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Life, In Digital

Digital Life IS Real Life

Category Archives: Reflections

Last month I decided to take a break from social media. I bid my social world “adieu” on Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest, Twitter, and Vine and turned my focus to offline interactions.

As I thought about giving up social media for a while, I also thought about what I would be able to do with all of this new “thought space”:

  • journal
  • practice my handwriting
  • read (books & Bible)
  • think
  • call people to catch up
  • complete tasks on my to-do list
  • pray

I wanted to get away from always needing to hold my cell phone. I wanted to know what time it was without looking at my phone…maybe I’d use my watch as more than just an accessory. I wanted to walk from my desk to the bathroom without having to take my phone with me. I wanted to sit and think instead of mindlessly scroll, post, like, share, scroll, post, like, share… I wanted to need to call people to catch up on life instead of leaning on a Facebook relationship. I wanted to write three sentences without my hand cramping up. I wanted to read my handwriting. I wanted to serve God and serve Him in private instead of seeking likes and comments for my good works. I wanted to clearly communicate my thoughts instead of only speaking one “post” at a time. I wanted to stop thinking in 140 characters. I wanted to be more focused and deliberate. I wanted to create instead of just comment on life.

I don’t belive that social media is bad. There is a lot of good that comes from being constantly connected to your friends and loved ones. There is a lot of good in the collective thoughts of a community. There is a lot of good in the quick and efficient communication. However, I do believe that social media has made me weaker in other areas. The greatest impact has been on my imagination. I used to sit and entertain myself with my thoughts, but I am evermore preoccupied with scrolling, posting, updating, etc. My social media apps on my iPhone are my go-to entertainment and it is rarely high-quality time spent.

After a week and a half without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Foursquare, or Pinterest...I'm back! Taking time away from social media has given me an opportunity to reevaluate the content I'm creating and the time I spend doing it. You'll be happy (I hope) to know that Pinterest made the cut. See ya around!

After a week and a half without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Foursquare, or Pinterest…I’m back! Taking time away from social media has given me an opportunity to reevaluate the content I’m creating and the time I spend doing it. You’ll be happy (I hope) to know that Pinterest made the cut. See ya around!

I have since re-joined the social world, but I am more aware of how I spend my time, who I “follow”, and what I say. The key, I’ve found, is to be deliberate in how you use social media and to re-learn how to communicate outside of a status update.


Have you ever taken a break from social media? What did you learn from it? What did you miss about your social accounts?


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Here are (just a few of) my presentation pet peeves. If you want me to pay attention and be impressed, don’t do these things.

Buzzword Bingo

Scripting your presentation
If you don’t know it without a script, why should I listen to what you have to say about it?

Using too much “marketing speak”
If I can win Buzzword Bingo, you lose.

Jumping in too fast without laying the groundwork
Make sure the audience is all on the same page. This includes defining any unfamiliar terms you may use.

SPAMing me when I register for your webinar
Yes, I’m interested in your webinar, but I’m not necessarily interested in everything you have to say.

Other presentation Pet Peeves:

  • Leaving the mouse pointer in the middle of the screen – seriously distracting
  • Standing in front of the screen
  • Using stock photography without paying for it (i.e. images with watermarks)

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Thinking about it, there are two things that motivate me: Inspiration and Frustration.

If I see a well-designed website or hear a fantastic story, I’m inspired to create something equally as beautiful. If I am treated with disrespect or suffer through a terrible user experience, I’m driven by frustration to never put anyone else through a similar situation.

What inspires you? Frustrates you? Are these the things that motivate you?

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This direct mail piece came to me from Bank of America, suggesting that I save my tax refund “for when [I] need it most.” They provided several tips on how to make saving easy for me and it sounded like a great idea!

Bank of America Direct Mail Piece

Problem: I got this YESTERDAY.

I still have some of my tax refund left, but most of it has already been spent on vet visits and blinds for my new house.

This just goes to show that a perfect idea, when delivered at the wrong time, is a waste.

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Last year I was on the planning committee for Social Media Atlanta with Bert DuMars and Stephanie Frost. It was a huge success with over 50 events and 3,000 attendees. This year, we wanted to do the same event, but rebrand it to include mobile, gaming, etc. This year, we present: Digital Atlanta

As an organizer for Digital Atlanta, I attended an event on conferences at SXSW called, Conference Startups: Grassroots Innovation Rocking the Event World. I was able to learn a lot from people who had put on events for longer than I have. More about that later…

Here was the most interesting takeaway: We took a poll of the room (about 60 people) and asked, “Which event format do you prefer?” The results were very surprising.

  • 80% core conversation
  • 10% good speaker
  • 10% interview
  • And ONE person said that they preferred a panel format

Do panels bore people? Are we burned out on that format? More importantly, if this is how attendees feel, why is every conference crammed full of panel discussions?

As we continued our conversation we found that, generally speaking, Beginners prefer presentations at conferences and Practitioners prefer conversations. Do you find this is true? How advanced are you in digital media? Which format do you prefer?

Thanks to Chris Schultz and Patrick Vlaskovits for presenting Conference Startups: Grassroots Innovation Rocking the Event World at SXSW.

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  • Attendees pay a significant amount of money to attend an event.
  • A speaker takes several hours to prepare for the event.
  • Attendees spend the entire event looking down at their phones and tablets.

Is there a disconnect here? Are attendees not paying attention, or worse, being disrespectful? Chances are that they are engaging in a new way – either Tweeting or following a Twitter stream for the event.

Attendees are already Tweeting. Make it easier for them.

Provide a hashtag for your event

If you offer an event hashtag from the beginning, users won’t have to go through the confusing and disjointed process of crowdsourcing their own hashtag. One common hashtag makes it easier for you to follow conversations about your event and for attendees to join the conversation.

Provide a unique hashtag for every panel/presentation

This is especially important if you have multiple presentations throughout your event. The hashtag is important for the same reasons mentioned above, but having a unique one for each presentation allows those conversations to stand out from the general event conversation.

Seed your crowd

People tweet more when there is more tweeting going on. Quote speakers, ask questions, and re-tweet attendees’ comments.

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These are the ten things I’m thinking about (in no particular order).

  1. SXSW
  2. First Impressions
  3. Lasting Impressions
  4. Digital Atlanta (Twitter and Facebook accounts)
  5. Archiving Social Media
  6. STS – 134
  7. Tagging
  8. Content Curation
  9. Online Privacy
  10. My New iPad

What’s on your mind? What are you trying to figure out?

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