Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the tag “article”

Friday Links 2012: Week 5

This week was so crazy. I hardly had time to check email and read my morning websites. In fact, I don’t think I read my normal allotment of sites a single day this week, so I apologize for the lame links.

As I said in my other blog, I’m not quite ready to share everything with Cyber Land yet, but I promise it will happen within the next few days.

Anyway, here you go:

And a picture from today just because I thought this tea was pretty.

(**Squeals!!**)

I hope your week was productive and that your February started out wonderfully!

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The Future of Social Media: Social Bookmarking

I’m not sure if I mentioned that a lot of big things have been happening in my life over the past few weeks. I can’t explain them here just yet because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I will write about them soon enough (cross your fingers that things work out). Because of these things, I have been all over the Bay Area within the past week which hasn’t left too much time for blogging. I’m sorry I’ve been MIA.

Although I have been busy, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of different people about social media and how it is used by businesses to increase their visibility in the public eye. Yesterday I had a particularly interesting conversation with somebody about what the future of social media is. It got me thinking…

When she first asked me what I though the “next big thing” was going to be in social media, I thought for half a second and then replied with “social bookmarking sites.” We talked about it for a few minutes and then moved on. But even after our conversation was over and I was on my way home, that question stuck with me. What IS the future of social media? What will be the next site everybody’s talking about? We’ve already had Facebook which connects us with our friends, Twitter which allows us to follow celebrities and industry news, and crossovers between the two. New social media sites are being developed every day; I even had to create a separate email account so that I could send all my social media update emails there instead of getting them in my regular inbox. The most recent social media site that everybody is talking about, however, is Pinterest.

I won’t get into long drawn out detail about what Pinterest is – if you don’t already know, you should go take a look at the site. Beware, it’s addicting. Basically, though, it’s a social bookmarking site. You find something online that you like (with Pinterest it’s pictures), click the handy dandy “Pin It” button that you install on your browser’s toolbar, and then everybody who follows you can see what you’ve pinned. Simple enough, right?

Anyway, there are more and more sites like Pinterest that are coming out. SnipIt is one of my other favorites. I use SnipIt for news (three of my boars are SnipIt “favorites” and are featured on the main pages covering their topics) and articles whereas I use Pinterest for all things pretty and creative. People like to be in charge of the kind of information they read about/look at on the internet and sites such as Pinterest, SnipIt, ChimeIn, Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon allow users to post links that they find amusing and share them with their followers. These platforms also give users the ability to choose their interests and find articles/information/pictures/blog posts on topics that they select, rather than topics chosen at random or “trending” topics (AKA topics that are most popular/talked about at that time).

Within the past 12 hours I have read a few articles about what the future of social media is. According to the YouTube CEO, the future of content is niche channels.

An article published today on Mashable states:

The way consumers access and consume media is changing rapidly, YouTube head Salar Kamangar believes, and YouTube is evolving to accommodate it.

“We’re entering the third wave of media,” Kamangar said […] “The first wave was the broadcast networks. The second wave was cable networks. Now it’s about giving people exactly what they want to watch today,”

People have specific interests in a variety of topics — say, yoga and stand-up surfing — but it’s difficult to find a continuous stream of video content catered to those interests, Kamangar contends.

What do you think? Do you agree with this assessment of changes in social media and news sites? How do you follow your interests online? What are your favorite social bookmarking sites?

Friday Links 2012: Week 4

Hello Readers,

So sorry I didn’t post my Friday Links yesterday. This week has been pretty crazy. I haven’t really had time to relax, take a breath, or even think. I don’t want to tell you about it because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m crossing my fingers that some things come through for me.

Anyway, here are my favorite Tweets of this past week. Hope you enjoy them. You can see photos and different links on my other blog here 🙂

What stuck out about this week for you? Did anything exciting happen? Any big news?

Friday Links 2012: Week 1

Welcome to the first Friday Links of 2012! I have just started using BufferApp which helps me schedule Tweets throughout the day, even if I’m not signed on to Twitter. That way, my Tweets aren’t all posted at the same time – in the morning when I do my big daily news binge.

Because I am now posting on Twitter a lot more, I will try to limit myself to 10-15 of my favorite links for the week, that way my readers aren’t inundated with every single post I put on Twitter. That would defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it? Plus, if you want to see all of my Twitter posts, you can just follow me 🙂

P.S. If you like my Friday Links posts on this blog, you might want to check out my Picture-A-Day posts on my other blog: Rachel Discovers Happiness.

A Lowe(‘s) Blow

As a PR professional, I know that it is not necessarily a good idea to speak out about things that could later get you in trouble. PR is all about image and following the mission of the organization/person being represented. Maintaining the image of a company is a tricky thing – you don’t want to upset your consumers, investors, or the general image of your company because that may affect sales/perception. On that note, I think it is important for people to remember that their actions do affect others.

That’s why I am (sort) shedding my PR role right now in order to give you my opinion on a big PR issue going on at the moment. What happened is this:

The TV channel TLC, known for it’s controversial shows such as 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, came up with an all new show this season – All American Muslim. The creation of this show caused a major advertiser – Lowe’s – to pull its advertising from the program. Needless to say, this caused an uproar from liberals, conservatives, progressives, Christians, Muslims, Lowe’s shoppers, TLC watchers, and many more. Many comments, letters (and here), and opinions have chastised Lowe’s for its discrimination of Muslims and their heritage; however many have also come out in support of Lowe’s decision to remove advertising from the show. Since the announcement of the removal of its advertising, Lowe’s has posted an apology on Facebook which was subsequently taken down due to disrespectful and harshly worded comments. Lowe’s then posted a follow-up comment that can be seen below:

self-taken screen shot from Lowe's Facebook page

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to chastise Lowe’s for making a (what I believe to be poor) business decision. This post was sparked by an article I read earlier today (or yesterday?) about the 25 Dumbest Comments on Lowe’s Facebook Page and was infuriated by what people said and how ignorant they are, the purpose is to call out the people who are supporting Lowe’s decision with the argument that it is in “America’s best interest” and that Muslims are not “true Americans.” My questions for them is: what, exactly, is a “true American”? Is it somebody who is born in the United States? Does it depend on the color of your skin? Your religion? How long your family has been in the States? The amount of education you have? I’m serious, what exactly is a “true American”?! Would you consider me a true American? I am white, Christian, and pay American taxes. What if I told you that I was second generation American? That my grandparents came from Germany and England – one leaving Germany out of fear for his family with Jewish roots. Am I still a true American in your eyes?

I know we have all heard this before but I will say it again: this country was founded, amongst other things, on the freedom of religion. In case you forgot, here are the words written on the Declaration of Independence – a document written by our Founding Fathers after white christians left Europe and fought against the British for their freedom of religion and independence from prejudice. They wanted to create a country where people could practice the religion they wanted – without being persecuted. Just to refresh your memory, here are the first words written on the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, I’m not going to give you a lecture (anymore than I have) on what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence have to say about the American people’s right to freedom. What I am going to say is that sometimes I am sorely disappointed by the people I call neighbors and fellow Americans. All of us came here from somewhere, at some point. Just because you have lived in the United States longer than others does not make you any more or less patriotic than somebody who moved here ten or twenty years ago.

Perhaps I will be labeled as the “classic liberal,” but I think that there is something to be said about being open minded and listening to other people’s opinions. Before you argue with me, I do realize that being open minded also includes understanding that not everybody is as open minded as me and that other people will have different opinions, but that doesn’t mean that those people have to impart their opinions on me and others. Just because you think you are right, doesn’t mean you are. Yes, I know, that means that I could be wrong. I am willing to risk it.

Here is a little insight on the roots of my beliefs:

The other day I got into a conversation with my dad about what I was like when I was little. The first thing he said was that I was sensitive (surprise, surprise – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). The second thing he said was that I didn’t see color, religion, or sexual orientation. I didn’t care whether someone was black, white, green, Christian, Jewish, atheist, straight, or gay. As long as they treated others well, everybody was the same to me. In fact, when I was 3 and attending preschool in El Cerrito, CA, I was exposed to a lot of ethnicity: the main preschool teacher was Sikh, another teacher was white, and another was black. My dad said I didn’t pay attention to their skin color – instead of saying “my white teacher” or “my black teacher,” I said “the teacher with the light hair” (meaning my white teacher) and “the teacher with the dark hair” (meaning my black teacher).

As I thought about that story, I got wistful for those days of innocence, for the days when no prejudice based on color or religion clouded my opinions of people. I try to keep myself from pre-judging people, but sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I find myself thinking about other races and applying stereotypes to them, or looking at other Christians and judging them for their extremist views, or vegetarians for their judgmental comments. At those times I have to step back and remind myself that everybody has a right to be who they are and believe what they think is true. It is not my right to get in their way.

I suppose the best I can hope for is that, by the time I have grandchildren, they will live in a world (or at least an America) where people aren’t persecuted for their beliefs. An America where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are actually followed.

Finally, I will leave you with a quotation from Nazi opposer Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

And now that I’m done with my (not-so) mini rant, have a wonderful night.

Powerful Images Of 2011

As part of my morning news ritual, I always go on my phone first and look at the articles that are listed as the morning’s top stories. I then bookmark them, move to my computer, and read the news stories that get sent to my e-mail account. One of the stories I saw this morning caught my eye, but then I got distracted and didn’t have a chance to read it.

When I got home from dinner with my step mom, a friend had posted the link to that exact story on my Facebook wall. I’m so glad that she did. Not only did I get the chance to read the article: The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011 published by BuzzFeed, but I was blown away by the impact each of the images made on me.

Now, you probably don’t know this about me because, well, this is only the fourth (?) post on my blog, but I really like to take pictures. I believe that pictures can convey emotion and say so much that an article or even a video can’t. It’s so powerful to look at a photograph and feel the strength of whatever emotion floods you when your eyes first scan the image.

As I was scrolling through this photo article, I was flooded with so much raw emotion as I reflected on the biggest news stories and events that occurred during the past year. Not only is it dumbfounding how cruel human beings can be to each other (terrorist attacks, pepper spraying protesters, etc.), it is also amazing how much love pours out for that same exact race (gay marriage laws being overturned, the dedication of a dog to his fallen owner, etc.) I also find it fascinating, that amidst all that hate, love, and destruction, something always comes along to make us feel small again, unify us in the human race, and put everything into perspective… and no, I’m not talking about Harold Camping’s predictions about the Rapture. I’m talking about the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, and malnourishment that touches the lives of so many around the world.

My heart sincerely goes out to all the people pictured in the photographs (with the exception, maybe, of Harold Camping… I kid, I kid).

I strongly encourage you to take a bit of time out of your day to look at these pictures. You will not be disappointed. Here is the link again, just in case you missed it before: The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011

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