Tag Archives: Social Media

Learn to be more #mindful with a free online tool – #Instagram

Have you checked me out on Instagram? Not? I’ve been finding this Social Media platform most useful. Although I must confess, when I first joined I did so solely that I can ‘online stalk’ someone there too.

I mean that (online stalking) in the most positive light of those two words. Cause let’s face it; some online personalities literally ask you to follow them everywhere. Most of these people, who are obsessed with the collection of followers, usually label themselves: blogger, writer, social-media-butterfly or all of the ‘above’. You get the type?

Any-hoe, I decided why ever not? After all,  Instagram was the perfect platform for my new endeavor, which was to post one motivational picture per day. Alas, it was yet another New Years resolution I could not keep. Here we are a year and some months later and I’ve been getting back on Instagram. You could say I’ve newly discovered my cellphone camera. The truth is a bit deeper than that.

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Inspiration is all around us. Instagram is a free, fast and easy tool to share that inspiration with the world. In a mission to have something to share on that platform, I’ve become more mindful of my surroundings. It is often the small things in life that we overlook.

As I sip my morning cuppa, I'm reminded to enjoy the small things in life. #mindfulness #coffee

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Sometimes the inspiration does not come in a neatly wrapped photogenic scene. Sometimes a little editing or creation of a picture is required.

One crisp morning the very first words I heard as I switched on my car radio were these: “What are you waiting for?”

It is quite amazing what happens when we merely pay attention to our present tense moment. Yes, mindfulness.

The little angel figurine which hangs on my bedroom mirror ‘prompted’ me to share something, after I’d not done so for a few days. A newly discovered photo-editing app and a recently watched You Tube video lead to this snippet:

Perhaps this post is a change of perspective, you were not expecting.

Life is a journey.

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No, it’s not all selfies up in there. As I said on a recent post, it is all about how you use a platform. In an attempt to look for the beauty in the mundane, some of my friends post stunning landscape, city-scape and nature pictures.

So, what are you waiting for? Come check out @shiningseeds on Instagram and let your own surroundings inspire you.

*This post has been the seventh day of ‘it does not need to be perfect‘, a series currently running on this blog.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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Time to say goodbye

Say what you say. Do not be afraid. Afraid.

A lullaby to the tune of Andrea Botticelli and Sarah Brightman’s duet: “Time to say goodbye” has been stuck on repeat in my mind. “Say what you say. Do not be afraid. Afraid” is however not part of the lyric. Has my mind suddenly turned into the jester? Or are these kinds of things messages from a “higher realm”?

The classical music ballad consists of entirely Italian lyrics with the English words “Time to say goodbye” thrown in. I don’t understand any of the Italian, so obviously my curiosity was sparked.The English translation of that song is poetic. Profound. Rendering the audience in awe of what they were listening to.

Here is the original in its splendid glory.

The words we use have unknown power. We can use them to encourage or to break down. It is thus we must choose with the greatest care for which purpose we use our words.

How easy is a false rumor spread? Damage done by such a lie can often not be undone. How often can words lead to a climate of fear?

As Yoda said:

yoda-fear-quote

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

 

How often is fear the motivation behind words splattered out into the world? Some throw their muck onto the masses. Use hate to claim clicks and popularity. On the other hand, some will use overly emotional articles to gain their clicks. As writers and speakers of words, we need to think about what motivates us to put what we do out in the world.

Will our words build or burn bridges? Do we create out of a desire to gain ratification, through likes and views?

Now this does not mean we need to bury our personal stories. It is indeed brave to share a part of one’s, journey, however, traumatic it may have been. We must not do this from a place of seeking validation.

We must consider the impact our words have, regardless of them being spoken to someone in real life or written online. This does not mean our opinions do not matter, but rather that they hold more weight if considered carefully.

When it comes to online content, being either on websites, blogs, or social media a good measure is to consider how these words would affect our nearest. Would we want our mother to read it? How would our children be influenced by what we say?

This then leaves the other side of the coin. Sometimes we would swallow our words, even though they hold great importance. We leave things unsaid because we fear rejection. Keep it to yourself. No one cares anyway. It is in these instances that you need to “Say what you Say. Do not be afraid.”

As Marc Chernoff put it:

“To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”
― Marc Chernoff

Marc-Chernoff-quote-on-brok

None of us are perfect. Some of us don’t know how to use our words perfectly. In our own mind, we are terrible writers. We are terrible storytellers. We believe that our own stories don’t matter because there are just too many other stories out there. Everyone, after all, has a story. What should make me so special?

The underlying truth is, no one can tell your story but you. Would sharing your experience be a benefit to society? Can you do it from a place of compassion? Can you do it from your heart and not your fragile ego?

Remember it needs not be perfect. It needs to be heartfelt. It needs to build bridges. You need not be perfect. You need to be human.

Perhaps we need to say goodbye to words originating from a place of people pleasing. We need to say goodbye to words spoken from a place of hate and fear. When words fail us, let our hearts be open. We must remember for all of us will come a final time to say goodbye. Before we voyage to cross seas which no longer exist, we should leave this shore better off for harboring us.

I close this post with translated lyric from the song “Time to say goodbye” by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli. Thanks to Jos van Greefen for this translation.

“When I’m alone
I dream of the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not here with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.

Time to say goodbye.

I’ll go with you to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer;
it’s time to say goodbye. With you I shall experience them.


When you are far away
I dream of the horizon
and words fail,
and, yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me
with me, with me, with me.

Time to say goodbye.     I’ll go with you
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,


with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you.

You and me.”

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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The 6 essential guidelines on how to act on Social Media

Imagine. Social media, a place where people know how to behave. It is upsetting; this lack of manners on places such as Twitter and Facebook – isn’t it?

Part of the problem is that social media has sprung up so rapidly over the last few years – we have yet to dictate the proper manner to conduct ourselves up in there. It’s like a free for all, Wild West where everyone lets loose.

Back in my primary school years, we had a class called “Ethics”. This class covered everything from how to eat your KFC to sounding intelligent in polite conversation. Back then, there was no such thing as Facebook.  Since some of us do not have any better judgment, we need an ethics guide to social media.

The following six rules should become the standard code of conduct – when it comes to social media.

 

Rule 1:  Do NOT send private messages containing pictures of your Dick or Boobs!!!!!!

There is a place and time for everything in life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are not places for sending a picture of your private parts. Don’t believe that such things happen? My friend Hasty has recently written this post in response to such a blatant abuse of social media ethics.

I am assuming that there are sites, where such things are customary and even encouraged. Perhaps sending something like that to other members of a rated 18 XXX dating site. This may be the place to let loose your dangling man down there. Trust me, Twitter and Facebook are not places for such things.

Rule 2: Child nudity is prohibited

Facebook will censor you for posting pictures of child nudity. It may seem common sense. However, parents or relatives sometimes post innocent pictures of children. It could be a picture of them swimming or bathing.  The thing is – there are too many wackos out there. Do you really want them looking at a nude picture of your child?

Rule 3: Chatting someone up, is a no go – unless you are on a dating site

As with rule number 1, chatting someone up on Twitter or Facebook – are bad manners.  Here’s a hint dudes: It is most likely to freak a woman out. It’s probable you’ll find yourself unfollowed, unfriended and blocked.

Rule 4: Be careful with your compliments

This may seem odd, but men should know that not all women like hearing, “you are beautiful”. This is especially creepy online, where it is hard to judge someone’s intentions. Additionally, some of us find it triggering.

 

The above four rules are the worst offenses when it comes to bad social media ethics. Two more also need attention:

6-rules-for-social-media

Rule no 5: Don’t make yourself unemployable

How do you think your boss would feel if he sees you badmouthing him on a public forum? Slamming your boss, your employer, your clients and your other stakeholders is a big fat NO. I don’t care how much you hate them. It will do more damage to your own professional reputation than to them.

Don’t break professional confidentiality. Don’t blab about someone else’s financial situation, if you are dealing with finances. Don’t blab about someone’s health issues if you are in medical profession… Etc.

If you work for a big corporation – which has a trademark brand, posting a picture of you consuming or using a different brand may get you fired.

Telling the wide world that you have for example a drinking problem, may make you unemployable – if someone bothered to do a thorough background check.

Still many other situations deserve mentioning here. Use your common sense.

Rule no 6: Social Media can’t validate your self-worth

People often strive to have prestigious jobs, so they can feel important in life. Since the invention of the social media “like button” (favorite button or whatever it is named in different places), people strive to have numerous likes and responses to their social media posts so that they can feel a sense of self-worth.

When they don’t get the volume of response they were looking for, these people share things that should rather have stayed private. Our lives have become like a mini version of some form of the Kardashians (or whatever reality TV series is currently receiving good ratings). We share details of our life in an effort to shock and entertain our friends into liking and responding. How far are you willing to go to get a like?

There are things in this life that need to remain private. Ultimately, we need to learn how to respect ourselves to avoid this trap. When you do share things online, remember that your (future) enemy/s could possibly use this information against you. This is especially true if there is some kind of legal proceeding taking place.

Ultimately, this form of social validation is a slippery slope. Firstly, do you really think that a huge amount of likes or shares will make you important? Things die down quickly on the internet. Once you have become yesterday’s news, you have to find something else to catch the attention of the masses. In my opinion, this kind of attention is simply not worth all the anxiety it causes. All for some kind of temporary high?

Everybody needs somebody

I do admit, sometimes life can get rough. I belong to a Facebook support group for just that kind of thing.  Sometimes I simply want to let people know what is going on. This is especially true if you belong to an on-line community. (Important safety tip: Don’t put up a public post of you being out of town…)

Additionally, if the “call a friend” option, is one that you don’t like using – chat to a friend privately may be the next best thing. Occasionally, we all need to talk to someone. This may be a better way for us to feel validated or connected than trying to catch the attention of the crowds.

 

I find the way people use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to be more of a non-human distraction. A time suck. An energy drain.  Don’t get me wrong they have their place. However, we need to learn to make better use of these platforms. Respect is something we need to apply to every aspect of how we behave.

 

How about you? What points do you think I missed?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Attention all #WordPress and Jetpack enabled #bloggers: Did you miss this vital blogging info?

November went by in kind of a  daze for me. Then suddenly in December, I discovered this piece of blogging information that had somehow slipped my radar. The nice people at Automattic should have made this much bigger news. They should have given it a big fat headline. That is after all what a company does when they re-brand one of their products or replaces it with a new one.

The Headline should have read something like this:

Freshly-pressed-replaced

Breaking News: Discover is the new Freshly Pressed

(Yea I know they made an announcement, but it did not have this headline. Many of us missed it.)

No, your eyes are not fooling you. Freshly Pressed has been retired and replaced by a new better product.

For those that don’t know – Freshly Pressed used to be “the front page” of WordPress.com.

I must say I do like the new front page “Discover”. My verdict – I like it. It truly is better than Freshly Pressed. For once the people at Automattic have gotten it right with their updates.

The comparison: What’s new – what remains the same?

What little things are new?

You can follow “Discover” in your WordPress reader – like any other blog. The label “Discover” has replaced the one in the dashboard, which used to be labeled “Freshly Pressed” – so you don’t need to follow “Discover” to discover new content on WordPress.

While is used to be a bunch of rectangle blocks with the title of the blog post and its feature picture, the look and feel of this new Freshly Pressed is more blog-y. It even has an “about page” Now, editors give their little introductory comment and the layout is much more visually appealing.

The twitter handle has changed to @WPDiscover. The twitter account itself still functions pretty much the same. New posts featured on Discover get tweeted by them as well if you’ve read an awesome blog post you can still tweet it at them and they will go check it out.

 

There are however, two new changes, which have a bigger impact on bloggers.

The big changes:

  1. You can submit your post for a recommendation

It used to be like winning the lottery. A Freshly Pressed editor somehow stumbled across your post and it was featured. Now they have provided a submission form on their “about page” where you can pitch to them why your post should be featured. This does not mean that they will actually put you on Discover… but it does at least direct them to your blog.

There is however one aspect of the new discover – which needs to be pointed out, which I think could make a huge impact for bloggers on wordrpess.org (self-hosted WordPress) and Jetpack-enabled blogs.

 

  1. This new Discover is not only for WordPress.com users!

That is huge. I have read posts in the past where a wordrpess.org user complains that they cannot have a post featured on Freshly Pressed. It used to be a WordPress.com deal only. That is no more.

Let them tell you yourself, I know this is somewhat unbelievable – but this is what it says on their about page:

“We want to promote your stories and projects: the best original content published with WordPress. We highlight different types of content — from writing to photography and art to poetry, from personal blogs to publications. All genres and styles. All word counts. All flavors of WordPress, from WordPress.com to Jetpack-enabled and self-hosted WordPress sites.

 

I know! This is totally a game changer for all the wordpress.org users. Check out their guidelines for getting featured on “Discover” here.

Head on over to the new “Discover”. What do you think about the new look and feel?

 

My 4-blogging lessons of 2015 – you had better study for 2016

Gosh, here we are again. Another year has gone by. I am so thankful for all the beautiful lessons it has brought me. I am so grateful for the personal growth. I am so thankful for blogging – which has become my personal growth tool.

I truly do love blogging, but like all things in life, it too has a dark side.

Trial, error & shut down

Like with most things, I learn via trial and error.  I used to have a different space. One I put so much effort into; yet in the end it left me feeling drained and depressed. That feeling is the sure sign you are doing something wrong – where change is the only remedy. I went to the extreme. I wiped it all out. The internet is notoriously hard to clean though – many traces of my former self still linger.

Lesson 1 – Write that which you want to share

Ultimately, this would be the best lesson I could leave bloggers. If it were not something, you would share on your private Facebook account – where your mother and your (maybe) Baptist minister father will find it; then rather put it in your private journal. Cause trust me, if it is one thing, I have seen happen repeatedly – ultimately the truth will come into the light. Just ask Mandi, who very recently came out.

Lesson 2 – Share and share generously

Share your “how-to” tips. Share your blog posts over all possible Social Media outlets. Share your grandma’s secret recipe for chocolate cake – okay maybe not that one. Most importantly share the content you enjoyed – from other bloggers.

blogging-101-cup-blogger

Lesson 3 – Don’t look at your stats

Statistics, the aspect of blogging I most dislike. There is no win for me here. I’m incredibly grateful for each person who does take the time to read my Shining Seeds. I love the interaction that comes along with it – even if I only say “thank you”. I look at a post and see it only got 10 likes and my heart sinks to the bottom of my stomach. So much effort and time spent on creating content and no one is interested.

However, after almost two years of blogging it still frightens me that people read my stuff even if it is only 10 people. That are 10 people who actually paid me some attention, who thought I was worthy of their time. I could go on here; I will spare you the gory details. The thought of being the center of attention – it is simply freighting to me – although I clearly crave it.

The solution – spend very little time looking at and or thinking about any type of numbers to do with your blog. I give people the option of liking, because that is a way for them to interact with the blog post, but I do not dwindle too much on it. Stats can be misleading. Not everyone presses the like button. If I get you in my inbox – I may sometimes forget to stop by – especially when my shoddy internet connection has me reading on my phone. People get busy – it does not mean they don’t care.

Lesson 4 – Keep it real

Pretty please, with a cherry on top – do not write for the numbers. Find another reason to blog. If the numbers are supplying you with a paycheck – this is even more important. So many business shift their focus to the bottom line and end up losing that bottom line.

I recently read that Oprah was pregnant at the age of 61. It turns out these where lies created purely for a thing called page views. Do not be that blogger – because you will never see me return, nor anyone else. The only way to build a loyal readership is by keeping it real. However, remember Lesson 1.

 

Let’s take this to 2016

That is it for 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good slide into 2016.

There will be some new things happening here in 2016, which practically make me as happy as a chappy who got bubble gum. Some of those are already scheduled.

You will need to keep an eye on my Facebook page  or  Twitter timeline to catch a glimpse of Little Shining Seedlings.

See you next year! (I’m sorry, just had to)

Happy 2016!