Friday, July 30, 2010


Technology is amazing.

This coming from the girl who- not less than three years ago- still clung to her VCR and prized VHS tapes. I haven't jumped on the blueray bandwagon just yet (I'm not that much of a lemming), but it's only a matter of time.

I've gotten off track.

I'm writing this post from my new smart phone - a DROID X. It was released on July 15th and I still can't believe I own this fascinating miniature computer disguised as a cellular device, enabling me to be further socially connected and engaged with the world.

Two key features of note: 8 mp camera and speech-to-text functionality. I can snap a vivid picture of my chocolate gelato at lunch (did that), talk into my phone a brief caption for said photo (also did that), and click send or post. Instant connection. (Did that, too.)

I can now chuckle alongside other smart phone owners as we stand on our proverbial platform of "there's an app for that, you know."

And, damn. There really IS an app for everything.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

What Your Facebook Status Means to Others

In my previous post, I briefly commented on social media’s ability to create and maintain one’s personal brand. Have you ever stopped to think about how your social network perceives you, or if you’re having any influence over your connections?

We all want to tell our unique stories – some of us more so than others. Social media enables us to do this, whether it’s in complete novels on a blog, a video on YouTube, or in cliffhanging snippets on Twitter and Facebook status updates. We all want to be heard. To be connected. To be empathized with. And most of us enjoy listening to and reading the stories of others, particularly when we can reap the benefits. Otherwise, why participate in social media at all?

Let’s focus on Facebook for a moment. If you’re an active user (i.e. you participate in discussions via commenting and update your status message on a regular basis), you’re customizing your personal brand. Just like in face-to-face conversations, your words ultimately reflect your external perception. Are you cognizant of the brand you’re crafting for yourself?

We may or may not even be conscious of what our status updates or comments are indicating to the rest of the world. How do the following status updates make you feel? Which ones invite a real response?

Friend 1’s status: “Why do people suck so much? FML.”

Friend 2’s status: “Is bummed about this weather. Anyone have any suggestions for indoor, relatively cheap, activities in the Boston area this weekend?”

Friend 3’s status: “Could this day get any worse? So over it.”

Friend 4’s status: “Is infuriated and thinks everyone should read CNN’s recent article about the gulf oil spill. What do you think?”

As Facebook continues to grow, I’ve started adding more companies and “liking” more sites than ever before. Therefore, I don’t have time to scroll through my newsfeed and be bothered with negative status updates that offer nothing to the community, other than their harsh words and woe-as-me attitudes. I’ve divorced many Facebook connections because their status messages or comments on others’ posts were consistently negative. Frankly, I just don’t have time for those stories, especially if the poster is less than an acquaintance (e.g., Billy from my second grade class who I “friended” two years ago just to see what he’s doing for a living now.).

We’ve all posted the occasional “had a terrible day; send me happy thoughts” status because we rely on our friends and networks for the ego boost or virtual hug. It’s about connection, after all. But we all know the people who complain for the sake of complaining; they need to process their emotions outwardly and Facebook provides a great platform to do just that. I wonder if these people even realize what they’re really telling the world about themselves.

In some instances, the explosion of “here’s how much my life sucks right now” can lead to further connections and conversations (“I know exactly how you feel! That happened to me last year…”), but, overall, I grow tired of negative attitudes cluttering my Facebook newsfeed – especially if the negativity does not ask for others’ advice, inspire others to change, or cause readers to reflect.

So, my fellow Facebook users, I encourage you to think twice before projecting vague negative energy into the community. Not only does it do nothing to help your cause, but it hurts your personal brand. Instead, channel your negative thoughts into questions and ask your connections for advice.

That’s the beauty of social media, after all.