Deactivating Twitter


During my vacation, I realized I could live without Twitter.  So I deleted my account.


I used and enjoyed the social media site for many years, and I much prefer Tweeting over Facebooking.  I also found that Twitter was a great way to share my professional work: blog posts, Slideshare presentations, and interesting articles.  However, I also found that I was wasting quite a bit of time each day scrolling through my phone or computer to see updates from other people.

Since I have a really tough few months ahead of me with school and work, I wanted to eliminate some unnecessary “time-wasters” from my life, and I found that Twitter had become one of those.

Did you recently delete your Facebook or Twitter accounts?  How did you feel after deleting?

Juan Enriquez: Your online life, permanent as a tattoo


Another huge reason I deactivated my Facebook account was because I found the social networking site becoming more and more invasive and terrifying.  People complain about their work on Facebook; post really negative images and ideas; document personal details about their lives; and forget that their every move is behind recorded for eternity.

Juan Enriquez’s TED Talk “Your online life, permanent as a tattoo” explains the now-blurred lines between public and private life.  Everything we do on the Internet is our “online tattoo” that will live far longer than we will.  To me, this idea is scary.


Of course, Enriquez doesn’t focus exclusively on Facebook, though, I would argue, this is the place people share the most about their private life.  Enriquez’s four lessons can help us navigate the online world: 1) be careful what you post; 2) don’t look too far in the past of those you love; 3) remember the purpose (don’t get distracted by those “golden apples”); and 4) don’t fall in love with your own reflection.  To be able to follow these lessons, we definitely need perspective.  Can you imagine being 13 or 14 years old and understanding the magnitude of what you’re doing online?

What did you think about Enriquez’s TED Talk?  How do you maintain your online persona?  Is your online tattoo largely positive or negative?

Solitary Sundays


My superstudents in May Professional Communication and Presentation have really been inspiring me this month.  One particular amazing soul, Skye, presented her PechaKucha on replacing all that social media/texting/telephone communication with some good old fashioned face-to-face time.  Skye’s PK along with my recent studies/obsession with Sherry Turkle combined to lead me to my current experiment: Solitary Sundays.

I no longer have Facebook (see “My Year Without Facebook”), and eliminating that distraction has done wonders for my productivity and my overall quality of life.  Solitary Sundays will push those same boundaries a bit.  I plan, every Sunday from now on, to spend an entire 24 hours without social media, without texting or talking on the phone, and without watching TV or movies.  Solitary Sundays will be about reconnecting with myself, getting work done, reading, working out, and spending time with loved ones without the distractions of technology.

While I did want to do a whole “no computer/no telephone” ban, realistically, I do a lot of work on Sundays.  I grade work from my online classes and catch up on emails and late student submissions.  I also spend a lot of time developing projects… for example, these 3 videos I’m working on for the JLGO end-of-the-year May GMM have to be finished this Sunday.  Maybe I’ll work toward the “no computer/no telephone” goal; for now, here are my Solitary Sunday plans:

1) No texting, no talking on the telephone.  My phone will go in my purse for the weekend.  I will answer telephone calls only in the event of an absolute emergency.  And I’ll know it’s an emergency because the caller will also be blowing up my husband’s phone…

2) No social media.  I won’t use Twitter or Pintrest on Sundays.  Since I eliminated Facebook, I think the “no social media” will be the easiest part of this challenge.

3) No television or movies.  We, thankfully, got rid of cable about 3 years ago, but I do have Netflix.  I will no longer spend time watching reruns of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.  My biggest movie time is before bed.  I will no longer watch movies to fall asleep on Sunday evenings.

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So what in the world will I do with all of myself during Solitary Sunday time?

Well, I’m so glad you asked.  I want to spend more time actually being productive.  For me, “productive” means grading (of course), reading, writing/blogging, working out, running, working in the garden, working on my class, and spending in-person quality time with my loved ones.

How will Solitary Sundays help me with my long-term goals?

I want to run a 10K and then a half-marathon as soon as I’m ready.  The more time I put in running on Sundays, the more quickly I can meet this goal.

I want to read more fiction.  I have plenty of time to read nonfiction to help me continue to develop as a superteacher and to improve my class.  I want to get back to reading for fun.

I want to spend more time writing for Creating Communication.

I want to spend more time communicating with people in person and less time through Twitter and the telephone.  Meaningful relationships take time and effort, and I’d rather be brunching than texting.

A special thank you to Skye and to Sherry Turkle for inspiring Solitary Sundays!  Will you join me?

Six Ways Social Media Helps Your Presentation Resonate


Pintrest is opening up a whole new world for me.  Not only do I get to share and explore creative ideas with others, but I’ve found new books, new posters, and new ideas simply by using the social media site.  Unlike Facebook, Pintrest is actually a learning tool, and I cannot get enough of it.

For example, my students can use Pintrest when they are working on a project to pin articles and source material as well as images.  This helps them when it comes time to cite that work, and I find Pintrest to be a much more organized way to research and prepare for a presentation.

Today, while browsing Pintrest, I found this gem:


What great Pintrest finds have you stumbled across this week?

Follow me on Pintrest!

My Year Without Facebook


A dedicated NPR junkie, I find myself most frequently able to tune in during The Diane Rehm Show due to my continuously changing work schedule.  This morning, a story called “Social Media and Loneliness” was playing when I got in my car after yoga.  You’ll definitely want to listen to the hour-long show, so turn it on as you cook dinner this evening or while you work tomorrow.  Rehm’s guests discussed “what increasing digital connections mean for the epidemic of loneliness” (Source).  Similarly, CNN just released its Living Without Facebook assignment.  Check it out here.  With so much Facebook-free news surrounding me lately, I decided to write my “A Year Without Facebook” post. The end of May marks my 365 days of Facebook freedom, and since I gave up the social media website, my life has changed for the better.

First, I no longer compare myself to others on a daily basis.  In turn, former everyday feelings of jealousy, insecurity, and self-doubt are no longer present in my life.  I don’t compare my life with others, and I don’t need “likes” to validate my ideas or “friends” to feel loved.  Sherry Turkle, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that there is “pressure to put your profile out there and be validated by a lot of people” and “pressure to present yourself as the self you want to be – the ideal self – not as who you are but as who you want to be” (Source).  Facebook preys on our most basic insecurities, needs, and desires: the desire to be loved and the desire to belong.

When I used Facebook from 2004 to 2011, I found myself constantly comparing my life to the lives of my Facebook friends.  Everyone else’s life looked so perfect: one friend had the perfect career; one had the perfect wardrobe; one had the perfect home.  During the year I’ve lived Facebook free, I’ve realized that Facebook is less about being your authentic self and more about presenting and performing the person you want to be.  It’s all an act!  For the past year, I’m no longer acting, and I don’t feel the pressure to act… I can just be who I am and live my life without the constant worry and fear of scrutiny from 2,000 Facebook friends.  Additionally, I no longer live with that daily reminder that my life is insignificant when compared with the “perfect lives” of my Facebook friends.  Jealousy is no longer a constant emotion.  My life is instead focused on living the best life I possibly can for me.  The faking and the pretending, those phony elements of Facebook, have been completely eliminated from my life.  I find myself at the end of this year more positive and truly happy; I’m proud of myself and my accomplishments.  And I don’t have to compare my success to others on Facebook… I can compare my present to my past and focus only on what works best for me and my personal growth.

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Second, I am not the first to see, hear, and know about things.  For example, a dozen friends either got engaged, married, or pregnant during the year I’ve lived without Facebook.  I’m always the last to know about anyone’s big news.  On a local scale, I might be the last to find out about a party or social event.  I eventually find out.  I may be the last to know, but I’m okay with that.  Living Facebook-free allowed me to delay that instant gratification and to be fine with knowing I will frequently be out of the loop.

One of the guests on The Diane Rehm Show uses the acronym “FOMO” – the fear of missing out.  We really feel that without Facebook, we’ll miss out.  If we don’t check our Facebook pages, somehow, we’ll miss something.  Facebook feeds our desire to know but also to know immediately.  

I won’t say this transition is easy.  Sometimes, I will feel a little pang of jealousy in my heart when I’m at work and hear everyone laughing about an inside joke I would understand if I had a Facebook account.  However, coping with this teeny negative downside is worth the positive changes in my life.

Third, being able to manage my small symptoms of jealousy has been easier because I’m no longer on Facebook.  How?  I am more comfortable than ever spending time alone, reflecting, reading, writing… just being still and thinking.  Sherry Turkle says, “Solitude, the restorative capacities of solitude, are the bedrock of our ability to form relationships.  And now, you see people at a red light, you see people at the checkout line of a supermarket, and they look like they’re in a panic; they need to connect [...] And that compulsion to connect is really not good as the foundation for the kinds of friendships where you really get to know another person” (Source).  Some people have a hard time just existing alone by themselves.  They have to constantly look at other people’s lives on Facebook, text, IM, and Tweet.  I’ve found that during this year without Facebook, I am back to being completely happy all by myself.

Living Facebook-free for one year takes me back to that harmonious place of loving who I am and continuously working to become better as a person instead of continuously updating a Facebook status.  For many years, I couldn’t enjoy or appreciate that stillness.  In fact, during 2008-2009, when I was miserable, full-time jobless, and broke, I spent more time on Facebook than ever before.  Especially during that time, Facebook was an addiction for me.  I spent hours a day on Facebook.  From 2004, when I first developed a Facebook profile, to 2011, when I deactivated, I spent at least an hour a day checking the social media site.  That’s approximately 2,500 hours of my life completely wasted.

My students are similarly addicted, so I know it is a problem for a great number of Facebook users.  Every time we have a break in class, my students are logging in, updating, and looking.  If they spend 30 minutes a day in my class alone on Facebook, imagine how many hours they’re spending total…

It boils down to this: only a few rare folks can use Facebook in a positive, meaningful way without becoming addicted.  You probably think you’re one of those people, naturally, but I challenge you to log your Facebook time this week.  After reviewing your one week tally, consider how much of that time could have been spent doing something worthwhile.  What did you actually accomplish on Facebook that you couldn’t accomplish using the phone, email, or an in-person meeting?

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Fourth, Facebook feeds into our celebrity-crazed culture.  One of Diane Rehm’s guests suggested that the connections on Facebook are “shallow” and “narcissistic,” and I agree.  As opposed to focusing on keeping in touch on a deep level with close friends, many people use Facebook to create the largest network possible: a sea of adoring fans to help the Facebook user feel more and more like a celebrity.  But from what we know of celebrity, it is a shallow, hollow lifestyle…

Living without those 2,000 Facebook friends has an upside.  These days, actual friends will text me or call me.  They will email me.  They’ll reach out and say, “I haven’t seen you in so long!  Let’s have lunch.”  If I were still using Facebook, this person wouldn’t reach out and make the effort, as they’d feel they were connected and know what’s going on in my life.  I have seen my relationships deepening… or, on the opposite side of the coin, eliminated altogether.  The superficial “friends” and folks who were just there to build my “Facebook Friends” list are no longer around, and I don’t mind it.  The live relationships I have in my everyday life are real, meaningful, and rewarding.  The petty superficiality left along with my Facebook account, and I feel so much more like a satisfied adult and less like an awkward teenager trying to be the most popular girl in high school.

In the past year without Facebook, I’ve been focusing on myself and what’s important in my life.  I’m now making positive steps toward true happiness and self-fulfillment.  I work… a lot.  When I’m not growing and evolving as a superteacher, I’m volunteering with my sorority’s alum chapter or with JLGO.  Putting in all that time volunteering scored me a position on the 2012-2013 JLGO Executive Board!  I’ve also begun to exercise; developed better eating and drinking habits; used my free time to read, write, and blog; gained stronger and deeper friendships; and eliminated so many horrible feelings and emotions.  Living without Facebook is a lifestyle change.  Now that I’m a year free from its clutches, I realize Facebook doesn’t meet any of my needs, goals, or wants.  What does it do for you?

A Marketer’s Guide to Pintrest



Pintrest is such an amazing tool, and I’ve embraced and used it as much as possible to market my blog, to pin research I’m doing for a project, to save recipes and cute shoes, and to remember books on my “to read” list.

Superteachers can really embrace Pintrest in the classroom as a source tracking tool.  The course I teach is called Professional Communication and Presentation, and we are focused not only on developing strong content but also strong visual presentation.  Pintest can be used in my class to pin source material for presentations as well as to pin images to use in a presentation.  Superteachers who have used Pintrest: how did you implement the website in your classroom?

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Communication: Influence and Social Media


Neil Patel is the author of “6 Ways to Be More Persuasive With Social Media,” an article combining communication via social media and tips from the book Influence by Robert Cialdini.  Patel discusses reciprocation, social proof, liking, authority, scarcity, and commitment/consistency and how those concepts relate to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.

Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion definitely apply to how influential you are on social media.  Many of Patel’s examples pull from ethos, the character or credibility of the user.  Patel explains that great ways to influence with social media include developing a polite, warm, and funny online persona; sharing with others by creating give-and-take relationships; displaying authority by highlighting achievements; and honoring commitments.  A great example of ethos over social media is Guy Kawasaki.  He takes the time respond to Tweets in a kind, warm way, so he creates relationships with people.  On his website, Kawasaki displays his most recent book, Enchantment, as a New York Times best-seller.  This shows his authority and credibility when speaking on certain subjects.  We can all learn from Kawasaki’s approach to social media.

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Patel also gives tips that I would categorize as logos: Aristotle’s logical orientation.  When giving a speech or presentation, your logos is the support for your cause/brand/argument.  It includes the organization of your material and the proof to support your cause.  Patel explains that with social media, proof comes in the form of numbers: a large group of people “liking,” supporting, commenting, and sharing your ideas and your brand.  Other ideas for garnering logos include great data (charts, diagrams), a clear process, facts and statistics, and source material including current and relevant articles, case studies, and stories.

Lastly, Patel advises you to persuade with social media in an area that Aristotle would define as pathos.  Pathos is the emotional appeal, and Patel emphasizes connecting with people in order to make them feel positively.  Make people feel happy and good about themselves by treating them respectfully.  Be kind!  Instead of hiding behind your Internet persona and being cruel to others, treat people online just as you would in real life.  This will allow those connected to you to associate your brand with feelings of happiness and positivity.

With the help of Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion and Neil Patel’s tips on influencing with social media, your brand, your cause, and your message can be stronger and more effective.  Good luck!