Taking a Break

I kinda, sorta broke up with Facebook yesterday. I have a feeling it’s the same kind of breakup I had with my now husband when we were in college. I broke up with him for 8 hours. It was excruciating. 

But this breakup is probably for the best, and so far has lasted longer than 8 hours. 

I have still have an account. I still exist on the platform. I use Facebook at work and need a way to post and log in, so I’m not deleting my account. For right now, I deleted it off my phone and replaced that icon space with a game I really like, so when my thumb gravitates to that spot out of habit, it opens an addicting game instead of the social media app that’s lately made me feel like crap. 

There are all sorts of studies about how social media can impact self esteem. And lately, because of other external factors, I’ve been feeling kind of low. So this is an experiment to see if my lack of daily FB checking brightens my spirits. 

I’m on Instagram and Twitter still, so let’s be friends! And if you know me IRL, my number hasn’t changed since I signed up for Cingular in college. 

Friday Reads

Prepare to be totally creeped out by the human Barbie doll.

Did you watch the season finale of Parks and Rec? Were you as confused as me at the three-year fast forward? Read this interview.

Do you think taking folic acid is enough if you’re planning to have a baby? Think again.

A truly fascinating article: How One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data. Wow,┬ámy marketing data is now worth $1.50 instead of 10 cents! Someone want to send me a check? (And clearly I’m failing at hiding my pregnancy just by talking about it pseudo-anonymously here!)

In Defense of Facebook

It’s in the news and on blogs and on Twitter: the demise of Facebook, at least in the coveted teen demographic.

Guess what? I’m still on Facebook (and clearly not in the teen demographic) and I’m not leaving. But I am using Facebook differently than I did in the beginning.

A few months ago I started thinking about how many “friends” I have on Facebook. And how in reality, if I saw at least 50 of those people in person, I would probably not have an actual conversation with them. Not because I don’t like them. I like them! I like seeing their pictures and status updates.

But for various reasons, we probably aren’t Facebook friend material: I haven’t seen them IRL for years and years, didn’t actually know them well in the first place, and I accepted Facebook friend requests in the beginning of my Facebook journey from basically anyone I had met or even remotely knew of. I share personal stuff on Facebook – pictures of my son, vacation photos, updates about my life. And I really do like sharing that stuff with people I know. But a while ago, I de-friended people. It felt like a one-sided breakup and I know most of those people don’t care or probably haven’t even noticed that we are no longer Facebook friends.

So I’ve changed my Facebook strategy. If I know that I (and you!) will greet each other in person if we met on the street, we are meant to be Facebook friends. If you’re family, you’re stuck with me. But if I only know you professionally, we can connect on LinkedIn or Twitter (but not on my anonymous Twitter account, where I’m snarky and mean).

This means that only my close friends see most of my status updates and pictures. I have an entirely separate group of Mommy friends that I grumble to about parenting and lament about lack of sleep. I’m pretty sure most of my non-Mommy friends appreciate not reading these status updates. I even have a VERY small group of BFFs that see certain status updates that are really truly only meant for their eyes only. The thing I like about Facebook is that I can choose who gets to see what. And only a handful of friends see everything because they fall into every category.

And strangely enough to me, there are people I friended on Facebook years ago that I didn’t know very well IRL, but we’ve become better friends because of Facebook. It’s a strange phenomenon. I feel lucky that this has happened.

I do admit that there are a few people I haven’t de-friended that I probably should. I don’t let these people see much on my Facebook page, so what’s the point? I’m still pondering that one.

And yes, I know Facebook is using me and my information to make money. I’m a social media addict and because I’m terrible about picking up the phone to call a friend, social media allows me to stay connected to people I care about in ways that I never could have imagined even 5 years ago.

What about you? Are you like my husband, who doesn’t check Facebook and doesn’t share anything, ever (I mean, seriously, I think the last time he updated is status was when our son was born almost three years ago), and should probably just delete his account? Or are you like me, a Facebook lover?

Random Thoughts About the Oscars

I admit I did not watch the Oscars from start to finish. It’s not as fun when no one in the house wants to watch and make snarky comments and cares about who is dating who and which awesome celebrity is photobombing the awkward camera shots right before the winners are announced. Anyway, I did watch a few key moments thanks to the Oscars iPad app and followed along with my favorite commentators on Twitter.

Here are my random and assorted thoughts about Sunday night’s event:

Norah Jones’ dress was epic. I need it. So gorgeous! [Update: this dress is from Romona Keveza’s 2013 Spring/Summer collection.]

20130227-102029.jpg

Adele’s performance of Skyfall was amazing. (Except for those talon nails. Gross.) And girl, don’t lose any more weight unless you want to. You just had a baby. You look amazing. I loved your dress. You sound amazing. Adele for Oscar host, 2014!

The adorable short film Paperman, which I blogged about here, won for best Short Film (Animated).

I unfollwed The Onion on Twitter for a completely awful thing they said about a nine year old actress. They have since apologized but I can’t bring myself to refollow them. It was reprehensible.

And Michelle Obama presenting best picture? What? I was so baffled by that. I’m not going to get into a political rant right now but DID. NOT. APPROVE.

What did you think of the Oscars?

Pen Pals were the Original Bloggers

I grew up in Hong Kong. My parents were missionaries. I went to school on the 12th floor of the apartment building I lived in. I couldn’t take the elevator the whole way, though, because I lived on an odd floor – 3rd- and the elevators were separated by odd and even floors. If I was adventurous, I would walk the whole way to school. More often than not I would walk the whole way home for lunch and after school. We had a pool on the roof. The hospital my dad worked at was across the street and church was on the 6th floor. So was the cafeteria, where we would go every Friday for haystacks and ice cream.

These are the things I would tell my pen pals. Sad, isn’t it, that I don’t remember their names or where they were from. I found them in the Guide magazine we got at Sabbath School each week. They asked me questions like, “Is Hong Kong in Japan?” and “Do you have pizza there?” I really hope I still have those letters. They were really funny. But they were also a link to the culture I was supposed to understand as an American kid.

Why did I have pen pals? I think it’s because I’ve always had the need to share stories. I’ve been writing stories since I could spell.

Before blogging, I wrote long emails to friends and family while living abroad in England and Thailand. I really hope someone kept all those emails because I didn’t.

Did you have pen pals? Did you keep their letters?

The Stars Aligned

Readers of this blog know that my nickname for my son is Future President. This is mostly in jest, since I’m jaded and cynical, but how’s this for ironic–

I’m sort of obsessed with Twitter and all things free. USA.gov tweeted that you could request a free “How to Become President” poster. So I did and started following another account, Kids.gov, on Twitter. Unbeknownst to me, Kids.gov was running a contest & somehow my name was entered. Now I am the recipient of FIFTY posters. I guess we could wallpaper Future President’s room with said posters.

This story is almost as cool as when I entered the husband’s name into a drawing for a White House tweetup and he won. He who does not tweet.

Coda

My last post was about The Honeymoon That Wasn’t. I decided to take a chance with social media and send a tweet to Virgin Atlantic and Priceline.

Priceline responded – surprise! surprise! – and said they would investigate further. Unfortunately, because the event happened 7 years ago, they were unable to do anything for me, even though I have the documentation to prove that our itinerary says BALTIMORE! I shouldn’t have expected anything else. This was exactly the type of customer service we received last time, except somehow it almost feels worse. I actually got a listening ear of a customer service rep on Twitter, but was shot down. I told them it was sad that Priceline doesn’t believe its customers, even with proof. But because the event happened 7 years ago, they won’t/can’t do anything to make things right.

This is why I will continue to tell everyone about my negative experience with Priceline. DO NOT book anything with this company! You’ve been warned.