All Articles Tagged "social media"

Is Social Media Breaking Up Relationships?

June 25th, 2015 - By Rich
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One would like to think that relationships are a dynamic between two people. However, we all confide in our friends and family who act as our counsel. Many times, we are so invested and know so much that their relationships are ours as well.

One of the biggest misnomers is that social media causes problems in relationships. After hearing a few stories from friends and looking back on a few of mine I have developed a theory. How a couple handles social media is a microcosm of their relationship. People at times, me as well-catch a lot of feelings based on what they see from significant others on their profile pages and timeliness. Because most of what we see online is hyperbole, I say that social media is “just a video game.” How we perceive the stimuli is more of a reflection of ourselves than what people are actually posting.  Here are a few instances that made me come up with this…

I have a friend who was in a long-term relationship. They had been together for a few years and cohabitating for one. He felt that he had nothing to hide from his girl because he loved her dearly. One day he was on Facebook. We all have just browsed down our time line and wondered how someone was doing. He came across his puppy love girl from high school and got curious. After looking at her page he thought about deleting his browser history because there was the possibility of his girl flipping out even though he felt hadn’t done anything wrong. If she happened to look and she had a question he would answer honestly. “Babe, I was just curious and while looking at her I started to think about how happy I am that I found you.” Knowing him, he meant that.

Of course she looked up the browser history, which traditionally was something out of character for her to do. He had so much confidence that he wouldn’t be doing anything disrespectful to their relationship that he would often keep his profile signed in. So she confronted him about what was he doing on his ex’s page. Instinct kicked in and he at first told half of the truth. He’d seen some pictures of some cause she was supporting and got inquisitive. She then said that he was lying because the browser history said otherwise. He then said to her “Babe, I was just curious and while looking at her I started to think about how happy I am that I found you.” His girl was not hearing it.

About a week later he was on their community laptop and just felt that something was different. He looked at the browsing history and noticed that it was clear. He then looked at his Facebook page and noticed he had twenty-to-thirty less friends than he did the day before. She had deleted girls she thought that he was attracted to.

The issue in their relationship was trust. In spite of having some rough patches he trusted his girl. She would often say she trusted my friend and that she doesn’t think he’d be faithful. However, she didn’t trust other women. I have heard that phrase in some capacity from many different women. She even yelled at him saying “Who is ______?!” He responded “Your cousin.” So her distrust in other women was so blinding she didn’t pay attention to someone who was family.

She just wanted to know that she was special. While he let her know this the best ways that he knew how, sometimes that didn’t register. We all do this. We try to show love in a way that is comforting to us that we are being impervious to the needs of our significant others. He assumed she would do things the way that he would and he’d show he loved her by being reactive when what she wanted or needed was proactive reassurance.

For the second example I will tell a story about myself. I was seeing someone for a little over a year. We both wanted to play things down by saying we were just friends; but everything about our dynamic suggests that we were in a full-fledged relationship. We were both commitment-phobes, so I think actually saying it was a relationship made us both uncomfortable and we would run for the hills. Everyone knew we were in a relationship, too. The running joke with my friends was that we should just go public and everyone would respond “We KNOW!”

Being phobic of commitment was us protecting ourselves. We’d both been through some traumatic experiences. The thing is our insurance policy of staying guarded isolated the other and we never articulated how we really felt. We were friends on Facebook, followed each other on Twitter, and almost everything other outlet with the exception of Instagram. In retrospect, that was kind of dumb because the pictures would show up on other social media outlets since they are all connected.

We lived very different lifestyles. She didn’t have any children and my daughter Cydney was alive. I didn’t want to see her pictures, tweets, or comments of the life she was living because her job potentially opened up the door for her to meet someone else…we’re just friends, right? I know she’ll never admit this to me; but she wouldn’t follow me because Cydney gets a lot of attention from women and that was something she didn’t want to see, either. We’re just friends, right?

One night she was supposed to meet up with a friend of mine and me. Before she’d gotten there I was telling my friend about this very special non-relationship of mine.  I told my peer that recently I liked and commented on a picture she posted on Instagram without following her.  Our relationship was psychological competition. I did it go provoke a response. Since we weren’t straight up about our feelings one would do something that would create a knee-jerk reaction and we could see how the other really felt about the other.  All’s fair in love and we were rewriting The Art of War.

When the three of us were talking, my “girl” started venting to my friend about so many things that I do that bothered her. She brought up a few things I’d told my friend only fifteen minutes earlier in a tone of voice that one could only call “being in one’s feelings.” I laughed in my head. On her own, my girl brought up the Instagram incident.  At this point she was pretty worked up and my friend just shot me a look that said “I hate you,” and sent me a text saying “The two of you bickering about nothing is a dead giveaway you are not just friends!”

The way we handled social media was just like our relationship. We were 3/4 there in all other realms. But we needed to keep one aspect to ourselves for protection. That one bit did more harm than good because of the reasoning. The freedom we desired opened up the door for us both to assume someone else could come into our lives and take the spot we wanted. As opposed to talking it out we just left it and it only made things worse. Had we done so there is a strong possibility that we could have been happy.

I say this for us to keep in mind for our friends’ relationships because it is almost impossible to be objective in your own.

Is social media breaking up relationships?

“You’re Surviving The Struggle Too?” Why Parents Need To Commiserate

June 25th, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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I don’t know what made me go right back upstairs that night.  I feel as though it was because I could hear my daughter saying:  “Oh no!”  through the floor/ceiling, or maybe because it was too quiet.  I can’t really remember.

After putting her to bed, and going down into the kitchen to wash the dishes. I keep to a pretty regimented schedule to check on her every five minutes. But after a minute of being downstairs and before I could run the dish water, something led me to go upstairs to see what was going on.   I was shocked to see my daughter, standing in front of my open laptop, with the top off of her sippy cup, and water dripping off of my now glitchy computer.

“What did you do?!”  Came screeching out of my mouth as I ran to my precious computer.  This was the one thing that is barely keeping us from eating government cheese, which I left upstairs so she could watch her Spongebob DVD to help her go to sleep (since our DVD player just broke), and  was now in danger.  I felt horrible as she looked at me like:  “What’s wrong?”

I realized that I might not have felt so overwhelmed if a few days before I didn’t go to check on her during her sleep and realized that my daughter looked a lot more shiny than she normally did.  I went into the bedroom and realized that she had taken all of the Vaseline out of it’s container and spread it all over herself, her bed, sheets, and floor, and multiple toys, before promptly going to sleep.

Here’s the secret that goes along with parenting, (and I’m not addressing those hateful/murderous parents) you’re going to always love your children but you’re not going to always love parenting or the things that they do.  You’re going to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or sometimes want to cry in the car/shower/in a pint of butter pecan.

The reason for so much of the frustration is because you feel as if you are alone.  I’ve said once before that parenting is the personification of Facebook, where you only actively show the positives, but suffer in silence about the negative aspects of your journey.

However, after I googled:  “My three year old is destructive” and found a wealth of articles of parents proudly sharing accounts of their children being “bad” and pictures to go along with it is when I finally felt a weight remove itself from my shoulders.

For such a long time, I was worried that my daughter was exhibiting behaviors that were indicators of future worse behavior.  But it wasn’t until I finally opened up my circle of parenting that I realized that she was just behaving like a normal toddler.  Toddlers are just trying to figure out the world on their own, and if that means taking something apart, or pouring something on something else, they’re going to do it.

I’ve had somewhat of a love-hate relationship with social media where I felt as though too many people were sharing unnecessary information, expecting some type of praise for it, but once I became a parent I found a new appreciation for it.  That’s why I was so happy when I saw the photo that Elisha Beach shared, because it was proof that I wasn’t alone.  There were too many times that right as my cheeks were hitting the seat my daughter burst through the door like the Kool-aid man, gave me a thumbs up for “using the potty” and then started having a full-blown discussion while I sat there thinking:  “Can I have some alone time?!”

Commiserating isn’t about bashing your children together, it’s a way for parents to be able to bond, realize that they’re not alone and to find tried and true ways to help them usher their children into a healthy adulthood.  Instead of suffering in silence and allowing that to build up to an unhealthy amount of resentment, you’ll be surprised how talking to other parents openly and honestly is going to help lighten the load.  Instead of feeling like you’re a terrible parent, trying your best and failing miserably, you’ll realize that you’re in a sea of other parents who are trying as well and will allow you to know that you’re not alone.  So don’t be afraid to share, however, never leave your computer alone with a three year old and a cup of water.  Trust me.

Kendra Koger’s computer is working fine and she occasionally uses it on twitter @kkoger.

How To Turn Your Social Media Addiction Into Your Career

June 9th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Hear the words “Instagram model” and it’s tempting to roll your eyes. But you might be surprised at just how many users make serious money with the help of social media. Just how much? Enough to kiss a day job goodbye.

13-Year-Old Commits Suicide After Father Publicly Shames Her

June 4th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

With the advent of social media, children have been using it to misbehave and adults have been using it as a form of punishment. The logic is that if you “stunt” on social media or in real life, for the benefit of your friends, it can also be the same place where you are disciplined, by public embarrassment. We’ve sen it with the “old-man haircuts,” the beatings uploaded to Worldstar, the children wearing barrettes and clothes announcing their real age, and most recently the mother who made her daughter say the most embarrassing things, like “I don’t even know how to wash my own ass.” as a consequence for lying about her age on social media.

Discipline by public shaming is everywhere.

But it doesn’t always produce the desired result.

Izabel Lazamana, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma, Washington committed suicide by jumping off a highway overpass on May 29. Lazamana took her life days after her father uploaded a video of him punishing her for “getting messed up” by cutting her hair off to YouTube.

Now, Laxamana’s friends and family members are wondering if the video contributed to her taking her life.

News Tribune reports that Laxamana got out of a car a jumped off a bridge onto Interstate 5. She was taken to Seattle hospital where she died the next day.

Friends of the family are now raising money for the funeral costs on a GoFundMe site.

The original video, filmed by Izabel’s father, has been removed. But one of her friends shared it by taping the original on a cell phone.

In it, you can hear a man, presumably her father, saying:

“The consequences of getting messed up…Man, you lost all that beautiful hair. Was it worth it?”

She responds: “No.”

How many times did I warn you?

“A lot.”

After one blog blamed the video and subsequent public shaming as a catalyst for Laxamana’s suicide, others are asking that her father be criminally prosecuted or publicly shamed himself.

I think we can all agree that the more public shaming is not the correct course of action. Not only is the family mourning the loss of their child; at this point, we don’t know if other factors might have contributed to her decision. People are upset right now; but with a loss this great, I find it hard to fathom the father needing any additional punishment.

Jezebel reported that in a Google Plus post from last year, Laxamana shared a link to a song and said that it helped get her through challenging times, particularly at school.

I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot…. But what keeps me going is people like kian who have gone through the same thing as me… In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone. So thanks for everything kian…. “

A tragic story all the way around. And we’re keeping Izabel, her family and her friends in our prayers.

Double Tap That! 15 Celebs You Should Follow on Instagram

June 2nd, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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We are in the midst of the age of Instagram. With more than 150 million users, people do the absolute most for the ‘gram and celebrities are no exception. Candid moments, epic clapbacks, apologies, and plenty of s*xy pics can be found from Hollywood’s elite on IG. Here are 15 celeb Instagram accounts that you will be sure to double tap on. Go ahead and follow!

Penny For Your Thoughts: Are You More Confident On Social Media Than You Are In Real Life?

June 1st, 2015 - By Penny Wrenn
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I’ve always admired women who publicly declare “I’m confident” (or who, even if they don’t say it outright, positively associate themselves with self-confidence in a public way).

Then again, maybe admire isn’t the accurate word.

I certainly smile in my head and think, “Good for her!” whenever I see a woman online hashtagging her way to self-esteem (#BaddestB*tch #KnowImCute #Don’tHateMeCuzMySh*tsTogether #SelfConfidence #SlayingTheGame #FeelingMyself).

If I’m honest, though, sometimes the cacophony of #ImSoConfident hashtags makes me want to type #StopHashbragging.

I certainly do not believe that a woman who is unabashedly confident is somehow a threat to me. I know for sure that another woman shining brightly doesn’t diminish my light. But the investigative journalist in me can’t help but speculate about whether or not her confidence is genuine (or truly evident in the real world).

For example, the following statement is a snippet of something I viewed on my Facebook timeline last week.

“CONFIDENCE is not ‘They will like me’ CONFIDENCE is “I WILL BE FINE IF THEY DON’T”!!!

That was the exact wording, punctuation and capitalization of the status update. The words “CONFIDENCE”  and “I WILL BE FINE IF THEY DON’T” were in all caps for blaring emphasis. The trio of exclamation points were there, presumably, to crank up the volume to the very last notch.

Oh, and there were pictures posted to illustrate the self-assured bravado. In the three photos, the same pretty black woman wore the same midriff-baring top and assumed different poses in each shot. (Her hand was on her hip in the first picture; next, her eyes were playfully glaring at the camera as if to say, “You lookin’ at me?”; and lastly, in the third image, she was tilting her head back in full-bodied laughter.) She truly is beautiful is what I said to myself as I hit the “like” button.  

The “she” in the pictures is my 25-year-old cousin Shaniqua, whom I think of as a quasi-little sister. She makes sure that I’m legitimately hip (as opposed to, say, only appearing as if I’m trying to be hip). I don’t check a lot of Facebook pages regularly, but somehow I end up looking up Shaniqua more often than I search for other folks.

Shaniqua is, by far, the prettiest in our big brood of cousins. Her eyelashes look fake, but they’re real. Her skin looks like she’s always wearing makeup, but she’s not. Her teeth are orthodontist straight though I don’t recall her ever having braces, a retainer or any other dental apparatus. She is, in my opinion, the epitome of “I woke up like this” #Flawless-ness. Browsing through the photos on her Facebook page is, for me, like flipping through the beauty pages of Essence.

The other day, my mom and I were on the phone, and we spent about three or four minutes talking about how beautiful Shaniqua is. I’d mentioned how much I loved seeing Shaniqua’s pictures, and I said something about how her posts are so relentlessly self-assured.  (The word “confident” is literally part of her Facebook name.) My mom exclaimed, “Yes, isn’t she gorgeous?!” And then she paused before saying, “I don’t know if she’s always that confident, though.” My mother wasn’t criticizing Shaniqua or by any means suggesting that she’s all outward bravado and no inner-belief. In fact, anyone who meets my beloved cousin quickly sees that she is grounded and graceful with a great head on her shoulders.

Still, sometimes, you can’t help but wonder if social media appearances are what they seem. At one time or another, we’ve all heard someone preach the “Don’t believe what people do, say or show on Facebook” wisdom. Maybe it was a friend who tried to convince you that a woman’s picturesque wedding photo didn’t mean she and her husband have the blissful relationship that their smiles and coordinating outfits convey (even though you think, based on their look of love, that they’re the winners of the Best Couple Ever Award).

Personally, I don’t believe that our social media lives and our real lives even need to be congruent or match up somehow. I understand that reality is far too complicated to be accurately represented on the Internet. So, of course, we’re all e-imposters online. And, of course, we’re all leaving things something out. There’s always something that we’re explicitly not writing in our status updates or showing in our photos (for any manner of reasons).

Who isn’t guilty of wanting people to see them a certain way? I do wonder, however, if the way we want other people to see us is often the way we want to see ourselves.

Out of curiosity, I scanned my Facebook wall to see if I sounded more confident in my status updates than I do in the real world. While you won’t see a #SoConfident hashtag on my page, you may catch a glimpse of this: a presence of mind.

If I had to give it a hashtag, it would be, #ItsOKandImOK

And, in a weird way, that kind of composure is indeed an upgrade and something I want more of in my daily life. Letting Facebook Penny talk to Real Penny was a fun and eye-opening exercise. You might even try it on your own page sometime. You never know: The more confident social media you might have something to say to the real you.

The George Jefferson Haircut: Stop Shaming Your Kids On Social Media!

May 29th, 2015 - By Rich
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Did this stepparent go too far?

Before you watch the video, let me explain the scenario. A 12-year-old gets caught smoking weed and his stepmother decides to drop the hammer in a most creative way. What does she do? She gives him a freakin’ George Jefferson haircut.

Yes, this:

Wait, it gets worse (or better since over 5 million shares are the result). Even before the smoke incident, the boy – by his own step mom’s assertion – is failing every class in school, including gym. (Who failed ever failed gym?) And how does his mother punish him? She gives him a “George Jefferson” cut and presumably posts it on all of his social media, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Kik. It truly sucks to be Terrance of the 7th grade.

If it wasn’t bad enough, Terrance is getting several butt-beatings on top of this public embarrassment, presumably from his biological dadddy.

Social media. Social media. Social media. Back in the day, your embarrassment might be a whooping in front of your friends or, at worse, your parents showed up at school raising a ruckus. But now, more and more parents are resorting to publicly embarrassing their children and calling it discipline. I have to admit, I’m not with that sort of discipline for my kid. Let me explain why. First of all, if my daughter was smoking weed, I would want to deal with that in a most private way. She’s going to be the first Black female president or something else awesome. The public will know when and if she wants to let it be known. Secondly, I feel strongly this is a flawed form of “discipline.” Let me explain.

Terrance is failing in every subject.

The step mother may want to give herself and Terrance’s not-seen-in-this-video father a George Jefferson haircut too. While we don’t know all the factors, it would seem that they are the ones with the failing grades. Their child is performing terribly every single class and has had to repeat 7th grade. He’s smoking weed at the relative tender age of 12. I’ll let “mom” tell it right here and you editors will feel me on this one.

george jefferson haircut

Failing. Selling his bed. Every pair of Jordans. Smoking weed. Piss-poor grammar. Grandmom’s house? Something ain’t right.

Be clear: I am not judging. I sense that she wants to do better for her child and yet, I think there is much more they will likely contend with later on. The wound is deep and it will take more than a band-aid to fix, but parents need to be aware of it. Admit something is wrong with the processes in your home, and possibly in the school. Like I said in my previous piece, in Asian cultures, the parents, children and teachers all take responsibility for academic success (READ: “5 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids Outside Of School”).

According to some studies, these forms of public shaming/embarrassment/discipline translate into accountability for a child and that’s a good thing. I just consider it a more debatable form of cyber-bullying. Parents, stop shaming your kids on social media.

Good luck, Terrance. You aren’t alone at least.

It worked for a father in George-ia (Georgia) when his son was getting poor grades.

Serious Question: Is Anything Private Anymore?

May 28th, 2015 - By Alexandra Olivier
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  In case you missed the memo, we have all become attention whores. It’s not 100% our fault, but the line between what is and what is not to be kept intimate has become a very hazy and foggy shade of gray. At every turn, we overshare life’s intimate moments – whatever that is. Whether it is selfies on the toilet, Snapchats of us brushing our teeth or sharing pictures of our significant other barely dressed for our followers, it makes me wonder: What exactly are we keeping as moments for and to ourselves? Recently, Kanye West updated his fans that his upcoming album title has changed to Swish. With the update, he included a few pictures of Kim Kardashian, his wife and the mother of his beautiful daughter, North. In those images, she was essentially naked. While Kim K. is no stranger to nudes or being seen naked, as a husband, what sense does it make to share your wife’s goodies with the world and fans? Regardless of her past and even recent decision to bare it all on the cover of magazines, when did we lose a sense of intimacy where our bodies, thoughts and more were only for ourselves and our husbands? Social media has significantly influenced the muddying of intimacy. For likes, men and women are shedding clothing, puckering their lips, and flexing their muscles. And while it isn’t every Instagram user, you’d be lying if you said a good percentage of your timeline wasn’t filled with men and women clearly “doing it for the ‘gram.” The need to utilize the most provocative images to garner attention is seemingly weighed as more important than keeping some things private. Diddy defended his latest ad for fragrance 3AM and said it was an attempt to show love as the new sexy. The “fantasy” he displays in his ad is no doubt hot, and sure, it’s nice to see him show some form of affection to Cassie, but the simulation of intimate moments between the two, is it necessary? “The concept for the video represents one of the things that 3 a.m. is for me. It’s a very one-on-one time. It’s a time to have fun and push the envelope a little bit. It’s definitely an hour where you would find yourself with a young lady. Anything can happen at 3 a.m., and in the video, you see a fantasy that’s in my head of what happened that night,” Diddy told Style. And now, every fantasy in your head and played out in your bedroom is being shared for the world to see. We live in a society where sex sells. It assaults us even in cartoons and Disney shows nowadays – you can’t miss the sexual innuendos. With reality TV invading personal space, it has become common practice to post bedroom selfies cuddled up with bae, or random images of you getting in and out the shower. But some of the best moments are best kept quiet. Some things don’t have to be everybody’s business – even if it will guarantee a few hundred likes and get a little attention. Then what?

What is and what is not to be kept intimate has become a foggy shade of gray nowadays and many blame social media. in Madame Noire Polls on LockerDome

The Best Of #BeyoncéAlwaysOnBeat

May 26th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

#BeyoncéAlwaysOnBeat is taking over social media right now. And everyone who’s seen Bey dance to almost anything can come to only one conclusion: Beyonce is kind of magic.

The Importance Of Ending One Sentence Early

May 26th, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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I think most people can relate to having that one, horrible, haunting moment:  You’re the center of attention and the smiles that were one everyone’s faces are now morphing into looks of either shame, disgust, or confusion.  What went wrong?  You had them in the palm of your hand at first.  You were the life of the party of the conversation, and then you turned into Michael Scott.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s been in this situation.

For many years that was my reality.  I’ve been transparent with my early struggles with stuttering, so when I finally mastered it, I was so excited to talk to any and everyone who would listen.  The problem was that I didn’t know when to stop.  So, I would start off being very engaging; but near the end, the room would become eerily quiet as someone gently pushed me into another direction and quickly changed the subject.  It was as if all of the air was let out of the room and the adults needed to get away from the child who just ruined the atmosphere.

I remember asking my two older sisters what I was doing wrong.  I thought I was talking just like them.  Their critique to me was always:  “You were doing well at first, and then…”  So, once I hit high school I decided to start a personal experiment.  It was a take on Jerry Seinfeld’s theory of “leaving on a high note.”  I decided that I would start ending conversations one sentence early and see how it goes for me.

Before I realized it, it was a habit, but I couldn’t tell if it was just due to the “experiment” or from just pure maturity.  However, as we look at things from the news and examples on social media we can see that there are people who are in desperate need of ending things one sentence early.

I think we can all remember a celebrity or politician giving a pretty good interview that just went left.  Then, when they recognize their folly, attempted to clean up their comment. See Patricia Arquette. They would try to fix it, but only justify their ignorance by saying more offensive things to cover it up.  Then, there’s that failed apology that no one believes, and the think pieces that we write addressing the folly.

We’ve all seen it on the larger scale, but we also see it in our everyday lives as well.  People we interact with daily, and even the unfortunate comments that we let out, not realizing how over the line they were.

It also comes into play on social media.  People are tweeting or posting pics and then they just go over the line with a post that ends up going viral and causing harm to their social standing.

So, my gift to you, is an invitation to my life long experiment.  You don’t need to give me the results, but in this world of oversharing, let’s try to see what happens when we leave on a high note?  Let’s use the underused ability of showmanship to see what happens when you leave your audience wanting more, as opposed to revealing too much and having to clean up your reputation.

Get to the point where you’re the way Michael Scott sees himself, as opposed to how everyone else saw him.

Kendra Koger dropped the mic and headed over to her twitter @kkoger.