I have come to realize…and I am just going to come right out and say it…

I dislike blogging. I like reading other people’s blog (they probably enjoy blogging). But, as for me…I don’t particularly like it.

Maybe I never got over my fear of orchestrating this grand blog entry filled with opinions, research, stories and relating some or all of it together to inform whatever topic I chose (or was chosen for me).

Image Credit: SafeBlogShopper.com

Perhaps it is my struggle with certain types of disclosure. I absolutely love sharing and discussing various places I have traveled to and lived in..relating my experiences to the environment and social condition of each new place…connecting  people and their lives. This type of blogging –travel blogs– I felt, not only comfortable with, but also excited and passionate about. In addition to…they were not so time consuming!

Regardless of that baby rant, my experiences with blogging thus far have yielded many great returns. I have learned so much about:

  • -why blogging is so time intensive (and maybe that I’m lazy?)
  • -the power and impact a ‘well-oiled’ blog can have to influence and instill change (personal, social, political, etc.)
  • -connects and defines people & issues  (even marketing consultant Mark Schweafer agrees!)

My personal favorite aspect I learned from blogging is how it changed my behaviors on a daily basis. Regardless of whether or not I enjoy the process of writing or maintaining a blog, I really enjoy how it influenced my ability to listen in such a busy, hectic, twisted, sad,…yet inspiring world. I found myself busy-city-peoplejotting down notes and ideas throughout the day. I was noting things that not only mattered to me, but also the unknown that intrigued me and made me want to research more into it.  I noticed that I was concerned about the content of my blog and that I wanted to be informed. Blogging has encouraged me to listen…not just more but more effectively.

Using Netvibes to ‘listen‘ and track issues/topics can be very interesting and useful. Netvibes is a great resource that compiles information from all over the web into one structure little package. Recently, I tracked issues such as child marriage, gender-based violence, and Arab Spring uprising. It was fascinating to see where discussions on these issues were being held, who was having them, and what influence and impact that had on their community. For these issues particularly, I learned something from monitoring and ‘listening’ to the information as it came and went…and changed and evolved…There is a unique language around these issues. But, it doesn’t stop there. The language is different not per issue or even per country. But, regionally and varies between ages. With the Arab Spring I noticed it more. Just from watching the dashboard, you see various headlines using different terms. Seeing how different people identified with these movements in different ways was really intriguing…and something, I am honestly still trying to follow and understand. By using Netvibes it was also easier to highlight, not only where these issues were prevalent, but what actions were being taken to address them. Only demonstrations? Uprisings? or was there advocacy work? NGO intervention? Youth-led initiatives?

So- for me, I learned that listening on a large-scale would greatly inform my blogging (and also future research and personal growth) and provide me with comprehensive tools that would assist in translating and breaking down the different voices, opinions, and information that scatter our world to, ultimately…

remain more informed, so that i can better inform


So, while I was doing some researchin’ and readin’ for my previous post…I came across a Forbe’s article that  highlighted 3 reasons you should quit social mediaThis caught my attention. Contributor, J. Maureen Henderson, lists these 3 reasons for disconnecting yourself from that darn pesky, addictive social media web:

1. It harms your self-esteem

        comparing peers from various networking sites

2. You’re blood pressure will thank you

bragging, irritability, petty discourse

3. Online is no substitute for offline

missing out on important life events/moments while trying to ‘capture’ the moment

This got me thinking about how much time I spend on social media websites and what I shouldwouldcould do instead of sitting and clicking and tapping and scrolling and pinching and typing and browsing. I wanted to create a list of three things that I have been wanting to do recently, but…surprise surprise have not found the time just yet.

2. Go to parks with my favorite pup and friend...for exercise and for escape from they city...the traffic...the work....

2. Go to parks with my favorite pup and friend…for exercise and for escape from they city…the traffic…the work… Image uploaded by user.

Re-learn/Re-teach myself how to play the violin.

1. Re-learn/Re-teach myself how to play the violin. Photography by Emily McCall.

3. Being able to visit and get to know my nephew, who is only one hour away...but who feels like he is 5 hours away!

3. Being able to visit and get to know my nephew, who is only one hour away…but who feels like he is 5 hours away! Image uploaded by user

Now, if I had to provide three reasons of why I, personally, believe quitting social media (if only for a period of time…or cutting back, in a sense) could be good/beneficial…I would say these 3 things: 1. It is time consuming and can easily distract from school, family, friends, self-care, or a book!; 2. Mindset shifts: sometimes I feel myself being pulled into this superficial world and my mind fills with too many insignificant things; 3. It is tiring! Seriously…it requires a lot of effort!!

Now, I challenge you. 3 things you could do instead. and 3 reasons to ‘quit’.

In the past years, there seems to be continued discussions and notable tensions around issues of privacy in the web lives we create for ourselves. We choose what we want to share with others. We aren’t forced to update our facebook status updates on where our delicious Sunday brunch was devoured and washed down with a bloody mary or divulge that, yes, I am in fact procrastinating on starting my mid-term paper and really just watching hours of ‘I Love Lucy’ re-runs. Of course, nowhere is it stipulated that we share these specific details of our daily lives, but…

  • maybe there is a sense of pressure from the ever-growing/ever-tightening influence and presence that social media has on our lives;
  • maybe we gain a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction in sharing;
  • maybe knowing that people care enough to ‘like‘ something you are doing has the potential of increasing our livelihood

Maybe you relate to all of these possible reasons for sharing (and what/how/when you share). Maybe just now you have drafted a dozen or even a katrillion other reasons. What we need to think about next is…the implications of sharing. With how open the internet is, we cannot fully control who sees what we choose to share.


a : the quality or state of being apart from company or observation : seclusion
b : freedom from unauthorized intrusion <one’s right to privacy>

                                          source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Issues dealing with privacy are significant and should be taken with profound consideration. Can we instill our own privacy guidelines in congruence with our moral and personal identity? We have to remain accountability for what we share. This includes becoming aware of privacy guidelines that are already instilled on various social media outlets and knowing how to use them.

Privacy Rights Clearing House (PRC) offers a fact sheet on their website that aims to assist people in knowing how to be safe while still being social. Here are 3 topic points that are addressed, which I found to be interesting and most helpful:

  1.  What information is public?
  2. Anonymity on social networks
  3. What laws protect a users information online?

All of this sounds a tad scary, right? Okay, so you’re thinking…I have to go and research policies regarding privacy and bla bla bla before I should post and share with my friends? YES! Because if you don’t, there is a huge chance that people who aren’t your friends could access that information. So, the topic I find myself thinking about from this is…Can and is sharing becoming scary?  Is it already? Are we supposed to feel brave every time we share information online? Do we have to dress ourselves in armor and prepare for some battle?

I don’t know if I would consider myself brave when it comes to what I share. The fact that I have 800 pictures of me tagged on my facebook kind of scares me though. I never paid attention to the mounting tagged photos of me. Now, that I am aware I can tell you I will be spending hours engaging in the ‘untagging’ process. I didn’t have a privacy setting secured of who could, not only post and tag pictures of me, but also tag me in photos that maybe I was not actually IN….but I was there for whatever party, event, or occasion was being held. I do not feel confident or brave enough that I have set my security settings appropriately for all 800 pictures. I am sure somewhere…there is a pictured tagged of me…that I want no one to see. 🙂

Jeff Jarvis –writer, professor, blogger– talks a lot of publicness and sharing. In one of his YouTube videos, How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, Jarvis says, “Publicness is about organizing. We can organize movements, clubs…” (So, this is a different type of sharing! My type of sharing!) He goes on to discuss that our willingness to open up and share is what makes these things possible. My interpretation/what I got from his video—> I took it as he was saying that our bravery and desire to share things…not just about social events or who is dating so and so this week…but sharing our passions and resources. That we can still have this driving force to share even though it can be scary…That if we learn to open up and share for the right reasons in a responsible manner, real change can happen by connecting through the web.


However you choose what/when/how you share (from daily updates to political postings to advocating for a cause), just remember to be cognizant of your presence in the web and how privacy is not a guaranteed luxury anymore…don’t be too scared…but it might help to be responsibly brave  🙂



this is a story within a story that makes a new story and then tells that story. In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was savagely beaten outside of a bar by five men. The severity of his injuries were extensive, almost taking his life. Amongst devastating brain injuries, he experienced physical injuries so terrible he was unrecognizable.

Hogancamp, unable to afford therapy, created his own therapeutic approach…creating a miniature town, called Marwencol, in his backyard. Using dolls to serve as the inhabitants, he made a new world for himself. One that he could control. He used this fictional town to understand, deal and heal from the immense amount of psychological and emotional trauma he experienced. It also served as a form of physical rehabilitation, allowing for his hand&eye coordination to strengthen.



“In this photo, an SS dispatch rider blows past the sentry post at Marwencol with an urgent message.”




“Deja puts her stockings on s-l-o-w-l-y, because she noticed Cpt. Hogancamp staring at her…”




“A B-17 turret gunner who bailed out of his burning plane over  Belgium and eventually found Marwencol. He’s having a drink in front of my bar, ‘Hogancamp’s Ruined Stocking Catfight Club’.”



"A Wehrmacht MG-34 gunner at his guard post, back when the Allies and Axis first shared the town of Marwencol."

“A Wehrmacht MG-34 gunner at his guard post, back when the Allies and Axis first shared the town of Marwencol.”

Source of images: http://www.marwencol.com/gallery/?currentPage=12


On the theme of storytelling…Hogancamp used this town as a form of self-therapy. He developed complex stories, created deep relationships, and nurtured this alternative world into, not only a solace, but into a living, breathing reality. He began documenting the lives of his dolls through photography and through these behaviors…his memory began to return. As bits and pieces were remembered, they materialized in the people and in the story of Marwencol.

Proves the immense power of telling stories. Whether to yourself or to others.

   Storytelling is sharing. connecting. escaping. relating.

 It can be personal or relational.

 formulaic or spontaneous.

light-hearted or intensely deep.

   persuasive or informative.

The power of a compelling story cannot be quantified and its impact is immeasurable. People utilize stories for a vast array of reasons, with equally diverse intentions. Stories connect people, sell products, celebrate life, transform realities, and even, influence behaviors and values. It is the unseen power of good storytelling that compels. A good storyteller retains a technique, a way of securing a tie with its audience. This power can be used for good just as easily as for evil. It can stretch your imagination or control and restrain you to prescribed boundaries.

By truly engaging an audience, an automatic emotional connection is formed –people become participants in the story and they care…they truly care…for the characters, for their mishaps and missteps, for their achievements and their struggles.

Good storytelling makes contact by guiding and involving their audience through an experience. I truly feel that at the core of storytelling lies a passion and an ability to relate content –> truth –> feelings and, ultimately, makes you question and makes you act.


“Where radio is different than fiction is that even mediocre fiction needs purpose, a driving question.”

Source: Picture- http://observer.com/2011/06/ira-glass-on-onion-snubbing-pulitzer-board-coksuckers-and-shtfaces/

Quote- http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/i/ira_glass.html

Ira Glass hosts a weekly radio program (turned podcast, turned television show) called, ‘This American Life.’ There is a different theme every week– from current events to personal experiences. He is charismatic, compassionate and has a soothing, inviting voice. His personable demeanor shines through the airwaves and infiltrates the listener. After he introduces the weekly theme, it transitions to first person narratives where individuals share a story, which relates back to the theme.

Check out Ira’s take on storytelling…

Source: http://vimeo.com/24715531