Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Technology and Social Media Have Really Changed Pictures

It is without question that we are in the most picture taking era we have ever been in. Cameras are easily available on our cell phones/smart phones and even tablets.

Nowadays, some of the main reasons one chooses a particular smartphone is for the type of camera: the resolution, front facing feature for selfies, size, and also easy availability to upload photos to social media.

Photos have definitely enhanced the social media process, so much that Instagram was created, and goes hand in hand with Facebook. You take pics from a night out, an event or just for the heck of it and instanteously share them.

Many even back their pictures up to the Cloud and print their pictures so they can forever preserve the memories.

Digital cameras and social networking both became popular in the 90s. During these days, you had to have a scanner to save your photos to a disk and then upload them to your pages. Things continued evolving as MySpace and Facebook came along. Then cell phones with cameras were introduced around the same time. It's almost like this was a match made in Heaven and has worked out well.

One can do so much with photos from simply the smartphone. Pictures can be edited, cropped, placed into multiple frames as a collage, and so forth. Apps such as PhotoGrid and PicsArt are perfect for this and even work well with all of the social networks.

Both technology and social media will continue to evolve, as will our capability to preserve memories and day to day living.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Social Media Etiquette

Social media has been around for quite sometime now, and grows in popularity and relevance daily. I have already written about the three most popular networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

However, some of us still don't know how to properly conduct ourselves on these platforms.

Here are some etiquette guidelines I have came up with throughout my many years on social networks.

1. Follow everyone back, unless you're a big celebrity.

If you cannot follow back everyone on Twitter and Instagram, they really serve no purpose on your follower list. Social interacting is supposed to a two way street, not a popularity contest to see whom has the most followers.

2. Do you really need that many friends?

Yes yes I know, some of you know I have huge friend lists on all three major outlets. However, I ensure you that each and every friend and follower has a legitimate purpose on my list. I do regular housecleaning, filtering and deleting. Sometimes you simply have to clean house.

3. Be an active friend

Comment and like on certain pictures and comments. Retweet certain tweets. Most importantly, take the time to talk to a few friends/day if possible.

4. Go outside your close circle of friends and family.

Many people have their settings and filters set so they only see and comment on the updates of certain people. Heck we're all guilty of it. However, it's simply polite and shows good character when you like and comment on something you like, rather than just because your best friend from kindergarten posted it.

5. Respond to every comment in some way.

This can simply mean just saying "thanks everyone" or liking all the comments on a post.  Nevertheless, skipping over a comment someone has made to you is rude and thoughtless.

6. Actually network!

That is part of the purpose of social media, to reconnect with people you already know, and connect more deeply with those you just met or barely know.

7. Answer those idle friend requests.

Don't leave a friend request in limbo for months. Add or delete that person. It's not brain surgery.

OK it's simple. Be kind, exercise good judgment and interact with others.

How do you normally behave on social media? What is your purpose for having a social networking account?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The World From A NASCAR fan's view

NASCAR season is finally back, with all the excitement that is the Daytona 500. We have 36 weeks of excitement and often suspense. I have been a fan for about four years now and have come to love it.

Here are a few ways you can compare NASCAR to real life.

1. Life always throws twists, turns and curves.

Not unlike life, NASCAR doesn't get interesting until there's an obstacle such a crash, safety caution or even a delay. Most of the time you may simply be cruising around over and over. Then you have to deal with the other stuff.

2. It really doesn't matter where you start.

Getting the pole (#1 starting position) does help. However, it all boils down to how many laps you can lead and ultimately where you are at the end of the race. During the longer races such as Daytona, Atlanta and Charlotte, you have more of a chance to bounce back as a driver. For example, the winner of this year's Daytona 500 doesn't always go on to win the championship. There is a lot of racing.

3. Having a strong support system is important.

Many may think it's all just the driver. Sometimes it's how good the car has been all week in trials and practices. You also have your crew chief, the always exciting pit crew, and of course your fans. These are important for a driver to reach victory lane.

4.  Nighttime is often more fun.

Let's admit it, the night races are often the more fun ones to watch and go to. After dark is when we go to movies, dinner, bowling and other fun activities. Everything seems better under the stars and bright lights.

5. Things tend to pause for the end of year holidays.

There of course are no races during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. You see lots of folks that also start mentally ending their year around Thanksgiving and starting anew come New Year's. Everyone needs a break and NASCAR definitely gets it.

6. Everyone will not like you.

If you root for NASCAR long enough, you develop your favorite drivers and the ones you wish would retire forever. Many are glad that this is Jeff Gordon's final year and many are sad. In life, everyone won't like you then either. You're almost like a driver. That's when your support system is most important.

I'm ready for the green flag to drop and for the engines to start!

What are some other ways NASCAR relates to real life? Why do you enjoy NASCAR?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

1995: A Couple Of Decades of Responsibility

1995 was a life changing year for me in so many ways. It's crazy to look back and believe it's been 20 years.

I was still deep in my teen years then which meant high school, high school football, being a senior, driving more, my high school crushes and my first job of course.

I worked hard and diligently , so much so that I earned a starting position on the football team at left offensive tackle. That was very rewarding and exciting after two years on the bench. My work ethic didn't go unnoticed by my peers as I was voted "Hardest Worker" by my fellow senior classmates.

The summer prior, I landed my first job: cooking chicken and short orders at the local Hardees. I enjoyed making my own money and saving it for stuff I needed and wanted. It gave me even more freedom.

Speaking of freedom, I was so much more excited to be a senior because I knew that come June of the next year, I would be out of Blacksburg High School and free to explore other options and increase my manhood.

Entertainment wise , I enjoyed Boyz II Men immensely. Basically R&B and alternative were my musical loves that year. All-4-One, Hi-Five, Green Day, Live, and Everclear.

One of my favorite all time movies , Friday, also released that year. I still know every line to that comedy classic.

Incidently, 1995 wasn't the best year of my life but it was the year where I grew up more and began asserting more responsibility. I was still sort of in my "nerd" shell and studied a lot and began writing poetry. It was a year of changes forever though.

What did 1995 mean to you? Which year of your life did you begin becoming more responsible?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Embracing Being Single

Valentine's Day is the one holiday that tries and make single folks feel bad about being single. It is the day that ultimately spawned cuffing season (explained in another blog.).

However, if you're single, things aren't all bad. Many people are unspoken for by choice. Some do not need to be committed to anyone period. Either way, the day is supposed to be about loving each other, not just our significant other.

Another point here is that one must be able to fully love themselves before they can expect another person to accept their love. This can take a lot of work and there should be no timetable on this.

Also, society in general tries to force people together. This goes from the churches, the workplace and even the economy. In their eyes, getting married and having a family keeps the country populated and keeps commerce flowing. Families do spend more money than single folks statistically.

Despite all of this, enjoy the single life and don't let any factors sway you from it.  Work on yourself, learn to love, spend more time with close friends and family and soak in the benefits. Oftentimes the best person to be around is yourself.

Now if you do not truly want to be single, that's a different story. Either way, live in the moment and take every change and scenario as they come along.

When Valentine's Day comes, give of yourself. Participate in social and church activities, chaperone a children's party or dance, and simply make extra time for yourself as you would your partner.

I'm not saying to give up on love, or even marry yourself. Simply enjoy your current state of life. Today is a gift, the present.

Remember biblical scholars, everyone is not meant to have someone. Paul never married for instance.

What are your feelings towards single folks? Do you believe there is someone for everyone?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pulling The Plug: Can You Really Do It

There has been lots of controversy and schools of thought lately regarding Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's  comatose daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. She is not expected to come out of this as nothing more than a vegetable. Yet Bobby and the family cannot bring themselves to pull the plug on Bobbi's life.

This conundrum came up ten years ago with Terri Schiavo and how her husband left her in a coma for months before finally letting her go.

This is indeed a touchy subject, especially when it involves your child. The active parents and relatives involved should make this decision and not health professionals.

It is a situation none of us want to be in. I could say I would pull the plug on one of my beloved ones. However, I wouldn't really know how I would react until the ordeal actually happened.

I will say the best thing is to keep all hope alive, gather all of the relevant information and pray. One of three things will happen: the person will be 100%, brain dead, or they will be gone. Many have beaten the odds before so again it's all on that family.

Let's respect the Browns' decision in this matter. It's a difficult time for them, especially since Whitney has been gone nearly three years now.

Would you pull the plug in this situation? Would you want your family to end your resuscitation if you were unresponsive and comatose?