PANAMA HAS ALL THE ANSWERS!: 5 or 6 Ways Technology Has Changed How We Communicate

[Admin Note: For inspiration, on occasion, I'll peruse the ghosts of writtens past. This post is a rehash and update of something I wrote nearly 5 years ago to the day. Amazing how timely it happens to be. No. Seriously. It's also amazing what was omitted 5 years ago because it just wasn't that big a damn deal at the time and yet the spirit is still as relevant as ever. Enjoy the trip down memory lane.]

The ultimate "let you know I'm creepy" social media move.

The ultimate “let you know I’m creepy” social media move.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, technology has changed the landscape of interpersonal communication. Long gone are the days of walks in the park and looking somebody in the eye to end a relationship.


Hyperlinks to beaches and palm trees you’d sit under if you could afford to take your loved one there and text messages or emails saying that a relationship just isn’t working out. Which, for the latter, isn’t exactly a bad thing considering the increasing nutcasedness of both men and women lately.  Shucks, you tell the wrong person on the wrong day that you don’t want to date them anymore and you might end up in the hospital with lead poisoning and an email box full of hate mail.

Remember, interpersonal communication has changed. The phone calls come, but the emails do too now. Which brings me to my point. Many of the things that we used to find ourselves doing are now being moved to the world wide web.

There are quite a few ways that communication has changed and since I’m in such a giving mood, I decided to share a few of the ways us human internet geeks (and if you are reading this right now, that means you) have begun to interact with other people.

1) Drunk IMing/Facebooking/DMing

Long gone are the days of strictly drunk dialing people. Now, we have the drunk IM convos where you divulge the same things, just with serious syntax and spelling issues. Par example…

luvmejubblies65: hey tashta…i mis u
mynameisnotsusan: You don’t miss me, you ruined this. I told you I never want to talk to you again. Leave me alone.
luvemejublies65: babie, i want us shuld haf sum kidz…i did wron but dat doesnt not change the fak we us can be gud twogether and itz not jus the lickher talking
luvmejublies65: lickher…LMAO…dats funy
mynameisnotsusan: Die, Dueteronimarcus! Die!

He’ll hate himself in the morning, but that’s what happens now. Folks trod in from a night of drinking and jump right on the computer and head straight for their buddy list.

Tragedy is just a font away.

1b) Smartphoning

Smartphoning sounds very dumb. But nowadays, with so much no-filter-ruin-your-life-in-5-seconds-or-less technology out there, folks don’t even have to wait to get home to get completely ratchet. Now, with your phone and your impulses at your fingertips, all of the ratchetness that your heart desires can be dispersed almost immediately. Sometimes I think God laughs and cries at the same time for creating Samsung, Steve Jobs, and the QWERTY-keyboard. Ugg and Uggeisha didn’t have this problem.

2) Stalking

So you know how people send out those mass emails with everybody’s email on them? And as opposed to Blind Copies, they just either send it To everybody or CC folks. Now you’ve got nut cases out there who find your email and send you a little “Hi, I just wanted to say hello” email.

Harmless right?


Because soon after, assuming you respond in the first place, the emails become more frequent and start requesting information or conversations or underwear. Then they start telling you they know where you live and why won’t you email them back or call them since they are being so nice to you and are really a great person they just need a chance but if you don’t they’ll be forced to do something drastic like play a game of Hangman Online just to show you what could happen if you don’t ever at least email them back…hang that is, not play word games.

And all of that from the comfort of their living room.

[Amazing that I wrote this five years ago considering circumstances that have happened since. I'm motherf*cking clairvoyant. I'm the ratchet whisperer.]

And speaking of strange emails…

3) Awkward-Situation Inducing Conversations

Have you ever been having a conversation with somebody and you think they are hinting that they are interested, but you just aren’t sure?? Well, it seems people have figured a way to make this happen online too.

How?? I’ll learn you.

Say you meet somebody and you are emailing back and forth. How you meet is of little consequence, let’s just say you all have exchanged email addresses since people do that nowadays. So you email back and forth. Every email is ended with your name or their name.


After a full day of email full of laughs and information, its time to go home and somebody does the one thing Amerie-style that gets you trippin.

What do they do??

You really have no idea??

Of course you do…

…they add their signature, complete with phone number. And of course, it clearly denotes their cell phone number.

Do I call?? Why did the signature show up now? Will Jay-Z release another album? Do brown shoes go with orange pants?? Did she put the number on there on purpose?? I mean if she wanted me to call she would have said to call…right??? Do I go? Do I stay? Which way is up????? SOMEBODY TELL ME!!!!

Utter confusion.

4) The Facebook/Twitter/IG Add

To this day, I still don’t understand the concept of poking. I’m not even sure if you can still do that or not. But you know how folks used to have speak in person or miss the opportunity (potentially) forever. Not anymore. As long as you have their name you can do the most passive aggressive game of “your move now” tag ever: add them as friends on Facebook. Or Twitter. Instagram is a little harder since so many folks have private pages. But if they add you on FB its pretty much the same thing since everybody filters their pics from IG to their FB page. Point is, its a way of saying, “I noticed you. And I wanted to put you on notice that I noticed you noticing me too.” Which then leads down the rabbit hole of interest-chicken and who makes the first move via FB messaging or DMing, etc. Oh romance, how ye have evolved.

5) Memes and .gifs

No lie, I probably speak more in memes and .gifs nowadays than I do with actual words. A picture is worth a thousand words and I’m lazy. If there’s a pic I can send that will convey the message I’m trying to convey, it’

These are just a few of the things that have resulted due to technology and the internet.  What are some other behaviors that have been altered due to technology?


Still Black In America

I got caught up in Soledad O’Brien’s latest edition to the Black In America canon that aired last night on CNN. This episode was entitled “The Promised Land – Silicon Valley” and was about Black entreprenuerism in the tech world. It followed a house full of individuals, Black men and women, attempting to demo projects in order to raise money to get their sites and projects off the ground. Really heady stuff…mostly because despite living a semi-charmed life online, I know pretty much jack sh*t about building a startup tech-centric website.

But one particular scene stood out from the rest, poison as can be, a high powered chest to me. A professor from Duke University (can’t remember his name to save my life) of Indian descent was talking to the developers about the fact that when he began his venture capital company somebody told him to get a white man to be the face of the company and that’s how a lot of companies operate. Basically, investors like to see white men because it gives them some sort of comfort in the product. You know, the psychological something or other that exists in nearly every community.

I mean let’s be real, I feel safer (and more inclined to be okay staying there) when I see white people live in a community I’m interested in. That tells me that there’s growth and *ding* investment potential. People with money – largely white people – look for other white people in order to feel comfortable handing over the dividends. It just is what it is, to me at least. Hell, in China you can rent white people for that very purpose. Basically everybody’s racist. Which kind of makes nobody racist. Riddle that sh*t.

This admission seemed to bother a lot of the folks in the house. And while I get it, I kind of don’t. See, I’m generally more surprised by other people’s surprise that the rules haven’t changed yet. I know we all want to believe in the world as it should be. I have a kid. If there’s one reason to ever hope for the best in people it’s because you don’t want to bring your kids into world that’s worse off than the one you grew up in. However, you have to acknowledge that people are creatures of habit. Especially in a tech world that’s all white and Asian.

Aside: there’s really no way in holy f*ck that Jennifer Lopez would really drive a damn Fiat. Thank you and good night.

One thing that the Indian professor from Duke said was that you have to take that information, as unfair as it sounds, and use it to your advantage. Now, I have no idea how to use it to my advantage, but I’m sure its possible. I guess. But this does beg the question, a few actually. Do we just assume that white people, and say other minorities, don’t really realize they’re being racist and therefore to hear them acknowledge it is what pisses us off?

And if they know that’s the case, that means they can do something about it right? Self-aware people can change f*cked up stuff, right? So if they choose not to, that means that the injustice is not only accepted but condoned. Right? And if they know that we need to use it to our advantage, shouldn’t they just help out in the beginning by not being racist? I realize that last one is asking a lot but I figured I’d throw that log on the fire.

And I think that’s what tends to piss me off about these situations – should I find something to be pissed about – its that the folks who are creating the injustices know that they’re doing it. But nobody wants to rock the boat though for fear of losing, especially in business.

Odd dilemma.

So I bring those questions to you kimosabe (ß—- that’s racist), does open acknowledgement of racism make it worse or is racism just racism no matter how you get there?

And more abstractly, does racism still frustrate you or is its mere presence just something you know exists and therefore you keep it moving? Or is it both?

What say you?

Say you, say me.


New Age Ways To Piss Off Your BooThang

Oh...and NOW you gonna crack on my flip phone? B*tch please, you still on a 3G!! Beyonce called, she's finna upgrade my sh*t. Who's gonna captain save you, ho?

I’m fairly certain that over the course of civilization, men and women have been figuring out and perfecting ways to piss off their boothangs at an alarming clip. From locking a man out of cave by pushing the boulder in front of the entrance early to forgetting to turn the crank on the car for a woman…pisstivity is an art form. I’m even convinced that many of us do it on purpose. I don’t even have a boothang right now but I just pissed off my boy’s boothang to keep my skills in tact. She had it coming though…how you gonna come up in my motherlovin’ establishment, eat my food, drink my wine, and then tell me Baby Boy is the worst thing to happen to the Black community since the Civil Rights Movement?

Just rude. Especially since the obvious truth is that Black people are the worst thing to happen to the Black community since the Civil Rights Movement.


Nowadays, with so many means of interacting with people we probably shouldn’t interact with, we end up with lots of boothangs and love interests that we normally wouldn’t have had when IM was a carrier pigeon. Between Al Gore’s offspring, smartphones, and iPads, we communicate differently now. We BBM, we Facebook, we chat and text. Hell we spend more time talking without speaking to one another you’d think we were all extras in a Charlie Chaplin movie. And with this new fangled technology swoon comes  new and improved ways to get your point across and piss off your boothang. This is actually a talent and a skill. I’ve been impressed with some people’s ability to really get under the skin of their boopieces. Now for those needing some help in this department, fret not, VSB is here to show you how we do this son.

(By the way, I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I have or will ever do any of these things. I will. Thank you and good night.)

1. Sending somebody to voicemail

Nothing illicits a “no this motherf*cker did not” faster than hearing the voicemail greeting after the first ring. It’s just disrespectful. This works especially well if you rush your boothang off the phone and they call back. Ring. Voicemail. Death threats. Indictments. 6 foot, 7 foot, 8 foot PUNCH!

2. Changing your Gchat status from green to red or going invisible and pretending you’re not there

I don’t even adhere to people’s status lights anymore. Red is merely an indicator that you just want to talk to me and not everybody else. But if you want to piss somebody off, be mid convo and just go to busy…and don’t respond back. Or just log off altogether if you’re really gully. This especially works at pissing off women. Women do not like to be ignored, but being both ignored AND “hung up” on? She’s gonna attempt to lay hands on you later, fellas. Bob and weave, nicca. Bob and weave.

3. Take forever to respond to a text…then when they ask, tell them that you got it…via text…or blame it on your service provider

Some of you all are just impatient f*cks in general so too long could be 10 minutes, never mind that I’m enjoying a lovely stroll under a shade tree filled grove of love. Again, being ignored pisses folks off. I’ve found that women tend to be less inclined to ignore because it doesn’t really jive with their natural tendency towards creation of immediate chaos, whereas men’s defense mechanism is to supaman dat ho, then ignore her if that doesn’t work. Either way, I’ve been told that I have a tendency to do this. Tend deez. It’s AT&T’s fault.

4. Respond to a long ass email with a one word response

This is a personal favorite of mine. I’m king of taking your 2,000 word emotional spillage intended to tell me about myself, and responding back with “cool.”

Actually even that’s too much, I rarely give them the satisfaction of the extra “.”

5. Turning your phone off

Mostly because it’s just a blatant disregard for my innate desire at that moment to get some sh*t off my chest. You did it on purpose, you chanticleer!

6. Not responding to a BBM when it’s obvious that you already read it

Kind of self-explanatory here but, that has to BURN the person on the other end. I had a BB for two weeks and I specifically did that once just to see how long it would take to get a phone call…which I sent to voicemail. They emailed me and I said, “cool”. Yeah, that ended unamicably.

7. Facebook status change to: it’s complicated

Only for the truly gully, but some of you really spend too much time on Facebook. Stop it. But if you want to piss off your boothang on some Mexico versus France let’s prepare for Cinco De Mayo sh*t, just change your relationship status and watch what happens.

Those are but a few of the potential possibilities. Good people of VSB, laissez les bontemps rouler.

Educate the uneducated. Piss on you. R. Kelly.

What’s another new age way to piss off your boothang??


If you haven’t purchased the paperback or the $9.99 Kindle version of “Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, andFighting Crime” yet, what the hell is stopping you? (No, seriously.)

We’d like to thank all of you for coming through and nominating us for FIVE(fif’) Black Weblog Awards. We’re on the final ballot for Best Humor Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, Best Sex & Relationships Blog, Best Group Blog, and Blog of the Year. Please go vote for us here.

a fish named karma

i experienced a bit of romance-related drama in the summer of 2006. i wont get too specific, but lets just say that technology can be a bitch. admittedly, i made some decisions that contributed to the situation, but nobody could argue that the actions that occurred in response to my decisions were justified. to make a scale analogy, what happened was akin to someones shoe getting stepped on, and that person responding by taking off the shoe and throwing it in the culprits face.

yet, despite my relative innocence...many would argue that I had it coming.

a decade ago, while the champ was still a college-aged “challenger”, i used technology to intentionally hurt and embarrass someone who i thought had disrespected me. it was mean, vindictive, short-sighted, and immature…easily the moment in my life i’m least proud of (just typing this sh*t made me cringe), and if you believe in romantic karma, a concrete precursor to what happened in 06.

romantic karma in itself is a bit of an enigma, especially when you combine the matrixesque “everything’s connected” mindset behind the concept of karma with the inherent subjectivity synonymous with romantic relationships. are we really eventual recipients of the energy we release? is that karma concept nothing but a self-fulfilling prophesy? is it all just a bunch of bullsh*t?

who knows.

i do know, though, that fully believing in romantic karma has a way of dismissing personal responsibility and accountability. i mean, the stuff that happened in 2006 had absolutely nothing to do with the stunt i pulled my sophomore year in college, and its lazy thinking to even suggest that. yeah, as i alluded to before, i helped to make my own bed, but the decisions that affected the situation were made in ’06, not ’98.

also, it seems as if many of us subscribe to this belief system to replace a missing moral compass. for instance, one of the themes repeatedly brought up in the comments here is the fact that the main reason why many people don’t do more relationship dirt is the fear that it’ll come back to bite them in the ass. forget about whether it’s right or wrong or the possibility of someone getting hurt in the process…a full subscription to the “karmic times” is all about us, or, more specifically, how it’s going to directly affect us.

moral ambivalence is part of being human though, and when you combine this with our desperate need to make things “fair”, believing in romantic karma has its place…for some.

just not me.

—the champ