Posted in Parenting, social media

Making Connections with Social Media

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m going to talk about making connections, but first, I want to let you know I finished my novel!! Whoo! Hoo! (Wipes Sweat from Brow) Now to get it off to my Beta reader to see what she thinks. Hopefully, she likes it (crosses fingers).

Photo credit: discoodoni via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

 

But enough about that. Let’s get back on track and talk about connections. In this day and age of social media, we’re able to connect with people we haven’t actually met. Our circle of influence has grown exponentially. This is a good thing, especially if you’re trying to make a name for yourself whether you’re a writer, or trying to become a social media personality.

Photo credit: Visual Content via Visual hunt / CC BY

          When I say social media personality, I think of Kim Kardashian. Before she was a social media personality, she didn’t produce anything. After she became famous, she developed her own clothing line and I believe she has a makeup line as well. So how did she become famous? Her mother strategically leaked a sex video of her and an old boyfriend on social media. Instant Fame.

Another example of this is Logan Paul. He’s a video personality who became famous by making short clips on the social media site, Vine. He has over twelve million Instagram followers and has now branched out into acting. He’s in the movies “The Thinning” and “Chainsaw.” It would’ve taken him much longer to break into acting if it hadn’t been for social media. Click the link below to check him out.

Logan Paul’s Official Youtube Site

 

Social media is changing the climate of our world. It’s bringing us closer to people we would’ve never met. It’s closing the gap between celebrities and the common man, by turning the common man into a celebrity.

It’s also allowing people to come together for a cause. Now, we’ve always had this ability, but with social media people from all over the world can communicate about something they all believe in. For example, after the documentary “The Keepers” aired, their Facebook Group exploded. In fact, they had to shut down the group for a few days. It’s back up and has over ninety thousand members, all of them expressing their horror over the murder of Sister Cathy and the abuse that occurred at the school. There are people from all over the world in the group. Without social media, there’s no way they would all be able to get together and share their theories and show their support for the victims.

Image result for the keepers

          So, you’re asking, what is the point you’re trying to make, Lisa?

A fair and good question. My point is, social media is a way to garner power. That’s right.  I’ll use “The Keepers” as an example. One of the investigators posted in the group a request to write a letter to the Archdiocese asking them to release the files on Father Maskell (the priest who’s accused of abusing students).  Now, it’s hard for the Archdiocese to ignore letters from ninety thousand people. Can you imagine getting that many letters making the same request? Even if only half of them sent letters, that’s still forty-five thousand letters.

Photo via Visualhunt

          They can’t ignore them. For the first time in a long time, the common man has a tool to fight against people and institutions who hold power. This is incredible and I’m following “The Keepers” to see where this all goes.

Social Media, when used properly, is a tool that can help keep those in power in check. It can also help an introvert become famous, but  just like any other tool, it can cause damage as well. So use your tools for good and not evil.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about Social Media and the Trends that are happening in our world? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

 

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Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Reading, Teen

It Takes a Village…

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the book and the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.” This week our school sent us a letter regarding the content of this show. They were concerned about how teens might be reacting to the strong issues the show addresses.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by [Asher, Jay]

Now, I haven’t read the book or watched the series. I’ve got to find a time when my boys aren’t around to watch it, and right now they’re around a lot. I like that. 🙂 So I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I agree with the concerns of the school district. The book and the show deal with a lot of teen issues like rape, slut-shaming, and suicide. The letter I received voiced the concern that the issues the show addressed might be possible triggers for some teens who are struggling with these problems themselves.

The school did a great service to bring these concerns to the attention of the parents. I was impressed the district was so in tune with what is happening among the student body. I work in the library and I know that book has been very popular.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

So the question arises, who is responsible for the message our kids receive, is it the author of the book? The producers of the show? The school district? Or the Parents? How about when the kids take this behavior to social media, who’s responsible then? My take on the whole situation is that we all are. Remember that old saying it takes a village to raise a child? This particular example is what the quote is talking about.

Our responsibility as authors is to make sure our stories are authentic and our message is a positive one. I feel, even though I haven’t read the book yet, that when Jay Asher wrote the story, he was attempting to show what could happen to a teen who was experiencing these problems. So teens who were slut-shaming or bullying would know the consequences of their actions before it was too late. It was a cautionary tale. Kudos to the author for sending such a powerful message.

There are differences between the show and the book, mainly for dramatic effect. The show is much longer than the book and the reason is because the producers wanted to make thirteen episodes to make the mini-series a two week event. Because of this, they had to make changes to the story itself. The administrators at the school were concerned the show presented suicide as a viable option to solving the issues in the story, and again, the possibility of this show as a trigger for teens experiencing some of the issues.

Suicide is never an option. We need to communicate with our kids and tell them help is available. There are professionals who can help them deal with their strong emotions and there are authority figures who can step in if they’re being shamed in any way. This is where the school took responsibility and warned the parents. Now the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved and either watch or read the book with their child and have an open dialogue with them. Could the producers of the series have done a better job of showing how Hannah could’ve gotten help? Probably. And I feel they should have. I’ve heard the show presented suicide as a viable option and like I said before, suicide is never an option.

But what happens when the teens take this behavior to social media? Who’s the authority there? Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure students behave? In my opinion, social media is out of the school’s control. The school can’t police all their students’ social media accounts.

Photo credit: Mark Kens via Visual Hunt / CC BY

How about the parents. Yeah. I agree in a perfect world, the parents are responsible for their child’s behavior, but we all know our world is far from perfect, and most kids don’t tell their parents when they’re going through something like slut-shaming. So how do we nip this behavior in the bud before it reaches that critical point?

We need the creators of these social media sites to be vigilant and look for this type of behavior among their users. They’re the only ones who can do this. And they need to take a strong stance against this behavior. Accounts should be suspended or deleted as soon as bullying appears. I know they can’t catch everyone, but they may be able to save a life.

I know some students will be up in arms about privacy issues and freedom of speech. But social media has never been private and freedom of speech doesn’t apply to bullying. We as parents need to teach our kids this behavior is never okay. We have to make sure we don’t inadvertently model this behavior in our own lives as well. So ultimately, every single one of us is responsible and it really does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

The Dark Side of Social Media

Photo credit: the UMF via Visual hunt / CC BY

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the dark side of Social Media. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being able to stay connected to all my friends and colleagues. It’s great to be able to chat with someone I haven’t seen in years. Social Media is an amazing tool.

I’ve used it when I’m researching information for my stories. I contact people who are experts in their fields and pick their brains. That way, I know what I’m adding to my story is accurate. It makes my story more authentic. Please understand, the people I contact, I’ve already established a relationship with them. I just don’t follow them or add them as a friend and then start bombarding them with questions. 🙂

This is an incredible way to get information, and I can see my kids using social media to do research for papers when they get older, but there’s a dark side to the internet as well.

Not everything on social media is as it seems, and we must teach our littles the difference. First of all, social media is the image someone wants to project. People usually post only about the positive things in their lives. This is okay, no one wants to hang with a Negative Nancy, but it’s only half the picture. Everyone experiences happiness and struggles. We need to remind our kids about that so they don’t get caught up in the world where likes and follows become more important than real relationships.

Photo credit: Kris Olin via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

          It’s sad to say, but it goes even deeper. Teens are using social media to hook up. That means to get together and have sex. They send out a tweet or a post asking if anyone wants to hook up. If someone responds in the affirmative, they make the arrangements. They’re even sending naked photos of themselves via the internet.  Isn’t that scary? In my opinion, social media hinders our ability to connect emotionally as human beings.

Photo credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, Hiking.org via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

          We need to be cognizant of this trend and turn it around because if we don’t, our kids may never learn to make that emotional connection. We don’t want to lose that because it would mean we’re losing a big part of what makes us human, wouldn’t you agree?

A friend recommended this book to me and I’ve just started it, but it inspired this blog post. I believe it’s important for every parent to read, to understand the climate our kids are trying to navigate today. The cover and blurb are below.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by [Sales, Nancy Jo]

Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women is the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.

With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls. 

Provocative and urgent, Ameran Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

Like I said, I just started reading it so I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on the topic at a later date. 🙂 So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I appreciate it! What do you think? Do you think Social Media has a dark side, or is it all sunshine and unicorns? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe

The Impact of Social Media: A Slice of Life Post

 

Write. Share. Give.

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back with another Slice of Life Post after a brief hiatus. We’ve been so busy with the kids and getting our basement put together I had to take a break. I’ve also been writing. My story is coming together and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m hoping to finish it in the next couple of weeks. (crosses fingers).

Anyway, it’s good to be back today. I’ve been thinking about social media and how it has impacted my life. One of the ways it has had a positive impact is I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends I’d lost touch with. These reconnections have been incredible. We’ve gotten together and gone down memory lane, renewing old bonds and strengthening our friendship. I think our friendships change as we grow and some friends stay with us and some don’t.

Photo via Visual Hunt

          Another way social media has had a positive impact is I’ve been able to make contacts that help me with my writing. Research has just become that much easier. Social media has opened doors for everyone. Because of social media we can chat with our favorite celebrities and build relationships with people who can help us in our career, and maybe we can help someone else in their career. We’ve never had the ability to reach out and be this close to someone famous like this before. It’s kind of mind boggling when you think about it.

Photo via VisualHunt

          There are some negatives to social media as well. There are trolls out there who enjoy creating dissension. If you happen to run into one of these people it can make your experience with that platform unpleasant.

There’s also the situation where someone can stalk you via social media. I’ve had friends who’ve experienced this. These stalkers try to create a rift between the person they’re stalking and some of their more loyal followers. It’s not as dangerous as real life stalking, but it is disconcerting.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the fact bullying happens on social media as well. It’s unfortunate, but true. Especially these days with all the political division among people, things can get out of hand fairly quickly.

Photo credit: Lisa monster via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

          Social media is an awesome tool for reconnecting and staying in touch, but like everything else it has a dark side too. We need to teach our children about this dark side and prepare them for it. We must teach them to choose their words wisely and teach them about the power our words have. They can be uplifting or they can be demoralizing. We get to choose.

Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for organizing Slice of Life! To read other Slicers posts click here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! How do you think social media has impacted your life? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Slice of LIfe

Tweeters Behaving Badly

 

SOLSC Button

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back with another Slice of Life post and today I want to talk about Cyber-bullying.

 

Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Visualhunt / CC BY

This week i learned that two of my Twitter pals were being bullied on Twitter. (They don’t follow each other or know each other). It upset me. Why would anyone take the time to harass someone on social media? It doesn’t make sense.

Photo via Visual Hunt.com

One of my friends received personal attacks, taunting her. Telling her she was fat and she should kill herself. This blows my mind and makes me angry. This is all because she doesn’t support Trump. Is this what our political process has become?

If someone voices an opinion that you don’t agree with, then ignore them. Why do people feel the need to engage in such a hateful manner? What are they trying to accomplish?

The awesome thing about social media is that you can engage with people from around the world. It’s a great tool. It’s not to be used as a way to bully people. My friend happens to be strong and was able to handle this negative crap. But what if she were emotionally fragile at the time these tweets started coming her way? What if she really did try to kill herself?

My other friend has someone who’s spreading lies about her. Who has time for this? And what is their motive? This girl is an up and coming author, she isn’t a threat in any way. The only thing she can do is ignore these tweets and report this behavior to Twitter.

In our public school system we’re trying to teach anti-bullying tactics. How are our kids supposed to learn these behaviors if they see adults behaving this way?

Now more than ever we need to be kind to each other. This type of behavior is getting way out of hand. Let’s start a ripple effect in the direction of kindness. Let’s see if we can be the change we want to see in the world.

 Photo credit: Steve.r via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

Thanks for reading my post. If you’d like to read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

If you’ve ever been bullied by someone on social media, how did you handle it? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!

 

Posted in Literacy, Reading, Writing

The Link between Reading and Empathy

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my second WIP and it’s coming along. I try to make it perfect and then I have to tell myself to relax and let the story flow. It is after all, my first draft. My seventh novel has been on the back burner, simmering while  a third Beta reader checks it out. I’ve gotten very positive feedback from the first two, so I’m crossing my fingers. 🙂

In between my writing times I’ve been keeping a presence on social media and I’ve gotten involved in some Twitter Chats. These chats have centered on the topic of Diversity and Social Media.

Photo via VisualHunt

It seems to me that Social Media has allowed people to drop their masks and spew their hate for certain minorities, genders, or people of different sexual orientations. Since these people can’t see the hurt they inflict, they don’t experience the consequences of their actions, so they keep doing it.

Photo credit: Eddi van W. via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

The reality is empathy for our fellow man is declining.  With the internet and social media, we’re more connected than we’ve ever been in our entire lives, and yet we’re struggling to be empathetic. Why?

Some researchers feel that information overload has made our brains screen out the emotionally expensive content. It’s a defense mechanism. They’ve also found the increase in screen time has an inverse relationship with empathy. Simply put, when our screen time increases our ability to empathize decreases. To learn more click this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/artificial-maturity/201403/why-empathy-is-declining-among-students-and-what-we-can-do

Another study states there has been a sharp decline in reading for pleasure in the last ten years. What’s interesting is that along with this decline there’s also been a decline in the ability to feel compassion for others. As an author I find that very interesting. Don’t you?

This strongly suggests reading is linked to empathy. In fact, studies have shown the number of books preschoolers read predicts their ability to empathize. To read the full article click here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-me-care/

 

 Photo credit: Brian Metcalfe via Visual hunt / CC BY

 

So authors keep writing, don’t give up. Write those diverse books and try to ignore the haters. If they don’t get a reaction they can’t continue spewing their garbage.  It’s hard to ignore them, I know, but we as a society need those books. There’s enough readers out there for all of us, so let’s band together and send out a positive vibration that obliterates their negative one. Don’t even engage with them. They’ll get the message sooner or later.

To read more Slice of Life Posts click here.

 

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Technology and Its Effects on our Lives

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today and I’m excited because I’ve finished my latest WIP. 🙂 Now the editing begins. My favorite part of writing. I love making my story stronger and better. I’ll share more details as I go through the process.

Today, I want to talk about technology. What an amazing thing it is. When I compare my childhood to that of my children, things are totally different, and I must say, I’m not that old! 😉

It’s incredible the changes that have occurred in the last thirty years (cough). Back in the day, we only had a landline phone, cell phones didn’t exist. Now, we’ve got phones that we can send texts, take pictures, and search the web with. It is truly amazing how far we’ve come.

And let’s not forget Social Media. Today, we can chat with someone from another country via the internet for the cost of an internet connection. I remember my days in college when we had to wait until after eleven pm to make long distance calls because the rates were lower, and I wasn’t even chatting with someone from another country. Those phone calls were expensive!

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Photo courtesy of Flicker Creative Commons and

https://mkhmarketing.wordpress.com/

It’s remarkable how far we’ve come and it makes me wonder how far we’ll go. What new technology awaits us over the horizon? What will social media evolve into and what effect will it have on our kids?

These are the questions I think about as I watch my children interact with their friends. I wonder how relationships will evolve. Will most of them be carried out over the internet? Will text messaging/instant messaging be the way our kids communicate with their friends and families? After all this type of communication is on the rise. Just take a look at these statistics. http://attentiv.com/we-dont-speak/

The reality is that our texting may be a detriment to face to face communication. According to this article, http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/texting-teens-adults-communication-0726126

Text messaging/instant messaging is a form of instant gratification, cultivating impatience in our teens which could lead to aggression. When I think of this, I think of road rage and the fact that it’s on the rise. To me, road rage is a person’s frustration when they can’t get to their destination fast enough or they’re frustrated by another driver. Could the instant gratification of text messaging be a contributing factor to road rage? In my opinion yes.

This is one of the negatives of our technological advancement. Just like everything in life, moderation is the key. I believe we need to set limits on cell phone usage especially while driving. Did you know that texting while driving is now a worse public hazard than drunk driving? Check out this article, http://www.alertdriving.com/home/fleet-alert-magazine/north-america/Texting-while-driving-now-a-worse-public-hazard-than-drunk-drivers

Right now, the responsibility resides with the individuals to monitor their own cell phone usage while driving. I believe, we’ll soon have laws that prohibit the use of cell phones while on the road, but how do we police it? As a parent, I say absolutely no texting while driving for teens. They’ve just learned how to drive, they don’t need the distraction of trying to text at the same time.

Our technological advancements have created some problems for our society. In my opinion, moderation is key. We’ll have to monitor and set limits for social media interaction and text messaging for our kids. After all, we don’t want them to lose the ability to communicate face to face. They’d lose the art of reading body language and emotional intelligence will decrease. These are vital skills they’ll need as adults, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today, I appreciate it! Leave a comment, I’d love to read your thoughts! 🙂