Tag Archives: twitter

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!

 

Carol

 

 

In honor of Valentine’s Day… Fantasy BINGO

14 Feb

On this V-Day – wishing you love and happiness no matter who you are or what relationship status you may have!

As a single who spent 1/2 my life married, it is interesting to watch the explosive growth of dating and matchmaking websites (Match.com, eHarmony.com, POF, golfmates.com, and a myriad of specialized sites!)  USA Today cites that 49% of adults in the US today are unmarried, and the Florida statistics say that over 75% of marriages here end in divorce!  Is love dead or have we become too narcissistic and self-centered as a society?

Matchmaking experts recommend that single (or even married) people write down their list of desired and undesirable traits in a partner, should the right person happen to come along.   I thought about this and realized that a creative and light-hearted way to do this would be on a  B I N G O card – something familiar to North Americans.  For me, I do not expect anyone (let alone in Florida!) to measure up to my stringent BINGO card (I should have done this years ago!) – but it was fun to fantasize.

What would you put on your BINGO card?

p.s., This photo depicts an attractive male who approached me on Sunday. (No he didn’t score a BINGO!) Life in Florida is always a pleasant surprise.

The Royal We (me, myself, and I) wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day no matter what your status.

What the blog?

9 Dec

Why blog?  I do it to put my thoughts on paper (so to speak) and now, I’m really not sure that’s enough to keep doing it…

One reason I starting writing this blog many, many posts ago was to connect with people, gain some traction, get some comments, and just maybe even create some sort of community discussion of sorts on a topic of mutual interest.  Little of this has happened with any of my posts, yet I continue to pour out my thoughts to a massive non-listening, disinterested internet public.

Sure, it provides some sense of accomplishment for me when I can say “I blogged today” in answer to “Did you have  a productive day? … but increasingly that’s just not enough.

So in this last month of 2011,  I remember the Einstein adage (apparently while this saying is attributed to him, he didn’t actually say this, but nonetheless):

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In 2011, I tried different things with this blog:

1. I wrote about a variety of things to see if the results would be different – nope, same (non-)readership.

2. I started posting comments and links on other people’s blogs – no difference in readership or reciprocal links.

3. I promote the posts on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn – no different result, not a blip of difference.

4. I tried posting my views on a few “controversial” subjects to spur interest, but that made no discernible difference either.

I’m tempted to stop posting altogether, and I suspect the non-readership won’t notice.

If you are reading this, thank you for doing so.  If you take the time to comment, thank you even more.  If you care whether or not I continue writing, please say so, because my ‘invisible’ blog doesn’t give a boost to my productivity.

Maybe I’ve missed the boat altogether and blogging is like life, some people score hits and others aren’t even picked for a team. I’m beginning to think that my writing is mediocre at best (it’s okay to tell me so and save me the ongoing disillusionment!)

Meanwhile, today, in the ignorance of not knowing where I sit in the spectrum and feeling utterly invisible in the blogosphere, I can only mutter to myself, “What the blog?”

Have a great weekend!

Carol

Fear & Excitement – Two Sides of the Same Coin?

10 May

Perhaps you’ve noticed that when a new situation in life arises, you may alternate between fear and excitement of the same unknown future. Most often the fear is unfounded and excitement should prevail, yet our psyche seems to favor punishing us by hanging on to the fear.

Take a new job or career move.  How often do we allow what should be an exciting new adventure (a positive career move) digress into a set of unfounded what-if questions:  What if they find out that I can’t do the job? What if I don’t perform to the level the job demands? What if I’m not as qualified as I portray?

Yet, for all the gloom and doom this entails, we ought to be focusing on the equally positive outcomes.

We ought to ask questions like:  What if the job is too easy and I am ready for the next level quickly?  What if I exceed all expectations?  What if everyone loves my work?

As children we learn to temper disappointments long before they occur and to prepare for negative outcomes (somehow it was supposed to prevent hurt…) and to face our fears.  But seldom is it taught that one should be excited about positive outcomes – yet those are precisely what we want most.

I believe that when we feel fear in a new situation, all we really need to do is to turn it around into an opportunity where we can be excited, and watch the situation turn itself around in our minds!

For example, I’ve never moved out on my own yet I am in middle age!  Having moved from my parents to my marriage and then having stayed in my house since, it is a scary (and exciting) proposition to think about having to move and find a small apartment.  I was feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of having to clean out 4 bedrooms, an office, 3 bathrooms and a 4 car-garage all by myself and find a new place to live (who knows where?) – and I mentioned to a colleague that I was fearful of the process. His response was that it is an exciting new fresh start in my life – and never have I had the opportunity to make decisions for me alone.  “How incredibly excited you must be” were his words.

That’s when I realized that Fear and Excitement are often two sides of the same coin.  From now on, I prefer to nurture an outlook of excitement! How about you?

Have a great week,

Carol

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Crackberry Detox…

17 Mar

My Blackberry has a mind of its own these days – for some strange reason it shuts down at (its own) will four to five times a day.  Embarrassingly it happens in the middle of calls, when I am responding to emails, and when it is fully charged.

There seems to be no logical explanation aside from the fact that it is going through the terrible twos and has a tantrum when I don’t give it the attention it seeks.

So, I have a couple of choices since I do not want to extend my cell phone contract for another two years:

  • I can pay full price ($400 USD thereabouts) for a new Blackberry or Droid or Smartphone – and have uninterrupted service;
  • I can succumb to my cell phone company’s demands and go with a 2-year contract or switch carriers (and start a new 2-year contract);
  • I can shop around to find the right solution, and in the meantime, resort to using a new non-web-enabled Nokia cell phone and do a 2-week or so “Blackberry Detox”.

I think I am addicted to my Blackberry and its Facebook / Twitter / Email / Blackberry Messenger features.  I probably check its screen no less than 500 times a day. When a chime goes off to alert me to a sms message, voicemail or Direct Message from Twitter, I feel compelled to check it again – even if I just looked at it 5 seconds earlier.

When I first wake up in the morning, the first thing I do after I dismiss my alarm (Blackberry vernacular for turning off my alarm clock), is to dispense with the 70+ emails/messages/texts, etc that came in during the night.

I justify this behavior by purporting it keeps my email in order when I later access my laptop – but I wonder what it really says about my need to be tethered to my “Crackberry“.

Starting this afternoon, I’m going cold turkey and choosing the third option above.  (I can’t believe I am saying this, but) I am going to unplug and disconnect from my Blackberry and rely on a Nokia cell phone (no camera, no web access) until I decide how I will replace my ailing Blackberry.

This means I will have to write directions and take down information from email messages “by hand” so I know where to tell a taxi to take me to a hotel in DC on Friday night.  I will also have to rely solely on my laptop to read emails. In other words, I am going to go back to life before Blackberry or Smartphones.  Like in the “olden days” 5 years ago.

What do you think?  Are you addicted to your iPhone or Blackberry or SmartPhone?  Could you survive a two-week detox?  I will let you know how I do and whether I fall off the wagon – you can cheer me on along the way.  After all, I’m still addicted (happily) to blogging…

Have a happy week!

Carol

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Post-a-week for 2011

31 Dec

WordPress has launched a challenge to keep all of us “bloggers” posting more often and as one of my end-of-year 2010 resolutions I’m committed to joining the Post-a-Week for 2011.  (At least one new posting every week!)

One of the most challenging aspects of blogging for me is to decide what topics to write about, and how to express my thoughts in a coherent way that will keep readers interested.  One of my goals for 2011 is to simplify my life by getting rid of things I no longer need, streamlining my bookshelves, and setting a new direction of optimism with positive thoughts and surrounding myself with positive people and relationships.

Sunset in Istanbul

Sunset in Istanbul

2010 was a tough year

filled with financial challenges, ghosts from past relationships, negative influences, family stresses (with a few scary moments), friendships that dissolved (or were not good for me), work that disappeared (more than 10 weeks) , and promises by various parties that never materialized (both work and personal).  And somehow I survived through it all…

2010 was also a good  year

in many other ways with new friendships (hurrah for positive people who grace my life!), self-growth (and increased self-love), expanding career opportunities (not yet profitable), increased respect from project management experts (and peers!), an international award (Thank you BFPUG), foreign travel (US Virgin Islands, Montreal, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, Denmark, and throughout the US), love from my children (they are my grounding), and new keynote speaking experiences (International Function Point Users Group, International Project Management Association, Danish Technology, and others).

2011 will be stellar

2011 will be Stellar!

2011 will be a stellar year (along the lines of a self-fulfilling prophecy)

and I hope you’ll be along for the journey with me.  I know that I’ll still face challenges (doesn’t everyone?) and I am optimistic that they will fade into the background with the light of an increase in positive relationships, new friendships, love, career success, health and happiness with my children and friends.

Thank you for reading in 2010 – and PLEASE comment (otherwise it feels like a sea of empty chairs I’m talking to) — it’s important to know what you think, even if you don’t agree!

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy, love-filled, positive, and prosperous 2011… and a safe New Years Eve!

Carol

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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!

Regards,
Carol

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.

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