Friday, October 31, 2014

Facebook: 3 pluses, 3 minuses

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This week I offer quick hits on social media sites, that I use actively:

  1. Facebook is the first mover, first shaker of social media.  The fact that it has over one billion users makes it one of the most staggering draw online, and that's intriguing to me.
  2. I've been on it the longest among social media and seen a range of changes and maneuvers by its highers up.  But the ease and convenience of its site in general are the best, and virtually any article, video or image I like has a Facebook share function.
  3. I've been many good friends in the past, and had meaningful exchanges, some of which I've collated onto my journals.  
  1. In the year or two leading up to its IPO, Facebook made notable changes that, to me, served advertisers better than members.  For one, I used to get a lot of advertisement via my Inbox and a lot of invites via notifications.  I could delete them en masse, until it took away this function and I had to delete one by one.
  2. On the same note, about three years ago, I distinguished a page from a group, which was fine.  Except that friends, or anyone, it seems, can just add me to a group, without even asking.  I detest being roped into something I don't even care for.  Again, I have to leave each group one by one.
  3. Spam messages were streaming in steadily into my Inbox, and it aggravated me that reporting them didn't temper the stream in the least.  So I just deleted the conversation.  It's a bit better now, but I was baffled as to why Facebook didn't seem to revise its spam algorithms.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Twitter: 3 pluses, 3 minuses

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This week I offer quick hits on social media sites, that I use actively:

  1. Just one word, number one plus: sports.  I began to get active on Twitter three years ago, and for a long while bemoaned its lack of connectedness and engagement.  That is, I discovered live sports generate quite a lot of that, and specifically I love tweeting during Chicago Blackhawks and Bears games.
  2. Tweetchats were an event by Lead With Giants, which I participated in actively last year. The facilitator prompts us with queries, then several of us tweet back with thoughts, ideas and suggestions. It's active and spirited.  I'm no longer active with LWG, but in the meantime four colleagues and I have deepened our friendships via Twitter.
  3. I used to struggle with its 140-character limit.  But I've found that conversation in general, that is, face to face, is a bunch of quick hits of words.  So Twitter is, ironically for me, perfectly suited for conversation.
  1. When I do want to post a more elaborate, complicated message, I have to do so in a series of tweets.  At times, for example, I'll tweet the same article or image two or three times, in order to accommodate a relatively lengthy message.
  2. Twitter Timeline is linear, and in a rapid fire chat, volume can build up and make it difficult to track previous tweets.  There have been occasions, where I scrolled for several minutes to find what I was looking for.
  3. More and more spam has cropped up. These are followers with a cute lady for an avatar, but their tweets are nonsense, commercial or quasi-pornographic.  Instead of going through the inconvenience of blocking them, I simply don't follow back.

Monday, October 27, 2014

LinkedIn: 3 pluses, 3 minuses

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This week I offer quick hits on social media sites, that I use actively:

  1.  LinkedIn is best in class for business men and women, professionals and recruiters, among others, for its wide network of like-minded people.
  2. Its posts, comments and discussions are serious, though it doesn't mean it's droll or humorless.  Rather it isn't social, silly or trivial.  Its content matters for people who populate the site.
  3. LinkedIn has improved its filters over the years, so you can identify a wealth of prospective contacts whom you are targeting.  
  1. When I share videos or articles from another site, it may take a minute before I can find it on my Timeline. Also, previous posts aren't kept, as they are on Google+ and Facebook.
  2. The quality of its articles has diminished in the last year or two.  So while the subject is of interest to me, the writing is often weak and its arguments are suspect.
  3. Of late I've had more spam coming through my Inbox, so LinkedIn has to revisit its spam algorithms.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rosario Dawson promotes real stories on women

The fact is women aren't always strong, powerful or even good.  So what actress and activist Rosario Dawson says is persuasive: (a) We need more women writing and directing not just film, but also commercials; and (b) We need honest portrayals and real stories of women in these media.  Dawson promotes the film Miss Representation by The Representation Project.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Representation Project advocates for women

The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people's consciousness towards change.
This brisk, compelling video by The Representation Project advocates for respectful portrayals of women in the media.  It balances positive (advances) with negative (retreats), offers facts without sidling into nerdy-hood, and finishes with a call to action.  So while there is truth to sex sells, and women are often objects of that principle, I encourage you to reflect on your own promotional aims, attitudes and videos, and work to keep it free of sexism.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ways to prevent blogging burnout

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Through the articles I've written on Ahrvey, I've emphasized two essential things:  Blog about things that genuinely matter to you vis-a-vis whatever it is you're trying to accomplish and Blog in ways that are realistic and doable over time.  But When Blogging Becomes a Slog, as Steven Kurutz writes sensitively and straightforwardly, then perhaps you've gone off-track with one or both of these emphases. 

I have 13 Blogger accounts, plus 2 more book-blogs; 5 Tumblr accounts; and 3 Pinterest accounts.  Not to mention several social media profiles, too.  It's a lot to keep up with, and I admit to dips in my interest, motivation and activity.  But more than a year now, and I've kept up with all of them.  I have no where near the popularity or uptake that some bloggers have, such as those whom Kurutz writes about.  But what I write is meaningful to me and I keep a realistic pace.

I've had to adjust things, mind you.  When I launched five new blogs for Dr. Ron Art last year, for example, I wrote daily (five times a week), and I kept at it for four to six weeks, just so I had a good buildup of content.  Then I dialed it down to three times a week, three weeks a month.  Recently, because I shifted focus on priority projects, I've dialed it down another notch to three times a week, two weeks a month.

In addition to those two emphases at the outset, I suggest Keep a close eye on how you're doing vis-a-vis blogging.  Do not be so disciplined, and productive, and efficient, and gung-ho, that you lose sight of your waning interest and energy levels.  It's fine to adjust, it's fine to dial down.  But most of all, you must step back regularly, see where things are at, and assess where you're going.  You may need to take time off, and if so, then do so.  Life changes, shit happens.

The best way to deal with burnout is to prevent it, and the best time to do so is before you burn out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Setting the bar high for enduring blogging

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In an age where attention span is short and activity is impermanent, it is encouraging to hear about people, like Anil Dash, who have had staying power with their blogs:  15 Lessons from 15 Years of Blogging.  The following are ones I resonate most with:
Always write with the idea that what you're sharing will live for months and years and decades. Having a long-term perspective in mind is an incredibly effective tool for figuring out whether a topic is meaningful or not, and for encouraging a kinder, more thoughtful perspective.

Always write for the moment you're in. Being true to how you feel and what you're experiencing is both more effective in connecting with a reader and more personally useful for when you revisit your work, serving as a reminder of exactly where you were at the time.

The personal blog is an important, under-respected art form. While blogs as a medium are basically just the default format for sharing timely information or doing simple publishing online, the personal blog is every bit as important an expressive medium as the novel or the zine or any visual arts medium. As a culture, we don't afford them the same respect, but it's an art form that has meant as much to me, and revealed as many truths to me, as the films I have seen and the books I have read, and I'm so thankful for that.
Whether it's a business journal or your own diary, a blog ought to have some degree of personal in it.  By this I mean essentially what Dash means:  What you write ought to be honest but kindly, authentic but respectful.  This may sound like a tall order, and in fact it is.  But if you love blogging and you deign to blog for a long time, then you must set the bar high and reach it yourself.