Tag Archives: Blog Post 1 – Intelligent Filter – Annotated Link

Stressed: the New Normal


When did stress become an acceptable constant state of being? Oh, you’re a student/mother/father/employee/human being? Of course you’re stressed out. Of course you have high anxiety. What do you expect?

What do I expect? I expect to be able to breathe. I expect to be able to live a life that allows for more calm than chaotic. So I fight for it. I fight to give myself the permission to take a moment, an hour, a day – to find my calm. To remind myself that I need to take care of my mental health.

I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.

~Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde was not talking about taking a bubble bath or getting a massage (not to say that either of those is a bad thing), she was talking about self-care as an act of political warfare, as a MUST for activists fighting against racism in our society. Now I could go on and on about the complex issues that minorities in this country face, and why Black women are stressed at a level that the rest of us will likely never experience. But I’ll let you go down that rabbit hole on your own. This is a good article to get started:

I’m going to take a step back. Inhale deeply. And exhale.

Ok. Let’s talk about managing stress instead. As a full-time student, with a full-time career (plus a husband and dogs), finding a way to relax is difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. I struggled for years to balance school, work, and a personal life (there’s a reason I’ve been in college off and on for 16 years). I wouldn’t say that I’ve figured it all out, but I’ve found a recipe that works for me today. So what do I do to decrease my stress levels?

  • I meditate
  • I let go
  • I embrace
  • I take care of my health

Meditation for me was an easy addition, I sort of cheated in this category. As a fortune baby (a child born into a family that practices Buddhism) I already knew one form of meditation. But meditation is not strictly religious. There are tons of tips , videos and apps out there to help you get started on your meditation practice.

Letting go. Easier said than done.

I had to start allowing myself to let go of my stress and to relax. I’m not saying to ignore your responsibilities or to pretend that nothing in the world is going wrong. Instead, I allow myself to take a break from things. Even when there’s another paper to write, another load of laundry that needs to be washed, another client project to do – I give myself the permission to put it away for a while. Sometimes I can let go completely. Does it seem like an indulgence to pay someone to shovel my sidewalk or buy those veggies pre-cut? Maybe, but it takes something off my plate so it’s worth it to me. If I can’t remove the stress completely, I take step away for a bit. I allow myself to watch a tv show, sit on my deck with a glass of wine, play with my dogs. Which leads me to…

Embracing the moment.

My brain is constantly going a mile a minute (which you can probably tell from this rambling post). That’s great at work when I’m trying to juggle a dozen different tasks at one time. But when my head is filled with everything that stresses me out, it’s important that I find a way to “stay out of my mind” from time to time. If I can focus on the present moment, and actually enjoy it, I’m calmer when I need to face my anxiety again. I take a walk with my dogs. If I’m thinking about everything that causes me anxiety I’m likely to grow frustrated when they stop to sniff for 5 min at the same spot. When I embrace the moment, I can laugh and share their enjoyment of our journey.

Finally, I take care of my health. Since this is a large topic all together I’ll share it in another post.

What do you do to cope with stress?

Will Slack Replace Facebook’s Role In Your Life?

Blog Type #1
As students of this course on social media, we’re spending a lot of time investigating new emerging tools and channels to communicate, network and collaborate with each other. One of the most fascinating ones to me was Slack. I had heard of it in passing, but never had a chance to test it out. From chatting with other classmates, I know I’m not the the only one. We’re all living in something of a digital renaissance and its our collective jobs to decide which social media platforms are meaningful to us.
Along those lines, I wanted to share this article at The Atlantic, a magazine known for critical thinking and digging into global trends. It looks at how Slack could be positioning itself to kill Facebook, which is the long-running giant in the social media world. It talks about how Facebook has always tried to take its competitors features and make them its own (such as the new Facebook Stories, which are a ripoff of Snapchat.) But, Slack is using the same strategy:
Slack has always found useful ways to integrate third-party apps within its service—or, in Slack’s parlance, to reduce the “context switching” that eats away at productivity. But the move also reveals quite a bit about Slack’s larger ambitions, and may hint at the larger direction of the social web. The main point is, Slack doesn’t want you to have to log off—ever. This is a familiar mentality online these days.
It’s a really interesting point of view. And that begs a good question: Could you see Slack replacing Facebook’s role in your life? How about email? Messenger services like WhatsApp? I am curious what everyone’s thoughts are. Personally, I think Slack does offer a lot of features I use, but I already have other apps or places that I prefer. It would take a lot for me to switch.

Bullying has gone WAY too far

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been bullied at one point or another in our lives.

As a result, I’m fairly confident that the majority of you reading this are now recalling the face of that person who made you feel so small, so insignificant and so afraid that a moment is indelibly burned into your memory.  If you didn’t have one then my guess is you’ll recognize a few iconic ones out of Hollywood included herein.

Biff Tannen Continue reading Bullying has gone WAY too far

Looking to shake up your caffeinated drink of choice? Try tea!

Working, studying, raising kids, building hobbies, running a business, volunteering … the list of adult responsibilities goes on and on. It’s really no wonder that this overload of activities makes it a struggle to get up in the morning and stay focused throughout the day (the exhaustion always hits around 2 p.m. for me), and that’s why coffee is often considered an earthy, life-saving brew of caffeine and concentration.

This dependency on coffee is completely normal. According to statistics from E-Imports, a company that offers solutions and startup information to people who dream of owning and running a cute corner coffee shop, about 50% of Americans drink coffee. Out of the 50% who sip and savor a strong cup of joe, the average adult drinks 3.2 cups of coffee a day. I mean, who can limit themselves to only one cup a day? Coffee tastes good, and one cup probably only contains enough caffeine to get you through the morning (or, if you’re a coffee warrior, through a couple hours max).

Continue reading Looking to shake up your caffeinated drink of choice? Try tea!

The Truth about “The Great Jackie Robinson”

I enjoyed watching the movie 42, which is an autobiography of Jackie Robinson. I have always enjoyed and been inspired by Jackie Robinson’s story of becoming the first African American to play professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Watching this movie got me looking up some more facts about Jackie Robinson and I started to find many details missing from the movie 42 that I think were influential to the segregation moment.

While researching I stumbled across the article “ The Real Story of Baseball’s Integration That You Won’t See in 42,”by Peter Dreier. This article highlighted how the film 42 ignores the movement that helped and allowed Jackie Robinson to be able to be in the major leagues. The film focused on Jackie Robinson’s and Branch Rickey’s journey but did not highlight the civil rights struggle happening in the United States. Dreier writes, “Robinson would have been disappointed by the film that ignored the centrality of the broader civil right struggle.” Dreier concludes, “The film 42 missed an opportunity to express that Robinson understood that inequalities could not be solved alone but needed activism and protests to help create change.”

This article was an eye opener and reminder to the fact that Jackie Robinson was not only a major player in the American baseball league but also in the Civil Right Movement.

Dreier, Peter. The Atlantic. “The Real Story of Baseball’s Integration That You Won’t See in 42”. Atlantic Media Company, 11 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 May 2016.

The Unsavvy Millennial’s Awakening to Social Media

The Beginner's Guide to Social Media

I’ll admit it. I’m no genius when it comes to social media.

I often scroll through my various feeds in envy as I see my family and friends posting, liking, tweeting, snapping, or whatever happens to be in vogue in the present. I don’t know if it’s just that my life is monotonous or if I have a heightened sense of privacy, but I just can’t seem to keep up with the various forms of social media at my disposal. Adding to my anxiety around this subject is the societal assumption that all Millennials must inherently be gifted when it comes to this subject. I can wholeheartedly assure you that this is a fallacy. I am constantly consulting Google with the litany of questions that come from the Baby Boomers around me. I simply want to scream—“I don’t know.”

Imagine my relief when I discovered that MDST 485 was a required class for my major. In the short time that we have been enrolled in this class, I have been awaken to some of the possibilities that come along with having a firm grasp of social media. In particular, the ability that social media has to enact social change. My inner-activist has been overwhelmed with the possibilities that are at my fingertips. Now, I’m no dummy, I realize I have quite the learning curve to overcome, however, the prospect of being social-media-competent excites me!

In my haste to discover as much as I could about the subject, I turned to a trusted friend—Google! In light of the fact that we are all on this journey together, I have chosen to share my findings with all of you in my first post! Take a look at https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media! Think of it as a guide to social media for dummies (like me)! Some of the important highlights of the site are:

  • The value of social media
  • Best practices
  • A breakdown of several popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).
  • The vast possibilities that social media offers

I have a feeling that I am not the only one who feels as though they don’t live up to the Millennial promise. If that’s you, please take a look; I think the article does a nice job of streamlining the subject. If this post doesn’t resonate with you because you’re a social media genius, please share some tips with the rest of us lowly beings!





Monitoring Children on Social Media Makes Sense


I frequently scrutinize social media through the lens of a protective parent. Knowing that the brain isn’t fully developed until closer to twenty-five years old, I worry about young adolescents who are obsessed with posting things on social media. Parents and teens can learn about the dangers of cyberbullying and how to prevent it  and gain more information on what they can do if they become a victim of cyberbullying.

With the surge of social media there has been an increase in cyberbullying, which is linked to depression in teens. At the same time, several high-profile teen suicides were linked to various social networks. In a study out of Leiden University in the Netherlands, on suicidal thoughts and suicidal behaviors in adolescents, Mitch van Geel, PhD considers, “This may be because victims of cyberbullying feel denigrated before a wider audience, or because the event is stored on the Internet, they may relive denigrating experiences more often.”

Sure, kids learn right from wrong at a young age. However, their emotions and impulses are not fully developed to understand the devastating consequences of their actions. (Read the MIT Young Adult Development Project). I am not excusing children for bad behavior. Rather, because their brains are going through many changes parents/guardians need to be involved—and stay involved—in their children’s social media interactions. Monitor what your children are posting and reading online. Use that time for teachable moments to foster positive interactions.

van Geel M, Vedder P, Tanilon J. Relationship Between Peer Victimization, Cyberbullying, and Suicide in Children and Adolescents: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):435-442. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4143.



Extraversion + Intuition + Thinking + Judging

Yep, I am an ENTJ.


Some of you might have already pegged me as such, but who cares about my personality type anyway? Whether you realize it or not, you all do.

Continue reading Extraversion + Intuition + Thinking + Judging

Parent-Child Relationship At Risk

Often a genial area in the heart of a child—though sometimes, just the opposite. I’m talking about a child’s relationship with his/her parent(s). I’ve seen both extremes around me throughout my life. There’s the extreme of the parent and child who are best friends, and there is the extreme of the parent and child who are worst enemies. Somewhere in between, I would say, is a healthy place to be.

As many of you are probably at a stage in life where you have kids or are thinking of having kids somewhere down the road, please know this key fact: “Parents play an irreplaceable role in the lives of their children.” Because the parent cannot simply be traded for another without an emotional difference in the child-parent relationship dynamics, it seems that nothing can shatter the innate bond a child has with his/her parent. Sure, there are relationships that aren’t healthy and there are relationships that are stationary or absent, but still, there is a yearning in a child to be loved and not overlooked–not just by any person, but specifically, his/her parent(s).

This yearning may present itself at many different points and crossroads in a child’s life. Perhaps, when a young child falls off of his/her bicycle and the result is a skinned knee. Perhaps, a senior in high school is overwhelmed with figuring out what college or major to pursue after high school. Perhaps, a young adult is thinking about getting married. In all of the aforementioned scenarios, the child looks to his/her parent(s) for comfort, guidance, and support.


The child-parent relationship is important for younger children as well as young adults. A healthy relationship helps young children developmentally in various ways. For young adults, a healthy relationship can mean better grades and healthier life decisions. Amidst all of the benefits of the child-parent relationship, there is danger of that relationship being obliterated. Federal judges are refusing to notice the rights of parents and the impact these rights have on children.

The argument is that the constitution does not explicitly state the parental rights, so, in that case, the government thinks it should be able to administer the child’s education and development.

Blog Post 1: Short (or How to Write in the Digital Age)

One of the basic skills we in this class use is writing. There are a lot of ways to write, however, and different styles are better for different mediums. Take right now, for example, this introductory text that’s as boring as your dog sleeping on your shoes for the seventeenth straight morning in a row. And it just goes on and on.

There are two simple solutions: make it emotional, typically funny and comedic to write, or make it brief. Short, simple, and to the point is the best way to convey concise information, yet even then it’s more than just writing down information.

Jennifer Miller talks about how to write short, with some special focus on Shakespeare. The leading and ending words of a sentence should be the most important. It emphasizes your message and meaning with a good narrative flow, and leaves a brief pause at the period to let the point sink home.

It’s entirely possible to write engaging tweets, but they’re not something you just sit down and kick out.

– Shawn