Monthly Archives: May 2011

Why I hate video.

I’ve been thinking – I have been to many workshops, blogging seminars and various other places regarding “Web 2.0…..” First, is there such a thing as Web 2.0? When did we have web 1.0? Web .01? It seems to me, many are just struggling to define something so they can say they’re proficient in it. How about saying, “Internets, I have it?” Sorry, that must be too complicated.

Which brings me to my previous point, sorry for the sudden left turn…. Videos on your blog, Videos in your email, Videos are the next great thing? I wholeheartedly disagree. Here’s why:

I have a short attention span.
When I am at my computer, I’m usually doing four or five different things at once. When I click on your webpage, I can read it at my own pace, in my own time. If it’s just a video, you’re asking me to stop when I’m doing and focus all my attention on you. It better be worth it.

Uh. Um. Oh. Ah. Uh. Oh. Um.
I catch every vocal pause in your sentences… And I judge you for it. If you’re not confident in what you’re saying, how do you expect me to be comfortable with you as an expert?

Stop looking at me
If I’m watching you, watching me, watching you, I’m watching where your eyes are going, if they’re staring into the camera, I’m a little unnerved. If you’re looking off screen, I want to know what you’re looking at. I’m curious. What ARE you looking at?

awkward statue
(Used under creative commons, thank you SoStark!!)

Take a breath once in a while
I can tell when you’re trying to say everything all at once. Take a breath every once in a while. The video is already awkward, so a pause every now and then would not be uncharacteristic.

Hey! I like your: Office, Den, Living room, Car, Boat, Evil lair
As mentioned above, I’m creeped out by looking at you, looking at me, so I’m looking everywhere, but you. I’m looking at the pictures around you, the papers on your desk, the traffic driving by – Is it raining? – the open door – Did someone just walk by? – Oh, and when I’m doing that, I’m not listening to your message. I’m distracted and paying attention elsewhere.

Messy desks
(Used under creative commons, thank you JonRB)

Oh man, another video
Learning from the history of AOL member pages, Angelfire, or Geocites, if there is anything that is on autoplay on your site, including video, I’m clicking the red X as soon as I can find it. I’m usually listening to something in my own world when I’m at my computer: news, music, my mother on the phone, and I don’t need to hear your voice/music trying to compete.

For all the above reasons. Please stop forcing me to see your video, cause I’m already not watching. Put the effort into something I will pay attention to. Video is not the answer to all of the web’s problems.

Take a picture, I’ll look at it and it’ll last longer….

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School Work Response

I’ve written about being in school many times on here. Some of the work is really frustrating. In one of my classes, a required Microsoft Publisher class, we were required to create a newsletter about our family or home life. I was in a really bad mood when I wrote it. The teacher’s response? “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at your newsletter.” That’s comedic genius!

Here’s what I wrote:
Nick Newsletter

Remembering the beginnings

Something I have noticed far too much is that when we become great we stop doing the things that lead to our greatness. We spend so much time actually telling the world how great we are, or how we became great, but we never sustain those things which got us there. We abandon ourselves.

This is perplexing to me. Why is it that we abandon our roots for the pastures of a greener nature? How can you talk the talk if you no longer walk the walk?

Empty
(Used under creative commons, thank you Christina Welsh!)

Life is full of great challenges, great triumphs and some pretty great tragedies. We often have great stories to tell. We want to share those moments with everyone; how we got through them, how we used our immense capacity for the powers of good, or the serious powers of evil.

Regardless of the eventual outcome of the forever spinning chapters of our life, why is it that we abandon every trail that we’ve blazed through, We are constantly looking backwards while spending so much effort telling calling out our greatness, leaving the trail empty, the pathway unfulfilled.

Maybe that’s the reward in itself, but to me, all that greatness is that you used to be someone/something not that you continue to be something.

Stolen Quote

A friend of mine posted the following on Facebook tonight:

There are but mirrors we often don’t want to look for fear of seeing what we don’t want to see. The weaknesses also remind us of our need for someone else, someone stronger than us, someone who can carry us when we can carry on no more. People have failed us many times, and that is why we often feel alone. So reach out to those around you.

I had to read it twice. Both times it sucked the breath out of my lungs. So many times I’ve felt exactly that. The good comes with the bad. The wins sometimes equal the losses, but not always. I’ve always been a fan of the quote: “Mourn the losses because they are many, celebrate the victories no matter how small.”

Nothing really more to say than that. Just wanted to share.

Labels

As those of you who read my blog are aware, I recently asked my friend Sarah to write a guest post for my blog.

I spent some time thinking about labels. There are many labels I have, from ones which are apparent to those that I typically shy away from.

Boys labels
(Used under creative commons, thank you, Kasaa!!)

I was made aware of a conversation which was had about me by some friends of mine, about why I “hide” a certain part of myself. I don’t hide from those things, I choose not to make it the definition of who I am. I am a sum of all my parts, not what my parts are. I am, a dedicated worker, a full-time student, a sports fan, a mad shopper, a skeptic, a cynic, a compassionate person, a jaded-realist, a soul-searcher, a sometime runner, a horrible golfer, a recovering drug addict, a person who has been arrested, a self-professed nerd, a tormented thought-provoker, a challenger of status-quo and many other things.

There are labels I do hide from, because they leave me open to judgement or to feelings of vulnerability. Not because those things make me weak, but they leave me open to the uncertainty of others.

Do you read me?!
(Used under creative commons, thank you, Meneer De Braker!!)

I’m mostly proud of who I am, who I have become and where I am going in life, even if, at times, I don’t know where this ship is directed. We’re all fighting challenges in our lives, we all seek to belong to something, someone, some place, some group. To be “in the know,” to be “part of the crew,” to be “one of the guys/gals,” when we should be expending more energy just “being,” when we really should be wanting to be ourselves and attracting those people who see who we are and those who want to be with the person they see.

Lightning
(Used under creative commons, thank you, Snowpeak!!)

My reach, thanks to many different factors, has allowed me to interface with people well out of my circle of comfort. I’m extremely pleased with those who I have met and I count many of you, whether we have met in person or not, friends. Some of the best, in fact.

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received? “I don’t think of you as a boy or a girl, I think of you as a Nick, that’s it, just that.”

Guest Post: Judgment Between The Lines

This post brought to you by my friend Sarah Salter, her blog: Living Between The Lines offers me a fresh perspective from those who are outside my normal sphere. While I know you’re used to witty repartee and random musings of my travels, life, or feelings. I asked her to post something that she would like to share with the world. What she returned to me is something which is telling, truthful, honest and something I honestly struggle with. Often, when we’re feeling attacked, especially by those who we generalize as “Christian,” we run dutifully to Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” We forget that judgement comes in many forms, sometimes as “help.” This help can be sometimes more hurtful than if someone was attacking us. When someone attacks us, we can easily discredit it as someone being a “hater,” not worthy of our time and effort. When that “help/hurt” comes from someone we respect, like or know, the hurt cuts deeper. Something to think about as you choose your words, even to those who we know, like and trust.

At any rate, I’m pleased to bring you this guest post from my very dear friend. Thank you for reading, welcoming her, and sharing your comment love. – Schnik

every body has a share
(Used under Creative Commons, Thank you to: Aphotoshooter!)

When I got hired by the online magazine that I used to write for, the first thing they asked for was a bio.

“We just want four or five sentences to tell your readers who you are.”

Yeah, right. I’m a complex creature. How am I supposed to fit all that I am into four or five sentences? But somehow, I distilled my entire self into a handful of sentences that made me sound as stale as Ritz crackers left open too long.

Then, I joined Twitter. And what do they want but a compact bio. Only this time, I had to say it in 160 characters.

I’ve been thinking seriously about rewriting my bio. And out of everything it could say, what I really want it to convey is that I’m normal. I don’t think my current profile conveys that point. As a friend recently told me, “If I’d read your profile first, I’d never have followed you.”

“Then why did you follow me?”

“Because so many of my friends do.”

Oh.

So, what’s so “abnormal” about my profile?

It says I’m a Christian.

I’m a weirdo. Not long after I joined Twitter, I began reaching out to meet my tweeps in person. And what I found was that some of them were hesitant and anxious about meeting me. Many of my unchurched tweeps had seen my profile. Just knowing that I’m a Christian makes me fearsome to them because what if I’m as judgmental as most of the other Christians they know?

I never changed my profile. I just hoped that my actions would show folks that I’m not a fearsome, judgmental, “hater.” And overwhelmingly, my conversations with my unchurched tweeps tell me that they’ve come to realize this. They accept me for who I am.

I’m still thinking of changing my profile. Why?

When I was a kid and I’d do something wrong, one of the common responses that I’d get from my parents or church members was, “How could you do/say/think that? I thought you were a Christian!” Like my Christianity made me somehow less human. Like it made my emotions less valid. Like it took away my right to be flawed. Yet, I guess I thought that one day, like my brother’s hand-me-down jeans, I’d outgrow the expectations. And if I didn’t outgrow them, at least I’d become good enough to meet them.

I’m thirty-three years old and I haven’t outgrown this expectation of perfection. I also haven’t become good enough to meet it.

65 - Perfect Recall (Used Under Creative Commons, thank you to Tourist On Earth!

In my daily life, it translates into being expected never to have a bad day or never to have disagreements with people. It means that I weigh every word that I say, just in case it will reflect badly on God or The Church. It means that when I’m depressed, I fake being happy so that my sadness doesn’t make God seem less than good. When I’m angry or hurt, I stuff it down because Christians are peacemakers and selfless, right? And last summer when I woke up one day wondering if I had enough pills in the house to kill myself, it almost kept me from asking for help, because “good Christians” aren’t this screwed up.

I’m still thinking about changing my Twitter profile. It has become a “brand” across my avatar just as clear and brazen as you would see on the flanks of a bull. “CHRISTIAN.” And it carries that expectation of perfection that has weighted down every other aspect of my life. And with that expectation, it’s brought plenty of judgment in the forms of emails, text messages, and even phone calls from people who don’t think I’m a good enough Christian to have “Christian” as a part of my profile. (Incidentally, I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t have a problem with it. It’s people that have a problem with it.)

I’m a Christian and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not perfect and I readily admit it. But maybe for a little while, I could just be looked at as “normal” instead of needing to be perfect. I could just be Sarah instead of being The Church Lady. I could be accepted instead of demanded from. And instead of performing, I could just be.

School Work: Really?

So. I’m taking a Business Communications class. It should be labeled bizcom for dummies. But it’s not, I digress.

The assignment: Create a PowerPoint presentation about business culture and practices in another country. I chose Canada.

I’ve included my PowerPoint and my presentation. I’ll let you judge if you would have wanted to sit through this.

Powerpoint:

Presentation:

Canada is merely the Northern United States, right?
Thank you for asking me to speak to you about Canadian Customs and Business Culture. This request was timely as I just returned from a month-long business trip all throughout Canada and have spent a great deal of time researching their business ethos.

Canadians have a distinct set of ideologies which make them similar, familiar, yet different to Americans.

Slide Change: Understanding Provincial differences:
When planning business in Canada, place an importance on the culture of the Province you’re travelling to, consider these traits
• Atlantic Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland): The people are somewhat reserved and provincial, to the point that they are seen as old-fashioned.
• Ontario: This is the business hub and the people tend to be business-like and conservative.
• Quebec: The French region has a distinct cultural identity. The people are extremely regionalistic / independent.
• Western Canada (Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan): The people are open, friendly and relaxed.
• British Colombia: The people are less conventional, and trendier. This province is often viewed as the Canada of the future.

Slide change: Preparing for a business meeting in Canada:

Business Cards – Canada has two national languages, French and English, it’s important to have your business cards printed with one side in English and one in French. In Quebec specifically the French side should be face up when presenting it. Should you receive a business card, it’s a sign of politeness and interest if you look at it prior to placing it in your bag, briefcase or pocket.
What to wear – Canadians are generally conservative in their manner of dress, when getting ready for a business meeting you should always plan dark colors: Charcoal, black or Navy.

Slide Change: Introductions:

Handshake: As in the United States, a handshake is the most common form of greeting in a business setting – and it’s proper to shake hands upon completion of a meeting.
Introducing people: When introducing your business associates, they should be introduced in order of position with your company, highest title continuing down.
First Names: Do not automatically use someone’s first name upon meeting them. Canadians tend to see the familiarity as a sign of disrespect. Wait until you are invited to use their first name.
On time: Canadians value their time, and expect all of their meetings to start on time, make sure you are at least 10 minutes early for your appointment, though, in Quebec, they are a little more laze faire about time, they expect you to be there on time, even if they are not.

Slide Change: Meals:

Business is rarely conducted during meals. You should never engage business conversation over meals unless your host invites it.
You should also, never begin eating, until the host or hostess has begun.
Invitations to a personal home is very rare, it is proper, however to send flowers in advance of your arrival should you receive an invitation.

Slide Change: Gifts:
Gifts are not routinely given. If you do give a gift when you arrive or when you are leaving, make it a modest one. A lavish gift, though accepted, would be frowned upon.

Slide Change: Pitfalls:
Don’t use the phrase “We Americans” – You may mean we “North Americans” though Canadians will read this as American.
Be honest and direct. Canadians engage in direct communication.
Be wary of personal space, in Western Provinces, there will generally be two feet, or arms’ length between people who are interacting, in Quebec, that distance may be closer.
Beware of the “Eh” – The use of the word “eh” is a tradition and is something which is revered in Canada. You may hear it quite frequently. The proper use of “Eh” turns a general statement into the form of a question. “It sure is cold out here, eh?”
And finally, avoid using the peace sign backwards, this is an extreme sign of disrespect.
Canadians are prideful in their country, in their province and in their cities, they have a sense of community around them and are generally not boastful, so you shouldn’t be. Speak well to your company’s strengths but do not over promise. As long as you are confident, respective and properly prepared, you’ll do just fine in your business venture. Thank you.

(By the way, I got an A)