Tag Archives: social media

Is anything “real” these days?

6 Sep



The internet has spawned an “International Attention Crisis” where people worldwide are addicted to constant (24×7) updates and instant gratification by social media, email, voice mail, and other “indirect” (i.e., non-face-to-face) contact with others.


Walk into any restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or even car, these days and you’ll seldom find anyone to talk to – in person that is – and you’ll find the same with everyone else.  It’s as if we’ve all become zombie slaves to our electronic connection tools.


Sometimes I wonder if there is really any communication happening in person today… except on reality TV shows where fantasy and reality blend seamlessly to convince us that non-communication in our homes and personal lives is okay.


Tell me what is real and what is fantasy in these situations:


– People sitting at the same table in a restaurant or bar (who are in-person friends) all texting others who are not there;


– Drivers in cars watching their smart phone screens instead of traffic all around them;


– Children who text their parents from their rooms instead of walking into the same room to talk;


– Facebook members who brag about having 5000+ “friends” when research proves that the human mind can accommodate a mere 150-or so friend relationships;


– People who call out or disrespect others using Facebook because they lack the guts to communicate directly;


– Unlimited texting is more popular than unlimited talk on cell phones;


– Twitter is replacing email systems as the preferred method for some corporate communications;


– When you meet someone they ask you if you are on Facebook or Twitter before they ask for your phone number or other contact information;


– People know you by your photo on social media and don’t recognize you in person;


– Interactive voice recognition (IVR) computer systems block access to real people when you need help desk support – sometimes there is no possible way to reach a live human being who can solve your problem;


– The only way to bypass circular menu systems and reach a live person at banks or cell phone providers is to say “Cancel service”;


– When people say “I’ll call you right back” it usually means they are bored of talking to you and will often text instead of calling back;


– “Events” from Facebook or social media fill out your social calendar where you mingle with mostly people you don’t care to meet again;


– Life becomes more isolated, more self-reliant, more independent, and less connected (even though it seems you are ultra-connected!)


Perhaps it is a sign that I am getting old, but I long for the days gone by when people went to restaurants and bars to meet and mingle rather than post photos and check-in on Facebook.  I’d like to go out “with” people who are not tethered, have a real date with a guy who isn’t constantly checking his email, and have good conversation with friends who are truly interested in my life and vice versa.


While it does happen from time to time, the reality is that nothing that was real yesterday (true communication, compassion, connection, and genuine interest) is real today.  Technology is supposed to be a communication “enabler” but I’m wondering just what kind of “enabling” it is really doing to our life today.


Is anything (or anyone) real these days or are we all living in the fantasy of virtual communication?


Wishing you genuine connections with real-life people!





One of the Greatest Mental Freedoms…

7 Aug

Do we REALLY not care what other people think?

In this internet age of text messaging, tweets, Facebook, and other social media, we are supposedly more connected to each other than at any other time in history.  Break-ups, romances, births, changes in status, and other life events are routinely shared with the internet public – often without a thought about the persistence and permanence of what was historically intimate information.

One would think that people today are independent, resilient, teflon-coated, and definitely confident in their own worth and well-being – at least that is the impression based on the volume of personal information shared in cyberspace – often with complete strangers! Yet, is this really the case?  Can generations of western children raised with the adage of “what will the neighbors think?” and “make us proud” overcome such indoctrination by chronicling their life on Facebook?

I believe that most people support and participate in social media because it helps us to feel connected with others – and hopefully enhance our existence on earth.  Yet, the cyber bullying and online fights seem to contradict the “approval ratings” and can even harm one’s well-being.

Our goal should be to gain our OWN acceptance and become the best ME that one can be.  One of the greatest mental freedoms is to not care about what other people think!  You know best for you – and you are the only one who can be the best YOU!

Thank you for reading and have a great week!


The Devil is in the Details…

2 Jun

Have you noticed lately the “plethora” of offers in your inbox for everything from free seminars (all self-professed experts in social media marketing) to consumer items – and they all start to look the same?

One thing I’ve learned is that you have to be absolutely conscious about the fine print and details – whether it’s a product, a service, a message, etc.  There’s so much competition (especially since the recession) with so many competing for meagre dollars that it seems that copycatting is the new norm.  Established brands compete with knockoffs of their own products and hawkers of all shapes and colors emerge on the scene daily. The internet is the great leveler where price shopping prevails and low quality products can allure even the most savvy shopper.

Here’s a few examples of what I mean:Authentic

Listings on eBay of products that “seem” to be authentic but are not. While a giveaway clue to a fraudulent listing can be a Hong Kong or China source and a way-too-low price, this is not always the case. Even U.S. based listings claim “Authentic” in the title and then often include small print at the bottom to tell the truth.  The fine print governs even when the listing title includes the word authentic so be aware that the item could be a knockoff nonetheless.

Craig’s list – the world’s largest yard sale. No refunds, no guarantees, no protection against unethical or fraudulent listings. It’s buyer beware even if the seller appears legitimate in person (I got ripped off by a security guard in uniform who sold me a blackberry that worked for – get this – one day!  How can you make a blackberry work perfectly for a single day and then it is non-functional?)

Packaged computer software that supposedly comes with particular features that were actually eliminated in their earlier version but they forgot to update the packaging and user manual.

Seemingly identical products offered in grocery or other retail ads (watch the fine print!) at differing prices. Sometimes the items look identical in the images but the small type text below the ad gives the exact specifications (size, weight, model number). It can be an event in mental gymnastics to figure out the differences between items!

“Free” seminars by self-appointed experts who don’t know what they are talking about. Yes, you get what you pay for (there’s no such thing as a free lunch!) – but often the time you invest to attend is ill-spent when you consider the value. While there is the rare person who offers truly free seminars as a way to get you to buy follow-on seminars, I’ve seen more than my share of offerings by people who attended last month’s expert seminar and now hang out their own shingle.

It’s true – the devil really is in the details!  In these times of hurry up, move ahead, go forward, don’t hesitate, it can be tempting to buy the first “looks good” bargain that comes along.

At the same time the proverb “Haste makes waste” couldn’t be more true!  Look out for the details – purchase wisely after reading the small and smaller print!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Am I the only one who…

18 May

Do you ever feel like you are the only one in the world who lives by some of the things we used to think mattered?  I’m all for the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and government NON-intervention in our life, but lately I’ve noticed a trend where I feel like I am alone on the planet with unconventional – even radical – views.

Am I the only one who...Here’s a few examples of what I mean:

Am I the only one who…

Thinks texting shortcuts dumb us down? What is it about saving two letters that makes us think that it’s worth using shortcut words even though it confuses people? I just don’t get why we’d change great to gr8, you to u, your to ur, etc. OMG!

Thinks that good spelling is just common sense professionalism? I get lots of emails with shortcut text, misspelled words and poor grammar.  With spellcheck available with most mail programs, how hard can it be to spell check your work before sending.

Thinks that cellphone calls are not for public consumption? I’d like to know when the rules changed with cellphones that make it okay to use it as a pseudo microphone where everyone has to hear your business.

Still thinks it’s okay to let someone into my lane? I witness shoulder passing (“my time is more important than to wait in traffic with everyone else”), rude speedups (“you can’t come in my lane”), and just plain rudeness on the road.

Is tired of voice response systems (the menu systems that say “thank you for calling, press 1 for …”) where you can’t reach a real person? While I find offshore help desks frustrating when they don’t speak English, at least there is a real person somewhere at the end of the endless menus.

Thinks that if the voice system takes your keyed in information multiple times, the real person shouldn’t ask for it again. I get frustrated when an automated system asks for my Social Security number and account number and locates my account, then the real person asks for the same information as if you had never entered it.

Has turned into my mother because I find that most men my age want to date younger women, and senior citizens find me “hot”? I find that if I have to repeat what I say, wipe noses, or wait for a guy to adjust his equipment – their iPhone or a hearing aid – they are either too old or too young to date.  Oops, I forgot, welcome to Florida.

Thinks that there is a such thing as news without “spin”. I am tired of the slanted reporting and lies in the popular media and the internet. Perhaps I led a sheltered childhood, but I don’t remember questioning whether ever bit of news had a Republican or a Democratic or Socialist slant to it.  I want the facts without the rhetoric, and unfortunately Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart on Comedy Central seem to come as close to it as we can get.

Thinks that you can be friends without benefits. I used to love going out with male friends who were decent.  By decent, I mean they didn’t visibly lust at the waitress, make lewd comments to me about women in our midst, and who were interested in being out and having good conversation.  I don’t know where one can find “friends” today who simply like to go out, enjoy your company, are courteous to others, and don’t try to manipulate you to bed.

Sees the value of exploring the world. I’ve given up on acquaintances whose entire weekend plans (every weekend) involve getting drunk at the local pub every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Can’t seem to find the “social” in the social media. While I’m in technology and have attended social media workshops, I still can’t understand why strangers with nothing to sell would want to “friend me” on Facebook. If they don’t know me or anyone I know – I just don’t get it. I’m not in the numbers pursuit (also known as the ‘I have more friends than you do’ game) and I don’t understand the “relationship” building one can do with 4000+ friends you’ve never met. I prefer to meet people the old-fashioned way – in person.

Goes to networking events without dollar signs in my eyes. I go to networking events for the sheer joy of handing out a few business cards and meeting some like-minded people in my area.  It seems that networking events have evolved into either meat market pick up joints (e.g., the bar scene) or gathering spots for ravenous marketers hungry to sell you whatever they are hawking (and they don’ t care what you do for a living).

Thinks that the world is becoming less tolerant. I find that there is more expressed racism, sexism, and general intolerance today than ever before. In our ‘flattened’ world I would expect more tolerance and not less, yet I meet people daily who dislike anyone who doesn’t share their views of the world.  Is it just me or are we becoming more judgmental as a civilized society?

Yearns for a more simple time when people said thank you, opened a door, smiled when they didn’t know you, and were interested in you as more than a sale prospect (and not a Facebook friend).

As someone who prides myself as being more open and tolerant of people than when I grew up, I wonder how my views can be as isolated as I think they might be.

At this juncture in life, I question —  Am I the only one who…. thinks like I do?

Have a productive, happy week!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Why does self-promotion feel like bragging?

7 May

I want your advice…

I just received an email message titled “The top 20 webinars of all time” from a company for which I’ve done webinars in the past. It was sent to the 20 top speakers out of the hundreds they work with and it started out: “An interesting list. If you are receiving this message, you are one of our top webinar leaders based on registrations…” (Sidenote: This company has done thousands of free expert IT webinars over the 5 years). The list followed in reverse rank order.

When I perused the list I found visionaries from my industry (software development and leadership), authors, competitors, and friends. When I got down to the second last item (#19  on the reverse ranked list having the second highest number of registrations), I noticed that its 1000 registrants was 400 higher than the first (lowest) entry on the list. Then I got to #20 where the speaker had more than double that number (over 2200 registrants) and found MY NAME! No fanfare, no hype, just my name beside my topic and over 2200 registrations!

Top DogWhat would you do?

Here I am the TOP DOG of all the webinar speakers this company has ever had by far, and it’s going to be up to me to promote it!  Certainly it’s an honor (I’m also a speaker) and yet it feels like bragging if I self-promote this (yes, that’s how I was raised…)

Does this happen to you?  I know I deserve my own “A pat on the back, and a bit of applause” (my posting earlier this week) and I’ve done that, yet it still doesn’t make it easy to tout my successes to the world — but here goes:

Carol Dekkers is the top webinar presenter of all time!

(for this NY based company)

Now that I’ve told you, what’s the best way to tell the business world?  Please send me your ideas and comments.

Happy weekend!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Danger Will Robinson Danger! – Social Media wants ALL your Contacts

26 Apr

Do you ever get so busy that your multitasking thwarts the high productivity we’re trying to gain?  I confess that I’m a chronic multi-tasker (I never have just one window open on my PC).  But, I do realize the importance and value of concentrating on one task at a time when I need to get it done right the first time. Over the years, I’ve suffered the consequences that a lack of focus can cause in terms of unintended outcomes and rework.

Last week, I tripped myself up yet again when I found yet another social media site that is overly zealous about exploiting my multi-tasking tendencies. These sites offer to check your address book (with permission) to find out those who are already using the site so that you can increase your own network with people you already know.  Not a bad thing at all.  However,  when you hand-select those in the list who you want to connect with, the next screen does something insidiously genius (on the part of the site’s marketing efforts) and really ought to be labeled the “DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER” screen.  You’ve assumed that they have invited those who already use the site to connect with you, and this screen looks extremely similar to the previous one (where you did your choice) and asks you to approve the wording on an email composes on your behalf.

I assumed that this email was intended for those I hand-selected, but as soon as I hit “next”, I realized that the site was sending emails to everyone else who was not already a member of the site! The almost identical screen had redisplayed the list of my contacts but had now completed a check box on the names of  EVERYONE ELSE!  This included my ex-husband, competitors, anyone who I’ve ever sent or received an email from in the past.  AND there is no undo or stop button!

Last year this happened to me with TripIt.com (danger Will Robinson danger!) and the latest offender was one of my favorites:  Skype!

So a word of caution to any of you who think it might be safe to multi-task when adding contacts to a social media site (I was on the phone – shame on me!) — Danger Will Robinson Danger !  If you want to safeguard your contacts and do not want to INVITE all – be very cautious of the second screen.

Today I don’t use TripIt.com at all because it now connects me with people with whom I do NOT want to exchange my itinerary information (and accidentally allowed TripIt to invite!)

Wishing you a highly productive week!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Social Media – Friend or Foe?

13 Apr

Social Media (the term used collectively for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Naymz, Ning, even Second Life) has gone “viral” (meaning out-of-control with “hits”).  Did you know that if Facebook was a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world?  And, that it is unremarkable when a teen racks up tens of thousands of text messages on their cell phone a month, yet may be grounded all the while they are texting and tweeting?

facebookIt was interesting to read in the St. Petersburg Times about a reporter who “Unfriended Facebook“.  Yes, you heard me right – she defriended (quit) Facebook outright.  Her rationale came down to that the fake relationships Facebook garnered represented a lazy person’s way of making friends, and she found herself neglecting her real life relationships.

Can you imagine life without social media?  Can you remember what it was like not to be tweeted at, friended (and defriended), connected, tagged, blogged to, linked-in to networks, groups, and invited to join hundreds of fan-clubs (pages) and attend a myriad of events – not even in your geographic area.

It is seldom these days to get phone calls on my home phone from anyone but solicitors or to talk to anyone in person without e-mail confirmation, e-vites, or texting.  And, what happens when it all does NOT work together?  What happens when an e-vite (email invitation) doesn’t work and people feel rejected because an invitation isn’t delivered?  Or when a text message is delayed (sometimes for days)?  Or when voicemails don’t register or the caller id fails?  When any of these things happen, we are so tied up in the e-world that we can end up reacting or feeling something when there was nothing to react to.  In the past, we’d call people on the phone when we’re feeling neglected or rejected to ask about a potentially waylaid piece of mail or a potential missed phone call. And often we’d be relieved to find out that our imaginations created a situation that simply wasn’t.  Mail got misdelivered, phone calls were missed, answering machines failed. It’s just life as humans.

But, with social media we forget that it too is faulty.  Texts don’t always come through (even when the sender gets a “confirmation of delivery”), voicemail and emails get corrupted, cell phones go out of range (too often) – and yet we collectively don’t confirm our assumptions with technology.

So, do you think social media is a friend or a foe?  It all depends on whether it furthers your human relationships or strains the ones you have in real life.  If the latter, then unplug (quit the sites) for a while and see what happens. You’ll be forced to work your human magic on real life people who can talk, breathe, and listen back – and isn’t that what relationships in the real world are all about?

Have a happy week!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Got business?

6 Apr

As a project manager / published author / international standards expert / speaker /consultant, I’ve spoken to audiences in over 25 countries.  When the economy and business were booming, life was easy and most of the professionals and people I met were upbeat and optimistic about their industries and life in general.

Unremarkably things are different these days:  businesses are closing, people are losing their homes, and relationships are strained.  Lately, I’ve been using my down time to brush up on the latest social media, blogging, project management advancements, and business development in general.  During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the flood of emails celebrating the recession’s end (mostly from overseas) from colleagues looking to do software development and related business with me.

My question to you is:  got business?

In reality (i.e., real $$$) – has your business or job or industry seen such an upswing in cashflow, contracts, or activity lately? Or is it the feigned promise of an end to the recession that people are using (along the lines of the Secret: what you think becomes your reality) as optimistic thinking to “wish us” out of the recession?

Have you seen new business coming in?  I know that a lot of people are heavily invested in the “social media” sensation (Twitter, Facebook, linked in, plaxo, etc.) that is sweeping the nation – did you know that if Facebook was a country it would now be the third largest country in the world (with more people than the U.S.?) – is this where our new economy is going?

Got business?

Wishing you a productive and profitable week!

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