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The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.


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Miracles and Social Media

With so much darkness engulfing our present day world, it helps to know miracles still happen. When they occur through the mercurial outlet we call social media, they are all the more peculiar and profound. From unlikely animal rescues to finding lost loved ones, miracles on social media can help us  remain faithful to the positive side of a controversial technology commonly misused. On the other hand, one can also argue that people, not social media, are the problem.  Nevertheless, after being flooded with so much negativity via social media, it can still be hard to remember the wondrous opportunities and experiences these types of online networks offer.  So, if you’re in need of a refreshing reminder or just simply curious, please allow me the privilege to share some of social media’s sweeter side with you. Here are a few brief recaps of but three of many social media miracles that have occurred with the past few years:

  • A mother’s Facebook friend felt suspicious of her three year old daughter’s eye condition and prompted her to immediately take the little girl to an ophthalmologist. If she had not acted at the precise time, the girl’s eye disease would have progressed to complete blindness! 1
  • While celebrating the fourth of July, the dog of owner and Texas resident, Linda Duncan, became frightened of the loud fireworks to the point she ran off and got lost. After months of unsuccessful attempts to find her dog, Linda created a Facebook page for her missing pet. After missing for almost six months, in a synchronistic fashion, someone in Oklahoma City saw her Facebook post and found her missing dog. Soon after, Linda Duncan happily drove all the way from Texas to Oklahoma to reunite with her pet. 2
  • Three years ago, robbers invaded the home of Nitesh Bhakta and his family. Upon seeing and hearing the men break end, Nitesh grabbed his laptop and rain upstairs. While he did not have a phone, Nitesh was able to cry for help via a Facebook post. Most considered the post to be a joke or a prank, but one of his friends knew better and called the police. Soon afterwards, the robbers fled once they heard police sirens. As a result, little damage was done to Nitesh, his family, and their home. 2

I hope you’re uplifted by these stories like I am. Read about enough of these stories, and you’ll probably soothe some of your frustrations with social media. While they most certainly don’t eradicate social media’s grimmer side, they can be a powerful cue to remember social media’s potential and beauty. Do you have any social media miracle stories of your own?! If you do, please share!

Sources Cited:

1) www.akhia.com/jan-session/2014/04/this-week-in-social-media-big-takedowns-and-little-miracles/

2) www.eonline.com/news/532976/11-times-people-used-facebook-to-perform-miracles-and-restore-our-faith-in-social-media

 

 

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Selfies, Selfies, Selfies

With the explosive popularity and ritual use of “selfies,” one can be hard-pressed to remember a time when this cell phone and social media trend was not around. On a personal level, I can’t say I’ve held much of an opinion one way or another about selfies, but that’s because I just only recently upgraded to a smartphone. (I know, I know, I’m about six years late, but I often tend be a laggard on technological trends. I can’t even begin to tell you just how reluctant I was to let go of the CD era until someone approached me one day at a grocery store and nearly shouted, “Wow! I haven’t seen anyone listen to a walk-man in years!”). Nonetheless, I’ve seen more than my share of selfies ranging from the bizarre to the beautiful. I’ve also been in a few group selfies myself, some of which I love and others which I laugh at or feel embarrassed by. (I’ve been somewhat notorious for making crazy, goofy faces on camera. I tend to feel awkward with cameras, so I try to ignore the feeling by being silly.)

All this being said, I can say I know a few helpful suggestions when using selfies on social media websites. For starters, I have a few drop dead gorgeous friends I wish would model instead of constantly posting professional looking photos of themselves on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going to put this much effort into your appearance and your selfies and then constantly post them on social media, please consider trying to find a job where you’ll actually get paid for your work! Also, I must say I agreed with a man I know when he recently stated how silly mean appear when they  too constantly post selfies on social media. He also complained about his some of his employees hurting the company’s brand image with selfie posts on Facebook. Call me prejudiced, but I’m inclined to agree. Perhaps, it’s because women already have so much social pressure to beautiful that vain behavior such as this has become more acceptable. Still, I can’t help but feel amused when I see men post beautified selfies on social media.

Second, I really don’t recommend posting selfies every time you’re accomplishing a goal or enjoying some kind of luxury. For example, I’ve seen more than a few people let the online world know every time they’re at the gym. Good for you, but do you really need constant validation from an audience? While I’m not exercising like I should, I know that when I have, the last thing running through my mind was posting a selfie on Facebook or Twitter. Eating and sleeping are usually what came to mind. Also, I tend to dislike when people constantly post selfies of every luxury they indulge in. I just become reminded of how much money I don’t have to partake in those joys. I know it’s my problem and I should be happy for them, but I struggle not reflect on how much I wish I could eat at the new sushi restaurant, see a current play, or learn salsa dancing.

Aside from these few arguments, I guess I’m ok with selfies. Perhaps I should finally learn to take one. I have a selfie mode on my phone still waiting be used. Maybe then  I’ll understand more about what all the hype is about. For now, I’ll hide in the background and continue to watch with delight, surprise, and disgust the never ending  selfie antics social media has to offer.

-Cheryl Bokon


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MySpace Memoir

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Humanity’s increasing descent into a virtual cyberspace world feels rather disturbing, to say the least. How much digital reality are we as analog beings truly equipped to handle? On the other hand, I can’t help but acknowledge a number of its perks: 24/7/365 ability to socially connect, business opportunities, and great referrals, to name a few. Perhaps a brief narrative of my social media experiences will help me better gauge its overall impact on my life. It’s been an interesting ride, to say the least.

Like so many other Generation Y guys and gals, my social media experience started with MySpace. I must have been 23 or 24 when I began to absorb the MySpace craze. Every acquaintance and friend seemed to have their own profile, and I soon became impressed with the creative content and layout included in some on their personal pages. Being as young as I was, I obviously had to jump on this “cool” bandwagon. My first page was a rather lackluster effort and my impatience convinced me to shut it down soon after. You see, MySpace had failed to fill my social voids and keep me constantly entertained, so once the glam and glitter wore off, I received learned a lesson I didn’t want to swallow; MySpace was a great resource but a poor idol.

By the second time around, though, I swallowed the moral pill and gave MySpace another go. No, MySpace would not help me find Romeo and MySpace would not make me Ms. Popularity , but I could still enjoy the platform.  Always wishing I was in a different dimension, different world – hell, even a different planet, I certainly vented this desire while creating my second profile. To give you an idea, my background picture included a floating tree. Some considered my personal page fantasy fluff, but I preferred the word “ethereal.”  In retrospect, I consider this first of my social media marketing efforts. Look at my cool tree. Listen to my Enigma music. Look at the Hindi symbol I don’t even understand the meaning of. Aren’t I just so “spiritual?” I won’t lie, I was trying too hard to be something I already was, but hey, you live and learn.

On the Myspace channel, I got my first tastes of hackers and trolls, stupid arguments via online message, and those horrifying moments when you’re like, “Did I really share that?! No, no, no!” (Based on experience, I definitely don’t recommend posting on your social media accounts when you’re deliriously drunk. If you insist on embarrassing yourself, revert back to the timeless classic of drunk dialing. Your loved ones may find out, but chances are lower the World Wide Web will.) I’ve also experienced the pros and cons of treating social media like your psychologist. Sometimes, venting my struggles proved helpful after my friends gave me therapeutic feedback. Other times, they went dead silent or offered sugar-coated pop psychology advice I hated. Treating social media like a therapy appointment is similar to treating your bartender like a shrink – beware.

On a more positive note, Myspace also exposed me to some very fascinating information. For instance, I’ll never forget the experience of watching a video one of my friend’s MySpace pages. The video described the miraculous  impact numerous meditators (including notables such as the Dalai Lama) had on Washington D.C.’s crime rates years ago when they committed to  constant meditation for an extended period of time. Furthermore, I was also able to reconnect with friends I had not heard or seen from since elementary school. Last but not least, I found out interesting qualities about people I may have otherwise never know. Often, when I tuned into my friend’s profiles and learn more about their own personal world, I was received needed perspective and a relieving hiatus from ego.

In hindsight, while MySpace gave me some hard-knock lessons on social media do’s and don’ts, the social platform also afforded me some golden experiences as well. Perhaps, I’ll eventually give MySpace another go – I never really understood why Facebook stole MySpace’s popularity – but for now, I’m content to remember all the antics I pulled on the site. Last but not least, I’m certainly happy I learned early on to not treat social media like a god, although from time to time, I still need a few reminders.

-Cheryl Bokon

 

 

 

 

 


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told you so

 

Told you so- Here’s a blog for now but I’m not going away. Here’s why, Demographics of internet users say that older adults that be me (I can pass for younger) are embracing social media. Seniors are increasing our use of social media. I’m telling you, it has it rewards. Seventy-five percent of 50 to 60 year olds are online. Remember my friend I referred to (O brave one) who got it? The study says that educated seniors are more likely to go on the internet than those less educated. Who cares? Go my fellow late boomers and bloomers! Just go!

Non profits who work with older people are being asked to teach them how to navigate on line which includes social media in my humble opinion.  As a matter of fact, getting someone with patience who could teach me like I was a 6-year old was a huge task and a huge scare.  Recall, the monster that was going to eat me? I was genuinely afraid that life would pass me by if I didn’t get with it.

While we’re on the subject here’s some interesting tips when teaching late gamers: 1) we are not sitting back. Don’t ignore us, 2) new technologies are not for the young and the tech-savvy; it’s made to empower everyone (that’s what I’m talking bout)  3) accessibility has to be  built into the planning process for new products from the start with consideration of size and physical ability and 4)  education for new products should be made available for seniors and late gamers so that we don’t  become victims of the fall behind in the digital divide. For nonprofits and others who are waiting for boomers to die off, remember we have something to say and something to give to people all over the world. Here’s the thing? You want my money well…. Give me something honey. Let’s help each other.


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embrace

 

No longer behind- At my last post, I talked about not feeling left behind. That feeling  came from embracing social media as a tool for furthering my education and enhancing my life. I can connect to all kinds of people, places and things. The good thing is , I can choose channels that best reach out to others. Don’t misunderstand, I have not  become and expert just yet nor will I probably ever be.  I’m just so happy I faced the social media monster and it didn’t eat me up.

To those of you who are like myself, step out of your comfort zone. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I implore you to join me. Change is not easy but, it can be a meaningful journey that lead to wonderful places. I recall a friend who posts a lot on facebook . I admired her courage to learn social media and technology. She is so good at it and for years I watched in awe how she does it with so much ease. I never dreamed until I released my old thinking that I could do the same. I too can find gems and nuggets of information. Better yet, connecting to people means I connect to the world to find my own sources and sense of empowerment. Yeah, I’ll say it now. Social media can empower the late bloomers also.

Would I have come to this conclusion had it not been for Public relations courses?  I honesty don’t know. I do know that you never find out unless you get out there where the information is. I am grateful for that.  I’m most grateful that God has given me the makeup to always do better and often that requires a deep look at what is holding me back.


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moving

 

Having my say– I’m not sure if any of my previous blogs made any sense. Frankly, I find it a challenge writing things that might interest anyone, even us Johnny’s come lately.

Persevere I say.  In reviewing where I am in my learning curve regarding social media, I’ll quote a part of the poem by Carl Sandburg, stopping in the woods on a snowy winter”.  He writes of “miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.”  That is me and my social media. I have miles to go but, guess what? I will be going. I am a new convert now thanks to new learning experiences.

Some say the world belongs to young, the talented, the smart and the brave. I say it belongs to all. The world through social media has become friends to some as we age, filling a void in the day- to day ho-hum of living. I have many questions yet with great anticipation to finding answers. I know I will find answers to many things I always wanted to know. On the flip side, I will be able to do the same for others. Honestly, I look back to the days of early social media and ask myself what took me so long. Here’s an answer: it was fear.  Fear and resistance. My fear came from the unknown, listening to bad things about social media like Face book, more than the good. Understand me, I know I need be careful still but, the truth about human nature is often, way too often, we are driven by the fear within us. Fear leads to resistance. The longer we fear, the longer we resist and the longer the world and everything that is worthy in it leaves us behind.

Resistence is futile, leading to nowhere.

 


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have no fear

 

Not alone – I was wondering if I had some type of deficit or disability or was I so set in my baby boomer ways that made me outdated. The thought did cross my mind of being some sort of dinosaur in today’s  world where social media is such a dominating force. My goodness! Even my granddaughter knows what’s up. She has the ability to operate a tablet like a pro. At one point I pondered if it were them, me or   As soon as I realized I could become more social media savvy, because of a desire and partly a need to compete in today’s workforce, I became more empowered o try to do new things. All of a sudden, I found myself probing and investigating more topics of interest to me.  I began to say things like “I’ll Google this and that”.

I was thrilled just to know the possibilities. My possibilities.Coursework sometimes feel like force, sometimes ambivalence and sometimes curiosity. My Attention span and interest runs the gamut. This I do know, social media has given me a new birth of some sort.  While I’m just coming out of the womb, I’m crying to learn more. In fact, I find myself fascinated by the vastness and depth of ways available to do everything from finding my old a friend, connecting with new friends, job search, and business and on and on it goes. Just think, less than a year ago, this baby-boomer was looking to for a way to connect to a changing world and developing skills to reach people worldwide. It was right at my fingertips, calling me.

My fingertips have now touched something that stimulates my mind. It can do the same for anyone. You are not alone. There are so many people calling your name.