Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Cultural Ghettos"

"Cultural ghettos."

The two words put together stopped me in my internet-surfing tracks as I listened to Elif Shafak in the background. I was on a hurried mission to ingrain the term in my mind and schedule a time to contemplate it later. This was a great TED talk. Take a look:

Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction

Friday, July 23, 2010

Would you want to bike on Battleground?

I got a bike.

It was a pretty sweet deal. You know, free is pretty nice.

I went to Higgins Cycle Shop on Battleground with a list of questions about my bike (a list of questions that I needed help creating since I don't know much about bikes).

Because of my small head (don't let the big forehead fool you), I had to get a child's size helmet. I could have gotten a helmet elsewhere, but I wanted all my bike errands to be done as soon as possible. That left me with the choice of the pink and red helmet with orange and pink butterflies or the blue helmet with blue, black, and silver flames. I chose the butterflies. Unexpected.

When I paid for my items, the store attendant looked at my card for a while. I shrugged it off and paid; then he asked me where I was from. He asked because of my last name (thus the card inspection, I assume) and I let him know that my family is from Eritrea.

Well, a bike would be helpful in Eritrea since, as GOOD and other sources have recently reported, Driving in Eritrea Is Beyond Your Means.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 7)

ISSUE: Outside of the Google-verse (Where will this content be valued the most?), continued

What do you share on Twitter?

I guess that I post things on Twitter with the notion that I have no notion as to who will see my tweet. Hopefully it will catch someone’s fancy.

Of course, there is a bit more intention to my tweets. I try to post during times of day that I have found people to be more responsive. I @reply and join in on conversations led by hashtags or not led by hashtags. I use hashtags. You know, regular stuff.

On Twitter, it’s like there are people with interests out there and they are sharing those interests. Those interests are up for grabs. We may not become best friends, but we’re interested in engaging on these topics and that can add valuable information—knowledge—to your life, my life and the lives of others.
Or, it may just be an LOLCAT we’re laughing at.
So, what? Do Facebook groups or pages take care of this online, too? Well, they may take care of it on Facebook, but I don’t believe that the engagement on Facebook replaces that of what is offered in the Twitter environment.

Forget becoming best friends. We may not even become “friends”. Just because we both really enjoy the customer service at XYZ company in town and both really like learning foreign languages and we both had the same professor at the same university doesn’t mean we’ll become Facebook friends. It may, but it may not. People may refer to Twitter as a global chat room in a more negative sense, making fun of the connections people make on there. But those example reasons stated above that wouldn’t push me to friending you on Facebook often exceed the requirements people who meet in real life first have for friending each other.

Next installment of the YWCA Brown Bag Lunch Series

Hi, all. I copied the following event info straight out of the periodic email I get from YWCA Greensboro (I added links where I could.) Next Tuesday is the next installment in the YWCA's Brown Bag Lunch Series. Check it out!

YWCA Greensboro and the Commission on the Status of Women present
Brown Bag Lunch Series

Tues., July 27, 2010
12 Noon - 1:00 PM
4002 Spring Garden St., Suite E

Provocative, Relevant Discussions
Issues Important to Women

From The Shriver Report


Invited Panelists for this topic:
Denny Kelly, President, Bouvier Kelly, Inc.
Tracey McCain, WFMY News 2, Anchor and Reporter
Gloria Thompson, Owner, GWT Marketing Communications

Women's professional success and financial status are significantly overrepresented in the mainstream media, suggesting that women "have it all." Yet in real life, even as most women work, there are far too few women among the highest ranks of the professions, and millions of everyday women struggle to make ends meet and to juggle work and family. What might the repercussions of these misrepresentations be? How do they affect women's struggle for full equality at work and at home?

Event is Free and Open to the Public!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 6)

ISSUE: Outside of the Google-verse (Where will this content be valued the most?)

What do you post to your friends on Facebook?

My friend-friends know me enough that any outside content I post to the site shouldn’t surprise them much. If anything, whatever I post to the site may be entertaining or understandable to them but odd to my more acquaintance-friends or, well, Facebook-friends. I, of course, find most content that I find interesting…interesting enough to share. However, especially nowadays since the internet content has grown and developed so much from the early days of Facebook, I try to be more selective as to what I post to Facebook so that I (1) don’t flood my friends’ feeds (those that haven’t hid me, I suppose!) and so that (2) I get the most engagement out of the post with my Facebook friends.

Now, my Facebook “strategy” isn’t as serious as it sounds. I didn’t sit and strategically plan anything. But especially after experience in the blogosphere and mini-blogosphere, I am naturally inclined to be conservative with what I share on Facebook.

Twitter, on the other hand, has been a free for all so far.

Vegan reading in Greensboro

Yesterday, I stopped by Barnes & Noble to peruse the selection of cookbooks and other books on all things vegan. I was shocked at the selection. I wasn't even in a rush but I felt rushed--information overload! Honestly, I haven't sat down with a book-book in a while so even a cookbook took a lot out of me.

I went on an empty stomach; wrong decision. The books with full color photos made the wheels in my head turn furiously. There were books on baking, books on how to start out your vegan diet or lifestyle, books on vegan brunches, and more.

Hm. I just might make a book wishlist. I'm not used to shelling out $12-$30 at a time for reading material though I eventually would, I suppose.

I was too confused to choose a book. I honestly wanted them all. I managed not to fly out of the store and grab something to snack on. I hadn't eaten for hours at the time but I made it home and had some tacos. Since we all know that tacos go great with muffins, I finished off the day with some homemade, vegan muffins--the good, ol' blueberry standby and my new, delicious banana walnut. Yum!

Go check out the vegan book selection at Barnes & Noble at Friendly Center and make yourself some muffins! I'll share the recipes I found online for these later.

It's Monday!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 5)

ISSUE: Outside of the Google-verse

With Google Reader as my personal online content hub, I easily find interesting content that I desire to share with friends and followers. So, who are these “friends” and “followers” and where are they?

Of course the most obvious connection is that my friends are on Facebook while my followers are on Twitter. People connect to others on social networking sites but my connections on Facebook and Twitter align with the nature of the networks, I believe. On Facebook, I am “friends” with my actual group of friends plus acquaintances and coworkers; basically, if we are Facebook friends, we have met and have some personal or professional connection before friending each other. Facebook has allowed me to communicate with these people in different ways than we would have in the absence of such a social network. My Twitter experience is somewhat backwards from my Facebook experience; I don’t necessarily know the people that I tweet or RT. I found some niches—check out my lists—and I especially like to follow my own list comprised of other “tweeps” in Greensboro and the Triad. I may often think of Twitter as a worldwide open chat room, but the first thing I go to when I sign in is my list of locals with whom I actually connect, and I get value from that.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want my Facebook and Twitter worlds to mix too much. As much as I tried to explain Twitter to some of my friends (I didn’t try that hard) I realized that I was quite comfortable without them being a part of it. I don’t feel like I have to then explain this to them either, but because I am comfortable with those two social networks not mixing, I understand that one doesn’t replace the other—for me or for people in general. They are two different platforms. Though I was socially networking on Twitter, like I had been doing on Facebook, it was a different environment. I’ve heard that Twitter is like a cocktail party and Facebook is like a backyard BBQ. I am not sure how deep everyone digs into that metaphor but it’s so true. It’s kind of like Twitter allows you to mingle without that busy-ness of getting dressed up in your nice jeans and trying to figure out who you know at the party.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 4)

ISSUE: The Google-verse, continued

I find that my Google Reader in particular is my personal online content hub. I think that’s fine and to all the people I share with, they don’t necessarily need to know that. What I suppose matters to the people with whom you are sharing and engaging online is that you get that content to them in the way that is most convenient to them. Who are these people in my life and why is it more convenient to them—and at some level to me—to share content one way or another?

When I share content via my Google Reader, it seems seamless. Once the link is ready to be posted on Twitter or Facebook there’s no extra text like “via Google” (AddThis does this). I guess Google is tracking my sharing somehow, but it’s no bother to me.
So, I don’t think that my hub is what makes me think that I am not sharing content online efficiently. I think it’s where the content ends up, shared all over the place with the responses, in turn, coming from all over the place. Oh, and by “all over the place,” I do mean only a few or more sites. I’m sending this content to Twitter, to Facebook, and to people’s email addresses. No, I don’t want everyone I connect to use on social networking site but I want to make sure that I am (1) not bugging them and (2) sharing certain types of content strategically so my friends and followers will find value in them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 3)

ISSUE: The Google-verse, continued

I find that my Google Reader in particular is my personal online content hub. I think that’s fine and to all the people I share with, they don’t necessarily need to know that. What I suppose matters to the people with whom you are sharing and engaging online is that you get that content to them in the way that is most convenient to them. Who are these people in my life and why is it more convenient to them—and at some level to me—to share content one way or another?

It seems like the thing about sharing AND engaging is that you better be good at how you share and how you engage with people so that the content that you find valuable will be valuable to others as well. I may measure how people to whom I am connected demonstrate that they find some content valuable differently than you do. I want to be good at creating that sharing value for and with others because at the end of the day, I believe that I am no one’s personal online content hub and so I shouldn’t try to force myself to be that to anyone.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Help synerG determine its next project in Greensboro

Don't take this survey in a hurry. Get yourself comfortable with the beverage of your choice and cuddle up with your laptop to do this one!

Ok, well, maybe you don't have to do all that. In this only 9-question survey, 3* of the questions ask you to think deeply and respond to how Greensboro and even the Triad can get better.

You can ponder those three questions for a bit (they're listed below) or you can go straight to the survey at Put Your Stamp on Greensboro.

-What do you think are the Triad’s/Greensboro’s best qualities and features for young professionals?

-What have you seen or heard about in other communities that you would like to have in the Greensboro/Triad region?

-Please briefly describe your idea for a project, event, initiative, or other endeavor that synerG could undertake to make a positive difference in the lives of Greensboro young professionals.

If you're living in Greensboro now and plan to stay for a while, if you plan on moving to the area or even if you visit here from time to time, take the survey!

It'd be much appreciated, I'm sure!

*I know, I know; I should have written those numbers out.

Visit synerG's website at

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 2)

ISSUE: The Google-verse, continued

In the era of social where we can easily connect with individuals and groups on a large scale, I have brand loyalty for a brand that connects me to two people?

I still think that I underutilize my Gmail account but it is also up to me to either stick with Hotmail and wait for its innovation or to fully migrate to Gmail. My Gmail account is just one of Google’s features that I have embraced a bit but only for a bit. I use Google Calendar but it’s just a functional tool at the moment and I wouldn’t call exciting. I’ve filled out my Google profile but whenever I go back to look at it or update it, I get sort of giddy like I’m taking some online quiz or filling out my first Facebook profile circa 2005.

What the Google-verse has offered me as a fun and functional tool is its Reader. I love my Google Reader. One thing that I love about my Google Reader is that I can easily share posts from the many, many feeds that I have on Facebook and on Twitter, I honestly have not fully explored all of the features in Google Reader and I want to, but as it stands, I am taking the time to step back from exploring that to exploring whether I am sharing content online efficiently.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Are we sharing content online efficiently? (Part 1)

Are we sharing content online efficiently?

By “we” I mean “I” at the moment. I feel like I’m on share-overload but not because there is so much content to share but because I feel like I use too many tools to share that content.

ISSUE: The Google-verse
My main e-mail address is at Hotmail and has been for a while now. I had a Hotmail email address in the early 2000s but switched to a new Hotmail address around 2007. I poo-pooed Gmail when it first came out but then I noticed that more people that I knew had addresses. I finally gave in and got a Gmail account to see what all the fuss was about. I admitted then and believe now (faith based on fact, you could say!) that Gmail’s tools are much better than Hotmail’s tools. Still, I have not yet fully migrated to Gmail. I haven’t even half-migrated to that account. I don’t share my address with people so they can contact me via email and I don’t even use it as a junk email account.

I basically don’t utilize it as an e-mail account. I’m satisfied that I’ve grabbed my particular email address so that no one else can have it. So, besides being greedy, what am I doing in the Google-verse?

Well, plenty. My Gmail account does get action but that action mainly comes from other Google features. I use Gmail chat to chat with mainly two friends and whenever I accidently close out the Gmail tab or have to leave, any bits of the conversation that I missed are sent to me through Gmail. One of those two friends uses Gmail and Google Calendar much more than I do and so when he sets up events in his Google Calendar and he invites me to them, I know through Gmail.

So far, my Google-verse (outside of search which is less social anyways, I suppose) has three people in it. What’s going on here?

In the era of social where we can easily connect with individuals and groups on a large scale, I have brand loyalty for a brand that connects me to two people?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wanna cupcake, cupcake?

Delicious and unbelievably moist vegan carrot cake cupcakes (VCTOTW) and vegan cream cheese frosting

One good thing about my cupcake baking madness is that I buy much less sweet junk food. There is virtually no more cakes, cookies, candies, etc. in my house unless I am using the product as a part of a cupcake recipe. I am glad that this shift has occurred in my spending an deating habits. I am not sure if it was more intentional or just a natural inclination since I would end up with more than enough sweets with a dozen or so cupcakes on hand! Of course, sometimes I would go a bit overboard and have one (or two or three) too many cupcakes in one day but I blame that on (1) uncontrollable excitement of vegan goodness and (2) the fact that I'm my own taste-tester!

In anycase, I am glad that I have come to a point where I keep basic ingredients on hand--flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, etc--because I can whip up different recipes as I see fit.

I've even ventured into muffin-making! But, the cupcakes are still where it's at.