Tag Archives: Online Communities

So much noise.

Sometimes the ugliness of the world is too much.

Sometimes the information overload ABOUT the ugliness of the world is too much.

The last few days have been like that.

So I try to escape.

I go onto social media. I seek frivolity. I seek silliness (not stupidity). I seek lightness. I seek good, old-fashioned, proper escapism.

I don’t get that from SM. Not anymore. In fact, I haven’t gotten it from there for a very long time now. That’s why I’ve been scarce in those parts.

The past few days have looked something like this.

#Anene

#StopRape

#rape

#SOTN

#Zuma

#Oscar

#Crime

#wearblack

#abuse

Plus the never-ending links to every single bit of ugliness. On FB too. The stupid and highly inappropriate jokes. The activists who are so caught up in their cause that they sometimes lose perspective. The men who become defensive. The crowd who enjoy mocking death and the misery of others.

It’s too much.

I drive in my car and on my way to and from work, I see ugliness in the headlines plastered all over the light poles.  I see judgement in those headlines. I see bias in those headlines. I see immaturity in those headlines. I see poverty in those headlines. I see the big divide in those headlines.   My son asks me questions that I can’t answer. Questions that I’m almost embarrassed to answer. How do I explain to him how very sick  some people are?

I come to work and all that is spoken about are the # topics. I go to Pick ‘n Pay and the staff working behind the bakery counter are discussing the #topics. I go and pay for my stuff and the people in the queue are loudly discussing/disagreeing on the # topics.

It’s too much. I keep thinking to myself that we are only 6 weeks into 2013 and I feel so tired. So drained. I feel that the noise is coming at me from all sides.  And all I want to talk about is the weather or some inane crap. Is that too much to ask?

I just want to escape. I want peace. I want silence. I want to NOT get anxious about every #. I want to run to an island and stay there with my kids and eat good food and walk in markets and take naps and have beach swims. I want to run. Away. Away from the madness. The ugliness. The filth.

But I can’t.  Because life is just not that simple.

Right now.

I am done.

I am going into my zone to restore my sanity.

I am getting into bed.

At 6pm.

With my kids.

We’ll skip the routine today and read books together. Or maybe we’ll just snuggle a bit.

Either way. I need to find an escape route that doesn’t have ALL THIS NOISE.

Are you OK with the noise? Do you find it overwhelming at times?

What do you do to escape the noise?

 

 

I had a REALLY good laugh at my parents this past weekend.

We were talking about various things and having some general discussions about my kids and I mentioned that I “met” someone on Twitter – an adult who lives with Autism. I told them how inspired I was by her (she’s very successful and has found ways to manage her issues etc) and that chatting to her on twitter (and on FB) gave me a lot of hope. She’s really good with advising me on practical ways to deal with certain things that Child2 struggles with.

I also told them that this woman had invited me into a private FB group for other adults who were also on the spectrum and for parents with kids on the spectrum and that I LOVED this group.

And then I told them that this woman lives in CT and that we had plans to meet up in the new year. I told them that I actually got invited to go for a group walk (with this woman) up Rhodes Memorial (it happened yesterday actually) but I didn’t RSVP because I didn’t fancy a mid-morning mountain walk in the sun and I happened to be busy  and and and.

Of course when they heard that I actually considered going for this walk they went NUTS!  My Dad asked me if I was mad to meet up with strangers on Rhodes Memorial and he also asked me what I would do if this person jumped off the mountain or something. I tried to explain that it wasn’t like that and that it was a group effort and that besides, I would actually have taken Child1 along seeing that he’s on holiday – it was a FAMILY walk after all so there would have been other kids (some as odd and quirky as him) for him to mingle with.

Needless to say, THAT did not go down well. Because then I heard that I’m endangering my child and that I’m too trusting and how can I just meet up with internet people etc. Don’t I know that there are sick people out there and and and.

I did mention that actually, I’m not stupid and that I OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t meet up with someone unless I was VERY SURE about them. They didn’t even hear me! They even asked me HOW I could possibly teach my child to behave safely online if I was doing stuff like planning walks with strangers that I met on the internet!

So I allowed them to vent, but I must admit that I got the giggles while they were having their vent and I just could not stop. I tried really hard to keep a straight face but I couldn’t  Because  even though they are relatively clued up about the internet, they simply don’t understand the power of online connections. I didn’t want to tell them that I’d met PLENTY of people this year who I had become friends with online because they simply would NOT have understood it.

I am actually still laughing when I think about the conversation. And my DH? He just sat there with a mouth full of teeth and said NOTHING!

My parents don’t understand that I have a serious online life – possibly because I’ve never shared that part of myself with them. Somehow I don’t think that it would impress them AT ALL.

I don’t know if I ever will share it with them – but you never know, maybe one day I will. I’ll play it by ear.

Do the people in your life know that you have a personal blog and that you tweet and occasionally meet-up with the people in your cyber space?

Do they know that you have an “online” life and persona? 

How have you been?

I’m actually having a good time doing nothing except fun stuff. Am off to drop Child2 at school now then will go and powerwalk and swim with Child1.

Later.

x

 

Petitions

AT least once a week someone (in my real-life and in my computer) approaches me with a petition that they would like me to sign for whatever cause.

I never sign stuff. I am usually paranoid that my details will be floating around and that someone will take advantage of it. Also, I feel that I can present my opinion and stand up for something without having to sign for it.

Lately I’ve been wondering  if it is really worth it. I have been wondering how effective this really is. Does government or whoever is doing the thing that the petition-signers are protesting actually take cognisance of said petition? Do they actually change their behaviour/policy/decision because of a few hundred signatures?

There is currently a petition going around that I actually WANT to sign. It’s something that I feel VERY strongly about. But I am trying to be objective and not emotional about it.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that I’m being overly emotional about it. I am possibly becoming over-invested in it because of where I am in my life and because of the fact that I have kids. And I can’t help but think that signing this petition is probably a futile exercise.

How do you feel about petitions? Do you feel that they are effective? Do you sign petitions? Am I reading too much into this? What was the last petition you signed all about?

What DON’T you blog about?

I have a number of blog posts in my drafts folder that never make it to publication. There are various reasons for this.

Sometimes I am angry or anxious about something and then I write (with the intention of publishing). My personal rule when writing this type of post is to wait for 24 hours before publishing and if I’m still feeling the same way I will publish. Mostly by the next day I am calmer and have more perspective. In this instance, the writing process is merely a form of catharsis for me.

The other type of post is one where I express a view on something.

I am VERY careful with my writing and I believe that I write in a way which shows no judgement. I am a work in progress when it comes to diplomacy, but I think I do relatively well at it.

Having said that, I’m often not brave enough for backlash. For judgement. For defensiveness.  And I don’t want to come across as ignorant which is often how this type of post can be interpreted.

So basically, this type of post remains unpublished as well.

There are certain topics I don’t ever blog about. Not going to mention these topics.

There are certain topics that I always believed I would never blog about, but now I do. Dot dot dot is one of them.

Race was also one of them but I’m currently writing a post on what it is like to be a coloured woman in Cape Town. It’s taking a while because it just encompasses SO MUCH and is not really an easy post to write.

Other topics that I NEVER thought I would write about but that I’m currently working on are these that you can look forward to in the next few weeks:

More DOT DOT DOT stuff – I rather like writing about this actually.

A little something on Autism. Perhaps I’ll throw in something about adult ADD as well. I’ll see how it goes.

My relationship with God/my issues with Church/ my issues with organised religion.

This is all that I’m prepared to list. For now.

Is there anything that you would NEVER blog about? What are your reasons for this?

Do you have many posts that remain unpublished? What are your reasons for this?

 

Of writing and blogging

Earlier today I was rereading some of my posts in Google Reader (I do subscribe to myself btw…I think I’m worth it) and I simply LOVED the comments that came out of this post and I found them to be quite an eye-opener.

Thank you so much for sharing WHY you write. I love that we all do it for very different reasons but that ultimately it does boil down to the fact that we LOVE community and the support and connection that comes with it.

I am curious about how your writing ends up as a blog post? Are you constantly on the lookout for things to blog?

I don’t think that I am wearing a “blogging hat” so to speak, but then again maybe I am. I basically blog whatever is in my head (or heart) at the time and occasionally I take my cues from other bloggers. For example, this handwriting piece was inspired by a picture of another bloggers handwriting when she posted a picture of a card that she had sent someone.

None of my posts are planned, though it can take a couple of hours or more for it to show up on this space. Also, I never force myself. If I am not feeling it then I am not feeling it. I must be honest though I have never NOT felt like writing something (except for yesterday) – it is generally part and parcel of my daily routine.

My best writing time is in the mornings. My workday starts at 8am. I arrive at work just before 7am so I basically have a full hour and a bit to have breakfast, catch up on personal emails and write a post or two or three.

I don’t even really plan the structure of the posts. I just write it as though I am sending an email to a friend. I sometimes have an idea of what I am going to post on but mostly I don’t. It really is all about the space I am in at the time. I mostly publish the posts at night when I get home. In this way I have time to change my mind about publishing a particular post (I occasionally write very angry posts) and I also have all day to edit it in my head.

At night I may or may not make small changes and then I will either go ahead and publish or I will just keep it saved in drafts for another day.

I very seldom do any writing at night or on the weekends but if I really feel for it then I just go with it to get it out of my system. Occasionally if I need to then I may write something during my workday as well. I try not to do this but sometimes it just HAS to happen at THAT VERY MOMENT.

I do occasionally record some ideas of blogging topics when something pops into my mind. Usually in a little notebook when I’m not at a computer.

So. How do you write? Do you have a process? IF so, what is your process? Are you wearing a “blogging hat?”

Why I love Twitter

In my previous post I mentioned that I unfollowed a number of people due to a particular reason. I was asked by Marcia to elaborate a bit on why I like Twitter so much and I thought that I would do a post on why Twitter is my new  BFF (more than Google AND FB nowadays):

Reason #1:

I get ALL my news from Twitter. I often know about breaking news before it makes headlines. Just today, I saw a tweet about Elizabeth Taylor’s death. I immediately went onto three news websites (news24.comiafrica.com and iol.co.za) and lo and behold, that bit of news wasn’t available as yet. I knew about Libya being invaded before it made news headlines, I followed the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as they were happening and I am also following the protests in Bahrain as they are happening. I am also currently following updates from Japan as they are happening. I LOVE this. For a news junkie and someone who is as instant gratification as I am, this is like being in chocolate heaven or something similar. It is right up my alley.

Reason #2:

I am never alone and ALWAYS have company even when I am watching TV or reading a book.  I LOVE this. I love that Twitter is essentially an ongoing conversation. I love that the people who I follow are VASTLY different from one another and are teaching me so much about who I am without even realising it.  I was watching Oprah the other night – it was the episode about this Mormon guy ( an attractive looking fellow btw…) who has four wives and how things were  working out in his family and between his wives. While I was watching this, another woman and I were tweeting one another our comments on the subject. I also had LOADS of fun on Twitter with Z.u.m.a’s speech at the opening of Parliament. It actually wasn’t even necessary to watch it. Nowadays I have so much fun on Twitter while watching cricket. It’s like everyone is a commentator and at the same time it’s like being in the stadium and cheering along. And I LOVED  following the birth of #Koos as it felt like I was actually present in the birthing room.

Reason #3:

Twitter is my source of information. I learn something new every single day. I follow Nick Dawes (editor of the  Mail and Guardian) and earlier today he tweeted this:

 

NicDawes Nicholas Dawes

Dialogue on trade reform today with SA Institute of Intl Affairs, Busa, British High Commission, UCT, M&G. Enoch Godongwana headlines.

 

Being the person I am I just HAD to go and Google who E.n.o.c.h G.o.n.d.o.n.g.w.a.n.a was.  Have you ever heard of Enoch Gondongwana? I also find that Twitter is much quicker than Google. If I need to know something then I just tweet it and I will have a multitude of answers (depending on who you follow you might even get some website links) in no time without having to Google it myself. I LOVE that I save so much time this way.

Reason#4:

I can follow my favourite brands AND get in on all the new developments/promotions before it becomes public knowledge. I love that I can complain about bad service and that it WILL be sorted out. Most big companies (i.e. FNB, Woolworths, Vodacom etc.) now employ people to watch all forms of social media for this purpose.

Reason #5

I love that there is so much control for me. I can follow whoever I want to(unless their profile is private) without needing their permission (like on Facebook) and if someone starts to annoy me then I can just unfollow  or block them without feeling bad about it. People follow and unfollow one another all the time on Twitter. It’s OK. Really.  I also love that some days I can just observe from the sidelines. Nobody can see (like with FB) if I am online or not.

Reason #6:

I have been invited to countless Tweetups though I haven’t gone to a single one as yet because I am a bit shy. However, it is only a matter of time before I go and then my social life (i.e. that thing that has been missing for a while) will totally take off thanks to Twitter.

Reason #7:

Words are my favourite thing in the whole wide world. Twitter forces me to be creative with my use of words. I am forced to say everything I need to say (I also need to make sure that the tone comes across as intended) in ONLY 140 characters. I refuse to use text speak or mixit speak and I WON’T abbreviate unless it is really necessary. I love that I am forced to play around with the words to make my point. I think that there is an app that you can use if your tweets are longer than 140 characters and of course I won’t be using THAT app. As far as I’m concerned, if you are constantly having to use more than 140 characters in a tweet then you need a blog.

Reason #8:

The outpouring of support from people that I have NEVER met is truly amazing. On Monday I night I tweeted that I would be taking my son for an Audiology and Speech Therapy Assessment yesterday. I got so much encouragement. Same on Tuesday morning. People who I had never met wished me well and relayed some experiences with their own kids. After speaking to my husband late yesterday afternoon I tweeted the results of the assessments. The encouragement and support that I received was phenomenal and I was so grateful. I haven’t blogged about the issue as yet (that’s for tomorrow)but not a single person who knows me IRL wished us well or even sent a text message or bothered to ask me how it all went.

 

I have to admit that it took me a while to get into twitter and I found it very overwhelming at first.  I still have a lot to learn but will share some strategies that work for me. For example:

I follow people whose blogs I read – there is already an online relationship with them.

I follow people who are interested in what I am interested in. For example, I am interested in news and current affairs so I tend to follow certain columnists, editors of online news sites, journalists etc. I follow people who force me to think out of the box sometimes – your thinkers and your maverick types. I also love quotes so I follow people who tweet a lot of quotes. I like to Laugh Out Loud regularly so I follow funny people and comedians.  I follow people who are also on a weight loss journey because I need all the inspiration and encouragement that I can get. I follow people who are clever and witty and compassionate. And I will not hesitate to unfollow them if I need to. Three strikes and you are OUT.

I don’t follow celebrities (they are so vain!)and I don’t follow people who are based overseas, mostly due to the time difference. Much as I love Twitter, I also need to sleep and I’m not going to stay up to tweet during the night.

Every two weeks or so I go through my followers list as well as the list of people who I am following and I do a clean up or some maintenance.  Almost like cleaning out your inbox. There are usually a few s.p.a.m.m.e.r.s which I remove and occasionally there are people who need to be unfollowed for whatever reason.

So. In a nutshell. I love Twitter. I cannot believe that I took so long to get onto the bandwagon.  I suggest that you just try it. BUT. Don’t give up too quickly because you will eventually get it. My twitter handle is @julia_za. You are welcome to follow me. I’ll follow back.

 

Dear FB, I think I’m tired of you…

I have been taking regular breaks (longish breaks) from FB. Every single time I go back on I realise just how much it annoys me.  When I am bored I sit on it, pass a few comments on updates that interest me and basically just LIKE stuff.

To be honest, I took a bit long to get on the FB bandwagon. I resisted it for the longest time because I know myself and I knew that it would somehow start to take over my life. My DH eventually started to sulk about the amount of time I spend on the internet (read: not with him) and I have since taken steps to work on that.

I am not sure why I use it. It started out as a fun thing and now I’m finding it a bit boring, especially since I like Twitter a whole lot more.

My FB profile is private and I am extremely selective about who I allow to view it.  I do not have hundreds and hundreds of FB friends because, quite frankly, I do not care be in touch with people that I attended High School with and I don’t want to share everything with everyone that I meet. I also feel quite restricted in what I update (I basically have to self-censor) because some of my family are on my friends list and I felt too bad to tell them to rather go and find another friend.

I am not comfortable putting pictures of my kids on the internet (if you do this, I am not judging you –  this is my issue) and so it isn’t as if I use it to show people how beautifully my kids are growing etc. I do think that it has its place in terms of promoting your business/cause and I love that I can make an announcement there instead of texting, phoning, emailing etc. I do wish that I could link this blog to my profile but again, that would mean self-censor because my family will have access to it.

People that I am friends with have hundreds and hundreds of friends so on the odd day when I do post an update, it is highly unlikely that they will even see it. This annoys me somewhat because, like everyone else, I love comments  and I often feel like I am talking to myself.

I don’t want to delete the profile because I do enjoy reading the stuff that I subscribe to and on the odd occasion I love using it for chat purposes, though strictly speaking there are other ways and means of chatting online.

For now, I check in once a day or so. And that’s probably fine. Even though it irritates me to no end.

I have a feeling that I am going to delete my profile at some point.