Tag Archives: Facebook

Sorry Satan! The internet has already consumed my soul!

I always figured that if there was a hell I would be dueling Satan on a fiddle for the rights to my soul. In the age of technology there will be no souls left for Satan to devour once we all parish. The internet has already consumed my soul and likely yours too.

I just went 36 straight hours of straight internet outage, and I almost pulled my hair out. I could not do my school work, browse various free streaming porn sites, or even check the good ole’ time consuming facebook.

Without the internet I felt out of place. I felt awkward if you will. I had no clue what to do. Sure, I can take Ethan to the park, read a book, do some cleaning, but for 36 hours (7 ½ which I was asleep)? I could not plow my facebook Farmville fields and plant fresh virtual plants. Honestly, the world could have ended, and I would have been left here clueless because I could not do my daily browse of various news sites.

Honestly, how the hell did we ever make it through life without the web?

The internet is our passport for anything we want in life. Read anything you want. Need friends? Join some social-networking sites.  Want to hear your favorite music? Screw music stores and paying for music. Download them illegally, and for free. Buy yourself some airline, concert, or sporting event tickets. Do anything you want, or find anything you want because it is the internet.

I honestly have no clue how life would be without the web. I was 14 when the internet made it’s debut in my household, and I haven’t looked back since. Most of us hardly remember a world without Myspace, Amazon, AIM, eBay, and facebook.

What hell did people do prior to 1994? I was a kid, so I remember running around outside playing football and baseball. What are kids doing these days? Are they sitting on their asses becoming mob bosses on facebook’s Mafia Wars like me? What did our parents do? What did college students do without facebook? How the hell did you contact your dealer without facebook, or even a cell phone?

The world would be a strange place without the internet. Would we live in a better place?

ElTigreTom is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Social Media #1: The Basic Three

One of my many interests is social media. Having been to two recent events centered around the topic of social media, I have noticed that not everyone understands it much. This makes sense – it’s a fairly recent phenomenon, but, I truly believe, not one that should be lightly ignored. The future isn’t set, but I’m over 90% sure that the foundations social media is providing right now will be a major part of where things are going.

So, in an effort to help those who struggle with social media, its value, and how to approach it, I’ve decided to discuss some of the topics pertaining to social media. (Essentially, at the second event, I just wrote down the questions being posed that I’d already heard and will be covering each through a series of social media posts). This first post will cover the bare bone basics of social media.

I’m not covering clever ways to use these here. I’m not seeking to explain the power of each. I’m honestly just going for the simplest approach – how to get started and the proper way to think about each in the social media realm.

(Please note: as an industry, social media is extremely new and, consequently, is ever-changing. The trick is to keep up with what’s going on, who is using social media to achieve interesting results, and try to figure out other ways to leverage the powerful tools at hand to better your own situation – be it personal, professional, or pure curiosity.)

There are lots of places to access social media, and more tools than you can shake a stick at. But three major ones right now are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (MySpace still holds some sway, but seems to me to have lost its foothold recently). There are tons of other sources and tools for social media, though, and a great place to start is Overdrive Interactive Media Map: http://www.ovrdrv.com/social-media-map/). Keep in mind that a crucial part of social media is also blogging – there are tons of places and ways to blog, but make sure you blog repsonsibly (that is, provide valuable content worth reading and keeping up with).

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. There are two major components: profiles and connections. To start, go to LinkedIn.com and there, you create a profile, including details of your education, work experience, and professional goals/development. The site will tell you what to fill out, where to fill it out, and how close you are to having a complete (100%) profile for others to see.

The second component, connections, are how you interact with other people’s profiles on LinkedIn. Essentially, you “connect” with (that is, link your profile to) other people you know through their profiles. This builds up your network as your connections’ connections then become visible to you (to a degree of 3 – that is, your connections’ connections’ connections’ profiles are visible to you). Adding even a few well-connected people will rapidly expand your network of visible profiles, and as you continue to link to people you know, it just keeps growing.

Example: you create a profile for yourself (we’ll call you A). You connect to B1 and B2. B1 is connected to C1, C2, and C3; B2 is connected to C4, C5, and C6. Each C is then connected to D1, 2, 3, etc. And you (A) are connected to all of these people through degrees (1 to B, two to C, and three to D). You can see how those connections quickly grow incorporate people you might have ever met normally.

Facebook
Facebook is also a networking site, like LinkedIn. Unlike LinkedIn, however, it is not primarily used for professional purposes (in fact, many people use it only for personal networking), and its structure is focused less on strict networking and more on sharing information and keeping in touch with others. This is a key difference, as everyone on Facebook can be searched for and found (unless you restrict who can find you in your settings).

To get started, visit Facebook.com and sign up. Like LinkedIn, Facebook breaks down into two parts: your profile (or the information about yourself you choose to share) and your “friends” (people with whom you’re directly connected via Facebook). You’ll create your profile, including as much or as little information as you’d like. Facebook is pretty open and can include everything from your work/employment history to pictures or videos of yourself or content you enjoy (and much, much more). A key part of Facebook is also the “feed” set up of the home page (not to be confused with your profile) – which keeps track of all the changes or content your Facebook friends choose to share.

There’s plenty more to Facebook, but it’s pretty straight-forward to get started. Sign up, fill in what you like, and start finding people you know. It’s a way to keep in touch and keep track people you know.

Twitter
Twitter is the final of the big three social media sources. Lie the others, go to Twitter.com and sign up. You can fill out as much or as little as you’d like to create your Twitter profile. Now onto more about its basic use. I’ll break it down into two part: Tweets and Following.

Tweets are what you do with Twitter. Essentially, they are content (limited to 140 characters) you choose to share with other Twitter-using people. This content could be thoughts (eg. “I’m thinking I should use examples in the blog I’m writing”), links (eg. “check out www.twitter.comto sign up for twitter”), responses to other users Tweets (called @replies and prefaced with an @ symbol and then person’s twitter account name so they know you’re responding to them – eg “@davidrsheehan – great post on social media basics! you really are awesome!), or forwarding along other users’ content you think it worth sharing (called a re-tweet and prefaced with a RT and then an @reply so the viewers know a) it’s not your content and b) whose it is – eg. someone could RT my @reply from before and it’d look like this: “RT @davidrsheehan – great post on social media basics! you really are awesome! <– yes he is”).

If Tweets are what you do with Twitter, Following is how you accomplish it. You “follow” people whose tweets interest you, and, conversely, people will follow you if they find your tweets interesting. You can viewing other people’s followers to find other followers, you can search for people, or you can search for tweet content and see who’s tweeting about topics that matter to you so, in turn, you can follow those people. Essentially, following people is your way of saying “I am interested in what you’re saying.” It follows that if you’re saying interesting things, others will want to follow you.

It’s worth noting that the people who only use Twitter for the sake of tweeting whatever inane detail of their life they’re doing… tend not to have lots of followers (unless they’re celebrities). The people who provide valuable content – tweets about things that are important to others and provide value enough for others to follow them – tend to attract more followers.

 

One final thought on these as far as basics go – none of them are a popularity contest. It’s not about having *more* (followers, Facebook friends, or LinkedIn connections), but rather it’s about connecting to the *right* people. Like true sharing of content (which is what media and networking are all about), it’s not quantity, but quality. Have interesting things to say, share, or show, and meet others who share similar interests – social media is all about connecting and meeting others at an unprecedented level and scope.

Enjoy! And feel free to tweet me at any time. I’m on twitter as davdirsheehan and check fairly regularly.

 (Incidentally, I’ll be continuing to post on social media in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for more information and topics, including ROI and marketing through social media, effective practices, interesting things people are doing with them, legitimacy, how social media is different and powerful, and many, many more.)

 

davidrsheehan is a social media enthusiast and a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog. You can also tweet directly with him: davidrsheehan.

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Are We Too Connected?

Let me start this post by saying–all is well with me. Having said that, a recent, (very recent,) trip to the emergency room has left me a bit shaken. Not because of any horrific incident or heinous injury or painful experience, but because of how completely and totally disconnected I  felt for the five hour ordeal.

There are two things everyone should know about hospitals in general. The first, expect to wait…and wait, and wait. The second, expect to be required to turn off your cell phone. Ah yes, the cell phone. A once rather large and cumbersome device, now a neatly packaged window to the world. The cell phone has become such a staple in our lives that it serves a variety of purposes. Our cell phones are our alarms,  our internet, our music players, our task managers, our calculators, our cameras, and even our camcorders. In fact a great deal of children even have one by the age of ten; and if they are anything like my cousin’s eleven year old son…they have owned four of them.

We use our cell phones to check in, check up, check out, and everything in between. It is no wonder that while sitting a mere five feet from my beloved device–I was beginning to panic. Granted, majority of my panic stemmed from the fact that not a single family member or friend was with me in the hospital. I felt I owed them the convenience of those courteously text messages to let them know I was doing fine. What was everyone thinking? Were they leaving me voicemails, were the texting me, would my phone be flooded with concerns and complaints when I finally exited the building and eagerly pushed the one button that would reconnect me with my friends and family?

To make matters worse I had left a message with my father telling him to call the hospital in a few hours if he had not heard anything. As I lay on the less than accomodating matress freezing my ass off and enjoying the black screen of a tv I apparently was not permitted to utilize, the nurses at the station were looking my way. A phone call had come in for me, hurray, I felt like ET contacting his planet, except I was not assisted by a sweet girl in pigtails to make the call out myself. The nurse placed my call on hold and gingerly walked in, removed the very old and very heavy telephone from the counter behind my back and placed it in my lap. After a brief conversation with my father it was taken away from me and placed once again on the counter.

The minutes ticked by, and then the hours. I vaguely remembered telling my dad I would call him and update him again after a few tests were run–my aggravation rose as I starred intently upon my purse sitting on the chair, and then to the bulky ancient clunk of junk on the counter. Neither was going to be useful any time soon. If any of you have ever actually spent any time in an emergency room, you quickly learn what must be nurse 101: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MAKE CONTACT WITH PATIENTS UNLESS YOU ARE ACTUALLY ENTERING THEIR ROOM FOR A REASON. This prevents silly questions like: “May I use that phone in the corner for a moment to contact the outside?”

At one point I even attempted to use the FORCE to unzip my purse, rummage in the bag for the cell phone, float it over to me, etc. Of course that was fruitless. Knowing full well how non jedi I am…I then began to make circular motions across the top of the “Call the nurse,” red–don’t touch me unless you are dying, button. Do I press the button? I truly am on the verge of a panic attack. THERE ARE PEOPLE WORRYING ABOUT ME, I MUST LET THEM KNOW I AM ALIVE AND WELL. Most of you will have realized by now that I clearly do not trust the hospital to make the appropriate emergency calls–lets just say I had some bad experience with that on a previous visit.

So here I am expecting the monitor to start beeping out of control as my pulse or blood pressure shoots up just because I have sat for four hours with virtually no contact with another human being. My thoughts are over powering me and my mind is racing. All I can think about is talking to someone–anyone, even that orderly who stood off to the side also avoiding my eyes. It was like a desire to just constantly update and post my status change–to dare I say it, even TWITTER. Thankfully at some point I drifted off into a slumber and some of my babbling incoherent thoughts ceased.

This experience has made me realize just how deeply embedded technology is in my own existence; how dependent I truly am on the instant gratification I get from sending and receiving a quick text message from my desk, or responding to individuals on Facebook or Myspace during my breaks. Recently the idea that blogging has become an acceptable platform for the written word has been  some what humorous to me. A change in times I thought to myself…but is it really all that much of a laughing matter if I cannot sit in silence for five hours?

Eight months ago I did not even have a cell phone and today nowadays I have a meltdown if I leave it in the house when I am on the way out the door. Come to think of it, every single social gathering I have been to–be it at someones home, a bar, a restaurant–each and every0ne of us still flips our phones out and sends our little text messages. Are there individuals out there who would still consider that rude? I personally have grown so accustomed to it I never even notice anymore.

Here is a perfect example. Friday night was girls night. Movies, junk food, music, whatever came to our minds–and we were staying in. Half way through the night I realized how heartless our attempt was–both of us were continuously texting some male throughout the night. I think I want to propose a new rule–if you are out to a party, out to dinner, or even just over someones house visiting–perhaps turn the cell off, maybe even leave it in the car.

I mean as a society it is pretty bad when we all still consider sneaking our cell phones in the ER when a sign is posted that CLEARLY tlls us to turn them off as to not effect someone’s pace maker or whatever excuse they give. I felt guilty the entire time I desired mine. Sometimes the other people in your life can just wait. Especially if you are trying to make sure yours is okay.

eelliso1 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Warning This Post Is Sex-plicit

When most of us think of a “sex offender,” we think of child molesters, serial rapists, and some sketchy guy spiking the drink of a young coed. The title of sex offender more than likely triggers a connection to the darkest corners of our minds. Scrolling through a list of nearby sex offenders sends a chill down the spine as we visualize the dark and sinister “do you want some candy little girl,” nightmare. When I hear the words sex offender I think—traumatic, horrifying, vile, disgusting, violating. The crimes that fall under those words should most certainly be subject to harsh penalties, life sentences, and perhaps even new legislation involving castration.

The trouble with the sentencing of sexual crimes arises when all sex crimes are created equal. Its no secret that there has been a great deal of debate in regards to statutory rape. It is not uncommon to hear about a seventeen and a half year old girl having a twenty year old boyfriend who ended up on the sex offender list because her parent’s and the courts are legally allowed to overlook the fact that both individuals openly admitted to having consensual sex. I have even found myself joking to my brothers about carding girls they date, just to be on the safe side.


While examples such as the one above have sparked debate for quite awhile, a more technological driven offense has taken over center stage when it comes to classifying and prosecuting sexual crimes. The media has been wildly covering the hot topic of “sexting.” Sexting involves sending sexually explicit material via text messages to other mobile phone users. Currently teens across America are finding themselves added to a long list of sex offenders for sexting to other teens photos of themselves.

Now, here is the point where we should all ask ourselves, does a seventeen year old girl or guy deserve to be labeled as a sex offender for sending a nude picture of their ass to another seventeen year old girl or guy? In the age of Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube, many would argue that behavior such as sexting is simply an extension of the culture in the present times. I tend to agree with that theory. Do I advocate an 8 year old sending nude pictures to, well anyone? Absolutely not, but I am definitely not on the bandwagon with kids having cell phones below driving age to begin with.

There tends to be a great deal of “gray area,” when it comes to sexually offensive crimes. So I want to pose a few questions to all of you. To simplify this I would like to post a list:

  • How should our society view teen sexual activity?
  • What sort of changes should be made to our legal system in regards to sexual misconduct?
  • Do you think it appropriate that individuals in similar situations to the sexting scenario above be labeled sex offenders the same as the likes of child rapists and serial rapists?

It should be interesting to get feedback on this subject. I find myself increasingly disturbed by our legal system and the actions of prosecutors dealing with these cases, but because there are moral and ethical concerns raised by each of these issues it is rather difficult to determine the appropriate course of action. I intend to write a follow up post on this subject and specifically abstinence only sex education programs. Stay tuned.

eelliso1 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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