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Category Archives: Privacy

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Image Credits: Careers Galaxy

Hi everyone and Happy May Day! It’s the start of a fresh new month filled with new writing possibilities! May has always been one of my favorite months because there are so many exciting things happening. My birthday is in exactly one week (yes, it’s Mother’s Day), the second draft of my novel, God Granted Me Hearing is almost complete, and there are several other projects in the works for me right now, some of which I currently have to stay mum on but I’ll discuss when the time is right.

For now, I’d like to kick off the month by doing a 30-day writing challenge I found posted on Facebook. Here’s the challenge for anyone else who is interested:

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Image Credits: The Writer’s Circle

As you can see, the first prompt is to write about 5 problems with social media. This is a little bit of a challenge for me since I make a living off of social media. However, while I love working with social media, even I am not immune to the fact that social media comes with several problems and drawbacks, too. Here are 5 problems with social media.

  1. It’s making us anti-social. It’s so easy to “like” things on Facebook and to comment on someone’s post or send them a message. When we have a screen separating us from people, we feel like we have protection and that makes us fearless. But what happens when we take away the screen? We lose our communication skills. Communicating online isn’t the same as communicating in real life. We as a society have gotten so good at communicating on social media that we forgot how to talk to each other in person. When we are alone with a group of our “friends” we often don’t know what to say, so we pull out our cell phones and talk to each other on Facebook or Twitter or send photos on SnapChat or Instagram instead. It’s pretty sad and well, depressing, which brings me to my next point…
  2. It depresses us. Thanks to social media, we are constantly made aware of what is going on in everyone else’s lives. We don’t really know these people or what their story really is. We probably don’t even ever talk to them. But we see the things that they post. We see the picture of their new expensive designer handbag. We hear about their new home, job promotion, new car. We see their engagement announcements and baby announcements. These are such happy, exciting times for those people, so why aren’t we happy for them? We are depressed instead of happy because rather than being happy for these people, we are forced to compare ourselves with them. We look at their lives and see how they compare to our own. Are we happy in love? Are we engaged or married and/or expecting a baby? Are we making the same amount of money? Are we as happy and successful as they are? While these people are often not on the same level as us (often times they are actually below us), we aren’t capable of seeing it that way. We only focus on what they have that we don’t have and then we devalue our own feelings of self worth and become depressed. Before social media, we didn’t have the ability to know so much about the people in our lives. We were happier before social media.

    3. It distorts the truth. On social media it is so easy to connect with anyone from any place in the world. This also means it is easy to become anyone in the world. How would anyone know? That random person you met online could actually be a terrorist. That 25 year old might be 55. The 18 year old could be 12. You don’t always know what’s true and what’s not.

    I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was in my early 20s, I met a man online through my work with Bit Rebels. He was in his early 30s. He was everything I ever wanted in a man and I loved him very much. He lived in Florida and I lived in NJ, which naturally posed some challenges for our relationship, but I did end up getting to meet him in person once when he came to NJ for a few days. We had a great time together. He really was the 32 year old Puerto Rican man from Florida that he said he was. However, personality and personal life wise, there were many things he hid from me. He was a con artist. He met many different women over the years just like me and he made himself the person that woman wanted. Then he would come home and break up with them and go on to the next one. He was also a failed businessman that has gone bankrupt multiple times and been fired from many jobs over the years. I never quite found out the truth about him, but I did learn a very important lesson; you can’t trust anyone online. No one is what they appear to be.

    4. It is being taken over by businesses.When is the last time you used social media without seeing a post or advertisement from a business? I can’t remember the last time I did. Even back in the last days of MySpace, businesses were starting to realize that if they wanted to reach people, they needed to be active on social media.

    I must admit I feel kind of guilty writing about this because I am part of the problem. I work in marketing and I market to people online such as through social media. I am fortunate and blessed that social media has had such a huge role in marketing because without it, I may not have a job. But at the same time, sometimes all of that marketing and all of those ads from businesses on social media gets really annoying and I yearn for the days when social media didn’t exist and I couldn’t be as easily marketed to.

    5. It’s highly addictive.I will be the first one to admit that I am highly addicted to social media. It’s so easy to become addicted because it’s always there. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest LinkedIn, and SnapChat all installed on my smart phone. My phone is constantly going off with notifications about someone on social media. I can and have on multiple occasions wasted an entire day doing nothing more than posting on Facebook. That’s no way of living life.

    I am getting much better with my social media addiction though. I realized there is more to life than social media and so much more that I want to do. I always say I don’t do things I enjoy because I don’t have time for them. Actually, that’s not always true. The truth is that I don’t do things I enjoy because I waste all of my time on social media.

    For the past couple of weeks I have been really limiting myself to how much time I spend on social media (with the exception of work related usage). Instead of constantly being on social media, when I’m not at work I try to abide by the following schedule: Read a chapter or two of a book, read the latest industry-relevant news posted on LinkedIn or Twitter (in this case social media is different, I’m not using it recreationally but for my career), color a picture (I love to color in adult coloring books – it relaxes me), read your bible, pray, clean the house, go for a walk or go to the gym, edit your book, write a blog post, watch TV.By the time I get all of these things done (It’s very rare that I have time in the day to do ALL of them), I don’t have time to waste on social media, and I’m more than okay with that. I have been much more productive as of late and I’ve also been much happier.

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Image Credits: Brown Girl From Boston 

2014 was a whirlwind of a year. That’s the best way I can put it.

It is ending on a very high note. I had many good things happen to me recently and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life and full of so much positivity.

But the year definitely didn’t start out that way. It was pretty rough.

I had a lot of goals and plans for 2014, as you can see in my New Year’s resolution post from last year. Looking at it now I just laugh because I broke every resolution except for the one where I grow my hair out and donate it haha.

One of my top resolutions was to stay single for the whole year. Because I was so bitter and so hurt from a bad breakup that left me in pieces. I broke that resolution before the year even started. My ex emailed me on New Year’s Eve of 2013, just before the ball dropped. I forgave him and spent the next three months working to patch things up again only to be stood up, cheated on, and to have the truth about the man I was so in love with revealed — I was in love with a man who was secretly already engaged to another woman and most likely had been for some time. I was in love with a fraud.

And I needed that. As strange as it sounds to say all of that. I mean, what woman would say “Yes I was stood up, cheated on, lied to, and betrayed and it was good?”

But everything happens for a reason. I spent way too much time trying to piece together my breakup, and in 2014, I got answers, I got clarity, and in a painful way, I got the truth.

Moving on didn’t happen overnight. Cutting ties was easy, getting over and moving on was another story. I finished destroying items, but I had people, including myself, still left to destroy.

For about half of 2014 I was miserable, depressed, and self-destructive. I became a stranger to myself and didn’t like who I was at all. I won’t go into details on what I mean by that — it is all buried in the past and not something I am at all proud of. But there were many times when I’d take a walk to a nearby elementary school to be alone, talk to myself, and just really try to ask myself “What the hell am I doing and why?”

And I brought some friends along the way. Who said to me, “And what answers do you get when you ask yourself that question? Do you ever get good answers?” And no, no I did not. Some friends helped. Some friends hurt. Either way the friends were able to show me the path I was on was anything but good. I needed that, but what I needed the most is what was lacking the most in my life at that time — I needed God. I needed  church.

Just when things started to hit their peak and seem at their worst, I began to attend Gloucester County Community Church. My first church service was right before Easter. And I went to several more afterwards. There were a few times when I could have sworn the sermons were written and delivered specifically for me and my current situation. I’d come home and really think about the message and the things I was doing and I’d realize it was no good. I had to stop. I had to change. And slowly, I began to listen — not to society, not to friends, not to my heart or mind (both of which didn’t work too well at that time), but to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I gave online dating a try — because what did I have to lose? I met my current boyfriend within days of joining the dating site. We started talking straight away and immediately clicked — but I wasn’t quite ready for a real relationship. I got scared and kind of ran away. But that’s okay. I think that even that was all a part of God’s plan.

I befriended another Christian at this time. Strangely, he was someone who used to date my best friend. I vaguely remembered them dating, but I never really knew him at the time of their relationship. We talked for a little bit. Went on one slightly disastrous date (Pro tip: if you’re going out on a first date with someone don’t make it be your best friend’s ex, don’t go to the busiest restaurant on their busiest day of the week, and don’t choose a place where another friend works as a waitress….trust me). We had no connection. We had zero chemistry. We struggled to hold a conversation. There wasn’t much to say. Needless to say, our first date was our last date.

But we still remained friends — in a strange kind of way. We hung out once every few weeks. And talked a bit. This was never going to be a relationship and I should be thanking god for that because it would’ve been a terrible relationship! But it was a temporary friendship I needed very much at the time.

There are people who will enter your life for a season. That phrase is usually spoken in a negative way, but that is exactly what happened in this case and I believe it wasn’t negative at all — it was all a work of god. God had to use this person for me in my life at this specific time.

This person became my friend and in that friendship there was only one thing we had in common and only one thing that we ever really talked about: Jesus Christ.

He shared bible verses, devotions, and Christian music with me. He took me to church. He told me I needed a church and he almost scared me a few times since I didn’t have a church. He made me realize that going to church and connecting with church and having a church family were not necessarily the same things. I was going to church, but I didn’t connect with it and I didn’t have a church family. GCCC is a nice church, but it’s not the kind of church I was ever going to find a family in.

So I went searching for a church to call my own. Instead of taking walks to the nearby elementary school to swing on swings and spend time alone to think, I began to take random walks without destinations in search of a church I didn’t know existed.

On one of these walks I found Crossroads Assembly of God Church. It was obviously possible to walk to from my home — but not the easiest walk (lots of crossing of streets and kind of far). But I was still intrigued. I made plans to search for it again and learn more about it and possibly attend service.

But it never happened.

When I went back to find the church — it was almost like it never existed. I couldn’t find it anywhere!

I did a google search for nearby churches. The church I found that was closest to my home was Washington Baptist Church. On the Saturday before Independence Day, I put the address into my phone and went on a journey to find it. I had some challenges….it was pouring that morning. I got soaked and almost broke my hearing aids. But finding the actual church was actually easy and I even found $20 laying on the ground on my way there. I always took that as a positive sign from God. A sign that I was supposed to go that church.

I looked around the church for awhile. It looked strange. Very small. I wasn’t sure it was really a church at first. It sort of reminded me of a long garage (yes, it was that tiny). But I saw a church sign out front that told me it was indeed a church. I made a note of the name — Washington Baptist Church. I walked home quickly and immediately looked it up and took note of what time Sunday School and service as the following day.

The following day I went to service for the first time at Washington Baptist Church. I woke up extra early to give myself plenty of time to walk there and attend on my own. I really wanted to go by myself so I’d have a completely unbiased opinion of this church. Going to my friend’s churches was nice — but it was THEIR church. My mom’s church was HER church. Sometimes it was hard to really decipher if I liked the church because I liked the people who attended the church or because a person was telling to like it or not to like or if I really liked it for me. By going to a completely new church where I didn’t know a single soul on my own, I’d be left with only my own personal opinions of it.

Long story short: I loved it. I was made to feel at home and welcomed by everyone just in that first day. The pastor delivered an incredible sermon that I really connected with and I knew I had my church family. The second week and every week after that only confirmed what I already knew. Each week my relationship with my church family, and ultimately with Christ grew more and more and I stopped participating in my destructive, un-Christian behaviors and watched my life improve gradually over time.

Not long after I began attending church, my friendship with my newfound Christian friend ended. I feel like stating it in this kind of way is too harsh. Nothing bad happened. We just didn’t have time for each other, didn’t have much in common, and were no longer gaining anything from each other in our friendship. God was using us. We needed our friendship at this given time for very specific reasons and we have finished our god given tasks, so it was time to move on.

I decided to give the online dating thing one last and final try. And I raised the standards. I was using OKCupid, which may not be the greatest dating website for a Christian (true story, someone actually messaged me to tell me they feared for me being a Christian on OKCupid and I should shut down my profile and join Christian Mingle. I couldn’t help but laugh). Most messages I ignored. I was close to deleting my account again and giving up.

But just before hitting the delete button, another message came through. From someone I already knew…kind of. The one who I ran away from in May and whom is now my current boyfriend — Larry.

They say in love to let it go, and if it comes back it’s yours. He came back and remembered me precisely. I was stunned. I remembered him of course, but I wasn’t expecting him to remember me or to want anything to do with me anymore.

Of course he wanted to know what happened. We were getting along so well for about a month before I fell off the face of the earth. We even exchanged numbers, connected on Facebook, and were talking every day. Then I deleted my OKC profile, deleted and blocked his number, and deleted and blocked his Facebook. It was never anything against him. I was just confused and made an honest mistake. And I told him every single thing I did and why I did it. I asked him for his forgiveness and by the grace of god, he granted me it. He said he appreciated my honesty with him. I admittedly made a big mistake by letting go once, but I wasn’t about to let him slip by me again.

Once we got that all cleared up, we picked up right where we left off and were back to texting every day and became Facebook friends again. We still wanted to take things slow. He asked me for a date later that week, but I thought we needed to talk more.

So we talked for a couple of weeks. When I felt ready to meet in person for our first date, he ended up being on a week-long vacation with his family. Just another prime example of how everything needs to happen in God’s perfect timing.

We did have our first date. On Labor Day of 2014 (September 1st). Safe to say Labor Day will always be a special day for us this day forward. It was the best date I ever been on — exactly what I have waited all my life for.

But we still continued to take our time and didn’t become “official” for a few more weeks. Our relationship was exactly what a relationship should be — a friendship that slowly developed into something more over time. And every day that we are together our relationship grows more and more and we get a bit closer.

I broke all of my resolutions for the most part in 2015, including the one I swore I’d keep. And it was a beautiful thing even if it was a bit messy and hard at first. Had I have worked to keep my resolutions I never would’ve met my boyfriend whom is my best friend of the love of my life. I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am now. I have learned not to focus so much on new year’s resolutions, but instead, to turn to and trust in god. On our own we can only accomplish so  much, and we may not even know what is best for us. In the beginning of 2014 I was still stuck on a very toxic relationship that I was insistent on poisoning myself with. But once I got through all of that and began letting go and giving it to God, things got so much better. I learned the key is just that — to stop depending on yourself to make and keep and hold these resolutions. Instead, give it all to God and let him direct your life for you. He won’t always give you what you want, but he’ll give you what you need.

In 2014 God took away some things and I replaced him with other things that are so much better. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. I can’t wait to see what paths he leads me down in 2015! Here’s to a resolution-free New Year filled with giving it all to God and trusting in the creator!


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Image Credits: Forbes

Do you love Instagram? People in Sydney, Austraila sure seem to! A new hotel called 1888 was recently opened in Sydney featuring a unique Instagram/photo theme.

The hotel’s name came from the year that Kodak released it’s first box and roll camera, but that’s about the only piece of history you’ll find in this hotel. Rather than focusing on history 1888 would rather you create it in the form of Instagram posts. The hotel features 5 stories of  what The Daily Mail has deemed “instagram-worthy” decor and window views all around

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Image Credits: The Daily Mail

As you enter into the hotel you will be encouraged to take a selfie of you checking in in the hotel’s deemed “Selfie Spot”. There is also a giant mural of Instagram  photos taken at the hotel. To enter your room you must hashtag all photos “#1888 hotel”. Every room comes with free wi-fi and an iPad to encourage you to take and upload even more Instagram photos of your stay.

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Image Credits: The Daily Mail

If you have a lot of Instagram followers than you may be in luck! The 1888 hotel is offering a free night’s stay to all Instagram users with over 10,000 followers. If you haven’t quite reached that number of followers don’t fret, take the best Instagram shots while staying at the hotel and you could also be among the guests to win a free night’s stay.

What do you think of the new Instagram themed hotel? Is it a clever marketing scheme or extra tacky? Would you want to stay here? I’m wondering about copyright and privacy issues. Do the guests own their photos or does the hotel? Is it possible to sue the hotel over copyright issues? How private is a guest’s stay if they are publicly documenting it through Instagram? Could the lack of privacy put a damper on a vacation?



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