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Social Sites and The Crackberry
I can't remember how it happened or actually "when" it got to a place of no return. I spent many years just e-mailing on aol, hotmail, yahoo and network solutions and somehow by 2007 I was on about ten social sites with a blackberry in hand and a lot of new virtual "friends" from all over the world.
It started with myspace to promote my music career and then it slowly progressed to other music sites like reverbnation and broadjam. I eventually gave into facebook even though a few human friends warned me for years. By 2007 I had so many e-mails coming directly through my "crackberry" in the UK that I would have an anxiety attack on a daily basis. I actually had to put my account at plaxo to rest and I no longer "check in." I have no intention to join LinkedIn unless I decide to give up being an artist (never!) and go back to my executive and studio friends from "way back when" when I embarked on a career in media and public relations in the mid 90's.
You can sort of call me "old fashioned" because I have a big love for everything "retro." I still write a lot by hand and I often talk about the past. I am very proud of my collection of film cameras dating back to different eras and I still love to use my Canon film camera for professional shoots along with my digital ones. I often like to blab about my celebrity photos published just a few years ago in National magazines without me ever using photo shop and that a very high profile magazine never changed a thing or tried to alter one photo. I actually used to spend a long time setting up backgrounds and lighting for a shoot and not depend on my computer to fix flaws that make people seem more "human." I have always been fond of Irving Penn, but also love the outrageous work of other modern photographers who digitally alter their photos. So, I'm not refusing to accept this new and modern way of life and art.
After hiding behind the camera for years I was photographed for my album cover in England by one of the top photographers there. I was surprised to see how everything looked up on the computer screen as he shot away. When I saw the final results the background and lighting looked very different then they looked the day of the shoot. It is definitely a new world and when I received all of the digital files via e-mail when I returned to the US, it was a bit shocking. I was very happy with the results and have used a lot of the photos for my cover of my new release and promotional stuff. I often wonder if my children will ever learn to develop film in a darkroom if they ever venture into photography in the future even if they don't need to.
My "crackberry" in 2007 became my new "bestfriend" and at one point I actually could not stop deleting e-mails when I was out "living life" when they funneled through from ten different accounts. I had my business e-mail account, my personal accounts for close friends and my junk mail account along with a few others for different areas in my life. It got to a point that when I thought I left it on a train on my way to London I felt sick to my stomach like as if I just heard really bad news and when I found it I was so happy that it was like I won the lottery!
When I returned to the United States after living in the UK for a year, I banned my "Blackberry" for good. It still sits in my favorite drawer with all of my important things in it, but I refuse to get it "up and running" again. As of now, I have a simple cell phone that does not receive e-mail. People in business and my personal life know that if it is really important they can "text me" if they really need to reach me. Believe it or not this has given me more calm when I'm out and away from my computer. This way I can decide when I want to get all of my e-mails by checking into whatever account I feel like when I have the time. Oh yes and I have not even mentioned all of the unions that I belong to or entities that I need to check into from time to time for my music and all of this adsense, amazon, paypal and all of the companies on line that I pay bills to. I think I have even forgotten lots of places on the web where I set up accounts years ago and never went back to them.
When I saw that an old highschool friend on Facebook freaked about someone stealing her Blackberry from her house on a party night, I could understand her worries. Also the fact that she may have very famous peoples contact numbers in it seemed to make the matter worse. I don't think she ever got it back. Steven Spielberg has probably gotten quite a few crank calls. I could just imagine how funny that would be! Ok, maybe not.
The hardest part about being addicted to my "virtual world" was that I realized out of all of my friends only a few were actually staying active in my so called "virtual life." Especially on Facebook, so now I just check in to say "hello" to the few that really care and share good information in the hopes that I actually help someone. I only limit my facebook account to people I actually know or knew at some point in my life. There are a few "virtual" friends on there but only a few and I send many of my music contacts to myspace and only have the chosen few on my facebook friends list. I have quite a few friend requests sitting there on facebook that I did not accept and it makes me feel "guilty" in a virtual way. I have not been able to click the "ignore" button and now I have entered the unknown territory of "virtual guilt!" What's next? Do they have medication or therapy for someone who has "virtual addictions and virtual guilt?"
I am old fashioned in so many ways that I have a hard time moving forward technically. I'm savvy on a computer and the internet, but I seem to have a block when it comes to learning things that may take more "thinking time." Afterall this virtual world can go "on and on" for a long time and everytime I "click" something else it takes me to another "virtual world" and then my day is over! I'm seriously thinking of joining or starting "virtual anonomous!"
I originally joined Helium in 2007 because a friend of mine encouraged me to do so, but I was recording music and did not have the time. Hubpages is more my speed and it has now become my priority social site because I'm also being creative while I'm remaining active in the Hubpages community. The only time it gets difficult is when I want to read all of the hubs that funnel through to my e-mail and there are so many that I get a bit "overwhelmed." So, now I try to look at my favorite hubbers first and if they write more then one hub I pick my favorite hub to comment on. There are quite a few hubbers with a "very strong virtual voice!" I am really enjoying myself! When I go to Hubpages I just focus on the writing and my fellow hubbers who I like. Not too much to think about!
I guess the main thing is that with so many social sites and so many "virtual friends" and so much to catch up on, it is getting more "virtual" every day! I have to make a calendar for all of my "virtual friends" to follow up with and then I have no time for my "human friends" who are also on all of the same social sites. We already have "virtual gifts" on facebook and all sorts of ways to "spread the love" on the internet. Now a lot of ex- boyfriends can reach me too and I have a "virtual boyfriend" or two and they still think I'm in my twenties! Well, not really but it is easier to act like a teenager! I have also now had to start making folders on aol for different contacts because my inbox gets so full and e-mails get bounced back. Thank goodness my personal e-mail accounts are only for my human and virtual friends that I know (well sort of).
I'm very popular in my "virtual world" and look forward to many different "virtual adventures!" One day I will need to create a worksheet on my desktop that will tell me where to start first when I turn on my computer because sometimes I just "freeze" from feeling "overwhelmed." I know I have to check atleast five different sites before I even get started in anything creative or my in-boxs will be so full that I will fall very far behind in my "virtual world!" I check my e-mail first and then move onto my music sites and then the rest of them before I start my day. Hubpages is always a priority, but sometimes I have to go back to the hubs I want to read later on when I can really focus and ofcourse that takes more time! Shall we call it "virtual procrastination?!!!!!"