Tag Archives: friends

Hype cycle of life

I’ve had a few days recently when I’ve been without my phone. This made me realise how I use social media to fill all the little gaps in the day when I’d rather scroll than think or look or talk. (Introverts unite!)

Over the years, I have been subjected to many people explaining the Gartner Hype Cycle  to me. It’s *a thing* if you work in digital/technology. They use it to show how we are all sucked in to new tech, get disappointed, then shrug our shoulders and use it more sensibly. It is represented by a bendy chart like this:

gartner-hype-cycle

The Gartner Hype Cycle

I tried to review my own use of social media using the Hype Cycle’s five phases of a technology’s life cycle…

Technology Trigger: “A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity.”

Me: Started it/went back on it because I’m feeling strong. Technology will not control me. I can stop when I want to. It’s fun. Wheeee!!

Peak of Inflated Expectations: “Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures.”

Me: Oh it’s so shiny. A lovely portal in to pictures of excellent hair, architectural fruit platters, artistic shoelaces on amusing tablecloths, outlandishly refined pencil storage vessels.

Trough of Disillusionment: “Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver.”

Me: What have I learned from the last 74 posts I scrolled through? Clean eating is both a joke and a serious food phobia. Everyone I know, or do not know, or should know, has more than me. More culturally diverse holidays, more whimsical children, more successful and publicly affectionate partners, more innovative recipes using avocado, birch water and food-grade iron filings.

Slope of Enlightenment: “More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood.”

Me: Have accepted that my abdominal muscles will only be *that* defined if I use a bold permanent pen and glitter glue. Realise that taking a little peek in to the lives of friends and family is better than closing the door. A family reunion is three generations + Mark Zuckerberg in a blue room.

Plateau of Productivity: “Mainstream adoption starts to take off. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.”

When I can’t be bothered making small talk amongst unknown school parents, I can pretend that Twitter is my work email.

Here’s one I wrote earlier

The invasion of the attention-snatchers Using technology mindfully.  Does that sound like a phrase created by rich young white men in grey organic bamboo t-shirts? Turns out that I‘ve actually been doing it for years…  I wasn’t trying to be mindful, I just don’t like technology telling me what to do.

Using tech for good, not evil  I was running a little quiz and a guy made a joke about looking up answers on his phone. Him: But you’re a digital person aren’t you? It’s technology! Me: I believe in technology for good, and not evil.

To all the ladies in the house

Mother’s Day had serious expectations heaped upon it, such as handmade cards and someone else replacing the toilet paper for once. International Women’s Day? Just the same old fluff – gender parity, equal opportunities, more women in leadership, less violence blah blah.

Here are some words for the important girls and women that I know.

My daughter. I will never be disappointed in you, even if you don’t become the first female astronaut on Mars. (It would be VERY cool if you did though.)

My nieces. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of your big lives starting. Enjoy. I watch with hope and interest.

My female colleagues. You are smart and funny and interesting and ambitious. Please be kind to yourselves.

My lady friends. Thanks for not judging. We’ve got enough to deal with, without kicking each other behind the knees. We do not fight dirty.

My sisters in law. The paid work, the unpaid work, the family, the friends, the home decor – you are totally smashing it. All of it.

My mum. If you don’t want to live with me later on in life, I’ll pick a really good retirement home.

My mother in law. You are the head of a very impressive family of women. You can never have enough X chromosomes.

Pair of finished lipsticks

Finished two lipsticks in one week. Not much comes close in the ‘achievement’ stakes. 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Judgemental as anything. It’s not cool to judge, unless you are a legal official or preside over hotdog-eating competitions.  Women and mothers – judge me not.

Let there always be kittens. One day I found myself hopping with a clickety click of the mouse from pictures of vintage French cheese labels, to a pro-anorexia, self-harm Tumblr site.  I have never seen one of these before because I am neither interested in anorexia nor self-harm.

 

 

 

 

12 reasons I don’t hate Christmas

My crying in front of the Christmas tree has been interrupted by the arrival of our online shopping order. Bags of quality produce to last us through the next few days of family, friends and festive-ness.

I’d just received one of those phone calls dreaded by expats, involving “sad news” and “I wish I could be there”.

The call itself was fine. It was only a few minutes afterwards that the sneaky waves of sadness started washing over me. An unexpectedly large wave knocked my legs out from under me, and I gave in to a little quiet seated weeping.

The shopping delivery put an end to that. As did the discovery that the luxury Madagascan vanilla custard was substituted by an own-brand LOW FAT custard.

You shall not say that you hate Christmas

It may be fashionable to declare that one despises Christmas. This year, Christmas is reminding me of the good things in my life.

Here are 12 reasons why I don’t hate Christmas:

  1. Pork, in all its many forms. Every meal is piggy.
  2. A wobbly drunk man in a novelty Christmas hat (with dangling fake mistletoe) trying to kiss strangers on the Tube.
  3. Christmas craft. I made a willow wreath.

    Willow Christmas wreath

    Willow is bendier than I expected…

  4. This is the last year that my son sort of believes in Santa. “I think it’s you putting my present under the tree, but I’m not sure. I hope he’s real, because I want an iPad.”
  5. I’m not homeless.
  6. Husband is like a Christmas cooking machine – shortbread, pavlova, potted duck, Christmas pudding, pork terrine.

    Christmas pavlova

    The secret ingredient is crumbled Flake chocolate bar.

  7. Parcels and presents and cards are outnumbering junk mail.
  8. Kids singing. Even if they’re not entirely in tune, the sound of kids singing carols is wonderful.
  9. Half price Nordic cheese domes. (I have no idea…)

    Nordic cheese dome

    I thought about it briefly, but didn’t buy one.

  10. We put aside any concerns about global warming and turn on ALL the lights we can find, as soon as it’s dark. It’s so pretty!
  11. Christmas jumpers. I bought my first one this year and have been told that it is Awesome.

    Christmas jumper

    I wore this to work – twice.

  12. Family and friends, and my health and my home.

Here’s one I wrote earlier

You ungrateful cow. Would you like a whinge with your excellent coffee today? I would. It’s almost a reflex: “No sugar thanks. (The man on the bus smelt like old sausages.) Full fat milk please. (I hate filling in forms.) Just a regular size coffee today. (Charity muggers are taking over the streets.)”

Judgemental as anything

It’s not cool to judge, unless you are a legal official or preside over hotdog-eating competitions.

Women and mothers – judge me not

Women, and the subset ‘mothers’, are the most judgemental people I’ve met. The sisterhood is not always a friendly suburb of tea and sympathy. Motherhood is a place where sometimes I roll up my windows, lock the doors and drive through really fast.

I don’t like the gently shredding comments about other women’s choices. Casual dismissal of circumstance and background. Little packets of superiority sliding across café tables.

My close lady friends are, of course, excellent people. I have ‘binders full of women’ who I like and love and would share a Twix twin bar with.

Nerds and geeks – free hugs!

Nerds and geeks are the least judgemental people I’ve met. I recently had to say goodbye to a charming group of them. I said that it was ‘one of the most diverse places that I’d ever worked at’. This wasn’t a euphemism for unpleasant weirdness, but an appreciation of difference.

Aside from the obvious differences (gender, race, sexual preference, age etc), in the team there people who:

  • Liked a screen of neat code or fat book of chick lit
  • Changed hair colour on any day of the week ending in ‘day’
  • Enjoyed noisy gigs (yo there thrash piggies!) or throwing pottery shapes after work
  • Were proudly working class or mildly middle class
  • Could dance like Justin Timberlake in a tumble-dryer
  • Didn’t eat carbohydrates or food with faces or didn’t drink alcohol
  • Wore tweed in a non-ironic way
  • Could discuss non-intersectional feminism or Grand Theft Auto cheats.

A basic level of mutual respect (and sharing of kitten videos) kept this mixed bunch together.

(BTW – I found this intriguing empirical analysis of the difference between nerds and geeks.)

So don’t judge a book by its cover. I was once too embarrassed to read a Dr Who novel in public, so I hid it under a fake book cover titles ‘Mother truckers’… Was that any better? 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Slightly ranting about kids, technology, good and evil I can’t decide. Internet = evil cesspit of narcissistic idiots chatting to gambling-addicted paedophiles? Or Internet = global community of inspiring humanity sharing knowledge and joy? Depends on which parent I am talking to … 

Will you be my friend?  The fastest way to make friends is to have a brief chat, run around a park for a bit, then exchange phone numbers. This method seems to be working quite well for my son.

Getting older and further away

Several weeks after leaving Facebook, my life continues on.

Older

I had a decidedly non-digital afternoon tea with some delightful ‘old girls’ from my school. I’m not using ‘old’ in a pejorative sense. One of my companions had graduated from school in 1944!

My days are usually spent in the company of people my own age, or with children. It was quite brilliant to share shortbread with an entirely different generation.  No-one secretly checked their messages under the tablecloth. No-one leapt away from the table to grab their iPad to look up the EXACT name of their angina medication. And no-one posted photos of us with mouthfuls of date slice on FB.

I felt younger and springier. Hopeful that I would one day be a feisty senior with sturdy boots and a backpack full of cake, talking too loudly to the bus driver.

We shall be exchanging addresses and sending cards to keep in touch. Hooray!

Further away

I’ve been thinking about the ‘unreal’ friendships that I left behind on FB. I might have commented on photos of their 5 course Peruvian degustation meal, but I really didn’t know what was going on in their lives.  I never asked “How are you?” on Facebook.

Once, a friend received a disturbing email from her very good friend overseas. Lots of apologies for being a bad friend, inadequate mother and general life-failure. Alarming .

Even more sad than the actual email, was our first thought: “Is this real or a hoax?” How could we tell if it was some crazy spam or a genuinely troubling communication? It turned out to be genuine, and I felt so guilty for doubting its authenticity.

I treat email as administrative and functional. In this case, the medium (email) did not match the message (I am feeling truly awful and need a friend).

We have to ask “How are you?” a lot more often. And be happy even if we just get a 🙂  back.

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Love is not dead, it’s just resting.  How often do you tell your loved ones that they are loved? On a sliding scale, I think the most romantic medium are (with 1 being most lovely):

Why Facebook is not my friend

I’ve un-friended Facebook.

I’ve haven’t been popping in to FB’s corporate blue cyber-lounge very much recently. FB was dropping down to the bottom of my To Do list. It was above “Pick up next-door cat’s poo in my garden” but below “Find lost sink plunger”. [We have sub-standard plumbing in this house.]

I decided that in 2013 I would *leave* Facebook. I’m not closing my account, but I’m just not actively checking it or updating it. It’s a bit of a relief actually.

Good things about leaving Facebook

  • I don’t have a constant parallel “I-must-remember-that-funny-thing-so-I-can-post-it-on-Facebook” soundtrack in my mind. I just laugh at it, and move on.
  • I am no longer jealous of distant colleagues’ luxurious holidays .
  • Calibrating a suite of ever-changing FB privacy settings? Ha! I laugh at your privacy settings.
  • I don’t need to comment on anyone’s pictures of their kids. Of course I think my friends’ children are funny, smart, adorable, stylish etc. I just don’t need to prove it.
  • I haven’t had to ‘friend’ either the generation above (parents, uncles, aunts) or below me (nieces etc). I have avoided breaching inter-generational FB sharing etiquette.
  • I have rung, and Skyped and emailed and met with and written to my Real Life Actual Friends. It has been lovely.

Bad things about leaving Facebook

[After a long pause… ]

  • I will not know what you ate at your wedding anniversary dinner.
  • I will not know that you liked the page for “Katie’s Bespoke Ceramic Yoghurt Cooler Pods”.
  • I will not know that you got divorced, deported, promoted, pregnant, married or mauled by a rare mammal on your charity fun run.

Life after Facebook

I read that Facebook is the email of the digital natives. Ubiquitous, functional and essential. I hope that’s wrong, as I’m going to live without it.

This was my first post on Facebook – 3 July 2007:

[From me to friend] Now I’m a zombie chump thanks to you.

This was my last post on Facebook – 9 December 2012:

2013 new year resolution SPOILER: Only 23 more sleeps until I leave* Facebook.

*I’m not even going to pretend to check/update very often. Just can’t be arsed.

There are plenty of other ways we can connect: twitter, linkedin, flickr, pinterest, my blog, your blog, email, skype, landline, mobile, post, or meet me for a coffee?

(But not google+… I suspect that I will be on that even less than FB.)

Here’s one I wrote earlier

We are all alone together. Looking down the hill, the lights of the party twinkled and crinkled through the trees. The wafts of voices floated up past me in the dark. I could see my friends arranging and rearranging themselves in to little clumps of conversation and mid-priced wine.

I am, like, so not popular. I am not a very popular person. I only have:

  • 90 Facebook friends (although if I friended my mum and all my uncles, aunts, cousins and their spouses I’d probably double that). [Update: As at 7 April 2011, I have 100 FB friends.]

Will you be my friend?

The fastest way to make friends is to have a brief chat, run around a park for a bit, then exchange phone numbers.This method seems to be working quite well for my son.

We’ve been in London for only a few weeks, so we don’t know a lot of people over here. While I wonder how to make connections, my son meets children in the park and asks “Can I come over to your house to play?” Simple, really… I wish I had his confident approach to networking.

I’ve been wondering who ‘my tribe’ here will be:

  • Lady of leisure? One day maybe – right now, kids are eating dinner from a small rickety garden table and I’m wrestling with the new art of vacuuming stairs…
  • School mum?  Not yet – it’s school holidays, and I still haven’t officially heard when the kids start school.
  • Art gallery fan? Perhaps, if I was without the children. I took them to the Tate Modern, and all they wanted to do was eat snacks at the cafe. I pretended that the only way to get to the cafe was via some of the exhibition rooms, just so I could trot past a few pictures. (They were asking me why it was taking so long to find the cafe.)
  • Aussie expat? Not right now – I’m more interested in becoming a local, rather than celebrating the joys of distant Sydney. Plus, like a new mother, I am getting a LITTLE bit sick of advice from strangers.
  • Digital hipster? Not any more – I had lunch in a fashionable cafe in Shoreditch last week, and I felt like Dr Who going back in time, avoiding my past-self. Casually self-important young men glanced at iPads. They wore neatly buttoned checked shirts and not-too-tight plain coloured jeans. Pretty girls in ugly glasses and Scandanavian A-line skirts flicked through magazines and tapped away on iPhones. I knew the 90s music they were playing (My Bloody Valentine; Mazzy Star), and the coffee was good, but I am now a mature-age student at the school of cool.
  • Chinese immigrant? hahahaha – I have been struggling to cook edible rice in a pot (I am really missing my rice cooker!) My non-Asian husband does a much better job at it.

Maybe I should browse online for people who will overlap me in a Venn diagram of interests. Meet up instead of just emailing and admiring from a distance. Or maybe I’ll try my son’s approach?

Goodbye from the Orchard Twins

I assembled this card just before I left Sydney, and took  a dodgy phone picture. The card is by ‘Art and ghosts‘ and I added the vintage Scrabble tiles.

Goodbye card with scrabble tiles

The card is by 'Art and ghosts' and I added the Scrabble tiles ... I(http://artandghosts.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/02/the-orchard-twi.html)