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Social Network Numbers in 2014

What are the social network numbers in 2014? Just how many people are using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and more?

The social network numbers are staggering. There are 7.2 billion people on planet Earth – the top 21 social networks have a combined 5.7 billion user profiles. More than a third of the world population now has access to the internet.

Some people still argue that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the other top networks are huge time wasters. Maybe so. But the numbers tell a story. To dismiss social networking as irrelevant feels similar to the great Yogi Berra quote: “No one goes to that restaurant anymore because it’s too crowded.”

Whether you join a network because it’s the newest craze, to connect with old and new friends, to entertain, to be entertained, to market and sell, to buy – or some combination that includes other reasons, here is what is happening in the universe of social networks in 2014. [Read more…]

Steroids, Blood Doping, and Deflated Footballs

Tom Brady

Deflate-Gate: What did Tom Brady know?

If it wasn’t for steroids, blood doping, and deflated footballs – plus a plethora of well-publicized misbehaviors from adultery to drug abuse to gambling – our sports heroes would still be our heroes.

In a distant past and far away galaxy, reporters would protect the reputation of a raging, self-destructive alcoholic like Yankee great, Mickey Mantle. (Those were his own words.)

The 60s and 70s brought a different brand of reporting that was a mix of a more robust and aggressive investigative journalism with a heaping dose of shock appeal. The “shock” part of that mix exploded first with the internet boom and then went from a hydrogen bomb to a nuclear bomb with the eruption of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a host of others are Barry-Bonds-level steroid injections for the TMZ-reveal-all world we live in.

The latest scandal to rock the world of sports is the revelation that the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, a game which they won, to reach Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, against the Seattle Seahawks on February 1, 2015. [Read more…]

5 Reasons This Will Be a Great Year for You!

It’s good to take a look back and see what we liked – and didn’t like – about last year – our circumstances, relationships, and personal behavior and integrity. But it’s even better to look forward with renewed faith, commitment, and optimism. As the Apostle Paul reminds us:

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT). [Read more…]

Presumption of Guilt and the Breakdown of Public Discourse

presumption of guilt and the lack of civil discourse

The meeting of the minds has become a contact sport!

Much is made of the lack of civil discourse and the breakdown of public discourse in American culture today. Is it time we declare the meeting of the minds to be a contact sport with special headgear?

The art of diatribe – a long, angry, bitter, satirical criticism against a different opinion – has always been practiced in the public square across generations and cultures. But doesn’t it seem worse than ever? Maybe I’m waxing nostalgic, but even in my lifetime, I seem to remember healthier expressions of dialog and debate on fiercely contested ideas.

Okay … I was born shortly before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law … my childhood was marked by the Roe v. Wade, the Vietnam War, nuclear proliferation, Watergate, and economic Stagflation. So it wasn’t very peaceful then either.

But I still seem to recall the mainstream political debates – every bit as contentious as today’s issues – having more civility. I think. Well … sometimes.

The constant companion of the diatribe today is the ad hominem attack – [Read more…]