One month down…11 to go

One month anniversary card

It is the end of my first month of blogging every day, despite missing one day, I’m pleased that I have got this far. There was a small part of me that wasn’t convinced that I could blog daily for a month let alone a whole year. 

While I’m still finding my blogging voice and rhythm. Along with desperately trying to learn to get organised and take notes when I have ideas. I have no doubt that I will get there eventually, I just need to stick at it.

My thoughts about the technology in my life and the lives around me are slowly getting more organised. I find myself having conversations about technology and social media that make me want to blog, which is great.  The comments and feedback I have received so far have been much appreciated, it still blows me away that people I don’t know read my blog. 

I hope the next 11 months will be just as fun and entertaining as my first month of blogging, so please keep the comments, feedback and questions coming. 

Thanks and happy one monthsary!

Nothing to say

Despite a busy day, I find myself with not much say. So I turned to the internet for help by searching for the phrase ‘nothing to say’ and I was surprised to find it is the title of a quite a famous song I hadn’t heard in years. I searched a little further and found quotes about having nothing to say. There were many quotes and quips but my favourite is…

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The internet is amazing, you can search for nothing and find something wonderful. I often find myself on interesting (and boring) websites after I have taken a little journey down the ‘rabbit hole’ of internet searching and surfing.

I find websites that sometimes make me ponder not only who created them but why were they created in the first place. This is what makes the internet both wonderful and awful.  The internet is full of marvellous and mundane websites that are likely to be useful and interesting to someone, if not to you Dear Reader.  Hours can be wasted searching the internet for something and nothing, and that is both wonderful and awful, depending on your deadline and your patience.

 

YouTube made me look smart

The problem with doing something for the first time is that you have no idea if you are doing it right, unless you can see what it is supposed to look like.  This Dear Reader is what makes YouTube so great and today made me look smart.

I needed to change the bulb in the front headlight of my car. There were just 5 crappy pictures in the manual that came with my car, none of them particularly helpful. 

So I turned to the second most popular search engine on the internet www.youtube.com for help and I found it. 

Yes YouTube is full of stupid videos of kittens, sneezing pandas and babies being cute but it is also full of instructions to do all kinds of things including recipes, craft, art, making, mechanics and stuff you didn’t know you needed to know. 

So thank you YouTube for helping me look smart, I posted news of my success on my Facebook page and so far 17 people have liked my status, plus I’m really pleased with myself.

 

Keeping kids off the radar

I’m surprised Dear Reader that my previous post did not create greater discussion, as I have previously been involved in face to face discussions about the pictures parents post online. A long with the different parenting styles the rules about posting photos online a different for each family.

There are all kinds of terrible stories about what can happen to photos you post online, some are more true than others. You may think you have the strongest password, but you just never know what can happen to photos you post online.  I know I have copied and pasted photos from the internet, even though I know I’m not supposed to.  

The reality is that the internet is forever, and anything you post online will be there forever so it’s a good idea to make sure you think about anything you post online.  

For what it’s worth here’s what I think about posting pictures of children online, two simple rules.  

  1. Don’t post any photos (of anyone) online you would not be happy to see up in shop window for the world to see – ever!
  2. Limit potentially embarrassing photos of your children as they are likely to not like it when they are older.  You also don’t know what impact they might have in the future. We all have embarrassing photos of ourselves but thankfully mine are in albums not online for the world to see.

In honour of this post I won’t be posting a picture of me as a baby as they are safely stored in an album in my parent’s library, but here’s a picture of Blossom the cat, ‘helping’ me watch TV.  Pets aren’t too fussy about their digital footprint 🙂

Blossom the cat in front of TV

 

Keeping other people off the radar

Having spent a couple of days off the radar and reflecting on how much information I share online has been personally very interesting and made me think about what I post. In the future I plan to be more considered with my online posts. I don’t want to say something just because I can, I want to make sure that when I say something it is interesting, funny or maybe even useful.

I spent today with some friends and their gorgeous baby. My mind turned to what happens when other people put you on the radar without you knowing. More specifcally what if by the time you are one year old or ten years old you have a digital footprint that you didn’t know about and don’t have any control over.

How will my friends son feel when he is a teenager or an adult knowing that somewhere out there on the Internet there are pictures of him he didn’t put there and he might not like? Interestingly my friend told me she has made a deliberate decision to only post ‘nice’ pictures of her son and not to post many pictures of him as she wants to keep his digital footprint small.

The topic of posting pictures online is a very tricky area, and there are likely to be lots of opinions. Firstly I should declare I’m not a parent but I do think it’s an interesting topic that I would like to explore further in future posts but first I turn to you Dear Reader.

There is a whole industry of books, websites and experts offering parenting advice and most of the parents I know find and use what works for them and their family. There are lots of different ways to successfully raise a child.

I would be interested to hear what you have found works for you and your family when it comes to posting pictures and information online.

– What do you think about posting pictures of your children online?
– Do you have any rules about what you will and won’t post?
– Do you post the names of your children online?
– Do your children know their pictures are posted online?
– Do you have your own rules about posting pictures and information about your children online?

As I said I don’t know what the right answer is but I would like to explore this topic further.

Any comments happily received. 🙂

Going off the radar

I have had a great day on the third of my holiday in Brisbane. I’ve had a day of catching up with friends, lunching, being a tourist and then a glorious dinner with friends.

And not once did I share what I was up to online.

I conducted a little experiment with myself about how I would feel not checking in on Foursquare, taking pictures on Instagram and posting comments on Twitter or Facebook.

I have to tell you Dear Reader if felt weird. Over the years I have become so used to reaching for my phone when I’m doing something interesting (or banal) and posting details or photos online. The best of the process is checking my phone later and getting feedback whether that be likes or comments. The sense of ‘hooray someone noticed’ is palpable. I hadn’t realised just how palpable until i spent a day not seeking or receiving that feedback.

I feel a little embarrassed admitting but I do love it when someone leaves a comment along the lines of ‘I wish I was there’. There is probably several PhDs in the sociology of using social media for positive reinforcement and validation but I know that there are times when I consciously, and often not, seek validation and positive reinforcement from my online contacts. What I wonder and will continue to monitor in myself, is if this is something habitual or just something I do for a bit of a pick me up.

So today I spent the day with myself and my friends not posting anything online at all today except this post. What I did today will remain a secret except to those who were there IRL (in real life) or are unfortunate enough to sit through my long travel stories.

For the record I don’t think my ego felt the difference but that might have been the sense of smug self satisfaction of being on holiday when everyone else is at work. But we Dear Reader shall see…

And because pictures of radars aren’t cute, here’s picture with a tenuous link to ‘going off the radar’

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FOMO – fear of missing out

Yesterday’s post sparked quite a few responses. Most people admitting they couldn’t leave home without their phone and were one of those people who checked their phone as soon as they could.

A friend described the feeling of having to check their phone as an itch that needed scratching. Some people call this feeling FOMO, fear of missing out. We feel the need to check what our friends and family are up to and make sure we haven’t missed some news or aren’t missing an event.

A quick Internet search of FOMO associates this feeling with young people who are scared of missing out on parties and not being where all the cool kids are hanging out. (I’m probably so old the cool kids aren’t called the cool kids anymore).

I don’t think this is something that just young people feel. I’m 41 and I have FOMO. It is usually at the end of a long week when I have made the decision to stay in on Saturday and relax at home. I get on to Facebook and discover all the interesting and fabulous places my friends are and I’m not. I have to remind myself that if I was at the interesting or fabulous place I would probably be asleep in the corner. I also have to remind myself that there are times when my friends and family are at home and I’m out being interesting and fabulous.

Now that we are becoming hyper connected with the Internet in most people’s pocket, it is easy for us to know what others are up to. Apps like Foursquare, Places on Facebook allow users to ‘check in’ at locations they visit, it may be a cafe, a theatre or an event. It is this that makes other fear they are missing out on something. And if dear reader I’m to be completely honest it can make us feel a superior for being somewhere awesome. People only seem to check in interesting or awesome places, I have yet to see any of my friends or people I follow on twitter check in at the podiatrist or gynecologist. There are just some things that other people are happy to miss out on.

I think there are two ways of looking at FOMO, you can ignore it, rise about it, which can be very hard. No one wants to be left out. Or you can use it to motivate you to do all the things! The choice is yours, or perhaps like me you might try and do a little of both.

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Is it that urgent?

Today I flew to Brisbane, I was grateful for my iPhone to keep me entertained during the flight. But what really amazed me was the number of people who as soon as we landed reached for their phone.

What could be so urgent? Then I found myself doing it, announcing my arrival via text message to my friend who was picking me up. Why did I need to tell her? It wasn’t urgent. I spoke to her last night, we had agreed where we would meet and I knew she would be there. Yes my flight was 15 minutes late but she would know that thanks to the arrivals board in the airport.

Why has everything become so urgent? Why do we need to stay in touch all the time? Is it because we can rather than we have to?

Tonight I went to the theatre and came very close to strangling a man 3 seats down from me who turned his phone on during the show to read his email. What made it worse was it was only 10 minutes after the interval.

WHAT THE HELL COULD BE SO IMPORTANT THAT IT COULDN’T WAIT 90 MINUTES?

For the record this man was in his 60s and the over 20 teenage girls on a school trip to the theatre did not look at their phones once during the performance.

Surely if you are waiting for urgent news, a kidney transplant, a new grandchild or a signed contract from work, it can wait a few hours. The good news will be waiting for you when you check your phone.

I’m fascinated by my own need to feel connected. In an odd way I’m reassured that I’m not alone. Tonight after a wonderful theatre performance I watched and almost all of the people around me reached for their phones as soon as they could. Young and old alike, checked their phone before they had even left the theatre.

Why do we do it? Why do you do it? What is so urgent?

I would love to hear your thoughts about how quickly you reach for your phone after it has been turned off for a couple of hours.

Public libraries rule!

Today I spent a lovely day at Murray Bridge Library. I did a couple of training sessions for people learning about the internet and iPads. 

Murray Bridge is a great library, with loads of natural light, a view of the beautiful River Murray and lots of computers. Public libraries are changing, don’t panic they still have books, but now they have free internet access.  In fact they have had it for quite some time. 

With a single card, that you can get at any South Australian library, you can get free internet access at any library in South Australia. YAY!! 

Libraries are playing a vital role in helping getting people online. They provide somewhere, friendly and welcoming where anyone can get online, without the hassle of having to own a computer. Some libraries provide free or low cost classes and occasionally one on one support.  

Many libraries not only have computers you can use for free, some have ereaders and ebooks you can borrow. And if you are really lucky your local library might even have a Playstation or a Wii you can use during your visit. 

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Murray Bridge library has a section set aside just for books about computers, iPads and all kinds of technology, all specially displayed to make it easy to find the book you need. But my favourite part of the library is the Children’s section, the books are displayed in small boats, with a huge paddle wheel shaped window, it’s fabulous, there are even fish shaped cushions!

Libraries are really great and might not be the quiet intimidating space you remember from your childhood.  So if you haven’t been for a while visit your local library and check out what technology they have for you use. 

Leaving on a jet plane

Today I checked in for my Wednesday flight to Brisbane, all while drinking tea and waiting for my work PC to boot up. 

Thanks to an email from my airline of choice, I was able to click on a link in the email, confirm my seat and mobile phone number. I then received my boarding pass via text message. I loaded my boarding pass into my Passbook on my iphone and I was done. All in under 3 minutes.

Sadly the last time I used a boarding pass on my phone, when I got to the gate I was given a paper boarding pass (which seemed to me defeated the object of the paperless exercise). I’m hopeful this time I won’t end up with another boarding pass bookmark.

Some people would not be comfortable with the idea of a virtual boarding pass and I respect that.  There are times when dealing with a person is just what you want.  For me having the option is what I want. For a relatively quick and easy flight to Brisbane, with no need to have my passport checked doing it by phone makes my life easier but I know for some people talking to a real person makes their life easier.

The way I see it, if I check in on the phone, then the line for people who want to deal with a real person at the airport is shorter and they can served much more quickly. That way we all win. People who need extra help can get it, but that is if there are people to speak to.

By now dear reader you know I love technology, but there are times when people are just fabulous and just what someone needs. As many companies move their services and information online, they fail to remember that sometimes a person needs to speak to another person. 

Technology can sometimes cause more problems that it fixes, if not done right and at the expense of good service.  Often people are left feeling they have no choice and are forced to use a tool they are not comfortable with and this makes for an unhappy customer experience.

Good customer service is about being responsive, not just to the people who make it cheaper and easier for you by doing it all online. Your online customers should ideally (some might say idealistically) mean your staff have more time to deal with customers face to face.  But, dear reader, I’m smart enough to know that this is rarely the case. We are being pushed online more and more, and for those of use who speak the language, can read the map and have the latest gadgets we will be fine. But I know that other will struggle and be frustrated, and I hope that businesses will learn to be responsive and flexible in how we get service and they get our money and let one person speak to another person face to face.