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Virtual Lives and Virtual Emotions

March 30, 2010 - Author: Michy

After writing on Popularity, and then reading Web Worker Daily’s post on Our Emotional Lives in Social Media, I began reflecting on this subject. How do our real emotions differ from the emotions our virtual identities appear to have? How much do we show, and how much is good to show?

Living on the Webz

Running a blog and an online store has put me in a perfect position to develop my virtual life to an extent which it has never before seen. In many ways, my virtual life is a reflection of my real life: On Twitter and Facebook, I talk about what happens in my day-to-day real life as well as what I do on the computer and internet. I think the distinction between my two lives comes from what is left out of the virtual one.

It’s not always done on purpose. There’s just not time to include every part of my life in my Facebook status updates, and the character limits on my Tweets makes me condense even more. Besides, there are things that I feel are too private to share – or too uninteresting. Part of this group of “things not shared” happens to be a good portion of my emotions.

Thinking Too Hard

As Hubby and I consider whether to start a video blog, or vlog, I had to assess my virtual-emotional outlets again. I’ve settled into a routine of posting my problogs here, my daily life updates there, and my emotions in my private blog. I write and write and write, basically. I Tweet, Facebook, blog, blog again, and then write at 750words.com.

But what, I thought, if I start a vlog with my husband? I don’t want to have too many emotional outbursts on YouTube for all the world to see, and you don’t want that either. I don’t want them on my problog, and I don’t want them on my social media. But! I could drop my private blog and let vlogging take the place of that, and let 750words.com become my emotional-ranting-place. *pants*

I had to put all that thought into the issue of where it was okay to show my emotions!

Virtual Emotions

My negative virtual emotions are much more subdued than the emotions that come out in my real life. My positive virtual emotions are sometimes magnified. My anger is virtually shrugged off, and my jealousy virtually (ha, I can use two definitions of the word in one!) hidden. Thus my virtual persona has an appearance that differs from me, the real me.

It’s all about acceptance and reputation. When it comes to our virtual lives we have to consider the balance of what is seen and shown.

  • Do I appear to be always unhappy, always happy, or in between?
  • Who am I going to upset, and who is going to worry about me?
  • Who is going to look down on me, and who is going to be driven away from my store/whatever because of the image they see?

In other words, how is my reputation going to be affected by my virtual persona?

I like how Aliza Sherman was able to look at the situation. She allows herself to be bathed in the support of her virtual peers, and she chooses not to worry about the effect on her reputation. More precisely, she believes that the impact on her reputation will be mostly positive, as we are drawn to people with whom we can relate. I, on the other hand, cannot shake the mentality that there has to be some regulating done.

What do you show, and what do you hide? Where do you vent your emotions, if anywhere?

Oh, and most importantly, should Hubby and I make a Vlog? 😛

Ready, and……discuss!

Categories: Communication

Reflections on Popularity

March 29, 2010 - Author: Michy

I am a Burry.

What?

I am one of over ten thousand people following the tweets of @strawburry17. I, like many of the other Burries, also watch her YouTube channels. And what’s more, I found myself recently in a live video and chat session with her and about 100 other fans.

It’s Got Me Thinking About Popularity.

I began to grasp the idea of popularity sometime during my middle school years. I remember in particular an incident that must have occurred during fifth grade. A new girl was put in my class whom I hoped to befriend, but it turned out that she never gave me the time of day. She was immediately taken in by the others who never gave me the time of day. The cool kids.

In junior high, I remember a moment of clarity when I realized why I felt un-liked by my teachers. Teachers loved me in elementary school because I was quiet and I never caused trouble. As I got older, I realized that this was making me unnoticeable. A nobody. The teachers began to relate to the students as little adults, and they were drawn to the popular kids, just as other kids were drawn to their popular, charismatic peers.

What Does it Take?

What makes one person popular, and the other unnoticeable? I’ve already mentioned what I believe to be one of the biggest factors: charisma. Here’s what Wikipedia says about charisma:

Charisma (Greek "kharisma," meaning "gift," "of/from/favored by God/the divine") is a trait found in persons whose personalities are characterized by a personal charm and magnetism (attractiveness), along with innate and powerfully sophisticated abilities of interpersonal communication and persuasion. One who is charismatic is said to be capable of using their personal being, rather than just speech or logic alone, to interface with other human beings in a personal and direct manner, and effectively communicate an argument or concept to them.

That’s not the only requirement, of course. You and I probably both know people who are charismatic but not particularly popular. Good looks and money can take you quite a ways. Being in up on current trends will put you in the “in crowd.” Plain old confidence can carry one a long way in and of itself. I think it’s a combination of factors, and sometimes just chance, that puts people in the popular category.

Where I Stand

Well, first of all, I still enjoy being a Burry. Though I may be unnoticeable to Meghan, I find something attractive in her personality, and I think she makes great videos. The problem is, as much as she wants to relate to people, she can’t be friends with everyone, and some people are going to feel slighted. And it only makes sense! Over ten thousand people may mention her in a given day, and she has to wade through all those tweets and decide which deserve her attention. I don’t feel slighted by her any more than I feel slighted by not being given personal attention from Mandy Moore (another popular person I follow on Twitter).

Second of all, I’m going to keep being me.

I was never popular in school, and I didn’t really want to be popular; I wanted to be liked. I’m realizing now that they’re the same thing. Do I really want to be popular, though? Would I be, if I could snap my fingers and make it happen? I might, but I’m not really sure. Do I want to have thousands of casual relationships? Would that make it easier to find people with whom I could be close, or would it just make it harder, since there would be so many interactions to choose between?

I still have that desire to be liked, though. I want my words, art, videos, tweets, and personality to be liked by others.

Not necessarily by everyone.

At least by my friends.

Do you have any thoughts? How important is popularity to you?

One parting observation: Being casual friends with a popular person is almost indistinguishable from being a fan.

Categories: Personal, Relationships

Commenting

March 28, 2010 - Author: Michy

I just wanted to post a quick note about commenting on this website. I currently have commenting set up so that you do not have to register first. You simply have to enter your name, email address, optional website, and you’re good to go. This system makes it very easy for bots and mean people to leave spam all over my website, and I’m having to wade through it quite a bit.

If you do not want me to mistake your comment for spam, please say more than simply, “Nice blog,” in your comment. Be sure to make some kind of reference to the post that you are commenting on.

Comments that are vague may be deleted for spam. Please don’t take this personally. If spam becomes too much of a problem, I may have to turn on the registration!

Categories: Uncategorized

Recipe: Michy’s Baked Flounder Surprise

March 26, 2010 - Author: Michy

Let me preface this recipe with the fact that neither Hubby nor I really like flounder. Of all the fish in the sea, flounder is one we would usually pass by. It’s just not our preference. (Salmon, please?) But we did enjoy this preparation of flounder enough to record it. And if we end up with flounder in the freezer again, we’ll probably eat it this way. So, onward, to the deliciously unhealthy recipe!

Ingredients

  • 4 flounder filets
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼-½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • a pinch of Savory
  • ½-1 tsp. ground red pepper
  • ½ cup fine bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. butter or margarine
  • 4 strips bacon (secret ingredient!)

Directions

1. I skipped this step, but I would recommend that you do not. Ever so slightly fry the bacon on the stove, not enough to cook through, but just enough to get it started and drain off some of the oil.

2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Very lightly grease the bottom of your baking dish. I would recommend a metal baking dish rather than a glass casserole dish. Line the bottom of the dish with your strips of bacon. Arrange flounder filets on top as your second layer.

3. Stir salt, spices, and cheese into the sour cream and spread the mixture over the fish so that all surfaces are covered. Top with bread crumbs and dot with the margarine.

4. Bake uncovered for 30 min. Stick a fork underneath and lift up to see that the bacon is finished before serving! Raw bacon = bad. Otherwise, enjoy! We served this with peas and mashed potatoes, and to serve I actually cut sideways through the bacon, making small squares, rather than trying to get a full strip of bacon in each serving. My husband didn’t know the bacon was underneath, and it turned out to be a nice, tasty surprise. Serves 4-6 people. Enjoy!

Categories: Recipes

Dieting is Bad

March 23, 2010 - Author: Michy

Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong. I’ve gone and done it now, haven’t I? I’ve made a statement that can be disagreed with or even proven wrong! Well, I believe it, or rather, I don’t believe in it. I don’t think that dieting is healthy or good in any way. Don’t worry. I’ll explain.

Dieting vs. Diet

Dieting is eating or drinking according to a regulated system that is often designed to reduce or suppress the appetite. Dieting often if not usually involves restricting oneself from certain foods or from sugars, and it almost always involves limiting your calorie intake, sometimes severely.

Diet, on the other hand simply refers to the usual or regular food and drink one ingests.

Weight Loss Via Deprivation

I don’t argue that you can’t lose weight by dieting. On the contrary, I’m sure that you can. In fact, I’ve done it myself! The problem is that when you restrict your intake for a period of time to lose weight, you will usually find that when you stop that restriction, you gain back all the weight that you lost.

Whether or not your lose weight and keep it off with dieting, though, is not my concern. The problem I have with dieting is with the actual practice of dieting, not with the result.

Our bodies were designed to need certain nutrients, some of which we enjoy and some we do not enjoy so much. If you take away foods or food groups from your diet, you’re going to be either depriving yourself of something you need or something you want. Neither is good!

If you take away a nutrient you need through dieting, your body is going to suffer. I don’t know how our bodies copes with the loss, but however it’s done, it’s not healthy. Taking away all carbohydrates is not healthy, Dr. Atkins! Carbs serve a purpose!

If you take away a nutrient you want through dieting, your morale is going to suffer. Depressing yourself through your eating habits is not going to serve you well in the long run! By depriving yourself of what you enjoy you’re only more likely to quit your diet and splurge once you do quit. I don’t think that even having one Cheat Day now and then is enough to counteract the affect this has on your emotions and mental state.

Alternatively: Alter Your Diet

The alternative to dieting is to alter one’s diet. It is a more long-term action that is based on determining what is good for your body, mind, and soul when it comes to food. Choose to make good eating habits. The idea is rather than making strict guidelines as to what you can and can’t eat, and limiting your intake to lose weight – rather than that – try to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet. Then to lose weight, eat slightly less of what you would normally and increase your activity levels!

Good Habits

You have to decide what you can consistently live with, and what you can live without. You already know which things are healthy and good for you, and which things aren’t. Most good eating habits can please both your mind and your body, but you’ve got to think for yourself, not simply follow a prescription laid out by someone else. That being said, I will go through a few recommendations.

  • Eat that salad that is offered to you before your meal. If you can stand salad, try to make a habit of going ahead and taking it. It’s good for you, you’ll eat a little less of your meal because you’re not as ravenous, and you might even feel a little better about that pizza you eat afterwards.
  • Don’t skip dessert if you have a sweet tooth! I would go nuts watching everyone eat dessert without me. I need my sweets! So guess what – I don’t skip dessert! No, it’s not good for me to intake too much fat, but it’s good for my soul to have that dessert. I try to take small portions if I’m trying to lose weight, but I don’t skip it.
  • Cut down on soda. Of all the nasty things we put in our bodies, I think soda is among the worst. There is almost no redeeming quality to it. But we do so love it, right? If you can stand it, try cutting down on the soda. Limit yourself to a few less sodas per week, to start. I would recommend drinking water instead, but if you are like me, you hate water. You may need to change to something a little easier to handle, like sweet tea (which has sugar and some of the caffeine you’re missing from that soda!), juice, or milk.
  • Water yourself as much as you can handle. Believe it or not, water really does help fill you up. So if the health aspect isn’t enough, maybe you can force yourself to drink it because it will help you eat less. It’s hard to have too much water. Take in as much as you can, even if it’s an extra glass per week.

Zen Habits posted on their blog recently about The Simple Way to Stick to a Meal Plan, and there are some really good hints in there, such as eating real, whole foods that you love. I find the author’s 1800-cal meal plan a little extreme, and more towards the “dieting” end than simply altering your diet, but I would still highly recommend the read.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter?

Categories: Health

Two Things

March 22, 2010 - Author: Michy

1. I am changing my posting schedule. I’ve come to realize that the only problogs that have new content every day are those that have multiple people writing for them. As I am only human, and only one human, I’m going to cut back a bit and allow myself some breathing room. I will still post at minimum on Mondays, Tuesday, and Fridays. I may post more frequently than that on some weeks, but not as a rule.

2. You can comment on my posts without registering as a member on the website. Maybe you didn’t realize that, and maybe that’s why you’re lurking around in the shadows. Or maybe you are worried you have nothing constructive to add to the post or the conversation. Well, let me assure you that I want to hear your comments and I want to hear them without making you register. So.. Just saying.

Categories: Uncategorized