Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 7, 2009

Response Blog #7 – Social Media: More than just “Friends”, Tweets, and blogs…

I’ll admit…it took me moving to the East Coast for me to take my step into the world of social media.  I was anti-Facebook, thought Delicious was a baking website, and couldn’t tell you what a blog was.  Finally, I was fed up by the fact that my husband knew more about my friends back home (and other parts of the country) than me!  So, I took my first plunge into the world of social media and became one of the 300 million Facebook users.  By starting my Facebook account, I thought I was “in to” social media.

Truth is that social media is so much more than Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media/networking icons you see.  Through my Social Media class at Georgetown, I have been introduced to a new way of thinking and many social media tools that have changed the way I work.  Here are just a few…

What Facebook (and the rest of social media) is NOT.  I think my use of Facebook has totally changed since this class.  At first, I thought that Facebook and Twitter were solely used as platforms to keep your “Friends” or “Followers” informed as to what you were doing.  Oh, not true.  There is some room on Facebook and Twitter for spreading information on what you are doing or recent developments in your life (that you want to share), but really it is a place to start conversation about something else you’ve seen on the web (an interesting article, a photo, a blog, etc.).  Thanks to my Social Media class, I think I have fallen out of this category.

Delicious. Or formerly known as, is definitely not a website to get good recipes but rather a social bookmarking site.  See a good article on the web that you enjoyed now, but might need later for another project?  Bookmark it on your Delicious account and tag it with keywords that will help you recall it on your site later.

Google Reader. What did I ever do without it?  It is the place that I compile all of my news (available by RSS feed) into one place, and easily accessible through my Gmail account.  What’s interesting is that I wasn’t a huge follower of online news because I hated jumping from website to website.  I just couldn’t keep up.  Now with Google Reader, I am able to keep up with my news in one place and it has made me more informed in work and social conversations.   (Mom, I’m getting you on this next time I come home.  You’ll love it!)

A final thought:  Many struggle with the thought of social media and would probably agree with one of my classmates in saying that the internet is WIDE OPEN.  It’s scary.  Yes, partially true.  But being someone that was totally against social media, my philosophy has since changed that the benefit of the different tools far outweigh any risks (as long as you are smart about the information you put out there).

Remember: If you aren’t at least participating in the conversation, you don’t know what is being said about you.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 1, 2009

Working hard? Or hardly working?

I’ll admit there are days where life on the East Coast seems much more hectic than days back in the Midwest.  As a full time employee and Georgetown student, I often think about how nice it would be to some day (wherever I reside) to have someone help out with some tasks around the house/apartment and such.  As busy as I think I am sometimes, I just can’t justify hiring someone at this point in my life.

I started reconsidering my dream after reading a recent job posting highlighted on the Vox Populi, a blog written by the staff of the Georgetown Voice.  If this Georgetown underclassman needs help, so do I!

Check out the highlights of this job posting from the Georgetown Student Employment website:

I am a Georgetown undergrad student and part time employee in the financial services industry. I am looking for someone to take care some of my everyday tasks for 1 hr a day, 5 hrs/ week, $12/hr. I live on campus which would make things very easy convenient for a Georgetown student. The normal pay per week will be $60 ($300/month), even though on occasion it will be possible to work additional hours and/or receive bonuses at my discretion.

As my PA you will receive an email once a day by 9:00 am with a task list for that day and a time estimate for each task. Important tasks will be bolded on the list and must be done that day (even though everything on the list should theoretically be finished on a daily basis) …

PA example tasks -Organize closet -make bed -Drop off / pick up dry cleaning -Drop me off / pick me up from work -Do laundry -Fill up gas tank -bring car for servicing -schedule appointment for haircut -Pay parking tickets -manage electronic accounts -shopping and running errands -other random tasks.

Tasks such as doing laundry that involve a lot of waiting around (time when you could be doing other tasks or doing your own stuff) will be counted for the approximate amount of time it would take to do the labor involved.  For instance, laundry will be counted for half an hour even though a laundry cycle takes 1.5 hrs to complete.

Here’s what is wrong with this situation:

  • Undergraduate student with only part-time work commitments already needs help managing regular day-to-day tasks.  Look out future employers.  This potential job candidate is not a multi-tasker!
  • If one of the daily “to-do” items is driving this person to work, that alone can take over an hour a day with D.C. traffic.  No time for other tasks.  I guess this poor employee won’t be getting a “bonus” those days.
  • Manage electronic accounts?  This person is a target for identity theft if they are giving out their bank info to a perfect stranger – pardon me, their “employee.”
  • This person just got passed the age of doing his parents’ chores.  Now they have someone doing theirs?
  • Being paid for only 30 minutes if an entire laundry load takes over an hour?  $12 per hour is not enough to put up with this (you fill in the blank)!

If that isn’t bad enough, more Georgetown undergrads are hiring their own personal assistants, project managers, whatever.  What has life come to?

Mark my words. My kids’ college allowance will not be footing the bill for their own personal assistant to help them get through life.  That is what college is for!

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | October 27, 2009

Response Blog #6 – My Second Life as Kallesta Stoanes

Remember the first time that you purchased something online?  And the weird feeling you had in your stomach when you entered your name, credit card, and other personal information?  Thinking, did I just sign my life away?  What is the world coming to?  Am I going get what I expect?

Well, I had a similar feeling this evening as I explored my first massive multi-player online game, or MMOG.  Apparently, MMOGs have caught on quickly much like online shopping.  Even the U.S. Army is using them to train and  recruit new soldiers.  I did not have to enter my credit card information, but I had the weird feeling as I created my identity as Ms. Kallesta Stoanes in the game of Second Life.

A Look at Second Life

Second Life, created in 2003, is (apparently) one of the most popular MMOGs.  It’s a free program that enables users to interact with each other.  Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize (via online chatting – like Instant Messenger services), participate in individual and group activities, trade virtual property with one another, or travel throughout the world.  You can live the life you always wanted to live, or one that you always imagined.  There is even a version for teens called Teen Second Life.

So, my first day as Kallesta Stoanes was interesting.  I had to create my name: Kallesta is an abbreviated version of a family name, and Stoanes was one of the last names that the system gave me to choose from.  Then I had to pick my look which I can “pay” to change later.  Once I was dropped into my world, I had to learn how to walk and talk with the rest.  I even got “hit on” by a guy named Buzz.  He was pretty cute.  Maybe he’ll ask “me”, or Kallesta, out.  I figured that was enough for one day.

Once again I’m thinking, what is this world coming to? This isn’t like the Super Mario Brothers games that I learned to know and love.  I just don’t get “it” – meaning MMOGs.  I’ve said this all before.  Will I be wrong about this too?

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | October 19, 2009

Response Blog #5 – You should be afraid of Google if you…

Google has quite simply become a media powerhouse with their suite of web and media applications.  What started as a search engine has become so prevalent in today’s society that some are afraid that Google is going to take over the world.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Google will take strides to become more powerful than it already is today, but Google is not here to gobble us up.

However, you should be afraid of Google if you…

steal someone’s purse and their cell phone (inside their purse) has Google Latitude installed on it. Google Latitude allows you to see your friends’ locations and share yours with them on your phone, computer, or both.   The program’s user base jumped to over one million users within a week of this incident.

kidnap someone and the police are able to pull GPS coordinates from your phone and pinpoint your location using Street View in GoogleMaps.  Many abduction cases have been solved using Street View to locate the potential building where kidnappers are hiding.

are afraid of saving moneyThis article shows 5 Ways Google applications can save you money.  I save money everyday with Google by utilizing Gmail, their free email service, and Gmail Video and Voice Chat.  Yes, there are other free video chat systems out there, but no other that allows you to be logged into your email and start a Video Chat conversation with one of your contacts (that has a Gmail account) in the same platform.

In all seriousness, Google has turned into an internet, media, life, and just about everything tool.  It is here to stay!  Instead of being afraid of ALL it has to offer, explore each application one by one.  Embrace the benefits of Google’s user-friendly technology.  It will make your life easier.

Too many Google applications?  No worries.  Try Simply Google.  It puts all of the various Google applications and tools on one single page.

If you have any questions about this, just Google it.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | October 10, 2009

Response Blog #4 – Digging Deep in the Litter

Everyone has their own unique hobbies, whether you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast.  What this Midwest Girl didn’t realize was how many other people around the world have similar interests AND share their experiences, photos, and advice through the avenues of social media.

It’s no surprise to me how much cat owners love and adore their feline friends.  I can relate.  Life would not be right without my three black and white tuxedo kitties – Reesies, Ramona, and Ramses (lives with my parents back in the Midwest).  What I am surprised by is how many websites are centered around cats (in general), but also specific to the tuxedo cat population.  There are several cat owners out their creating sites, blogging about their cats, and even using pictures of their cats to get a date.  (No offense to any reader that already does this.)

Here’s the best of what I found…and I didn’t have to dig too deep…  Probably the best overall website for cat owners. You can do everything from join discussion forums, adopt a pet, get links to cat blogs, and even create a webpage for your own cat.

The Cat’s Meow:  One of the blogs you can get to from  Hysterical!  I loved today’s blog about Cody the black and white tuxedo cat who survived his ride from Dallas to Chicago while taped up in a UPS box!  This is the MySpace for cat lovers.  Post your pics, videos, and stories about your cats.  Online dating site for pet owners looking to match their pets, themselves, or both!  Create a profile for you and / or your pet in hopes of finding your purrfect companion.

Now getting specific to Tuxedo Cat lovers…

Facebook Groups:  Type in “Tuxedo Cats” in the FB search bar and it will return 38 Fan Groups (as of today) that you can join – all specific to Tuxedo Cat lovers!

Tuxedoganghideout:  Blog with stories and news specific to tuxedo cats.  If you post your tuxedo’s name, “birthday”, and photo, and they will give them a special blog shout out on their birthday.

So the lesson here is there is a community for every interest – no matter how weird or unique it is!  Yes, there are others out there like YOU!

Since my unique interest is black and white tuxedo cats, this blog entry would not be complete with out some photos of my tuxedo trifecta!

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | October 6, 2009

Response Blog #3 – Bill of Rights for Social Media?

After all this talk of Social Media and putting your personal thoughts, photos, etc. out on the internet – Do you think the United States needs a Bill of Rights for social web, or social media? That is the question that my East Coast Social Media professors posed to this Midwest Girl.

My answer is “No” and here are the three reasons why I don’t think the United States needs a Bill of Rights to govern what goes on in the world of social media.

1.  Just a Bill of Rights for the United States? First, I do not see how a United States Bill of Rights for social media could be implemented and enforced.  Simply impossible.  Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have spanned far past the boarders of the United States.  In my mind, the Bill of Rights would have to apply to all users of social media across the globe to serve its purpose of protecting users, not just users in the United States.

2.  “I Agree to These Terms and Conditions.” If a Bill of Rights is implemented for social media, what happens to the agreements that the social media users signed up to when they activated their respective accounts – whether it be on Flickr, Delicious, or any of the other social networks?  I am not an advocate for companies taking people’s personal information and using it for wrong-doing, but I am against a third party infringing on the agreements between two other parties.  Let the users, or future users, read through the terms and conditions and decide if a social media sight is good for them.

3.  Mothers Know Best..and so Do Our Fathers.  I am sure all would agree that our Founding Fathers would never have imagined what the world would be like today – especially with the development of the internet and social media.  However, I think their words and their motives were wise and we should leave it to the system to interpret the current law and apply it accordingly to social media cases.

…all of this coming from a relatively new, yet responsible social media user (so I think) who has not been bitten in the butt by social media yet.  Knock on wood.

What are your thoughts?

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | September 29, 2009

Response Blog #2 – MidwestGirl Goes to Hahvahd!

HAHVAHD”…that is how people in Boston pronounce Harvard, as in Harvard University.

I recently took a trip to Boston, another prominent city on the east coast, filled with plenty of history and charm.  Just outside of Boston lies Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the campus of Harvard, or Hahvahd, University prominently stands.

If you plan on visiting the Boston area in the May to November timeframe, I would highly suggest making your way to Harvard, or the Harvard Square area, to take the unofficial tour of the campus.  Unofficial Tour, you ask?  Yes, take the Unofficial Tour which is a 70 minute walking tour that starts in the middle of Harvard Square.  This is different from the official tour.  The Unofficial Tours are given by a group of entertaining Harvard students.  There is no charge for the tour (tips are welcomed) and you learn much about the University and its many, many traditions.

Not to spoil the fun for those of you that will take this tour, but here are some interesting factoids that I learned:

Students only walk through the Johnston Gate twice: when they first arrive to campus as students and when they graduate.

– Harvard has produced eight US presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama

– The John Harvard Statue is sometimes referred to as “the statue of three lies.”  Why? Despite what the plaque on the statue says, 1) Harvard didn’t actually found Harvard; 2) the school was started in 1636, not 1638; and 3) the statue is not actually of John Harvard! Harvard died portraitless.  There are several theories as to whom the statue represents.

These are just a few of the interesting and witty facts that I learned while on the Unofficial Tour of Hahvahd.

If you want to learn more about the Tour, check out their website.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | September 23, 2009

Response Blog #1 – My First Blog and the Cluetrain Manifesto

Hello World!

For those of you that have found my blog, I congratulate you on finding the internet and social media!  Social media is rather new to me, so with that, I elected to take a class that is dedicated to learning about social media and using it effectively.  One of the assignments is to blog about certain topics, so if you want to learn more, follow my blog and I will clue you into the things that my genius professors at Georgetown are teaching me! (Or post a comment and feel free to clue me on things I should know.)

For class, I recently read the 95 Theses within the book titled Cluetrain Manifesto. It discusses the evolution of global conversation over the internet, social media, and other means of online communication.  If you have not read the 95 Theses, I do encourage it with one recommendation – skip directly to #95!  All are worth reading, but it really is the last one that sums it all up for me.

It [#95] reads, “We are waking up and linking to each other.  We are watching.  But we are not waiting.”

Allow me to interpret what I think the author was getting at…

We are waking up and linking to each other. When the author wrote this, Facebook did not have 300 million users as it does today.  However, I think he saw something coming.  Today, the social media boom has hit most of everyone – even baby boomers!  Individuals all over the world are discovering the benefits of social media sites and how they can keep family, friends, acquaintances, etc. linked together.  You just need to be smart about it!

We are watching. Internet and social media users are utilizing the world wide web to get up to the minute news and information.  We watch for the information to come to us!  Technology such as RSS feeds and text messages/email updates can help us do that.

But we are not waiting. Individuals that rely on the internet for their news and information do not wait for it.  In fact, we grow very impatient and look for the first site that can tell us what we want to know.,,… Some don’t even wait for news sources to tell them, but rather rely on news through a Twitter feed or a Facebook posting from a friend.  I first heard of MJ’s death from Facebook, and then I turned to a news source for information.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | September 17, 2009

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