The Culture of “Likes”, “Loves” and “Favorites”

I’m a social media fan. I have accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I use them for various reasons. Facebook to communicate with friends and play games. Twitter for news feeds and randomness. Instagram to share photos I take and see what photos celebs and others I follow take. In other words, my social media footprint is as large as the average social media user. While there is enough between the three of these platforms to keep a person busy, there is one other thing that can change the way a person handles social media.

It is the “Likes”, “Loves” and “Favorites”.

For Facebook, we can “like” a post. It can be a status update, a picture, something we mentioned or repeated on our page. For Instagram, it is whatever picture or video we posted. For Twitter is can be comments, articles, retweets. These things consciously and subconsciously can configure us how we are going to present ourselves in social media. Suddenly, speaking out, taking pictures, bringing attention to an article or a cause isn’t purely because of what we a person appreciates, but it can be what is considered popular. March to the beat of your own drum? It can be done if you don’t care what others think of you. If you care, then it can color your views.

Case in point. I like taking pictures. I take them with my Iphone or DSLR. I like to post them on the various social media platforms. I do it cause I see something and I think it would be cool to share my perspective. In some cases I don’t get anyone’s attention and that fine. Then there are those times I get a lot of attention. While I tell myself it is nothing, I can’t help but be sucked into enjoying the attention whatever I did on social media is getting. It is addictive. Intoxicating. I find myself amazed by the attention but also flattered and reveling in it. They like me. They really like me.

Not cool.

I don’t want to be driven by how many likes, loves or favorites I get. I want to keep being me. While the adoration is great, have to stay true to myself. I feel this is just a microcosm of our society. Individualism is sometimes lost because the appeal is for mass acceptance. Look at hipsters. There was a time when hipsters were outsiders. Now people try to be hipsters to the point that real hipsters are abandoning it cause trying to be a hipster is the opposite of being a hipster.

I’m not immune to seeking out appreciation but I certainly know that all that adoration and appreciation isn’t real. Real life doesn’t have every day filled with that. Real life has a number of anonymous days. The adoration and appreciation should be for the person. Not for what they post, repost, photograph or say. Conviction should be appreciated. That’s the true measure of a person.

If only it was easier said than done.

Love Letters/Letters Written With Love

This past Sunday I saw the play Love Letters. Written by A.R.Gurney, it is currently on Broadway with a rotating cast.  Candace Bergen and Alan Alda played the roles of Melissa Gardiner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III respectively. It spans the lives of the relationship between Melissa and Andy since they first wrote in the second grade. It spans grade and high school, college and World War II, and well beyond. It continued whenever they lived and whatever occurred in their lives.  While their lives evolved and revolved, the letters keep coming. Even with the advent of phones, letters find a way to rule. The letters allowed them to express their feelings, as one would in a conversation. It was a gripping,entertaining, exhilarating, maddening and saddening rollercoaster of a ride through their relationship.

This reminded me of my letter writing days. I don’t know if I ever wrote a love letter but the letters I wrote were written with love. Like greeting cards, I keep my letters. I know for a fact I have a number of letters that I saved from my letter writing days between freshman and sophomore years of college. I had written letters to Michelle while she was in Washington DC as part of a summer internship program. From what I remember, Michelle wrote of the atmosphere in Washington DC and I shared the New York experience with her. We were both interested and involved in politics. Bill Clinton was vying to become the Democratic candidate to bring hope to the Democrats and the country after 12 years of Republican rule. We talked about our love for politics, Cuomo providing the signature speech prior to Clinton’s acceptance of the nomination. We also shared our lives and love. This was at a time when I had gone from smitten to love for Michelle. We matured in those letters but also had our wide-eyed perspectives about life. We were young (18 and 20 respectively) and saw the world full of opportunities. The real world had not yet touched us in a way to make us cynical.  Those letters during that 3 month span were the only letters I wrote consistently in my life but they provide insight on our lives. It obviously takes two to write letters and had she not kept up her end, I am certain my letters would have stopped.

Nowadays I do not write letters. Instead, I instant message, tweet, text and write emails. While the medium has changed, in some of those cases and with some of those people, I still write with love. They are not love letters but a form of communication that expresses love. In other words, love can be transmitted in any way a person wants it to be.

The universe is hard to figure out

Today I went through a perfect example of how the universe plays tug of war with my life. I had to reschedule my monthly committee meeting from Tuesday to Monday due to Tuesday being Veterans Day and a Federal Holiday ( Happy Veterans Day!). It also coincided with my three days off in the middle of the week (mental health, girlfriend time, and me time) so Monday was nonstop busy. Work seems to know when I am going on PTO as well as when I need to leave early cause the shit hits the fan. Crazy deadlines and people. At what time it was four hours at my desk with a lot of water and no pee break (TMI? STFU). So I was blitzed with conference calls and heavy negotiations. Not fun. As the day was winding to a close then it happened.

Fire safety team notified out elevator bank that some tripped the fire alarm. All the elevators in all banks were shutdown. We were stuck wherever we sat or stood. I could hear the clock tick loudly as I wondered whether I would get out in time. Repelling off side of my office in Rockefeller plaza was an actual idea. Then another announcement. All elevators were running except bank C. Wait! I’m in bank C! Then another message. Two were running but were manually controlled and took six people each ride. As I sat distracted by work, the time came for me to finally make my leave. I walked to the elevator bank and just as I pressed the button for lobby an elevator appeared. It appeared safe so I got on.

When I arrived at the lobby, I was told that the elevator was going out of service. Universe is smiling at me.

I walked over to take the bus down Lexington and saw a limited bus. Hopped on, slid my metrocard in and EXPIRED! With no change I hopped off the bus in disgust but remembered the 6 train line had an entrance on the corner of the block. I ran down there and exchanged my expired metrocard for a new one with my original $10 and no sooner did I get the new card a 6 train came in. Hopped onto it and was feeling a bit like a gambler. Try my luck to catch that limited that I missed? I decided to go for it.

Got off at Grand Central Station and exited through the Chanin building. A straight shot to Lexington and the bus stop. I was caught behind a texter and slow walker. Finally made it to street level only to see the entrance across from the bus stop was closed. Crap. So I ran out through the 42nd street side and saw the limited waiting. I ran to it and was fortunate that it was taking its time unloading passengers. Got on the bus and it zipped down to 23rd. I was able to get to the meeting I chair with 10 minutes to spare.

I guess when I think the universe is against me it reminds me that I’m wrong some of the time, if not all of the time.

ASAP Should Be Banned From Business Lexicon

ASAP. As Soon As Possible. What exactly does that mean? ASAP is a relative term. A subjective one. For instance, I may have a work day full of meetings and not enough time to work on a new matter. So for me ASAP is the earliest the next day. Not so fast says the person requesting legal review. They want it same day. That’s what As Soon As Possible means to them. Usually the side that wins us the one who holds the power position. I’ve started to take the power.

So I call upon all personnel who have fallen subject to the whip of ASAP. Fight back! Don’t let ASAP rule your lives. Own it. Destroy the power it holds. Personnel are more efficient without a proverbial sword hanging over their heads. If we can stem the tide and bring rights back to the working class maybe our attitude towards work would change. You never know till you try.

Reading Is Food For The Mind

I’ve taken up the habit of reading the weekend New York Times at coffee shops, parks or cafes. The subscription I have is mainly to access the digital edition but I feel a sense of commitment is necessary when the paper arrives at my door on weekends. After all I am fulfilling the papers purpose of being read and the death of trees was not in vain. I’m informed about the world, social, economic, arts and entertainment. So I’ve decided each weekend requires time to read the paper.

I mainly read outside because home is distracting. Too many things can sideline me. Mostly television shows, sports or movies. I used to be one of those who let the paper pile up. Now not so much. I glad read the paper from cover to cover.

I do wonder if this is creating an OCD? Well, if so, it can’t be bad, right?

The Heidi Chronicles

I’m sitting in a Starbucks on Astor Place listening to an amateur rocker singing a Cranberries cover and thinking of a girl named Heidi. Yes, still looking for love in all places. Every time it follows a similar script: Raj meets girl. Raj likes girl. Girl likes Raj. Raj and girl like each other more and more. Love starts to be said. Raj begins to see future with girl. Some outside force flips things around. Relationship end. Rinse. Repeat. So I’m thinking why should this be any different?

But it is.

I can’t say why this is different but the vibe I’m feeling is unlike any one I have had before. I’ve tried to connect with my inner Spock and rationalize it: She knows what she wants in life. She is age appropriate (5 years 11 months younger than me). She loves and wants to stay in NYC.

Maybe maturity has finally hit me at 40? I always felt I knew what I wanted but 40 has changed me. I haven’t ever been this comfortable in my skin as I am now. I still workout and try to eat healthier but I’m very much ” what you see is what you get”. I’m no longer trying to be someone I’m not. I’m being me.

I think that’s why I feel different with Heidi. She likes me. Not a better version of me. Not a malleable me. Me as I am. She has seen me at my sweaty worst and my shining best.

Let’s see where this goes. It could be the same old song or it could be a whole new world.

Why I Returned

It has been a year and one half since I wrote on WordPress. During that time I spent time microblogging on Tumblr. The experience has been good and I won’t stop what I post there but I had to return.

Why?

I miss writing.

Tumblr has many pros especially the ease of posting pictures and re blogging. A couple of clicks and my social media footprint grew a little larger. Still something was missing.

I felt detached from the process. Again, it was just a few clicks. I didn’t have to think deeply. I posted pictures of places and food using Instagram to link to Tumblr but that was it. It was mindless thoughtless sharing for me. I didn’t feel creative. Just passing some part of my life along that the general public may or may not be interested in.

I had thought of returning to WordPress but why now?

Brook.

Not that love for someone swayed me but it was that she finally committed to blogging and when I told her I haven’t done much blogging she lamented my giving up my WordPress blog. She was probably my only fan but that’s cause she is heavily biased. That comment made me think. Why wasn’t I blogging? The creative juices are still there and I write for myself so I can see my history warts and all.

I realized it was the medium I was using versus the one I used. WordPress has no frills and I don’t pay for the upgrade cause my writing is not Vonnegut. It is a simple was for me to express myself.

So I have returned. Who knows for how long but let’s see where this takes me. So…

Once again, welcome to my world.