Teens on Social Media – The Kerfuffle.


So have you read the young man's piece on social media that's burning up the net?

Andrew Watts wrote a salient and insightful piece on his use, and his peer group's use of social media.

A Teenager's View on Social Media – Andrew Watts (@thatswattsup)

It's a good read, and led me to install SnapChat and YikYak on my phone to check out what the kids are doing. (Specifically what my 12-year-old daughter was doing. She and her peer group love SnapChat.) Nothing earth shattering, but Andrew does a fine job, as a 19-year-old, who's now in college, pointing out some of the ways he and his group approach Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

So then Andrew's post blows up. I'm sure I've seen it shared more than 20 times. And that kind of exposure will certainly bring out the sharks. And one of those responders was the very talented Danah Boyd, who wrote a piece that wraps several complements into a take down piece on the limited, white centric and privileged, perspective of Mr. Watts. Um, but that's the point. This is a white kid, presumably with a white peer group, now going to college. What other perspective is he supposed to write from?

An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media – Danah Boyd (@zephoria)

Well, I wrote my own response to Ms. Boyd.

Here you go. Since the orginal was on Medium, I kept my response on Medium as well. Here's the link.

An Elite White Geezer Adds More Whitewashing – John McElhenney

Let me know what you think on any of these.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2015/01/teens-on-social-media/

A few related posts:

image: social media venn diagram, creative commons usage


How I Found Happiness: Lessons Along the Way


Happiness is all about perspective and outlook for the future.

A UCLA study revealed that two distinct groups of people who experienced life changing events, one bad (the death of a loved one) and one good (winning a huge sum of money in the lottery), returned to their relative measure of happiness within one year of the event.

The grumpy folks who won the lottery and were set for life were still grumpy. And the happy folks, even after suffering a great loss were relatively happy after one year.

Hard to believe perhaps, but it makes sense. And during my 40-something years on the planet, I have come across some models of centering, contemplation, recovery and joy that I feel it would be helpful to share. I am not planning a program or any type of revelation, merely an inner dialogue and revelation about some of my greatest comforts and simplest observations and lessons.

Reading and Writing
Books have always formed a huge part of my life. TV never held the sway that the library on a Saturday afternoon did. New books! And writing has come and gone throughout my education and career as a invaluable skill. Sometimes it's poetry sometimes PowerPoint. Sometimes I am writing songs and other times I am merely sketching architectures for web sites or a new idea I am trying to get across.

  • Drawing (or visualizing and transmitting ideas)
  • Playing Music (getting into a deeper mode of transmission)
  • Playing Tennis (removing the thinker)
  • Being Dad (me, mine and my family)
  • Being Still (pausing between thoughts)
  • Being Happy (pausing to recognize the happiness, both alone and with others)
  • Being a Connector (I want you to succeed, and if I can help or connect you with someone or something)
  • Being a Seeker (can we truly imagine the grandness of god?)
  • Giving Everything Away (I want you to have this)

Books about Thinking or Happiness or the Brain

Books of Great Value in My Life

That's enough for now, it's time for the resting part of the equation,

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://wp.me/pAnee-lO

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Google Takeout: Portability for All of Your Google Data – a Quickie


[An uber.la quickie is a streamlined takeaway from today's best marketing sources]

I didn't even know it existed until this morning, but if you navigate to this handy url https://www.google.com/settings/takeout you will find this handy control system for backing up or retrieving all of your Google-hosted data. Can you imagine Microsoft allowing this portability?


And that's the shortlist, there are a lot more data files you can pull down. If you're protective of your data, or you feel like moving it somewhere else, Google pulls the great open source move and allows you to get all of it, however you want it. This is the model of business 2.0 going forward. App lock-in is bad business. Portability is a critical path requirement for most businesses looking to move their work into the cloud.

Go forth, download your Google life and make sure any company you're going to do business with in the future, gives you this same LET ME OUT option.

see more uber.la quickies < a streamlined takeaway from today's best marketing sources

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://wp.me/pAnee-8KW

Check out the Strategist's Notebook page and these other posts about online marketing:

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Perseverance and Habit: This Creative Morning



Do you love the work? Is it life and breath to you?

The creative craft is about perseverance. Staying with it. There is no American Idol of creative process, there is no short cut.

Very few people get to be Taylor Swift. The rest of us must make due with the mundane life AND the creative life in parallel. While we are working at our craft we are also working at making a living. If you can find the way to do both with the same work, you are lucky. And perhaps unlucky, too. Beware the paid working gig that saps your creative juice. Many a copywriter has never surfaced from the pithy and promotional.

So what does it take to fall in love with your work?

Time at craft is probably my most important motivator. If I am writing, or playing music, then I am in the groove. When I am away from the craft for any extended period of time (writing or music, in my case) there is some internal resistance to getting back in there and getting back to work. It's as if the studio becomes a hostile environment. Or that anything other than doing the work has become preferable. An afternoon wandering a book store might feel inspirational, but it can also be avoidance. The best remedy for avoidance is to jump back in. Face the chair, the empty page, the "record on" button.

Being in the process of creation is the antidote to ennui. Resistance can be boredom. Or fear.

How do you fight the blahs?

Habit: Habit is great if you can get there. Finding my quiet space took 40+ years. Perhaps you can find yours earlier in your path. For me, the morning hours are sacred. No one else is awake. I brew my cup of coffee and crack open the laptop for a session. Some mornings I know exactly what I will work on, some mornings the inspiration actually pulls me out of bed an hour earlier. It's as if my spirit anticipates this pre-dawn release. Finding this quiet time, and making a habit of rising when I wake up and simply writing was a process.

The morning pages of the Artist's Way is a great technique to cultivate this inner drive and dialogue towards your creative dreams. And in the habit of writing and aspiring towards something bigger than yourself, you'll find your mind wakes up ready to go, ready to create.

Today writing is easier for me to jump into in the morning. I would like to be back at a place in my life and living space where music is as accessible. (Maybe this is an excuse.) The process is about creation, the medium you choose is less important. It can start with writing your morning pages, and progress to writing or painting or composing. The habit is the thing. Your spirit will begin to crave the expression time. And the momentum grows the more you practice this creative grooving. This habit has formed the heart of my creative craft. I am never at a lack for time to create. No one is waiting for me at 5:30 or 6:00. Only me and my imagination.

Structure of ideas: Another part of my momentum building process is creating structures. If you can design containers for your music, or paintings, or writing, you can pour your ideas into the containers. These "structures" have an energy of their own.

When I came up with the idea of doing these letters, for example, I had a quick win with the first six letters. I didn't have to work at coming up with the next letter each morning. I was on a roll. The structure, and idea, of creating a series of inspirational, how-do-you-do-it, letters was enough to pull the first six ideas out of me, almost without effort. And then I got distracted, or decided to take a break. I was not trying to complete a book of letters overnight. I almost felt the process was too easy. Perhaps I was creating something of vanity rather than something of value. But I had to let that idea drop in the trashcan. There is no place for doubt when you are building your structure or your habit. Doubt is the killer.

No, I did not doubt the process when it came easy. And I don't think I lost inspiration when I turned my writing back towards other things. There is a confidence I have in the process, in the writing, that was not worried that I would lose the energy for completing the letters. And I had a sense that giving the next six letters a bit of time to percolate, was a good idea. I am not concerned with losing the thread.

Capture & Retrieve: Finally, developing a good capture system for your various ideas, is a key ingredient for perseverance.

At the moment, I am committed to keeping my focus on the livelihood branch of my creative life. I need a more stable income stream to support my family and the things I want to accomplish in the next period of my life. And with this commitment I am using my drive towards music, as a reward. (I'm wondering if this is some type of avoidance? I'd hate to think I'm losing the ideas, rather than storing them away.) My internal commitment is this: until I find the next client engagement (which requires focus, energy, and dedicated time and action, to find it) I will not jump off into any large musical projects.

But it's the capture system that has me confident that I am not losing any of the ideas that are still coming along. If you can capture the essence of an idea into a system that you will not lose, you may be able to return to the inspiration and build up the full idea. In music, this can be a vocal idea, a guitar progression, or just a piece of music that is particularly inspiring. In my toolkit I have several processes for capturing my ideas.

My iphone video makes a great capture tool for musical ideas. I can turn the camera on myself and my guitar and essentially show myself the idea on video. I can call out the tuning, if it's non-standard, and then proceed to show myself the progression. In this way I can get an idea down in a matter of minutes, rather than spend half a day recording the rough tracks. The idea is, that this seed will be enough to pick the song idea back up when I have the half-day to devote to it.

The problem is retrieval. I have about 6 of these ideas in various formats in various locations of my digital life. I need to get the three ideas off my phone, and put them in a folder on my laptop so I can get back to them, even if my phone is stolen. I will do that directly after finishing this piece this morning. Once I have the "idea" captured, I can move back to the activities that require priority processing. I'll be back in the musical fold, but I know it takes a much larger commitment of time, so I will delay the gratification on these ideas. And, so far, the momentum has been easy for me to pick back up from these video snippets.

Find your simple capture system for when the ideas come in inconvenient times. Then make sure you can rekindle the spirit from your capture, and that you can catalogue them and find them later, when you're in need of inspiration.

The keys to perseverance:



Capture & Retrieval.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2014/08/cutting-deep/

Introduction: Letters to a Young Artist
Letter One: Letters to a Young Artist in the Digital Age – Your Personal Creative Cloud
Letter Two: Vocation and Passion: Letters to a Young Creative Artist
Letter Three: Sing At the Top of Your Range
Letter Four: Focus Yourself: Cutting Away the Distractions
Letter Five: Creative Energy: Finding and Maintaining Your Daily Juice
Letter Six: Cutting Deep to Find Your Genius
Letter Seven: Perseverance and Habit: This Creative Morning
Letter Eight: Stop Talking: Do The Work, Don't Talk About Doing It
Letter Nine: Get Into Your Mess: Cleaning Can Be a Distraction
Letter Ten: Opening to the Poetic In Your Life: Poetic Listening
Letter Eleven: Paralyzed By Opportunity: The Firehose of Ideas
Letter Twelve: Survive & Thrive: First Find Your Congregation Within
Letter Thirteen: Solitude and the Artistic Temperament
Letter Fourteen: Pointing Your Arrow: The Artist's Way to Happiness
Letter Fifteen: The Creative Impulse: Easy to Contain, Easier to Kill
Letter Sixteen: Artistic Depression: There's Nothing Romantic About It
Letter Seventeen: The Portable Artist: Creativity On-the-go!
Letter Eighteen: What Will You Make Your Life About?
Coda: Love Money Ambition: Finding Your Sweet Spot and Career
Appendix: Writing a Plan for Your Future – A Career Path Template (Downloadable)

supportive references:

image: creative mornings, fillipo podestá creative commons usage