Mar 21, 2012

Internet-speak for idiots

The thing I love most about writing and blogging on the internet is that I love the challenge, the different ways to make money, and burning the midnight oil to finish an article. The thing I detest about this new online way of working is all the technological terms, that no one explains to you how to do things or show you in person. There is no personal contact and for a job where you have to know how to upload sites, add blogs and post links, it is all a little frustrating. For a person who wants to get down to the business of writing, it takes a long time to really understand how AdSense works, how to get traffic, what to do with the links and so on.

More articles equal more traffic and more money

For instance, ask anyone outside of this industry what a newbie or AdSense means, they couldn’t tell you. Assignments and tasks should be easy explained. If at the top of an article it states that you pay $4 an article, it should not state $2 at the bottom of the article. Times have changed in the workplace since the boss dictated to his typist and she could stop and ask questions when she did not understand, or had missed a word, or wanted to check a spelling. With online writing, deadlines, and monitored work we are fast becoming an assembly line of robots. Here are some aspects of online writing that bloggers and employers might benefit from.

Clarity of instruction

• Don’t take for granted that a writer who is commissioned to do an article on a certain subject or one outside of his or her expertise knows the language of that particular field. Every occupation has its own language and computer speak is one of them.

• When you employ writers it might be a good idea to give them a booklet in hard copy they can refer to for computer actions and SEO talk.

• Besides frequently asked questions and live chat, have a blog on the common things writers need to know about. If someone applies for an online writing job and on her first day finds out she has to spin articles, post the blogs, and a whole lot of technical things, it is not fair to her and you can potentially lose a writer.

• Be clearer with your instructions. We are getting our tasks and assignments online. We don’t have tutors who can show and explain things to us. Technology changes all the time and so too people have to be educated and clearly kept up to date.

• It frustrates writers when they have to stop writing to figure out an instruction they cannot get right. Was there a school for computer boffins growing out there while I remained glued to my laptop? Don’t get me wrong. I love the competition, the work and the buzz. I just freeze when I have to do any technical stuff. Clarity and patience is all a writer wants.


The Semites

What happens when a Jewish son brings home a Muslim girl and tells his parents he wants to marry her? There’s a kind of war that immediately starts up and the family on both sides respond likewise. As a Muslim myself I know the reasons parents of the couple would not like that to happen. Marriage is hard enough when there are no problems; it is doubly so when you mix faiths. But the Muslim and Jewish faiths are brother and sister faiths, you say; they are both desert religions, they are both Semites, they are both people who worship an Unseen God and despise idolatry, they are both named the People of the Book in the Qur’an; and they both have Moses, Muhamad, Jesus and other prophets in common. What then is the problem?

Firm identity crucial

Having been involved with a Jewish man myself when I was young, it was hard for me to accept. I understood it from a rational point of view, but my heart did not accept it especially as I was dating a man out of my faith and was looking for someone to agree with me that it will not affect our relationship. I was wrong. I was reminded by everyone that you just cannot change your faith and that the man’s Jewish family would feel the same way. Then my psychologist said something to me in one of our sessions in the nineties, ‘Rayda, when a child reaches three or four he must have an identity; he must know who he is – what place of worship he is going to. Is he going to church, the temple, the synagogue or the mosque? Where are you going to take him? Are you going to wait to make that decision when you’re older?’ It was something I could not argue against and words I never forgot. And ironic too, for my psychologist is Jewish and always gave me the best advice.

Importance of having a faith

Having a faith is an important thing for a child. It’s his starting point for all that he will learn, do and become. It is one thing you should never try and talk someone out of; everyone needs God in his life whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Hare Krishna. To tamper with someone’s faith is akin to throwing him out in the wilderness. Years later I met an old Indian man who was spending two weeks in Cape Town after heart surgery and we talked. He said something that night that stayed with me. ‘Marriage is a strange thing, he said. It is a chance you take with someone to live a life together. What I’m scratching my head about is how you will be compatible. What do you have in common? A fish cannot make his home with a bird. For a marriage to work you have to be compatible. And I don’t see compatibility here.’ The answer relieved me as I take an interest in the good teachings of all faiths. And yes, I sometimes go to the Hare Krishna Temple on Sunday afternoons; I love the chanting and the dancing and the selflessness of the Hare Krishnas. Whether we chant 109 times, say prayers five times a day, or talk to God while we are driving, we are all invested in wanting His Love. There are no favorites with God, and no one religion owns Him. As far as changing faiths, there’s an old saying that goes something like this: don’t tamper with a man’s faith unless you have a big net under him.

Dealing with an obnoxious young adult

Do you have a teenage son who’s a bully, is mean to his younger brother and sister and is even rude to you? Does he swear at you and stand up to his father and kick things around the house? Is everyone in the home afraid of him and avoids him? If there is a father in the home the two of you have to sit down and decide what to do and then carry it out. If your son is mean and hurts his siblings and everyone is afraid of him, it’s time to take matters in hand. If you don’t you will all be at the mercy of an eighteen year old tyrant; and it is not his house, it’s yours.

Practice tough love and stick to the plan

There is tough love and there is tough love with allowances. This is not the latter. This is no-holds barred ‘getting your kid to face up to his obnoxiousness, stop his abusive behavior, and become a useful, participating member of the family. If he is not interested in changing, the worst thing you can do is sweep it under the carpet until the next time an explosion erupts. Suggest that you all see a family counselor and discuss what is going on, when the behavior started, what was done about it. Be firm in expressing what you want; do not act like someone who is afraid. Tell him straight out what the consequences will be if he does not obey.

If he tells you to go to hell and that he is not interested in someone else’s advice, you and your husband both sit down with him. Let the husband do the talking; if the husband does not think his son is rude and laughs at his obnoxious behavior, you know that this will be an uphill battle but one that you will have to win. It does not take a genius to know that your husband is part of the problem and that he has been a bad role model for his son and this necessitates even more the reason for a consultation. Here are some ways to deal with your son if he refuses all your efforts for rehabilitation.

• Do not give him an allowance; anyone with a big mouth and who is rude to his parents has no need for a family and can move out.

• Take back the house and car keys.

• Tell him that if he does not come with you to see a family counselor that you will go to the police station and report his abusive behavior.

• Ask for an officer to show him the inside of a jail and a chance to meet some of the inmates who will be only too glad to give him a lesson in humility.

• Tell him to stay away from the other kids and not to hang about the school grounds. Bad news travels fast and you don’t want to embarrass your other kids
• Tell him you still love him, but you have other children too and they need your attention.

• Tell him the door is open if he wants to come back and earnestly become a member of the family which comes with rules and regulations.