Near Waterton, 2009
I used to be an early adopter. Lately, though, I’m living the marketing maxim that life stage and life style are key drivers of consumer behaviour. And my life stage has moved from leading edge to smack dab in the intersection of comfortable shoes and flashes of desire for an age-inappropriate sports car.
For example, I have a VCR, not a PVR. I haven’t felt compelled to record a television program since the West Wing. My TV is older than my marriage. I still wear a watch.
On the ‘new’ old technology front, my iPod hasn’t been synched in months. My iPhone is 3G. When I instant message, I use correct spelling and punctuation. I can’t even bring myself to write “IM”. There just isn’t enough time to keep hopping on and off all of the bandwagons rolling by in the always-on technology parade.
Cue the flash of desire. In an effort to be current/hip/informed/relevant, I’ve just launched a Twitter account where I will probably try to express myself in 140 grammatically sound correctly spelled characters.
I’m not sharing my Twitter address yet. I’m only listening at the moment, thank you very much. But I already have two followers.
Yup, before the virtual ink was even dry, in the instant I confirmed my account, before I clicked a single key or tweeked my first tweet, my followers appeared. Two babes trolling for guys. Are you kidding me?!
This is why I vacillate between social media believer and skeptic. I believed email was the techno-god’s gift to direct marketing back in the day. Until I had to constantly empty my inbox of sexually impressive but physically impossible solicitations. Today, over 90% of email is spam and dealing with it costs time I don’t have and money I’d rather keep. A communication tool with great potential, hijacked.
Twitter might really be the next big thing. But its marketing prowess better offer more than offers of big things.
Ragan Communications caused a bit of a stir this week asking if ‘WTF’ in an email subject line was appropriate for professional communication. I’ve never written the actual words personally or professionally, though I will confess to some mutterances one-on-one, occasionally to shocked response that I even knew those words.
But I have written the three-letter acronym, in a class, on the board, to make a point. (And this wasn’t in English where you can spend an entire lesson in linguistics examining a word with purported legal origins in ‘for unlawful carnal knowledge’).
Student response? Surprised tee hees. Emphasis achieved.
But I don’t think I’d ever write WTF in professional practice. Or would I? How often would it take to toss around ‘WTF’ in jest or for emphasis before it displaced more sophisticated — and precise — word choices? How long did it take for the ‘F’ word, itself an acronym, to stand alone?
Habits form through repetition. Repetition and exposure. And we’re developing some questionable ones. Acronyms have moved off the pages of technical journals and text message screens into our writing and speech. We’re alphabetizing our language — literally communicating in code – ciphering and deciphering fewer and shorter words.
Once, word-of-the-day exercises were popular. Reader’s Digest magazine had a regular column that encouraged readers to increase their word power. Repetition helped stretch your vocabulary.
Today, I’m more likely to consult an acronym finder than a dictionary. With so many on-line tools encouraging us to reconstruct words into tiny bits partial symbols, it won’t take much for our vocabulary to shrink — and to stink.
I’m not sure its supposed to be ironic, but the NaBloPoMo (seriously) prompt today is about sacrifice. Since yesterday we stopped to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, it’s hugely trivializing to suggest that the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made for another person is freedom.
But it was.
Not freedom in the imprisoned or persecuted human rights sense, and not sacrificed just for another person, because I benefitted too. My biggest sacrifice was getting married.
Marriage, if you’re a happy single person, means never again making a choice based on what’s right for you alone. Where you live, work, travel, play becomes a joint consideration. Family, career, pets, decorating schemes to considering whether or not to put tomatoes in the salad are all part of the decision dance of marriage (unless you both hate kids, cats and tomatoes). For two career couples, where to live and where to work are major concessions, given that something as simple as deciding what to have for dinner involves a trade-off.
I miss my former work. I miss being *in* the communication business. I even miss the exhausting weeks when I’d come home and want to do nothing more than scramble some eggs, have a bath, and go to bed.
Maybe eating scrambled eggs straight from the pan on a Friday night isn’t everyone’s idea of freedom. But it is incredibly liberating to do what you want, when you want.
Of course, when I was single I never came home on Friday night to eggs being scrambled for me.
Marriage is a sacrifice. Worth it? Absolutely.
It’s always a quiet day at our house on Remembrance Day, a pattern started in a small town where it was easy to know members of the local Legion, then more immediately by respect for my father-in-law’s service with the Loyal Eddies of the 1st Canadian Division through the entirety of WWII, and more recently by my husband’s nephew’s return from Afghanistan with the Princess Pat’s.
FJW, the father-in-law, British home child sent to Canada, proud “D-Day Dodger”, celebrated his 90th birthday ten days ago. He says he’s the guy leaning by the Jeep, in this photo from the Italian campaign. When he talks of the war, he changes. He’s still there.
It’s always been the spousal unit’s dream to follow in his dad’s footsteps across WWII battlefields. And though I’ve visited the Netherlands and experienced the legendary hospitality the Dutch grant Canadians, I too would like to see Italy.
It turns out, (thank you Mark Zuelke) there is 70th anniversary memorial campaign of Operation Husky planned in Sicily. It will be the 70th anniversary of Ortona the same year. It is time we went to see some of the places where our soldiers forged Canada’s reputation as peacemakers, as well as peacekeepers.
Last week, I attended the CPRS Vancouver Island Beyond the Hype conference. I’d already been having an animated debate with myself about the potential of social media. (Yes, I do debate with myself. And others. Often.)
Provoked in no small part by Rumon Carter’s compelling argument about the blurred identity between one’s professional and personal brands, I came to an uncomfortable truth. For all the hectoring and lecturing I make in the classroom about the importance of developing a voice, I have neither developed nor been true to my own. Not a happy “aha” moment.
Sure, I can come up with a list of reasons (the mirror says excuses) why I haven’t and they all boil down to this: blogging isn’t just about having something to say, it’s about being willing to say it. As yourself. And my self prefers to shape its points of view in the privacy of our mind. It’s safe. Convenient. And up to the challenge.
Apparently, November is national blog posting month. Who knew? Seems a good time to create a more authentic voice. Especially since NaBloPoMo is conveniently providing daily writing prompts.
But seriously, NaBloPoMo? Sure, it works in a Twitter universe. But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that — like so many character-lite affectations today — it sounds like “I don’t understand”.
Just back from two weeks on the water. No watches, no alarms, no appointments. Perfect!
A totally pleasant surprise was running into two former colleagues at a small marina in the Gulf Islands. I hadn’t seen them for over 12 years, but we had a great time catching up, and comparing notes on what other colleagues were doing now. It’s surprising how long work relationships stay with you, how important shared experiences can be, and how often people weave in and out of both your personal and professional life.
It was also a pointed reminder of what a difference there’s been between “The Plan” — the path I thought my career and life would follow after college a few fast decades ago — and the route it actually took. The best surprises were the places, both geographic and organizational, where I never imagined I’d go.
Turns out, launching a career is a lot like sailing. Unlike a road map — which defines specific roads you must take to reach a destination — a marine chart identifies waypoints and tidal direction and markers and hazards but leaves it up to you to determine which of the many different ways you’d like to take to get where you want to go.
You just have to slip the lines, let the wind fill your sails, and follow the changes in tide and current until you find the right place to anchor for a while.
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2010!
To celebrate a growing community, I’ve started this site to help us keep in touch with what we’re up to, to share interests, share experiences and opportunities. And since you’re now finished with the books, be sure to check out the current work opportunities page