Project Gratitude – A Jarring Experience

Project Gratitude – A Jarring Experience

As an avid Facebook user, I had stumbled across the idea of a gratitude jar many times. Usually, it was in the form of this image:

Gratitude Jar

I thought it would be something fun to do, but then my lazy kicked in and the idea of finding just the right jar and keeping little pieces of paper handy seemed to be waaaaay too much effort. (As an aside, I have a PhD in “Can’t be bothered.”)

Then I realized my blog would be the perfect substitute for the jar. I am always in front of my laptop (or phone, or other laptop, or tablet, or yet still other laptop), and I can keep my ‘jar’ up to date even when I travel or run out of ink or can’t be bothered to find more little pieces of paper. Besides, this method is also good for the environment.

So here we go. Project Gratitude. Three hundred and sixty-five days of Thanksgiving.

Today, I am grateful for no hangover. Lee and I were in bed not long after midnight. No crazy parties. No voracious drinking. We watched Ohio State get destroyed in the Fiesta Bowl (#bonus), then called it a night shortly after the New Year.

I am grateful for being a part of the social media team at my church.

Yep, I was responsible for this tweet. 

I am grateful that we were invited to the birthday party of our friend’s daughter Eisley. Although my days of being invited to little kids’ birthday parties are long since gone, it was great to be with our friends from church. We got to meet new people, two of which are hosting a growth group on wellness and nutrition, something Lee and I want to better focus on this year. Besides, how can you resist this precious girl who just loves dinosaurs?

Eisley

The Principles of Netiquette

I am currently pursuing a degree in Christian Ministry at Trinity College of Florida. I logged into our online system, and I found this posted by one of my professors. I found it too good not to share.

Be Nice

Core Rules of Netiquette

Netiquette, or network etiquette, is concerned with the “proper” way to communicate in an online environment. Consider the following “rules,” adapted from Virginia Shea’s The Core Rules of Netiquette, whenever you communicate in the virtual world.

Rule 1: Remember the Human

When communicating electronically, whether through email, instant message, discussion post, text, or some other method, practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Remember, your written words are read by real people, all deserving of respectful communication. Before you press “send” or “submit,” ask yourself, “Would I be okay with this if someone else had written it?”

Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

While it can be argued that standards of behavior may be different in the virtual world, they certainly should not be lower. You should do your best to act within the laws and ethical manners of society whenever you inhabit “cyberspace.” Would you behave rudely to someone face-to-face? On most occasions, no. Neither should you behave this way in the virtual world.

Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

“Netiquette varies from domain to domain.” (Shea, 1994) Depending on where you are in the virtual world, the same written communication can be acceptable in one area, where it might be considered inappropriate in another. What you text to a friend may not be appropriate in an email to a classmate or colleague. Can you think of another example?

Rule 4: Respect other people’s time and bandwidth

Electronic communication takes time: time to read and time in which to respond. Most people today lead busy lives, just like you do, and don’t have time to read or respond to frivolous emails or discussion posts. As a virtual world communicator, it is your responsibility to make sure that the time spent reading your words isn’t wasted. Make your written communication meaningful and to the point, without extraneous text or superfluous graphics or attachments that may take forever to download.

Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

One of the best things about the virtual world is the lack of judgment associated with your physical appearance, sound of your voice, or the clothes you wear (unless you post a video of yourself singing Karaoke in a clown outfit.) You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing, so keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always check for spelling and grammar errors
  • Know what you’re talking about and state it clearly
  • Be pleasant and polite

Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

The Internet offers its users many benefits; one is the ease in which information can be shared or accessed and in fact, this “information sharing” capability is one of the reasons the Internet was founded. So in the spirit of the Internet’s “founding fathers,” share what you know! When you post a question and receive intelligent answers, share the results with others. Are you an expert at something? Post resources and references about your subject matter. Recently expanded your knowledge about a subject that might be of interest to others? Share that as well.

Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

What is meant by “flaming” and “flame wars?” “Flaming is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion.” (Shea, 1994). As an example, think of the kinds of passionate comments you might read on a sports blog. While “flaming” is not necessarily forbidden in virtual communication, “flame wars,” when two or three people exchange angry posts between one another, must be controlled or the camaraderie of the group could be compromised. Don’t feed the flames; extinguish them by guiding the discussion back to a more productive direction.

Rule 8: Respect other people’s privacy

Depending on what you are reading in the virtual world, be it an online class discussion forum, Facebook page, or an email, you may be exposed to some private or personal information that needs to be handled with care. Perhaps someone is sharing some medical news about a loved one or discussing a situation at work. What do you think would happen if this information “got into the wrong hands?” Embarrassment? Hurt feelings? Loss of a job? Just as you expect others to respect your privacy, so should you respect the privacy of others. Be sure to err on the side of caution when deciding to discuss or not to discuss virtual communication.

Rule 9: Don’t abuse your power

Just like in face-to-face situations, there are people in cyberspace who have more “power” than others. They have more expertise in technology or they have years of experience in a particular skill or subject matter. Maybe it’s you who posesses all of this knowledge and power! Just remember: knowing more than others do or having more power than others may have does not give you the right to take advantage of anyone. Think of Rule 1: Remember the human.

Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes

Not everyone has the same amount of experience working in the virtual world. And not everyone knows the rules of netiquette. At some point, you will see a stupid question, read an unnecessarily long response, or encounter misspelled words; when this happens, practice kindness and forgiveness as you would hope someone would do if you had committed the same offense. If it’s a minor “offense,” you might want to let it slide. If you feel compelled to respond to a mistake, do so in a private email rather than a public forum.

Adapted from The Core Rules of Netiquette Shea, V. (1994). Core rules of netiquette. Netiquette (Online ed., pp. 32-45). San Francisco: Albion Books.

Friendly Friday – Kim Randall

Are you familiar with the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride at Walt Disney World? You know, the one with the little boat that that takes you around the world (so to speak) and shows you how we’re all interconnected, all the while filling your head with the mother of all ear worms.

It’s a small world after all …. it’s a small, small world.

Well, the world of social media is like that. If you spend a good amount of time on one of the bigger social media platforms, you’ll quickly come to find that most of the ‘players’ in that arena seem to know each other or are connected in some shape, way, or form. This is especially true with Twitter. Twitter, to me, is a more open space than other platforms, and seems to the general meeting place of the social media world. If Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and others are ‘rooms’ in a hotel, then Twitter is the lobby where most people congregate.

I am fortunate to have a healthy online presence, and I cherish my circle of social media friends. However, when I think back to how I got plugged into this small world, one of the people I always point to is my friend Kim Randall.

Kim is a fun-loving and inspiring woman. She also happens to own her own social media marketing company, and has helped launch or coordinate a number of other social media related services or brands. When I starting putting together a list of Kim’s entrepreneurial exploits, I quickly found it to be quite exhaustive. Here are a few:

I first me Kim when she was a presenter of a Tampa-area social media class. We exchanged information and, of course, connected on Twitter. We both took part in organizing the Epic Thanks Tampa Bay event back in 2010, and we’ve been good friends since.

Kim is a great resource when it comes to social media and online marketing. She really knows her stuff, and has been very successful in building a presence for various brands and companies. I know whenever I am in a jam with either a question or a ‘how do I do this’ moment, I can reach out to Kim for an answer.

What I love most about her, however, is that despite her incredible success and unmatched expertise in her arena, there’s no pretentiousness about her. Kim is a down-to-earth and easy to get along with person. In the ever-evolving world of social media, she’s the first to tell you there is no such thing as a ‘social media expert’, and Kim understands the vast majority of people still consider themselves novices when it comes to inter-connectivity in an online community.

I am very blessed to have Kim as a peer, mentor, and friend. And if you’re on Twitter, it’s very likely she’s already a connection of yours, too. If not, be sure to follow her at @_kimrandall. You can also check out her endeavors by following the links listed above.

In our ever-shrinking world, Kim Randall is a great person to know.

Happy Friday.

Kim Randall

Geeking Out

I’ll admit it. I’ve been accused of being a fan girl. Sometimes Oftentimes merited, I’ve been known to have an un-manly reaction to meeting a celebrity or performer.

The same is true with Geekdom. In the world of social media, it’s not uncommon to have something you post on Twitter be re-tweeted by someone famous. It’s kinda’ cool when you’re able to connect on Facebook with someone of note, be it a celebrity or local personality, and they happen to mention you in a post. That’s the cool thing about social media and the power it has to make the world a little bit smaller.

On Sunday, I marveled when my friend Amber (aka @MissDestructo) had one of her tweets RT’d by Drew Carey. I thought it was way cool, and I think it’s something people plugged into the blogosphere secretly wish for one day. A step up in Interwebs recognition and perhaps – just maybe – the cornerstone of the big break we’ve all been hoping for. It’s fair to say those are geek-out moments, and they are definitely few and far between.

Geeking Out

As you may know, my wife and I have completed our first round of the Fast Metabolism Diet. I wrote about it at the two-week point of the 28 day program, and then again yesterday following our completion of the plan. As usual, I shared my post across various social media platforms. My goal is to get as many possible eyeballs on it as I can, only because I love to go over my WordPress stats and see not only how many views a particular post has received, but also the various countries around the world in which my blog has been read. (I still don’t understand how someone in Bahrain stumbled onto my blog, but that’s the beauty of the Internet).

When I tweeted out my link, I happened to include the Twitter handle for Haylie Pomroy, the nutritionist that designed the Fast Metabolism Diet. My hope was that she’d read the post and know how much Lee and I appreciate her work, and how her diet has literal transformed us in one short month. It was a digital ‘tip of the hat’ to her, and my way of saying thanks. What happened next was something I was not at all prepared for.

That teenage squealing you just heard? Yeah ….. that was me.

Democracy 2.0

Lee and I love being geeks together, and part of that mutual geekdom leads us to get involved in events like Democracy 2.0, a panel discussion featuring representatives from Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp. The event is being hosted by Social Media Club Tampa Bay, a group of which Lee and I are members.

To add to the awesome geekiness, here is some pre-event coverage we received thanks to Jeremy Campbell and our friends at Fox 13 News in Tampa.

If you’re in Tampa on Saturday, August 25 and can make it to the event, we’d love to have you join us.

214/365 Making A Plan

As we work to re-launch the Social Media Club Tampa Bay, we met tonight to discuss the planning of an event we’ll be hosting on August 25. The event will be a panel discussion featuring representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp! (with the possibility of adding representatives from other social media platforms), all of whom will be in Tampa covering the Republican National Convention.

It’s going to be fun and exciting event, and I am very much looking forward to being a part of it.

 

201/365 Part Of The Club?

I love my circle of friends, especially those with whom I run in social media circles. Today, we met up with the idea of launching a Tampa chapter of Social Media Club. It was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones that share my passion of social media.

Here’s hoping tonight’s meeting leads to very awesome things in the Tampa Bay area.