Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Social Network’

Using Facebook For Good

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve hesitated to write on this subject for over 3 years now.  It is a sensitive issue – but as I always want to be an encourager and my purpose is to build up – here goes.

Is Facebook bad?  Can Facebook be evil?  I hear almost everyday – someone, somewhere telling me that they will never join Facebook because of what they’ve heard.  Or another person will write on a status update that they need to “fast” Facebook because they feel convicted as it can be time-consuming and maybe even tempt them in unhealthy ways and relationships.  Some pastors even believe that they should get their church members off Facebook.  That feels very discouraging to me.  Especially when I read about it in a person’s status update.  It is better to be encouraging and positive.  I love to read what other pastors and leaders say on the subject.  Those that use it for good.  They say that Facebook is not evil – people have sometimes misused it and made it that way.  But it is also a great tool for connecting with people.  This is so true.

I have been saddened by some status updates.  Status updates that say someone is taking a fast or going away altogether – leaving the impression by those of us still using social networking – that we have missed the boat – are wasting time or something worse.  It is these same people who feel convicted and then try to “convict” everyone else on connecting with people.  And while sometimes past connections can be unhealthy – or at least not the best, Facebook should not be blamed.

As long as we have had people – there has always been a tendency to wander and step outside the boundaries.  Affairs with people from the past happened as far back as the Bible days and before.  If you have the desire to go outside your marriage – you don’t need Facebook to do that.

I love Facebook.  It has allowed me to connect with people from our past ministry life and those I thought we would never see again – and be a very real part of their lives again.  It’s a miracle.  I also love seeing pictures and updates on students of mine past and present – and our wonderful family and close friends.

The problem comes when we listen to negative propaganda that claims that Facebook is the number one reason that marriages fail.  It is not because of Facebook, people.  It’s because people are flawed human beings.  If you are looking for that sort of thing – you can find it and not just on social networking.  Facebook is simply a tool.  It’s neutral.  Neither positive or negative.  If you want to message someone and have private conversations you can do this on Facebook – just like you can also do that on email or by regular mail, texting and cell phone calls.  Like any other resource and tool – it needs to be used wisely – not blamed when you or others mess up.

I believe Facebook can and should be used for good.  You can be an encourager.  You can be that positive role model – spreading around joy and hope for others.  You can use humor as a great way of relieving stress in everyday life.  And you can share pictures and updates in a way that build up – not tear down.  But most of all – you can stay connected to those that are a real part of your life.

Now I know what some of you are going to say.  “There’s so much drama and negative stuff on Facebook now – and what about those political opinions from those VERY VOCAL and opinionated!”  And ALL THOSE GAME REQUESTS!!!!  Here is what I do.  I don’t get involved in politics on Facebook.  You can’t win.  If I feel that someone is being too vocal on certain subjects and I’m uncomfortable – I just go to the home page and click the “x” on the right side of the comment.  This gives me the option of seeing any more comments from them.  It has cleaned up many things on my home page – so I simply don’t see the negative, inappropriate and the unnecessary.  I block any game request I don’t want or remove the app altogether.  I also clean up my friend list once in a while too – I simply don’t connect with everyone on my list and so I remove them.  When that is not an option – the “hiding” of their comments is better for me.

Here’s another thing I’ve done lately.  I’ve put the ones I talk to and connect with most often in a “list” called “close friends”.  I have another one for “Current students”  “Church friends” “Family” etc.  Instead of having my regular “News Feed” on my home page – I just pull up the list that I want and write a status update so that those people on my list are the only ones who see what I write.  This works great for me getting messages to my students without having to write a private message.  I also only “friend” people that I know.  This is a HUGE bonus.  If someone requests me that I don’t – I will not friend them unless it is a friend of a student or a friend of a friend.  If people from my past make me uncomfortable and try to friend me – I just don’t accept.  There’s no fear here – I am in control of who I talk to and let into my world.

Another blessing has been the ability to promote my music studio by having a “fan page” just for that purpose.  I show photos and videos of past recitals and the students who are involved with taking music lessons.  It is a great link to my actual website – since so many people are now on Facebook.

If you’re reading this and have done some of the status updates that I’ve mentioned above – those that would try to “convict” and “moralize” something that you feel strongly about – here’s what you could do next time.  Simply disconnect with others that are making you feel this way, unfriend those that need to be unfriended and if you are really having trouble with being disciplined with your time you spend – instead of making a statement about that – just walk away for a while.  You don’t need to tell anyone – or find excuses for why you’re leaving – because you are going to find that most people on Facebook really love what they’re doing – and the people who they’re connected with.  And making people feel bad should never be a conscious decision.   Being positive and allowing others to be who they are – is always a better choice.  

I’m hoping you will join me in using something so wonderful – a vehicle for staying connected with others – for good.

 

God Bless

Yes I Really Do Have 700 Friends On Facebook

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The other day I attempted to “cut my friend list” on facebook.  You know how it goes – you have an account for a while, and pretty soon people just start “appearing” on your friend list until you have near 1000 people!  This happened to me a few years ago.  I heard the snickers and taunts from my other facebook friends, “no one has 100o friends!” and set out to cut it back and only have people there I actually knew in person and had a connection with.

That was 2 or 3 years ago.  Then over time it crept up again as I slowly added those that were “late adopters” in joining the social media world.  Students, former students and people I had a relationship with on some level all came on board and asked to “friend” me.  Usually I did – because I knew them, or a friend knew them.

And like you, I have also been forced to eliminate some who I don’t need to be seeing every little thing they do, have contact with – or who for some reason have made me feel uncomfortable by status updates, pictures and comments.  And some people I do not feel comfortable with them seeing every little thing about me either.  But luckily this number is very small.

The other day I noticed my numbers were climbing up there again.  “NO ONE has 800 or 1000 close friends”, I said to myself.  I went through my list of “friends” and started eliminating based on whether or not I ever had a conversation with them.  As I was cutting back my list – I noticed something.  Most of these people are students, former students, past ministry life, or current friendships and church connections.  And because I love being connected with those I have had a part in the investing process – I don’t want to cut it loose.  Students grow up, get jobs, get married and have children – how much I would miss if I didn’t have them on facebook.

I guess the bottom line is this:

Yes I REALLY DO have 700 friends in my life.  I would not have known that until I went to look at them closely, individually, one by one.  Each face is a reminder of an event in both our lives that made that special connection.  Some are people I know only through the blogging community and many of them I have been able to talk with on Skype, although I have not met them in person.  They are daily contributors to my world of writing – and we have a common faith in Jesus Christ.

For those of you who are not aware who is on your friend list – I encourage you to do the same thing.  Look at your list and for each person you keep, remember why they are in your life and what brought you to this point in time.

I love making new friends – but mostly the people who I remain in contact with are the relationships that have stood the test of time and have meaning in my life today.

I am thankful for facebook.  It has allowed me to stay in touch and be a part of those I love as we share pictures, love and laughter together, encouraging and praying for each other – it helps to fill in those times when we can’t be together in person 🙂

As a teacher – facebook has been a great tool for keeping students and parents informed.  I have a page for my music studio as well as one for my blog.  These have both been great tools of communication!

And I’m a sucker for former and current students “dropping by” my page and saying “hello” to me 🙂

How many “friends” do you have on facebook?

God Bless

Blog Sharing Friday

Today I have three more AWESOME blogging buddies to share with you.

1. Duane Scott of Duane Scott-Scribing The Journey is someone I met on google+ and twitter. He’s a really gifted writer and someone who has become a friend as well. You will love the way he describes everyday things in life – along his own personal journey with his “southern gal” and his cute little puppy, Mr. Watson.  Duane is young enough to be my son – but feels in every way like a contemporary and a real friend.  It just goes to show that age really doesn’t matter – it is the connection of the heart that bonds people in friendship – and there are many “kindred spirits” out there – if we take the time to discover them. Duane is one of those.

2. Keri Welch of Pop Parables is someone I also met online through twitter.  She had just written a blog about Lady Gaga and I found it very interesting and have been a regular reader since then.  She also lives here in the Great Northwest – not far from where I live, and a trip is being planned where all of us who live here can all get together in October.  We are the #WestCoastNinjas 🙂  Keri is someone of deep faith and it pours out through her writings.  Always well read and prepared for any subject, she is engaged and careful to always return discussion questions on each of her articles.  She has a great sense of humor and it flows easily in her comments to others.  Keri is someone I am proud to call friend and can’t wait to meet in person 🙂

3. Alise Wright of Alise…Write! is another gifted writer that I know through twitter and other people who have featured her writings on their blog sites.  Always pleasant and full of fun – Alise writes of her daily journey in a humorous way, both charming and engaging.  Alise is also a musician, so we have that in common 🙂  I am absolutely BUMMED that I cannot add her RSS Live Feed to the right side of my page – and have had a couple of discussions with her on this very subject!  We’ve both agreed that my blog must not like her website – or her website must not like wordpress or some such nonsense – but no matter – I LIKE HER – so that’s all that matters!  I follow her on facebook and twitter so I will know when she has another great article to read – along with Duane and Keri – and they all have pages for their blog sites – look them up!

I hope that you will check out these three blog sites and follow them – they will BLESS YOU!

For more awesome blogs that I have featured in past weeks – please check out the attached articles below.

Have an awesome Friday!  God Bless

Blog Sharing Friday

Friends

Image via Wikipedia

As part of my Friday tradition over the last month or so – I have 3 more fantastic people to share with you – I hope you will take a look at their blog sites – and you will be daily inspired as I am.  Here they are in no particular order:

1) Moe Vivas – the owner and author of  Beta Christian  I have only known Moe a short time via twitter and our blog sites – I have never met him in person – I live on the West Coast and he is from New York – but I have enjoyed his wit and humor – and his very deep and spiritual blog articles.  He is a daily presence in the blogging world and on my blog and social media – and I’ve come to enjoy talking with him and sensing his deep commitment to Christ and to other believers.  Check out his series on “American Idols” and “The Usual Suspects” – on various Bible Characters.

2) Michael Perkins – the owner and author of  Untitled by Michael Perkins.  I have known Michael the same amount of time – through twitter and his blog site.  He is the one who designed my blog Logo at the top of this page – and has a business doing web design called  Epic Elephant Designs.  Michael is a pastor and friend to many and I have been inspired by his giving nature – the mark of a true Christ follower.  He is a daily presence in the blogging world and here on my site as well as in all social media.  I know you will be inspired and blessed by reading his articles.

3)  Dustin Valencia – owner and author of  the Abraham Chronicles.  Dustin and I have never met in person either – he is someone who I found through someone elses blog site – but once I landed there – I never left and daily read his articles which are both humorous and inspiring with relevant content.  Dustin is also a daily presence in the blogging community and my blog site as well as other social media.  You will enjoy his humor and down-to-earth way of expressing himself and relating to the world around him – as well as deeply caring for others in his world.

 

I have many more blogging buddies to share – and will try to share 3 each Friday.  I know you will be blessed by the 3 I mentioned above.

 

Have a wonderful weekend and God Bless!

The Secret Of Doing Life Together (Featured on Some Wise Guy)

Today I have the awesome privilege of being featured as a guest blogger for K.C. Procter’s Blog – called Some Wise Guy.  I am always honored when other people read my “stuff” and see something worthy in it – what a surprise to me to say the least!  I wrote this specifically for his blog after some helpful ideas of what he wanted – and since he is featuring women for the month of May – I happily indulged him with an article about “The Secret of Doing Life Together”  about my awesome husband Greg.  I hope you will also visit Some Wise Guy to see it there and other great articles on his site. 

About ThatGuyKC: Father, husband, bible-thumping ninja, mac user, aspiring tentblogger, MBA student, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

My husband, Greg and I have been married for almost 30 years. That is a long time – especially in this day and age. Our happy marriage has not come without some conflict and adjustment along the way. In fact, I used to believe that having disagreements and points of discussion was not healthy – but now I can see that I was wrong.  Read More Here

A Funny Guest Post From KC Procter

I read something today that was just hilarious.  It is from my new online friend and blogging buddy,  KC Procter.  KC manages a couple of blog sites – is a happy husband and father of two – is busy finishing up some schooling to become an MBA and is active in social networking.  I have enjoyed his humorous take on life and in his many ‘tweets’ and comments.  I would encourage you to check out this blog called “Some Wise Guy” – and in particular the article he wrote today –3 Kid Words Dads Accidentally Say At The Office .  It is about using ‘kid’ words after we’re grown-up – come on – we ALL do it!  If you need a good laugh today – read the article that he wrote and the comments too – it will make your day!

And be sure and add KC to your blog roll – you will enjoy his articles!

God Bless!

The Future Of Social Networking

I just read an article and watched a really cool video showing the future of social networking on my friend David Mile’s blog.  David has a wonderful and innovative blog site and I encourage you to check it out!  David is a former staff buddy who served alongside my husband at New Life Church in Renton, Washington.  He is fun, quick and full of great ideas.  He has a beautiful wife and a new baby girl – and it is fun to read his blog about his experiences about being a new father.  It is also fun picking his brain and seeing what other ideas he can come up with!  The church where he now serves, Maple Valley Presbyterian – is lucky to have him 🙂

I have been increasingly frustrated with some social networking – and would LOVE to have it be more like what is presented in the video on David’s blog.  This is MY kind of future!!

I love facebook because of the interaction. I have a regular group of friends and we communicate almost everyday – share jokes, pictures, links and laughs.  If you are one of those newer “facebookers” and have about 10 friends – and I am one of them – you will see me a lot on your home page – because I am talking and communicating with friends.  It will look to you like I am talking to myself to just hear myself talk – or something equally ridiculous.  I’ve actually had people with a few friends say to me, “You’re on ALL THE TIME”  or, “I know EVERYTHING about you”  which of course is silly and not true.  I am on facebook to connect with others and to have fun, sure – but it is NOT just ME out there.  Now if you have several hundred people on your friend list then my comment are very seldom. And almost non-detectable to most on my list.  It’s all in your lens and how you view social networking.  It is simply a tool – used to connect.  I can tell you that I’ve found hundreds of people from places and situations where my husband and I  have lived all over the country – and it is so fun to share life with them again – where it would not be possible any other way.

Skype is also great!  I talk to my parents on this fairly often even though they only live about 25 minutes from me.  It puts a face with the conversation and makes it feel like you’re right in the same room.  My Mother loves this 🙂  I have other friends from different parts of the world too – and it’s been great to actually see them real-time and have a conversation – I love this!

As a person who has a business – it has been really great for me to stay connected with students and teachers through a website and facebook page.  I love knowing what is going on with my students and be able to connect and communicate such things as upcoming events and schedule changes – as well as fun music I want them to see – or past recital performances to inspire!

I’m still getting used to twitter and can’t say that I love it.  I know that everyone else DOES.  It puzzles me more than anything.  Here’s what I don’t like:  People just spewing out random little “nothings” about every 2 minutes or so.  Now to be fair – I found out from my friend and fellow “Twitteror” Deanna, that  people have apps that run all these random little “nothings” for them – so they don’t have to actually do anything themselves – all work is done for them.  It makes them appear plugged in and engaged in social media – when they aren’t even there. Pretty crazy.  I’m kinda wondering, “what’s the point”?  And as far as connecting with others in the music profession like myself?  Blah.  Nobody takes the time to answer questions on twitter.  I can reply – retweet and follow those I think will have helpful tips and be able to share education experiences – and I’ve come up with MANY dead ends on this.  Most will NEVER ever reply to me.  Following a blog is a WAY better idea.

Which brings us to blogging.  This is probably my favorite social networking of any of them – and I belong to them all – even Linkedin, Stumbleupon, Reddit and Digg.  Blogging brings people together in a very specific way – those that are on your same journey.  There’s something powerful about that.  At least for me.  I started this blog site a little over 2 years ago because I felt the need to express myself and thoughts through writing.  The site was really just for me – but it’s turned into way more than I ever thought and the Lord used it in a mighty way that blows my mind.  I’ve even been on the radio talking about it my blog and blogging in general – as well as being a “guest blogger” on many different blog sites.  It’s humbling to say the least – I never thought that my words or thoughts could be so powerful in motivating and encouraging others – but they have been and I thank God for that because that’s all I ever want to be – a blessing to others.  I get private emails all the time expressing how my writing of a particular article is just for them – it’s really wonderful to hear.  I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve gained by blogging – just look at my blogroll and RSS feed and you’ll see the friends and people who have influenced me and literally rock my daily world. I’m proud to call each of them friend.

Now there is a secret with blogging that some of us understand.  I’m going to let you in on it too – if you are reading this and contemplating a blog site for yourself or you want to gain more readers.  You have to take the initiative.   You have to be a presence on their blog site.  This takes focus and is a time commitment on your part – but it’s well worth it.  Decide who you want to invest in – and then be there – make a contribution by commenting.  It should be returned – but sadly, it isn’t always.  Be the one to leave the comments as  a courtesy and eventually they will follow your example.  Is this always easy to do?  No.  I follow about 10 or so blogs consistently and it does take time – but the relationship and contribution through blogging is invaluable and you can’t find that elsewhere – so it is worth investing in.  Women are better at this than men – and I don’t hold it against my guy friends who don’t always contribute to my blog – they simply are just not able to with time constraints and let’s face it – men don’t need to connect like women do – so go easy on them.  They are still reading your blog 🙂

Just don’t be one of those that thinks, “If I comment on their blog – no one will want to visit and comment on my blog anymore”  You couldn’t be MORE WRONG.  Change your attitude and decide to be the positive and encouraging word for them.  You may literally change a bad day.  And be the reason that they keep writing.

Click here to see the video “A Day Made Of Glass” to see all the future possibilities in store for us!  And thanks to my friend, David for posting this today!

God Bless

Reinventing Me!

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Image via CrunchBase

I am on a journey.  I am a child of the sixties who lived a whole lifetime before I met my husband in college – and have live a whole lifetime since then.  I have always found it easy to go through changes and adapt easily to new ideas.  It was never an adjustment for me to get married or to move around so much because of the career path my husband chose.  Leaving friends behind was always harder for me than a major move – and frankly I had more trouble leaving Canada when I was 8 because of a friendship – than I ever did moving so much when I was an adult.

When I was young most everybody had one television in their home – usually black and white and if you were really rich – you had a color set in addition to the black and white.  There was no such thing as VCR’s for recording programs that you missed – if you were gone (like church) you just simply missed it.  Being a child of the 60’s and 70’s was not fun for that reason.  Transistor radios and tape recorders were popular then – and I remember getting my own tape recorder when I was 10.  I would record myself talking and singing – it was great fun!

When I was in Junior High and High School – record albums were in vogue – and I had many vinyls – like Michael Jackson, Carpenter’s, Barry Manilow,  Elton John, Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire.  Cd’s were starting to become popular in the early 80’s and did not catch on with us until later than that.  We owned many cassette tapes and it was expensive to switch over – but switch over we did!  And I remember when people were first getting Cd players in their cars – so expensive!

Our first computer in the mid 80’s was a 286 – long before the world-wide web was popular in homes.  This computer was more like a word processor and I remember being at a job in Alaska where it was a big deal to train on one of these to make the office more efficient.  I even worked as a manager for a cable place in Fairbanks, Alaska – and they used microfiche – and it was usually a week behind.

Our first taste of the internet was when Greg was given a computer for his 40th birthday – 11 years ago.  We were a little slow getting with the program 🙂

I did have a cell phone back in the day.  I used to be a sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics and would have long commutes to and from church on Wednesday – when I would drive down from our home to choir practice with 2 children in the car and it wasn’t against the law to talk on a cell phone yet.  I would make my business calls while traveling.  This was about 15 years ago.  Cell phones and computers have come a long way since then.

I have always loved each new change – I had a  LG flip phone for a couple of years – when it was new it was really great – but like any technology it soon got left in the dust – to be replaced by newer and more efficient models.  I now use an iPhone – not the newest one – but it’s still an iphone 🙂

When my daughter was a teenager I joined MySpace.  Facebook wasn’t even invented yet.  I liked MySpace – could put my favorite music on there – and was considered to be a pretty ‘hip’ Mom for joining in and being a part of the younger people’s world.

When Facebook started to make some noise – and when my friend, Nat Holland told me she liked it better than MySpace because it was international – I thought I would check it out.  I was ahead of my time because this was about 5 years ago – when NO ONE my age was on it yet.  After that everyone began to join – even the ones that swore up and down that they would NEVER do it.  🙂  I have connected with hundreds of people from our ministry life all around the world because of this vehicle.

Two years ago I started a blog site and have been writing ever since.  My husband says that I’ve always been a little bit ahead of the curve – fearless about starting something new – and though not reinventing the wheel – I’m really reinventing myself – through all the changes in technology and how people relate in social media available today.  My life has taken on new meaning by doing this – I get numerous emails from my blog and have been able to develop and minister to many hurting people as a result.  I love my blogging buddies!  And I’m just a newbie – but I have actually encouraged and helped MANY people start blog sites of their own.  It’s been a great experience for me.

My latest reinvention – twitter.  I joined a couple of years ago – but could never get the hang of it – until…my pastor and friend, Stephen suggested that it might be good for connecting with others in business.  I took him at his word and have put myself out there a little more and have searched and FOUND many music teachers like myself – who just need a little encouragement.  Twitter is a quick way to stay involved and see what others are doing in the music community – and for them to see what I do as well.  When you’re a private teacher – you need all the help and encouragement you can get!

Here’s to you as you reinvent yourself in this fast paced technology of today’s world.  It’s your choice – learn something new – or get left behind.  I choose to keep learning as I age.

 

God Bless

The Bottom Line to Social Networking

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I am an unashamed social networker.  I have heard all the horror stories just like you – and even know those who refuse to join something like facebook because of what they’ve heard.

A couple of weeks ago – my husband and I went to see the movie about the humble beginnings of Mark Zuckerberg and what has now become a multi-billion dollar company, facebook.  It takes nothing short of a genius to create something like this and build and promote it to its HUGE success today.  It’s really fascinating.  I’m not so concerned with how Mark was portrayed in this movie – it may or may not be true and I’m sure he is NOT a big ‘people person’ – he may in fact be a jerk – but no one can argue that jerk or not – he is the youngest billionaire in the world.

I remember hearing about facebook about 5 years ago – but it seemed that even then you needed to belong to a University or at least be a student somewhere to join.   None of my friends were on there.  Myspace was the big deal then – and at first I resisted having my own page.  I would look around on my daughters page and moniter like any good parent to make sure there weren’t any weird people talking to her.  Then finally I gave in and created my own page – complete with music that I liked and pictures just where I wanted them.  It was fun – and each day I was finding more and more people who I knew.

Facebook was always in the back of my mind though.  I learned from one of my friends, from Australia, that facebook was the better way to connect with people and especially those overseas.  She actually preferred it and urged me to try it.  So about 4 years ago, I did.  Not many of my friends were on 4 years ago – it was a little lonely being in my age group with a bunch of younger people – but I took a leap and just dove in.  It was fun – and like Christmas everyday when someone new would ‘add’ me – or find me.  The profile page looked quite a bit different in those days and it was fun adding little touches that made my page unique.

As the word spread about facebook to my age group – more and more people joined everyday – and what was once very sparse with people my age –  is now impressively in the lead with numbers – I’m talking about those in the 35-55 age group.  Go BABY BUSTERS AND BOOMERS!!

Here is my ‘2 cents’ about facebook:

1)  It is a social network – created to communicate and find people.  If you have a page – communicate and be social!

2)  It is NOT evil or the antichrist – built to suck out your brains, your intellect and your time.  If that is how you feel about talking to people online – you best not even email anybody.

3) It IS a tool designed for making it easier for people to connect, share pictures and information with people who you know from all over the world that otherwise it would be impossible to do.  How many people do you still keep in touch with from 20 or 30 years ago that haven’t moved at least 3 times, changed their telephone number and email so many times you can’t track them anymore.  Facebook allows you to find and stay in a person’s world and transcends moving addresses, telephone numbers and email accounts.

4)  There are privacy settings for the paranoid and for people suffering from all forms of paranoia out there.  I am being a little factitious –  obviously none of us want our identity stolen (which I have had done – and it was NOT by information on facebook – but rather through credit card residuals).  But information can be easily obtained – and most everyone can be accessed today – information and all through the internet.  You just have to be cautious – like with anything else in your life – and use common sense.  If someone wants your information – believe me.  They can get it – I’m proof of that.  We cannot live in fear – we just need to practice wisdom as with anything else.

5) For the ‘stalkers’ and people who do not want to ‘friend’ me – but want to look at my information – I’m not interested in you seeing my stuff – and I have employed the wonderful little ‘block’ application on my privacy settings.  You’re either a friend and would be proud to be on my list – or you’re not.  If there are people that you do NOT want seeing what you write about – to see pictures and things you do on  facebook – then this is very handy and I must admit – I have had to use it. I figure if they are my friends – they will already be on my list and I will let them see anything I post – and if they want to be my friend – they will send me a request – but if they are not and have no intention of being so – then they don’t have any business seeing my page.  Luckily I haven’t had to use the ‘block’ option often.  But likely you may have cause to use this option – at least once or twice.  There is also a wonderful little ‘X’ that you can click on – that allows you to ‘hide’ someone’s status updates and comments when they are  rude or vulgar.  Luckily I have only had to do this a few times.  Remember – if you do this – the person will not know that you have done it.  They do not get notified – much the same way if you have to delete a friend or even block someone – they are not notified.  It is a safe way to keep your world more private.

6) Sometimes you have to do a little ‘house cleaning’ on your friend list.  I had close to 1100 friends at one time.  No one has that many friends.  It’s crazy.  And because people have their friend lists open to everyone – it did feel a little like my information was getting out to too many people whom I did not know.  Therefore I went through my list and decided if I really knew that person and communicated with them – then they would stay.  I would ask myself, – ‘Do they ever communicate with me?  Even once in a while?  Would they care or not care if they were in my ‘world’?’  And I started thinning it out a little.  I got it down to under 700 and that is where it has remained for several months.  I have left my name so that when doing a search for my name – it will come up – but everything else is very private.  There is a good reason for this.  And I know you have your reasons too.  If you know me and want to be in ‘my world’ – then add me – otherwise I will  not add you – if I don’t know you.

7)  I have found people from days gone by that my husband and I knew 30  years ago and it has been a joy and a pleasure to welcome them and reconnect!  This is one of the simple pleasures of facebook!

8) I love connecting with good friends each and every day – to know what they’re doing and they know what I’m doing too.  It is the day and age of information exchange and this can be a very positive thing!

9) Don’t criticize what you don’t know anything about.  I don’t know how many people I have tried to convince that facebook is NOT evil – but actually a great tool for communication – and those that refuse seem very critical and even negative – thinking that all we do all day is sit on the computer and waste time.  Well – my computer is on all day but believe it or not I actually do have a life that is very busy and full.  I teach 25 students a week and am preparing again to teach music to a theater class.  I prepare lesson plans – listen to music – write on my blog – print out sheet music – practice the piano – prepare meals for my family – shop – socialize with my husband – etc. etc. etc…..  Do I ignore my friends on facebook because I have so much else to do?  NEVER.  It is a choice.  And it takes a moment to wish someone a good day – to give a word of encouragement and a smile.  I am prompt at returning my emails and messages.  Are people really saying they’re too busy to do this?  We all know people that only check their email once a month – so FRUSTRATING!!  I’m pretty busy and I still have time to answer my emails and messages and to communicate with  my friends everyday.  However – I do not show that I am online because for me – it is distracting to have someone break in and send me a message with online ‘chat’ – while I am working.  But I never ignore a message and return everyone as soon as I can.

10) Limit yourself if you are not good at ‘time-management’.  You only waste time that you allow to be wasted.  I am not a time waster – so the idea of having to ‘take a break’ from talking or encouraging someone everyday seems crazy to me – but I hear about people doing this.  Just can’t relate.  I would never take a break from being a friend to someone.  To me it’s unthinkable.  And it gives facebook and those of us that love social networking a bad name.

And finally – if you see me online – say ‘hello’ – don’t just ‘quietly observe’ so I won’t know you’re online.  I don’t know how many people have said to me, ‘I see you on facebook – you seem to be having so much fun – I don’t like to say anything, I just like to look”  Make your presence known!! – Facebook is for connecting and being social.  Stop by and let me know you’re there!  I’m not too busy to have a quick word of encouragement or to see how you’re doing.  No one should be too busy for that.

Have fun – brighten someone’s day today.  You may be the only one who does!

God Bless

How I Use My Blog

Moo cards for blogging workshop

Image by Mexicanwave via Flickr

A whole new world opened up to me – when I began a blog site.

I have always loved to write down thoughts and feelings – what was happening around me and my ‘take’ on the situations I found myself in – but it was always just for me alone.

When you begin a blog – you need to decide how much of yourself you are willing to reveal – if you are used to writing in a personal journal.

As I began to share my journey – I found others out there who were in a similar ‘season’ of  life and experience and it has kindled many healthy relationships for me.

I use my blog like this:  It’s a ‘sharing’ mode – my own personal experiences –  life through ‘my lens’.  Others may choose ‘edgier’ topics – but I try to keep mine as non-controversial as possible.

The reason for this is simple.  I do not think I’m an expert on any topic – and if fact know many people (some of them my good friends) who have way more experience or insight than I do – and could clearly ‘call me out’ if they wanted to.  For this reason I stay away from politics, religion and anything else that is a ‘hot’ topic and generates heated discussions.  If you want one of those – there are plenty of them available – just JUMP IN!!

My blog is to tell a story of my journey – through humor, stories, real events, pictures, poetry and music.  It is not meant to attack or criticize any one’s  point of view.  It is simply my story.

What I have discovered is this:  There are many people like me out there in ‘blog land’.  People who have discovered that if they just step out and write – something wonderful happens!  People respond.  It is wonderful to receive validation and affirmation from fellow bloggers – encouraging and cheering me on!

Another significant reason for starting a blog is this:  It’s very healing. There’s something about writing thoughts and feelings – and past experiences down on paper and releasing them so they are not locked up inside anymore.  I have felt that great release and have felt God’s hand upon my writing and have felt His healing touch through my relationships with people – as I share my experiences.  In a way – I can honestly say – the blog is for me.

But it is not only for me.

I also have received numerous emails and Facebook messages from those not yet comfortable to write something on my page – but want to let me know just how much it means to them – to have someone understand.  Someone who has the same thoughts and feelings – just didn’t know how to express it – and who feel in some way – that I wrote an article just for them.

This is why I blog.  That is the payoff and the reward of any writer.  That somehow – I can make a difference. Powerful.

I have also used my blog to inspire others to create their own blog – and I feel like a proud and happy ‘Mom’ to those who have started their own blog – due to my encouragement.  To see them prosper and blossom is the greatest reward in the world!

Do you have something to write about?  Something to share with the world?  Are you an encourager?  Are you frustrated and need to find a venue to begin and sort it all out?  Start a blog today!

There are many blog sites to choose from – and most of them are free like this one.   I chose wordpress.com because it has so many things to offer – and many ways to link and find other people like myself.  If I like an article from someone I can post it right to my Facebook page – or even email it to someone who does not have Facebook or twitter.  I can even print out a hard copy to take with me or give a friend without a computer.  So convenient for me!

I’d love to help you get started – maybe today is your day!  I’d love to offer any help or suggestions – just ask!

But most of all – just step out and do it! You won’t be disappointed!

God Bless

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