Category Archives: social media

My Tech Ears Are On #AmWriting

$ 1 Me d

I was just thinking…  Years ago, I told my daughter that she had two ears for one very good reason, to listen to what she was being told.

Quite easily, I manipulated the technical position of being the parent to instill my belief system into my child.  Doesn’t mean I was correct, or as my experiences changed that I would self-adjust and change my perspective of the world.  But most importantly, if I did change would I remember to tell her?  Was there some automated tech system like HootSuite in place that would magically transfer my new point of view?

As we grew older, she became more flexible and I became more rigid.  It seemed that my format had changed and I went from a JPEG to a PDF way of communication.  This was a tremendous trade-off, as I was no longer morally required to show my good intentions by my actions.

In order for her to hear me, she would also have to hear her own inner voice.  This created a major communication gap that we’re still trying to overcome.  No matter how loud she yells, I sincerely hope that she herself.  That she might know what she’s saying, because I’m going to defy logic and invoke my parental power, that is I disengage and stop listening.

Simply put, I’ve turned on my selective hearing and I’ve adjusted the volume knob to mute.  And it’s a very methodical process, as I’ve been overwhelmed by social media lately and unable to understand how everything that I once cherished and held dear, is now being threatened by people I will never meet.

I’m reminded of when my daughter was a little girl, I’d tell her that the reason she was born with two working ears was so one ear could take information in, to be be processed by her brain- the grey matter between her ears- and the second ear would be an exit point for the excess, less useful information to be dumped out.

In my own defense, back then I worked two jobs, cooked all the family meals, did laundry and was a chauffer to pretty socially active kids.  In direct proportion to my overworked, underpaid position in life…  I had perfected a deaf ear, as my complaints were ignored, I lost my ability to have a sympathetic ear.

Fast forward to today’s hyper-connected culture, where people’s expectations are always on high and soaring.  Where users are quick to retaliate against what they dislike, to mobilize their followers and block, boycott and shut down someone else’s means to a livelihood.  From the safety of my couch, I’ve read what people are hearing on social platforms like Twitter, Instagram and FaceBook and it’s alarming.

So, I’ve decided to pull back a little.  To reduce my daughter’s angst, because no one is immune to anxiety.  I’ve also apologized in advance of my shortcomings, I’ve let her have the last word during our weekly arguments, which almost seem scheduled.  Because somehow I know, that by letting her vent and rant, I’m establishing a strong sense of self.

Hopefully, she’s discovering her own truth.  In a world that is still very much dog-eat-dog and I need her incisor teeth to stay sharp.  Not that she might bite me, but that she’ll have a little bite left, in case she herself becomes a parent.  And I manage to accomplish all of these things by thinking while she’s talking.

Like right now, I’m thinking while you’re reading this, that social media and the internet have given us a mighty big soapbox to shout our unsolicited opinions.  People I’ll never know or meet are liking what I post and I know I shouldn’t care, but I do.  There’s value in those clicks!

Yet, as comforted as we are by the likes and follows, none of it is accurate and we

To argue not for argument’s sake, but to allow ourselves the difference of opinions doesn’t make us enemies. That there is value in our words, as they allow us room to think, grow and move forward.  Being persuasive by storytelling and finding possibility by compromising.

Now, as I wait for her to settle down, I realize that this isn’t an ongoing battle. I love her unconditionally.  Eventually she’ll take the car and drive to the concert in Rhode Island with a carload of screaming silly girlfriends, but not today 🙂

I was just thinking… Sometimes Tweets are an immediate emotional response, that had the reader waited a few minutes, their response to the Tweet might have been less visceral.  Emotions are rarely logical, more often than not they’re base and mean.  These are my thoughts today..

Maybe, we all can get along, it just takes a little effort to hear what we believe needs to be said.   In that way, Ms. Maya Angelou was right… “We are more alike, than we are different.”

What are you thinking? 

Write back, let me know.  I’m listening  ~Tech Ears On~

 

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Filed under AARP, Baby boomers, social media

Apple Tech & Puzzle Pieces #AmWriting

helping hands 2 29 2016

I was thinking, as much as technology is improving life, there are ethical questions of “Who actually benefits?”

Recently an Apple iPad advertisement on television did an awesome pitch showing kids using their devices to complete homework assignments.  It was brilliant!  Its potential was amazing, but then there was the small print regarding an iPad pencil and that made me realize that there were high costs associated with this technology, even so the ad showed a nice diverse group of children.

One could easily conclude that this was perfect pitch.  But when the TV commercial ended the local news came on, about teachers in our community, the cityscapes and economically depressed neighborhoods.   Here too were a diverse group of children, all smiling.  Maybe because there were television cameras in the schoolyard or perhaps, because they were going to get another Snow Day in late March.  But whatever the reason that they were smiling, rest assured it wasn’t because Apple had distributed iPads with pencils into their classrooms.  And it’s reasonable to assume that these third graders had yet to be exposed to real world economics and the inequality that poverty creates.

“A Wealth of Nations” was written by Scottish economist Adam Smith, in his “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”.  He wrote about the division of labor to productivity to free markets.  In those scenarios there was a presumed self-regulating economic system that proved efficient at the distribution of goodies, like an Invisible Hand during that century’s industrial revolution..

But the truth is, particularly in today’s digital world, privileged is as privileged does and entities that control the wealth, also keep the wealth.  There is no trickle down effect, but instead a hoarding of wealth, through the use of systemic apathy, in which lobbyists, taxes and monopolies have existential preferences.

And all of this seems very poignant, as we’re entering another industrial revolution, this one referred to as Industry 4.0, in the new Digital Age.  It is a name for automation and data exchange that includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing.  Also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

I was thinking, even though we have the capacity to create technology that improves life, how can we ensure that the technology gets into each little round hand, regardless of race, nationality, health or poverty level?

Hello Apple!  How about you make that difference, start with iPads with pencils for ALL school children for  $Free.99

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Filed under Apple, ipad, Politics, social media, technology

+10K Tweets #AmWriting

$ 1 Me d

I’m not sure that I should admit it to anyone, besides myself…  but for prosperity sake, I’ve hit a milestone on social media, that is I tweeted my ten thousandth Tweet on Twitter and I feel great!

Maybe I’m a little perverse in my achievement, I’m not even sure it’s a thing.  I mean, how many other people can say they’ve tweeted that many times?  But then again, is there a gold standard for tweets?  Perhaps, just maybe there’s an Olympic Twitter category and a specific number of tweets that we all should be aiming for; if so how close am I and whose company am I in?

I’d like to think that there’s millions of real people tweeting and not just the bots.  I like technology and I fancy artificial intelligence, but I like human beings, go ahead and call me silly.  Which brings me to another topic, why am I on Twitter so much?

Should I be concerned?  And by disclosing the number of times that I’ve tweeted, should you be concerned about my real people skills?  I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but I’m in unchartered water and my navigation is a tad off.

But in my own defense, I have monetized my Twitter account, that is I’ve drummed up business that I otherwise would never have gotten.  I also don’t make cold calls, because Twitter helps me funnel likeminded people into a virtual space, where conversations begin that then generate leads that then lead to sales.

Still, I spend a great deal of time on Twitter, 7 days a week and early in the morning, so I make impressions in the UK.  I also have late nights, when I’m trying to make an impression in California and yes, even when I’m at an After-Work networking event in a real physical space, amongst real people, I’ve been Tweeting.

It’s my thing.  We all have a thing… right?  I’ve had famous people reply to my tweets and like my tweets and follow me.  And during the 2014 Oscars broadcast, Ellen DeGeneres responded to a Tweet, which isn’t bad for a gal from Boston.

I’d like to believe that a Tweet got us to connect on LinkedIn, or we started a convo that made me want to write… because really, for me it’s all about writing and words.

But three things are certain, (1) I’m not a contortionist (2) I’ve tweeted more than 10,000 times and (3) I’m not a Bot (I passed the Captiva test).

And another thing, all this patting my own back has got me Twisted!   Care to join me?

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Filed under Baby boomers, social media, Twitter

BigData’s Invisible Hand

binoculars bird eyes2

Technology is wonderful, especially for us, the nation of consumers.

We have a flair for commercialism, created by businesses that once mailed catalogs to our homes, for free.  Thoroughly enticed by their colorful pages of merchandise, we became browsers and took turns flipping through the pages, earmarking the most viewed pages with sugarplum wishes.

It comes as no surprise, that as the holidays approach, technology’s Internet of Things is offering a smorgasbord of possibilities to further delight us, and to make our lives better!   Some finger swipes across a touchscreen, from social media to products purchased to services rendered, will organically link us together, without a common purpose.

Because in a digital world, engaging impressions like Selfies, Tweets and Likes, will be collected and gathered.

Bigdata, the invisible hand of real time analytics, will store, sell and re-distribute free consumer swipes of  creature habits once unattainable due to privacy rights.  Now freely associated with intimate interests, it will link us into smaller demographic groups and create marketing tools in “Consumer Nation”.

Disruption is good when it separates the mediocre, that which isn’t sustainable from the bad, that which might’ve been overlooked.   Sometimes, being lulled into a false sense of security isn’t the worse of it; things like changing your password each month, might be the least effective thing to be done.  Not because of peeking eyes, but because we keep forgetting the new password.   Use your big eyes to see a bird’s eye view.

We are, after all a nation growing older and that’s another issue…  pitfall.

But at some point, when new technology has replaced all of our passwords with retina and fingerprint identification, the old patterns that made us feel secure, will also come back.   Cataracts and wrinkles might undo what’s achieved, but by then we might be backwards compatible.  Bringing back the need for stronger passwords.

Disruption can be like that…

It’s like being asleep in your warm bed, having a lovely little dream.  When suddenly, you’re violently shaken and forced awake by screams, “the house is on fire!”    You’re not mad, you’re grateful.  It’s that scenario that makes you realize that disruption can be a good thing. That the dream, as lovely as it was, was simply in your head… the same place where technology began.

Today’s petri dish for successful startups with new products and new ways to do old things is a joy.   So internet sales rejoice, there’ll be less cars on the roads; less pollution in the air and gas prices will go down.  Less travel on the road equates to more time that we can stay home and watch television, mindlessly swiping our touchscreens and learning the words to catchy jingles.

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Filed under Big Data, Consumers, Eyegalsses, facebook, gadget, Internet, Internet of Things, Marketability, small business, social media, tech, technology, Telephone, Television, Twitter

The Age of Selfie-Satisfaction

i me tech 4
All across the internet, there’s a Laissez-faire attitude that allows us to post our photos boldly.   But who took and posted the first Selfie?

I only ask because it’s become so fashionable.  Everyone takes them, from politicians to rock stars to the Average Joe; and then they post them online, “See me, here I am.”

Most of the time I’m not even looking for anyone, but I become intrigued by the crooked smile or the dimples, so I click on a photo and read.
But what I’d really like to know is what happened to those cartoon avatars?  You remember the ones;  we had a choice when you signed onto a website.   And it didn’t matter which avatar you picked, because it was only a feeble attempt at representation.  Besides, back then we hid behind our anonymity, and procrastinated when the technology changed over to thumbnail photos.   And despite our wishes, it caught on and stayed.

Technology doesn’t care about shyness or looks or even who uses it;  so we all had to rise above self-esteem issues.

Reluctantly, we changed our avatars to real photos.  At least most of us did, and we laughed at ourselves, without worry of consequence.  It was extraordinary.

Because that’s the beauty of technology, that even the most introverted or bashful person can be popular on social media.   With thousands of Followers on Twitter and Likes on Facebook, another story can be told; a Start-up can be funded and a floundering business revitalized.   Just by posting a Selfie there, or Pinterest or Instagram.  A cliché comes to life, that yes a picture can and does paint a thousand words.

According to cognitive research psychologists, the only downside of mindlessly snapping photos is that the human brain can’t retain what it hasn’t fully processed or seen;  it’s the opposite effect of a photographic memory.   That is, you’re not going to remember details of the photo you took, because you let the camera do the work for you.

Ah, but what does that matter? The whole world is doing it! And there are so many platforms to display your Selfies and Clouds to store them all. And if it does come to fruition that it does matter, we’ll probably be old and senile.

And then, in that moment, in the Coming Age of Exposure, who’ll notice? Again, we’ll smile. Perhaps, a little more like the Mona Lisa smile, smug. And we’ll sing like Madonna… “Strike a pose- Vogue.”

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Filed under AARP, facebook, Internet, photography, Selfie, social media, Twitter

Park-O-Meter Blues

2 trolley
Who thought it would be possible to miss a parking meter! But I do.

Last week, I watched as two city workers uprooted a few old parking meters. For years, these citadels of curbside spaces had collected coins and kept track of time as it expired. They were mainstays.

Unceremoniously, the two men cut the meter’s pole nearly flush with the sidewalk. They’d push it back and forth to snap the final shred of metal from its base, then they’d lean it up against a shoulder and chuck it up into the truck. One of the men would climb in behind it, while the other hopped into the truck’s cab and they’d drive a little more than a car’s length to the next meter and did the same, then onto the next and so on.

Two city blocks later, each stump was capped and roped off with yellow tape. A temporary sign read “No parking” and the tape, the kind used by the police to mark off crime scenes was knotted tightly.

And so the last of the fully coin operated parking meters, first introduced in 1935, were taken out of commission. It happened without fanfare, no bells were tolled, no military taps were played and no mourners gathered in black to wave goodbye to the Park-O-Meter era.

The notion of a city with “Free parking”, that coveted safe haven on a Monopoly game board, was swiftly removed; as the old poles were retrofitted with new hi-tech meters that seemed to have sprouted overnight. They’re no taller, but stand a little prouder than their predecessors.

These new meters accept all manner of payment, as well as coins. They’re solar powered, wireless, and I’m almost certain that they’ll alert a nearby meter maid of a pending infraction, and worse… they’ll self-generate a virtual ticket that can be e-mailed!

Parking meters are one of society’s greatest motivators. Capable of getting people in and out of stores at break-neck speeds because time does expire. Oh, I’ve known meters. But not like these.

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Filed under Baby boomers, Consumers, Parking, social media, tech, technology

Readers of Code

world book 9

I like that people are reading. For a long while it seemed that people had stopped reading, but now thanks in part to social media, people are reading more, albeit snippets of information.

Still, these easy readers, Tweets, status updates and likes, have created a renewed readership, with links to blogs and articles, that have been written by real writers. Technology, it seems is getting people to read!

Once upon a time, I was an avid reader. Not voracious, but still very much on top of things. I read any genre and was always on the lookout for new writers. It seemed that I had more leisure time, and I was a fast reader, able to enjoy a quick read as well as a long casual one.

Books you see, are my friends. They stay up with me when I can’t sleep, whispering to me about new ideas, old innuendos and faraway places right here on earth. Books lean against the wall, or sit patiently on the table, stacked and ready for my retreat into them, away from reality.

I like to savor what I read. Let the words swirl around inside my head. Discover new thoughts, evoke emotions that softly touch or ruffle up against the edges of a memory. All mine. If left to my own vices, I’d sit with a nice glass of chardonnay and read a whole book; a book a day, as if it were an elixir, ah …

Unfortunately, I have fewer hours to read. But I make time to visit the library and I browse local bookstores. Because I like the way a book feels in my hands, as much as I like the smooth feel of my iPad, which replaced my 1st generation Kindle.

And in addition to that, I’ve been learning code. I’m a big advocate that all girls should learn code, and wasn’t I once a girl?

So, I signed up for an Edx course, purchased a few books and started to run programs on a computer. (And here, dear reader is where I must add a disclosure: “I’m not a computer geek, not a rocket scientist and not a genius and not a programmer.”) I’m a student in the world of variables and integers.

Anyway, yesterday I curled up with my book, my laptop and executed a C program in terminal with Gedit. It was mind-boggling, as I started to believe, that if you read it, you can understand and do it. And to that end, I’m learning.

I created a social message about girls coding in MIT’s Scratch website; it allows you to code with blocks. (For giggles, here is my project, click the green flag Girls Jump.)

I like that people are reading again. Technology it seems, does require us to think and it’s making us readers of code. And that’s a good thing.

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Filed under AARP, Baby boomers, Big Data, Code, Coding, Gender, Girls, social media, tech, technology, Twitter, Women

Tech Savvy and Served

1 Tech Platter
Word of mouth sales are no longer limited to the “picket fence” conversation between neighbors. Social media has empowered consumers, but it also weakened the position of “the customer is always right”.

Not so long ago, when you purchased a gadget and it didn’t work, you’d complain. There was an expectation of satisfaction; and sometimes this was guaranteed in writing. It was understood, that if you kept the store receipt, a return within seven days of the purchase, with original packaging would guarantee you an equal exchange or a full refund. No questions, no arguments and without a restocking fee.

Back then, the link between a business’ success and a customer’s satisfaction were closely woven. It was a mature market that kept loyal customers loyal by making good products. The operative word “good” implied integrity– a Maytag machine, a Craftsmen tool and a Peterbilt truck were made to last.

I can’t say when this changed, but it did. Technology with its lightening pace warranted change, and miniscule sizes pushed out products that had their own legacies, called generations. And while the housing remained the same, the processor inside changed.

Generally, the improvement wasn’t fully tested but the product was released and onto store shelves; along with slight glitches and other failings, that if passed under the consumer radar was an “oh, well” shrug of doing business.

Now we accept updates, even expect there to be a few with each new product. Those patches that fix new technology have effectively blocked my complaint in mid-sentence. So, the consumer’s displeasure mostly goes unnoticed, because the problem was already logged and acknowledged before the products were shipped out!

The only thing left for me to complain about is how my smartphone’s battery doesn’t hold a charge. And it’s not because I’m always talking, texting or checking status, but instead it’s the result of all those push notifications that the companies send out in an effort to patch and update my cellphone… to keep it smart and me dumb.

Customer service served.

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Filed under Consumers, Marketability, profitability, social media, tech, Telecommunications

Welcome to the Digital Divide

1 Range Circuit_Board
For years, the digital world seemed to be just up ahead; a futuristic place that existed beyond our dreams and over a mountain, like a rainbow. It culled our imaginations, and made us ask “What if?”

The digital divide seemed accessible by car and markings on the roadway, those dashes painted on the asphalt guided us along, by keeping us in our respective lanes. It was orderly, like life itself.

Trees flew past so fast that they didn’t resemble themselves, instead the blurred images helped fuel our curiosity. From the car’s window we pondered life and the big blue marble, called earth. Road trips had that effect. And when we returned to school we’d have questions, like “What does a cloud taste like?”

On Monday morning, we’d gather in the schoolyard and whisper; a discussion about which questions should be brought up in class; the probable, the impossible and the iffy-iffy.

One student would ask a question, the teacher would answer and then someone else would ask a question. Like a string of pearls in a leap frog fashion- a question led to an answer to a question and another and so on; until finally the bell rang. The class would end and the teacher wouldn’t have taught us anything; and somehow, we felt empowered by the disruption.

It was especially exciting when the teacher realized, albeit too late, that he’d been duped into answering pointless questions. It validated our cleverness and added meaning to our lives. A harmless prank, one in which we delayed progress, that is the day’s lessons and entertained ourselves.

And it’s about to begin again, but this time there’s more at stake. It’s not simply a question of what a cloud tastes like, but rather what exactly can a cloud do with big Data?

Deciding that and what questions to ask isn’t as provocative, as the next question, that is: “How do we protect our information?” and “What information is worth protecting?” and “Is a data breach the only way to know the difference?”

Welcome to the digital divide, a disruption in progress.

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Filed under Big Data, Coding, Consumers, social media, tech, technology

Humble Tech Beginnings- Tweet

Tech stairs
Hello world! I’m excited. Or at least I think I should be, I am after all still Tweeting on Twitter. In fact, as of this post I’ve Tweeted 555 times!

It’s not that I’ve reached a milestone or done anything spectacular, like winning the Publisher’s Clearing House Contest (which I’ve never heard of anyone winning, not even remotely via the six degrees of separation). But, from technology’s viewpoint, I’ve come a long way.

And I bet you wasn’t looking for me! But in the time that it took for me to firmly establish my feet into the webbing of the internet; those threads of ideas and beads of knowledge shared by design, I had gained ground. That’s how swiftly the words were sent. Since then, I’ve been interviewed, invited to conventions, solicited to write reviews and tested out mock-ups.

I’ve stood in line at buffets, peering at a smorgasbord of deliciousness that I could never eat, even if I were granted ample time to eat it all in. And I’ve had cocktails. Those refreshing little drinks without the umbrellas that make me appreciate the sun more and the sand between my toes, a little less.

The truth is, last year at this time, if someone had told me that I’d be here I would’ve guffawed at their ridiculousness. Me, a little city girl who literally “considered suicide when the rainbow was enough”; like most of the kids in my poor neighborhood.

I’m a Baby Boomer by definition, that is I was born between 1946 and 1964. I was raised by a single mom, who struggled to make ends meet. There were five of us living in a one bedroom apartment, in a rickety old house, on a newly paved road, named Dacia Street.

We had no shower, no bathroom door, little heat, less food, no phone, and a pen-pal who liked to write eviction notices.

Memories like these give me a reason to pause; to appreciate where I am now, sitting on a country deck. Time to eat cherries and spit pits into a napkin, all nice and dainty; while I read The New Yorker on my iPad. And that’s how I know technology has been good to me.

It’s also been good to 74.6 million other Baby Boomers, who’ve gone from cold leftovers to microwave ovens. We’re living longer and healthier lives because of those technological advancements, from dark places to streaming movies and music. Overall, we’re a grateful bunch.

My first Twitter was on April 27, 2014, that’s when I tweeted:

Dreaming you can make a difference in the world is motivational. Waking up, crawling out of bed and making it happen is life. #Techtalks

Yes, the internet of things is humbling.

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Filed under AARP, music, social media, technology, Telephone, Twitter