Technology and Me: Part One

By: Marianna Boyce

pexels-photo-714700.jpeg

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

While many of us are unapologetically addicted to technology, we should also be leery of the intrusiveness that comes along with it. I’m not the most computer savvy person in the world, but I certainly know how to power off Siri so she doesn’t listen in on conversations. I also go the extra mile to switch location services off to keep the phone from tracking my every move. If you like them on, that’s okay too. It all boils down to personal preferences.

With that being said, I wonder how ads have popped up on my Facebook feed after only a ‘POOF’ of a thought in the back of my mind. Apparently, Siri is not only a tracker and an eavesdropper, but she’s also a mind reader. Yet, in her defense, she has helped me out on more than one occasion.

In a cleaning frenzy in 2016, I wondered what to do with the outrageous number of band t-shirts my son accumulated during his high school and college days. I knew he could never part with them, but also knew he would never wear them again. I don’t recall ever discussing with anyone that I was looking for a solution to my t-shirt dilemma. Imagine my surprise when an advertisement for “Project Repat” popped up on Facebook a day or so later. I’d never heard of this company before, but was quickly drawn in by the fact that they make quilts out of old t-shirts. Wow! I’d never entertained the idea of a quilt, yet the answer was staring me directly in the face.

As I apprehensively clicked on the link, I was thinking, “how in the world did Facebook know?”

Needless to say, I loved the idea and ultimately ordered the quilt. I shipped Cody’s shirts to North Carolina, and ‘POOF’—a few weeks later, he was wrapped up in a queen-sized commemorative t-shirt quilt (which is super-cool by the way). Thanks to Siri for suggesting this phenomenal idea to preserve these amazing memories.

TShirtQuilt

The second time she came to the rescue was an entirely different scenario altogether.

Early one morning at the office, my boss and I were having a serious conversation about my issue with rheumatoid arthritis. Siri was eavesdropping in on our conversation through my manager’s smart phone. I believe the buzz word picked up at the end of our conversation was in my last statement to him…“I wish.”

It turns out “my wish” prompted an interruption from Siri that ultimately changed my work environment for the better. In this case, I’m glad she was listening. Be on the lookout for my next post to hear about this game-changer in my fight with RA.

I am not being paid by Project Repat, or receiving any goods or services for their mention in this post.

Latest Obsession: Photo-A-Day

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Mary Pat Baldauf

This month, I started playing a cool “game” with my iPhone: Photo-A-Day.

It works like this. Each month, you get a list of daily prompts. All you have to do is use any camera you have — iPhone, Smartphone, Digital, — and use the daily prompt as inspiration. You then share the photo using your favorite social media platforms, i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr.

You can Google “picture a day challenge” and find any number of challenges. I’m doing FatMumSlim’s Photo-a-Day Challenge because 1) it’s the one that a lot of my friends are using, and 2) I like her style. (Click here for a great article about FatMumSlim blogger Chantelle Elam and her Photo-A-Day challenge.)

FatMumSlim gives five ways photo-a-day will change your life for the better, but here’s why I’m doing it:

It Expands My Horizons.  Seeing Photo-A-Day shots from friends gives me insight into who they are, what they are doing and how they see the world. It also exposes me to things I might not otherwise see or know about, such as a beautiful flower or a new camera app.

It’s a Great Way to Document My Life, Day by Day.  I blog, but my blog isn’t really a journal in the true sense of the word.  And who has time to scrapbook anymore?  I have a nice camera, but I usually just use my iPhone to capture every day moments.  I post a lot of them to Instagram anyway, so it’s a no-brainer.  Once I post my “Photo-A-Day” picture, I also save it in a monthly “Photo-a-Day” folder I’ve created on my iPhone.  I think it will be neat to go back at the end of a month, even the end of the year, and see my month in photos.

It’s Plain Out Fun.  I love the challenge of illustrating the daily prompt. It helps me think outside of the box and gives me an opportunity to express myself.  It also forces me to slow down from the daily grind and take time to think about something besides work and my daily to-do list.

Sound interesting? Visit FatMumSlim and get started today. You can get some practice with the remaining days in July and start your first full month in August. Let me know how you like it!  Already do a monthly photo challenge?  Please share your experiences!

The Unfriendly World of Facebook

By: Roshanda Pratt

Let’s face the facts; it can be a cruel and rather lonely in the world of social media.  In 421 characters or less you can get on your soapbox, becoming a “preacher” of sorts to an online congregation. People type in that little status box, hit the share button without even thinking twice. After all, it is our opinion, right? Well, I have heard it said best, “Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one.” Most recently, a friend of mine left the “happy” world of Facebook. Her reason: it was toxic. How can that be? It’s not like your status update is not being shared with people you know, these folks are your friends, right?  Well, not really.  Especially if you are going against the dominating thought of the person who posted or commented in that little blue box.

On more than one occasion, I’ve heard the stories of people being “unfriended” by relatives or longtime friends because of a difference in belly buttons, I mean opinions.  Most recently, a friend of a friend called me “a fool and ignorant” because of a comment I made about a politically charged situation.  Even as I write this, I have thought about saying farewell to my list of one thousand “friends” due to the negativity and downright silliness of it all. Then I thought, wait, I knew how these people were before I accepted their friend request. It should come as no surprise to their lack of dissection, character and so on. I allowed them to enter into my world. I have experienced people break-up, make-up, fall-out, and air-out (their dirty laundry) all in the sake of a “status update.” I can tell you now most of those people were “unfriended.”

However, not everything is bad out here in Facebook land. For example, on my wall I solicited prayer requests.  Emails from friend flooded my inbox.  Ah, yes, this was a good day as the Lord gave me the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ.  Facebook has also given me the chance to stay connected with my family in the West Indies without picking up the phone. Yes, I think we can all name at least one good which has come out of being on social media.

Another one of those things are boundaries. I have found it pertinent in this social media realm to set “rules” of sort to deal with people who really try to “test” my Jesus. Here are my rules:

  1. Pick your battles: Before posting, I ask myself the following: Do I need to respond to this post? Often times you have to consider the source, the person who posted. Are they attention seeking, trouble makers or ignorant.
  2. Hide and Seek: There is a cool option Facebook offers where you can hide a person’s post. If you are passionate about certain issues and to see a certain person’s comments cause you angst, right-click and “Hide” the comment.
  3. Avoid, Avoid and Avoid: I have decided when a political debate, celebrity death or any other big news story is happening, I avoid Facebook. NO matter how tempting, I do.not.log.on!
  4. Consider the Friendship: I take full responsibility for the people I call my “friends.”  I hit the “confirm” button so I must take total responsibility.  Earlier this year, I had to “unfriend” a relative after some rather vulgar posts. I decided I could not just hide her post, she had to go altogether. I don’t use profanity, tell dirty jokes, and the alike and I will not tolerate it in my news feed.

Ultimately, we must have a belief system and never compromise it.  Since implementing I have been less stressed. Now, there are some things I rather do without, however, when someone breaks the rules, I am not afraid to stand up and speak.  After all, this is my space and I have a right to protect it.

Let’s hear from you. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle the various personalities of Facebook?   Please share.

Roshanda