Posts Tagged ‘Random’

One Hit Wonder Friends

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Life, Relationships
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You know what it’s like.  You meet someone new – perhaps a friend of a friend on a night out, maybe someone in a group who you vaguely know about but aren’t actually friends with or perhaps someone at work who you bump into in the corridor once in a while.  Then suddenly you’re ‘friends’ on Facebook, even though you probably have nothing in common with them!  What is it about social networking sites that makes us want to ‘collect’ people we have little interest in outside the virtual world?  How on earth can we have 600 or so ‘friends’?!  It’s just not possible – realistically it’s more like a handful of real friends and hundreds of people that you’ve met briefly in your life! And yet there is nothing that makes me feel more inadequate and unpopular than to compare the number of Facebook friends I have (216, some of whom I actually know!) to the number that a lot of my friends have!   Slightly pathetic I know but I’m sure I’m not the only one!

Strange, ironic even, that something which is intended to bring people together and make it easy for people to keep in touch with each other actually has the opposite effect.  How many meaningful conversations do we really have on Facebook?  Isn’t it just more of an outlet for our voyeuristic tendancies?  We can safely keep watch on other people’s lives, know who they’re going out with, who they’ve broken up with, who they’re engaged to, where they go on holiday, even watch their children grow up, all without even having to leave our armchair!  And we forget that people know they’re being watched on Facebook and will often carefully construct their status updates for maximum effect!  To let everyone know “hey guys, my life is really great at the moment” or “things are going badly, I need some sympathy” or even subtle messages aimed at a specific person (ex’s for example!).  Or just to be seen as really clever and witty…!  We all do it.  Few of my friends are truly honest and open in their Facebook status updates – the ones that are I often read and think “noooooooo!  That’s such a bad idea”!  Sometimes raw human emotion is hard to take.  You really don’t want to be reading about it on Facebook!  Because Facebook is after all just a method of keeping a superficial eye on what a lot of other people are doing and trying to show that your life is just as good / fulfilling / satisfying as everyone else!  It’s a place to be seen with your hair up and your Sunday best on! Rather like a box at the opera!  Treat it like that and it serves a purpose!

I’m relatively choosy about who I accept friends requests from but even so in reality many of my friends probably don’t even count as aquaintences! Some I will probably never meet again! They’re one hit wonders in my life – they must have done something at some point to warrant being a friend but it was probably a long time ago and nothing interesting has happened since.  Still, at least I have over 200 friends to show off about to those who have less….!

Don’t get my wrong! I like Facebook.  But i’ve had cause to really think about my friendships over the last few months – how I treat my friends and how they treat me.  Sometimes I’m lazy and I use Facebook as an easy way of reminding someone I’m still there rather than pick up the phone or send them an email or a card.  That’s not being a good friend!  Sometimes, even when I see them every day, I take their friendship for granted and forget that it’s a two way street and I need to work at it too. That’s not being a good friend either!  And other times I over react to something they do, say stupid things that I immediately regret and spend the next day trying to make it up! Sometimes I wonder why anybody actually wants to be friends with me I treat them so badly!  But there’s the essence of a true friendship – whatever you do there’s normally a way back.  Your true friends understand you and why sometimes you act a bit crazy or just get caught up in other stuff!  Having a few friends who always accept you for who you are is far more valuable than having 600 friends who don’t know the real you so look after them well.  Facebook may chronicle your life but it’s your real friends who will help you live it!

Stressed to be pressed…

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Blogging
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WordPress.com is a great site! I love it even though I haven’t really got time to do it! But I’m getting increasingly obsessed by Freshly Pressed and what it could do for my as yet unestablished blog. I learnt very quickly that getting chosen for Freshly Pressed is deemed the pinnacle of success for serious WordPress.com bloggers, bringing potentially thousands of new viewers to a blog and an opportunity to see your Blog Stats go through the roof! It just proves how lazy we all are of course – in just two clicks you could be reading a post which has reached the dizzy heights of pressing, deemed interesting, quirky or funny enough to be fresh. No need for searching or trawling through tags – that’s what makes it so successful of course. We humans will mostly go for the easy options!

Anyone who writes a blog and says they don’t really mind if nobody reads it is lying!! And if they’re not then they should be writing a diary – that way your thoughts will be kept secret, at least until you die! If you want to write and be heard (or seen!) then you blog. Simple. And if you blog you really (with a passion) want people to not only read your posts, but to like your posts and to comment on your posts. It’s that desire for the buzz of acceptance, of popularity – whatever you call it, most of us seek it. It’s a bit like being on stage, hearing the audience clap and cheer you at the end of the evening – there’s nothing like it! Apart from perhaps seeing hundreds of lovely comments on your blog post….!!!

So the question is; how do you get your blog noticed and ultimately onto freshly pressed? Is it enough just to keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best? Or should you spend hours coming up with sharp, eye-catching titles as well as readable / amusing / clever posts? Given the sheer number of posts made every day the chance of getting onto Freshly Pressed must be fairly low! I look on Freshly Pressed all the time and have seen some really good posts. It amuses me that the ones I enjoy and aspire to be like are often very removed from my writing style – clearly my aspirations are way above my station! But the great thing is that they’re all so different which in itself makes it hard to try and catch attention as there is clearly no one formula. The worst thing is that I read them and simply despair that my posts will ever be good enough to be noticed and I am doomed to remain a frequently unread blog, baring my soul to no-one!

There is a lot of good advice out there, on other blogs ironically enough, on how to be a successful blogger and so far I’ve had some success with following a few of the golden rules. I guess the main thing is to enjoy what you write, keep writing and don’t worry about it too much.

And if you can’t be Fresh at least try not to be stale!

A real grown-up is hard to find

Posted: August 13, 2010 in Life
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Do we ever really grow up?  Or are we doomed to be children in adults skin forever, speaking corporate language, wearing power suits (damn those shoulder pads for coming back into fashion!) whilst wondering what the hell it’s all about?!  Did Peter Pan represent the reality rather than the fantasy – that deep down we are all just children rebelling against the chains of age that the world ties us down with?  And at what point are we meant to become grown up? 16 or 18 or 21 perhaps?  Or maybe we never mentally reach adulthood; we just learn to hide our childish behaviour and only let it slip out when we get mad, drunk or fall in love! 

These last two days have been filled with very grown up things – trying to sort out a new mortgage and interviewing for a new job.  I just don’t feel ready for this!  My last foray into both events was whilst I was under a big long-term break up cloud and I really don’t remember a huge amount about it!  Only that they were things that had to be done.  Now I have to deal with them in a sane state of mind and it’s scary!  “I am having a grown up conversation with another grown up about very grown up things….so why don’t I feel grown up?!” 

“Do you have a will?” my mortgage broker asked.  What?!  Of course I don’t have a will – I’m only ten years old, why would I need a will?!  But I’m not ten years old – I just feel like it sometimes!  Particularly when I’m advising people OLDER THAN ME at work on serious issues and thinking “how did I get from wearing ra-ra skirts and sitting in the corner at the school disco to this?”!  Or when colleagues behave like bullies and make you feel like you’re back in the playground….but that’s another story! 

Thinking about not being grown up makes me think about my childhood.  In particular my stepfather, Alan, a pipe smoking, good-looking guy who I had hoped would be around for a long time.  I remember being about 8 when he and my mum married after a relatively whirlwind romance.  Unfortunately, my stepfather found it difficult to cope with a ready-made family and after a competition to see who my mum would side with first it all went sour.  There was a time in my 20’s when I looked back on his behaviour and thought how incredibly childish he was.  I thought that being in your late 30’s equated to being grown up and therefore you should behave like an adult.  How wrong I was!  I realise I’m now a similar age to what he was then and finally I can understand how people end up exhibiting not very adult like behaviour when dealing with relationships and coping with other people’s children.  Whatever you do, however successful you are, it seems like there is a small child in all of us, just waiting to scream and shout and shatter that grown up image that we all try to portray. 

So, do we ever grow up?  Judging by the behaviour of adults around me as well as my own behaviour sometimes, I think that in reality we are all stuck in our childhood, probably at different ages, but nonetheless often reacting to events in a manner which we should really have grown out of by now!  By our age…..

God knows how I’ll manage if ever I get married or have children of my own!  What a terrifying thought!  Don’t you have to be at least 60 or something to do that?!

Well, nothing wrong with being Peter Pan for now – he had some very useful skills!  *Sigh* If only I could fly life would be so much better….!!! 

Blog’s it all about?

Posted: August 7, 2010 in Blogging
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God, I love this blogging business!  It’s only four days since I started my very first blog and already I’m addicted.  I used to spend hours on Facebook, updating my status, responding to comments, searching for new statuses to add my thoughts to; now it barely gets a look in.  As soon as I get up in the morning my mind starts thinking of possible stories for today’s post.  By the time I get to work I already have several ideas of what I could write about and it’s not long before they start bumping into each other, vying for the top space, hoping to make it onto my blog.  Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate because all I really want to be doing is updating my blog!  As soon as I have chance I log into my account and start writing a draft of my new post.  I know I’m not the best writer in the world; I don’t have much to say that is of any importance; my posts are not overtly intelligent, witty, funny or insightful and my knowledge of the english language appears limited compared to other bloggers.  But still I write in the hope that maybe one day someone will read my blog and find something in it that interests them or makes them think or perhaps just makes them chuckle for a second or two. 

And yet, I see the very real dangers of becoming ensconced in a virtually virtual world, writing for an audience that you will never know, never see, never truly understand.  The Internet is surely a haven for people with limited social skills – if it’s not possible to gain respect and appreciation in real life then you can log onto the Internet and find it there.   Anonymous producers of words which may or may not be truthful can find comfort from ego boosting comments on their ramblings; people you would never converse with in real life suddenly appear interesting and exciting when you read their innermost thoughts on the internet.  You could be a social hermit or obese recluse in real life but on the Internet you can be anyone your imagination allows you to be.   And therein lies the problem.  Blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting (I could go on!) may be mentally stimulating as well as a quick and easy way of getting your thoughts out to the world but it also encourages solitude and deceptively social but only virtual interaction.  Ever since the advent of email and the World Wide Web the world has been virtually shrinking but the distance between us as people has been growing.  Why go and talk to someone when you can send them an email?  Why meet a friend when you can Facebook them or follow their tweets?   I’m afraid I am as guilty of this as the next person but I am happy to say that it is mostly because I’m so busy in real life, not just in virtual life, that I’m left struggling to keep up with everything.  My blogging promise to myself is that I don’t become so addicted to divulging my random thoughts to all and sundry that I forget I have a life!    

I know that probably no-one will read this post once I hit the publish button but even so my thoughts will be out there, floating in the Internet Ether, ready to be read by anyone across the globe who happens across it at any time.  That’s quite a scary thought!  Still the point is that all this virtual interaction has a place in today’s society – we acknowledge and accept its limitations, its dangers but revel in the opportunities it offers us to connect with people, to be taught and to be the teacher.  And if it provides an outlet for those to whom life has been unkind and allows them to express thoughts that they could never do in real life or to real people then surely the world is a richer place for it.

Book in a Bottle

Posted: August 5, 2010 in Opportunity
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As I was nearly getting up this morning, I happened to catch an interview with a researcher / author on BBC Breakfast who had turned her 7 year quest to find the writer of a French letter in a bottle into a best selling book. Now, one of my many non-achievements is that of not being a writer. Ever since childhood I have enjoyed writing and always felt that I had at least one book in me, possibly a trilogy. However I have never been able to find my perfect story or the Harry Potter / Robert Langdon / Sherlock Holmes charismatic character to hang a book on. I have ideas almost every day; some of them even make it as far as being realised in a word document, at least for a page or so, but are then resigned to my ever-increasing story beginnings file.

So, I wondered, as I sat watching the interview, whether her success was simply down to opportunity – a fascinating story just ripe for telling to the world, and literally handed to her on a plate, or rather in a bottle. But, when her friend brought her the letter she had found washed up on the beach and asked her to translate it, knowing that she was a fluent French speaker, she could have done the job and simply left it there. Like others have done. The opportunity would have deflated like a burst balloon and raspberried off into the distance, never to be seen again. And yet, the tragic letter from a mother filled with grief at the loss of her young son, prickled her curiosity and started her on a journey that not only took out a considerable chunk of her life but also gave her a great idea for a book. The fact that the writer of the letter was only found after the book was published is even more fascinating – the writing of the book ultimately became part of the quest, a hope that the person who wrote the letter might one day read it and solve the mystery. And she did.

I wonder how many opportunities I miss every day because I’m too busy or too short-sighted to see their potential? Still, maybe one day opportunity will strike long enough for me to lock the gates, grab it and publish it and I can make my way to the top of the seesaw. Then again, it’s a precarious life, sitting on top of the world, wondering when the heavy person opposite will either lose weight or just get off the seesaw and leave you to plummet to the ground. Perhaps turning a blind eye to Opportunity is not such a bad idea!