Bullard High School. These men not only taught me to play baseball, but how to compete with character and confidence in life. Thank you Coach Scott, Coach Solberg, and Coach Noakes.

Thank you to Reuben Scott, who taught me to argue both sides of every issue. I came to Fresno City College knowing how to argue my side of an issue, but Reuben Scott taught me to understand opinions other than my own, and to write and argue cogently, to the point, and on the merits of the argument. He taught me to think critically, and for this I am eternally grateful. Thank you Reuben Scott.

And finally, I would not be here this evening, and I would not be a professor today, were it not for this evening’s Faculty Marshal, and my Western Civ. professor, Mr. Don Larson. I love this man for more reasons than I can count. For one, to me, this man is Fresno City College. I took Mr. Larson for Western Civilization, and on the first day of class he said, “I can love you and give you a ‘C’ and I can not like you, and give you an ‘A’. You will get the grade that you earn, and earn the grade that you get.”

Well, Mr. Larson must have really liked me, because he gave me a ‘C’. (Oh no, I haven’t forgotten.) But Mr. Larson also invited me to talk to him whenever I needed advice, or guidance, or just someone to listen. His facilitation of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings greatly influenced me by introducing me to successful role models, and afternoons spent at his home talking about religion and politics helped to frame many of my present positions on these topics.

By the way, you must visit Mr. Larson’s home during Christmas time. If you haven’t seen it, just imagine all of Christmas Tree Lane crammed neatly inside a single house. That is Mr. Larson’s house at Christmas time.

After my days at Fresno City College, Mr. Larson became a lifelong friend and mentor, and although I have not yet mastered the art of your ever-present bow tie, you have meant more to me than you will ever know. You are the most fair, honest, upright, and faithful man I know, and I want to take this very public opportunity to say to you, “Thank you.” Thank you Mr. Larson.

By the way, if you haven’t yet come up with a name for the renovated Old Administration Building, I’ve got a suggestion: how about the “Don Larson Administration Building”? I’m pretty sure he was already teaching here in 1916 when they built it, so you might as well name it after him. Thank you again, Mr. Larson.

So when you leave tonight, hug your parents and say thank you. Find a teacher who has taught you and say thank you. Find a friend who studied with you and say thank you. Be kind to them, and always be proud of what you’ve accomplished here at Fresno City College. And while I know it is incredibly cliché, go forth from here tonight knowing that you really can be whatever you want to be. Do these things and who knows what your next 18 years will bring.

Thank you again, and congratulations to you graduates on your hard work and your graduation from Fresno City College. Thank you.


Dr. Robert R. Cargill delivers the 2011 Fresno City College commencement address at Selland Arena, May 20, 2011.

2011 Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Robert R. Cargill delivers the Fresno City College commencement address at Selland Arena, May 20, 2011.

Sharon Cargill, Roslyn (and MacLaren) Cargill, Robert Cargill, and Don Larson

Sharon Cargill, Roslyn (and MacLaren) Cargill, Robert Cargill, and Don Larson

Dr. Robert Cargill will be the guest on the Ray Appleton Show on KMJ 580, Friday, May 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Ray Appleton Show KMJ 580 Fresno

Ray Appleton Show, KMJ 580 Fresno

I shall be the guest on the Ray Appleton Show on KMJ 580 at 1:00 PM on Friday, May 20, 2011 here in the northwest Fresno studio. Topics will include the Bible, religion, Christianity and Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Middle East politics, education, Fresno City College, and I’m guessing anything else Mr. Appleton wishes to discuss.

I am in town to give the commencement address at Fresno City College commencement ceremony this evening at 6:30 PM.

You can listen live at the KMJ Website.

devry university, itt tech, and university of phoenix announce acquisition of dead sea scrolls

Dead Sea Scroll Fragment

A fragment (4Q51) of a Dead Sea Scroll

in a stunning development just one day after southwestern baptist theological seminary announced (blog) it had acquired three fragments of dead sea scrolls, the assassinated press is reporting that three more prominent american universities have acquired fragments of the dead sea scrolls and other well-known jewish cultural heritage objects from unnamed antiquities dealers.

in what has become a race of archaeological one-upsmanship, several universities have begun purchasing fragments of the famed dead sea scrolls and other jewish antiquities that have previously been in private collections. prior to last year, princeton theological seminary and the university of chicago were the only american universities to have portions of the dead sea scrolls in their private museum holdings. then late last year, southern california academic powerhouse azusa pacific university surprised the world by announcing (blog) they had purchased fragments of the dead sea scrolls from a southern california antiquities dealer. then just yesterday, southwestern baptist theological seminary announced it had also acquired fragments of the scrolls from an undisclosed antiquities dealer for an undisclosed amount of money.

the desire for christian universities and seminaries to boost their academic reputations by purchasing fragments of the enigmatic scrolls has apparently started a trend among other institutions of higher learning also seeking to gain overnight credibility by purchasing classical jewish inscriptions. this morning, online education powerhouse devry university announced that it has acquired a fragment of the great isaiah scroll discovered in cave 1 near qumran. the fragment is a .5 cm x .3 cm wide and contains a single letter: aleph. despite the fragmentary nature of the fragment, professor roger smoak, who holds a joint appointment in accounting and northwest semitic palaeography, assured devry’s board of regents that the fragment was authentic and worth every bit of the 2.3 million dollars it paid for the single letter.

This fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, although small, shows DeVry’s commitment to being a leader in the online university/alternative education market. Big things come in small packages, and this single aleph is the ‘A’ for effort that will make DeVry a major player in the world of higher education. Look out Harvard! DeVry knows a little about the Bible too. In fact, we now own a part of it.

immediately after devry’s announcement, online technical school itt tech announced that it had acquired an inscribed piece of pottery, or ostracon, from an antiquities dealer in jerusalem for an undisclosed sum. the dealer claims the ostracon is from the famed ‘samaria ostraca‘ collection, which comprises a number of ancient tax receipts for items brought to an israelite palace in samaria. the sherd acquired by itt tech contains three hebrew letters: bet, yod, and taw. while most scholars agree that this fragmentary ostracon simply contains the hebrew word bayit, or ‘house,’ itt tech associate professor of information systems security and hebrew bible, jeremy suriano, said:

While most scholars believe this ostracon says ‘house’ or ‘house of,’ I believe it is the earliest known reference to the computer term ‘bit,’ the foundational building block of bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes. In this sense, this simple ‘byt’ inscription must be considered a prophecy of the technology boom we are now experiencing today. And now we own this piece of prophecy!

A purported silver sliver of the backside of the Ketef Hinnom inscription shown next to a penny for scale.

not to be outdone, the university of phoenix has announced that it has acquired a fragment of the ketef hinnom inscription from a pawn shop in the silwan valley. matthew nam, professor of international trade and systematic theology, believes the silver sliver of text could be the centerpiece of the online university’s new masters program in international business and theology.

Obviously, the acquisition of a piece of history this significant is no small thing. Despite the fact that it contains no actual writing, the 1.1 million dollars we spent on this sliver of the Ketef Hinnom amulet’s backside shows our dedication to establishing our new program in international business and theology and establishing ourselves as the world’s premier online business degree for those who also love the Bible. Because we have made this purchase of a mere fragment of an archaeological object, we must immediately be recognized as a legitimate and major player in online theological education.

still other institutions are rumored to be in the hunt for valuable jewish antiquities in an effort to improve their academic reputations overnight. in an effort to solidify its place atop the field of agribusiness education,  fresno city college is said to be near the completion of a deal to purchase a 2 cm x 2 cm portion of a bar kokhba letter that mentions a piece of fruit. thousand oaks high school has partnered with local temple etz chaim preschool to acquire a coin minted by herod the great. and, liberty university is in talks with the jordan archaeological museum to acquire one segment of the copper scroll, which liberty university will then trade to the istanbul archaeology museum in turkey in exchange for the siloam tunnel inscription, a purported piece of noah’s ark, an artifact to be named later, and cash considerations.


these recent acquisitions of archeological objects by universities all go to show that a lack of status in theological education within the academy can quickly be overcome with a few dollars and the purchase of sensational archaeological objects. while most top schools waste their time educating their students with literary critical techniques and objective assessments of history, bible-based colleges can circumvent the scientific method while maintaining their sectarian doctrinal stances by simply purchasing objects that the public revere but do not understand. in this rough economy, why hire more faculty to educate students when a school can use that same money to purchase antiquities and sell tickets to its museum? thus, it makes great business sense for bible colleges to buy publicity by purchasing artifacts rather than producing scholars who truly understand them.

(n.b. check the ‘filed under’ category below)

what kind of facebooker are you? or, how (and how not) to facebook

The Facebook page of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

The Facebook page of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

what kind of facebooker are you? how do you use facebook? what kind of facebooker annoys you the most? these are the questions addressed by a new cnn article by brandon griggs entitled, ‘the 12 most annoying types of facebookers.’

i’ve been on facebook since early in 2005, when a couple of my pepperdine students, amy rogg and austin maness, turned me on to the social networking service. from the very beginning, i used facebook to reach out to students and to learn their names and faces. as an instructional tool, i felt it allowed me to reach students where they are and on their terms. i would create a facebook group for each course i taught, and would ask them to join it. i left hints about when a pop quiz ‘might’ take place or what ‘might’ be on the exam as an incentive to join the group. they found that they could ask me questions about the course materials and message one another. some used the facebook group to organize study groups. at the end of the first week, i knew all of their names, and they all knew each other. of course, at times, i learned a bit too much about them (like how hung over they were or who made out with whom), but it was a way to get the class to engage a required course they might otherwise not enjoy.

according to griggs, the types of facebookers are as follows:

  1. the let-me-tell-you-every-detail-of-my-day bore
  2. the self-promoter
  3. the friend-padder
  4. the town crier
  5. the tmi-er
  6. the bad grammarian
  7. the sympathy-baiter
  8. the lurker
  9. the crank
  10. the paparazzo
  11. the maddening obscurist
  12. the chronic inviter
Dr. Robert Cargill's office workstation at UCLA's Center for Digital Humanities

Dr. Robert Cargill's office workstation at UCLA's Center for Digital Humanities

i’d like to offer a bit of commentary on each of the 12 types of facebookers:

what i am:

#2 – ‘the self-promoter’ – as one who uses my blog to write more developed thoughts on the issues of the day, and who then cross-links my blog with twitterfeed to update my twitter, which in turn is linked to update my facebook automatically, all of which is meta tagged to maximize google alerts and placement in search rankings, i must concede that i am a ‘self-promoter.’ (the fact that my facebook feeds this very article is evidence of this designation.)

#3 – ‘the friend-padder’ – as an early adopter who encouraged students from pepperdine, azusa pacific, portland state, and ucla to join the facebook groups i created for each of my classes, and as one who uses facebook as an alumni tool for friends from madera and bullard high school, fresno city collegefresno state, pepperdine, and ucla, i somehow have amassed well over 1000 facebook friends. with the addition of my asor, sbl, and professional colleagues that use facebook, coupled with the folks that add me because they saw me on history or discovery channel, i fit the definition of a ‘friend-padder.’

#4 – ‘the town crier’ – as one who posts just about every story i find interesting or funny on fb, i am definitely a version of a ‘town crier.’ i like to give my friends something fun or interesting to read or watch on my page, and i love the random banter and feedback each of the stories generate. but i don’t report everything, especially celebrity gossip. (i leave that to tmzperez, and philip defranco.) i report on politics, religion, and absurdities. pick something you know about and become the go-to place for info on those topics.

#11 – ‘the maddening obscurist’ – i admit it: i do this. that is because i find communication to an individual through communication to the general public a fascinating literary phenomenon. it’s like a double entendre (of which i am also a fan), but without the sex (of which i… never mind). if done properly, maddening obscurity is literally saying two things at once. i prefer to call it ‘intentional ambiguity.’ disney does it all the time; they write jokes that kids get on one level, but that mean something entirely different to the parents watching at the same time. just about every status update i leave has two intended audiences and two intended interpretations, because why waste words? (especially in a twitter environment where one only gets 140 characters!) say two things at once! tell the public one thing while you tell that certain someone exactly how you feel (because you know she’s watching ;-). but avoid the obvious; don’t post something like, ‘a certain someone needs to back off,’ because that’s transparent and petty. instead, post a status that reads more like, ‘time to make like a shepherd and get the flock out of here.’ is it about me, or about him? answer: it’s intentionally ambiguous, preserving plausible deniability (but trust me, he knows).

what i am not:

#1 – ‘the let-me-tell-you-every-detail-of-my-day bore’ – this is essentially twitter, and twitter is facebook without the functionality. to be quite honest, i don’t really care what you’re doing at this very moment unless it is clever, hilarious, or monumental. i don’t care that you’re sitting in your office. i don’t care what you had for lunch. i don’t care that you’re ‘working on my latest book.’ (finishing it would impress me more.) i want something that makes me think, makes me laugh, or compels me to comment. make me respond, ‘well played,’ or, ‘touché.’ in turn, i’ll spare you the lesser details of my life.

#5 – ‘the tmi-er’ – on the heels of #1, i don’t want graphic details of your emotional state or what came out in your turds (unless it is monumental, in which case, see my comments on #1). just as i don’t want you to bore me with mindless blather, neither do i want to hear the excruciating details of your day. i can’t even make it through those sappy inspirational emails that get sent around as spam. (sorry mom!) tmi-ers are essentially spammers on facebook, and they should go the way of all flesh immediately.

#6 – ‘the bad grammarian’ – i am not a poor grammarian, as i prefer to portray a sense of intentionally exaggerated erudition when i write. however, i usually forgive spelling mistakes in rapid-fire exchanges, comments on facebook, or obvious spelling errors. what i do reserve the right to tease about are the misuses of idioms, grammar, and errors with homonyms, all of which betray a sense of ignorance and a lack of education that does not convey a sense of credibility when arguing a position on facebook. nothing is more embarrassing than arguing to me how government-run health care is a ‘nazzi’ initiative. check your spelling before you hit ‘share.’ it is better to spell properly and have people think you’re an idiot than to misspell and remove all doubt.

what i hate:

#7 – ‘the sympathy baiter’ – no, no, no! just stop it! i do not come to facebook to be a counselor and i am not a mercy magnet. i certainly do not want my facebook experience to become a chore. this should be a fun place, so please do not play the ‘woe-is-me’ card. if you do, be prepared for silence. if you want to reach out for real sympathy, do so with a private message.

#8 – ‘the lurker’ – voyeurs, peeping toms, and unwanted stalkers are the reason god created friends lists and privacy restrictions (well, mark zuckerberg at least). granted, there will always be folks looking at your page that you don’t necessarily want looking (especially when you don’t want to hurt their feelings by un-friending or blocking them). but, facebook will never offer stats on who’s watching whom, because that would creep everyone out and everyone would stop using facebook. (if sally knew that tommy was checking out all 700 of her photos, either sally would be creeped or tommy would be embarrassed, and either one or both would leave. facebook doesn’t want that, so don’t expect stats like you have on your blog ever!) don’t be creepy and don’t obsess. there are plenty of other boys and girls just as narcissistic self-obsessed as the one you’re stalking for you to visit hourly.

#8a – ‘the inappropriate poster’ – here is a bonus category not found on the cnn article. beyond the lurkers are the ‘inappropriate posters,’ who write posts on your wall that you find yourself deleting immediately afterward. some people are just vulgar or rude. but other ‘inappropriate posters’ do far worse in a seemingly innocent way. ‘inappropriate posters’ are the reason you use facebook mobile: so you can delete the post from that girl you hooked up with that one night before that other girl you’re interested in reads it. in fact, ‘inappropriate posters’ are the reason you can now turn off your facebook wall.

#9 – ‘the crank’ – i don’t like being around cranky people in real life. why would i want to be anywhere near them online? unless you are being hyperbolic, or using crankiness to make a ranting point (which had better be clever or hilarious like lewis black), don’t be cranky. like desperation, people can smell crankiness a mile away, and folks tend to avoid it.

#10 – ‘the paprazzo’ – this is a fundamental no-no. one must *think* before one posts a photo (especially if one tags it, making it visible on the tagged person’s wall). never post illegal activity. never post pix of you kissing anybody(!) unless you are married and never getting divorced. for one, next week when she dumps you, all of the girls who may have been potentially interested in you will have that kiss image in their minds and will despise you. likewise, don’t rub it in. so your boyfriend is hott. ladies, nothing makes other girls hate you more than when you paper your walls with pictures of you kissing biff hunko. save the dda (digital displays of affection) for another day. besides, if you two could *really* make a hott and sexy photo, it should be too hott for facebook, right? there is nothing more provocative than an album full of photos where two cute folks that are just smiling and looking at the camera as if to say, ‘these are the only pictures we can put online ;-). you go ahead and post your little online kissy-face pictures. our relationship is so hott, it’s ‘offline hott.’ so all you get to see are these teasers of us smirking in front of the beach where we later… [brown chicken brown cow].’

#10a – ‘the picture commenter’ – this is another bonus category. please, for the love of all that is holy and digital, don’t comment on the lovey-dovey photos of folks that aren’t you unless you are saying something to the effect of ‘omg u2 r sooo cute!!’ commenting anything other than something positive on another’s photo of affection is nothing more than pissing on a wall to mark your territory. don’t do it – you look pathetic and desperate, and reveal to others how pathetic and desperate you really are. if you really want to make a point, post a picture of you kissing his boyfriend. don’t comment on their picture unless you have something nice to say.

#12 – ‘the chronic inviter’ – this particular facebooker is so annoying, i have a disclaimer on my facebook page that says i never add group invitations, new apps, or events, just so i can point to it when they write me to complain and ask why i didn’t join. i will add just about anyone (even if they do go straight into my limited  ‘acquaintances’ list that can only read my notes, my wall, and see a few pix of me doing benign things), but just because i don’t join your ‘dog rescue’ advocacy group doesn’t mean that i eat puppies for dinner. i don’t add things that take up space on my already overly-full profile. invite people as friends. if they don’t add you, wait a few months. if they reject you again, stop pestering them. if you use facebook to sell things, raise money from strangers, or ask people to join some group because you believe if 100,000 people join, some nun in india will give free computers to children with no electricity, you are delusional and warrant an immediate, naturally-selective extinction.

be smart:

remember, be a smart facebooker. be clever. be entertaining. i appreciate good humor, sincere praise, a well-argued point (even if i disagree), along with both hyperbole and satire (like stephen colbert‘s ‘the word’ or jim west). i’m not a fan of cynicism. (most cynical people don’t realize it’s a literary genre, they’re just nagging.) i do not like partisanship, intolerant hate speech, or anonymous critics; they are a bunch of cowards who sometimes end up under arrest. show me something i haven’t seen before like artsy pong you can play with your cell phone, or the most recent offering from fail blog, or anything by marina orlova (that’s right, the ‘hot for words‘ girl), or something really rare, like something culturally profound out of fresno. (it’s my hometown, so i can tease.) learn to be a good facebooker and you’ll enjoy the experience more than ever before. and who knows, if you’re clever and funny enough, maybe she’ll finally agree to go out with you.

robert cargill

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