Tag Archives: Social Media

Spotlight fever

The stage is dark. The curtains have just been raised. There we are. An echoing thump jolts our heart to full alertness. Standing there completely alone, you are not aware of me. I’m not aware of you. We are not aware of us. The blinding light seems to amplify our thumping chest. Sweat drips down our forehead. The sound of the plummeting moisture seems to be amplified. Our voice – there is no sound. An inaudible squeak. Suddenly, the light in the dark auditorium is switched on.
We can see the audience. But there is no one there. There is no we. I am alone. And no one cares that I’m afraid. No one saw the blunder. Witnessed only by the light, which passed me no judgment.

Social Media seems to have amplified, those who can see our mistakes. The other day a thought passed through my mind. What if that post goes viral? It certainly had all the makings of a viral post, and for a second my heart jolted into full alertness. And in that moment I knew. The post won’t go viral. Not only does my blog not have that kind of traction, but I’m not ready. Not my writing is not ready. I’m not. And I’m also not saying my writing is flawless, cause it is defiantly flawed, but it’s not horrid either. I took a deep breath and relaxed.

It never ceases to disgust me, what kind of poison goes virtually viral, these days – especially in these parts. Children being abused by their Nanny – caught on a Nanny cam. A drunk young woman … I’m not even going to finish that sentence. What’s even more disturbing is the reaction people have. The way we blame and shame. We judge as if we were flawless. Perhaps my content just does not have that shock factor. But if something did go viral, I know there’d be trolls that come knocking.

Painted_Face

The other day a white lady posted something on Facebook. I only mention her skin-color because it is pivotal to the story. I’ll call a spade a spade and not call her Caucasian. While she certainly is Caucasian, here we’d refer to her as a white lady. Apartheid was still within my lifetime. Some of my peers can still remember the UNO coming to their class declaring, “everyone is now equal”.

The white lady posted something on Facebook which caused a big up-stir. In a status update, she mentioned that she had just witnessed a black man taking a white person’s dog for a walk. i.e. She thought this dog to be stolen. She put on her number so that anybody who was missing this dog could ask for more information. I never saw this post myself, but it was big in our local headlines.

Obviously, the first question to ask would be, how does she know the dog belonged to a white person?

Here’s the thing – she never meant to hurt anybody or make such a racist remark. She was guilty of ignorance only and perhaps having experienced something traumatic.

What went viral, was not her Facebook post – it was the recorded call a woman made to her. The other woman who had a British type of accent, called the white lady to ask about the dog. Firstly the British accent woman asked the white woman, how she knew the dog belonged to a white person. When the latter responded that one could simply see it, in that the dog seemed well cared for. The British accent woman referred to the “missing” dog as a Bitch throughout the conversation and ended the call by calling the white woman a Bitch. Honestly, she was very mean and seemed only to want to ridicule the white woman. Goal achieved. Everyone was laughing. The white woman later needed to switch off her phone due to all the harassment she was receiving.

Online bullying at it’s best!

If you read the article in the newspaper, you’d  find out why the white woman made such an ignorant post. At one point, some of her pet dogs were stolen. They only found the paws of these animals – whom she assumed had been eaten. Still no sympathy?

Yes, I hear you. We should be sympathetic to the people who have not enough food and thus eat dogs and cats. Poverty, it is a huge problem. But can you spare no sympathy for this woman, who happens to be married to a colored man (that’s someone of mixed heritage)?

In the newspaper article, the white lady apologized for her blunder. I doubt anyone was listening or reading for that matter. The article, after all, did not go viral. Only the phone call was broadcast to everyone—thanks to WhatsApp.

lettingGoSilouette

Which brings me back to the spotlight fever. What are we shining the light on? Sometimes an issue is much larger than the one part we highlight.

In my example, there were many issues. I mentioned: poverty, racism, online bullying, ignorance and a lack of general empathy. Depending on our own life experiences, we may have focused on only one of these. We may have been enraged at the white woman’s audacity. How could she think, people of a dark skin tone can’t take good care of their pets? It served her right to be treated by the British accent lady like that. It served her right, to be harassed. She should be, belittled for her mistake.

Or perhaps like me, you saw the lack of empathy people have shown. And you hope to all that is good, the spotlight which accentuates all your flaws, never falls on you. Just be careful what you say.

I was so afraid to even use the terms “white lady” & “black man”, even though they fit the frame of this story. Obviously, I still live in a world with many racial divides. I tend to see the cultural differences as beautiful, something to be proud of. Treat everyone with respect, is the kind of value I try to model to my children. However, in this world, you need to be politically correct – always. Or rather just keep your mouth shut.

What gives you the right to speak? Except for the light. It demanded something more than an inaudible squeak.

*above images credit to pixabay

 This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO.

NanoPoblano 2017

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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What women want

Back in 2000, Mel Gibson starred in a movie titled “What Women Want.”
Gibson played the Alpha male, heterosexual man’s man with way too big of an ego called Nick Marshall. Nick gets bypassed for a promotion in favor of a woman. Problem is, while Nick may know how to get into a woman’s pants, better than any man alive he does not know what women want. Since he works for an advertising agency which needs to land a women’s brand contract, these pivotal question men have been asking for millennia is a must know to get the coveted job. In steps, Darcy McGuire played by Helen Hunt. One night in a desperate plight to understand why he was overlooked for the higher paying, corner office job, Nick tries on a bunch of women products and gets himself electrocuted. When he wakes up, he can suddenly hear the thoughts of all women.

Whatwomenwant

Hence the stage is set for a romantic comedy, riddled with society’s clichés. It’s these clichés which make us laugh. We laugh at our own idiotic manner. Here we are a couple of years later and men still don’t know – what women want.

It’s this question this blog post will proceed to answer. Yes, I go with a single article where many a book have gone before. I’ll shrink it down in one universal, simple solution. Because after all, I am a woman. And there is one thing, so simple, so obvious it’s overlooked by many. It doesn’t matter what tone of skin she was born in, what continent she hails from. It doesn’t matter whether she’s an LA socialite or an African Mama, raising seven kids. Stop looking at your FaceBook and Twitter feeds for just a while, so I can show you this ageless secret. The secret of what women want, neigh what they crave.

But before I impart this timeless wisdom upon you, I would like to touch on the recent feminist hash-tag craze, #MeToo. Those watching my timeline may have noticed that I did not write #MeToo on my FaceBook page or wall. Neither did I tweet it nor up until this point, some time after all the hype has passed – even mention it.

Let me be clear, I as every other woman on this planet could have written that phrase on all my Social Media accounts in a big ugly bold font. And if I had put it on my Instagram, Twitter, FaceBook page, both of my Facebook walls, Pinterest and newly opened Ello page – I could have been referring to a different incident in each case. In actual fact given some thought, I could have come up with instances to put it on the Social Media I don’t have an account with, too.

The reason why I’ve held my tong is two-fold. For one, I don’t follow a craze – just because everyone else is doing it. The entire Internet was flooded with two words. A vital discussion indeed, but not the only problem in this world.

The other is that many of these #MeToo posts, status updates and the like are triggering to many people. Like everyone else who’s a frequent internet user, I read many of these posts. I read them and then some. I felt sorrow. I read many of the comments too. I saw so many bleeding hearts. But I also saw some trying to take the opportunity to inflate their already over-large ego. It may have been something you only notice if you looked at the trend, with some distance.

So I decided to tweet and write this on my FaceBook page, instead:

I really hoped those words would not be painful and triggering to the heart. However, after some contemplation, I realized that for some they may have been exactly that. You never know what may be triggering to someone. And if you are that someone, I apologize. Never the less, those words, hold true, in a very personal nonreligious way.

You may now have gotten agitated. In one moment I was going to reveal the biggest mystery to mankind, in the next I was discussing a feminist social media craze. These things are related. Because if men knew and gave women what they want, if indeed each and everyone one of us gave each and every one of us this very same thing, which is not restricted to what women want, but is something each human being wants – then we would not have had this hash-tag exploding across Social Media. #MeToo and all other similar hash-tags which have come before and will come again will be resolved with this one simple solution.

What women want, what I want, what you want, what we want, what each and every one of us craves – whether we are rich or poor, whichever tone of skin or gender we were born in, it is universal to us all.

What women want is . . .

RESPECT.

Respect that she is not just tits and that thing between her legs. She is no lifeless doll.
Respect that she does not want to fear hunger, violence, pain or humiliation.
Respect that she does not want to be cold or alone.
Respect that she has her own mind, talents, and failings.
Respect that her body belongs to herself as does her life.
Respect that like you, she is human. I am human. We are human.

Talk to her like a human. Treat her like a human.

Stripped from all the clutter we have surrounded ourselves with we are each just human. That makes you or I no better or worse than anyone else, whether they be man, woman or child. While we may be better or worse off than someone else we are no better.

Respect encompasses equality and compassion. It does not say I am better than, but instead, acknowledges we are all in this together.

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO.

NanoPoblano 2017

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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Word of the day – satire

As most other bloggers, I write this blog because I’m bored and can’t find a better pass time. To indulge my craving to fill this blog with something else than chocolate, I’ve let slip this ‘word of the day feature’. It’s not like people can easily open the dictionary and discover words for themselves.

Not to mention, after twelve years of schooling most English-speaking humans, are proficient in the usage of the word – ‘satire’. It’s one I was faced with in a History class, which most of my classmates loved. Memorizing things, to repeat them like a parrot during exam time, undoubtedly prepares you for the real world. Spoon feeding truly helps you develop independent thought.

And then, you enter the friendly world of FaceBook. You read something strange on Reddit. Perhaps one of your peers decides to mix things up and posts an internet meme, instead of a selfie on Snapchat or Instagram. Or some Vlogger’s video goes viral on What’s App. At first you think it’s kind of funny, but don’t get it. Suddenly you are forced to do something which you have never done before. Your own mind has to wrap itself around a complex joke. She was joking, right?

frogReadingFaceBook

Writing satire as you can see by my inapt attempt there (in the first two paragraphs), is not all that easy—although to some people it comes as natural as breathing. I’m not one of them, but I enjoy reading the art-form. Yes, it is an art-form, to construct words in such a manner they poke fun at society in constructive criticism. Satire is another way to convey an opinion and focuses on the writers observation on society, politics and such.

A well-constructed satire will force the audience to some internal reflection. The modern day satire it is not restricted to writing. Satire can also be in form of a comic strip, a video, lyrics, an internet meme.

The official definition from ‘the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 7th Edition, first printed in 1982,’ is:

“satire n. 1. composition in verse or prose ridiculing vice or folly or lampooning individual(s), this branch of literature, thing that brings ridicule upon something (our lives are a satire upon our religion); use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, etc., in speech or writing to expose or discourage vice or folly.

2. poetic medley, esp. Poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.”

“Eish”, remind me to never quote that dictionary again. One needs another dictionary to define that which has already been defined.

I think Wikipedia in this case is easier understood:

“Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purposes is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.”

Wikipedia continues and explains that a feature of satires are they use sarcasm and irony. They also feature exaggeration, utilize words in such a manner they could have a double meaning (double entrendre) and show comparisons.

Let me show you a few examples….

Satires have really been exploding all over the internet lately.

This video, has been making the rounds. It criticize our use of Social Media to find the perfect partner.

Madam and Eve, is a local comic strip which is printed in newspapers and can be bought in special edition books. The illustrator is brilliant. This specific one has been doing the rounds via What’s App. In it he compares South African President, Jacob Zuma to American President, Donald Trump. It’s a comparison most people in the region have been making since Trump came into office.

(Please note, I don’t have copy right on the above material. I display it as “fair use” as an embed from their respective fan page. )

There are many, many more examples. I thought I’d sample some of the more light hearted ones. With the recent feminist hash-tag making the rounds, I found some vile comments from people who clearly did not understand that the author was writing a satire or was using sarcasm.

NanoPoblano 2017

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO / NaBloPoMo.

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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If we were having coffee, it’s a little bit funny

What a strange day of the week to invite someone over for coffee. I don’t know about you, but I drink coffee every day, so I guess it does not matter. Welcome in.

If we were having coffee, we’d reminisce on how long it’s been since I last wrote a coffee post. I’ve been concentrating on writing my one blog post per month, which is not related to any link -up. In the process I’ve overlooked the ‘personal blog’ aspect of this blog. Time and energy to write is not on my side these days. It is frustrating when you are too tired to string two words together, never mind a whole comprehensive sentence, paragraph, blog post.

So I don’t sweat the mundane. Who’d want to read it, anyway? You? Well, you’re still here.

Many of my friends and family have been much too busy, also. There’s so much on our mind.  As a society, collectively that is. With words such as “nuclear threat” and “World War three”,  being thrown into many a casual conversation–it is no wonder.

“Oh, you’re on Twitter,” I asked a colleague.

“Of cause. It’s a lot of fun. I follow Trump,” she replied.

“Yea, he’s such a clown.”

“Did you hear government is in secret negotiations to sell weapon grade uranium?”

“It does not surprise me. They are all so corrupt.”

I live in a country, which is one of the worlds largest uranium exporters. We have our own conspiracies, and hope that the people at the top are at least not that dumb. What could we do against a nuclear threat? And since we rely on imports, what would we do if the world put sanctions against us?

It seems so insignificant, to read or write a random blog post. Bla, Bla, the world keeps turning–Bla, Bla.

Yet, here I am, using what little time I have to spare to share a bit of trivia.

I’ve been quiet. Not just here, but on my What’s App groups and other Social Media. Withdrawn. Sometimes I look at these groups,  Facebook and Twitter and notice that some people are forever sharing mundane Meme’s or jokes.

Someone in one of my groups is lying in hospital, literally on her death bed. I read several of shared Meme’s or jokes of hers every day.

The truth is sometimes just too hard to face. Without a little humor we’d break under all the weight.

I dislike all those automated DM people send on Twitter once you follow them. But this one stuck out so here it is. I hope it at least makes you smile the way it made me smile.

***

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

“Oh my,” said the writer. “Let me see heaven now.”

A few moments later as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a teaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too were whipped with thorny lashes.

“Wait a minute,” said the writer.

“This is just as bad as hell!”

“Oh no, it’s not,” replied an unseen voice. “Here, your work gets published.”

***

Credit goes to Jeanette@Polar_Bear_Edit for this bit of sunshine. Now here’s an idea for a DM which is a conversation starter. Just sayin’.

Ha. Ha. . . Let’s lighten up and remember that God / the universe / whatever you insert here–has the best sense of humor.

If we were having coffee, we’d talk about the economy.  We’d mention the crazy weather and crazy politicians. We’d share cute baby pictures and videos. But mostly, If we were having coffee we’d laugh.

I’m linking this post up with the next #WeekendCoffeeShare hosted by Part Time Monster.

If we were having coffee, what would we laugh about? Let me know in the comments or write up your own coffee post.

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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In the age of Social Media, is the fear of rejection keeping us from genuine friendships?

I have a love-hate relationship with Social Media. On the one hand, I realize how toxic Facebook, Twitter and their comrades can be. On the other, used correctly Social Media can be a tool to help us grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. In this ever-speeding society, Social Media can help us keep in touch. It can help us make new friends.

Some time ago I was surfing Facebook when I came across a post in a group, by one of my high-school friends. We are not friends on Facebook. In contradiction to my better judgment, I hoped over to this woman’s Facebook wall. Since I was not ‘friends’ with her I could only see what she has shared publicly.
What I found was some stunning array of profile pictures. Damn! After some ten plus years, she looked even hotter than before. There were some pictures of her skydiving and others of her looking good in some stunning scenery.

I admit that the big ugly green-eyed monster immediately assaulted me. I’m carrying around 30 plus kilograms from when I was in high school. I hardly ever leave my dull monotonous spaces and apart from that one time – I defiantly don’t go around doing extreme sports. Sh*t, to anyone looking in from the outside, my life is pretty much mundane and boring.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t go sharing much of the mundane and boring things online. In all honesty, since I’ve starting using What’s App, I’ve shared very little of anything personal on open sites such as FaceBook and Twitter. While there is certainly a measured degree of vulnerability to the things I write on this blog, it is camouflaged by the persona behind which I hide.

To make it as a good writer, it takes a certain type of finesse and courage to be vulnerable in a genuine and especially non-attention seeking manner.

As Paul Gallico put it:

“It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.”

Perhaps this is why so many of us, writers, hide behind a pen name. While writers hide behind a pseudonym, people, in general, hide behind an invisible mask. A façade.

How many of us are governed by our fear of rejection?

In today’s society, we want to it appear we lead the ideal life. We would like to say; “Look at my FaceBook hall of fame.” Thus, we share only that which would gain us the validation we seek from our family and peers. Whether on or off-line, we talk about and share only that, which would entice, entertain and solicit amazement.

“I patted an ostrich on the back.”
“I went skydiving”
“My kid/pet did the cutest thing”

We share only life’s highlights. We make it seem that our life consists of sparkly high notes. Forget those mundane, gray things. Erase those downright dark and dreary things. It is almost as, if there were no public record of these things, they did not exist.  We somehow hope that people who were friends or lovers in the past look at our timeline with a certain longing envy. This is my life! This is me!

I am a liar.

Because life is not perfect. I am not perfect. Nobody is perfect, not even Tom Cruise, J.K. Rowling or the Queen of England.

This mask only comes off, when we really get to know someone. Underneath their perfect, we find an authentic human being. Underneath their perfect, we can see someone as they are. Only when we choose to love each other underneath our perfect, is a friendship or relationship worth having, genuine and beautiful. Underneath our perfect is where the true connection lies.

Ironically, we often seek this connection when we venture out into the world of Social Media, when we go sit in a pub, or when we try to impress someone at school or work.

We fear to say, “this is me, accept me as I am.”
We fail to realize, “I am enough.”

 

p.s. This post has been the ninth day of ‘it does not need to be perfect’, a series I’m currently running on this here 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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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.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

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

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

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.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

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.

FIND HER IN ALL THESE PLACES:

Twitter:@ShiningSeeds: Facebook:  Pinterest:

Follow Shining Seeds on WordPress.com


 

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!