Weekly 11: Social Media is 50/50

Despite conversations in class and reading Hamlet’s Blackberry, I don’t think evil of social media. Granted it’s put me more on the fence than I’ve ever been, I still think that social media has improved our lives drastically.

I guess I’d say it’s a 50/50 good-bad ratio.

The class lectures have most definitely made me think about social media in a different light. It’s made me notice the violations of privacy, the terrorist group operations based in the U.S. and other things that make me want to close my Mac forever. But there are even more things like the deep interaction of the blogosphere, Flickr, Amazon and a bunch of other things.

Exploring social media has helped to discover those things and much more. It was an eye-opener that helped me to look at social media on a larger scale and outside of my own world of social media.

There are social media tools that I honestly can’t imagine life without now, like Blackberry Messenger, an iPod, Google. Especially Google. Who knows what I’d do without Google.

Yet, I can see where Powers is coming from when he makes mentions of how consumed everyone has become with social media and technology. I, and everyone I know, are guilty of it. We’re missing out on human connection. Texting has replaced calling, Facebook notes and tweets replaced notes, evites replaced actual invites and so much more. I mean, a person can go forever without knowing what a coworker’s handwriting looks like. But it doesn’t seem like a world we can avoid or one that is liable to disappear anytime soon.

Social media will only evolve as time goes on. I have no idea what I’ll be using six months from now, let alone a year. I mean, I remember a time when my digital professor in undergrad made us sign up for Twitter back in 2008. I thought he was so corny for making us posting things from some fluke site with no one on it. Ha. Shows how much I know!

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Response 4: New Facebook Profiles? Sigh. (Makeup Weekly Post)

Dear Facebook,

Before you invent something else that’s new, can I adjust to the last 12 million changes made after I went to bed last night?

P.S. Stop messing with the privacy changes too.

Thanks,

Tiffani

 

Those were the thoughts that immediately came to mind when looking at Mashable’s latest post on Facebook. Apparently, Facebook has new profiles that are available. Great. Fantastic. Not. It’s not that I’m not open to change. Or change on Facebook. I am, I really am. It’s just the 3, 294, 712th change that I’m not quite ready to deal with. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but not by much. Facebook has been reinventing itself every other day it seems. And I’d like a moment to adjust if possible.

Between it’s privacy setting changes, awful creation of Facebook games and Friend Suggestions (the horror!), I need just a moment to digest it all.

But wait…didn’t I just say I was thankful for Facebook. Well, I am. But not necessarily all the changes that are being made.

Most times, I miss the old Facebook. Back when photo albums were just emerging and it took hours to upload pictures because everybody was so obsessed with the new thing. Back when I private meant private and there weren’t a bunch of options for “privacy.” Back when parents weren’t on Facebook. Ah, the simple life.

Yet, my longing for the simple Facebook won’t change it so here are some of the new features of the new Facebook profiles.

Here are the highlights of the newest features:

  • Bio- a section where you can provide the vitals like your job, previous schools and languages spoken. All information that will be located underneath your name because of course none of that information is already available of Facebook.
  • Photo Introduction- a small catalog of recently tagged pictures will be shown underneath the Bio section.
  • Grouping Friends- you can group friends into whatever “groups” you’d like to create.

These don’t seem like life-changing features to me. Which are the only features I want to see added to Facebook at this point.

But here’s a video from Facebook if you’re interested in the new profiles:

 

 

Response 3: Words Spoken

I love spoken word. I always have. I’ll even write a few pieces when I get the inclination but I’m by no means a spoken word artist. That’s probably the reason I respect spoken word artists so much. There’s something to be said about a person that can speak to a silent room about their innermost feelings and captivate the audience at the same time. And that’s exactly what good spoken word artists do. They draw you into their moment and can have you feel exactly what they feel or what they felt at that moment.

I love it.

So when I came across Danielle’s post about spoken word and social media I knew it’d be a good read. It was. I can’t say I remember too much of the days of only word-of-mouth slams so it was interesting to read about the evolution of it. I’ve been to live spoken word events (mostly ones held on college campuses) that could be considered to word-of-mouth yet even then they were on Facebook too. My love of spoken word has always been surrounded by social media. There’s never been a time when I couldn’t double-check the address of a spoken word event on Facebook. Or watch repeats (which I do all the time) of my favorite spoken word artists.

Yet, reading Danielle’s post I’m glad I can’t remember too much about it. I love the convenience of being able to see promo for a spoken word event. It’s helpful to everyone but especially those smaller or school-related events.

But yes, she’s right. Busboys and Poets is a great place to start and their food is pretty good too.

 

Response 2: I’m a HBCU Girl

Reading Zaria’s post about her old college days and  trip down memory lane from her HBCU (Historically Black College and University), it made me feel a little nostalgic. If you read my first personal post, you already know I miss college severely.

In that post I spoke about missing the person I was in college but it has to be said that I also really love and miss the HBCU atmosphere. It’s unparalleled.

A friend of mine and I tried to explain just why an HBCU is different than other schools (aside from almost the entire school population being Black) to other friends over dinner but we couldn’t, at least not to a point where they agreed. The other three friends had gone to the University of Alabama, while my friend had gone to Tenneessee State University and I, my beloved Hampton University.

My TSU friend and I struggled to get our appreciation for HBCUs out because it ran that deep. We state the rich history of a HBCU. The close, tight-knit family atmosphere of a HBCU. The pride in seeing young Black men and women all working toward their dreams. The bond you get with people that makes you call them family years later. I suppose it’s a combination of all of them yet what most resonants with me is the pride of seeing others Black students do well.

I’ve always wanted to attend a HBCU. When I was child, I wanted to attend Spelman College in Atlanta. That dream quickly left when I realized they didn’t have journalism as a major (go figure) though. After going on the Black College Tour a couple of times to see many of the HBCUs along the East Coast, I’d narrowed it down to Hampton, Howard University and Florida A and M University. I even applied (and got accepted) to Michigan State University just to appease my mother and give her a glimmer of hope that I’d stay in Michigan.

After a little process of elimination, I chose Hampton. I’d received a partial scholarship and they had the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications and a great program for JAC. So, off to Hampton I went. Needless to say, I went, I studied, I worked, I partied, I made friends and I graduated. I love it.

I’ll advocate HBCUs until I’m blue in the face or until everyone realizes how great they are, whichever comes first. There is nothing like a HBCU experience. It’s education that’s rooted in history and culture. Walking across a campus and seeing young Black men in suits brings pride. Going to a career fair with top companies recruiting young Black students is empowering. Graduating and having an alumni network that is strong and still meets once a month for a happy hour makes me love it that much more.

HBCU or Bust.

Here’s a few of my college days and HBCU experience.

 

My friend, Blaire, who became my roommate when I moved to Northern VA.

 

 

My two best friends, Kayla and Shannon. I met two people I'll love forever at HU.

 

My best friend from home, Britney, came down from MI for my graduation.

 

 

I still speak to Corrinne and Melva every single day. I met these lovely ladies in journalism school.

Personal 3: Favorite Books of the Year

Earlier this year, I decided that I was going to take a break from my normal fiction books (unless a new one from my favorite author came out) and read only non-fiction self-help and business books. I’ve surprised myself because with the exception of school books, I’ve actually done it.

I thought I’d share a couple of the books that I enjoyed and think people might want to read.

First up, “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers” by Dr. Lois Frankel. One of my favorite bloggers, Demetria Lucas, speaks about the book often when she answers Formspring questions and provides advice to people. She’s a life coach so it made since when she suggested it and it piqued my interest. The book provides common mistakes that women make in the office and how to avoid/correct them.

I found the book extremely helpful and I’ve started to implement a few of the ideas. There were mistakes that I didn’t even consider mistakes before reading the book that I was able to correct. One mistake that I notice I do and have tried to correct is Mistake 56: Couching Statements as Questions. Those are the “maybe we should…” or “what do you think about…” statements that make good ideas seem shaky. I’ve done this quite a bit before. Frankel gives tips on how to turn those questions back to assertive statements so that you can communicate ideas properly and give them the validation they deserve.

I think that any young woman should give it a read.

The second one is “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside…And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” by Kelly Cutrone. Cutrone is the tough-as-nails president of the infamous fashion PR firm People’s Revolution. I’ve seen TV shows with Cutrone and I was familiar with her harsh style of business and life. I liked it. It’s actually a bit like me so I thought I’d enjoy her book. It’s a memoir of sorts that tells how she went from being a party promoter underachiever to heading the large bi-coastal firm. She also includes tips on how to make it ahead in business. The “If you have to cry, go outside” comes from a rule she’s set at her office. If a girl has a breakdown at work, whether it be personal issues or job-related, she has to take it outside. The office doesn’t have time for tears. Sometimes, the world, doesn’t have time for tears. If you can’t pull it together, go outside and break down, then come back inside when you have pulled it together. She’s a bit extreme and at times rude in her approach (you’ve got to hear her to believe it) but it’s needed sometimes.

P.S. I read “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert back in 2008 and loved it. If you’ve been living under a rock and didn’t see the movie with Julia Roberts, go pick it up! It’s a great read with life lessons on self-help.

 

Weekly 10: The Thailand Blogosphere

After doing some digging around the Thailand Blogosphere, I came up with a wide range of  bloggers. From expatriates to natives of Thailand, these blogs covered topics mostly on their personal lives and how Thailand culture affects it.

Yet it was really easy to find a full blown blogging world in Thailand. I used Global Voices Online to get a start with the bloggers but went to my good ol’ faithful Google for the rest. I found complete lists of bloggers in Thailand that were grouped together based on the type of blog.

What I found most interesting is the fact that most women blogged about their personal lives, particularly their career and family life balance, while a lot of men had more news and media-related content. It was a little surprising to find that Thailand had mommy bloggers who are just as serious as the mommy bloggers in the U.S.

I also found several really good personal blogs. For example, one Thailand mom named Lillian runs My Thailand Diary where she blogs about her daily life. The blog has been running for several years and it has been recommended by a number of different forums. She blogs a lot about her life at home but also about the local gatherings of her Thailand area, as well as the culture.

Another blog that I liked focuses primarily on current issues and Thailand culture is Thai 101. The latest blog post, Thai Government Bans Goods That Cause “Disunity,” focuses on the media’s reaction to the November 19th ban on goods and clothing that are deemed “objectionable.” After outcrys of protest, the ban was later removed on by Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit.

Those are two of the many blogs that I found. Some were private with only a brief public description. Even after scouring the internet for a few days I have a feeling that I only barely scratched the surface of the Thailand blogosphere.

Weekly 9: The Website I’m Most Thankful For

I’m embarrassed to say it but the Website I’m most thankful for is Facebook.

I racked my brain all weekend trying to think of what Website I was thankful for and reasons why and all I could come up with is Facebook. Shallow I know.

I think it’s because of its biggest draw for anyone: one easy, concise way to see what everyone else is up to. I can catch up with friends who I don’t see often or who I probably won’t see for years. I’m starting to see engagement pictures, baby pictures and all that jazz go up. It’s interesting to see.

I can’t say that I’m on it as much since I’ve joined Twitter (and once they let any and everybody on) but I still like it. I’m not totally anti-Facebook like some people are. It’s complicated at times with its ever-changing features/privacy laws and sometimes creepy people but what site doesn’t have the occasional creeper and update.

As mentioned, my main gripe with Facebook is the fact that it’s open to everyone. I enjoyed my personal group of college friends that were my genuine friends and some who were just classmates. My final straw with the “everybody can join Facebook” came when my mom wanted to “friend” me. First, my uncle found me. I accepted. Reluctantly. Then came my mom’s friends and fellow church members. I knew my mother was looming. Weeks later, she popped up on my Friend Request List. I promptly denied. Twice. Facebook was just for me. I let down my barrier a little and let my uncle and my mom’s friends in but she was the limit. I needed my digital space. Sounds weird I know but my mom’s “friend request” began my slow descent to using Facebook only occasionally.

Overall, Facebook serves the purpose, I suppose. I love that I can see the latest happenings with some people, especially those that are on the West coast. So, with all that said, I’m most thankful for Facebook. It’s for this reason alone that I’ll probably never delete my account.

A year from now I might say I’m most thankful for Twitter…but it’ll be Facebook until they add pictures.

Personal 2: I’m Getting Tumblr Crazy

I’ve gone Tumblr crazy.

After some coaxing from my friend to join Tumblr, I decided to seriously think of what I wanted mine to be about. I knew I wasn’t going to blog about my personal life. It’s not exciting enough and I’m too private for that route. Then it came to me that I’d do a beauty blog, The Brielle Beauty Blog. I decided I want it to be about anything I found beautiful or girly. It is definitely a girly blog and I love it. I even got my friend Ben to design a header for me. It’s kind of an abstract of my short hair and the name title. That little simple touch makes me love it that much more.

So here I am blogging about my blogging experience.

I think what I love most about tumblr is the versatility for posting. You don’t always have to do a full text post. It can be a quote, audio, video or perhaps the best feature, a reblog. I’m just starting out but I’ve found some great people on Tumblr that I reblog all the time. I also love it because I’m able to post great YouTube videos I’ve found or new songs I love.

It’s probably because of the ease of posting that I post as much as I do. I’ve started blogs before and had a hard time keeping up with them because of the responsibility to do a full text post, or at least one with some text. To be able to hit a “reblog” button and have a post for the day is a big relief.

The only thing I don’t like about Tumblr is that you can’t see any viewer statistics. I’d love to see how many people actually visit the posts I put on Twitter and Facebook. Yet I understand that’s not necessarily the intent of the site. It’s about a community of blog sites that “follow” each other. So I can live with that annoying part of it because I do like the idea of the community “bloggers.”

After class, I’ll shut this blog down and focus primarily on The Brielle Beauty Blog. It’s become a bit of an outlet for me. I’ve been able to post (or repost) things that I find beautiful and think others would too. I’ve also gotten some good feedback on it and my friends are really supportive of helping with any ideas or input I ask of them.

Simply put, I’m really starting to love this dang thing. My friend started a little Tumblr monster.

 

Weekly 8: Online Gaming

After being given the task of trying online gaming, I was a little weary. I’m not a big gamer and I was extremely apprehensive about trying Second Life. It just seemed like this intense, underworld of crazy people who live vicariously through this game. And well, my opinion hasn’t changed much.

Especially after this funny video about a “fictional” Second Life gamer.

After picking an avatar and messing around with the game, I just couldn’t get with it. It was way too involved for me. Not to mention it was extremely hard to figure out. Yet, I do think that its message of creating a complete alternate universe that you can completely immerse yourself in, is very easily delivered. With the ability to be a human, mineral or other flying object that can sell property, own businesses and party all night long, the idea of completely losing yourself in the game is apparent. People seem to escape their regular lives for a “Second Life.” Yet, some have been able to take their Second Life and make money off the game that has sustained their real-life like people in this article.

I tried a few of the other games Mike mentioned through Persuasive Games and call me lame but, I actually enjoyed those much more. There were games like the Debt Ski where you used a jet-ski to ride the waves and learn to gain income, spend and avoid debt to achieve happiness. It was a game with purpose. It was fairly simple to play (the simpler the better for me) and it was one that I’d recommend to people, especially younger people learning about finances. I also tried the Airport Security game which challenged players to memorize the ever-changing airport security rules to get through the security checkpoint. I thought the game was pretty funny considering that the new full-body scans and intrusive pat-downs have become a news hot topic. These were games that were fairly easy to play but still taught lessons. There were also Persuasive Games about nutrition, immigration laws, political campaigns and more.

By no means am I a “gamer.” I’ve never gotten into MMOGs or anything deeper than an occasional round of Mario Party. Sad, I know. My first game experience was on a Nintendo where I played the duck shooting game that came with a gun…and on a good day, I’d get to play my Barbie game. It was my brother’s Nintendo and let’s just say I wasn’t invited to use it often. After that, I lost interest.

Gaming is cool, I suppose. I think if I ever found a game that I really loved I’d become addicted  (I admit I do find Wii tennis hard to let go of). I just hope it’d never get as addicted as these Second-Lifers.

Response 1: It’s the Little Things

When perusing my classmates’ blogs, none spoke to me as much as Erika’s Grateful for My Health personal post.

Her explanation of her friend’s injuries, startling picture of the boy with no hands and her challenge to encourage someone struck a cord with me.

When it comes to positivity like this, my mother reigns supreme. It comes largely in part to her faith, she’s always told me that:

“God can do it and we all need to turn our troubles over to Him.”

She has always been the backbone of our family (a trait she passed down to me) and a person whose strength surprises me daily. Erika’s gratefulness and belief of just how blessed we are (sentiments I share) are so similar to my mother.

Erika made me reflect on what I’m most grateful for, the things that aren’t tangible. Things like my mom’s strength, my health, my resilience and her spirituality. All things that have gotten me to the humble place I am today. I’ve by no means “made it” but I’m doing ok for myself, with potential to do great.

I’m grateful for the little things in life that we use everyday without thought. I’m thankful for my mom’s worrisome texts, for my ability to breathe, run and laugh, for a roof over my head and so much more. We take a lot of things for granted but Erika’s post made me take a moment and give thanks.

This song, “Little Things,” by India.Arie sums up my moment perfectly.

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