Monthly Archives

June 2013

Which Social Media Sites Do You Use?

June 27, 2013
Social Media

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how much time I spend online. Obviously, I work online, so I’m connected for 9+ hours everyday. Working online means that at any given time I usually have Gmail, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Skype open. But then I also have my own blog and social profiles to maintain, so in a good chunk of my spare time you’ll also see that I have Gmail, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Skype open.

And then there are the apps. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little obsessed with Instagram. But then I’ll have these aha! moments with friends where I wonder why the heck I think it’s so important to take a picture and post it immediately versus take in the moment and enjoy it. (Like the time that four girls went to Prima Strada for pizza, each took a picture of the food, posted it on Instagram and got called out by the restaurant staff for showing the same table from all four corners. Oops.) It’s in those moments that I wonder if I’m a little too connected and if I should be spending more time looking up at life than down at my phone.

I keep reading about the idea of “unplugging” from the online world. Fast Company recently put one man’s story of going offline for 25 days on the front cover of their summer issue, while many other people have simply written a post or two about how they cut back. As I read each story, I found myself fantasizing about going offline for a while. But I know that I don’t actually want to do that. I just want to find a better way to make social media work for me; to have it feed me the information I care most about, teach me things I want to learn, and surround me with friends, experts and creative minds. Basically, I need to do some filtering.

So, I’ve decided that rather than having a profile on every site possible, I want to become a better user on only a few sites. That means the profiles I keep will be updated with fewer, more thoughtful posts versus sporadic attempts at posting on all platforms. Want to see which sites I’m staying on and which ones I’m ditching? It’s probably obvious by now, but take a look.

Social Media Sites I Use:

  • Facebook – I moved across the country twice in one year and travel a lot. Gotta keep in touch.
  • Twitter – I’ve landed dream jobs and made so many new friends, because of this site.
  • Instagram – It’s just fun. And, actually, I’ve made friends on this app too!

Social Media Sites I Don’t Use:

  • Foursquare / Path – Who has the time to check-in everywhere they go? Not me. (Plus, it’s creepy.)
  • LinkedIn – In my experience, LinkedIn is totally useless. Besides that, I’m not looking.
  • MySpace – Obviously not.
  • Pinterest – Biggest waste of time ever. (I know because I wasted many hours of my life there.)
  • Vine – I wanted to like Vine… I really did. But now Instagram has video. So, nope.
  • Any review sites – Goodreads, Urbanspoon, Yelp, all that stuff… again, I just don’t have the time for it.

Now, not using these sites doesn’t mean that I spend any less time online than the next person; it simply means that I’m picking and choosing where I want to spend my time, often depending on the information I’m looking for. I’m still on my laptop and phone for what seems like all day, everyday… but what I’m doing is a little more meaningful. At least, I hope it will be.

Which social media sites do you use? And are there any you used to use but now don’t? Why?

Flickr: jasonahowie

Unplugged and Recharged

June 25, 2013
RateHub.ca Team

For the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed – and usually for one of two (or both) reasons. First, becoming debt-free (and writing about it) has opened a number of new doors, none of which I ever expected. Second, with each of these new opportunities comes what feels like a hundred new ideas. My mind is constantly racing – so much that I’ve filled almost an entire notebook with random thoughts and to-do lists. But add all of that on top of the fact that I’ve only spent four of the last 19 nights in my own bed and you can see why I’ve been going a little nuts.

I’ve also noticed that when you work online, socialize online, read blogs, write blogs, email non-stop, etc., your mind has even more to sift through. Digital noise, let’s call it. I scroll through Facebook and Twitter and like or favourite anything I want to go back and read whenever I can find the time (which is almost never). I see beautiful images on Instagram and think about projects I’d like to tackle or things I want to research (but never do). And I bookmark blog posts, great stories and advice, with the intention of re-reading it and using it… but then I forget about it, until I find the bookmark a month later.

For a while there, I think I was so plugged in that I was just lost in it all. I was writing growing lists of things I wanted to do but I couldn’t make any decisions or come up with actionable steps to make anything happen. What I needed was to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Cue my trip to Toronto.

On Day 6 of my 10-day trip, my co-workers and I drove three hours outside of the city to a little town called Bath. There, we spent three nights at a cottage on Lake Ontario. Our offsite started off with a number of presentations and breakout sessions, but we also made an effort to relax and enjoy our time together.

Retreat

There were bus rides, boat rides and winery tours. There was a live guitarist and hilarious sing-along’s around the fire. We were treated to a delicious, catered meal one night, then prepared all of our other meals together in pairs. And there were so many (maybe too many) s’mores.

Good Food

We worked together to make sure we all had the best three days possible… and other than posting a few pictures on Instagram, I stayed offline for almost all of it.

A lot of what I took away from that trip I’ll keep to myself for now, but what I can say is this: Life is too short to simply make lists of things you want to do. If you know what at least one of your major goals is, you need to start acting on it. Today. Not tomorrow. Not when someone can help. You need to act on it today.

Reading articles, blogs, columns, etc. can only take you so far. Yes, there is great information out there, but what I needed to realize is that most of it is there to inspire me. I don’t often read something because I want to take the experiences or advice and use it myself. I want it to inspire me to do something different.

I have big dreams. I mean really big dreams. I fantasize about them, and write down ideas and to-do lists, but the fear of failing always stops me from moving forward. Well, nuts to that. I’m picking one and I’m going to at least try to make it happen. And if people think I’m crazy, then I’m ready to sound crazy.

EdgeWalk 2013

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did do the EdgeWalk! On Saturday morning at 8am EST, right before packing my bags and flying back to Vancouver. It was AWESOME.

When was the last time you unplugged from the digital world for a couple days?

My 10-Day Trip to Toronto

June 17, 2013
EdgeWalk at the CN Tower

I have to apologize for not replying to all of the thoughtful comments on this post yet. I read them all as they showed up in my inbox, but spent Wednesday night packing before flying to Toronto on Thursday. In case I don’t get a chance to reply to them all soon, know that I am a) going to keep meat in my diet, b) going to look into local farms, and c) so appreciative of all the links and resources people included in their comments.

As I type this, I’m laying on the bed in Roomie’s spare bedroom – the room that only a few months ago was still home for me in Toronto. It’s shortly after 10pm on Sunday night and I am laying on the bed, versus in the bed, because the humidity in this city is… well, it makes Toronto feel like a tropical destination, in comparison to anything you experience in BC. Honestly, I shouldn’t complain because it’s only 22°C tonight, but 88% humidity is just sticky! This is about as warm as it gets in Victoria ever, haha.

What I can complain about is how quickly my trip seems to be flying by! It’s already Day 5 of my 10-day trip to Toronto. Every part of it has been great so far, but I know that my Saturday afternoon flight home is going to creep up fast. In case you don’t see me on here or on Twitter much this week, this is what I’ve been up to and where I’ll be:

Day 1 – Stayed up until 1am catching up with Roomie. Then jetlag kept me up until 4:30am.

Day 2 – My 7am alarm hurt. Three shots of espresso helped. I went into the office and spent most of the day in meetings with everyone. After work, Roomie, her bro and I had dinner at a pub in her neighbourhood (I almost said “our” neighbourhood). Passed out cold around 11pm.

Day 3 – Slept in until almost 10:30am. Roomie and I met two of my co-workers for brunch at l’ouvrier then spent the afternoon shopping along Queen Street. One of Roomie’s friends had us over for dinner. After dinner, we all walked over to another friend’s new place for her housewarming. Passed out around 1:30am.

Day 4 – Slept in until 9:30am and woke up to heavy rain. Put my sore, swollen feet in sandals and walked in it to Starbucks; that probably sounds weird but it felt amazing on my right foot. Spent most of the day on the couch with Roomie, finishing a TV series we had started together back in March. It was a perfect, lazy Sunday.

Day 5 (Today) – Today, I’m working in the office then meeting two friends for dinner. After that, I need to come back to Roomie’s and pack for Days 6-9.

Days 6-9 – After work, the team is heading out of the city for an offsite retreat at a cottage. I am so excited to spend some quality time with everyone (and to soak up a little sun, in the process).

Days 9-10 – We’ll be back in the city sometime Friday afternoon. Depending on the weather, I’m going to do EdgeWalk at the CN Tower on either Friday evening or first thing Saturday morning! Then I’ll spend the rest of my time with Roomie, before flying back to Vancouver on Saturday afternoon.

And then I’ll be home. For a few days, anyway.

What are you up to this week?

Flickr: drbethsnow