The Many Shades of Me.

One of the most frequently thrown around terms when people talk about me is “eccentric”.

To me, that word brings up images of older rich ladies with habits of having lots of cats or expensive figurines of them, taking tea outside even in the rain. Certainly not a “just-out-of-teens”* female with varied interests and different ways of thinking about the world. I own one cat, which actually belongs to my daughter. I have expensive figurines, but not of cats. It’s mostly sci-fi or comic book characters. I do take tea outside, and I love the idea of taking it in the rain, but it would dilute the tea and that makes it not worthwhile an adventure.

I do think differently to most. There are times when I think quite differently to myself of five minutes ago. That is one of the joys of still learning. May I never stop learning!

But, this idea of eccentricity got me to thinking. If we are constantly being told to be careful as to how we portray ourselves online, are we not then running the risk of appearing eccentric to our followers? If all we talk about is tea, do we become the crazy lady focused on loose leaf beverages? If All I talk about are my cats, am I the crazy cat lady on- and off-line?

I was talking to a friend about why I was changing the focus of my blog and diversifying it from just writing about food. They didn’t seem to understand. The very idea ran so contrary to all other opinions on writing online out there, that she just couldn’t understand why I would want to run the risk of not having a focus to my blog. Well, there IS still a focus. The focus is me. Now, while that may sound extremely egotistical and self-centered, I believe I have multiple unique perspectives on life that no one else writes about at the moment. Sure, there are mothers who blog, there are food-lovers who blog, there are people in Perth who write about their experiences in this city. There are people who write roller derby blogs, and there are people who keep learning blogs of their university gleanings. But none of them, to the best of my knowledge, writes about their lives. It is seen as taboo, or that to do so is to invite an invasion of privacy too heinous to consider. I don’t think this is the case at all.

The people who read my blog may feel they know me from my writing, but I do not share everything about me. I choose what people know and do not know. The people who read my blog actually know no more about me from online conversations with me, than I would have with them in real life were I to engage in an meaningful conversation with them.

I am not just a foodie, a roller derby enthusiast, a mother, a partner, a student, or a body piercer. I do not have only these interests. I think in this brave new world of multiple active perspectives, in this place of everywhere and nowhere, we ought to embrace more the idea of flexible privacy. I can tell you about my life, without you having all the details and, in return I should be respected as a person enough to not have the privacy I choose to retain violated. I think this makes sense, don’t you?

*term may be somewhat loosely applied. Well, Douglas Adams did say “time [was] irrelevant…” I am merely following his lead.

“Social Proof.”

I find the way we think about how well social media changes our mind set quite interesting. Mostly because I am of the opinion that humans are fundamentally lazy and, following this theory, the action of clicking a “Like” button of a social cause does not mean we will get off our couch to actively do anything about it, we seem to think it shows enough support. Enough compared to what, I am not sure, but enough that we do not have to go and do anymore. We intrinsically know clicking a “Like” button on a facebook page for stopping hunger in the third world will not necessarily give them more food, but we feel we have done our part.

However, following this concept of “social proof” by clicking on that button, I am potentially shaping the actions of those people who receive the notification that I have done so. There is some anecdotal evidence to show that my actions on social media will be reflected in the actions of those around me. While this in itself is not necessarily a startling revelation, it does bring one of my main concerns in engaging with social networking sites into the light. I am normally disinclined to notify everyone on my friends list that I have gone and clicked a button saying I like this or that. I feel that if people were interested in such things,they would have gone and searched them out for themselves. This, however, does not mean that I would continue to be so disinclined if I thought it would force more action from those who do watch what I do online, the “lurkers.”

Reading this article, I found the process by which many people find new reasons to step outside of the “lurker” patterns of behaviour interesting. By choosing to comment on an article, rather than simply read it, you have entered the world of action. You are no longer a passive consumer. You are now actively consuming the article, because you have become part of the discussion.

So, to this end, I invite all who read my blog (and I know that even with the recent rebadging there are still a few of you) to comment with at least one article out there in the online world that you have read recently. It can be about anything. I also ask you to actively engage with the writer of that article, by commenting on their article. It doesn’t have to be an intellectual tirade. Just let them know that you appreciated them writing it. Sometimes that is all it takes to let a writer know that you are thankful for their efforts. Let’s face it. It’s just plain polite.

Media140 Perth.

I was fortunate enough this week to volunteer for this event.

For those not familiar with what Media140 is all about, the site is here: media140. They can explain themselves better than I can, suffice to say it was a three day event covering the digital future we are facing and how best to move forward in that world.

I was the tweet-queen for this event. You can find my colleague’s storifies for the three days here: Digital Business, Digital Me, and Digital Family..

Through all of the talks and presentations, there were some over-riding concepts.

We, as in the current generations of adults, are entering the world of a truly digital future. This requires new ways to look at this new world, as the old ways of thinking are not necessarily conducive to moving forward. While we embrace this new technology with open arms, we are still trying to overlay them with old modes of thought that do not run concurrent. As such, we need to adapt our minds as we adapt our lives and bodies to these new devices we seem to take everywhere. This means new ways of thinking about commerce, connectivity and engagement with life in general. Part of the responsibilities in this new role we have taken on is to open the channels of communication about the issues surrounding web use.

Our children learn first by watching our examples. If we do not lead by example, how can we assume they will listen to us when we try to sit down and speak with them about the potential pros and cons of the web? Notice I used “speak with” and not “speak to”. This is something very important to me personally, and was touched on by a few speakers. We need to speak with our kids and not orate to them. They actually know more about the digital world than we may give them credit for, or even the they give themselves credit for.  We need to allow them to bring what they know to the table, but also give them an environment where they feel they can ask us about things they don’t understand. *** Potential backlash warning *** I think this is a fundamental problem in many families I have seen. Sometimes this includes my own. We do not give our children what they so desperate need, and that is the feeling that it is okay to fail, it is okay to ask questions, it is okay to not know.

And at this point, it’s time for some squee. Miss9 just came up for big squishy huggles. Okay. Squee-mum is done. Back to the other stuff.

Ahem. So. Where was I? Yes. Too many parents that I see think they can fix all of their kids problems for them. How does this give them the space to learn from their own mistakes? We have this societal mentality of failing being such a bad thing. Combine this with the idea that we, as parents, do not want our children to have to make the mistakes we have made, and we have a recipe for disaster. To this end, I have given up on trying to give my child access to the repository of my learning. My mistake, vast and varied as they may be, are not hers to learn from. They are mine to learn from. While some may see it as a kindness to try and impart their knowledge to their kids, I strongly believe all it achieves is resentment on their end at not being allowed to discover for themselves.

Right, so that’s that rant over and done with. Yes, those were the main themes covered by the event Media140. New ways of thinking for new technologies. Food for thought most sincerely.

BREAKING NEWS!

NephthysNile is now under some heavy reconstruction. This will include a rebranding of the original PAFC blog, as well as some new features (Shhhh! It’s a secret). Stay tuned. Apologies if there’s some missing stuff while these changes are being made.