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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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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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Instagram J(*V*)

instagram-app-headerInstagram is one of the up and coming runners in the social media race. Because I’ve heard so much about it recently, I decided to do a little research to understand what all the commotion is about. This post gives some great information about how to use Instagram for business or personal use, http://www.wikihow.com/Become-Instagram-Famous

Wiki says: Instagram is an online photo-sharingvideo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as FacebookTwitterTumblr and Flickr.[5] A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images.

Some interesting facts I dug up about Instagram:

      • Named by combining the vintage “instant” camera and telegram
      • Instagram offers a 15 second editable video as well as photos
      • Is a free app that was launched on October 6, 2010
      • It became the #1 in the App Store within 24 hours of launch
      • Holds the record of being the first app to reach 1 million downloads (Dec. 21, 2010)
      • By 2011 more than 100 million photos were uploaded
      • An Instagram photo made the cover of the Wall Street Jounal
      • Surpassed 25 million users in March 2012 – acquired by FB the same month.
      • Can be instantly shared on multiple platforms; FB, Flickr, Twitter
      • October 15, 2013 – More than 150 million users and 16 billion photos shared
      • Vernacular: “regram” “latergram” “selfie” “#FlashbackFriday” (to name a few)

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Social media conversations are shifting from texts to visuals. Images are the new language of follower engagement.   Every phone has a camera, making it easy to snap a quick photo while shopping to get a second opinion, before purchasing a Christmas gift. Or one can capture that special moment in a 15 second video to capture and share, or revisit  at will. I found a pin on Pinterest offering a step-by-step on how. Instagram has become the new family album.

 It’s all about “telling the story,” and what better way to share than with a photo or video? Not to mention, it gives our  tired thumbs a rest. It should come as no surprise that Instagram is the app choice for smartphone photographers. Today it seems anyone with a smart phone can be a journalist and a photographer. If you possess  the natural ability to  compose visual and written content that attracts an audience— the stage is all yours!

Businesses use Instagram as well to publish photos and videos cross-platform instantly. With smart images, branding, messages and content, businesses can find an immediate audience and quickly develop an army of followers. Instagram adds a personal touch to the faces behind the brands people love. Businesses, breaking away from the less personal, press-release format, can tell their story and create a more intimate connection with their customers.

For business or personal use, it seems that Instagram seems to be all about  following others so they will in-turn follow you. This is such a competitive world we live in, one that sends dichotomous messages. One minute we are “sharing,” which is one of the basic social skills we learn as toddlers. The next minute we are competing “Omarosa-style” for the most amount of followers or market share. Yikes! Somewhere in the middle we find ourselves searching for the perfect platform to share our voice and our talent with the world. Although social media seems over-whelming at times, there are far more open doors now than ever before in history. The challenge now in expressing ourselves, is to choose which ones to open—yes that is the key. As an artist and because of my interest in photography, I believe Instagram will be one door that appeals to me as I move into the public relations world. 🙂

J(*V*)