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Things to Do When You’re Not Social Networking

My name is ***, and I’m a social network-aholic. It’s been six days since my last tweet, facebook post, and google reader check. You may be wondering what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been fairing. You may even be wondering what I’m learning from all of this.

For one thing, I’m learning to do things with my time other than check social networking sites. I went to the gym yesterday and the day before to try new classes like I planned to do. I have written on my memoir and watched movies. I have read most of my library books. I have been a lot more productive than usual.

I’m also finding that while my opportunities to compare myself with other people have been reduced significantly, there are still plenty of opportunities for comparison. I saw two people I work with while I was at the gym yesterday–both very skinny ladies with no stomachs. Neither was in class with me, but I had the urge to compare. I shrugged it aside.

The gym is a place so ripe for comparisons to be made. It is a place where competitiveness is tacitly encouraged. From what kind of workout gear someone is wearing to how good their form is, there’s always something to evaluate. Being in this competitive environment, you would think that I would be struggling more with comparisons. But I have been in classes where I have to focus on myself and push myself. I have to get out of my own way. Even if all I can focus on is what hurts or what jiggles, I’m working on keeping the focus on me.

That’s not to say it’s all been sunshine and puppies. I’m trying to break the habits of years here; a few days is a drop in the bucket. I still have to override my natural tendency to negative thinking and comparison. But I’m working on it, not just wishing it would be different.

I’m making a to be read list of books I want to read. I am making headway on my fitness initiatives. I am writing again. I occasionally want to check and see what is happening with other people, and I want to post about all the things I’m able to notice now that I’m not so busy comparing myself to others, but I feel like a Vivian Green song:

I like it, but I don’t need it. ‘Cause I like it don’t mean I need it.

What I’m learning from all of this is that my own journey is pretty interesting, at least to me. There are things I can actually do to move forward if I take the time to do them. I don’t have to do the same old things every single day and wish for something to happen to change my life. I can do it, a little at a time.

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Maintaining Military Silence

There’s a saying in the music business that your only as big as your next hit. It doesn’t matter if your last album was great; in fact, it may be a detriment. Once you have some success, you have to get bigger with each successive song, video, and album. Eventually, you can become so big that you have to branch into acting, start a clothing line, endorse a fragrance, or be in an ad campaign for a make up company to maximize your earning potential (or, if you’re Beyoncé, you can do all of the above). Through all that you do, however, you’re still only as big as where you are at this moment. The focus is on your present production.

When I think about what it would take for me to stop comparing myself and start focusing on my own journey, one of the first things that came to mind is a simple statement of fact: I’m not eighteen anymore. I’m not fifty pounds lighter. I’m not conditioned by running every day. I don’t have time and nature on my side. All of my time is not my own. And that’s OK.

I can’t live in the past or yearn after it. It’s gone. I need to start fresh. I have to forget about what I used to be and focus on what I am and how to become what I want to be.

So what thing(s) can I do to start focusing on my journey? How can I differentiate between what I’m doing because I want to and when I’m just being competitive/comparative? How do I figure out what adds to my growth instead of keeping me stagnant?

  • I need to reduce opportunities for comparisons, at least initially. To that end, for the next couple weeks, I will not be reading blogs about running, writing, relationships, or personal finance, nor will I read facebook or twitter. You will still see posts from me, but I won’t be reading anything. This began at midnight. Should you want to reach me, you can contact me via email at
  • While on this social networking fast, I will be partially focused on my fitness journey. At present, I don’t even know if passionate I am about running, so I am going to try new things. I will take at least three classes at the gym at least three times to see if I like something else more than running. This will begin Monday.
  • I also want to focus on myself spiritually, and without hours of being sucked into what’s going on in the lives of people that could be robots for all I know, I can do that. I want to try Christian meditation (yes, we meditate. The Bible even uses the word!). I’ve already been preoccupied with a couple scriptures focusing on one concept that may become a post. I also want to spend more time on developing my prayer life.
  • I will be reading more books. I already began to do this a little bit, but with my free time, I am going to finally have the opportunity to read a Jodi Picoult book. I plan to cross several titles of my “to be read” list. I am currently stuck in India in Eat Pray Love, should you be wondering.
  • I will resume making my daily to do lists.
  • I am setting a daily writing goal of at least five hundred non-blogging words.
  • I will identify concrete, finite goals that will move me forward.

So, for those of you whose blogs I will not read and who will not email, I guess this is good bye…at least for a while. I only hope that we can still be social network friends.

The Gist: I will not read any blogs, nor be on facebook or twitter for the next two weeks. In the meantime, I will pray, meditate, write, read, and break a sweat in three non-running related ways at least three times.

How are you going to focus on your own journey in the next two weeks?


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The Social Network

Before the movie The Social Network began to get buzz in Hollywood ahead of its theatrical release, I’d never thought much about the kind of person/personality behind a site like Facebook. Once the movie began to generate the aforementioned buzz, it crossed my mind that this person would be someone most people wouldn’t “like.” Most geniuses, especially those of the computer/technical variety, don’t do well with social interaction for one of two reasons (usually): either they are shy or they are megalomaniacal. Due in large part to the previews, I assumed Mark Zukerberg to be the latter.

Only, the way the movie portrayed Mark Zukerberg was (thankfully) more layered than I’d expected. At the core, his motives were universal to teens/college students–to be cool, be accepted, to fit in with an exclusive crowd. He wanted to have the three P’s–power, popularity, and praise. To a much lesser extent, he wanted money.

When I watch a movie, five things stick out to me: character, plot, setting, cinematography (what little I know about it), and the all important one liners/dialogue. Here’s my take five for The Social Network.

Characters: The Mark Zuckerberg character was classic–bored computer genius with a dash of biting sarcasm, dying to be popular but not wanting to let it show; obsessed with being cool; socially inept (to the point of rudeness). The speech pattern that the actor gave him was spot on to most of the tech people I talk to. Not only did he have the “geek speech pattern” down, he also had the mannerisms down. Indeed, most of the “geeks” did a good job portraying this college subset.

Edouardo was played very well. I think the actor did a great job of escalating Edouardo’s feelings of being shut off and made his motivations clear, so it didn’t seem he was overplaying the part when he got angry.

The Shaun Parker character was pretty well acted as well. JT made me forget he was JT. 

Lastly, the twins were hilarious. Every time the twins were onscreen, I laughed about something.

 Plot: First of all, let me start with the “bad.” The love angle was WEAK. I’m sorry, I don’t believe it. It wasn’t that the acting was bad or anything; it just didn’t make sense. Whether it’s true or not, I just don’t buy it. Also, the way they portrayed Zuckerberg discovering the need for a relationship status could have been cut. It was just silly. The timeline was murky. I had thefacebook very early, and I had tagging well before the time I think it was when they mentioned it in the movie. I almost wanted a little date to show up on the bottom in parts. I know the pacing was set to convey the whirlwind of the phenomena, but help me keep up with the timeline. Lastly, I didn’t like how they wrapped up action of the movie. I was dissatisfied with the last exchange between Zuckerberg and the person he was talking to. It went too fast, wrapped things up to quickly, and the last thing said to him was like hitting me over the head with something that, if I was even remotely paying attention, I would have been able to conclude on my own. We got it, already!

As for the good elements: I think the issue of intellectual property was dealt with well. They did a great job of progressing the development of the site. The explanation of the concept of facebook–to move the social experience online and have it be cool–was interesting. I liked the way they arranged the story to be told alternating between the hearings and when the events actually happened.

Setting/Cinematography: I liked the dark mood created by much of the cinematography of the story, contrasted by the almost blinding light of the hearings. The bar scene at the beginning was amazing to watch because of the contrast of what they were saying to where they were saying it. The darkness of the scenes made them feel secretive, shady, a little less than above board, while the lightness of the hearings added to the feeling of everything being dragged out into the open.

One Liners/Dialogue: I loved the “why does your status say ‘single’?” line because it was true to life (I’ve seen people having these conversations). I think one of the funniest exchanges in the movie was “Why do you keep saying I don’t have to study?” “You go to BU.” (Note: I know a few  people that went to BU, so this was doubly funny to me.) In fact, this whole opening exchange was funny. As aforementioned, the wrap up at the end, in my opinion, was a misstep. Other than that, the dialogue was spot on.

I feel about this movie the same way I feel about Inception: it was a solid movie, not exceptional in a great movie season, but when it came out, is was among the best simply because it was good. From what I hear, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and 127 Hours by and large blows this film out of the water. It’s a good film, with strong acting, a solid plot, good cinematography, and a top notch script. I was thoroughly satisfied with my $.75 purchase (I saw this at our discount theater that has $.75 movies on Tuesdays).

My rating: ****/A

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Money, Manners, Media, Marriage, and Mayhem March!

The Social Network
Image via Wikipedia

Yes, you read that right and yes, it’s a lot. The thing is, I got so bogged down by the end of February after writing so many posts about romantic relationships and love, that I realized writing about just one specific thing, even if it had many facets, all month was very taxing. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed February’s posts (and I hope you did, too). What I didn’t enjoy was having to keep so many things for later because it didn’t fit with the theme for the month. Romantic and relationship posts and I need a mini vacation. That being said, I still have a recorder and notebook full of marriage kit interviews and a many more to schedule. So I can’t completely put them on the backburner (hence marriage in the title). But what about the other things?

Money is a favorite subject of mine with regards to relationships. I’ve used money as an analogy to talk about aspects of relationships, as well as raising the question of joint accounts/paying bills, and how important income is in a relationship, but there are so much more to be said about money. What about your relationship to your money? Are you a spender or a saver? The great debate of whether to pay down debt vs. building an emergency fund needs to be brought up. Are you financially fit for dating (I didn’t think of that…Good Housekeeping’s guide to marriage (1934, I believe) provided this as a consideration)? How much should you put down on a house? Etc.

I want to talk about the effect of media on relationships. I touched this briefly in the piece “We Used to Be More Than Facebook Friends,” but it was one tiny aspect of how media has an affect on our relationships. I want to talk about celebrity/fame, and the effect it has on both the celebrity and on those who follow celebrity news for trends, etc. Another area I want to touch is social media and the creation of celebrity. Social media has changed the way people are “discovered” and how stars manage their brand image (another favorite topic of mine).  You can make yourself a star now. Lastly, I want to talk about the effects of social media on relationships, both friendship and romantic. I want to look at friendship from both the people you actually know in real life as well as those made online. Is social media diluting our relationships–both friendship and romantic? Is it changing how we make friends? What has online dating done to change the way we select possible mates?

Manners. I’ve always loved learning about manners and etiquette (not that I have many ;-)) Being able to act appropriately in social situations, learning how to entertain colleagues of you or your spouse, writing an invitation or a thank you note, writing letters, seating charts, knowing how to give a welcome introduction are all enviable skills. Also, how do you network? How do you network with influential people you don’t necessarily like? Emily Post, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, and cook books, here I we come!

Mayhem is the random fun that you all have enjoyed from me in the past. I am bringing back Things Mr. P. Doesn’t Know About Me (TMPDKAM), and Make it Like Poetry! I have been thinking of new TMPDKAM, and so far, I have five new ones thought up. People seem to enjoy those, so I’ve brought them back. I’m sure there’ll be other mayhem, but can you really plan for mayhem? 😀

The personal blog is going to be changing, too. I’m thinking of continuing Monday Meditations and Wednesday Wisdoms over there, as well as sharing playlists, reviewing exercise routines I’ve tried, asking for advice on certain lady things, and enjoying being me and talking about my life with no particular focus or purpose. Copywrite1985 continues to be about writing and reading, and 2blu2btru’s Reviews is going to be ramped up. I have a TON of reviews to upload, including reviews on The Social Network and the Blindside, as well as TV  and TV on DVD Obsessions such as In The Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman and Reaper. This month promises to be filled to the brim, no matter which of my blogs you choose to follow. 

March Madness has arrived!