Monday, November 8, 2010

Thoughts on E-tiquette. . . and a scone recipe

Last week I was invited to sit in with Massanutten Regional Library Assistant Director Lora Rose's class on social media. As the Library conference room was being used for something else, we convened in the basement of Clementine Cafe* across the street, which frequently provides shelter to community groups in need of a place to meet.

The class was offered by JMU's Lifelong Learning Institute, which meant all 25 members were over 50. As WMRA's blogger-in-chief and Facebook Friend Wrangler, I was asked to talk about social media and journalism, but the class quickly became more about social media and how its presence is reweaving the fabric of society -- retooling how we communicate with each other.

Members of that LLI class seemed genuinely alarmed at the behavior of grandchildren who choose to text and tweet at family gatherings rather than converse. And grown sons and daughters were no better, working away on smart phones instead of interacting with people, in the room, they were supposed to care about.

The class and I ended up gently confronting today's dominant societal change: People are communicating differently.

Yet even such sweeping, fundamental change, I argued, is still just change: It is not evil incarnate. Rudeness is rudeness, and  E-rudeness is rife. Those of us who work awash in social media are well aware that we desperately need to figure out how to keep it from becoming anti-social media.

As someone who came of age in the late Sixties, I don't expect society to adjust smoothly to change. We still have to work out what, exactly, constitutes E-rudeness: the E-quivalent of talking with your mouth full or blasting the entire neighborhood with your stereo. I was interested to see that "PottyMouth," JMU's toilet cubicle door newsletter, has been suggesting ways to contain your texting, tweeting, and cell-phoning so as not to have your private E-life become publicly offensive.

I wanted to challenge those 25 folks gathered in Clementine Cafe's basement, however, not just to sit in the corner and huff when they found themselves mixing with the E-generation. Why not, I asked, be curious about these sweeping changes, rather than alarmed by them? Why not take the leap toward meeting the E-generation where they live by asking a grandchild to help you set up a Facebook page, or --  hello -- texting your grown daughter as she struggles through her professionally e-harassed day?

The point I wanted to make was that E-change is happening and we all must either embrace it or our social circles will get pretty durn small.

You got  any ideas on E-rudeness, E-manners, E-tiquette?

Now, about those scones. . . .

Mike Moak, who is in the Social Media class, passed out some home-made scones the day I joined them. Ever alert when scones are involved, I asked him to send me the recipe. 

Here 'tis
Mike's FALL (all over me) SCONES
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
You will need:    1 pkg. 17.5 oz. oatmeal cookie mix
                          1 large egg
                          3 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
                          2/3 cup canned pumpkin
                          6 oz. chopped walnuts (or nuts of your choice)
                          7 oz. pkg. SunMaid mixed fruit, or cranberries or apricots (you will need to chop these into to small pieces).
Time to "git" messy :
                          Mix together cookie mix, egg, oil and pumpkin. Fold in nuts and fruit.
                          Using a regular dinner spoon, spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. (Should make 18 to 24 scones)     
                          Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (longer if needed, check the edges).
                          Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack and allow to cool.
Serving suggestions: Black coffee, tea with lemon, vanilla or pumpkin ice cream, butterscotch dip or glass of milk for the younger generation. If you are bold (or old), try it with Amaretto, neat. 
I tried these on Saturday, and would offer a tweak or two. I'd add cinnamon to the cookie mix, and cut maybe 1/3 cup butter (in lieu of oil) into this, as though you were making biscuits or pastry. Then I'd mix pumpkin and egg together and lightly toss it with the buttery mix, folding in some raisins and nuts last (being careful not to break-down the butter bits).  I really, really liked using pumpkin as the moistener.

                                                                                                                                    *also a WMRA supporter

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