All posts tagged: Social Media

How I Found My Tribe in an Insomniacs Facebook Group

Facebook is many things to me. Up until the election, it was mainly a fun distraction, a place to see sweet shots of my friends’ kids and adorable animal videos. More recently, I’ve been acting as town crier, sharing the latest outrageous act by the new administration and rallying the troops to battle against it. But first and foremost, it has been the place where I’ve found my tribes. First, I found groups for autism parents, people who “got” what I was experiencing – the day-to-day joys and challenges of raising a child on the spectrum. Several years later, I found another tribe: writers. These wonderful, talented women share their work and support one another. Through them, I met my third tribe: insomniacs. We found each other in the predawn hours, posting and chatting with kindred spirits in the dark, our rooms illuminated only by the light of our phones. I knew I wasn’t supposed to look at screens after I went to bed. I had been schooled in the ways of good sleep hygiene: …

Wait! Before You Unfollow Everybody…

Maybe you’re sick of social media at this point. We get it. We’ve been unfollowing friends from high school left and right. It’s hard to navigate the need to stay engaged and focused, and our need to take care of our psyches. It’s my job to be on social media all day long. Intermittent breaks aren’t just necessary, they’re mandatory. But when I come back to the screen, there are certain people and pages I follow to keep challenging my own beliefs, point me toward helping to change the future, and give me a much needed laugh — occasionally all at the same time. Here’s a short list of the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that keep us going in these dark days. Facebook: Periods for Politicians Formerly Periods for Pence: P4P organizes direct contact campaigns with a focus on reproductive justice awareness. You want to legislate my body? You’d better know how it works! Pantsuit Nation: This started as a private group in the week before the election to show broad support for HRC. It now …

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My Very Public Online Fling

After my divorce, I was as broken as a tree branch after a storm. Luckily, I found a female comrade — on Twitter of all places — who was healing from her own divorce. Our digital friendship blossomed into a long-distance digital romance. We sent corny notes to each other on instant messenger and kisses over Skype. After a few months of online communication, Cate (not her real name) suggested that we meet in real life. One caveat — she lived in New Zealand. After much thought, I decided to seize the day and off I went to catch my Air New Zealand flight. The exterior of the plane was decorated with characters from The Lord of the Rings movie, which was filmed in New Zealand. Like Frodo Baggins, I was off on an adventure. My trip to New Zealand has all the elements of a Harlequin romance: Cate was beautiful. New Zealand was stunning. The clouds were as white and fluffy as cotton; you wanted to grab a piece from the sky and feel …

What It Really Feels Like To Be 25 in 2016

Before you get swept up in the nostalgia of your own quarter-life crisis (crap bosses, three roommates, teeny tiny apartment, bottle service clubs, falafel at 4 a.m., hot dates), there are some women I want you to meet. These girls are living the 2016 version, where hookups are negotiated on Tinder, the boss is just as likely to be a girl who graduated a year ahead and likes using her newfound power to make you feel small and there’s not a single boozy brunch that isn’t documented on Instagram to elicit FOMO among all your followers. So while you’ve been there, there are a few things that 25(ish)-year-olds want to clear up for the older generation about what their lives are really like. It’s Sorta Lonely “On a recent, teary phone call with my mom about feeling stuck at work, I said, ‘I need to let myself cry about this, and when I’m done crying, I need someone to pick me up and help me figure out what to do. But I don’t know who …

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When You Can’t Look Away: Horror in the Newsfeed

Despite the fact that it was being played in a seemingly endless loop on the news, my mom wouldn’t let us watch the video of the Rodney King beating. She’d dive for the remote to quickly change channel or, in her most extreme moments, she’d send us kids out of the room altogether I was already an anxious kid, well on my way to becoming an even more anxious adult. Mom must have known that video would stay with me long after the trial. Even for how frequently the news showed King’s savage beating, it wasn’t impossible to avoid. This was the ’90s. There was no autoplay Twitter video and no refreshing Facebook feed flooded with violence. As much as I wish she could, these days my mom can’t shield me from them all. When I first started working in news in August 2014, I knew I’d probably have to come face to face with horrible material. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of violence and bloodshed that unfolded during my first year on the …

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Finding #Zen On Instagram

I’m busy. I have a demanding job working for 18F (yes, that’s part of President’s Obama’s “stealth startup”), which requires juggling numerous projects and frequent travel. Newsflash in 2015: We’re all busy. With the hectic pace of life, work, technology, media and the world in general, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just really need to hit pause. And when I do, I find my peace on Instagram. I’m not talking about squad envy or like-mongering or that thing where Facebook makes us feel more lonely. I’m talking (with a nod to Jon Stewart) about micro-moments of Zen — a quick hit of joy and repose amid the chaos. These little pockets of delight can come from friends and family, obviously, but I also follow a few accounts at arms-length specifically for this purpose, whether it’s because they make me smile, make me think, or just blow me away with their beauty and grace. The Art of Plating (@theartofplating) Strawberry mousse tart, pulled sugar peas, rolled white chocolate ganache and pea dust & …

Kenahora, Dude: Why I Knock On Wood Before Bragging Online

We are all complicit in shouting our truths on social media at full volume and thinking that it’s fine. I’ve played along for years – turning my mommy freelance boredom and procrastination problems toward my need to connect with others and to zone out by going deep down the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram rabbit holes. I put effort towards my online self for sure, sharing my writing projects and weirdo observations and, of course, pictures of my family and I doing picturesque things. But lately, I’m at an oversaturation point. I’ve been having this confusing existential feeling that if I don’t post a picture or say something cute about what I’m doing, then it’s almost like it didn’t happen. New channels create new customs, but really, WTF? Ten years ago, did you show your vacation pictures to this many people? When did 673 people have to know that you went apple picking in the fall, sledding in the winter, to Disney in the spring and to the beach in the summer? Can you imagine being …

6 Ways to Brag About Yourself (Without Being an A**hole)

For women, bragging is a necessary but tricky endeavor. We’ve heard that women need to brag more, and that’s true. The only way people will know how awesome and competent we are is if we show them. And lucky us, with our social media presence, we have the show-and-tell platform of every kindergartner’s dreams. So, go ahead and tell the world that you’re totally winning at this life thing. A promotion! A new client! You lost weight! You overcame a yearlong illness! You overcame the yearlong sleeplessness of new motherhood!  But guess what? As necessary as bragging and show-and-tell are, no one likes a showoff. So, here are tips for how to express yourself when you know you’re the sh*t — because you should also know better than to act like your sh*t don’t stink. 1. When you score a sweet new job or promotion. Avoid thanking God and giving an Oscar speech. I’m not against people publicly sharing their religious/spiritual gratitude. I do it all the time. But, like bragging, acknowledging one’s faith on social …

10 Things I’ll Never Post on Facebook

I post frequently on social media, particularly Facebook. I wouldn’t classify myself as an oversharer, but I will post up to five times a day if I think something is worth sharing. Is it funny? Is it interesting? Is it somehow otherwise significant? Like many proud parents, I posted WAY too many photos of my kids at first. But I quickly realized that those posts were only interesting to about one percent of my friends. And I never get too personal about what I really think and feel — it’s really a false intimacy Facebook seems to foster. As a result of plenty of trial and error, I now have very clear guidelines for what I will or will not post. Here’s a short list: 1. Coded Jabs: I will not post anything about personal relationships, either overtly or in code. That violates a trust. “Don’t you just hate it when people [insert friend or family name here — and you know who you are] don’t send thank-you notes? SMH.” 2. Sick Bait: I will not …

She Quit Corporate America to Become a Beauty Blogger — That Was Only The First Challenge

Beauty blogging is very different than it was when I started in 2007. In fact, everything about beauty blogging and my life in general has changed. Back then, I was living an entirely different life: a 15-year career in corporate America as a human resources executive, living in the South, with no real creative outlet. I started out creative (I went to school for art,) but my father put the pressure on my sophomore year to “get a degree you can eat on.” So, I switched to Business. The need for approval had been established when I was young. Interestingly enough, it would come back to haunt me almost my entire life. Once on the winding ladder to company success, I blindly kept climbing. Externally, I became a very successful HR professional — but inside I was dying. Over 100 pounds overweight, I drank myself into a stupor at happy hours and was utterly miserable. I wanted — I NEEDED — to do something different. It was during that time that I decided to follow …

I Can’t Unplug (And I Don’t Want To)

I may not be all that social these days, but I used to be. When my first son was born in 1995, I logged on to AOL nearly every day to talk to other moms in the “Online Mom” group. (Yes, I still have the t-shirt.) My real-life friends and family thought it was really odd that I sat on the computer and “talked” to strangers for hours. But I knew then what millions of moms know now: Misery loves company. Moms everywhere have realized that a great way to combat the loneliness and isolation of new motherhood is to go online to share experiences, get tips, ask questions and generally figure it all out. (As if anyone can figure it all out.) Flash forward to 2005. I had a busy life filled with work, friends and family, but I still found time to blog nearly every day. I read and commented on my friends’ blog posts and discovered new sites from their blog rolls. There was so much to learn and so many relationships …

Hiding In Plain Sight: Why Obscurity Matters More Than Privacy

Is it possible for anything to be private in the Social Age? The Information Age brought us 24-hour news sources, online forums, the Information Superhighway, Web 2.0 and more social media sites than we could even begin to remember. We were told we could now access more info than we would ever want or need. It was out there in pixels and bytes, ours for the searching. The start of this age is sort of a moving target, but was sparked by the Digital Revolution of the late 1950s to late 1970s. Now we’ve entered into the Social Age — and since I’m sort of making that up, I’m going to peg the start to 1997-2001, with the rise of Six Degrees and Friendster. Information is still out there, but there’s gobs of it. There’s so much of it that sometimes it’s hard to tell if what we’re reading is even true. We depend heavily on our social networks — both online and off — to help us make sense of all of that information. …

Margit’s Note: Private Eyes, They’re Watching You

Some of the best stories reveal an author’s most private moments. A love affair, a devastating ordeal, a sliver of a feeling about the world. Those things we might keep hush hush, but the author is willing to reveal — and when they do, we all nod in agreement. That’s great storytelling. Personally, when my words are cloaked (and controlled) in prose, sharing is just fine — but when it comes to social media, hell, I overthink every single vacation snap. Of course, some of us take those private moments and broadcast them, no holds barred, in seven social feeds, sharing every blink our babies made, or every crock pot concoction we’ve ever conceived. Privacy is in the eye of the beholder and, as a generation who got “social” later in life, we don’t often agree when it is ok to reveal. This week we’re wondering:  Where do we draw the line? What Jennifer Ha won’t share on Facebook. Why Susan Linney is becoming more private in recovery. Laurie White says “step back” at the grocery store. Amy Vernon blurs the image. Why Juliet Fletcher …

Tales of T.M.I.: When Does Oversharing Become Overbearing?

T.M.I. Too much information. Ever shared more than you should? Ever gone out on a limb, to have no one join you there? You, too, could be a practitioner of T.M.I. You’re oversharing, of a very personal sort, to folks who may or may not want to hear it (but, let’s be honest, probably not). Like colleagues. Folks at church. Your not-well-curated social media networks. Unsure if you’ve ever done it? Let’s assess, via criteria I like to call “The 7 B’s”: Is it about bodily fluids? Is it regarding bedroom activity? Does it involve your boobs, your bump, your bum or your balls? And finally, not a B but an important question: Did you experience sharing regret — even a smidge? If yes, to any/all of these criteria, then you might be an oversharer. According to Urban Dictionary — esteemed and accurate source that it is — T.M.I. is, “information more personal than anyone wants, or needs, to know.” Word. Now, don’t get me wrong: There are some times when oversharing might be appropriate. In …

Can We Still Make Best Friends After 40? Hell Yeah

In the past few years, I’ve flown past quite a few milestones, ages by which such-and-such and so-and-so would supposedly happen. I can handle the thinning eyebrows, the slower metabolism, the death of my fertility. But did I hit my sexual peak at 35 and start an inevitable decline? Umm, no. Definitely not, is all I’ll say here. And the old trope that it’s impossible to make “true” friends after 40? To that I say “bullshit.” I would need another hand or three in order to count out the truly deep and meaningful friend connections I’ve made in the past five years. And that’s not because I think I have some kind of black belt in awesome-friendness. But it’s because, for me, friendships changed from being situational to being intentional. I wasn’t spending my friend capital on people who just happened to be around me — say, parents of my son’s friends — but was instead seeking out and bonding with women who connected to something vital in me. Knowing myself better — which of …

The Etiquette of Social Media Sharing (i.e. How Not to Be a Content-Stealing Jerk)

These days, we live to share. With the click of a button we’re instantly sharing posts, tweets, photos, videos and screenshots. But often when we share, we’re not following good social media etiquette. For example, some platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) enable us to easily credit the originator of the content we’re sharing; others not so much. As a result — and often unintentionally — proper attribution of the shared content becomes entirely lost or worse, incorrectly ascribed. I’ve seen some cases where people intentionally pass other people’s work off as their own, and other cases where a sharer doesn’t mean to steal, but just doesn’t know how to properly credit the content. So instead, he or she does nothing. There are a few simple things you can do when sharing other people’s content that not only will show you’re practicing good #SMEtiquette, but will endear you to the people whose content you’re sharing. All it takes is a little extra time and attention. And if you give credit where credit’s due, you might just find …

Four Novelists on Their Favorite, Worst and Unintentionally Funny Tweets

In his contribution to The Guardian’s “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” Jonathan Franzen listed this one: “It’s doubtful that anyone with an Internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” And sure — who among us hasn’t lost a few good hours to looking at the vacation pictures of someone you hardly remember from high school? You could have banged out a few pages in that time. Still, I have been surprised to find some very talented novelists who show up regularly in my Twitter feed. They write that Twitter is something to be grateful for, rather than distracted by, because of what it brings across their desks: laughs, ideas for stories and essays, and good, quick chats with clever people. And I in turn am grateful for their tweets, which are nearly as interesting and funny as their fiction. I rounded up four of these authors and asked them their thoughts about Twitter. [hr] Megan Abbott is the author of six novels. Her latest, Dare Me, is a mystery that explores the dark side …

Why Poop Has No Place On Social Media

When I started STFU Parents, a user-submission-based website highlighting “parental overshare,” I didn’t realize that I was signing up to look at so much shit. Literally. At the time, my definition of “oversharing” did include mannerly updates about potty training, but never in my wildest nightmares did I think parents would post pictures of their children’s actual fecal matter — or long-winded descriptions of said fecal matter — on Facebook. Having been aware of the explosion of “mommy blogs” at the time, I figured if you wanted to post about your child’s diarrhea, you’d probably do so on a personal blog rather than blast a digital telegram to your friends, relatives, neighbors, former teachers, and bosses. Boy, was I naive. I quickly discovered that many parents are delighted by their kids’ poop and think that all of their friends actually care. I filed away hundreds of these submissions in a folder titled “Bathroom Behavior,” and over time I began noticing bizarre patterns. I created sub-folders for various topics pertaining to children’s poop, such as “painting with poop,” …

System: Pin Your Inspiration

Above my desk is a messy cork board crammed with photos, doodles, postcards, reminders and general bon mots. Looking up at this smattering of inspiration every day warms me and grounds me. It reminds me where I’ve been and where I want to go. A rainbow drawn by my niece; the band of 14-year-old girls I coached; a postcard of author Eudora Welty; a scrawled love note from my husband; Stefan Sagmeister’s manifesto which includes “Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.” (The April date on the calendar proves that some of this stuff goes up and I never really look at it again.) I’ve had a wall of inspiration since I could apply scotch tape to ripped-out pages from Tiger Beat. Here’s the highschool version behind the 16-year-old me, almost exclusively music-related (and yes, that’s a cassette tape in my hand). That my parents let me affix radio bumperstickers to my wall…wow. And like everything good these days, there’s now an online version. In the last few months I’ve spent/ wasted/ enjoyed about two hours making lists and …