Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Interesting read on Social Media

Just a quick note. I wanted to share this article that Mashable posted about the growth of Social Media over the last 5 years.

A Look Back at the Last 5 Years in Social Media

There is a lot of interesting research out there right now about the impact and growth of Social Media. I will continue to share interesting articles that I find but would love to hear from you as well.

Yes, I am asking you for money but...

While I am really excited to start talking about some of the topics that everyone has suggested, and the different ways that Social Media is affecting our daily lives (often in negative or uncomfortable ways), I am going to pause for a second to offer a more positive example of how Social Media has helped me. This year I am walking for the second time in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Along with training to walk sixty miles, I also am tasked with raising $2,300 in the fight against breast cancer.

Last year I had a lot of success with fundraising through Social Media. I was able to use Facebook to share my progress and used a widget to promote my donation site. This year I am taking this further by creating a blog to track my progress with fundraising and training, and to share my stories from 2009. You can find my blog at Using this blog I can post photos and videos from last year, share the inspirational stories that I heard, and share my progress as I prepare for another great experience as a 3-Day walker. I am also going to continue to utilize Facebook and Twitter to encourage people to visit my donation site and to learn more about the 3-Day and the fight against breast cancer.

Please take a minute to visit my 3-Day blog. Also, I welcome your feedback on how you have used Social Media to raise funds or awareness for a cause that you care about. Are there any best practices out there that I should consider?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can we be Facebook Official?

I’m getting very close to my 30s and yet I’ve realized recently that Facebook can take a normally mature relationship and turn it into something that I last experienced when I was fourteen years old. Remember what that was like when you were an adolescent trying to figure out what it meant to date? Would we make out after the football game? Did this mean a guaranteed date to the dance? Would there be long phone conversations involved? What if he expects me to eat lunch with him and all his friends? While I am certainly glad to be past these awkward questions that surrounded my first trials with romance, it seems that Social Media has, in many ways, taken us back to this pre-adolescent period of uncertainty, complete with unnecessary awkwardness.

The big question – when do you change your Facebook status—seems to loom over many adult relationships today. In our real lives and relationships this hardly matters, yet everyone jokes about being “Facebook official.” We all know that it really doesn’t mean anything for the grand scheme of our relationship but there it is, that question of when, in this world of self-publicizing our every action, we declare to our online social network that we are (drum roll please) dating someone.

To further complicate this relatively silly question is the fact that everyone comes at this from different angles. I have friends who feel that it is incredibly important to post that they are “In a Relationship” because they are proud to share with their online friends who they are dating in their non-online life. Others feel just as strongly that it is nobody’s business but their own. To compound all of this, many members of your social network will gush, gasp, and perhaps fall to the floor when you do change your status. How can this much thought, drama, and anxiety come from Facebook?

To be honest, until recently I hadn’t given it much thought, other than in passing reference when a girlfriend and I jokingly said we wanted to be in an “It’s Complicated” relationship together to confuse our friends and family. But then I found myself having “the Facebook talk” and it made me realize that for better or worse, Social Media is affecting our lives in ways we never expected. It’s adding new complexities to our real life relationships on a daily basis.

So, what do you think? How much of your personal relationships do you share online?

I think the best way to deal with it is to send a someecard, laugh about it, and call it a day! Oh yeah, and remember that Facebook will not actually make an impact on your feelings toward one another. Here are some of my favorites:

When your cubicle buddy becomes something more...a Facebook Friend!

In today’s world we are connected to people in our lives through a variety of mediums. We have our traditional relationships, our work colleagues, our online friends, and then there is that gray area, where coworker crosses over to Facebook friend. You know it’s happened to you. You become work friends with someone and then suddenly they send you a friend request. Immediately your palms go sweaty and your mind runs rampant with a litany of questions. Did my best friend tag those birthday photos of me? Are my vacation photos public? Was that political joke I posted offensive? Shit, now my coworkers will know that I read the Onion in the middle of the work day! Or even worse, that I update my Facebook status throughout the day.

One work friend often leads to many more, and pretty soon half your company knows how you spent your weekend and what your drink of choice was during your trip to Mexico last summer. So the question is, how do you deal with this? One thing that I have found helpful is to create numerous groups on Facebook, limiting access to certain parts of my profile. For example, none of my coworkers ever need to see me in a bikini while on vacation, but I’m certainly happy to share photos of my newborn niece with the world.

What are some of your best practices when your Facebook world and professional life start to overlap?

Social Media versus Real Life

Although I am a member of the generation that was in college when Facebook made its appearance, and have therefore been a member since the early 2000s, I’m finding that there are still areas of my life where Facebook, along with other forms of Social Media, just confuse situations, adding new complexities to real life. In this blog I hope to discuss some of these complexities, based off what I experience in my own life and what I hear from friends and family. That said I am definitely interested in hearing from you! Please share any stories or topics relating to Social Media and how your online life is affecting your real life.