I am one today- guest blog by my daughter

I wrote when I was at the half way point, and now I that I have completed one full year of being a little person, I figured I must write again. It’s been a whirlwind, I have been so busy. Here are some highlights of my extremely busy year:

  • Mamma and appa are the center of my world- I see them everywhere and thank god for that. They wear many hats- personal chefs, transporters, entertainers, and the best pillow in the world. 
  • I see both sets of grandparents all the time- they are my partners in crime, always playing with me, taking me for walks, and singing. 
  • I have my own gang of friends- sure I can’t actually recognize them but we play and pull hair, grab each other’s toys- you know the fun stuff! 
  • Mamma and appa took me around all the time, we met so many friends and family. My favorite place is india- I love the ceiling fan and bright colors, neon signs on roads, the bikes, trucks, and all the excitement while driving around.
  • I am recently very mobile- I crawl everywhere and fast and I can walk holding furniture. Life is just so much fun this way! I can now reach phones, remotes, and coffee cups, I can run up the stairs before mamma catches me. Oh the joy! 
  • Food is more adventurous- I have pasta, pulao, sambar but my favorite dish is yogurt. Mamma says my tambram genes are strong, not sure what that means! 
  • I enjoy my snack time too- bread and butter are my new favorite along with apple and pear Porridge (fruit kesari). 
  • I still love swimming and my newly discovered favorite place is the playground. I love the swing, the feeling when the wind hits my face ūüôā 
  • I still don’t like to sleep- such a waste of time. And when I do sleep, I would love to sleep on mamma or appa, who needs crib or their bed, when you have the best pillow ūüôā
  • I want to be a part of conversations so I am talking all day long! Not sure if anyone understands, but sometimes they repeat what I say so it does look like they do! 

As I round up the month of celebrations, I am glad for everything around me. Thanks for reading! 

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Facebook and happiness

Welcome 2014!

One of my reflections as 2013 drew to a close was that I have not been writing as much this year- it was a rough year and I guess I wasn’t as inspired. So this year I vow to write more- in fact my third one in a row!

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This post is more about my observations on social media. I am not a huge party person: in the last 3 months, we went out for my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year with some close friends- nothing too crazy! I put a few pictures on Facebook of each event- maybe 2-3 pictures. But as I called some family and friends, somehow they were under the impression that I transformed to a social butterfly- nothing wrong with that, just that it is not true!

As I thought about that comment, I looked at my profile closely. I realized I only post about stuff that is happy- when I have a good time with my hubby or friends. The only moderately unhappy posts are about weather- I am not a fan of winter!

This year was rough, with ankle surgery and unintended consequences of ankle surgery- knee cyst that now needs to be operated. In fact in my own words, this would have been my most challenging year. But I consciously avoided posting about all my negative emotions- I have seen some of my friends do it, and it just made them sound whiny.

This made me wonder- does the control of our Facebook lives impact others?

If I think deeper on why I don’t post my negative emotions, I think it i primarily because I don’t think anyone would like or interact with it. I mean who would like to react to “I am having the worst year, I hope it will be 2014”- it sounds like I am trying to get attention, and have friends say why, what happened, etc. And if it doesn’t happen it might make me feel no one cares. It is reassuring to post a picture of you having a good time, and have 10-20 friends like it- it makes you feel better about yourself.

One of my single friends quit Facebook when she turned 30 because her feed was full of wedding and baby pictures. Though she didn’t feel she was missing out on much, watching the Facebook feed made her feel inadequate. I understand that sentiment- every time I see pictures of my friends travels, I felt a slight tinge of envy because we haven’t been able to go for the last 2 years.

There are several papers linking Facebook usage to lower self esteem. Part of the reason for the lower self esteem is because people would like to show themselves in the best light. Most of us can now use Photoshop software to cover blemishes, airbrush ourselves and show our most perfect self on our profiles. Editing out our negative emotions and showcasing our best days makes our life look perfect and almost unrealistic!

This article covers the same topic and offers a comprehensive perspective. Link: http://www.wbur.org/2013/02/20/facebook-perfection

My brother captured it in one simple line: “Facebook profile is how we want to world to see us, Google knows what we are really thinking!”

So I can’t help wondering how much does our Facebook profile really tell us about our friends?

Facebook Friend Types

After 5 years on Facebook, I was thinking about how of my friends list, there are some typical behavioral patterns on Facebook. There are some active users, some relatively inactive- but with the active users, there are some trends you could immediately recognize. Once I started thinking, I could identify 5 types (thank you some ecards and your ecards for capturing my emotions so well!):

The “I post a picture every meal”

Somehow some of my friends think I am interested in knowing hat they eat everyday for lunch, dinner and dessert. And there is always the title to the picture, ‘Delicious’, ‘Decadent’, or ‘Need to go to gym tomorrow’. Good for you, but on a day I haven’t gotten to dinner, do I really need to see a picture of food and feel hungrier?

The “I like every message ever”

Doesn’t it feel creepy to have a friend ‘like’ not just every picture, status update that you put up, but also your other conversations with other friends. It is particularly funnier when they don’t get the conversation but try hard to understand what you and your friend are chatting about.

The “I like to rant about my life- breakups, how lonely I am”

I get that break-ups are hard, but to over-share that with the world just seems needy- I feel like people often do it so someone will ask them what happened, and they can vent. I would rather call a friend and discuss it one to one, than put status messages to show how lonely you feel or how angry you are with the world.

The pregnancy and baby over-sharer

I am happy when my friends get married or are pregnant, but there is such a thing as too much information. One of my friends keeps putting weekly pictures of her developing body following her pregnancy and puts up her ultrasound pictures, puts up all her cravings and shopping for her upcoming baby- it’s all a bit too much information and she hasn’t had her baby yet. I can only imagine how many baby pictures my news feed will be bombarded with- I hear¬†Facebook¬†has a button to hide such news feed, I am actually excited to hear about that button! I love to share your joy, but at some point it feels like its far too much information!!

The game requests addict

You send me a request for Farmville-I block it, you reply with Castleville-I dodge that, you send Cityville-I get mad but I dodge that too, and then you send me Birthday Calendar- I GIVE UP! Almost like a constant reminder that you don’t have a life, you keep sending me more and more requests. If I want to play any of the villes, I will find a link and do it- your requests won’t influence me!

Are there any other friend types you can think of?

Why did you do this Apple?

I was your most loyal customer. I have always defended you whenever there was a discussion about Apple iPhone v/s Samsung Galaxy  I touted your strengths to everyone.

So when you launched iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, I was excited, I expected the most sophisticated and user-friendly refinements. After all, Paul Krugman touted the phone to increase GDP by 0.5%- that is genuine excitement! But what did you do?

  • Google Maps– I am not the most geographically aware person, so when I am lost Google Maps is my friend. When I clicked the Maps symbol, there was I didn’t recognize. I realized you have taken the map I know, and put one I couldn’t figure out. I was in shock- how could you, after all we became so used to the maps, almost addicted to it. I read more about your maps and found very hilarious posts about how tragically inaccurate it is.¬†Link to one of the funniest posts about your map debacle:¬†http://nickkwock.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/wrong-turn-in-ios6/. You don’t have data on what subway to take, and I don’t drive. More tragically, since there is no Google Maps app, I am literally lost since I don’t trust your maps anymore.
  • YouTube– Next up, I heard about the Gangnam style and searched for¬†YouTube¬†icon I had moved to the first page of my phone for easy access, but shock and disbelief as I cannot find it- You uninstalled it and I had to re-install. You would think it is not a big deal to re-install, but as an iPhone user I am used to having things on my phone sorted so I can find it easily. So when you change things around, it is very unsettling!
  • Facebook– I turn to Facebook to see my familiar friends pictures and posts, but I keep getting interrupted with notifications to sync my phone with Facebook. I am confused- are you trying to get access to phone number contacts, pictures that I don’t want to put on Facebook, put random contact’s birthdays in my calendar? You keep insisting it will improve the performance of Facebook, but I don’t believe you.

I know you have some good features- I actually like the ‘Do Not Disturb’ functionality, the Passbook app does look¬†intriguing- to be able to digitally store tickets, coupons and gift cards- but can it make up for all the things I don’t like.

I was considering the iPhone 5, but with the changes in iOS 6 and the fact that you have changed the cable (so if I do get it, I have a 100 unused cables!), maybe it is not the right time for us!

Facebook stalking!

I was at a wedding last week, and an uncle approached the groom’s mother, whom he has never met, and mentioned that since his daughter and the bride are friends on Facebook, he glanced through the pictures of their family trip in July.¬†The groom’s mother had the look of shock and confusion, but the whole incident got me thinking on how invasive Facebook can really be in social contexts.

I could potentially find out your school, pet peeves, music choices, music tastes, pictures, the friends who reply to your status updates, etc etc all in a matter of seconds. Moms, dads, even grandparents are slowly finding their way around Facebook, as a networking tool.¬† It’s almost scary to imagine my parents being my friends on Facebook, and reading through the ridiculous messages we write to friends. I see cousins, uncles, my friends’ parents, as well as my parents’ friends sending me friend requests, which I find rather absurd, and I have to go about managing my security settings so I don’t have to deal with uncomfortable questions later.

And the more scary part to me is, people don’t look at it as invasion of privacy, they think it’s perfectly ok to admit to cyber stalking. Lots of companies openly admit to reading through potential employees’ networking pages as a past of their due diligence before hiring, I know people go through the pages before blind dates and other dating situations.¬† I am not saying I am any better, I go though my long-lost school friends’ pages to see what they are up to, but I am not sure if I am willing to own up to it!

Are you a Facebook stalker?