The Bitch Slap: Be Useful

motel 6 showerThis past Sunday, I was en route from St. George, Utah to Studio City, California. I got an early start – 9 A.M. out the door of my Motel 6 (which had the coolest shower ever – it was like a little bath pod and had the best water pressure EVER!) and hit Las Vegas just around an hour later, which was still actually only 9 A.M. local time (thankyouuuuu, time change). I was blasting 70 down the I-15 and within five miles of the outskirts of Vegas proper, I was going zero.

Stopped.

Fuck my life.

My phone was hooked up to Navigation mode and I’ll admit I’m not so savvy on all its features. So what does someone like me do? I turn to my community on Twitter and ask WTF – can anyone tell me why traffic is at a standstill on the I-15 south of Vegas?

And the snark starts to roll in.

What, you don’t know how to find traffic on Google Maps?

Don’t you know how to use your phone?

Ummm – it’s post New Years Eve traffic. Good luck.

Yeah – your best bet is to pull over to the shoulder and park for 18 hours.

Looks like bad planning for this end of your trip, no?

Here’s an idea, folks: BE USEFUL.

If someone is asking a question that you can help them solve, why not be a wee bit fucking useful? Do you really think someone (like me) who used to live in Las Vegas AND California isn’t aware that there’s shit traffic on Sundays coming out of the last bastion for sin known to mankind? Really. Traffic. On a Sunday. Between Vegas and LA. Shut the front door.

How much time do we spend being snarkity-snark-snark when we could be lending value instead?

So you’re getting bitch slapped. BE USEFUL.

No matter how abrasive or nit-picky my posts get, I always do my best to teach you something in each one. And that’s because I, myself, learned something that prompted me to write the post in the first place. I might give something a beat-down, but I’ll offer up ways to fix it and improve (and always tell you why I’m issuing the beat down).

Like Monday. I told y’all that you might want to be looking for a new job if improving your marketing skills wasn’t on the slate. Then I gave you three cheap-to-free ideas for upping your game. And someone in the comments section said they hoped I would offer up some ideas for upping one’s game, else I was just blogging for the traffic and notoriety. Yes, that’s me. I’m a blogging whore. Read my shit. Please.

And this goes to show that you can offer up an argument, actually BE USEFUL, and people still will glaze over things and say what they want to anywhoo.

So why don’t we all just take a breath. The next time someone asks a question, seek to NOT waste their time. BE USEFUL. Just sit and think about all of the times you had a question and no one was giving you anything useful. No one was helping when you asked for help. We’re told incessantly to ask and it’s a nad kick with a massive wind-up when we actually swallow our pride and ask only to get shot down by the Snark Gun.

I want to thank all of the followers on Sunday who actually sent me USEFUL information. Traffic reports. There were two accidents between Vegas and the California state line that had traffic all in a jam. The remainder of my trip was smooth sailing. So I’ll share with you what I learned from my USEFUL followers on Sunday:

Google Maps Android

  • On Google Maps, there is a Traffic layer. OMFG, it is awesome. It will even work in Navigation mode,coloring your clear roadways green and jammed ones red. You can see how long the traffic lasts. I like it so much I want to take it out behind the bleachers and get it preggers.
  • Here’s a great blog to tell you about Google Maps for Mobile.
  • And yet another great blog to show you how to access the layers and activate the traffic layer on a Droid. By the way, to access layers, touch the icon that looks like a little stack of paper in the top right. It’s between the pin and compass icons (screen shot to the right).

So thank y’all for being useful and getting me the information I needed when I didn’t know how. I learned a thing or two in the process as well, about snark, sincerity and well…what being useful means.

You’ve been slapped (and so have I).

51 comments
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Chris Gregoire
Chris Gregoire

No comments below on how awesome that shower looked. Let me ask you, do you think there was a hidden switch to shoot you straight out into the parking lot? Or maybe down to the bat cave below? I hate useless comments to serious questions. If I phrase my question with no joke in my voice, I expect the same in my answer. If my question is obviously goofing around, please goof back. Was your original question to your universe stated as looking for real answers?

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yes, I believe the exact phrasing of my original question was, "Can anyone tell me what's going on with traffic on the 15 between Vegas and the CA state line? 0 MPH at 9:30am on a Sunday." <<< pretty specific, no?

Diana Antholis
Diana Antholis

Ha! That is definitely one of the most irritating things - asking a question you genuinely need help with and getting knocked down by people who you thought would help you. Expectations plays a big role here too - you thought your twitter friends would help - and when some didn't, you became disappointed. Well, they should know better. Sometimes when we are in a jam (literally), we just need someone to help - we know you're funny mr. sarcastic - but now is not the time. Thanks for this!

Skully D / Kraken Skulls
Skully D / Kraken Skulls

You still get bitched at for being helpful. Know-it-all, eh? I have the knowledge, might as well share it. I admit to not being the most socially graceful, after a 30+ yr lifetime of extensive traveling through my teens for my dad's military career and having a mild case of autism resulting in my not knowing how to relate to people properly once we stayed longer than a couple months. It's a huge smack when people get pissy for actually getting a useful answer. Sometimes that's where snark is born; necessity.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I know. Damn me for trying to be useful. And you're right - it probably feeds the snark shark!

@keithprivette
@keithprivette

Wow timing on this is awesome to start the people off on the right foot for 2011. Yeah I tended to be a little smartassish when questions came across before, but I always followed up with the helpful! So double dose.....work no work? I have tended to try and help right away lately. And by the way I love google maps and all the updates it has come out with in the last year. Streetviews while walking directions is the bees knees..... Hope LA is treating you well!

Amy Nievera
Amy Nievera

This may sound sort of whiny but... Is it better to get snarky responses than no responses at all? I hate asking a question on Twitter and getting no feedback.

The Redhead
The Redhead

No, it's not better in my opinion...one's useful. One's not. I rather hear crickets than useless info.

accordingtogf
accordingtogf

Wow, I needed that bitch slap this morning. With a strong brew of "Kenya" from sb I am now ready to tackle the world. I as well am tired of smart ass remarks when I am truly trying to get information. The worst however are comments or customer complaints. This needs to be looked into. That would be pissed off smart ass people who want crap fixed. Never buy a smallish car heard. Learn how to use my phone heard. Salt is good heard, however "Karma" needs to use it sparingly as he/she obviously has high blood pressure. Good read. gf

The Redhead
The Redhead

For the record, on the most part, I like the smallish car. It fits everywhere! *in mah pocket*

Kris M O'Connor
Kris M O'Connor

Oh man... I absolutely go to SM for help with cooking since I'm prone to tears & disasters. Nothing life changing, but "Do I add the yogurt before or after the puree?" or "Is this mystery herb oregano?" or "EEEK! How long do I cook the fish?" I'm glad the responses I got weren't, "You're a dumb broad," or "Smoke it and then you'll know..." Glad you made it to the valley safely - pink slippers and all :-D

The Redhead
The Redhead

This make me cackle..."smoke it then you'll know it." Things like this make ME feel I've lived a sheltered life.

Kelli
Kelli

I see this so often online and it just kills me. Someone plucks up enough courage to ask and gets hammered. I saw the head of marketing at a company do this last week, albeit on an unrelated topic to his company. But imagine if your clients are following you and that's the way you react to a question - why in the hell are you online if not to interact with prospectives and answer questions when you can? If it's so damn easy for them to Google the answer, then why wouldn't you just do it for them and shoot them the answer, saving the day? Way to kill the social in "social media."

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

I was not aware that stretch of road was ever capable of accruing any sort of traffic. I thought the only thing in Vegas that had high traffic was hookers. #hadtobedone.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Well, thanks for stopping by at the end of a long day! And I never liked those candy coatings anyway. They taste like wax.

Bree Ervin
Bree Ervin

I must agree with the red-head on this one. One of the largest problems I have with social networking is that most of what comes back is total crap. There is so much snark and sarcasm when you are genuinely asking for help that it's painful. When it's not that it's just dead radio silence. My hubby has found some useful friends on facebook, but I haven't yet found a reason to post there. I keep trying, and I follow all the good community member rules, being useful myself, responding thoughtfully, answering questions, but when it's my turn - radio fucking silence. And @Karma, please, please get over yourself. Erika blogs with her true voice, something more bloggers should do. If you don't appreciate her take on the world please go read one of the many stuffy, boring blogs that will teach you what you already know without once inciting a single flame of passion or pushing you past your smug little comfort level.

Daffodil Sarah
Daffodil Sarah

Yep, I learn something new every time I read your posts. Never knew about the Google maps traffic do-dad on my iPhone. Twin Cities construction, I can now find my way around your commute snarling orange cones of doom. Mwahahahahahaha!!! As someone in a service oriented profession, it's so refreshing to hop on your site at the end of a long day. I value interpersonal respect and try to treat everyone with dignity, but sometimes that respect has to come in the form of cold hard truths, albeit presented in a most entertaining manner. We candy coat WAY too many things in life for each other, and sometimes we need to wake up, smell the roses/coffee/smelling salts, and get SLAPPED! Carry on!

Marian Schembari
Marian Schembari

Holy shit, I couldn't be happier that you wrote this. Honestly, people can be assholes sometimes and I honestly don't understand why, when you ask a simple question, folks feel the need to show off how clever and assholey they can be. EXPLAIN TO ME. Glad you bitch slapped them - I bet most probably thought they were being funny, but honestly? Not funny. Just a waste of Twitter breath.

Alex
Alex

Personally, for me it's all about that cool Star Trek-lookin' shower.

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

I had a shower like that in my college dorm. The curtain was very effective at. . .nothing.

Wookies Girl
Wookies Girl

I love you!!! And.. I will always help you when you need it.. ALWAYS! We 'Bitches' stick together.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I love it, too! Was SO excited to get that tidbit!

Raschella
Raschella

OMFG is right! A traffic layer!!! I use Google maps ALL the time, had no idea (OK, so I'm clueless). This is fabulous. Thanks for passing it along. Gotta drive to Palm Springs in a few days, this is great! Wouldn't dream of getting snarky with you...ever...I value my life! Kidding, of course, but not about the snarky part. Though I love the word - snarky. How could anyone NOT know what it means?

The Redhead
The Redhead

I know, right? I lurvs it, too. And I have to say, it was spot-on, every time.

Karma
Karma

It's called Karma. When you bring to the world a face of sarcasm, snark, and obscenity.....the world returns the favor. When you build not only a personal but PROFESSIONAL existence around being noticed by being abrasive and sarcastic, you double down on the Karma. You want to be surrounded by useful, non-sarcastic people? Become a useful person....and drop the sarcasm. Elementary, my dear Redhead.

Killian
Killian

If you don't like her style, don't read her work. At the end of the day, despite whatever sarcasm and cussing and other "bad" habits you find offensive, she has a loyal readership, loving and genuine friends, a family to call her own, and a thriving business as well. Suck it.

Marian Schembari
Marian Schembari

Way to be a douche. Why exactly are you reading this site? Just check out the comments below - we're all gonna love up on our Readhead and we adore what she does. If you don't, stay the eff away.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Still blows my mind that you continue to stop by, considering you hate what I do :) And perhaps I'm not useful to you, but I'm fairly certain that I don't keep getting reader because I'm a useless piece of shit. Elementary, my dear reader.

Karma
Karma

Two words for the "I'm getting noticed so I'm awesome." rationale: Glenn Beck. Yes, this is the second time I've posted. I post when it seems like an event might be cluing you in to the connection between your approach, and your results. Why do I post? Because you have the potential to make a huge difference. You are a 1000HP engine that has chosen as its vessel to try to be a loud and superficial Lamborghini, instead of a Train delivering value to the world. That's all.

The Redhead
The Redhead

One word: ugh. Thanks for the click traffic, however! -----Original message-----

Mary
Mary

People should understand that being stopped in traffic is one of the most frustrating and annoying things that can happen in our car world. They should know you need REAL help. You can laugh later when it makes a good story, or a good blog topic!

The Redhead
The Redhead

And hey - I'm not discounting the humor in the comments that flowed. All I'm sayin' is that sometimes, you need actionable info!

Killian
Killian

Just added the traffic layer to my Droid. Thank you! I admit to having a default setting of "sarcastic twatwaffle" if the question is completely and obviously stupid, along with being queried by an asshat, but I'd like to think I'm helpful when it's not. And really, I tend to allow a LOT of latitude, having been a special ed teacher for so long. However, I will try to be even nicer, especially to cute redheads.

The Redhead
The Redhead

But you're one of my favorite sarcastic twatwaffles :)

Killian
Killian

Right back at'cha, Red. If you're ever in NC...

Kellie J Walker
Kellie J Walker

To snark? Or, to be useful? Why not both? If not both, be useful. You can always be snarky later when recounting the story to your friends. Thanks for reminding us that there is usually a "Can't it be both?" option.

The Redhead
The Redhead

And yes - there IS the possibility of both! Thank you for saying that, as it seems I did not.

Christina
Christina

"I want to take it out behind the bleachers and get it preggers." You kill me. Every time. I know, that's not a very useful comment. I love reading your stuff! :-)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Wow - you REALLY liked that quip! Alas, I cannot take credit. Angel at Cohere in Ft. Collins dropped that gem on me last year.

The Capitol Theatre
The Capitol Theatre

"I want to take it out behind the bleachers and get it preggers." You kill me. Every time. I know, that's not a very useful comment. I love reading your stuff! :-)

Christina
Christina

Oops. Now you all know where Christina works...

The Redhead
The Redhead

It's all good, m'dear! We'll all be happy to patronize the theatre as well.

John Lutter
John Lutter

Its like the use of : RTFM... Its the writer's way of saying, "I don't want to answer your question, because I know its in the manual, and you should spend as much time as me figuring it out..." I hate that... pompous asses.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yes. I know the answer and I'm not going to give it to you out of spite. Priceless!

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