On Social Sharing

This is in no way an attempt to debase behavior patterns or imply anything is wrong or right. The social sphere is all very organic and well uncontrollable. Like a wild fire. I am sincerely intrigued, that's all. Maybe Valentine's day and the abundant sharing got me pondering. 

Someone posted on Facebook, "Looks like everyone has the best boyfriend on Valentines day". I thought it was cheeky and clever and would be interested to know his marital status and profession. Maybe a comedy writer because it would make good stand up. Others may find the comments offensive or even bitter. Thus is life and we don't have to agree; it's small stuff anyway. 

Have you ever felt unsettled about learning deeply private and personal news via social media about a person you don't communicate with in the "real world". Like you're a creepy fly on the wall but you've done nothing wrong in fact. Is this just the social norm for our generation and we better start posting to keep up?  Or maybe we should only follow/friend people we would realistically communicate with outside of social media? This isn't it either. I like following Martha Stewart. I could be thinking too deeply about it but I am actually curious and might conduct a case study. If you have some insight, post it on Twitter @pensivefoodie. 

Are you supposed to like something on Facebook that is deeply or even partly sad? Twitter is effective in sharing and "affirming" content without the connotation that is it "likable", which may not be the case. For instance the death of a loved one or an egregious wrong. 

This video had me crying in the Best Buy parking lot, while my boyfriend ran in to buy a keyboard. He returned to the car to me a blubbering mess, keyboard in hand and confused. He took my phone away.  This is not the first time. 

This concept applies to trivial rants too: Something like this girl hates her mother-in-law, husband is a dud, and her little one peed the bed, again.  How about a Like with insert condition button. Or better, a Hug button. Here is a use case for your reference.

  1. Read Sad Content 
  2. Experience cognitive dissonance: Is it disrespectful if I like this? Will the source get the wrong idea about my intention? 
  3.  Reflect: This person needs a Hug or Support. 
  4. Click Hug Button and/or Like with a lump in my throat and a very heavy heart.

Facebook, get on it or Twitter will continue to outpace you. 

Just an observation. I have yet to read a post from a Wounded Warrior or a child with a terminal illness like this, "I am having a really hard time making it day to day." Or from a young woman with an intellectual disability, "Hey, the world is sometimes less than accommodating and marginalizes me."  Are these posts out there? I am sure they are. But they are not as frequent, as "I hate traffic".  Is this a lesson? Yes, I think so. No one cares you hate traffic.

Thanks to my big, brave sister, and her insight from a position as an Oncology Counselor for this invaluable reminder. 

On a lighter note. Have you experienced this moment? "Sh*t a Tyho. Argh *typo. Too late, already shared. What will the world think?",  says the sneaky grammar gremlin in your ear. 

Another observation.  I am grateful for the variety of beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures social media connects. Like this, a post on Instagram a while back, by Erica Domesek, the craft goddess behind P.S-I Made This. I've even found it to share. It was great. The woman has, well, serious balls and business chops.

Nonetheless, she's neither better nor worse than a woman her age who has four children and posts a picture of her child's first day riding the school bus.  Seriously, to each his own. 

"Insert name surely can't always look that gorgeous and together, can she." Real Simple magazine launched a fun hash tag campaign #rsgetreal to disprove that very thought. People posted to Instagram their vulnerable and non-perfect moments.  Dirty dishes. Piles of laundry. Fast food for their kids. It was very refreshing and these were my favorites. I would totally eat the meal in the third shot.

Do you ever feel defeated when no one likes content you thought was wildly genius, share-worthy, or beautiful? I do sometimes.  Have you ever deleted it you felt so bad? Not yet. 

Do you follow someone back as a courtesy even if you're not sure you would be interested to hear/see their personal details? The jury is still out. 

How should you feel when you friend request someone and it remains pending for a super long time in internet terms?  Meaning: a day or heaven forbid twowholedaysThink Zuckerberg in the last scene from Social Network. They portrayed him as a bit of a weasel in that movie anyway but he likely has enough money not to give a crap. 

Do you ever feel you need someone to physically remove your phone from your possession and not give it back for a while so you stop checking emails and refreshing Instagram? Guilty

Is it ever awfully tempting to delete all your accounts? As if a burden would be lifted and you'd stop comparing yourself to people you may or may not even know.  It's all relative anyway.Apples are not oranges and never will be. Furthermore, if I truly believe what I have been raised to believe then all the excess is superfluous anyway.  

Some quick thoughts to finish it off.

  1. How many pictures is too many pictures, in succession?  
  2. Should professionals allow clients, students, colleagues to friend/ follow them?
  3. Do we share to spark an emotional response from others, to inspire, to gloat a tad, or just because everyone else is?

Personally, I probably share too much about my pets. I don't have children so this is likely to be the case. I'm also not totally sure how I will share kid-related content if and God-willing when I have children. I post a lot about what I'm eating. I love to eat. Sue me. And I post a lot about family; they are post-worthy and a source of love and hope. 

End postand tweet. 

HTML: How to make a living

"No matter how one may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science, or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world."  -Frances Willard, How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle

A quote lover, I found this a fitting one about the beauty of learning. There are many a splendid thing to explore in this world. If I channeled even an eighth of the energy I use worrying about nonsense and learned a new skill instead, I would probably be a force to reckon with! We all would.

I work with extremely capable web practitioners, and since joining the team I have been anxious to educate myself. Selfishly, I need to do so just to make sense of their conversations (totally foreign language), but more importantly, having been exposed to the ever changing fields of web design and development, I am uber curious as to how it all works.

My boss suggested an excellent resource called Codecademy so I could begin learning the fundamentals. Low and behold, the first course happens to be called, Web Fundamentals. In it, we cover elementary HTML and CSS. Grab your pencils (or Evernote)  because class is in session.

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the primary coding language that makes up pages viewed in web browsers. Basically, everything that is viewed on the web exists as source code. You can think of HTML as being the skeleton that gives a website some structure. It is text that is governed by syntax, or the rules for communicating. The elements that make up HTML are tags and brackets. Tags are identifiers that tell the text that falls between them what to be and do. Typically tags come in pairs so there must be an opening and closing tag. 

What is super cool about HTML is that it can take boring, dreary text and turn it into other elements like images, links, lists, and tables. It must have a head and a body to operate. Thankfully, it is also very logical. It is essential that tags be open and closed in the right order. Think of it like LIFO, last in, first out. Use frequent line breaks and indents to organize the HTML file so that you are less likely to make errors. Guidelines and numbered lines make it like a long-running outline. No matter how complicated it becomes, you can maintain the structure.

I am only getting started, but already my Codecademy lessons coupled with much support from my colleagues have afforded me a solid foundation on the path to web competency. Just hoping not to exhaust my work friends as I make it a habit to bombard them with questions! I have this peculiar compulsion to understand how things work, or at least things that are relevant to me. And, since I spend quite a lot of time and mental energy at work, web development is definitely relevant. It’s going to be a long term investment in learning, partly because the field in itself is evolving literally everyday, but also because it is valuable if not necessary skillset to get acquainted with.

A Light from Ahead

Working for a passionate team of designers and developers, albeit a short while, has exposed me to a wealth of resources. Not only professionally enriching in nature (I have been taking lessons in HTML and CSS for the past few weeks now!), but also inspirational. A source I visit frequently, Happy Cog's Cognition, churned out this gem and I am so thankful for it that I must share: What I Wish I Had Known When I Graduated College.

It was affirming to hear calming words of reassurance from an established professional, who has already weathered the volatile years right out of school. She confirms that the unease myself and peers undeniably feel is quite prevalent, and that we are not alone in the fear that we have somehow failed, already. She provides a welcome light from ahead

I quit more than my fair share of jobs (3 to be exact. Yes 3, and don't you judge) Primarily, I quit because I knew I could not sustain something that  a) I was not passionate about or b) would not gradually lead to a state of contentment. I am well aware that good things take time and I am young, but in these positions I think I was going in reverse.  My dreams were somewhere far, far away atrophying. My brain was seemingly turning to mush while insensitive folks belittled my aspirations. Knowing what I do now, I would have lowered my expectations and concealed my emotions, but I am also quite pleased I left jobs that did not make me happy. For some, it is hard to walk away from something. I practically ran! And even in these jobs, I met some wonderful companions I keep in touch with to date and learned a lot about social constructs and life in general; there is always a silver lining. These lessons will serve me on into perpetuity. I vow to remember what it was like to be naive and afraid, as I proceed through my career.  

Beyond the work itself being poorly fitted to my strengths, I also thought I deserved to be treated with some degree of respect no matter how small my position was. Maybe I am too sensitive, or conversely some were way too insensitive. Either way, I cling tightly to the belief that all people share the sanctity of existence and should be treated as such. This is not always the case in our society, but I will maintain my position. 

An illness in my immediate family brought me from DC, home to New Jersey and I had the chance to start over in a way. A stint in nannying after these few hellish work experiences gave me some much needed reprieve from the aggression and misery I felt at work. I really quite enjoy adventures playing Mary Poppins. I got to dabble for a while and stumbled upon a Web Design firm looking for a Project Manager. It has been only a few months, but I could not be happier. The people I work with are passionate, capable, and supportive. They build me up rather than condemn ideas and fervor. They welcome my enthusiasm and desire to contribute, helping me develop new skills. The workplace is a collaborative environment and I am contented to be "working". I actually feel like a full-time learner. Furthermore, in web development and design there is a multitude to learn. So much, that this should keep me occupied for a long while, thankfully. My fancy degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship taught me how to think strategically  and now it is time to hone a skill, to become a maker of something. Selling is important, but I want to create something new. It would also benefit me to patient and have respect for the winding road.

I know for a fact many of my peers can commiserate with me. Have a look at Sophie's article, andthank you Sophie for sharing your wisdom. It is a much appreciated and necessary message for my generation. College lessons, social pressures, and inflated expectations have bred us to expect success and prestige instantaneously. Instead if we commit to learning something new everyday, practice kindness, and endeavor to find the fulfillment we deserve, we can create our best selves. And maybe by committing to this sort of path, we are already a success. 

To echo Sophie, we'll be fine. 

An Apple a Day

Let’s be frank. I am as capable as any average computer using young adult of my generation. Word processing, spreadsheets, basic template adjustment, and Google apps. Yes, these things I can manage. A few college courses in Management Science and Information Systems have enabled me to be less than useless in using software to manipulate and present data. Proud to be able to teach my parents and grandparents some skills that were not really relevant during their youths, these are competencies I value. 

That being said though, there is quite a bit I certainly do not understand. I have always been a PC user. Not sure how that happened, but I would guess it was an arbitrary purchase when my parents decided it was time for me to have a laptop for doing schoolwork. I can carry out the essential functions in Microsoft well, and even fool an unsuspecting individual into believing I am savvy with certain suites. I can make a mean Powerpoint presentation. Although I have heard the broad appeal of Apple software, I have never been a Mac user myself, unless you count iPod and iPhone use.

Not one to back away from a challenge, I am enthusiastic to enter this environment. Let’s face it. To compete in our society. To cope at all really, it is essential to get somewhat familiar and comfortable with advancements in technology. Hence, my 85 year old grandpa and his proficiency in texting and Microsoft Publisher. Sure, he still asks my sister and I why we are always using Spacebook and My Face. And if Instagram is like a telegram. But that is to be expected. It’s a daunting undertaking to learn everything there is to know about anything, let alone something as complex as “technology”. Partly, because it is forever changing. Regardless, might as well endeavor to become more skilled or worse, miss the bandwidth wagon.

As luck would have it, this moderately skilled PC user has found herself in an Apple powered Creative and Technology studio. Despite an eagerness to learn and a sincere interest in the technology sector, I have gone through life quite successfully with limited awareness of things like Web design and development. Sure, I am a child of the Social Media age, but there is a huge difference between picking a blog theme and building a custom site from scratch. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Before there is any ground breaking web work, I should probably learn how to use my Mac. 

I hope you enjoy this honest look at my journey, acclimating to a career in the Technology and Design sector. This is coming from a young lady that still writes to-do lists, rather than use a Smartphone task list, and sends a handmade greeting card in lieu of a Facebook message. I don’t tweet because I doubt anyone needs and/or even wants to know the every detail of my existence. Although maybe if my Nana used twitter, she would appreciate the immediate gratification of knowing where her loved ones were at all times. I am very fond of my Moleskin calendar and darling little stickers I use to highlight noteworthy events. Even if there is a Calendaring application that far exceeds pen and paper, I would hate to part with that day planner. I still read books. Actual books, like the ones with spines and pages, although I do have a Kindle I enjoy using in moderation. Cookbooks and magazines are other possessions I am hesitant to stop collecting. Just a look at what we are working with...