For any of you that are on Facebook you will know that your feed this past week has been filled with friends and family who are raising awareness for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The focus: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is a great way to use social media for a good cause. However (yes there is a but), my hope is that all the individuals that are doing the ice bucket challenge actually donate money. The awareness campaign is that by having ice + cold water poured over you that you are outing yourself from paying $100. Individuals that get nominated have 24 hours to do the challenge or donate $100.
Awareness is great, supporting ALS financially takes it to an entirely different level. What if we took the time to raise awareness, and put our money and/or our support next?
I love the fun and humor of making a video and putting oneself out there online, I only hope it does good. Think of all the other initiatives and programs that could benefit from such challenges. Of course we’d all be broke, and it would get old, right? How do we keep the freshness on continuing the momentum via social media where we have access to so many people, yet do it in a way that promotes true awareness? For example, the ALS website has been shared in most of the videos that I have seen, and there has been a plethora of high-profile athletes, CEOs, and past presidents that have joined into the mix, but have we really learned more about ALS? Do you know what it stands for? Do you know how your money can help?
Be careful, I might go Laura Bush on you and decide that I do not want to mess up my hair and just donate the $100. However, it is hot here in Oregon, and a little cold does the body good.
I admit it, I am coming clean. I have recently become addicted to the plethora of online quizzes asking what tarot card would you be, what city are you meant to live in, or are you a narcissist?
Buzzfeed even has ones like: “What Kind of Bitch Are You?” or “What Does Your Engagement Ring Say About You?” The list is endless. Why do we care? Why do we click and spend 5-10 minutes to find out our fate? It is almost like we want a free visit to an astrologer, and if the results of the quiz are exemplary to who we think we are, then we might try another, and if they slander us we move on to other things. What is it about the online voyeuristic habits that make us even stop and take the quiz? I admit I even coerce Chris to take one or two here or there to compare to my results. Why, oh why do we even care?
Is it that we want validation? We want to know what someone else thinks of our future destiny? We do not really believe in the answer, but like being at the state fair we are willing to give the palm reader a small amount to read our hands and see what the future might behold for us. These quizzes have to be filled with bullshit algorithms. For example, one quiz (I cannot remember the topic) that I had Chris fill out, gave us the same result, yet it was male and female specific. Definitely something wrong with the results of that (all I remember is that we both got Zelda – go figure).
So is it a fad? Why have we become so addicted, and why do we even care? My Facebook feed is often full of friends who seem to fill their days with quizzes that they share with others (no judgement from me). Are we bored? Do they tell us something about ourselves that we do not know? What is it that has made us so addicted?
Are you addicted? Am I? I am not entirely sure. I am a 1-2 times a day Facebook user. I usually check in the morning when I post my blog, and then at night before bed. I will be completely honest that other than posting my blog and a random quote or idea here or there, that I am more of a voyeuristic Facebook user. I like to see photos of friends, connect with folks from my childhood (some… not all), and generally keep up with friends. I am not one to care about whether you made it to the bathroom that day or all the endless rants and crap about your day. I like to find information that adds to my life rather than bores me to death. Pictures help. They help a lot. So if you are posting photos I am generally going to look at them.
So when I came across this Christian Science Monitor article regarding a campaign to not use Facebook for 99 days, I was quasi interested. Could I do it? Probably not. Would it be good for me to disconnect? Most definitely. Do I have the strength in me to do it? Maybe. I am not sure. I like staying connected in my own non-consumed way. So then you might say, “So why would it be hard for you to disengage for 99 days?” I like knowing what is happening. I like seeing the newborn baby pictures of a good friend that lives on the other side of the world. I like being inspired. Yes, there is a lot of junk I want to block and a lot of stuff I couldn’t give a shit about, but could I disconnect for three months? I am not sure.
Is it sad that I feel that way? Maybe. Or maybe I am a slight introvert and a slight extrovert and Facebook allows me to decide HOW I want to engage. How often and in what ways. The initiative is called, “99 Days of Freedom.” I do like the sound of that. I am truly curious about the question in the article: “How do you feel when you don’t use Facebook?” I think there is only one way to tell. Would you like to join me and see, or are you just as much addicted that it will be hard to not log in? The only way I can imagine trying is to delete your account, and remove all history of your online Facebook data. Otherwise, how would you stop yourself from logging in?
It looks like at the time of the article, 17,000 people had signed up for the 99 Days… That is a good amount. Are you going to join them?
Last week I showed Charlie’s crazy giggle video to a few co-workers, and one of my colleagues said: “Do your ovaries hurt?” I laughed. A good joke for someone who is utterly addicted to her niece and someone thinking about starting a family. I have always loved children so it is not anything new to me that I would be addicted to babies. I worked in the day care on my college campus during all four years, and I worked specifically in the baby room, where they were allowed to start coming at 6 weeks. Babies were my favorite. No talking back. Ah…
A friend posted a great video on Facebook over the weekend it cracked me up. Since I do not have kids, at the moment I have absolutely NO interest in “Frozen.” What did peek my interest was this dad and his engagement with the song and his interest in getting his daughter to sing along. It made my day. After watching it Sunday morning (me at my desk and Chris in the other part of the office at his), I said to him: “Did that make your sperm hurt?” It goes both ways, right? I continued to pry and ask if he could see himself driving the car and trying (and egging) his daughter or son on to sing along, and he said: “Definitely.” Ah, I love that man.
Sometimes we live in little bubbles. We get in our cars in the morning (or maybe on a bike, or via public transit) and go off to work. Some days we highly engage with others, and some days we may never leave our desk, but often the routine is the same. We spend our days in a fairly similar fashion, and then turn around and come home, partake in our evening activities, go to bed and turn around and do it all over again the next day. We all have our own form of a bubble, just some of us have larger or smaller bubbles than others.
Yet, we have the ability to pop those bubbles, to expand and grow our horizons, learn new things, or never take the same route home each day. Our lives are weaved together each moment of every day. Our choices build the story of what others think of us, good or bad. If we are continuously dependable others will begin to depend on us. If we do not show up as continuously dependable then trust begins to erode. We always have a choice to how we show up, and how we tell our own stories.
I wrote a blog post last year titled: “Brand YOU” and discuss how we each create our own brands, and decide how we market ourselves. I recently finished reading Austin Kleon’s newest book: “Show Your Work” and well I am always a sucker for inspiration around telling a story, specifically when it relates to a personal story. This idea specifically resonates with me:
“Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already telling a story about your work. Every email you send, every text, every conversation, every blog comment, every tweet, every photo, every video–they’re all bits and pieces of a multimedia narrative you’re constantly constructing. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.” page 95
Pop your bubble, remember that every interaction you have is a line in your story, and how you tell your story (via in person, Instagram, Facebook, etc) is part of the Brand you are weaving. Now with the Internet that weave is permanent and hard to unravel, so put some thought around the mark you want to make.