Protecting Your Legacy

Protecting Your Legacy

Many pundits speculate that your electronic communication may be resurrected for ages to come. You may or may not subscribe to that premise. However, just as you may have chosen to protect your current reputation, there are other aspects of your media legacy which you should consider.

What you select to share may be considered as your preferences even if it is related to a group you formed solely for work, school or your employer, or simply something you were asked to find by another person and post. There is always an assumption that your social media words or emails are the real you when, in fact, they may be posted simply to satisfy an outside demand, perceived or real.

One way to help your legacy define you is to archive postings which are not reflective of how you want to be perceived in the long term. You may have posted a meme which you found interesting but with which you do not agree.  Delete it after the posting serves its purpose.  If what you posted does not give you joy, delete it or hide it. It may still reside in the ubiquitous cloud but having only things which reflect “you” currently posted will provide a legacy which is more realistic.

Your legacy may mean something to your relatives, friends, and loved ones. Leaving them with true reflections of you will mean a lot to them in the long run.  You do not have to allow things that others posted to your groups or timelines with which you do not agree or find offensive to remain online and live for years. Every posting has a season, which might be a day, a month, a year, or seventy years.  You have the capability to decide.

The same attitude should prevail when you decide what social media sites you are active on from a personal standpoint. Think about whether your membership, participation, and content is reflective of you, and whether you are happy or content as a result.

You do not have to share all aspects of your life online. You do not have to buy into whatever the social media site pushes you to do, post, or read.  Life is truly a series of choices. You can delete a profile. You can start over. You can create what you want. You can be as visible or invisible as you want. You can decide to share your favorite or least-favorite things, or your private information such as age, political or religious affiliations, etc. You make the decision. You remain in control.

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How to Protect Yourself from Losing Social Media Content

How to Protect Yourself from Losing Social Media Content

Major social media platforms come and go, change focus, and change options available to members or subscribers. Even the large servicers are not exempt. Yahoo is morphing into something yet undefined, Twitter changed its feed priority and delivery services, LinkedIn™ has made it more conducive to stay on-network than off-network and made groups a little more cumbersome in some areas, and Facebook – well the one thing we can depend upon is change. Change is a truism in all areas of life.

With all the changes in social media, you need to protect yourself from losing current data, access, or historical information. You should not depend on providers enabling you to have ‘forever” certainty that your photos, postings, connections, data, and videos will be retained and easily accessible. If you don’t want something to have the possibility of disappearing later, you need to maintain storage yourself.

It seems redundant to have to maintain personal electronic copies of information, but the alternative of having a site close down or limit your access is also not palatable. In the case of some sites, you may have difficulty copying and pasting information about your contacts, for example, and that might be due to copyright issues which you must respect.

Subscribing to more than one cloud-based storage service is also not a bad idea for your personal information. It may be easier to retrieve data from one than the other, while one may provide immediate back-up, one only daily back-up. If you use shared applications, it becomes even more important to retain the trail.

Having access to your contacts and other data if cloud services are interrupted for any reason becomes important to you, family, friends, and business as well, if applicable. Do not depend on at-home, at-office, or personal storage alone. You never know when natural disasters, theft, or other interrupters could limit access to your information. Use both the cloud and local storage options as well for your most important items. Think of your electronic records when determining back up and storage needs by asking yourself these three questions:

  • What data/files/photos/videos would I want to always retain for personal use or reference?
  • What would I want for historical or legal purposes?
  • What would I want to pass down to others in my personal or business life?

Depend on yourself not on the whims of social media platforms. You are the best archiver of what is important. When in doubt, listen to yourself and archive. Assume that you are the only one on which to depend, and you will make wise decisions on retention of your historical information.

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Environment and Technology

Environment and Technology

Environmental considerations accompany the use of technology and its growth and development.  The environment whether local, global, or interstellar must be guarded as it is not easily restored when depleted or damaged, if at all.

There are many areas to be considered. Below are just a few areas enumerated to encourage your conscience and ultimately, your actions.

Screens – black or white display?

Usually if CRT (cathode-ray tube) technology is employed, it is true that black screens are more efficient than white.  However, the reverse may be true if recent technology, such as LCD screens are used. The resting state of a particular LCD screen could affect its usage. However, the general rule is true.  Flat panel LCD screens require less energy than the CRT screens.

On smartphones using AMOLED displays, black wallpaper is battery-saving.

Wired versus wireless energy consumption

Using wireless charging systems which charge multiple devices consumes less power than singular adapters. In addition, reducing the number of conventional power adapters and wiring also helps eliminate waste in production and disposal.

Smart technology

Smart technology embedded in areas such as home security to environmental building management also saves energy. It may use radio-frequency transmission or existing wiring. Further, it will assist in management of systems that can affect electrical costs and heating and cooling needs.

It still remains true that powering down monitors or other electronic equipment will consume less energy if done as recommended. For example, in general, – screens should be set to go on stand-by after 20 minutes of non-use and hard drives turned off after 2 hours of non-use, assuming no use in the immediate future. Keeping things updated, such as game cards, and updating to new technology will also have environmental benefits.

Disposal

Batteries and electronic equipment are considered hazardous waste.  There are numerous venues in which to dispose of waste. Ask the vendor where your waste will go. Make sure that it does not ultimately be disassembled in a location that may harm workers and contaminate groundwater.

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Managing Sites

Managing Sites

Determining the Purpose of Your Site

You have created a site or a group. You may have done so, based on any number of factors and yet you may not have a clear vision of its purpose. You need to determine the purpose of the site in order for it to be effective and in order for you to look forward to working on the site or sharing the site with others.

If you have developed or created a site which is intentionally without a clear purpose or vision, then that free and eclectic lack of purpose or vision is the vision of the site.  Even with that open vision, you will need to establish some constraints and guidelines, e.g., posting of inappropriate or unlawful material.

When you determine a clear vision for the site it will drive the nature of the content which you choose to post. However, a vision should be re-visited over the course of time to ensure that it is still relevant, and that you remain convicted that the vision is what you want.

Adding External Content

Many RSS feeds provide interesting and valuable content which you might wish to share with visitors of yours site.  When you review other links you may also determine that you would like to share that information as well.  You need to ensure that you are authorized to post any information or links before doing so. You must determine that the proposed content is not subject to copyright or other legal constraints and ensure you comply with any requirements before taking action. You may assume that others will also consider posting content from your site and you should take requisite precautions to ensure that your readers also understand any legal constraints which govern its content.

Using Consultants to Post

You need to determine if you want to permit others to post content on the site or if you wish to delegate posting entirely to a third party.  “Experts” may advise that selecting and posting external content to groups, timelines, or other social media sites should be delegated to them. Using experts to relieve your burden of maintaining a site should not be treated in a cavalier manner. Your sites are a reflection of you or your business or cause. It is important that they reflect your priorities, your interests, and your information or opinions.

However, you should maintain oversight of the content and never hesitate to remove, modify, replace, or add to the content.  Your reputation is dependent upon the content posted regardless of the source.

Responsibility to Maintain or Shut Down

You need to be prepared to add content whether continually or sporadically. Regardless of the nature of your site, you need to be prepared to maintain it or shut down the site.

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Expectations of Simplicity

Expectations of Simplicity

Social media, web browsing, and electronic connectivity are considered necessities to everyday life in countries which permit such freedoms and have access. Like any science and effort in life, the more you learn and immerse yourself in it, the more you realize that it is complex, subject to change, and subject to interpretation depending upon the observer and user.

So it is with using the software portion of electronic technology. You may have the most advanced hardware in the world, but that does not prevent the occasional glitch, hack, or freeze.  The marketing of software and hardware is designed to convince you that you need to have the latest version because purchasing the product or upgrading it may solve some problem or desire that you may or not know you have or convince you that you need to stay current, etc.  In many cases, planned obsolescence may force an upgrade, because a vendor may refuse to continue to support a useful version – such as in the case of Windows XP or Google Desktop. Size or color options or improved viewing or picture-taking can also be part of the myriad of reasons for purchase or upgrades.

However, through all these improvements runs a constant thread—a constant implied promise that your newest purchase or free download will be simple and easy to use. After a short introductory time, you may have a comfort level with the product, but that does not mean that will be indefinite.

If anything, change is always hovering about waiting to interject itself into the daily course of business.  Even using a simple thing such as a browser may have complexities. You may have used a web browser such as Internet Explorer only to find that certain web sites require Flash and then, subsequently do not recognize its installation even after you downloaded it. You may have used Google Chrome and then learned that it had a vulnerability which permitted audio to be recorded without permission. You may have used Firefox and then realized that on some systems, warning messages occur which have no validity when you first open the browser.

Nothing in the electronic media world is truly simple except to those who have a complete understanding of something that is stagnate.  Using technology and software and apps is a constant, adaptive experience. There is no way to avoid it once you choose to dabble in anything to do with the internet.

The time of expecting things online and technology to be simple is no longer realistic. A willingness to accept that this is now a science in the sense of constant evolution and change is one way to not be discouraged when things do not work as promised or when stumbling blocks or glitches occur. If you have an expectation of simplicity you are sharing the same vision as the engineers and designers who strive to give you something “simple.”

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Controlling Your Time

Controlling Your Time

Controlling time seems to be a relatively simple thing to do. However, it is amazing how often our time becomes controlled by others because it is expected or we simply give away our control.

Just think back over the last five minutes.  Did you do something because someone else expected it – for example, did you look at the most recent email or text  that came in because it was a on your to-do list or because someone just sent it to you?  Did you answer the telephone because it was a call you were expecting and waiting for or because someone called you unexpectedly?

Many of us may set a schedule for ourselves, either for work or personal reasons.  We may schedule conference calls, meetings, vacations, family activities, personal appointments, etc. These may seem like simple things and under our control. However, if you begin to think about the commitments you make you may be surprised at the extent to which you allow others to control your time—time which is not able to be recovered.  You may schedule appointments but take into consideration other commitments at the same time. Perhaps you have an important meeting in two weeks, and plan to accomplish certain preparatory things. Your time is committed to the meeting and to being ready for it.

However, contemplate how you would choose to spend your time if were free to do so. Would you take more walks, travel, call and visit family and friends more often, make your own specialized coffee drinks or foods, go to movies, the theatre, symphonies, ballets, or soccer games, etc.? Do you regret attending certain events even though you did not want to go, or spending time with people who were negative in general, or negative about you or things which you appreciate?

Do you read, study, worship God if you are a believer, enjoy the beauty of the world, or just relax as much as you want?

Time is the one thing which is a gift to us – a measure of the past and not recoverable.  Every moment should be cherished – not something to throw away and not remember.

Always take a moment to assess how you spend your time, how you want to remember it, and with whom you give your time and talents. Time is important and how you spend it makes a difference in the lives of others as well.

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Resisting Progress

Resisting Progress

Many of us have seen television programming featuring individuals who resist progress either for a short or long period of time. Individuals may choose to survive in the wilderness, desert, on the water, etc., with minimal supplies and materials for a short period of time. They may live in remote areas and live off the land by trapping or other means. They may choose to buy or build cabins without the benefits of running water or electricity. They may choose to live on islands without road access or inland where access is only available through flight.  Individuals may choose to use bows and arrows to secure a meal. They may be in areas where they were born without any access to modern conveniences.  The list goes on.

However, there are individuals who are in developed areas who use all modern conveniences who, in spite of having sufficient financial resources, elect to not move quickly or not move at all to adopt new technology.  Do you find it fascinating when you call someone and there is no voice mail or answering machine? Isn’t it interesting when people make faces when you inquire if they have a cell phone?  How about the stares you may receive when you pull out a lap top instead of the latest version of a tablet?

With all the modern technology, it is impossible to keep up with the changes. However, simple things seem to have been left by the wayside. Why can’t we simply expect that when we purchase a new screen or extra screen for our computer that it would be compatible – that it would be plug and play?  Why do we have to install a new graphics card just to read the second screen?  Why can’t equipment which has its own power supply use a USB connector and work instead of having to be plugged directly in a computer?  Why can’t a remote device for a television or cable have a low battery indicator?

It is not surprising that people resist change for all kinds of reasons. Not everyone feels the need to take photos with their cell phones and cannot fathom having to upgrade equipment to receive features that they don’t plan to use. Not everyone wants to be available 24/7. Not every parent wants to be told to carry the cell phone and text his or her daughter who is on the second floor of the home that dinner is ready instead of just calling out to the daughter.  Not everyone likes the idea that tracking your activities in the car for purposes of GPS is a good idea, and yet there is little option to disable such features.

Individuals may find that adapting to new technology and new ideas sometimes really makes life easier. The decision to incorporate new technology into your life is a personal one, and whatever decision you make should be respected. The important thing to remember is that many humans resist change and resent being told what to do. Progress has a personal definition and what is progress to you may not be seen in the same light by others. What works for some may not work for you and vice versa. Best to provide information and recommendations only and then step back and respect individual choice and the individuals.

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Does Technology Drive Your Life?

Does Technology Drive Your Life?

Many people view technology as something which is necessary or at a minimum supports their goals and lifestyles. It quickly becomes apparent to what extent individuals are dependent upon technology when it is not available, inflexible, or unreliable.

For example, you may travel and find that internet access is not available at that location or that you are prohibited from viewing certain websites or making certain search queries. You may experience power outages, lack of cell phone transmission access, faulty equipment, or software glitches which may seem to impede your progress or plans.

Your resilience to such challenges speaks volumes to your character with respect to considering any such impediment as an excuse not to continue to work on a project or remain focused on your goal. Technology should always be only one supporting means to an end – not the only means to an end.

If email is down use another form of communication—fax, hand delivery, wire, call, delivery service, meet face-to-face, etc. Technology of any kind is simply a tool for us to use to our benefit. We managed as civilizations to exist before technology and we can certainly manage to handle an occasional technology interruption. First paintings, then words, then stones, then handwriting, paper, printing presses, telegraphs, carbon paper, mimeo machines and photocopiers,  telephones, television, and up the technological chain—all viable forms of communication. Handshakes consummated contracts long before e-signatures became commonplace.

If you own or rent a car without GPS, you can survive. If you do not send or receive text messages, you can still be effective. If you wake up and have to make your own coffee or tea because you do not a timed brewer, life still goes on. If the restaurant rest room does not have a blower to dry your hands, your hands will still dry. If you don’t have a tablet you are not alone. If you go on vacation and leave your alarm watch or cell phone in the room, you will still know when it is time to have dinner and to go to sleep. If your front door doesn’t have a door bell, people still can knock.

You should always use technology to enhance your life and not control it. You are the one in control. You choose to adapt or not adapt any product or software. Do not permit your friends, family, and co-workers to cajole or attempt to shame you into using or purchasing something you do not want. Don’t let your life be transformed into something that does not make you feel comfortable simply because it might be something that clones another’s life just because that individual thinks you should. You choose to make your life what you want it to be, not what someone else thinks it should be.

You drive technology – do not permit it to drive you or change who you are.

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Meeting the Expectations of Others

Meeting the Expectations of Others

You may have settled into a pattern of interacting with others on certain social networks. Have you limited yourself to one or two to monitor, yet established a profile on many others? By establishing even a limited profile on a web site, you have begun to set up the expectations of others. Site owners might change the settings, offer design options, or merge with or set up alliances with other sites. All of those actions are beyond your control to foresee or to change the direction or outcome. The commonality is that as a participant of a site you have committed yourself to a relationship with that site.

The obligations of that commitment extend to site management, strategic partners, viewers of any public profile of you on that site, participants of that web site, and individuals or groups within the site with whom or which you have connected or joined. Your participation is controlled by you, but your participation, extensive or limited, drives the expectation and perception of all the parties about you as an individual.

You will have many requests to join groups, networks, or events, or to connect with individuals or like certain ideas, places, etc. Each of your decisions frames who you are in a public face. If you find an article in a newspaper or magazine and link it to a social network, some individuals will assume that you agree with the contents simply because of that action, even though you may have found the contents only interesting or even distasteful. Without a comment, you leave speculation to the viewer of that link.

Individuals will reach out to you for social, business, pecuniary, or selfish interests. You may not be able fully determine whether the individuals are trustworthy or even individuals with whom you may want to interact. You may have been taught as a child that every question deserves a respectful response. Unfortunately, you should not apply that rule to participation on a social network.

Expectations of Spammers

If you are dogged repeatedly to send money because someone is purportedly stranded in a country or for some cause with which you do not agree and cannot even confirm exists, it is not inappropriate to delete the request and even block that event from coming up again. A spammer does not deserve the respect of your answer.  Spammers are attempting to manipulate you in some manner or worse to swindle you.

Expectations of Potential Love Interests

If individuals reach out to you because they want to establish a truly personal connection and you have no interest, it is not necessary to respond unless you want to explore their authenticity.  You have no way of knowing whether the individual has less than pure intent and no interest on your part means no response is necessary.

Expectations of Individuals with Whom You Have Connected and Do Not Really Know

It is up to you to establish that you really want to be connected with these individuals initially. Assuming that you have a valid rationale for that connection and want to remain connected, a simple “thanks but no thanks” should suffice if they contact you requesting a response to some event, issue, etc. No explanation is necessary should you choose not to participate, but a simple reply would be appreciated by them and eliminate the time-sap follow-up request.

Expectations of Individuals with Whom You Want to Maintain a Strong Relationship

These individuals become your priority. You should ensure that you respond to them quickly. Move through the request quickly in terms of response which either shuts down the event in a positive fashion or will take it to the next step in the process. Quick responses send a strong message of efficiency and personal attention to them—both result in positive images of you.

Summary

It is easy to manage the results of the expectations of others if you are clear in your priorities and determine to stick to those priorities.  By providing less information in a profile and just a place-holder on certain social networks it screens some of the follow-up that would result had a more complete profile been presented. Play your social networks and contacts like a fine musical production–sometimes grazioso or adagio or expressive or pastoral, etc.

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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Most of us go about our daily lives taking few risks, not pushing ourselves to try new things, and not exploring ideologies to which we inherently disagree.  Some of us protect ourselves by not venturing to commit to activities which are uncomfortable. We cocoon ourselves by associating with people with whom we are comfortable or share similar interests. Many of us restrict our activities to those which give us pleasure and resist those which tax our intellect, physical prowess, or time commitment. Our drug of choice is contentment.

However, our state of comfort is illusionary. We, in fact, are all changing, whether we recognize it or not. Happiness is a fluid state. It does not have to be dependent on the status quo. You can choose to be happy, choose to enjoy every second of your life. By electing to step out of your comfort zone, you may learn new things, meet new people, accept new challenges, achieve new things, and find joy in everything you do and in every new event in your life.

There is a difference between resisting something and not doing something new because you truly have no interest, and resisting it because you think you do not have the capability to do it or will not succeed. The latter reasoning may emanate from a lack of self-confidence. This lack of self-confidence could be the result of having failed before or listening to others who are not encouraging. Regardless, each of us should possess a healthy dose of self-confidence and a willingness to step out of our comfort zone.  Previous failures do not mean future failures.

You will find that exploring new things and ideas is exhilarating. Taking on projects which demand that you learn new skills can be rewarding. Meeting people can be interesting.  Pursuing physical challenges can be demanding and beneficial. It is never too late to change an attitude and to step out of your comfort zone.  Take action!

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