Juniata runs on email. Literally.

We are lucky enough to have access to the Internet virtually anywhere we go.  Between smart phones and laptops and tablets, it is so easy to be connected all the time.

Juniata’s campus is completely and utterly connected via email.  Announcements are sent out daily, professors keep in contact through the click of a button, and most students also use it to contact one another whether it be for clubs, group projects, or just to check in.  In many ways it is easy, but in many ways I find it as a nuisance.

I have my email set up to go directly to my phone.  I figure the quicker I get emails the better, especially since I average about 32 emails (actual emails, not junk) a day.  But there are some problems.  I live in the new dorm on campus, and our wifi is less than stellar.  Half my emails come in clumps halfway through the day.  Or there’s the problem of simply missing an email.  Or overlooking it.  Or emails getting sent to spam.  Or clicking the wrong person’s name in the contact list.  The problems are endless.  And because we are so accustomed to the use of all this technology, we don’t often double check what we are doing or give it a second though.  Which leads to a lotttttt of miscommunication.

If we didn’t have email, things would be a COMPLETE mess.  But having email isn’t so simple and sweet either.

Because we are so attached to our phones, we don’t want to go up and talk to people which many times ends up in us waiting for an email back.  We have to learn that sometimes you have to go talk to people face to face.  Sometimes you have to call them and talk to them.  Sometimes you can’t always hide behind the computer screen.

Do you use email often?  Do you ever experience any communication issues?  What’s your experience in using email?

ALONE VS. LONELY

In this day in age, it is easy for many to assume that we are not quite as in tune with our peers as we are with ourselves thanks to the looming age of social media.  We don’t have to leave our homes to socialize for a lot of socialization can occur right in our own homes through a keyboard and computer screen.  This can cause many people to wonder whether we are losing all sense of community and interacting with others face to face.
This made me think about the difference between being alone and being lonely.  Does me sitting behind my laptop screen and messaging and texting my friends while I’m alone in my room make me lonely?  Certainly not.  I may be alone, but I am by no means feeling lonely.  This year, I am living in a single dorm room, and I find such relief in not having a roommate.  Granted, I always enjoyed the girls who I lived with, but this year I am given more time to recharge.  While this may be a shift in itself, this notion of alone time over socialization, I do not think it is a bad thing.  I am able to be around my friends during the day and take a break when I need to at the end of the day.  Above anything, it is a major relief.
What do you think?  Is there a difference between being alone and lonely?  What is the difference?

Facetime = RealTime?

This year, a vast majority of my friends went abroad, including my best friend, Suzanne.  She is spending the year in Ireland and words cannot describe how very much I miss her.  Obviously, I’m not going to be seeing her anytime soon and Facebook messages and texts only get you so far.  But thanks to Facetime, I am able to be there with her and she is able to be here with me.  We set aside time at least once a week to video call in and aside from a bit of a grainy view of her, it is ALMOST the same as catching up in person.

Note the word almost.

We get annoyed with faulty wifi, bad sound quality…the works of course.  But we get to see one another which is an aspect most social media doesn’t give us.  We can show one another outfits, “paint our nails” together, and even watch movies together in some semblance of a way.  It’s definitely not the best, but it’s free, convenient, and fun.

It is easy to wonder where we were before smart phones were smart and video cameras on laptops and phones were scarce.  Now, it is so easy to keep in touch with family and friends via real face to face time on the screen, something that can help keep relationships afloat and friendships kindled.

Do you use FaceTime?  Do you rather your phone or laptop?  Do you feel it is “real” enough?

I’m tindering for you!

In this day in age, a lot of people are meeting what once used to be considered unconventional ways but are now perfectly normal: online.

I’ll be completely honest when I say that I find the whole thing to be just—odd.  I understand the convenience factor and all that, but how do you even know if you’re truly compatible without meeting face to face?  How do you even know if they’re telling the truth?

While I have no interest in testing the app out, I was curious to see how the whole thing works and have a friend walk me through it.  Basically, the whole thing is based more or less solely on looks.  You swipe left to decline, swipe right to hopefully matched.  All based on what a person’s picture looks like and a line or two of text that the person may or may not use to describe themselves.  First of all, how is that a “match?” You both think the other is cute—so what?  I think the weird dude down the hall is kind of cute, but that doesn’t mean we’re a match in heaven.

The other part I don’t really understand is how people can legitimately meet up with these people without really having an ounce of an idea who they are.   I revert back to my mom’s old “don’t run off with strangers” advice when I was little and can’t really move past it.

In retrospect, for some this may be the best way for them to meet a significant other—those that are timid, new to an area, or just plain old out of luck all might all find it to be a good tool.  I just wonder how much good can possibly come out of it.  What do you think?  Do you tinder?

Pinteresting

I have become a closet Pinterest-er.

I downloaded the app on my phone about a month ago and have been going Pinterest crazy every since.  I can find everything at my fingertips—quotes, recipes, DIY projects, hairstyles…anything and everything.

I decided I wanted to get a major haircut. Like.  8 inches chopped off kind of haircut.  I had no idea what I wanted so I turned to the never ending tidbits of knowledge that is Pinterest and searched “long bob haircuts” and ultimately found 10+ pictures of what I wanted my hair to look like.  I showed up at the hair salon with my phone in hand and let the hair stylist swipe through the many pictures I had added to my hair board.

After the haircut (which I love and the stylist styled exactly like the photo I had picked out on Pinterest), I went Christmas shopping—mostly for ideas and supplies much like what I found on Pinterest.  I deduced that all in all, Pinterest was the perfect way for perfect strangers to share ideas.  It’s easy, quick, and visual.  And addictive.

Do you use Pinterest?  What do you use it for?

Do you like my new relationship?

Facebook is all about sharing new information and photos with family and friends.  It is a quick and easy way to get in contact with those you haven’t seen in a while and update friends with the latest happenings of your life.

So in all the glory that Facebook is, a pivotal move on Facebook—the relationship status change—actually does have an influence on a relationship.  “Facebook official” has been coined as a term to describe the status of a new relationship.  As in, it’s not official until it’s Facebook official.

It’s like this—you see a cute guy at a party.  He’s obviously making eyes at you and you inch closer batting your eyelashes at him.  Your one friend nudges you to whisper something about her thinking he has a girlfriend and you whip out your phone to creep.  Sure enough, the cute boy is soon a cute boy who’s “in a relationship with…”  You duck your head, spin around, and keep on looking for Mr. Right to come along.  Obviously, it’s not him

The fact that social media  can dictate so much of what we do on a day to day basis and how we interact with people is crazy.  We can find information that we wouldn’t have known otherwise simply with a few swipes and a click.  It makes me wonder if we know too much.

What do you think?  Does what you find out on Facebook dictate how to act and react toward people in real life?

Attached

I have had a smartphone for the past three years, and quite frankly, can’t remember a time when I didn’t have the option of whipping out the Internet/social media/phone/calendar/apps galore out of my pocket.  I feel naked when I don’t have the technology within reach, and if my phone were to die without being in range of a charger–well, heaven forbid.

This weekend, my friend came to visit.  Let’s put this in perspective.  He’s a college grad.  Holds a job in a company that runs mostly on email.  And he has what society has dubbed to be a “dumb phone.”  His flip phone does the service of sending and receiving texts (when his space bar is working anyhow) and making phone calls.  He can’t Google the correct spellings of words or get updates of whatever football game he’s missing while he’s away from a TV.  His phone provides him simply with the opportunity to keep in touch with a select few.

It got me wondering.  Why am I so attached to my phone?  I asked my friend how he functioned without being able to have his calendar at his disposal or Facebook a touch away.  His response?  It gives him a break.

He doesn’t have to worry about answering emails in the wee hours of the night simply because he has the option to.  He doesn’t have Facebook notifications popping up each and every hour telling him what his friends are doing or Twitter buzzing.  He can have a bit of peace with himself.

Up next, a week without my phone aside from calling and texting!  I plan to turn off data and wifi and use my smartphone simply for the purpose of a pure phone.  We’ll see how I make out!

Google Me

The Internet is a strange place.  You can hide things, but you can’t make things disappear.  Everything from your eighth grade status updates to your college drunken photos are literally there forever with no signs of being forever deleted.

I decided to Google myself to see exactly what came up each time someone plugged my name in each time.  I was happy to find that upon simply searching my name “Lauren Lesser,” nothing came up aside from my LinkedIn profile.  I figure this popping up actually works to my advantage and was happy that the privacy settings I put on my social media actually do work.

That being said, however, I knew that couldn’t be the only thing that could be found about me online.  I decided to search “Lauren Elizabeth Lesser,” knowing that on several sites I use only my first and middle name.  Sure enough, my Twitter account popped up this time.  Because my account is private, you couldn’t actually see my Tweets, however, you could click on the picture I had chosen to use as my profile picture and see the little blurb I had written about myself on my profile.

Next, I decided to be a little more specific.  I tried plugging in “Lauren Lesser softball” and came up with a lot more responses.  All of my high school stats came up along with several articles I had been mentioned in.  My recruiting information came up and one would easily be able to find not only my height and weight, but also my SAT scores, GPA, what schools I was applying to, and what schools were interested in me.  You could also find Juniata’s softball roster, any articles I had appeared in for them, and my softball picture for both my freshmen and sophomore years.

The last searches I conducted were “Lauren Lesser Mount Laurel” and “Lauren Lesser Juniata College.”  For these searches, I found many more pictures and information about myself.  I found old newspaper articles from my local paper that I had written throughout high school, pictures that appeared on my high school’s website, things I am involved with at Juniata, and pictures that friends had tagged me in on social media that were tagged with Juniata College or Huntingdon in some way or another.

I wasn’t really surprised with what I found while doing these searches, but I was a little baffled as to how much information about me is really out there.  I’ve always been careful about what I post on my sites, but I usually forget that what others post about me can also be found with a quick search on the Internet.

Do you like me?

Instagram is a great form of social media used to post pictures and share with family and friends what is going in in one’s life.  The pictures are all fine and dandy–I think it’s a wonderful way to stay in touch and keep others updated on your life; however, I often times wonder if there wasn’t a “like” or heart feature, if this form of social media would be very popular.

I’m the first one to admit that I’m guilty of checking the Instagram app on my phone way too often just to see if I made it to the ultimate goal of reaching at least 11 likes to eliminate the listing of usernames at the bottom and instead switch to “11 likes” at the bottom of the picture.  In a sense, it’s a bit pathetic.  Really?  I’m that concerned with how many people also like the selfie my mom and I took on our lunch date last week or the “throwback thursday” picture of me and my little brother running around in our underwear circa 1996?

Upon scrolling down my news feed, I noticed some trends.  Pictures of puppies often surpassed the 50+ like mark, family photos ranked pretty high up there too, and anything having to do with dessert sky rockets.  “Selfies” of girls showing a bit of cleavage or guys with their shirts off tend to gain much love and pictures with captions like “wine and movie night with the girls!” also get the obligatory thumbs up.

Is it reassurance that whatever we’re doing is deemed acceptable in today’s society?  Why do we care?  If this app wasn’t in place, would we constantly be wondering what others thought of us?  What does it matter?