I feel that it is just as important to re-ogranize your house as it is to re-organize and evaluate your online presence. I have spent a bit of time doing just that throughout December and January. Culling through my Feedbin account and removing blogs that I was no longer reading as well as sites that hadn’t posted anything in over a year.
I have also done the same with my Twitter account. I had over 700 people I was following and I have now reigned that in to just over 300. I’m streamlining. I’m trying to keep things simple in order to be more productive and not have such a digital crowded space. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing!”
We live in an interesting world. The times they are a-changing’ as Bob Dylan once wrote. Not all that long ago, you used to have to think about something before you could verbalize it. If someone made you angry or sad or you were annoyed by something, you told it to your pillow, to your bedroom wall or to your diary. Everyone I knew growing up had rules about being on the phone and so you couldn’t always call a friend to chat about something.
In today’s society with the onslaught of social media, people vent their feelings all of the time. There is no thinking about something, it’s just put there. Now I am guilty of this myself as once my sister and my baby niece were flying home and their flight got cancelled and then cancelled again and the airline was neither helpful nor supportive. My dad was on the phone trying to help her, her husband was on the phone trying to get her help as well and we weren’t getting anywhere until I took to Twitter, funny isn’t it? They won’t pay attention to someone they are talking to on the phone but one derogatory (honest) tweet and they were being a bit more helpful. I know on occasion I have also have commented on the rudeness of men on my train. I still find it shocking that gentlemen seem to be disappearing at alarming rates. These men fight to get on first, pushing past female passengers and rarely do they offer to get up and give their seat to a female passenger or person in need. So I’m not perfect either in my use of social media.
In saying all of this, there are times however where I think people abuse their use of social media. Case in point and I won’t mention names but there is someone I follow on Twitter, who had quite a temper tantrum the other day. They were having a whale of a time ranting away, wishing ill will on someone, hoping something terrible would happen to their ex, complaining about their life and how they were stuck in a certain place. After they called a fellow tweeter a B— for commenting on their negative tweets, it moved into a realm of ridiculousness. What this person needed was to have a time out.
Now maybe it’s just how I was raised in the South, but airing your dirty laundry in public is just so tacky! The pros of where we are right now with technology is the capabilities to be able to communicate with people any time anywhere, the downside of where we are right now is the same thing. No one has that cool down period. If it’s in your head or on your lips, you just say it. I think we need to work harder as a society to not do that. Gone are the days of letter writing by which you had to think out your thoughts through pen and paper. As my grandpa always said if you have something negative to say, write it down, think about it, if you still feel the same way the next day think about it some more and if you still feel the same then send the letter. we have no thinking through period anymore, no cooling down period, that seems to have vanished.
This idea was mentioned about two months ago in a New York Times article, The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter. It is all to easy to use social media as a quick outlet for our feelings, but think before you speak, because you just might regret what you had to say and you can’t easily retract those thoughts!
Well, I am interrupting my Spring Break to step on to my soap box. It is not often that I use this space to do that, but today, I feel warrants it! I have come home to visit with my family over the Easter holiday and I was so very lucky that after spending time with my sister and 7 month old niece, the two of them travelled with me to see our Mom and Dad.
Yesterday, my sister and niece headed back home to Virginia and spent the entirety of their day in the airport. Now, I know this is nothing new, being a frequent traveller, I have had this happen many a time, I am sure many of you have had that happen. One flight after another cancelled, delayed. No one wants to tell you what is going on, a string of inconsistent reports, grumpy people all around.
My sister’s flight was delayed by over 4 hours and if it wasn’t for the only kind gentleman at the gate she would have been delayed a lot longer, but he got her on a flight. She was guaranteed to be on her original flight connection from Chicago to Virginia. However when she arrived the flight was delayed. That delay went on and on and on.
Now, here’s the thing, my sister doesn’t care to fly, she was on her own with a baby and carrying all the things a mama has to carry and you can say what you want, I am sure some people are rolling their eyes, they have been there done that, well, that might be true, but this is MY sister and niece we are talking about it and they are two of the most important people to me, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else has or hasn’t done, my focus was on them.
Her husband and my dad were on the phone with United Airlines trying to help her, because no one at the United counter was. My mom and I were doing what we could from the computer. She finally got on a flight, after spending almost 5 hours in the airport, with one spare bottle left for the baby, both parties exhausted but trying to keep their spirits up. And if you saw my niece, your spirits would always be lifted. She has the kindest little soul and she is such a happy, well loved little baby.
I know that 5 hours does not seem like a lot of time, but my sister had only packed 3 bottles, she was supposed to have a quick turn around. She had planned for a bit of extra time, but not almost 5 hours of extra time with a little girl who at that time would have already been home and in her bed.
My sister and niece were blessed to sit next to an angel who just kept talking away to them; while her husband drove over 3 hours to the airport to pick up his girls since they had been rerouted. I am blessed, I have a wonderful family. I am also blessed that not only do I love the person that my sister married, I truly like him as well.
As a trained Jedi, he knew what needed to be done and picked up a case of water and extra formula and packed extra bottles. He also had an intuition that after almost 5 hours in the airport that United Airlines would not manage to get my sister’s luggage or the baby’s carrier on the plane, because that would have been too easy. So, he went to pick up a new one. Well, he was RIGHT. The airline had lost my sister’s luggage and the baby’s carrier.
Another unexpected expense added to their trip was the purchase of a brand new baby carrier. What if they weren’t able to do that? What would have happened? They couldn’t legally have driven a baby home on their laps for a 3 hour car ride. United Airlines could have cared less.
You know, a lot is happening in the world right now. People are working harder then ever to keep their jobs, to keep a roof over their head, to put food on their table. Any business, I don’t care how big or how small you are, should be honoured that you have a patron. You should care for that patron. Where has the art of customer service gone? Where have simple acts of decency gone, where a young mother would have been helped, where the airline would have done everything for her to make things smoother. Where they would do anything for a passenger to make things smoother. Unfortunately, you are at their mercy and they are fully aware of that.
Our prayers were answered that my sister and niece landed safely. My niece made the trip smoothly, as this was only her second time flying, we all were praying she would do well. My sister the excellent Mama she is, thought on her feet as all good Mamas do and kept everything just ticking along for her little love bug of a baby. But, what she endured yesterday, well, in my book there is just no excuse for. United Airlines did nothing. I did something I wouldn’t normally do, I took my soap box over to Twitter to air my views.
The best United Airlines could do, was send me the link to their Customer Service page. I wanted more. It is my baby sister and niece they were in charge of caring for and I was not impressed. I know they have thousands of individuals to deal with, yet each should be treated like they are the only ONE, that is the art of customer service.
As we become more and more machine orientated, as the art of conversation and letter writing begin to disappear, I hope that there are a number of us who continue to fight for politeness, decency, kindness, strong values and standards, people to people customer service and care. We should not forget our humanity. We should not forget to commit random acts of kindness. We should not forget to care for each other like we would want our own loved ones cared for. We should not forget the art of customer service.
I’m stepping off my soap box, thanks for listening.
When I was in College, they installed one of these in our Art Department. It was there on a trial basis to see if something like this would work! Well, we all loved it! What is it? It is a refurbished cigarette machine that sells art instead of cigarettes. I adored the fact that in keeping with the style the design was still very much the “old cigarette case” look, that very 1960’s-esque edge to it.
I don’t know if they have changed this part or not, but we had to use a special “token” to get the art out. You handed in your money to the Art office and received a chip that you would use to collect your chosen piece.
You really had no idea what was going to be in the boxes. The images used to “describe” it, was either just the Artist’s name or a very brief line, like, “man in a box”. You didn’t know what was going to pop out and that was half the fun. There was all sorts of things from mini oil paintings, to a book of photographs that told a story, to miniature statues, sometimes it was just typed text that had been pasted down and decorated.
I love the idea of “Art for the Masses”, and I mean this in the best possible sense. Not mass produced cheap art, but the Andy Warhol idea of mass production, in the sense that you were creating 20 or 30 of the same thing and quite possibly something to never be created again, but for $5, everyone had a chance to own a little piece of Art. It made it accessible and Art should be accessible. (I know I stray here a bit, in that Andy Warhol was mass producing to make a point about Art, but I think you get my point as well.)
I have the very lovely Sherry to thank for tweeting out this pic to me, it made me smile!
If you don’t already follow this gal through twitter, you certainly should, she is a sweetheart! Thanks for sending me this image, Sherry!
I have finally joined the world of Twitter this weekend and I am trying to figure it all out! If you tweet, please hop on over and give me a shout out! You can follow me @JenniferMichie
Hope every one is having as sunny of a day as we are in London, I hate to go back into work, it is one of those days where your feet need to carry you off into the words and find comfort in the rush of a cool stream with the sand wiggling under your toes!