Samara O'Shea

Archive for February, 2009

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I’ve been on the fence about joining Twitter. The reason I’ve hesitated for so long is because I wonder When does it end? What’s next after Twitter? Considering that MySpace was followed by LinkedIn and Facebook and FB followed by Twitter? There will always be more social networks to be a part of! (And none of them will bring enlightenment or salvation).

Of course, I see the appeal and the point of these networks. I’ve met many people and gotten back in touch with old friends through Facebook. But I do exhaust myself at the thought of having to obtain and maintain a presence on so many social sites.

I’ve just come to my conclusion: No Twitter! I decided after reading this excellent article from The Daily Beast: Twitter Jumped the Shark this Week by Mark McKinnon. Here’s a sample from his write-up:

But I’m giving it up. I know I’ll get roasted for being anti-tech. But, what I really am is pro meaningful communication. And somewhere along the Internet highway we fell under the spell that more communication is better communication. Sometimes more communication is just noise.

Amen!

The Art of Seduction

Friday, February 27th, 2009

To celebrate the end of the week, I thought I’d treat us to some seduction. I’m reading The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. I bought the book a few years ago. I enjoyed it very much then but something happened—a job change, an apartment move (can’t remember which)—something big enough to have me put the book down. I picked it up again last week—started at the same spot, which was a little ways in. It’s a really fun read! It’s about regular seduction—the sexual kind—but it’s also about seducing on a grand scale. It talks of seducing audiences and seducing people in the professional sense. Some of the techniques seem a little out there, but some of the observations about human behavior and instinct are spot on. Case in point, the passage below. We all know this rule I think, but it can be difficult to apply. I have a feeling I’ll be quoting from this book on a regular basis:

People are inherently perverse. An easy conquest has a lower value than a difficult one; we are only really excited by what is denied us, by what we cannot possess in full. Your greatest power in seduction is your ability to turn away, to make others come after you, delaying their satisfaction. Most people miscalculate and surrender too soon, worried that the other person will lose interest, or that giving the other what he or she wants will grant the giver some kind of power. The truth is the opposite: once you satisfy someone, you no longer have the initiative, and you open yourself to the possibility that he or she will lose interest at the slightest whim. Remember: vanity is critical in love.

Kindle Schmindle

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Can you tell I’m not thrilled about books going digital? I tried to ignore it, but now that the Kindle2 has been unveiled I must face my fears. Like everything, this has its pros and cons I suppose. I am impressed that books have held out for so long, and I think they’ll hold out longer than the other other mediums.

I understand why music and movies went digital so quickly. Music is a sound. The experience comes from listening. We’ll take the sound from wherever—a record player, a disc man, a boom box. And, of course, if you can promise that I’ll be able to hold 1,000 songs in the palm of my hand then, yes, I’ll take it. Same with movies. We just want to watch them. We don’t care about the mechanism that motivates the moving picture—VHS or DVD player. Photographs too, it’s the image that counts. Digital made all of these things a little easier . . .

But a book is different. Much of the reading experience itself comes from holding a book. I can’t read a book without a pen in my hand. I like to underline passages that move me and words that I love or that I don’t know the meaning of and want to look up later. I like to dog-ear pages so that I can go back to them later. And when the book is done then you place it on your shelf like a trophy. When you have a dinner party, your guests can say, “Oh I read War and Peace, too.” It’s a conversation piece. It’s a book.

I also love books (and magazines and letters) because every now and then we need to step away from our computers. We need to fix our eyes on something that isn’t bright and neon. We need to teach ourselves how to focus on one thing again rather than jump from one article that hyper links to another article and have an e-mail appear and interrupt reading that article. We’re all ADD when we’re online.

The tangibility of books is also a major factor. If a meteor hits the earth tomorrow, then the aliens who find our ghost-planet will look at a Kindle and have no idea what it is. If they come across books, however, then there’s a language to study. There are things to learn. Our way of life has been preserved on the page.

I will say the one thing that appeals to me about the Kindle is the lightweight. Books can be heavy. Not that I carry around fifteen pound books, but even carrying around a one pound book in your purse all day does a number on your shoulders.

I guess I listed a lot of Cons and only one Pro. Maybe the two types of people in the world these days are those who take to Kindle and those who don’t. In the spirit of If You Can’t Beat Em Join Em, however, both of my books are available on Kindle:

For the Love of Letters Kindle

Note to Self Kindle

25 Random Things About Me

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

I can’t believe I forgot to post this! I had my first reader suggestion sent to me earlier this month. One very kind visitor to this blog wrote to me and suggested a journal-writing technique that I now gladly share with all the other very kind visitors to this blog. There is a bit of back story though. . .

Do you remember the 25 Random Things Facebook phenomena of a few weeks ago? Maybe this will jog your memory if you don’t. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s explained below.

Anyway, that’s what this technique is based on. And here it is:

So there is this “chain letter” type of thing going around on facebook right now. People are writing notes entitled “25 Random Things About Me” where they list 25 statements about themselves and then have to tag 25 of their friends to do that same. It’s actually a lot of fun. I have found out a lot of interesting stuff about my friends that I never knew. So I wrote one of these notes too, but first I wrote it down in my notebook. It was actually a kind of enlightening exercise for myself. Not everything I wrote in the notebook ended up on facebook. It kind of revealed to me what I thought was most interesting about myself, and what I was comfortable sharing with others.

Sounds simple and effective. Thank you wonderful reader for sharing!

Cover Letters Still Count!

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

But we already knew that! Read this great article from the New York Times: A Cover Letter is Not Expendable

Be Patrons of Paper Source

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I found out recently—via Facebook—that Note to Self is now being sold at a sweet stationery chain called Paper Source. My one regret is there’s not a Paper Source in P.A. for me to unload my wallet on. There are, however, Paper Sources in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. I’ll hit one up next time I’m in Boston (visiting my friend Tom) or Maryland (visiting my friend Lori).

I’ve had a handful of people write me through Facebook and tell me they bought the book at Paper Source, and they are fans (of Note to Self and the store). I love when that happens! Totally makes my day. Thank you ladies for writing. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.

There’s Money in Mail: Who Knew?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The Post Office made the news again yesterday, or the Postmaster I should say.

ABC is giving him a hard time for making six figures and receiving a nice bonus—because he’s also asking that mail delivery cease for one day a week to save money.

First of all, I think it’s unfair of ABC to say that the postmaster makes $857,459.00. That’s not actually the case. They come to that total by adding in retirement “benefits and perks.” Retirement money is not something he has access to right now and perks, what the hell are they? It’s not specific. As far as I’m concerned he still makes under $400K.

I also don’t have a problem with people making six figures—provided the work they do is quality. And if they’ve been at that work for a long time then, yes, it’s fine to reward someone for the years they put into a career. I have no problem with doctors, lawyers, and the president making six figures. I think teachers and writers deserve six figures, too, but that’s pushing it I realize. I’m not sure about the postmaster. This story does not give me any insight into the daily work the postmaster does, and therefore I can’t make a decision. I think the media is out to get anyone who makes six figures right now—even though many of them make six and sometimes seven figures.