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Thread: Social Networking Websites - An Opinion

  1. #1
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    Social Networking Websites - An Opinion

    I will offer this up to the group, since I've answered this same issue several times in PMs or private emails.

    I'm not a part of Facebook, MySpace, PlaxoPulse, or any other similar site at this time. I may not ever be, but that is not to say I will not ever try one.

    I enjoy a fairly anonymous presence here and similar anonymous presence on a handful of other message boards, and don't plan on being a "public" part of the internet for now. Simply put, I can't stand the corporate figures behind most of these social network companies, their corporate goals, and what they do with your information that is posted at those sites. You are profiled at all of them, regardless how few pictures you post, much of what you put into the site is data mined for multiple purposes, especially marketing.

    A separate philosophical issue - is it healthy for us as a society to spend more and more time socializing online rather than with people in person? If you had a private event at your house and invited your best friend with intent to talk personal issues, would you enjoy your neighbor walking into the room to listen in? What if half the town shows up? That's the equivalent of the internet's reach yet some folks put their most intimate and personal information online. Often, it isn't healthy. Although it is debatable whether you would get as many factoids or data from someone in person, at least you would be socializing with someone who cares and could be truthful in their counsel and advice. When you're online, many people can say flowery words that are false or could be bad advice. The social aspect of venting or conversing in person with other people is something we're all wired for, but the internet feeds on a piece of that wired desire for companionship. Be mindful of that - the internet is like "sugar candy" for the brain -- it tastes great but it isn't necessarily healthy. We're wired to desire friendship and companionship, and it is cool to say that you have "1,000 friends" at a social network site, but in reality are any of them really friends?

    Seek out advice and counsel from friends or family members in person. Write actual handwritten letters to people. Do you have an older aunt or uncle that doesn't get much attention? Is there an old teacher or mentor who you know probably is far too old to bother with the internet? There's an 88 year old man I recently received a hand-written letter from. I could tell by his hand writing that he is losing muscle/nerve function from his age, but he still tried and completed a one page letter. I had to read over it 3 times to get all the words figured out but after I did -- it was one of the best notes I had received in years (including all emails). I had written him a month ago a one page note and mailed it to him since I know he's not on the internet and his life is coming to an end soon. One of the aspects that makes the letter from him special -- the effort he took to simply write, and it was evident from his own handiwork with a pen. You can't get that emotion or feeling from Arial font.

    I'm sending this out as a note of encouragement, not criticism. I know it's easy to broach sensitive subjects online, because people aren't in the room staring at you, and for some people this helps eliminate the "embarrasment" factor.

    Okay, I will exit the soapbox, but I wanted to be a divergent voice of "reason" and concern to those who may dive headfirst into those "social" networks.
    BM
    I've been lurking...

  2. #2
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    I appreciate your viewpoint and cautions. I'm staying pretty wary.

    The one thing I can say about the web (and phone) is it's got me more in touch with old friends back East or overseas, since moving so far West. Time zone differentials, can make things challenging, technology helps.

    And the appeal of conversing via the net is that (at least for now)...it's free!

    We still hand-write notes, tho--our families are very particular that way.

    But it's good to have "Two Different Views", BM...with a nod to Henry Izzo and xxif, too.

    We were just laughing the other day that the teen in our house was actually USING THE PHONE and WE WERE GLAD!!!

    How funny, it used to be that everybody dreaded teens tying up the phone lines. We were happy to have her off of the IM-ing and texting that she does all the time and actually verbally talking with a friend!

    We do live in a world now of sound bytes and snarky witticisms--as you said, there's no emotion or face-to-face that way. It hugely exacerbates the already histrionic dramas that happen (especially for teens) egged on by misinterpretations/ misunderstandings of IMs/texts, etc...

    Kim
    Last edited by msmith1; 07-25-2009 at 08:20 PM.
    My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
    ~Dalai Lama

    I reject your reality and substitute my own.
    ~Adam Savage

  3. #3
    I've had a great experience on Facebook. I've reconnected with several old friends from high school and beyond, and it's been a great marketing tool for my band, who is currently playing some shows. All of these social networking sites have their flaws, but I embrace all of these new technologies and types of access we have today. I look at all my old photos from high school on crappy 35mm film, and today high school students can take digital/HD photos with their phones, and cameras that fit in their pockets. I wish half of this stuff had been around when I was 18-21 years old. Instead I had to settle for Leisure Suit Larry on a slow ass IBM with a yellow/black screen and 5-1/4" floppy disks.

    Tell me it's not unbelievably cool that The Fixx can record the very concert you're attending, and hand it to you on a USB stick moments after the show's over.

    1002

  4. #4
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    Tenohtwo,
    Since we're in "Sign of Fire"...
    Your argument is flawed and full of Red Herrings. The goodness of digital photography compared with old analog photography has nothing to do with my argument, nor does it prove that Facebook is good because of that contrast. Again - the photos themselves aren't even the point, it is the social side. You can email photos without being on a Social Network site. You could mail a home movie on DVD-R to a friend also, so again, your point isn't valid for proving that a Social Network site must be used to keep in touch.

    The ability of a FixxStixx recording - another Red Herring, doesn't prove that Social Networking sites are good, and has nothing to do with them. You frame your statement as if I am giving an anti-technology statement, which I did not. Tech can be used within socializing, without displaying it to the public or posting it within the bounds of someone else's EULA (future) control.

    Reconnecting with High School friends? Why not just look them up in the phone book, and if they were friends how did you lose touch in the first place that required internet help? Again, goes back to core points on friendship also - maybe you mean acquaintences. I have many high school friends I've stayed in contact with all these years, and we've used standard mail, email, and phone calls for those that really are friends, and whenever I'm back in my hometown we meet up as well. I didn't need a social networking site for this.

    Again - read what you wrote, as nothing you mentioned proves the goodness of Facebook -- you're throwing out Red Herrings about the goodness of high tech as justification when that has nothing to do with social interaction. In fact, if either of us have a choice between viewing a digital photo of a true friend and seeing that person "in person," we'd choose to see them in person, right? Same with communicating - if you have a choice between digits in Facebook and talking on the phone with a friend, what would you choose?

    "Marketing" for band - you only strengthen my argument, as that is truly what Facebook and "Social Networking" sites are - marketing tools. Whether it's your band advertising, or the owners of the Social Networking site data mining for your personal information, it's all about Marketing.

    To put the question to a Fixx song, "Are You Satisfied?"
    BM
    I've been lurking...

  5. #5
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    Well, our dear BM appears to be full of beans today, stirring the pot, so I'll just try to beat him a little with his own nit-picky spoon.

    >>Reconnecting with High School friends? Why not just look them up in the phone book>>

    A phone book? Seriously? When we actually still had a land line, we weren't listed in it. Too many "marketing" calls. Oh, and we had moved numerous times from the areas where we were raised, so nobody knew us here anyway. Oh, and when you are a woman and you get married, often times your name changes, so you are lost to your friends and they are lost to you. Forget the land line and the useless book. Now we just rely on cell phones and Skype to connect with the outside world. It works for us.

    Some people simply don't have a choice between talking to people in person or on the phone and seeing them in person. Welcome to the 21st Century.

    Now, believe it or not, there are a host of reasons why friends legitimately lose touch (including relocation, lifestyle changes, etc.) and just as many why they may choose to reconnect over time. Social media can also be useful for maintaining and strengthening existing ties. I like that I can chat (for free) with friends I made in CA or at an old job in MD, just for a few moments at a time sometimes, but it keeps us connected for those other times when we can really dig in and have a serious exchange. Distance can really strain relationships. Thank God none of my friends expect me to hand write a letter and put it in the mail to them anymore.

    I have found Social Media very helpful for touching base with folks I have met through various experiences and interests via LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter. LinkedIn has been very useful for consolidating my professional network, as I have had numerous jobs in my working life and I continue to meet new people.

    FaceBook has been great for my long-distance friends (I live some distance from where my roots are) and for re-establishing relationships with college friends, teachers, and folks I shared hobbies with, etc. I am interested to know how they are doing and what they are up to. They are all just as nice as I remember them. As I've mentioned elsewhere, this Fixx/Cy business takes up much of my life, so I appreciate how FaceBook enables me to cultivate relationships with my friends, some from other backgrounds and interests -- to create some balance.

    Twitter is a bit of a lark, but I think it's fun and interesting. I use it more professionally, I suppose, as it is a fantastic way to get news feeds rolled up in one place. It can be entertaining when friends write something funny or direct me to a good laugh. The Internet is a huge entity now and it is becoming more challenging to sift through it all to find the quality and valuable information. Tweets that refer me to good articles and other resources are invaluable and save me an enormous amount of time searching for stuff myself.

    Social media isn't for everyone. But it can be a great thing. Heck, this board is somewhat of a precursor to the social media engines we have now -- a place for everyone to gather and share information and ideas. And before this we had a mailing list. Out of it came long-term friendships, marriages, gatherings, projects to promote the band, and many other constructive things. Yay Internet. Yay social media.
    Lisa



  6. #6
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    I have to say

    In this discussion, I am with Kim and MuseGirl on this! Well said ladies! They clearly stated my viewpoints on using the internet. I am registered at MySpace and Facebook. While I do find MySpace is more of a marketing place and tend not to go there as much. I will say I met other Fixx fans thru MySpace that do not come to this board because they still were not comfortable over here for various reasons, SO I thank MySpace for helping me connect with new friends! I was able to meet some of them in person too so let it be known that MySpace and Facebook just gets the ball rolling for those too shy or apprehensive to make initial face to face contact. We made efforts to get to know one another via writing and posting photos and this can be done on a messaging system at these sites. So I typed instead of wrote but the sentiments are mine all the same! In time, I do try to make human contact with the people I been in touch with and this past June I had that opportunity. I brought two Fixx fans together that we all only met through these resources. I got them to travel together for companionship and we were able to meet in person at the Connecticut Fixx Show. One fan only uses MySpace and here, the other uses all 3 places. All of us met for the very first time at that show as a result of these connections!
    Facebook has helped me to stay in touch and more up to the most current news with my relatives that are spread all over the U.S. Sometimes (sadly though) people don't have the time to get caught up on the phone or to sit to handwrite a letter. Facebook is a quicker way to send a note and it gets the message to all the relatives instead of passing it down the grapevine and sometimes in my experience the grapevine twists the information. This way if I put my message for all to see, it came straight from the horses mouth. Of course if there has been a private matter, we have taken it privately off the open space where public can see it. I also am very cautious as to who I accept as a friend or relative or what I post about because I have "Sour Grapes" in my bunch that I have to be careful about. I block out the relatives (exs and the sour grapes) that I have no longer chosen to stay in my life, and I remain aware of the people in my life that may leak information to them so I choose my topics carefully. If I need to say something that can't go public, then that is when I may pick up the phone or jot a quick note ( and I repeat since my family is scattered throughout the U.S. I have to do this via E-mail for quicker responses versus waiting for the Snail Mail!)
    Another few things to consider using these public forums, myself as an example, I am a mother of two young children and I also babysit two others - I don't have the luxury of staying on the phone for long chats. I tend to do my messaging in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep.
    More points to ponder- What about people that are shut - ins? I know people who cannot get out ( either mentally or physically disabled) but are able to maintain relationships via the media on the computer. Facebook is also a networking place where I can list the Causes that I believe in and perhaps introduce them to others that are unaware and vice versa. I just recruited 15 people into Love,Hope, Strength. Hopefully they will pledge me for the Walkathon and then they may learn more abut this Cause and tell their friends, family, co-workers - etcetera.
    I also reconnected to old school friends, colleagues, co-workers. Some people had lost touch and did not know my married surname and that I have moved. I learned some of these people did want to keep in touch but unfortunately life's events gets in the way of being right on top of each other's every moves and we did not have Facebook or MySpace to let ALL know that we Moved Or have made life changes or name changes. During our move I had misplaced phone numbers so maybe could not keep the connection but thanks to these resources I have now been back in TOUCH!
    FaceBook and MySpace may not be for everyone and some people fear it but if you know how to use it wisely it can be an asset!

  7. #7
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    For the ladies (who are double-teaming me),
    You make some good points, but perhaps we're talking past each other also. Regardless our differences, I think we all agree that caution should be taken when going into social networking sites, and no one should dive in and start to post numerous pictures and lay out their life story.

    One key difference is probably in our social outlook. If I'm in a new place, I want to get to know who the neighbors are all around me, whereas many people now are comfortable not knowing any. In fact, one could argue that online connections via whatever your preferred method is - could be supplanting that practice in our society. If you're arguing the goodness of all the social networking yet don't know most of your neighbors within a 1/4 mile (an easy walk), then we certainly would have differences in opinions of what "society" is.

    The "phonebook" which I should have specified - just because I argue the goodness of writing a physical letter doesn't mean everything in my description and analogies are arcane analog methods. "Phone books" are online, and we can look anyone up. Yes, you have good points on changing last names from marriage, but you're arguing around an issue -- I have never lost contact with close friends that would invite me to their wedding. That gets into philosophical discussions of exactly what a "friend" is, which certainly would be different to many of us. I wouldn't count a "friend" marked in the stats of a social networking site as an actual "friend." Acquaintances - yes, and if you want to reconnect there's benefit for the "connection" itself, although we could argue whether there's benefit to most reconnections of "old friends." I could describe several stories of men who have made extremely poor choices in trying to recapture "lost love" through the internet with old flames, only to lose their current family. Additionaly, men tend to waste a lot of time in their lives, and part of the motivation is because of the differences in the male sexual impulse vs. female -- men crave the visual while females crave emotional. This is why more males are into internet porn than females, and why there's males going to strip-clubs whereas the male strip-clubs are rare.

    Males get caught up in this stuff and waste a lot of time, and my perspective is that our society is crumbling partly because of the "Time Sinks" I list here: Internet, Video Games, Pro Sports (living vicariously through them), and any adult "me" sport like Golf, Tennis, etc. where little or no interaction takes place with the family. Social Networking could easily become a time sink, if not managed right.

    For Muse - I absolutely agree with you 100% on your business aspect of Facebook, the marketing side can't be argued. It is an extremely effective marketing platform, but I don't have a business nor a networking need for my occupation, and in fact it is better to remain anonymous in MANY occupations out there, especially those that relate to the government.
    BM
    I've been lurking...

  8. #8
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    I'll definitely go along with the pros. I have very few good friends here in town, and MySpace/Facebook/Twitter have helped me keep in touch with those who live elsewhere in a way that, for whatever reason, email/letters did not. I also like that social networking has helped us stay together as social circles we were/are all originally a part of.

    For the most part, the people I've added on Facebook are those I already have met and know, or would like to. There are a fair number I've added simply to play games with, but even then, they often add something else to my life, and I never would have known them otherwise.

    For me, it's been a huge self-esteem boost that people want to add me, and that they respond to the things that go on in my life. I didn't think people cared so much. And as for marketing, I can block out the stuff I'm not interested in, while getting info about things I do care about that again, for whatever reason, wasn't readily available elsewhere, or I found difficult to find with other media. Now as for people marketing my information, that's been an issue since the Internet began, and I think if one uses common sense, it can be prevented in ways that are negative.

    Now for the cons. I have enough people who I've added that all the apps are becoming impossible to keep up with. I get only about four to five hours of sleep a night trying (and often failing), I have to carve out time for my boyfriend, family, and exercise, and this is becoming a critical situation with my rapidly deteriorating health of late. On the other hand, when I find out, as I did last Friday, that I've lost three pounds, how cool is is to think of Stuart's updates on Facebook, and say to myself, "He did it, step by step, and you can, too".

    So I guess in a nutshell, it makes life a more intense balancing/prioritizing act than it ever has been. It's just hard for this once-unpopular kid in school who used to be bored most of the time to know quite what to do with enough people to interact with that I don't have time to accommodate them all!
    Maybe on course to the best yet!

  9. #9
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    More views

    Firstly I am not socially inept as I once worked as a Social Activities Coordinator from anywhere from 1 person to 100 people. I now am a stay at home mom and at times feel like I am in a prison and need immediate contact with the world and other adults so I choose FB or my favorite Band's Message Boards.
    That being said, I am even wondering what the point of being so down on FB is? It in essence is the same as being here except you can chat with many people simultaneously. Most people here connected with one another because of commonality or philosophical points of view. Some people have had the pleasure of making actual contact with one another in person but many have not for geographical reasons but all the same - a rapport has been built and maintained thanks to the message board and FB . Most stay in touch via FB because it is quicker than Snail Mail. FB can be a place just to have fun!
    Is an insinuation being made that we are not trying to be part of society but hiding behind our computers? Not necessarily so! I know I try to make every effort to be part of my community and explore the world (when time and money avails) but often my community acts like they can care less. That is why sometimes I prefer to be on a social network. I can befriend people with similiar interests. People that want to make conversation and get to know one another. Friendships can be formed and have been from people around the globe. I feel like my social life is enhanced and enriched from education I get from my Foreign Friends ( oh excuse me but I guess I should say acquaintances if we want to dive deeper into the area regarding relationships!) However, I bet if you asked them, they'd to refer to me as a friend. As far as connections and disconnections from friends - perhaps my friend moved so many times that she has also forgotten who she last updated with what address. That does not make someone less of a friend or negligent in the Friendly Duty department. I myself go MIA from keeping in touch because of family matters but that doesn't make me less of a friend. Sometimes I choose not to publicize my burdens to them because they are mine and I think I could depress them with the crap that has happened in my lifetime. However my point is I at least can leave a generic blurb on FB to let people know I am alive when they don't hear from me in awhile. FB enriches, enhances, fills voids, and sometimes makes tabloids - lol!
    FB does create issues at times. A former friend of mine has served his wife divorce papers as a result of her flirting with old flames on her FB. I can't blame FB but the person's weak character for that. I too was pursued by two former classmates via FB instant chat. One of the men I could have easily said "Yes" to if I was weak in character and of course it would be the next day's FB Post Shame on him for trying to get me to cheat and he did it like a coward from behind the safety of the FB! No laughing matter for that man as he found out that our children attend the same school and I sit on the Executive Board of our PTA. Imagine his pride I am very careful on FB as my account was hacked and horrible things were sent out that were not even from me but I later learned it was a bug to mess up people's computers. FB handled it quickly as does our moderators here. FB to me is similar to writing threads here except I can filter the unwanted friend/family accordingly! There are people out there surprisingly as it sounds that are interested in my mundane life. I have a thirst to get to know people whether they are online or here before me. I am greatful to have the freedom to so choose!

    To the reading audience, my replies are not intended to disrespect. They are my views based on my experiences.
    With friendly hugs - Sherri

  10. #10
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    Ya know, it's all in fun til someone loses an eye. . .

    Social networking. Okay.

    When you mention letter writing, it seems outdated to some. I always loved writing letters, but there are those who want you to get to the point toute de suite, hence the use of places like MySpace and Facebook. I just made a page like days ago; had a MySpace in the beginning WAY before they even had backgrounds and folks were naysaying it.

    The people I used to write to live in war-torn countries; the young men I corresponded with then may not even be alive, and the words we exchanged were sensored. Yep, entire sections of letters were blacked out by Sharpies! So no matter where you are or what method you use, it can be distorted in some way.

    A great deal of my friends (and yes they are friends) lead busy lives as I do and finding the time for just that little blurb or crazy forward gives them a boost. I'm not saying you are wrong, but I am saying that I am not wrong either. If it isn't for you, please don't knock down those who do. You seem like a pretty stand up guy. But sometimes the way you come off puts folks off. I understand what you are saying, and in no way am I attacking you. Everything can be perverted these days, even conversating with coworkers during lunch in breakrooms. As will all things, be smart and protect yourself. If someone wants to do something ugly, they will find a way to do it regardless of how much information you do or do not submit.

    now I'm going back over to Facebook and MySpace and have a great old giggle about this. . .


    (hops on vacuum cleaner and speeds off)
    Last edited by preciousstone75; 07-26-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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  11. #11
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    "I'm not one of those joiners,
    I'm not down with the club.
    There's no place I'm going to,
    You see, it's the hole I've dug...

    ...I just leave it alone."


    Forums are about all I can cope with - Facebook/MySpace/Twitter are, to me, all about establishing exactly the same groups & networks as there were at school (only on a wider basis).

    Why on earth would I want to go there again? I want to read/hear new ideas, I want to stretch out, I want to be challenged... the point was made about writing letters - there's no higher form of communication imo.
    The world will always turn, with or without your point of view...

  12. #12
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    Robert M,

    I understand what you're saying, but it's not necessarily true for everyone.

    I look forward, not backward...no interest in tracking down schoolmates.

    I can't comprehend the tracking down old flames thing that some folks have, either. Or the "I've 1059 'friends' " phenomena.

    But the overall truth, the biggest appeal of on-line anywhere is-- IT'S FREE, quick and convenient.

    Kim
    Last edited by msmith1; 07-27-2009 at 08:31 PM.
    My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
    ~Dalai Lama

    I reject your reality and substitute my own.
    ~Adam Savage

  13. #13
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    Re: Ya know, it's all in fun til someone loses an eye. . .

    Originally posted by preciousstone75
    ...The people I used to write to live in war-torn countries...the words we exchanged were sensored...

    ...If it isn't for you, please don't knock down those who do. You seem like a pretty stand up guy. But sometimes the way you come off puts folks off. I understand what you are saying, and in no way am I attacking you....
    Precious,
    Call me the "Yield Sign." To some I'm an annoyance and unnecessary, and you may not have to stop due to my notification, but for those that pay attention - you won't get smacked broadside without notice. Also, I've never worried much at all whether people like or dislike what I have to say. Being put off just doesn't matter to me (think Noah and the nonbelievers). It's a bit shallow to even worry of those things.

    Those people you wrote to - just like China in today's news, social networking sites can be censored or shut down completely, so that is simply an issue of censorship regardless of format.

    I have an approach to life where I feel like part of my destiny is to inform. In fact, I do entirely too much "informing" at work but for things that may bore or offend many of you (especially the peace-niks). This forum is one of several I frequent, but in each I don't share my real name openly nor are pictures considered a normal part of the exchange, which is better for someone like me. Given that I'm in Iraq, general stories and personal innuendo are all I can go into. If you ever hear my declassified story of Iraq, you might fall asleep or might want the screenplay (to each his own).

    We're social creatures, I'm not arguing against that fact nor am I against all forms of socializing. I am simply throwing it out there that some may post too much information online that they will regret later, and others may simply be getting sucked in deeper to the "web" and spending too much time online. Me - I can type fast so my trips here take less time than most.
    BM
    I've been lurking...

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by msmith1
    Robert M,

    I understand what you're saying, but it's not necessarily true for everyone.

    I look forward, not backward...no interest in tracking down schoolmates.

    I can't comprehend the tracking down old flames thing that some folks have, either. Or the "I've 1059 'friends' " phenomena.

    But the overall truth, the biggest appeal of on-line anywhere is-- IT'S FREE, quick and convenient.

    Kim

    Oh I agree, no question. Honestly, I don't take these things that seriously, I just like to have my little grumbles from time to time.
    The world will always turn, with or without your point of view...

  15. #15
    Jesus, did I touch a nerve? Didn't even realize I was picking a fight. It works for me, and I like it. Look, if you want to get down to bare bones, unplug every electronic form of communication you own, and go deliver a letter to your loved ones on a horse. You talk about personalizing communication the old fashioned way, yet you post on a message board. Ok.

    "You can't get that emotion or feeling from Arial font."

    Unless you use bold type or all caps.

    1002

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