All Articles Tagged "social networking"

Make A Real Connection: Why I Have To Periodically Unplug From Social Networks

April 3rd, 2014 - By La Truly
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I do realize that social networking is necessary for many of us in 2014, even for work purposes sometimes, but that trips me out. To be consistently connected to multiple social networks, millions of people, tons of information, gossip, data, and new technology is exciting on the surface. Being a writer, I have spent many hours in conversation on Twitter, scrolled through political news sites, gossip blogs, fashion blogs, social activist sites, etc. Great things have stemmed from such connected-ness. I have met some of the most inspiring people via Twitter. My views on love, religion, politics, social activism, and even fashion have expanded as a result of this connected-ness.

However, we are increasingly forgetting how to make an actual connection because we’re so busy trying to keep up appearances online. Of the few get-togethers I’ve attended in the past few months, it was amazing how much of the time was dedicated to taking pictures and videos and not actually enjoying the moment, the people, the food, and the conversation.

Here are a few reasons why I believe it is so very important to unplug from social media at least once per week:

1. Unplug to relax! Studies show that sleeping with cell phones nearby is bad for relaxation and a good night’s rest because the radiation given off by the phone interferes with the amount of rest needed to awake refreshed.

2. Unplug to have an actual conversation! Sometimes we get so caught up in the convenience of text messages, Instagram, and other social networks that we neglect time (REAL TIME) together, in the flesh. Sit down for a cup of coffee with friends. Break bread at your favorite restaurant. Host a game night and leave all tech devices in another room. Human interaction is being lost because we’re more about convenience than actual connection.

3. Unplug to make something! It’s 2014 and that means that for whatever issue, concern or pressing need – there is some piece of technology or ready-made object that will come to our rescue, making our lives a little easier. The only problem with that is that we are losing our abilities to assess situations and create things ourselves. Even activities like camping have lost their sense of “roughing it” and ruggedness with ready-made fires and tents that can charge our electrical devices. Why not spend a weekend taking a pottery class or building a treehouse? Or what about re-purposing a bookshelf or learning how to upcycle a piece of clothing? If all of technology crashed tomorrow, how many of us would still be able to make it?

4. Unplug to control what you allow into your space. Social networks can be pretty lawless. Anything and everything can come floating down your Twitter timeline depending on who you follow and who they follow and so on. Sometimes it’s good to walk away from social networks to think about what you see daily. Is there a lot of negativity on your social networks? People arguing with no resolution? NSFW videos? Constant gossip? Being mindful of the things we let into our space – even our virtual space – is important to living a healthy and happy life.

5. Unplug to notice life. All the time I hear the stories about people who regret working so much because they missed out on so many important events in the lives of their families. They express such regret and feel such agony realizing that they can’t get back that time. That’s not so different from how all-encompassing technology can be. I can’t count the times that I’ve missed seeing amazing things because I was staring down at my phone. Rainbows. Animals not native to my geographic location. Hilarious interactions between other people. The moment someone walks into their surprise party. Life can pass us by while we’re “checking in” on Facebook, but we don’t have to let it.

La Truly is a writer, college professor and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and check out her site: www.hersoulinc.com.

How Social Media Is Ruining Your Relationship

March 4th, 2014 - By Ashley Page
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Social Media Is Ruining Your Relationship

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When you’re in a relationship, social media is one of those things that you love, but at the same time you can easily grow to hate. While the latest apps and social networking sites may make your life easier, more convenient, and much more interesting, they may each be taking a toll on your relationship. Here are some signs social media is ruining your relationship and what you can do about it.

Welcome To Facebookville! The Social Network Is Offering Apartments To Workers

October 7th, 2013 - By Lauryn Stallings
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Mark Zuckerberg. Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

Facebook is in the news again. Not too surprising. But this time it’s not the privacy policy or new web apps making headlines. The Silicon Valley behemoth announced its newest employee perk: a $120 million community housing development.

The 394-unit project, called Anton Menlo (it’s being developed in partnership with real estate developer St. Anton Partners), will be within walking of the social network’s Menlo Park, Calif., campus. The cushy rental complex will feature all the benefits of high-end apartments. Plans include options that rival the amenities of even the most posh housing arrangements and compliment the batch of incentives already offered at the youthful, laid-back office park.

Although Anton Menlo will certainly draw prospective recruits away from other power players in the tech and startup market, the digital brand is no innovator in corporate housing. Large businesses often hold leases on apartment blocks to accommodate guests and displaced employees. But community setups such as these haven’t been seen since industrial neighborhoods died out in the early 20th century.

Still the modern company town is certainly an advantage in an area with rising real estate costs, hundreds of relocating techies and a flustering search for nearby residential options. But will employees living among their peers soon forget how to unplug?

Perhaps when you work for Facebook, taking a step back is less of a concern. However, living and working with the same people around the clock can easily become overwhelming in an already frenzied occupation. Still once the 630,000 square-foot housing complex is complete, workers of the pioneer in online community development will have one of their very own IRL (In Real Life, in case you don’t know). And they’ll never have an excuse for being late again.

Step Away From The Phone! Signs You’re An Instagram Addict

September 5th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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First came Myspace then came Facebook and then came Instagram. Oh, and as usual, then came the foolishness. What started out as a simple, cute way to share pics online has, for some, turned into the biggest way for them to waste time, air too much personal business, or shade folks right and left.  In other words, they are an instagram addict. If you’re not sure whether you fall into this category, let us help you.

Talk Now, Text Later: Our First Convo Shouldn’t Be Via SMS

August 2nd, 2013 - By Toya Sharee
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"Woman texting pf"

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I was walking home from work one day last summer when I noticed a pretty nice Audi in a flashy tangerine color pull up behind me before a guy rolled down the window and said, “I bet you don’t even remember who I am.”  Only I did; it was *Ahmad, a guy I had dated in the eighth grade, and from the looks of it, he was doing pretty well for himself. I don’t even know if it’s fair to say we dated since back then dating consisted of walks home from school and sneaking him out of the back door before my father got off work. It was the definition of puppy love which, lasted a good month or so before I was on to the next heartbreak.

After a few minutes of catching up and him burning a hole through my clothes with his eyes, he handed me a mixtape that had him on the cover posing on a Mercedes in a gold chain with something like Streets, Love and Life scribbled across the top. We exchanged numbers.  Although I was getting to know another guy, I didn’t mind catching up with him, although he probably wanted to take more than a walk down memory lane with me.  But then he did something that I think is a first degree felony of dating: He text me.

Maybe I’m old-school but I really, really can’t stand meeting a guy and giving him my number only for him to hit me up a few hours later like, “What you up to today?” via text message.  For teens this might be acceptable, but for anyone over the age of 21, this is a no-no.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with text-a-thons with a guy who knows me well enough to know that “Hmmm” doesn’t translate into, “You’re trifling and I’m going to two piece your dome the next time I see you,” but it’s just simply something I write because I don’t know what else to say. Sending a text as your first means ever of communication gets placed right next to poking me on Facebook, or DM’ing me on Twitter on some, “Damn you look good baby.”  For lack of better words, it’s nutty, and I can’t respect a grown man who thinks he is doing the damn thing by trying to pursue me via touchscreen.

Dating should never begin via texting or social networking.  It leaves too many opportunities for mixed messages when people who barely know each other attempt to read in between the lines of communication. We spend so much time hiding behind our smartphones and then wonder why the Terrence Howard look-a-like we met online resembles T-Pain in real life.  In our effort to make communication easier and more convenient, I think we’ve actually made it harder.  A text message can’t convey that slight inflection that happens when you know someone is blushing on the other end.  When you’re texting I can’t hear those five kids you forgot to tell me about in the background or your girlfriend yelling at you to not forget to take her Yorkie-Poo for a walk when you get off work.  Text messages leave women waiting for hours at a time thinking they said the wrong thing when the guy really just forgot to say he’s about to head to the gym and can’t talk.

I feel like we’re moving backwards.  I was so happy when I reached grown-woman status and had the confidence to approach a man without having to hide behind a “Do you like me? Check Yes or No” note. I also know the fellas may feel like they can’t win; if we’re not telling them that groping us and saying, “Damn shawty, you bad as hell,” isn’t an effective pick up approach, we’re telling them it’s lame to get their virtual mack on. The thing is, we’re making the pick-up process far more complicated than it has to be.  I’ve definitely said some things that were better left in my head due to the accessibility of a “overshare” button. Getting to know someone new is hard enough; we don’t need Autocorrect making dating more embarrassing than it has to be. We’re wasting so much time catfishing and thirst-trapping and putting a million emojis where a simple, “Hey, so tell me about yourself” will suffice.

Texting has some benefits.  In the past I’ve appreciated the thought I had to put into something before I texted that otherwise would have spilled from my mouth and hurt someone unintentionally. And some of the hardest conversations to have actually end up going a lot more smoothly through text because people feel better texting things that are difficult to say in person.  But an SMS message can never take the place of a good, old in the flesh, heart-to-heart.  Most problems in relationships begin with miscommunication or the lack of it, but by setting the tone initially by relying on a cell phone signal to say how we feel, it’s only a matter pf time before anything not followed by a LOL :-) is taken the wrong way.

*Name changed for privacy

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.   -

Must Be Nice…Celebrities Who Get Paid To Tweet

July 8th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Though you may think that a tweet is just a tweet, for some celebrities, tweeting means extra bucks. As if these celebrities needed more money, various companies have tapped into celebrities with Twitter accounts in effort to promote their service or product amongst the celebrity’s fan base. Here are 14 celebrities who get paid a pretty penny for their 140-character tweets.

Are We Willing To Do Anything For Social Network Status?

June 3rd, 2013 - By La Truly
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

I’m wondering how many people would be 100% honest with me if I asked them the question: How much does social networking affect your self-esteem?

I’m also wondering if social networking can be blamed for how incredibly narcissistic and attention-seeking we have become as a society.

I’m wondering these things because I remember a time when I was first introduced to social networking with old friends, classmates etc. Interaction was much more direct then. The point of it all seemed to be simply to interact. The expressing of ideas and opinions and reuniting of long-lost pals made social networks an escape we looked forward to – between classes, after getting home from work, just before bedtime.

That was 2004. But in 2013, social network culture has instead moved toward ‘round-the-clock reactionary, attention-seeking and sometimes mean activity.

I frequent Facebook more so out of habit now than because of any actual beneficial use of the site. The steady stream on social networks of shocking status updates and photos – everything from outing ex-boyfriends (or current ones) as cheaters, to posting nearly nude photographs to “Twitter beef” between any number of people on any given day – leaves me to wonder, have we turned social networks into yet another type of high school lunchroom?

Does the number of likes we rack up for a photograph equate with the thrill of being “popular”? For whom do we post an album full of pictures of our awesome Europe vacations? Are bikini photos uploaded to Instagram only for attention or is this simply the culture of social networks in 2013?

I started asking myself all these questions when a few weeks ago this photograph fell onto my Twitter timeline:

 

via Twitter

via Twitter

Whether it’s real or not my first thought was, “Whyyyy?” I didn’t know the young lady but I was embarrassed for her. I was sad for her because either she had never been taught what self-love is or she ignored the teaching to garner attention instead. This is what it boils down to for many social networkers. Proudly publicizing things for which most would be ashamed, defaulting to shock value as a means to be noticed. Whatever it takes to get “likes,” to be well-received or just get others talking – we seem willing to do it.

The daily and terribly public outpouring of things that are most private is as interesting as it is disheartening but it left me with all these unanswered questions. How much do we care what people think of us via social networks? Why do we post the statuses and pictures and links that we post? How much of it is business/work-related? How much of it is ego-driven? Attention-seeking? Where does social networking fit into our self-esteem? Why does that little red box at the top of our Facebook screen matter so much?

No definitive answers have come because low self-esteem just seems too easy to me. But it does stop and make you reflect on your own motives.

La Truly seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/ashley.hobbs.

Kill ‘Em With Kindness: Fantasia Has Perfect Comeback For Woman Who Insulted Zion

May 30th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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zion

Source: Instagram

Before you even get to any pictures, the bio on Fantasia’s Instagram page reads as follows:

“It SADDENS ME that Most of you will Only Come On to say Negative things. My Kids are Covered and so am I Hate On Mofos But Im the Queen of this THRONE.”

And last night, we discovered just how true that bio is. Yesterday, Fantasia posted the above picture of her daughter Zion with the caption “My Girl <3.” While this seems like an innocent picture, it was only a matter of time before one of Fantasia’s followers, Tee Tee* left a comment insulting both Zion and Fantasia.

By the time I got to the picture, the user’s comment had been deleted but from reading the responses to it, it was clear that this user had a problem with Zion’s hair. And in deeming it too grown she also attacked her intelligence. Again, I didn’t read it but if I had to guess she probably said something along the lines of her hair is blah blah and she probably can’t even blah blah in school. I’m guessing this because Fantasia’s fans immediately came to Zion’s defense, saying that it was none of this user’s business how Zion wears her hair and that she is an honor student.

The thing about celebrities and social networking is that folks rarely think the celebrity will actually see their comment. But clearly, going out of your way to leave a comment means you somehow want the attention. Well, in this instance, not only did Fantasia see the comment, she responded to this user and hopefully made her a better woman and mother in the process.

Fantasia went to the user’s page and posted a picture of she and her daughter on her own Instagram account. But instead of insulting the woman and her daughter, she had this to say:

*TeeTee Is a Mother as Well as a Black Women. It Saddens me when a Beautiful Black Women with a Beautiful Black Young Baby comes on another Black Women page and Speaks Negative about her Beautiful Black Young Lady… Let Me say this Mama if 1 person comes on this pic and comments negative about your Baby what would you do? How would you feel? Well let me tell you how I Feel (Anger, Rage and ready to Fight). I’m not going to play this mean and evil game with you or any 1 else. I’m a tell you how Pretty your Little Girl is, I’m a say I Pray she Grows up to be everything GOD as predestined Her to Be, I’m a say that I pray Angels watch Over You, her and all your Love 1s. I’m going to pretend you didn’t just GO INNN on my Baby Girl picture… I’ll just Say God Bless You as A Mother and as A Black Sister… From another Sister. Your Girl is Very Pretty

Message!

Some of you, like a couple of Fantasia’s Instagram followers, will argue that she shouldn’t have even dignified this woman’s mean and hateful comment with a response. That’s understandable. But if Tee Tee deleting her comment was any indication, I’d say that the message got through.

But even if it didn’t, let this serve as a reminder that celebrities are real people with real feelings but most importantly it is really and truly morally despicable to talk about someone else’s child, especially when you have one of your own. Fantasia could have easily talked about this woman’s daughter, whether it was true or not, and many of her fans would have cosigned the foolishness as karma; but instead she took a moment to compliment and educate this woman about her lapse in judgement. Much respect and God bless Fantasia for this.

*I won’t include her real user name here, though you can find it on Fantasia’s Instagram page.

Good Reasons To Keep Your Relationship Status Off Facebook

March 25th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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Social networking is no longer about getting back into touch with people we haven’t talked to in years. Instead, it’s become a platform for people to spill and share their life on a 24/7 basis. You see people Facebooking their relationship, Tweeting their work day, and Instagramming their dates. When you’re in a relationship, it’s likely that you feel the need to tell everyone about it. However, there are some positives to keeping your relationship on the down low. Like these:

Facebook Envy: How I Learned To Stop Making Myself Miserable By Comparing My Life To That Of Others On Social Media

March 14th, 2013 - By La Truly
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black-girl-on-computer-4x31thegrio

We increasingly seem NOT to be able to filter through what we see on social networks. Our Facebook events are loaded with graduation parties, weddings and new job celebration dinners. Our Facebook “friends” are uploading photos of their new homes, their exotic summer vacations in Bali, the newest degree to hang on their walls – while we scroll aimlessly through it all and sigh. No matter how right things might be going in our lives, sometimes we let social networking get to even the best of us, and make us long for something more because well, “they” seem like they’re happy and they’ve got it all.

We torture ourselves with social networks and wonder why we’re miserable. Life coach, Christine Hassler of TheDailyLove put it best in referencing speaker, Steven Furtick: We are often looking at “someone else’s highlight reel while we’re knee-deep in our own behind the scenes footage.” What we see is calculated and controlled. And what we feel when we see everyone else’s perfect lives splashed across our timelines should be conditioned to that very fact.

I had a hard time with this when I first came home from completing my MBA. I thought I would immediately find a great salary, apartment, and car and be living the same happy, go-getter, jet-setting lifestyle that quite a few of my friends had been fortunate enough to find directly out of college. I was very wrong.

That wasn’t the course my life took. Regardless of how many rings of employment I threw my WELL-qualified hat into, more often than not I never even heard back once I applied. I fell into depression without even realizing the depths to which I was sinking. I was angry all the time. I refused to leave the house. I sat around in my bathrobe, with a mug of hot chocolate (even during the summer months) watching The Food Network and reruns of A Different World. I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter timelines aimlessly, watching everyone else live while I felt like I was dying inside. I felt like a failure. Why? Not because I actually was. I had gained two degrees within the course of seven years, gained three years worth of invaluable work experience within a dynamic graduate assistantship, and had gotten over my fear of driving. By any fair standard, I was no failure, but by comparison and low self-esteem I was a complete failure. I had allowed others’ highlight reels via social networks to mash my view of myself into a tiny bit of a thing, thus cementing the fear that I would never get out of this jobless, bathrobed slump.

What was my cure? Getting so busy living my own life instead of vicariously living every controlled moment of someone else’s. It really was that simple. I deactivated my Facebook account quite a few times when I felt that I was getting sucked into the comparison game. I looked at my life – where my strengths, gifts and passions were and decided to make the most of those things. I created my own website geared to the empowerment of young women of color and began to look for women from all walks of life with inspiring stories to tell and interviewed them.

It was the most liberating and life-affirming thing that I had done in quite a while because I was using my gifts, my values, to be a catalyst for inspiration. To help other young women avoid the very things I had previously succumbed to. It mattered very little now what others were doing. I was happy for “them.” But I was truly excited for me.

The times that we are most down on ourselves and envious of others’ lifestyles are when we’re too lazy, too fearful, too overwhelmed to get up and make something of our own lives. And I had been all of the above. What we then admire and envy in others is not their experiences, but their fortitude, their courage, their drive, their freedom to live.

Social networks are great tools when used for what they were originally intended: to catch up with old friends, to network, to market products, to share ideas. It’s when we internalize what we see via these networks that things begin to go left. If we simply choose to live well and fully, there will be no time for comparison because life will unfold into a blessed experience we could never have imagined.

 

La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.