Tag Archives: Facebook

8 Ways to Unplug Everyday

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Sometimes its best to enjoy nature with a friend.

Last week I questioned whether it was even possible anymore to unplug ourselves from the great Cosmic Technology outlet. The responses were interesting.

One of my FB friends simply responded with NO. It isn’t possible for him, apparently.

Another offered up a thoughtful response. But the irony was not lost on me when that same friend retweeted my post. On Twitter. On the Internet. Probably from her computer. Or maybe from her phone, which is probably worse. It is getting hard to get away from all this technology that was supposed to make our lives easier, proving more time for leisure and recreation. For some its nearly impossible.

My step-daughter recently posed a question to me. Would I rather lose my foot or lose the Internet for everyone. Before she asked me the question she told me she thought she knew my response. So before I answered I asked her what she thought I’d say. She figured I’d go for the lost foot. I explained that the Internet is not actually a necessity–like food and water. Or even an almost necessity, like walking.

She begged to differ. She reminded me of the parameters of her proposal. I could save the Internet, nay THE WORLD, by just giving up my foot. I could even wait until I was OLD to lose my foot.

“Do you mean when I’m 90 or do you mean next year?” I asked. It’s important to clarify when engaging in hypotheticals. Especially with a 10 year old. She said I could wait until I was 90 to lose my foot and save the world.

I stuck with my original answer–no way in Hell would I give up my foot for the freaking Internet. She was shocked. She reminded me that her entire life had been shaped by the Internet. I groaned. We are going to have to spend some serious time outside this summer. Without our phones. Without our iPads. Without our earbuds. This is getting serious.

So, I want to offer some tips of getting unplugged. It’s too hard to go cold turkey these days.

  1. Set your email to vacation mode, even if you aren’t going on vacation. No one will know.
  2. Go out on an errand and leave your phone at home.
  3. Do not look at Facebook today. Resist the urge to post a photo of that man walking down the street in the superhero costume. Just take a mental snapshot and tell a real-life friend about it in person. Perhaps in a coffee shop. Use your hands to gesticulate. Talk in a loud voice. Call attention to yourself. You’ll be better off for it and you might actually have others genuinely interested in your story.
  4. Take your old-school camera for a walk in nature. Notice the dew on flower petals; pay attention to the quality of the light; listen to the birds or other creatures. Take at least twenty pictures, ones that require you to focus and pay attention. Do NOT hold the camera away from your face and take a picture of yourself for your Facebook profile.
  5. Pet your cat without your video camera at the ready. Yes your cat might do something incredibly strange and worthy of the world’s best cat video. But chances are you won’t get 3 million views on your youtube account anyways. And really, who cares? The point of having a pet is that they need/love you even when you’re being weird.
  6. Go outside. Go to the mountains, the rivers, the beach. Find your happy place and resist the urge to share it on social media. Just be there. Absorb it rather than being a conduit for the virtual world. Better yet, bring along a friend/loved one/total stranger to share the experience.
  7. Try a new sport. Of course I have to mention skiing here, the ultimate HOLY COW I BETTER PAY ATTENTION sport. But there’s also surfing and kayaking and pinochle.
  8. Take up a new hobby that requires all your attention. Think birdwatching or knitting or roller derby, anything that occupies your entire mind. The trick is to come up with NEW hobbies every once in a while. Or take your old hobby and push yourself a little. Get out of the HO HUM and into the HOLY CRAP, I REALLY HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION phase every once in a while. I suggest something challenging. Like slack lining. Or Karaoke.

Bonus*** Now its your turn. How do YOU unplug? (I do see the irony in commenting on a post–on your computer, on the Internet–about ways to get away from your computer and the Internet.) Just promise that as soon as you share your ideas you will then turn off and unplug, even for a few minutes today. After you share this post on all your social media outlets, of course.

Facebook Saves Lives

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Are you feeling guilty about all those “wasted” hours on Facebook? Do you scroll through your news feed with a sense of irresponsibility as the work piles up in your inbox?

Well, now you don’t have to. Check out this video explaining how Facebook and Donate Life are saving lives. Just click on the image to start the video.

 

Facebook has partnered with Donate Life America and  recently announced the new “organ donor” status tool. Now, you can declare your live-giving choice to your friends. The first step in organ donation is making the choice. The second step is letting your loved ones know your wishes.

Every day 18 people die waiting for a organ donor. You can save 8 lives and improve many more by becoming an organ donor. No one wants to think about their own death. I don’t. But I signed up to be an organ donor when I was sixteen years old and I have the little heart on my driver’s license to prove it. I never expected that my husband would need a liver transplant some day. When the time came, the wait list was too long. John would have died before he got a liver. Instead, a heroic member of our family donated half of his liver to John and saved his life. Luckily his anatomy matched closely enough for a successful living donor transplant. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Here’s how to declare your status:

Go to Timeline, click on “Life Event,” select “Health and Wellness,” choose “Organ Donor.” And make sure to click on the “Officially Register” link to make your decision to be a donor official by registering in your state. It’s that easy! Please share this post with everyone you know.

Psychological Seams

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When a good friend of mine re-carpeted her small cottage a few years ago, the carpet company couldn’t get it right. On the first attempt to lay the carpet, the installers measured incorrectly. My friend shook her head and chocked it up to an easy misunderstanding. When the installers returned the following week and STILL had the wrong sized carpet, my friend started to lose her patience.

The floor was ripped up and exposed and bare feet were not an option. Even wearing slippers was risky. All she wanted was to wake up in the morning and put her feet down on some cozy carpet. Instead, her floor was covered in sheet rock dust and splintered wood.

On the third try, the installers still couldn’t get it right. But they laid it anyways, claiming that the overlap between the two pieces of carpet in her bedroom was merely a “psychological seam” that only she could see. The installer told her, “no one else will notice it.” Of course, the seam was in her bedroom, so no one else would ever notice it; because they wouldn’t see it.

Still to this day, it is only my friend and her husband that notice this “psychological seam.” Life can be like that sometimes.

Others can’t see them, but you know they’re there. These are the seams, the places where our confidence overlaps insecurity. Or where our public image and our private self overlap. I’ve been working on my public image lately. Having come from a mountain life at the end of a dead end road, I realize that the world has changed. According to Ingrid Backstrom, more people now participate in the world of skiing. Thanks to social media, even those with real jobs and city lifestyles can live vicariously through pro skiers like her.

The simplicity of the mountains is where my psychological seams disappear. I’m glad I wrote a book. It’s a new chapter in my life. Yet self-promotion and publicity have proved harder than the actual writing. I’m an introvert at heart—one who prefers to craft phrases and sentences carefully at her keyboard, rather than adlibs in a public place. But I’m learning.

Being an author forces me to get out there and bump up against my psychological seams. I have to be out there in the world, raising my arm–no emphatically, desperately waving my arm–asking for attention. BUY MY BOOK, READ MY BLOG, WATCH MY REALITY SHOW (that last one hasn’t quite happened yet; I’ll let you know when Oprah calls).

Sometimes I want to crawl back into anonymity; but then I get an email or meet someone that actually paid money for my book and tells me it CHANGED THEIR LIFE. Whoa. Didn’t see that one coming. I recently met a guy in Aspen who drove all the way to my book signing after he heard my interview on Aspen Public Radio. He told me he had to pull over onto the shoulder when the interview aired on his long drive home. It meant something to him, and he’d driven all the way back to buy my book.

Old seams that I thought only I could see are now open and raw. My story is out; my secret insecurities and fears exposed. I suppose we all have our own psychological seams hidden somewhere between our real selves and the one we portray on Facebook. While sometimes I long to just put my feet down on an unblemished span of cozy carpet, I’m glad I’m more exposed now.

What about you, dear reader? What seams have you exposed or found when least expected them?

Creating Awesome: Why no one ever posts unflattering photos of themselves on Facebook

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Photographic Evidence

photo by Chris Morin

I have a friend who, when she came skiing with me last year, wanted an action photo of herself. For her Facebook page. She’d seen a photo of me skiing powder, the snow billowing around my shoulders and over my head. She wanted one like that.

Thing is, she’d never really skied powder. And she was on rental skis.

On the wall in the rental shop was a photo of a woman schussing impressively, snow flying off her sparkling skis, her arms flying across the rugged landscape. This was an adventure, and she was living it fully. My friend wanted a photo of herself to show that she, too, had enjoyed an adventurous day on the mountain.

What my friend didn’t realize, most likely, was that the woman in the photo had probably skied the same exact turn several times now because the photographer hadn’t gotten the light quite right yet. After spending many days at Crystal Mountain with photographers and videographers, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to get the right shot. Let’s just say this:  it’s not as exciting as it looks. Except for the shot Chris took of me above. That one was fun.

The Fire-stoking Nature of Instant Gratification

Stoking the Fire

Thanks to Facebook, we’ve all become a little more awesome. Just check those status updates and mobile uploads. Gone are the days when we hardly even remembered to take photos of ourselves, and when we did we barely ever had time to get the film developed. By the time we did get the envelope of photos back, we’d forgotten who was winning when we took that photo on the 50 yard line, and we couldn’t, for the life of us remember which hike last summer we’d stopped to take the photo of that waterfall. Those moments lost a little of their awesomeness when the commemoration lacked the ability to stoke the fire.

But now, we can take a photo of ourselves doing awesome things and bam!, all our friends get to see them too. Instantly. Check me out. I’m skiing powder. This is a great moment. Look at how white my teeth are in this photo.

The Beauty of Modern Life

This is an innate human drive dating back to caveman times when all our “friends” shared the same cave and all we had to do was roar or bring home a woolly mammoth to remind them how badass we were. But back then they also got to glimpse our more selfish moments. Like when we grabbed the woolly mammoth drumstick and scarfed it down before anyone else got a piece.

That’s the beauty of modern life. We can hide those negative flaws. No one ever posts unflattering pictures of themselves on Facebook. Not unless it’s a photo of their face half-eaten by a shark while they were saving a baby whale ensnared in a fishing net. Instead we roar our greatness to the world–like the time we climbed a mountain, or read an intelligent news story or our kids did something incredibly cute and potentially embarrassing someday. It’s all fodder for our Facebook profile.

Finding Awesome

Aha moment

So when my friend needed a new profile picture, I was happy to oblige. I brought along my Canon D90, readied the lens and watched as she traversed across the slope above me. She wasn’t bad. Her turns were actually pretty good. But this wasn’t going to be poster material. Maybe not even profile photo status.

My friend also has a photo of her “scuba diving” in a swimming pool in Vegas. And another one “hiking” in her backyard in Seattle. With just the right light and background, anything is possible. That’s what I love about my friend. She doesn’t need a grand landscape to enjoy the little moments. All she needs is a camera and the right outfit.

Finding Humility

Our online lives are full of awesomeness. Just check our status updates. Yesterday, I talked about my New Year’s Resolution: finding MAXIMUM ENTHUSIASM. And perhaps that’s exactly what Facebook and other social media allows us to do. We can recreate our experiences in the retelling. The story we tell about our lives becomes the new reality.

Just so long as we occasionally share a little vulnerability, it kind of works. No one really wants to be friends with a perfect person. That only makes you feel bad about yourself. Instead, we can share our photos and awesome moments with more enthusiasm and less ego.

As I continue on with my New Year’s resolution, I also plan on finding a little humility. Maybe I will share a less-flattering photo or two. Because even the moments that are less than amazing, when my physical feats sag a little and my teeth aren’t quite so white, are still AWESOME.