Social Media Makes the World Small. It’s Not That Deep

worldMy good friend belongs to the same dance troupe as the now-wife of my first lover, and has been for a year or so now. I know this thanks to some photos my friend has shared on Instagram. (C’est la vie.)

This past weekend, I went to a bar downtown and friended a guy who runs in the same musical circle as the childhood neighbor I’d play four-handed piano with on Tuesday nights after Bible study. (Just a happy coincidence.)

Just this afternoon at my day job, I came across the portfolio of someone whose name I immediately recognized from work I follow on social and creative media platforms. (Well, all right, then.)

I realize that these interactions pack a little less punch than, say, going to the deli or car wash and bumping into someone who just happens to be a friend of a friend of someone you used to know. However, these instances were just intimate enough that I’d be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t the least bit affected. But due to the modern web of social media, it only makes sense that these worlds would collide directly, and at times violently, into mine.

A few years ago, I might have viewed the above occurrences as chance, or maybe even a sign of the past being manifested as a present branching-off of a celestial event. I wouldn’t be the only one, either — perhaps you would feel similarly. With the wealth of exciting activity occurring in the universe this month that will continue to be observed from our vantage point on Earth, it’s only understandable. 

But let’s really think about it: Anyone can be found on the internet. As of March 2017, statistics suggest that at least half of the world’s population has access to the internet. Interactions such as the ones above are really not that random. It’s just that individually-drawn, personal associations are powerful enough in convincing people otherwise.

As for me, right now, I subscribe to the fact that the world is small as a result of the internet’s far reach — nothing more, or less. 

It’s kind of fun, fascinating, maybe even thrilling. But it’s also really not that deep.

Yes, You’ve Settled 

settled

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

In 2001, I had a Samsung flip phone, a 5G iPod nano, and a Dell Inspiron laptop running a Windows XP operating system. That was all I could ask for, and as a struggling college student, it made more sense to hold onto what I had until it either snapped in half or melted enough AC adaptors to render it useless.

Soon after graduation, however, smart devices were experiencing a massive boom, so I decided to move onto something new. I totally could have got another flip phone, as they were and are still being manufactured. But for me, it was time for me to join the new and ultra-improved tech stream the whole world had found itself thrust into. And so I did, essentially trading three devices for one.

Now, new tech is one of those things that — while increasing exponentially — is at most everyone’s fingertips in the form of a smartphone. With constant release of new products, updates, and features, it can a challenge to keep up — but either you do, or you don’t. The choice, relatively, is yours.

This can apply to anything you can think of, from a film or music genre to a sex position. It’s great to know what you like — but being so sure runs the all-too real risk of being frozen in time. And not in a classic, timeless sense, either. More like a primitive relic.

I’ve been feeling this lately and have been making an effort to implement simple strategies to be more in tune with the outside world instead of humming along, ignorantly blissful within mine:

1. Listening to new music. This has probably has been the easiest and most accessible way to keep stay in the now, because — while I may question some of the latest trends in popular music — it gives me some insight into what is “hot” or “fresh”, therefore leaving me feeling somewhat hot and fresh. It’s also given me more insight into how my parents and other adults felt about Top 40 music when I was a teen during the late nineties. (Sorry, Mom and Pop.)

Today I stumbled upon Julia Michaels while reading an article from BBC that piqued my interest. A songwriter-turned-pop-artist, she reminded me a bit of Tove Lo, who I can’t get enough of. So I figured, why not give her a chance? Michaels’ debut mini-album “Nervous System” was released just this past Friday, and if you like pop music with a little twist, you’ll probably like this. (Saucy types, stick around for “Pink”.)

2. Reading articles from start to finish. Like, actually reading them and not merely reacting to a headline.

Cool story: I came across a Vanity Fair article on tonight’s Game of Thrones episode (look out for spoilers) and I had geared up to tell them off via Twitter based on my strong reaction to the headline via Google search. (I actually did, but deleted the tweet once I actually read the article. Oops.)

Say what??

Just saying, we’re all guilty of falling into sticky af clickbait and we should know better by now but, you know, we don’t.

3. Hanging out with people. Whether online or in-person (ideally the latter), social engagement is where the magic happens. Having turned 32 this year, I feel very “old” sometimes, and yeah, while not a teenager, my mind feels like me, which is as only old as I feel. And now the cliche phrase makes sense, whereas it used to be just words.

Sharing ideas, interests, coming to a common ground, etc. keeps the blood flowing to the appendages, as it were. Keeps the neurons alight and all that jazz. Going where people are may take a little effort, but more often than not, it’s worth it.

Don’t get me wrong: having that comfort feeling that makes you feel how you felt the first time doing anything is one of the best things out there. Like that cozy sleeping-in feeling on a rainy day, being comfortable is absolutely needed. Just remember that being too comfortable can run the risk of mental and emotional atrophy from staying in the same place for too long. 

Besides, new experiences are always out there, waiting for that first time feeling to be uncovered. Rarely will they be where you’ve been a million times before.

So get moving.

Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 5

Leg day, glute day, lower body day — my favorite, my favorite. Probably because when I see or feel progression, it is such an accomplishment. My lower body is a beast and I’ll always be working to tame it. Definitely a worthy challenge.

Here’s a routine I did the other day for time, which was around 56 minutes:

I have a community gym in my apartment complex – no fancy machines, but some equipment (dumbbells, ankle weights, resistance bands, ab rollers/slides, pull up bar, etc.). It’s been fun figuring out and improving upon basic exercises/functions in the name of strength progression. Like kinesiology, except, well, obviously not.

Still, it can be a little bit of a challenge to wake up other muscles in the body, which why I surf other blogs, YouTube channels, Pinterest, and the great and powerful Google for inspiration. I mean the way that the “yeah, she squats” craze burned across the interwebs years ago, I’d’ve never thought to do abductions or pull throughs. Like, come on now. She does more than squat, fool.

Anyway, a lot of folks incorporate and modify moves by “The Glute Guy” Bret Contreras, who incorporates and modifies from others as well. Let’s face it, though: he’s some kinda king. Boss of butts.

Abby Pollock on YouTube is also a favorite of mine with her scientific breakdowns to understand why and how instead of blindly jumping in and hoping for the best.

Check out previous episodes here:

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1

Where do you get your workout inspiration?

Is LinkedIn the New Facebook?

I used to follow a very notable personality who I had assumed was an expert in nutrition, fitness, etc. Without naming names, it was one of those situations where — with  an e-book, numerous videos, subscribers, a certain aesthetic and surety in one’s voice — it would have been tough to not think they were an expert in some way.

Naturally, not just this one person, but many others I’d assumed to be relative experts, started coming out as just that: personalities, with life experience as teacher, and not experts in their field or line of interest.

Now, to me, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. However, there is something to be said for some backing regarding one’s experience rather than merely what they speak about. It’s one of the reasons why I’m taking public speaking courses, digging through old textbooks on literary theory, looking to perform personal essays — for me myself, I need some educational backing to improve upon my interests, and to work with the world around me to do so  (but I digress… so worth it, though).

With all that said, LinkedIn is quickly becoming the hottest place for normal folks to build one’s brand, if not already. No longer a place to merely update your resume in between jobs, it is a highly active networking/sharing platform for professionals of all types.

On YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., if you’re a lifestyle / vegan / travel / fashion / fitness / model / guru / whatever, you’re probably going to be lost in a sea of carefully crafted personas. LinkedIn, however, is a slightly smaller pool with with less trolling and more substance. It is user-friendly with liking, sharing, and following capabilities, but is built on professionalism first. Now a place with influencers and channels, it’s a buzzing environment and a lot of fun to navigate.

In my personal opinion, Facebook is quickly becoming MySpace in the form of memes, viral video sharing, and random pages of cluttered, black hole content. It seems to be implementing flashy integrations to boost its relevancy when compared to competitors rather than actually improve users’ experience — whereas other outlets such as LinkedIn provide more focus, with the foundation of professional networking that seems to curb any overstepping.

Social media is definitely not going anywhere. It provides an opportunity in which spectator can be entertainer (and vice versa), a highly interactive format where anyone’s voice can be heard. That’s powerful. And really, for all the meh content and functionality, there’s some really great stuff out there as well.

But if you’re looking to improve upon your brand and network, I highly suggest LinkedIn. If you’re not logged in at least three times a week, well, you really might want to be. In fact, I dare you.

Do you think I have a point, or is this all BS? (I don’t think so, but I’m open to being wrong).

What’s your favorite way to network?

Carrie Bradshaw on Social Media

I want to apologize in advance because most every female blogger writes about Carrie Bradshaw, but you have to understand: this character has inspired some very strong feelings among writers. Like, strong economic, social, and political feelings. She’s ridiculous. She’s fictional. And that’s why, over 13 years after Sex & the City‘s season finale, a lot of people are still talking about her.

This begs the question — would Carrie Bradshaw actually have made it as a writer in today’s digital world?

I think so. Here’s why:

1. Sex sells and always will. I don’t know how many more songs about putting one’s panties to the side or if the vagina cleavage trend will continue, but this is the world we currently live in. Opening it up for discussion and debate to a wide audience, however, still takes skill and personality. Achieving Loveline, Savage Love, or Sex with Emily status might take more work if Carrie Bradshaw was just starting out — but sex- and relationship-talk definitely speaks to people, and it’s not going anywhere.

2. Carrie networked ALL the time. And I mean all the time. Scoping out a new art gallery, wine bar or restaurant is so much more than hanging out with your friends — it’s an opportunity. You never know who you could meet in line for the valet. If you really think about it, the only difference between a night out and networking is a business card.

3. She loved fashion because she truly, unashamedly loved it, not because it was trendy. Fashion was Carrie’s passion: more than writing, more than food (but never more than her friends). She veered towards vintage styles, visited second-hand shops, and rocked questionable styles — because fashion was her life. The designer clothes, shoes, and accessories she purchased were as much of an extension of her as any other part of her body. And sure, she may have cringed at any past fashion sense, but she never regretted it. That type of authenticity and energy doesn’t go without notice.

4. Carrie wrote authentically, introspectively and with curiosity. From one night stands to challenging sexuality (not her best moment), to dealing with fetishes and cheating (also not her best moment), Carrie wrote with a vulnerability that made her come off as a real person. She remained true to herself, even if that meant she was unlikable.

So where would Carrie Bradshaw find her greatest reach if she was on social media today?

While YouTube seems to be the go-to platform, I personally think Instagram would garner the biggest interest, at least at first. All she would need would be the camera on a smartphone and literally the designer clothes on her back. Carrie barely used email, so why not go the way of least investment? #shoppingismycardio

The next step would probably be a blog, and perhaps contributing her views of love and sex to e-zines such as xoJane, Ravishly, The Gloss and others, so as to boost interest and traffic flow back to her online portfolio. Of course this would mean she would need to dip her toes into the SEO pool, which, for someone who was afraid of using email or a cell phone, would not be an easy task. It’s not enough to write what you’re passionate about (although it really helps) — and that’s where learning SEO would really help. And then there’s always the slightly formidable but necessary process of personal branding, (and so on and so forth)….

Strategy, research, and planning, with trial and error being part of the fun. Just like print media when you think about it, only at a quicker publishing speed. I can’t help but wonder if Carrie would make it after all?