‘God Friended Me’ Blessed My TV And It Will Bless Yours Too

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me talk about the show God Friended Me a lot. And here I am with a whole blog post about it. I can’t stop raving about this show, you guys.

If you don’t know what this show is, it’s a new CBS show about a young podcasting atheist named Miles who gets a Facebook friend and many friend suggestions from an account called God. He soon figures out that he’s meant to help these random friend suggestions in some way, so while he is curious as to who this God is and how these people are all connected and why he, an atheist, is the one this God is calling upon, he does enjoy helping people. He does so with the assistance of Rakesh, his coworker and best friend, and Cara, a journalist and new friend. They’re all such likable characters.

god friended me cast.
Violette Beane, Brandon Michael Hall, and Suraj Sharma as Cara, Miles, and Rakesh.

And I know that if you’ve never heard of this show and you’re reading this post, you may think that I’m some bible thumper, pushing some religious propaganda TV show on you, but I assure you, I am not. In fact, though I was raised Catholic, I had actually decided to stop going to church about two weeks before this show aired, so this really shouldn’t be a show I take to while I’m rethinking the place that religion/Catholicism has in my life. My point is that even if you don’t believe in God or call God by another name, this show is still worth watching for reasons I shall now explain.

God Friended Me is an incredibly light, pure show. Every single episode has themes of humanity, hope, and happiness, so it’s such a feel-good show. Every Sunday or Monday night I watched it, it left me feeling calm and happy and so satisfied. I cannot recommend it enough if you need something light (both in terms of style and literal lighting) to counteract the Game Of Thrones or American Horror Story or whatever other dark things you watch. This show also has elements of mystery, romance, comedy, and drama, all mixed to create this fun, enjoyable show unlike anything else on TV.

Cara, Miles, and Rakesh at Miles' sister's bar.

In terms of the religious aspect, I think the show does a fabulous job about not being preachy or pushy. Miles is an atheist, but his father is a pastor, and while that does lead to some tension among the characters, the show does not push one side on you, the viewer. Both sides have their legitimate reasons, and I think it is neat to have a show that portrays religious people as normal but also able to see flaws within their system (eg. the gay marriage issue). The show doesn’t use religion to justify behavior. Though I think it would be cool to see more of other religions too. Maybe this Facebook God is a Jewish one. Or a Hindu one.

Of course, this is not to say that God Friended Me is perfect. No, there are some small aspects of it that I don’t love. For one, though Miles and Rakesh live in New York, they both don’t seem to work that much. Miles will straight up walk out of work every time he gets a new friend suggestion. At least when Cara tags along, she can pass it off as finding a story. Another issue is that there have been a few times when Miles offers to watch the kid of the person he is trying to help, and they take him up on that offer. Like, I know they’re usually desperate, but you’re just going to let this random man you just met a solid two minutes ago have control of your child? What sane parent would agree to that? And a last issue is that there have been several Broadway stars guest starring on the show and there has been zero singing yet, which is a big missed opportunity.

This show isn’t one that can run for a decade, but I can see it lasting several great years. Its first season just ended a few days ago (with a fun cliffhanger!), and it’s been renewed for a second. I can’t wait to see Miles, Cara, and Rakesh continue to help more people and make NYC a better place. I don’t even care if the God account mystery ever gets solved; I just love these characters and watching this original, pure show every week.

Miles recording his podcast.

So, yeah, I highly recommend it. It was an unexpected surprisingly great show—definitely the best of the new seasons—that I’m so glad I started, and I know you’ll enjoy it too. You’ve got all summer to catch up, so get to it and get on this train of adoration! Amen.


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Does Social Media Cater To Our Needs?

Last week in one of my classes, I gave a presentation on Snapchat (making that my third university assignment on Snapchat; I’m basically an expert now). The presentation and the class discussion that followed afterward was on a study about Snapchat’s ephemeral style and how the platform is great for sharing little moments in our lives. In my presentation, I talked about how Snapchat is the only platform that really allows us to post nonsensical updates because if we just shared random clips of rain or our breakfasts on any other social media platform, it’d be very weird and annoying. I’m sure you know someone who posts dumb Facebook statuses often or tweets incessant junk.

I also talked about microblogging and how most social media platforms rely on that. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that I think there’s a reason why regular blogging isn’t seen as inherently cool to the masses. Anyway, what my prof got us thinking about in class was if social media was designed for our needs or do we adapt based on the design. There’s no definite right or wrong answer, but it is an interesting idea. Were humans really itching for a short 140 character platform before Twitter or did we just take to it easily? Or, more in general, do we constantly want microblogging platforms because we’re desperate to share and interact?

So many of today’s big social media platforms are microblogging platforms. Even new ones, like Vero, utilize this (side note, I made a Vero account but have done literally nothing with it). And while Vero doesn’t seem to be taking off too well and likely won’t be the next big platform, there’s a good chance that whatever does take over will be microblogging too.

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And I guess it’s because we like to share. We like to shout into the void and know that someone, even one follower, is receiving that shout. We like to livetweet and speak out on issues and interact with friends and strangers. I think we’re all a little desperate for attention by means of a Like, and if we weren’t, we would be on social media.

But back to the question in question: does social media cater to our needs? Sure, it gives us platforms to send pics to friends and connect with others, but what about our other needs? One point brought up in class was that cyberbullying is prevalent, going against our need to be safe. Or how there’s so much fake news, going against our need to be informed. My newest issue with social media, Twitter especially, is how much blatant copy and pasting there is going on. I am so sick of seeing word-for-word tweets from years ago time-stamped to a day ago with thousands of retweets. This goes against the need to be authentic. Social media may make it easy to tell people about what I’m eating for dinner, but these platforms aren’t flawless.

In a lot of ways, social media is more of a game than a tool. Part of me likes this, and part of me dislikes this. Maybe that’s why I kind of still like Snapchat. As I said in my presentation last week, Snapchat isn’t about numbers and popularity, it’s about sending my best friend selfies with ugly filters.

Anyway, the question of social media caters to our needs is not one with an answer. Or at least not an answer I can provide. If I had to answer, though, I suppose I’d say that yes, social media definitely caters to the social and media part of our needs, which is what we want of them, and I appreciate them for that. But there is work to be done. Social media should be about the social and the media, but platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are turning into more money makers. As someone studying communications and hoping to get a job working with (social)media, topics like this interest me greatly. So I hope you enjoyed my two cents on the matter.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too, so please leave a comment or tweet me or something!


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I Love Social Media, Okay? I Love It.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I spend a lot of time on the internet and a large portion of that is on social media. I’m always refreshing my feeds and checking my email and whatnot. Maybe because I was late to join the social media world I’m more than making up for it now? I wake up in the morning and immediately check my phone. It’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep. It’s what I do the second I step in my house. Is that weird? I just don’t like missing things.

Last week, though, I went to a friend’s cottage and I was without wifi for two and a half days. Not only was reception spotty but I don’t have a data plan so I was without anything but texts. Not to mention that we were only able to get one radio station and probably no TV channels, so I was lost and unaware. There was some terrorist attack in Barcelona that I heard about two days late. Being without social media really bothered me. My hand was itching to pick up my phone and click on some apps, but I couldn’t.

A thirsty Spongebob looking at a cold glass of water but with social media icons over the icecubes

I see a lot of tweets from people who love being able to leave social media for a week or who purposely cleanse themselves of it for a little while. I know people who are excited to be away from it all, and I guess I can understand why celebrities choose to leave. A lot of people dislike social media. But not me. Which is admittedly kind of dumb, because I’m not even connected to much. I’m not constantly communicating with people or being social. I’m not really doing anything when I’m online. I’m just refreshing feeds and reading and keeping busy. I wish I was being more social. I wish I had a good reason to be on social media, but I don’t really.

I have a friend who is growing to despise social media. He was telling me that he only checks social media once or twice a week and he’s started calling people instead of texting them. He said, and I quote, “I don’t know how you’re on it all day.”

But here’s the thing: I love it. I love being connected. I get news right away, I get entertainment, I get information. I can stay updated on the blogosphere, fandom activities, and memes. It’s great. I do understand how toxic and tiring social media can be. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for celebrities online, but for me right now, I don’t have to deal with any of that. I know to unfollow people who annoy me and I’m not nearly popular enough to have haters.

Social media may not be the healthiest of things and I may use it a bit too much, but I think that’s okay, because I am aware of my actions and choices. It’s available and free and I’m going to use it as I see fit. I loved being able to go to a cottage, don’t get me wrong, but I am here to make it known that I missed the internet and social media. Two and a half days was hard.

Kimmy Schmidt saying she survived

What I didn’t miss, however, was makeup. I don’t even wear a lot of makeup on a regular basis, but it was so nice to not worry about if my mascara was running after swimming in the lake or if my acne was kind of covered.

What’s your relationship with social media like? Can you go two and a half days without it?


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Our Online Legacy

There’s this line from Hamilton: “What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” As much as we’d all like to leave behind a memorable and remarkable legacy, the fact is, we probably won’t.

And you’re ready to tell me, don’t say that, you never know what the future holds!

Don’t bother, I’ve accepted my averageness. It’s fine.

Maybe I won’t leave a legacy fit for a history book, or even a Wikipedia page, but I still will be remembered. I know that when I die, my family and friends will mourn me, but in this day in age, so much of our lives are online too. My laptop spends an extraordinary amount of time turned on, it seems only fair that this extension of myself will be mourned too.

Several years ago I told my best friend where she’d be able to find a list of all my passwords so that if something were to happen to me, she’d be able to let my connections know. I’m sure she doesn’t remember and I’ve since moved said list so it doesn’t matter, but I still think it’s important that the idea remains.

My blog, my Twitter, my six emails accounts…They all contain my life. And every one of you reading this are a part of it. I’d hate for any friends or readers online to think I’ve just forgotten about them. I’d like to say now: y’all mean a lot.

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Facebook has a Legacy setting where you can pick people now to give access to your profile upon your passing. I use Facebook so insignificantly, I don’t think any friends would use it to remember me. A lot of other websites have ways of giving similar access. When I heard this information, I have to admit, I spent a few good minutes wondering if I could convince Twitter that the girl who has the @coolbeans4 handle is dead. Apparently, without any proof, I cannot.

But isn’t it weird, that one’s online presence can live on through other people? If my friend starting tweeting for me, could you tell? If someone else started blogging for me, would you notice? It seems like a creepy idea but Tony Stark basically kept Jarvis alive through AI and we just accepted that.

And you’re ready to tell me, but that’s fictional!

Is it though? Or is it…the future?

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There’s actually already sites where you can input someone’s text messages and probably other info and the computer can simulate conversation, like Replika. It was literally designed to help deal with the death of a friend in a car accident. Computers are smart, and the more info given, the more they’d be able to mimic the real style of the person.

And if that doesn’t sound like the start of the Robot Wars, then I don’t know what does.

It’s just interesting to consider. As our technology continues to grow, how we use technology to remember dead people will change as well. It’s weird that we have to plan for this already.

If you die next week (insert pause for my mother to whisper “God forbid!”), who will you leave your online presence to?


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Finally Facebook!

Facebook has been around for about a decade. It’s the biggest social media site and maybe the biggest site ever. I’m too lazy to look up statistics, so let’s just go with that. Either way, we all know of Facebook and most people are active users of it.

Up until recently, I was not. And I know that must sound ridiculous as I’m 19 and spend far too much time on the internet, but somehow I managed to stay away from Facebook for a long time.

You see, when Facebook came out, I think I was in grade 6 or 7. My parents were very strict and protective when it came to the internet and personal information. I swear they must have read every single horror story about the internet and decided that to protect me, I didn’t need a social life, because the less friends one has growing up, the less one can get into trouble in the future. My parents worried the internet would lead to homelessness or unemployment or death. You know, because I’m a complete idiot who can’t handle herself online. Remember MSN? I don’t. I didn’t have that. It also didn’t help that my parents aren’t the best with technology, so they didn’t even use Facebook, meaning I didn’t even have the chances. I know they were just looking out for me because they loved me and all that jazz, but I want the record to show that my social life and personality suffered.

Anyways, in grades 7 and 8 when it seemed that all my peers had Facebook, and when I was excluded from a few social events due to me not having it, of course I wanted to get it then, but once I got to high school, Facebook seemed to almost take a dive in popularity and no longer did I feel the pressure to join. Those four years were nice.

And then came University. The need for Facebook in University jumped up again as people were meeting left and right and forming groups. Somehow, I managed to survive first year without it. Again, in hindsight, my social life may have suffered a bit too.

Which brings us to now and my choice to go with the flow and get Facebook. I guess the stars aligned and the time was right, as I had several reasons to do so:

  1. To stay connected with friends.
  2. As a communications student who wants a career in communications, knowing how to use the biggest social media tool is a must. I need to learn somehow. After all, if Grandmas can work it, so can I!
  3. To promote this blog!
  4. Literally no one was stopping me. My determination to not conform was my biggest road block but I see now that it was unnecessary.
  5. Stay up to date with the happenings of my school and whatnot. My Quidditch team converses a lot on Facebook and I didn’t want to be left out of that!
  6. I was growing weary of the looks of judgement I’d get when I’d tell people I didn’t have Facebook.

I’m going to be honest with you, promoting my blog was a huge factor. In the first Blogging 201 course I took, I found out that a lot of people use Facebook to promote their blogs and that it was working wonders for them. I also took a course on blogging in University and my prof couldn’t stop raving about how great Facebook is for reaching people. I’m already on Twitter (though with a sad number of followers) but here’s hoping that this blog gets read by a bunch of new people because Coolbeans4 is officially on Facebook! The page is HERE. I’m not 100% sure how to use Facebook yet, but I am learning, so any tips you guys have is greatly appreciated.

If you’ve got a Facebook page for your blog let me know and I’ll…like it? Is that the Facebook equivalent of a follow? Just…tell me what to do!

That’s all for now!