Category Archives: #Twitter

You Are The Weakest Link. Goodbye.

Alright kids, gather round. Today we’re going to talk about the ultimate burn in this day and age: being de-friended on some sort of social media. I originally wrote this back in 2009 when I swear I was the only person in my friend group with Twitter and things like Instagram didn’t exist yet. So let’s focus on Facebook because being de-friended on Facebook sucks every bit as much today as it did in 2009. I’m not really sure what the pre-Facebook equivalent would be. Being picked last for the kickball team? Someone not returning your calls? Being completely ignored, kind of like the episode of South Park where Cartman thought he was dead? Anywho. Let’s get on with this.

To de-friend someone on Facebook is basically saying “I never want to see you again. I want nothing to do with you. You are dead to me. I am cutting you out of my life completely.” Once your former lover/roommate/best friend de-friends you, your updates will no longer show up in their news feed. They won’t be forced to endure status updates, pictures posted, or Farmville notifications. But Author, what if somebody is just cleaning out their list or really doesn’t give a crap about your engagement photo shoot? Nowadays, there are ways to hide that stuff! I have plenty of people on my Facebook that post a little too frequently about their kids’ potty training that I selected to hide their updates. Also, you can hide updates from games and other things. The best part is that the other person doesn’t know you selected to hide their updates whereas if you de-friend someone and then they go to look you up for some reason, they are suddenly VERY aware of this de-friending.

Personally, I have only felt compelled to de-friend people on two occasions in my life. The first was a completely normal occurrence. Remember when Facebook was for college kids only? (Man, I’m really dating myself here.) And the best moment of your summer before freshman year was getting your college email address so you could get Facebook (or as it was known back in the day THE Facebook)? And how many random people you friended that were members of “FALL INCOMING CLASS 200X WOOOO!!” Yeah…well…after I finally arrived on campus and realized that I wasn’t actually going to be friends with all these people who I had told about my down alternative comforter and flamingo string lights, I did a little cleaning. Understandable? Yes. If you don’t know the person in real life, you can delete them. During Spring Semester, I became friends with a kid that was in one of my new classes and he actually CALLED ME OUT ON IT. He was like “Well we were Facebook friends and then you de-friended me.” Ummm…today is the first day I met you?!? But sure enough, when I checked my OLD messages, I had found out that months and months before this, we had gone back and forth about how his building was closer to the dining hall than mine. Real friendship right there. Sigh.

The other time I de-friended someone was later in my college career. I was having a bit of a stalker issue and it got to the point where I didn’t want him in my life anymore. I was doing a great job at avoiding him in person, but he would always make snarky remarks via Facebook AND he had started friending my friends to talk to them about me. I was young and at the time didn’t realize how serious the whole situation was so I simply de-friended him, thinking that MAYBE he’d take the hint. He didn’t. Instead, he re-friended me and included a little message. I don’t remember it word-for-word anymore but I’m pretty sure thought it was awfully rude of me to remove him from my friends list. I’m sorry. I didn’t like when you Facebook messaged me twenty times in one day. At this point, I had to take it one step further and block him. I had never blocked anybody on Facebook. At this point in time, my blocking knowledge was limited to AIM. I’m assuming it worked because I never heard from him (at least on Facebook) again. Also, I can’t search for him. So it does go both ways. That’s alright. I can live without his creepy/emo status updates.

So readers, what brings you to the point of having to de-friend a person? Did your break up leave you in your pajamas for a week with only your good friends Ben and Jerry for company? Did your best friend steal “yo man”? Sick of looking at somebody’s ugly mug? Or…more grown up problems…are you sick of hearing about somebody’s upcoming wedding EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.? These ridiculous situations always make for great stories, so put yours in the comments and get ready for tomorrow’s post!

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I apologize for basically having two book review entries in a row, but I wanted to somewhat keep up with the #SAchat Book Club.

The book for the month of July was “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink. The book talks about how motivation has changed along with the type of work being done in modern day and age, but many companies and employers are still treating employees like it’s the industrial revolution. I’ll be honest and say that I was not the biggest fan of the book. Last month’s selection had some sort of plot and was much more an “easy read” than this months. I’ve mentioned earlier (or at least in my page about the books I’ve read) that I’ve just come off what seems like a lifetime of assigned readings. This book read like something from grad school – lots of theories being mentioned. I wound up skimming many sections. Luckily, I found the video below that summarizes the main points of the book nicely and even includes some of the anecdotes that were enjoyable to read.

Some things that stuck out…

Near the beginning of Chapter 2, there is an excerpt from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer about how Tom basically tricks his friends into painting a fence for him by making them think the work is fun. Basically, Tom HAD to paint the fence, so to him it was work, but his friends didn’t HAVE to, so they thought it was fun. This makes me wonder if I can “trick” my RAs into thinking some of the more mundane tasks of their job are fun. I don’t think there is any one person on this earth that likes every single aspect of their job and my past RAs are no exception. Some love planning and hosting programs and meetings. Others enjoyed making floor decorations. I can only think of one RA off the top of my head who enjoyed being on duty. Maybe two. Ironically, both are pursuing careers in law enforcement, but that’s a different story. Anywho. There are many tasks that RAs HAVE to do, but how can I make it feel more like play and make it something they WANT to do?

Another section mentions using fines to make daycare parents come get their kids on time. In theory this should work. But it didn’t…once the parents knew that there was a fine in place, they knew what would happen. Before the fine was in place, the parents did not know the consequence of not picking up their child on time. Now that they know, they aren’t “afraid” of the consequences. I have worked at schools where students were fined for a variety of infractions. At one school, students were charged if the common spaces on their residence hall floors were excessively dirty. In some halls, students were made aware of these charges at the beginning of the year whereas some just knew that they would be fined without knowing the amount. The halls in which the students knew how much they were being fined (or had already been fined once and therefore knew the amount) tended to be dirtier because they knew the amount was not much and that, heck, if they were already paying the school $10,000 for the semester, what’s another $10 charge? One of the things I am nervous for in my new job is that the RAs are fined if they do not have the required number of programs, post the required number of bulletin boards, etc. While many of the RAs are RAs because they like the job or need the money, I am worried about that small percentage who might think, “pay $$ or post a bulletin board?” and then opt to just pay the fine. If I see that this is a problem during the academic year, I am going to have to show this part of the book to my supervisor to encourage her to come up with alternate sanctions for RAs not meeting administrative requirements.

One part I made sure to make note of was three practices for getting your employees to do simple, routine tasks. This is something I’m going to use with my RAs, especially on some of those tasks mentioned above. Here are the three very important practices… 1. Offer a rationale for why the task is necessary. 2. Acknowledge that the task is boring. 3. Allow people to complete the task on their own.

Another idea I am very much in favor of is ROWE – Results-Only Work Environment. Basically the idea is that you can work whenever as long as you get your work done. This does not apply to all lines of work, but could definitely apply to some degree in student affairs. There’s not really a comp time policy at my current institution, so it is understood that you are here all day in the office and then attend whatever events you need to in the evening and for X days per month, be the on call person. I knew coming into the profession that I’d be working more than forty hours a week, but there will be certain times of the year where I’m going to be overwhelmed and I believe as long as I’m doing the things I need to be, I shouldn’t need to be just sitting at my desk during traditional working hours. There have been times where I am not doing much at this desk, hence how this blog was born.

At Google, employees get 20% of their working time just to create something new. So many projects we use today have come out of that 20 percent…GMail, Google News, Google Talk (which we all call GChat). I’m sure Google+ came out of that, but I still don’t believe people really use it. While I can’t think of much of a use for it in my office, I just thought this was interesting because of  how many of the services my friends and I use.

I really enjoyed the “Take a Sagmeister” section.  Every seven years this guy closes his graphic design shop and takes a year off. His reasoning is that he’s just taking the time from his retirement and enjoying it when he is physically able to. As of 2008, the average person stayed with an employer for just over four years. While I don’t think I can be taking any full years off any time soon, once I get loans paid off and my life in order, maybe taking a full year off in between jobs wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world? I’m glad I’m hearing about this idea now when I am starting my career and can possibly plan for it, rather than finding it out when I’m forty.

One thing I appreciate is the amount of freedom that I have now compared to when I was working in retail where every minute had to be accounted for. I also thought back to my days as a student employee in admissions. The secretaries that supervised us when we helped with data entry, filing, and mailings probably hadn’t heard the three practices for routine tasks. I knew why we had to be doing many of the tasks and I certainly knew they were boring, but I never heard any of them acknowledge it. Also, we were definitely not allowed to complete the tasks on our own. They implemented a headphone ban sometime during my first year. For the life of me, I could never understand why I couldn’t listen to my iPod while stuffing tons of envelopes.

I definitely can see how the concepts in this book can apply to individuals that are higher on the food chain than myself. I think that’s maybe another reason I did not like the book as much as last month’s. It’s less applicable to my own life. I can see some improvements I can make in the areas where I supervise and advise, but I do not have the authority to make institutional changes…yet.

So while this wasn’t my favorite book, I have been reading many more books and I will continue to post book reviews and I’ll even make sure to space them out. Maybe I need to start updating more often…

Any readers out there read “Drive” for either higher ed reasons or in another profession? How did you apply what you learned from the book into your workplace?

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The Unlikely Disciple

The first book I read as part of the #SAChat Book Club was “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University” by Kevin Roose. I definitely enjoyed reading this book, as it was interesting to see Kevin’s transition, as well as read about the events happening to him, at his university, and in the larger world and how all of that affected “Brown Kevin” and “Liberty Kevin” and later, how those two identities merged.

I was excited to read this book from the moment I read that it was going to be a part of the book club. I am always interested in learning about experiences that drastically differ from the experiences that I had as a student. I had a few friends from high school that wound up going to religious colleges and since I was at a school with very few rules, I was always shocked to hear about the rules they had to follow – only certain hours they could have guests, what they were and were not allowed to do in their free time…very different than the free-for-all I had! Overall, I enjoyed this book. It read like a story, which was a nice change of pace from all those theoretical texts I spent the past two years reading.

This book really made me think about the similarities and differences between schools. We always hear that each institution has it’s own culture, and yes, the four I have worked at have all differed to some degree, but the culture at Liberty University is completely different than anything I’ve seen before. Like Kevin, I had an image in my mind of what Liberty was like and what the students who went there were like. I imagined the students to be like none I had encountered before. To some extent, I was correct. Many of the students said they liked the rules because they prevented the students from sinning. The students pray a lot. When one student was about to face disciplinary trouble, his friends prayed for him. I don’t think that is something I have witnessed, either as a student or an administrator. While I have heard of students doing missionary work during spring break, I usually thought of those trips being to impoverished countries. Not places like Miami Beach where “sinful” students are partaking in “sinful” activities. But that’s where they went…not to join them but to try to get students (and locals) to “know” Christ.

At the same time, outside of the modest dress and church services, these students are very much like “typical” students. They goof off in their dorm rooms, they talk about things going on in the outside world, they tease each other. The boys want to date the pretty girls on campus but what they do on those dates is what sets them apart. Basically, they’re still students, they still have fun, and I would be a very happy person if more of my students understood that fun exists in other ways and shapes than drinking and partying. Students who don’t like the strict rules in place at Liberty University (or a similar religious institution) aren’t likely to apply or attend this type of school.

Kevin’s visit unfortunately coincided with two major events in Virginia. The first was the Virginia Tech shooting. This was an event that affected everybody involved in higher education and plenty of people outside of it. Students at Liberty quickly gathered to pray for those affected by this senseless act of violence. At first, Kevin was upset because while prayer was helping his friends and classmates, he was still questioning why this had happened. Later, Kevin was “fuming” because a student compares the deaths from the shooting to abortion. This is one instance of many where Kevin knows that his classmates are good people, but they their strict interpretation of the Bible before everything else and say things that Kevin completely disagrees with.

The second event happens at the end of the semester. After Kevin returns to his room from a final, he finds out the news that Jerry Falwell has been taken to the hospital where he later died. Many students on other campus do not regard their campus leaders the same way Liberty students did Jerry Falwell. I don’t think Kevin would have felt it as much as he did, had he not interviewed Dr. Falwell just days prior to his death, which had made Falwell seem much more human to Kevin. Ironically, the whole situation reminded me of the end of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” in which Hogwart’s Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, dies at the end of the term. I say ironic because Jerry Falwell was probably one of those Christians against the Harry Potter series.

Eventually, I had to step back and stop looking this as a series of journal entries and start looking at it from my new position as a professional in the student affairs world. This isn’t one of those books where I can say “Now how can I make my RAs…”. That’s fine. I’m pretty sure I have a few of those on my reading list. This book gave me a better understanding of a religion I am not very familiar with. Waiting until marriage until your first kiss? I thought that was something only a select group of people (the Duggars) did, but reading this book I found out that there is a much larger population that follows the Bible a little more closely than most of the Christians I know. I also wondered what it would be like to work at such an institution. I remember during some of my graduate courses hearing about interview questions about your faith in God and Jesus and I couldn’t imagine being asked something like that! Then again, I remember interviewing at some Catholic colleges for assistantships and they were very clear in the interview that I would need to follow some of the same rules as my residents – my boyfriend would NOT be able to stay over. I guess working at an institution like this is similar to what I said about being a student – if you don’t like what’s going on, you’re not going to apply.

In the end, I think it’s a good read. I’m not mad that I spent my time or money on it. It gave me a good look at a different type of institution and I think this might also help if I have extremely conservative students as residents or if a student one day transfers from Liberty to my institution to be closer to home or for some other reason. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I missed BOTH of the discussions for this book. My supervisor had said she was going to read it, but I don’t think she got around to it. If anybody out there read it, leave some comments about what you thought!

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#SAChat Book Club

Last month, the Student Affairs Collaborative announced the first and second book for the Summer 2012 #SAChat Book Club. As I have mentioned previously, I like reading and now that I’m not being forced to read by professors, I’m excited to read books that interest me. Reading books is definitely a form of professional development and the type I can afford! So I decided I’m going to participate in this book club.

The first book was The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest Universityby Kevin Roose. The discussion was planned for a little over a week after I read the announcement, so I quickly downloaded it onto my nook. I’ll write more about the book itself next week. I was so eager to participate in the chat after I finished it. There were two scheduled. I unfortunately slept through the first one and then Twitter was down when the second one was supposed to happen. The second book is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. I’m currently waiting for it to arrive through my college’s inter-library loan system. I’m hoping it comes soon, as the discussion for it is next week!

I’ve been participating in #greekchat and #SAChat each week. I’ve mostly been watching and learning, but it is interesting to see different perspectives from different institutions. It’s something I plan to keep on my calendar for the school year. You can find me on twitter @collegeforeverr. Leave your twitter name in the comments so I can follow more student affairs-minded people!

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