40 Days- By Joy DiNunzio

I joined Facebook in 2006 following the birth of my first baby. The timing was perfect, Facebook would serve as my connection to the outside world when physically being outside just wasn’t in the cards that day. A welcome addition to fill those tiny little windows between diaper changes, feedings, and countless walks around the inside of the house to soothe a fussy baby to sleep.

Nine years after joining, I decided to give up Facebook for Lent. I won’t speak about my knee twitch as a result, or the audits by my husband and kids to check on my commitment as they walked passed me sitting at the computer.

I will share what I first thought was a negative, which actually turned into an unexpected positive. It was on day five of no Facebook I realized I simply shifted the time I would have been on Facebook to other social media sites and this absolutely troubled me. I was questioning whether I should have just given up social media all together for Lent. That was until I started learning something completely new that interested me every day. I had know idea the ride I was in for and the learning experience it turned into. Please allow me to take you on my 40 day social media adventure.

Twitter

I’m putting myself out there letting you know I had a rather eclectic list of people I followed since ’09 on Twitter *cough…maybe a Kardashian sister, maybe Ashton Kutcher.* I decided to embrace Twitter differently after learning how it could be used for personal learning and did a little Spring cleaning. Within Twitter I’d only ever been an observer, never an active participant. After watching YouTube Twitter tutorials to get tips on Twitter mechanics I was on my way. Since my clean up I’ve spent time on the pages of and been inspired by people I admire professionally, started and continue to increase own PLN, created lists within Twitter to enhance my experience, participated in my first #bcedchat, and signed up for Hootsuite and TweetDeck to visually help me navigate.

Instagram

Re-activated. Noticed my first post was about 154 weeks ago and last post was 123 weeks ago. If I can remember that far back I stopped posting because I didn’t see the benefit of posting the same thing to two social networks with the exact same audience. Becoming active again has given me the unexpected pleasure of connecting with my family’s younger generation who embrace Instagram over Facebook. Being the ripe old age of 39 I’m careful not to like or comment too much on their pics, not looking to cramp their steez. Yup, I just said steez. I do very much enjoy the simplistic no frills format of Instagram, telling a story primarily through photo.

Pinterest

I have mixed emotions regarding Pinterest. Similar to the ocean tide coming and going, this would be me on Pinterest. I’ll visit and start pinning. Shortly after that I’ll become completely overwhelmed with ideas and leave as a result. I spent these last 40 days on and off Pinterest creating new boards, cleaning up current boards, and following new boards. I love that it’s just one more source to access for information or inspiration as needed. Pinterest is like that lifelong friend that you don’t talk to often, but pick-up where you left off whenever you connect.

Blogs

I’ve discovered some of the people I follow on Twitter also write a blog. If I visit a blog and enjoy reading it at first glance I’ll bookmark it and subscribe to be notified via email when a new entry is posted. It’s a pleasure to read other people’s thoughts within my PLN and beyond in an extended format. For me it’s great evening wind down reading. Not sure that I’ll ever dive into the world of regular blogging myself, but appreciate the opportunity to get my feet wet through Mike’s invitation to be a guest blogger on his. Thank you Mike!

YouTube

Exactly where have I been? Obviously under a rock since 2006 while the world of YouTube, YouTube channels and subscribing to channels has happened. Wow! Obviously I’ve visited YouTube before, but during Lent (ok, need to back this one up…since October ’14) I’ve discovered how I can make it work for me, both on a professional level and personally. I’ve found channels to subscribe to that I can weave into my workday and channels I’ve encouraged my kids to subscribe to as a safe online place to visit. I have a feeling I’ve only scraped the YouTube surface, the more I use it the more I’ll learn and I’m sure as my elementary kids grow they will teach me a thing or two, or three.

Resources in my own backyard

I don’t need Wi-Fi to connect with my #1 resource. I’ve known from the start that the people I’m blessed to work with and see every day are extremely talented and have the type of wisdom that only comes with years of experience behind them. As Mike mentioned in his March 12th blog entry, everyone brings “unique gifts and talents” and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not inspired or learn by something or someone that surrounds me.

LinkedIn

Since I’m on a social media roll, lets throw LinkedIn into the mix. Apparently the third most popular social network, LinkedIn is primarily centered around careers. I really haven’t found any other use for it other then getting to peek into my friends corporate lives and keeping a connection with people I’ve worked with in the past. Perhaps I’m missing something, if this is the case would love to hear your thoughts.

Online safety

In the last 40 days one thing that shocked and terrified me was personally coming across many underage kids online that I knew and the amount that hadn’t activated any privacy settings. I pretty much spent my next full free day off setting up family sharing on all our family devices and adjusting accordingly all the child protection on any device my kids have access to. I understand activating child privacy settings doesn’t take the place of my own supervision of my children, but why not learn about and activate the tools that are provided that assist with cyber safety? It was a long morning of searching online to get myself up to speed on what I needed to do, even still I’m sure I missed things. Maybe even more importantly then the privacy settings is the continued dialogue that happens between my kids and I regarding online safety. Thanks to my at times overwhelming friend Pinterest, I have a coffee table charging station in the living room where all electronics are placed and plugged in nightly before bed. I’m thinking as my kids become teens the coffee table charging station will move beside my own bedroom nightstand for the eye at the back of my head.

Will I go back to Facebook? Absolutely. There are very important people in my life who live too far away to be able to see regularly. Our activity through Facebook makes it easy to connect. I will be adjusting my feed settings though, with a higher priority placed on the people who are my family and friends who I consider my family.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my recent journey. Wishing you a blessed and Happy Easter.

Exhibit A- By Joy DiNunzio

exhibit A

Saturday, March 14th brought the first Saturday of Spring break 2015. Operation staycation commenced with a piping hot coffee in hand after waking up and shifting into second gear rather then the typical weekday morning fifth gear. I took a moment to acknowledge the feeling of absolute euphoria as I gazed out the kitchen window watching the heavy rain drops hit the glass and bounce off with the type of spring like a tennis ball bouncing on cement. My focus shifts to the right to see my iMac, the lone item in our home literally screwed down to the surface it sits on. Two years ago our house was broken into. At 6pm we stepped out of the house, only to return an hour later to find every piece of electronic equipment we owned gone. Were we covered by insurance? Yes. Was there a back up to all of our data? Thank goodness there was! You better believe the first thing I did right after I took my replacement iMac out of the box was thread a chain link bike lock through a hole in the base and fasten it to the desk it sat on. Should we be met with an uninvited guest again the burglars biggest need will be wire cutters to get the job done, massive strength, and speed as it would be a little hard concealing the worlds first 55lbs iMac down the road.

I headed over to my desk and tore the big yellow post-it note placed strategically smack dab in the middle of my screen before bed, in huge letters “Spring break to-do’s” written at the top. You see I have a little confession to make, I’m guilty of being a life long list maker. The jury is still out whether I’ve decided if this good thing or a bad thing. My little habit started around grade nine. I remember feeling the excitement over not the unusual heavy amount of homework I had that night, but of sitting at my desk in my room eagerly removing all of my textbooks and binders in order to create a list. A list documenting what would be my first priority and so on. I have found list upon list in jacket pockets I haven’t worn in ages and know exactly what my state of mind was when writing them by my penmanship. My lists are not limited to handwritten, back in 2000 I bought my first Palm Pilot- the Palm V. What a beauty it was, although seamless syncing not so beautiful. That’s when I took the majority of my lists electronic. Should you accidentally come across my data stored on iCloud I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to find my folder named ‘Lists’ containing dozens of you guessed it, lists! You need a Christmas present list? Got it. You need a camping list? Got that too. How about a home emergency kit list? Doesn’t everybody?

My theory based on hunch is that people who are chronic list makers also tend to keep a highly detailed calendar. Exhibit A, our family calendar. Accessible by all DiNunzio family Apple devices with a hard copy of the current and upcoming five months printed and placed on the back of the kitchen door. I’m sure I could make a dollar or two if I put together a video clip showcasing the rainbow of facial expressions by any house guest who happens to stumble upon mission control for the first time.

My husband is cool as a cucumber. I consider us late if we are five minutes early, he on the other hand would be in the mind set that it is an entire five minutes that could be allocated elsewhere of his choosing. So what does a clock watcher, compulsive list maker, and borderline obsessive calendar keeper do when a ball drops? Back in November I was fortunate enough to snag two row five seats for the production of ‘The Next Step…Live on Stage’ at the QE Theatre. Now if you know any 9-year-old girl who eats, breathes, and sleeps dancing chances are you are familiar with the Disney Channel TV show The Next Step. The live show includes all the actors from the TV show. The tickets were given to my daughter *insert screaming daughters shrieks of joy here* for her birthday back in January. Fast forward to 6:04pm Saturday night, dinner dishes complete, kids playing in their room, and I’m online sitting at my desk while drinking a cup of tea. I receive a text message from a friend “Are you here yet? What row are you two in?!?!”. I’m pretty confident my next two eye blinks could have been recorded for speed into the Guinness Book of World Records. What day is it? Was it on my list? Has my old friend calendar left me? Somewhere along the line I had dropped the ball. Time to shift my feeling of pure horror and frustration and replace it with a little belly breathing and determination. We had exactly 25 minutes to get from Surrey to downtown Vancouver. If Santa can make it around the world in one night, I could most certainly increase the RPM’s on the old Dodge Caravan to rival Santa’s sleigh. Down Nordel Way, over the Alex Fraser, onto the connector, jetted at the Knight Street exit, sped through the Night Street bridge, scurried down King Edward, sharp right on Main Street, and travel up the Georgia viaduct. Even the birds flying in the sky were looking down with thumbs up, that’s until our world came to a screeching hault as we become parallel with Rogers Arena. That’s right folks, the Canucks game had JUST ended and exactly half the population of Canada was exiting the stadium overflowing onto the streets surrounding us. Wherever I turned was blue, blue Canucks jerseys everywhere traveling at a snail like pace. At that moment you could hear a pin drop in the Caravan. Still practicing my belly breathing, I turn and look at my daughter in the seat behind. We lock eyes and in that moment we both started laughing hysterically. This situation was out of our control and like a bee hive swarming its nest, words like Sedin #22, Beiska #3, Borrows #14, and Edler #23 were popping in and out of sight. There was nothing we good do but sit at the corner of Beatty and Dunsmuir and appreciate the moment, laugh at ourselves (ok…me), and people watch. In the end we found an amazing parking spot a block away, giggled as we held other’s hand tightly while running mock five down Hamilton, was greeted by the warmest theatre employee opening the front door welcoming us in, and felt a little extra special being ushered in the dark theatre passed screaming tweens everywhere down to row 5 a half hour into production.

As a mother and Education Assistant I don’t pretend to be perfect, one extremely important thing I can do is model appropriate reactions and behavior when balls drop. Rest assured while I was quick to excel on green lights knew getting my little dancer to our destination safely was more important then an unsafe lead foot. I dropped the ball on Saturday and know for a fact I will drop it again.

I never did find out if the Canucks won on Saturday. Anyone?