Archive for October, 2010

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updates.

October 19, 2010

My mom complained to me the other weekend about how my aunt (her sister) had left her an unreasonable number of voicemail messages. My mom had landed at LGA and had to make her way to JFK to go on a cruise with my aunt, who was meeting her at JFK from Connecticut. My aunt had then left my mom 10 messages between the time of landing at LGA and meeting up with her at JFK. According to my mom, this was ridiculous. Who needs to leave that many messages in such a short time period?

On first glance, yes, it was totally unnecessary. On second glance though, don’t I do the same thing? The only difference is I have a growing tendency to text rather than leave voicemails. In fact, my mom happened to be telling me this story while we were in line for a taxi at LGA – during which, I easily texted my sister (who we were visiting) at least 10 times. Send a text when you land. Send a text when you’re waiting for luggage. Send a text to say you’ll catch a cab. Send a text to say the taxi line is longer than expected. Send a text to say order dinner. Send a text once you’re in the cab. Throw in a couple questions and a couple confirmations and I’ve quickly exceeded the necessary number of notifications. My sister probably would have been fine if we just showed up in the cab without even telling her we landed (she had an email with our itinerary).

It’s a strange thing to realize you think of your life in status updates. I didn’t even realize I did it. Or maybe everyone does, but now, you can actually do something about it. Post it to Twitter. Text it to a friend. Update on Facebook. Anything I’m doing – I can somehow parse it down to just a sentence or two. It’s a bad habit. Then it’s just a decision about who actually needs to know – everyone, a couple of people, one person, or no one.

Side note: Possible new life strategy – don’t do anything that doesn’t sound awesome as a status update. I think that could actually turn out pretty interesting.

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impression pt. 2

October 15, 2010

Part 2: which I actually do not really know how it relates to Part 1 – except they both stemmed from the same thought, but 1 was more general and 2 is more me.

I know a lot of people who would never start personal blogs because they don’t feel like they have anything to say. I also know a lot of people who have blogs that are specific to something they’re interested in, but it’s not extremely personal. And then there are so many people who do blog about their lives and they do have interesting stories.

Whenever I’m told by someone that they could never blog because they have nothing to say, it always feels a little like an implied insult. Because I always think “What do I have to say?” It’s not like I do anything extremely exciting or interesting. I work a lot (though I rarely discuss my work outside of traveling on this blog). I watch movies, read articles online, do random stuff around Madison. Essentially, I do what everyone else probably does – if not less. I’m not even a writer – good writing can’t even save my posts if they’re boring.

So do I consider myself interesting – no, not at all. It actually surprises me if people tell me they thought something I wrote was interesting. And usually I just attribute it to the fact that they’re my friends in the first place – they have to find me interesting on some level. But when it comes down to it, I started this blog for me. The same way a person would start a journal or a diary. It was just somewhere to record my life, so 20 years from now, I can look back and actually remember in not so vague terms what I was doing and thinking. Essentially, it’s what I would have a conversation about with my friends.

But of course it’s colored and censored appropriately for being open to the public. You’ll notice few very negative personal posts – because I usually don’t think those end up being appropriate. Likewise, I write very little about my friends’ lives or my family or people in my life in general – beyond something they might have said in a conversation or an idea they passed along. I rarely reference my job or what I do (outside traveling) – for various reasons. And I am extremely selective in what I write about the boyfriend. That leaves some pretty major holes in any sort of impression about me.

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to do.

October 7, 2010

In a nutshell, I’m awful at keeping to-do lists. And in general, this has never really posed a problem in my life. I’ve never been behind with deadlines at work or at school. Usually, I could do enough planning ahead of time that my deadlines stayed straight in my head. Unfortunately, it seems that this isn’t a very sustainable process when you have many projects to stay on top of. Or rather, I could be way more effective if I had a list.

My issue with to-do lists is that every time I make them, I always feel like I’m spending more time documenting than I spend doing. It’s similar to when I have to clean out my email inbox. It can take over an hour if I let it go too long and I could have spent that time following up to emails rather than organizing. Same thing with to-do lists.

To-do lists have the added complication of determining how specific your to-do list is going to be. For example, I can easily put all my major deadlines onto a list – these are deadlines that could be months away. Then, I can also put on the major intermediate milestones – the deadlines that help lead up to the major deadlines, to make sure you’re on track. Then, there’s a general follow-up I have to do – could involve researching, or testing, or sending it on to someone else. And here’s where it gets tricky. Sometimes that follow-up takes weeks, sometimes days, sometimes it takes ten minutes, sometimes I just can’t tell until I start doing it. Does all this go on my to-do list? What about tiny follow-ups, like answering emails or following up with people who are doing follow-up for me?

People always suggest creating a to-do list at the beginning of the day or the week and outlining the items that you need to get done. But I feel ok about my short term planning. It’s the managing short term deadlines with the long term deadlines with the immediate deadlines that starts getting tough. And actually making it a habit to keep the list up-to-date. I can use a list for a couple weeks, but inevitably, I get busy with too many immediate deadlines and the list just falls apart. So, anyone have any tips?

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impression pt.1

October 4, 2010

Everyone knows that I’m not very shy about being online. Having an unusual first/last name pairing has always made me aware that it’s extremely easy to find information about me. But everyone I know personally, I’ve always known in person first. In a nutshell, my online presence has never been someone’s first impression of me. Or – since that’s a total lie – I’ve never personally met anyone who made it obvious that their first impression of me was my online presence.

Then I learned that my newest customer Facebooked me (probably before I even knew I was staffed). I don’t even have anything awful on my Facebook page. But it’s unsettling to feel that your first impression isn’t. Even if I don’t have my favorite movies and books on my profile anymore (since Facebook’s recent changes) – let’s be honest – there’s still a significant amount of judgment.

And I had a discussion with a friend about whether a blog is an appropriate first impression. To him, it isn’t. To him, a blog is often a very distilled version of a person. For example, if you often post when you’re angry or unhappy, that gives off a very specific impression. But you may not be a negative person, that’s just a part of you – and who knows – maybe you get all your negativity out in writing and are never like that in person. So while a blog may give more insight into a person, it might not be a valid first impression.

I’m somewhat of the opposite opinion. Even if your blog tends to be a specific part of your personality, it’s still part of you. Maintaining a personality online that’s not you is almost as much effort as doing it in real-life. It’s tough. And a first impression, even in person, is never going to be a full view of a person’s character. So a blog may be a bad first impression of you, but at least that’s easier to overcome than a bad real life first impression. But it’s weird because even though it’s valid to form that first impression, you can’t as openly refer to it. You can’t mention someone’s Facebook profile in real life as a valid source of knowledge (at least not on a first meeting) – it’s just too awkward, even though it’s pretty standard to your research nowadays.

But the funny thing is, if you read someone’s personal blog, it automatically feels like she’s an open book. It’s somewhat logical. When you public broadcast parts of your life, it’s hard to imagine what parts you wouldn’t share. This is especially true when you can easily find bloggers who share everything (or seemingly everything). And it’s so easy to fill in blanks in that person’s life to fit what you imagine. But like my friend said, it’s like looking at a puzzle that’s only partially finished.

Part 2 coming soon…