Tag Archives: personal

Making the world a smaller place

21 Oct

So it’s something that has been discussed over and over – how the internet breaks down international barriers and allows for instant communication between anyone, where ever they happen to be in the world. But something tiny happened the other day that really brought home for me how connecting the internet really can be.

A few months ago a friend of our family’s in Mullumbimby stumbled across a photo that a random Flickr user had taken while visiting Mullumbimby, of my dad cruising past on his motorised bicycle, complete with trailer and racing helmet from his car racing days. It really is a classic shot, and it was passed around with much laughter to our widespread friends and family (from the UK to South Africa).

Then the other day I remembered and tweeted about it. I didn’t tag anyone and I hadn’t searched for the Flickr user anywhere else on the internet. Yesterday, the previously anonymous tourist somehow saw my tweet and responded.

When he took the photo, it was just one of the weird and wonderful people that live in Mullumbimby. Now he knows that the photo was of my father, and he can read more about my family through this blog and my general interactions on the social web. All through a photo that would never normally have been seen by us – suddenly everyone is connected.

So remember – you never know if the random holiday photo you take of a ‘native’ resident might actually one day be seen by them.

Just a thought.

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Oversharing in social media

6 Sep

A shaky line in the sand

I was thinking over the weekend about oversharing in social media.

I’ve always personally said I use Twitter primarily for sharing professional or interesting articles, blogs, pictures and events that I’ve found that might be relevant to other people interested in social media and the media industry. I try and connect with other people in my industry or in similar industries that have interests that match mine.

But my ‘purist’ view of how I use this medium was broken a few weeks ago, when I received a direct message from a person I had chated with a few times which ended with “How are your various health woes?” While the person had written that in honest concern (I think), I knew as soon as I saw it that I had started to become guilty of the affliction that seems to continuously overtake people who interact in social media. That of oversharing.

Throughout my university degree, the main social network was definitely Facebook. Almost all of my social group spent hours and hours every day interacting (and oversharing) on Facebook, posting status updates about exactly how we were feeling or what we were doing at that moment, a lot of the time with the underlying knowledge that that update might be seen by a certain somebody. Who can deny that they haven’t at some point updated their status with “… is feeling so sad right now” without the express intention of it being seen by that somebody you were feeling sad about. In part it relates back to the research that was presented at the last SMCSYD, which found that generation Y are extremely image conscious and consistently update to a set group of their social peers (using social media) in order to maintain that image. Some of the research can be found here, and Tiphereth’s presentation from the evening is up on her blog here.

Since university, I’ve dropped off the Facebook radar, and rarely update my status. In its place came Twitter, which ostentatiously I was using for ‘professional’ updates. And for over a year I was mainly using it for sharing professional/industry related links, with a few personal comments thrown in to convey (I hope) a little of my personality.

But as my workload has increased, due in part to changes at work and the additional (slightly crazy) decision to start MBA studies, I’ve found that the amount of time I’ve had to devote to the professional areas of the medium has dropped, and instead all my updates are personal. It does actually take free time to be on Twitter, to keep even slightly on top of the myriad of updates and links shared, and to interact with those shared links. And time is what I’m running short of.

Mostly this is a time management issue, and one that I’m sure I’ll get better with as I become more experienced. But it does bring up some interesting questions… if all I can realistically update Twitter with at the moment is personal updates on how stressed or sick I am, do I risk alienating my followers, of whom the majority I have to assume only follow me because they are interested in the links I share? I’m interested in how other people balance out this issue between personal/professional, as I haven’t seen it discussed anywhere else.

But the next question would be, does it matter? Through Twitter and social media I’ve met some lovely people, and also had some fantastic opportunities come my way – so considering that, Twitter also is a personal medium.

I’m not sure what I was trying to say with this blog post, other than that I’m finding it hard to not overshare and tip towards too much personal information at the moment (it has become my new Facebook), and I wonder what other people think about this or how they deal with it personally.

And on a completely personal note which no one needs to read:

As I’ve already missed one class after failing to leave on time from work on my first day ‘officially’ in my new role, I’m dropping of the radar for the next two weeks until after my mid-semester exams. If I have even a hope in hell of passing, I’m going to need to become a hermit for the next two weeks. My 2nd exam (Accounting) is on the 24th of September, which also happens to be my birthday, so I’ll be having a ‘welcome back social life’ and birthday celebration that night, and will be back on Twitter/blogs/online in general shortly after.

The challenge of change

30 Aug

Something I’ve come to realise over the last 2 years is that being passionate about social media also means being passionate about change… because in social media things change, and fast. Things move… fast. Getting your head around the speed at which everything happens in social media is one of the biggest challenges of the medium, and one of the main reasons so much of the media industry has struggled with adapting to and fully utilising the opportunities that exist within social media.

Last week’s Vibewire fastBREAK event centred around change. My attendance was a last minute decision, but it was a fantastic hour. The speakers came from a range of different creative industries, including print, photography, theatre, architecture and social media. But the surprise was the personal level of the stories that many of them chose to tell.

Alex Vaughan spoke of her reaction to hearing recently that her grandmother only had weeks to live, and how challenging it was to accept that change. She asked permission from her family to document those last few special weeks and a photo of her grandfather gently stroking the head of his partner of 65 years must have brought a lump to the throat of every person there. Truly moving.

Another inspiring moment was when David Hood talked about his gradual realisation and acceptance of who he was. He said that he had only decided at the last minute to tell this very personal story, but it was moving example of how embracing hard changes can lead to empowerment. Once he accepted and started to live the part of himself that had always been hidden, he felt he could help others and has since campaigned for a variety of environmental and human rights issues.

Personally, it was a time appropriate topic. I am about to face a huge change and challenge in my career. After 4 years with inqbase, the amazing Heidi is leaving (announced to clients today). She has taught me so much over the last year and is very much responsible for where I am now – at a point where I will hopefully be able to step to a certain degree into her shoes. Very big ones to fill it must be said!

The next few weeks and months are going to immensely challenging, but I also hope rewarding. inqbase has some fantastic clients and I’m looking forward to working further with them. But if anyone has any tips for organisation, please do tell! I’m going to need to be SUPER organised. At the moment I am a compulsive list maker… but I have a feeling that even that will need to be streamlined now!

But back to the subject of change. If anything, the stories and experiences shared on Friday morning only made me realise more how hard change can be sometimes, and how important it is to accept and move with it. I think we can sometimes get too comfortable in our lives, too stuck in one place and scared if something looks like it might move. The philosophy that my parents taught me and that I try to remember as much as possible is that you never know what is around the corner, what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year or in 30 years. But that doesn’t mean you should be scared. Exactly the opposite really. It should be the most exciting thing in the world.