Tag Archives: social media

My worlds collide

Or, another way to put it, it’s a small world…

Friday turned out to be one of those days that was over-scheduled. In my retirement life, that rarely happens, but when opportunities come, I like to take advantage. I had a lunch date with an old friend, a parent of a former student. This woman helped me so much when I was doing the yearbook for that large, inner-city high school. Because she loves to take pictures, she did a lot of sports and other event photos and I always rewarded her with each year’s yearbook. We laugh at the same things and have high expectations of everyone and everything.

She took a half day off on Friday and met me downtown for lunch at a place I just knew she would love. It’s an old 1880s newspaper printing office that was turned into a men’s club for many decades in the mid 1900s. Now it’s reopened as an upscale restaurant and event venue. The architecture is amazing and the newspaper’s printing press still sits in the main dining room. The bar from the men’s club days is still in place. Great place to wile away a couple of hours over lunch.

I would have loved to continued our time together, walking around downtown and checking on renovations, but I had to get home to finish up some chores because I had a second event in the late afternoon–a retirement party for two of the teachers in whose classrooms I read stories as school chaplain. Both are amazing teachers and both had moved on to other schools for this past year. I had missed them and was immensely pleased to be invited to their joint party hosted by another Columbia first grade teacher.

The party was on the other side of town, a 30 minute drive from my home during the best of times, but during commuter traffic, even longer. Because I’m not good with late-day events, I wanted to arrive just as the party was starting, hug the ladies, say my congratulations, and head back across town. I only took a couple of pictures which is unusual for me, but time was fleeting.

I posted the pictures of one of the teachers to my Facebook page and immediately got a response from the friend with whom I had lunch earlier that day. The retiring teacher is her cousin! None of us knew how we were connected until I posted that photo. I’ve known Delores for 18 years, Patty for 4, and just learned how our worlds overlapped, all because of a Facebook post. That’s the value of social media.



I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–I love social media. I have learned so much and I have made so many connections, all through social media. Social media also keeps me connected to people I don’t often see. But when we do see each other, face to face, we feel a connection because of our social media posts that have kept us filled in. Twice this past week I have had a person reference social media when they saw me: “I love what you post on Facebook,” and, “I know what you’ve been doing since I see all of your pictures on Instagram.”

Recently I connected with a woman from the small town where I grew up. She made a comment on the Facebook post of a friend, and her name made me wonder if she was related to a boy I went to school with so I messaged her and asked, “Are you Tony’s little sister?”

I knew he had a much younger sister, but she was out of my orbit so I didn’t even know her name. She responded almost immediately, that yes, she was Tony’s sister and was I aware that Tony had died a few years ago. Somewhere in my memory, I did know this, along with the knowledge of so many others from my class who are no longer with us. A reason we don’t have reunions. Too few of us.

We chatted back and forth about growing up and who we knew. She mentioned meeting some time to just talk. She wanted to hear more about her brother from someone who knew him all the way back in grammar school. I asked if she had many pictures of Tony. She did not. I pulled out my grammar school photo album and found two class photos that had Tony in them. I remember him as quite the class clown, and these photos proved it. I scanned them and sent them to his sister.

Tony is in the middle row, fifth from the right, in fourth grade and top row, seventh from the left, in the fifth grade photo.

Many of the boys in these pictures have died. Car accident. Vietnam war. Alcoholism. Bad health. I’m sad to say I have lost track of many of the girls. A few still live in the small town where we grew up, one is in Texas. Maybe when the sister and I finally meet in person, we can sort out where some of the others are living.

I’ve been here 8 years

I got a message from WordPress this morning with greetings for my anniversary with WordPress.com. I’ve been registered on WordPress.com for 8 years. My how time has flown.

When I started this, I had little idea what a blog was and how WordPress even operated. I didn’t know what to name the thing so just went with what WordPress gave me, Dkzody Weblog. Worked for me then, guess it still works. WordPress has been a good place for my blog. It’s easy to use from the computer or from my iPhone. All I do is write, throw on a few pictures if I wish, and press publish. WordPress does the rest.

This blog was the first of my social media sites, and it’s one that I’ve stayed with and used the most. Well, Instagram is gaining as I post there almost every day, usually more than one photo. I have almost 1400 photos there and almost 1600 posts here. I have 16,000 tweets, but many of those are retweets from others, so I can’t honestly count those.

To all of you dear Readers, thank you for coming by and checking on my scribbles. I appreciate your notes to me. It’s so nice to hear from one’s audience.

Social media sharing

I take a lot of pictures. You only see a few here on the blog, but if you go over to my Instagram site you will see them. Pictures of everything. Everywhere I go. People, places, things, food. All thrown there. Some get shared on Facebook and Twitter as it only takes one click to send them to those sites. Some just reside on Instagram.

Everywhere I go, I have my iPhone and that is also my camera. I can upload a photo immediately to Facebook or Instagram, or I can edit the photo in Instagram or PhotoShop Express, an app on the phone. My friends and family all know that I will pull out my phone at any time and start taking pictures. They are all accustomed to it, knowing full well that they will probably show up on Facebook or on this blog. I’ve never had anyone say, don’t post that. Usually I hear, “when will you get that on Facebook?”

It’s fun to tag people on Facebook photos so that all of their friends and family can see the pictures, too. I’ve had one friend say it’s the only time her friends get to see her as she doesn’t post any photos of her own. One friend told me she didn’t know how to post photos so she appreciated me sharing pictures of certain events on my page so she can share with her family.

Since I am a very social animal, I like social media.  I do know, though, that one can get carried away with social media and let it overrun one’s life. I try not to do that. I read an interesting post today, written by a former employee of Twitter. Ginger Riker writes about being a social media addict. I loved these questions:

I think a lot about privacy and our desire to record and share. How much sharing is good sharing? Does it make me feel more connected to people?

I like to think my sharing is good sharing. Some of you dear Readers have commented either here or on your own blog that you don’t share pictures of family and friends. Another line from Ginger Riker’s piece that resonated with me is this:

Will kids who have been recorded since birth resent the online persona their parents have given them?

I see friends on Facebook who post EVERYTHING that their child does, good and not so good. I’m not too sure about this. How will the kids feel when they are older. Those posts are out there, and unless the originator takes them down, will be for anyone to see even though the child has grown up and gone on to other things. How will this social media sharing make a difference in our kids’ lives? How will they integrate it into their life as they get older?

We’ve had an old friend join The Ladies Who Lunch with the help of social media. How did she find us? She googled my name and found my phone number and called. We talked for over an hour, catching up, and then I invited her to join our next lunch group. She did. And she joined us on the road trip. She loved it and hopes to join us again and again. But, she’s not on Facebook. She asked me to text her all of the photos, though, so she can share them with another set of friends who know many of us.

I’m sure glad you have an online presence, Delaine, and all those Google pages so I could easily find you.”

Yes, the value of social media. It does keep us connected.

Change or don’t complain

I went to lunch with a long time friend (35 years) who has two children and three grandchildren who live far, far away. She was very sad and disappointed that she so seldom hears from any of them. On top of it all, her husband has been very ill (and depressed) for the past three years which has made her life harder and lonelier.

When he first became ill, I was calling her on a regular basis, but she didn’t want to talk on the phone because she needed to be at his beck and call. I would suggest an outing for lunch but she would refuse due to his need for her to be at home or to take him to a doctor’s appointment. I also tried to visit, but she didn’t want anyone in the house as that disturbed her husband and his need for rest. I finally gave up. Even now, three years later, she doesn’t want to be away from him for long periods, and the last phone call was cut short because he had gotten up and wanted his breakfast.

On top of this, she refuses to do anything on social media. No texting, no Facebook, no Skyping. She reads her emails once a week, maybe. Then she complains that the children and grandchildren don’t contact them. I tried to explain, at lunch yesterday and at previous times, that the younger generations do not use mail and telephone calls as we did. They communicate through the technology of today.

Her older brother is on Facebook and will send her pictures of her grandchildren that he sees on their FB pages, but my friend still refuses to go on Facebook herself. I told her that she could make comments on the photos and her grandchildren would see them and it might lead to more communication. She didn’t agree.

The whole situation makes me sad.

Why are you on social media?

Last Saturday we attended the California Fig Fest courtesy of Yelp. Being an Elite Yelper, I was given free tickets for Terry and me. A little perk of social media. Knowing that a vendor whom I follow on Facebook and Instagram would be there, I made a special point of looking for her and meeting her in person. How did I know she would be there? She had posted it on her social media sites. We had chatted back and forth on those sites, but never met in person. It was fun to actually meet. She treated Terry and me to her frozen pops.

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As we chatted, she made the comment, “You have such a presence on social media. I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity.”  I laughed out loud and told her I should record her saying that. For you see, the reason I started this blog eight years ago was because I was told by someone that I had no online presence, and sure enough, when I Googled my name, I had but four or five listings, all having to do with education.

We both lamented that Facebook has changed so much in the last couple of years. She has switched more to Instagram, as have I, because FB is getting to have an older, more conservative group of users. They are less likely to share their life as they are their political and religious views. Those are not the reasons I am on social media. Pre-made posters of religious or political rantings do nothing for me.

Instagram is fun because I can take a photo on my phone and immediately upload it to Instagram which also allows uploading to Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. I can hit four social media sites at one time, tagging others as I do so. My iPhone will also allow for a photo to be uploaded to Facebook and/or Twitter, too. It’s a great way to share life. Which, if you haven’t guessed by now, is the main reason why I’m on social media. I also learn so much.

Yesterday was the first day of school so The Ladies Who Lunch went out for lunch to celebrate. I was telling them about our trip to the goat farm and also the wonderful soaps Basilwood Farms produces from the goat milk. Someone asked how I learned about the goat farm. Why, social media, of course. I don’t remember the exact place, but I do know I follow Basilwood on both Facebook and Instagram. Social media makes me smarter (especially Twitter), and better aware of what friends and family are doing. That is, if friends and family will post about their life. Otherwise, why are you on social media if you aren’t willing to share?

Taking photos

IMG_8263   There have been a few posts lately on other blogs about taking pictures with a smart phone. My iPhone 5s is really the only camera I use any more. There is a point and shoot digital camera I bought before I quit teaching, one that would fit in a pocket when I traveled, but I have banished it to a cupboard drawer. It’s too bulky, in comparison to my iPhone, for daily travels.

Someone said that iPhones didn’t take good pictures in low light. I haven’t had too much trouble. The above photo was taken in our dining area for our son-in-law’s birthday celebration right after the first of the new year. It worked for me.

One of my biggest complaints about iPhone camera versus a ‘real’ camera is when I am taking a photo of something in the distance. Although there is a zoom feature on the iPhone, it is still not as good as my husband’s SLR camera with all the fancy settings and lenses. Of course, even my point and shoot didn’t do as well as his big camera.

The big reason for using my iPhone exclusively–convenience. I carry my iPhone everywhere because I use it as my computer most of the time. Interestingly enough, I am writing this post on my MacBook Pro, but most of my recent blog posts, especially those with photos, have been written on my phone. I can write anywhere I go, not needing to wait until I sit at the computer. The nice thing about the MacBook is that I can sit anywhere in the house or yard with it to work, but I don’t take it on my trips around town like I do my phone.

Because I take the phone everywhere, I am able to take pictures wherever I go. Like today, when I have lunch with the first graders. I will pull out the iPhone, take a picture of my school lunch and upload it immediately to Instagram which also sends it to Twitter and Facebook. Convenient.

Staying connected

Reading comments to my previous post about my high school experience and posts written by others on various social media sites, I realize that many people stay connected to their high school and/or college friends. Even my daughter has stayed in touch with both of these groups although they now live all over the world. I’m thinking that perhaps it’s my particular age group, or at least the people I went to school with in that small, rural village. I am one of few who is immersed in social media. Trying to locate school mates turns up almost nothing.

Of course, many of you have stayed in contact with former classmates the old fashioned way–in person. Although living and working only 25 miles from that rural outpost, I rarely, if ever, see any former classmates. Many of my relatives, on my dad’s side, still live in the general vicinity, but they too are seldom seen in person, or even heard of via the grapevine. I am not good at staying connected, unless it is via social media.

On Sunday, while chatting with a friend at church, I discovered that her daughter is the best friend of a cousin who lives in that rural town, 25 miles west of here. The daughter had gotten married in my cousin’s yard, which is very much like a park. The cousin, actually by marriage and twice removed, owns the town’s floral shop, so the ceremony was quite beautiful and my friend waxed ecstatic about the whole event. We laughed at how small the world is that it was my family who produced this event. That side of my family has always been known for the parties, picnics, and other family and friend events. They go all out. For awhile, one of the cousins produced a family reunion every few years but age and ill health have taken their toll and she no longer hosts these. Maybe another reason I don’t stay connected.

After talking with my friend on Sunday, I started thinking of all the cousins still around. For many years I was the youngest grandchild on that side of the family, by far the youngest, making all my cousins considerably older than me. An aunt in Idaho ended my reign when she had what would be the last grandchild born to the Kissinger side. Lynn is about 5 years younger than me. I’ve lost that connection, too. The hometown cousins, my father’s brother’s children, now have grandchildren almost as old as my daughter. So, the connections have really been disconnected as I know none of them, except a few by name.

Yesterday, while perusing the aisles at my neighborhood Target, I spy a woman turned away from me but who I felt a connection. Having just been pondering all those cousins, I realize that she is the wife of the youngest of this local set of cousins. I approach her, call her by name, and she turns, startled. Yes, it’s her, but I can see in her face that she does not recognize me. I had always been the youngster in the family; now here stands this slightly older than middle-aged woman. I tell her my name and she beams. Of course. We stand and talk for a long time, catching up with all the various cousins and their children, including my own. Reconnecting for a moment in time.

The beginning of the Internet

No, I’m not writing a paper on the history of the Internet, only MY history with the Internet. When did you first go “online?”

I started teaching in 1989 and there were computers in the classrooms. We taught word processing, data base, and spreadsheet. Research was still done with books, in a library. My students would call businesses if they needed information. Or, they would go personally to interview the owner/manager. We had a FAX machine in our office that students occasionally used to communicate with their sources.

Then the librarian started sharing database disks with me. These were fascinating, but they were often out of date. I realized that there was a world of information out there on this thing called the Internet, and if I could connect my classroom, then I could connect my students to a bigger world. I started to investigate.

I got online at home first, with a dial-up connection, with Compuserve. I started signing up for forums, as they were called back then. Women’s Forum, California Forum, Travel Forum. I was meeting interesting people. I started connecting with a few teachers. We emailed one another and shared out stories. Remember “you’ve got mail?” I had lots of mail. I knew this was what my students needed. To meet people from other places.

It was now 1992, and I figured out how to connect ONE computer in my classroom to a phone line and access a free AOL account. Afraid that the phone line, which belonged to the school and was charged by the minute, would get me in trouble, I quizzed a school board member about this. He said no one monitored the phone bills, and if I was using it with students, then he saw no problem with it. But, he had no idea what the Internet was.

My students loved doing research and making connections online. The search engines weren’t too great back then. Remember “Ask Jeeves?” That was a favorite of mine. We only had one computer, in one classroom, to do this, but we were online, learning how to do this. Then the library got a connection. My students could go there. They were pretty much the only ones using the library computer as they were the only ones on campus who had been trained to search.

Finally, the school caught up, put in a server, and we were going places. This was long before blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. The students were doing research not only for my class but others. They were looking at colleges online and scouting out scholarships. Teachers came to me to find out how come my students knew all this stuff and could access the Internet. It would be a long haul to get the other faculty up to speed. Most of them still allowed their students to HANDWRITE their papers. Wasn’t allowed in my classes. Every paper had to be word processed. By this time all of my students sat in front of computers, connected to the Internet, every day, in my classroom.

Of course, now there is wi-fi at every school in the district. Students can access the Internet from anywhere with all sorts of devices. They are not limited to the classroom or library, just as I am not either. I am typing this on my laptop in the family room. We’ve come a long way from 1992 when I first signed on.

So, what prompted this reminiscing? I just got a Facebook message telling me that the Women’s Forum on Compuserve is being shut down as there is little traffic on it. I’m not surprised. We’ve moved on to other social media sites. And yet, I am fond of that first place I connected with women all over the globe, many with whom I am still friends. I cut my online teeth on Compuserve, and in doing so, guided my students to do likewise.

It’s been four years here

I started this blog four years ago, having no idea what I was getting into or where it would lead me. I had been told that if I planned to leave teaching and pursue another career that I needed a better web presence. My google page had about three entries at that time. I wasn’t even a blip on the social media scene yet because there wasn’t much social media out there. That has all changed in these four years.

Here is that first post:

Ah, Friday before a 3-day holiday.  This is one of the reasons I chose to become a teacher for a new career after working in publishing and sales.  We return to a 4-day week before leaving for a one-week Thanksgiving break.  Where in the “real world” do you get those kinds of vacations?  I keep telling my students, “become a teacher, or you’ll find yourself with 2 weeks of vacation a year.”  They usually moan, and lament, “no, I don’t want to deal with kids!”   Where are we going to find future teachers? 
So many teachers are coming up on retirement age, and yet we see few student teachers signing on for this profession, especially after student teaching at an inner city school.  It’s not just the students who cause people to flee, even though my students seem to think that.  It’s also the issues of constant testing, constant criticism of teachers, constant bureacracy.
I will definitely enjoy my 3-day weekend.  It will give me an extra day to grade projects and enter grades into the computer.  It will give me an extra day to plan the next week’s lessons.  Of course, even when I plan, the tyranny of the moment can change all those plans.  Just like next week, I had planned a checkpoint for my Marketing I students’ big project, but then today I realize I will be gone all day for a district meeting and will have a substitute.  So, there go my great plans.  But it doesn’t stop me from making those plans.
Tomorrow is a new day.