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The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.


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Social Media Can Also Improve Relationships

Social networking (and other technological advances) has altered how we stay connected to friends, make purchases, network with colleagues, and find out what’s going on in the world. It has been known to destroy relationships by rekindling past flames, beginning covert affairs, replacing face-to-face intimacy with imaginary online closeness, revealing too much information, and cyber-stalking to ease or confirm jealousy.

Some things to remember that will help keep relationships running smoothly online (and offline) are:

  • Anyone involved in a committed adult relationship shouldn’t be afraid to be public about their status on Facebook or other social media sites.
  • Your partner should be your friend on social media sites. If you can’t see what each other shares publicly online, this could be a sign of impending trouble.
  • Reminisce only briefly with past loves. Anything any more than that could put distance between you and your significant other.
  • Never vent personal information online when you’re angry. In fact, never do it offline either. Give yourself time to assess the situation and address it without pointing blame.
  • Online content is permanent! Even if something posted is deleted (and forgotten), it isn’t really. Nothing ever permanently goes away, and you don’t want it to resurface when you least expect it.
  • Don’t over-share. A better way to learn about people is to have face-to-face conversations. Also, don’t publicize every little detail about your relationships and personal life online.

Often, social media does couples more harm than good. However, social media can also be a positive thing that fortifies bonds between partners. Social media is a great way to connect and encourage loved ones during the workday, or whenever they are away. Anytime you can stay connected and increase communication will benefit a relationship.

Here are some fun ways to stay connected and put a smile on that important someone’s face during times when you are apart. Use social media to:

  • Remember the good times by reminding them of a special moment you shared.
  • Express thankfulness for kindnesses they’ve shown you and for their friendship and love.
  • Make them laugh with a funny meme or other online content that you think they will enjoy.
  • Just say “Hello” or send a smile (emoticon).

A celebrity who does an awesome job of showing his wife how much she means to him and is an inspiration to us all is Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad. He just might be the most perfect husband ever, complimenting his wife Lauren Parsekian every chance he gets. Read about this very-much-in-love couple here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/03/aaron-paul-wife_n_4032479.html. Awwwe!!

Remember—you have the power to build and maintain quality relationships. The golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is excellent advice; it is as powerful now as it was c. 2000 BC, “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule)

What are you waiting for? Go reach out to your special someone!

—Laura

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A Traveler’s Guide Through the Social Media Universe: Part I

For those of you who are unsure as to how to navigate with the social media universe, I’ve provided here a concise traveler’s guide to help you get started on your virtual travels. I will not only highlight four of the main social media channels, but I will also help you plan your journey as well as offer additional resources, should you need them. (Some information will be included here, but be sure to check out ongoing continuations of this blog. As of right now, I’ve posted part two as well.)

For starters, what exactly does the world of social media entail? Google, an encyclopedia for many of us, aptly defines social media as websites and applications enabling users to create  and/or share content as well as participate in social networking on computer or mobile devices. 1 Expanding on this, Christina Dillon, social media author, lists the ten main attributes of social media: 2

  1. Interactive: Users must be able to interact and engage with social media channels and others.
  2. Changeable and Evolutionary: Because it’s founded on both technology and social factors, the only constants about social media are change and progression.
  3. Professional or Personal Representation: Your profiles and posts create an online impression / reputation of you and/or your business brand.
  4. Personal: Social media is also individualistic because people can directly communicate to others and vice versa by posts and profiles on their own accounts.
  5. Social: With its constant levels of online socializing, be it local, national, or international, social media is also very community-oriented.
  6. Helpful: Social media is overflowing with useful information.
  7. Sounding Board: For better or worse, social media provides quick feedback on how people are responding to you and/or your company’s actions.
  8. Testing Platform: While you should exercise caution, social media provides great opportunity to test out new ideas and projects.
  9. Soft-Selling: In other words, your persuasive tactics on social media must be more passive and subtle; wooing over your audience and satisfying their needs / desires before yours are the most important elements of soft selling.
  10. Entertaining: No matter how informative a resource may be, most would not stay tuned into social media if it wasn’t for its many fun factors.

 

 

 

 

Now, let’s move on and explore some of the main destination routes on social media.  Our first social media channel, one of the most successful social media networks, is none other than Facebook itself. Figuratively, Facebook can be likened to a popular coffee shop or restaurant joint where you and your friends socialize.  In a nutshell, Facebook includes the following attributes:

  1. Social networking site in which users set up personal and/or business profile pages which display information about their personalities, behaviors, interests,  dislikes, motivations, and so forth.
  2. Users add “Friends” or “Like” pages to boost their levels of online social engagement. Others can communicate with non-friends or unliked pages as well, but personal security settings made by receivers may limit the degree of access.
  3. Users can send/receive messages, receive notifications and RSS feeds (online content delivery vehicle of news and other web-based information 3), post status updates, upload pictures and videos, share content, create event pages,  and “like” certain posts and pages.
  4. Users can also post and share content on other friends’ profiles.
  5. Facebook’s Events and friend lists are also very useful for professional and personal use.
  6. Entrepreneurs and businesses can also use Facebook’s marketing platform to reach potential audiences and consumers.

Well, we’ve reached our first stoplight. To learn more about  the other three main social media channels and additional resources, read part two of this blog. Thank you for reading and please give me your feedback!

Sources  Cited:

1)  www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=definition+of+social+media

2) www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-business/what-is-social-media-10-definitions/

 

3) http://www.press-feed.com/howitworks/rss_tutorial.php

 

 

-Cheryl Bokon


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7 Days of Blogging – #6 – Social Emotion and Grief

deathI have been thinking a lot about how we deal with death and grief on social media, and this can be viewed as a kind of Part 2 to my 7 days of blogging #5, Five Equals Robin. A friend of mine just recently lost her husband. Within a year of discovery that he had inoperable brain cancer, he was gone. Gone. She decided early on to share their experience and her emotions, and now also her grief, very openly on Facebook. She gave the option to “unfriend her” if you felt it was too much. Too many posts, too much reality, too much emotion, too close to home, just too much. I opted to stay and experience her and her husband’s journey. It was raw and it was visceral and it was real… and it was a beautiful journey. It was (and is) never too much.

It taught me much about community coming together to help in time of need and about collective mourning. These were not our “best” friends, nor people we hung out with on a regular basis, but they needed us to come together as a community to help, and were brave enough to ask for that help. We helped as much as we could (I’m not sure it is ever enough, but I do know we will still be there in the months to come.) Utilizing various social media sites they set up a network of people to help wherever needed.

Caring Bridge is a site giving support to families when they are experiencing health issues and is a great place for information exchange on what is happening without the phone ringing off the hook. Another great site they utilized was Food Tidings, which is a place where they listed needed food items and preferred recipes. We could then schedule ourselves for whenever we could pick something up for them or bring them a warm meal. It may not seem like a big deal, but when going through this, feeding oneself can be a struggle.

These sites make things so much easier, but this is not a new concept. Meghan O’Rourke writes about how a century ago, we were more communal about our grief. The town or community of neighbors would come together to help in times of need, or of grief. This changed during World War 1,

“partly because the sheer numbers of dead made it hard to properly mourn all those who had passed, and partly because psychoanalysis was placing new emphasis on the internal aspects of grief… Americans came to view grief as a private and a psychological function rather than as a communal one. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ “stage theory” of grief, with its emphasis on tidily achieving “acceptance,” became our script for mourning. Death began to take place in the remote hospital, instead of at home; wakes were outsourced to funeral homes; and children lived longer, making sudden death more unusual.”

This man in his forties was blessed to have the option to pass away at home in the arms of his loving wife, and with his beloved pets. Sunlight streamed into the windows, and he could look out to view the garden they had grown together. He got to visit and commune with his loved ones and friends before he passed. Although we may not have been there in person, we were able to experience it with them online because of her ability to share those private moments in such a unique way. Perhaps some felt  the need to “unfriend,”  but for me personally it was (and still is) a privilege to share this reality with her. This is a prime example of how social media has helped to restore the concept of communal mourning.

After his memorial, my husband actually had a hard time with the fact that he’d never really gotten to hang out with this person whom he’d never met but was so similar to, and now he was gone. Luckily there are many stories online to keep his memory alive forever and others will get to know this man as so many of the rest of us have.

“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”   ~Jack Kerouac

 

Please remember, it may not “be for you”, but please respect that there may be others who need to grieve within an online community, and that it happens to be good healing for them.

 

~Christine Dietsche


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World’s Ugliest Woman

 

Be STRONG when you are weak. BRAVE when you are scared. And HUMBLE when you are victorious.

Be STRONG when you are weak. BRAVE when you are scared. And HUMBLE when you are victorious.

Lizzie was a sweet little girl, born to two very excited first-time parents in Austin, Texas. She was very small at birth—she was born four weeks premature and weighed less than three pounds. Lizzie was nurtured and cared for by her loving parents and grew to be quite a precocious child. She was blessed with two younger siblings, many relatives, and had a very charming, very normal life. At least that’s what she thought until she went to school.

Little Lizzie was very excited on her first day of school. She had a pretty dress, new hair ribbons, and a snazzy lunchbox. She couldn’t wait to make new friends in kindergarten, but when she got to school, things didn’t happen as she thought they would. No one would speak to her. When she talked to them, they backed away. She had a very bad first day.

When Lizzie got home, she told her mother what happened at school. It was then that she discovered she was not like other children. Her mother told her they would learn to like her and they quickly did. Throughout Lizzie’s school years, there were those who stared and were mean and insulting. There were also those who were very good to her—who loved her and stood by her side when other kids mistreated her. Through all of this, Lizzie remained positive and kind.

Lizzie was very smart and had a great sense of humor. Whatever she wanted to do, she did and was successful at it. Lizzie prospered in school, joined lots of clubs, and was on the cheerleading team. One day, while distracted and not wanting to do homework, she listened to music on YouTube. Lizzie saw a video on the side that looked familiar to her and had over four million views. She clicked on it and was horrified to see her face in a video titled “World’s Ugliest Woman.”

This is how I discovered Lizzie—I was watching something on YouTube, a news program or something, and saw a video on the side where Katie Couric interviewed the ugliest woman. I hadn’t ever seen Katie Couric but was familiar with the name. I was curious to see who she was more than I cared about seeing an ugly woman.

What I saw made me sad and happy at the same time. Lizzie Velasquez is an amazing young woman. She is funny, upbeat, kind, and adorable. She was born with a disease so rare that it doesn’t even have a name. She has no fat cells in her body and cannot gain weight. She is also blind in one eye. Lizzie has put up with so much—wherever she goes she is stared at and treated as if she is a monster. But Lizzie is a special beauty with many loving friends and a wonderful family.

I was so moved by her story that I wanted to learn more about her. I watched a few Ted talks she has done. Lizzie is an inspiring motivational speaker and encourages people with her story. She has decided not to let the bullies win—the video that made fun of her made her even stronger. She vowed to not let it get her down and speaks out against cyber bullying. Lizzie lives every day to the fullest.

I found Lizzie at a time when I needed to hear her story. I was very stressed and things were going poorly for me. Lizzie is so strong! If she can move forward with all that is against her, I think I could too. Lizzie has a website and uses Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumbler to share her story. Lizzie’s story has appeared via broadcast, on-line, or print media all over the country and internationally. She has written three books, of which I now have two. I’m so glad I was distracted that day and virtually met this amazing, inspiring young woman.

You can hear about her story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1tydA1MraE. Just don’t read the comments—they will make you sick.

PS: I screen-captured the beautiful pictures of Lizzie from http://lizziebeautiful.tumblr.com/post/98397430713/be-strong-when-you-are-weak-brave-when-you-are (top) and http://ryantowephotography.com/blog/lizzie-velasquez/ (bottom).

—Laura

Lizzie Velasquez

Beautiful Lizzie

 


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Insert Snappy Title Here

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It’s a piece of cake!

I readily admit I’m one of those individuals who initially refused to utilize the social media outlet Facebook, thinking it was only a venue for teenagers to talk to each other and post pictures. However as fate would have it, I encountered a roadblock trying to located information for what I hoped would be a planned high school reunion. I had left my home state decades earlier and had not spoken to and lost contact with school mates simply due to the incredibly fast passage of time. Someone whom I cannot recall strongly suggested I try using Facebook. They assured me setting up an account and getting started would be “a piece of cake”. After much protesting, I signed up and began learning how to use it.

As a result, I became one of its biggest supporters. Not only was I able to find and connect with people I thought I would never see or speak to again, I was able to re-establish and even strengthen those relationships. Finding lost friends not only became fun and challenging, but I was able to discover situations I never knew about. As an example, a former neighbor of mine from the late 60s (gasp!) informed me that when she was a confused and awkward teenager, since she felt she could not confide in her own mother, that my mother became her best friend and confidant. Needless to say my reaction was to verify that she was talking about my mother and not another neighbor.

This form of social media enabled me to learn about other minor and major events which occurred when I was a teenager, and more importantly to discover I was not alone in all my experiences with those awkward years. I found the site invaluable in sharing forgotten or new photos with friends and family members. Simply create a folder and inform those with whom I wanted to share photos.  As advertisers used to say; “no muss, no fuss”.

Then I found I was beginning to be on the receiving end of some odd uses of Facebook. I started receiving posts from people sharing with me frivolous posts regarding insignificant information such as a good cup of coffee or a “delicious piece of cake” they had just bought and consumed. Not only did the posts contain comments; but the individual include a photo as well. When I first heard using Facebook was a piece of cake, little did I expect this could include actually receiving photos of pieces of cake.

You can imagine my surprise and confusion when shortly after that I started receiving requests from friends asking for help in feeding a cow or other farm animals. When in the world did these friends buy cows or even have an interest in farms? Fortunately someone who had more Facebook experience explained to me that these requests involved some type of social media on-line game called “Farmville”.

Putting coffee, cake and cows aside, I sincerely feel social media avenues such as Facebook can be great tools for sharing information and interesting photos with family or close friends. And what a joy it was to reconnect with people I thought I would never find or hear from again. In some cases relationships were strengthened more than they had been decades earlier. Who could ask for anything more? Best yet, using this social media venue is a piece of cake.   (CMH)