Ecalloway's Blog

Blog established for Social Media class

Weekly #12: Lessons Learned

This will be my last class blog entry ūüė¶ Sad I know. The question for this week was: Was exploring social media this semester worth it? I’d have to answer yes, and not just because my professors will be reading this.

Social Media is a major part of our culture. Bloggers are being hired by major corporations, and I just read an article in Black Enterprise, how this 23 year is making $100,000 a year for tweeting for MTV. My social media class took me through a journey of twitter, TechCrunch, blogging, and much more. I read books that will only help me in my pursuit to create an amazing blog for cash and I navigated the themes, widgets and over all aesthetics to my very own ECalloway blog.

I’m now aware that every picture I find on Google isn’t for my blog (copyright laws) and YouTube videos are free game (hence my excessive use of DMB YouTube footage). I still have quite a way to go before I become a social media expert, but I’m well on my way.

When I think about what social media will look like in a year or even 10 I’m think of something futurist. Like the touch screens system used in the Matrix (think Zion command center) or the Jetsons. If Moore’s law is accurate than social media will be 4 times as fast in 5 years and still free. I’ll be looking to my nieces and nephews to be the social media gurus on what’s hot and how to navigate through it.

This experience has been quite fun (despite the heavy work load) and even though there is no escape from social media and connectivity (Think Hamlet’s Blackberry). I’m currently happy to know I can tap,tap,tap anyone…anywhere.

Personal #3: What else do I love – How Bout DMB!!

In my opinion Dave Matthews Band (DMB)¬†is the Baddest Band in the Land!! I’ve been a loyal DMB fan for 8 years and counting. I was introduced to DMB through my sister Betsy. She was a huge fan and during a 8-hour drive to Toledo, Ohio she played nonstop DMB. As I listened to songs like Crash and¬†Proudest Monkey¬†I was amazed by the mastery of the instruments. The entire band¬†has¬†multi-instrumental abilities and made the original group of 5 sound like 15.

I was blown away when I first heard Boyd Tinsley on his electric violin during¬†Ants Go Marching, I had to listen to the track twice. After the road trip, I didn’t seem to mind listening to DMB but I still had not been converted into the huge fan I am today.

The transition came during my first DMB concert. It was Betsy’s birthday and my mom planned¬†on surprising her with DMB tickets for their upcoming¬† concert in Maryland. My mother and I¬†felt confident that we would get great seats for the DMB show. Little did we know the DMB concert¬†would sell¬†out in MINUTES (Like they do to this day). When we reached the front of the line – approximately¬†10 minutes after tickets went on sale, we discovered that the show was completely sold out. I was amazed. I thought, “Who was this band that had the ability to sell out an entire venue in 10 minutes?” My mom was able to buy tickets the following day for a DMB show in Philadelphia and that is when I became a DMB fan.

During the concert I was mesmerized by the connection the band displayed. They enjoyed playing with each other and at times it¬† felt like I was privy to a private concert in their studio. One in which they were challenging¬†each other artistically. It was the best concert that I had ever seen and I knew I would see them again… and I have.

This year, I’ve seen DMB in Virginia, Chicago, and London. I streamed the live footage in NYC on Fuse…it was Awesome. I even heard a new song on Fuse.¬† Sister.

In 1994, Matthews’ older sister, Anne, who lived in South Africa, was murdered by her husband. The event had a drastic effect on Matthews’ outlook on life and was referenced in a few of his songs (such as “Shotgun.”)¬† Dave Matthews Band’s Under the Table and Dreaming, released later that year, was dedicated to her. ¬†Anne Matthews was survived by her two children who, upon her death, traveled to America, where Dave and his younger sister Jane took responsibility for their upbringing – his sister is the namesake of DMB’s song “The Song that Jane Likes.”.¬†¬†¬† -Dave Matthews – Wikipedia

If you follow my blogs you know I love my older sis, so no surprise, You and Me is our song ūüôā Because I Heart Travel, I’ve seen DMB in Maryland, DC, Philadelphia, NY, Chicago, and London. I’ve been to more than 12 shows in less than 8 years. Thinking back to my Eagles Fan blog, I’d have to say that yes I’m a fan. A TRUE DMB!!!

If you’re not a Dave fan here’s the Cliff Notes:

Original Band Members:

Friends of DMB:

Response #3: I Heart Traveling

 

I love travelling, I¬†love traveling too¬†and Around the World¬†¬†describes the last seven years of my life. You probably won’t be surpised by my next five words, but…I¬†love, love, love¬†¬†TRAVELING!! I’ve been to Spain (my favorite),¬†Italy, Switzerland, France, South of France, Sweden and more¬†ÔĽŅÔĽŅin the last five years. I’ve lived in London (my adopted home), Conneticut, Harlem and Brooklyn, NY along with Maryland in the last four. For me traveling is an essential part of my life. To say I love traveling is a bit of an understatement. I prefer to say, I love life.

 

A key ingredient in my¬†life, is travel. Life is everything that travel means to me and everything travel brings out of me.¬†I love¬†the curosity of visiting someplace new and experiencing a new culture; the beauty, history, and tranquility that can often be found in travel. I enjoy the meeting of new people and discovering new places. Most importantly, I love the feeling I get when I deplane in a new country/state for the first time. My head and eyes are constantly moving, taking note over everything (colors, kiosoks, people, advertisements…everything). During the ride to the hotel, my eyes stay glued to the outdoors, taking in the visuals of the city. It’s in the first day that I generally fall in love with a new city, as my first full-day in a new place¬†is generally my most exploartory day.

I was 13 when I fell in love with traveling. Thirteen was a great year for me. It was the year of firsts for me. First time I traveled from Maryland to California, first trip out of the country (Hondrous) and my first international pen pal. Thirteen was life changing! It is the year I grasped the concept that the world was much bigger than Odenton, Maryland and the year I got bit with the traveling bug.

My Response:Grateful for my Health. The Gift of Giving

(Left to Right: Betsy Calloway and Erin Calloway)

After reading Social Revolution’s blog titled, Grateful for my health, I became inspired to write about my experience with my family’s health. During my sister’s freshman year of college, she was diagnosed with Focal¬†Segmental¬†Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) also known as kidney disease. While she was sick she went through many emotions but after acceptance came determination and positivity. Here is part of her story :

“I was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), which is a progressive kidney disease that will eventually lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). I was devastated, I¬†couldn’t¬†believe what I was hearing, and I¬†didn’t¬†believe it was happening to me. I was angry. I remember thinking to myself, I‚Äôm only 21‚Ķ21, how could this be?”

The first two years of my treatment were the hardest. We attacked the kidney disease full force. Due to illness, I had to drop out of college and go on disability from my job. Kidney disease was not the only battle that I was fighting. I was severely obese. At my peak, I weighed 348lbs. I under went gastric bypass surgery. By the end of 2005, I had lost a total of 160 lbs. Having the surgery was one of the best decisions of my life and it quite possibly helped save my life.

I am an example of what one person can accomplish through hard work, determination, a positive spirit, and allowing others to support and love you. I believe that you should not let a disease define who you are or dictate your life for you. You have to keep living; you have to keep pushing on. I experienced and lived through the whole cycle of kidney disease. My journey continues and the future looks good!

-Betsy Calloway

Imagine what you were doing at 21. Were you going to the club for the first time, enjoying your first legal drink, or playing beer pong? Betsy was 21 years old when she was informed that her kidneys were failing and only functioning at 40%. Apparently, her kidneys began to fail when she was a child, but since she suffered from childhood obesity the doctors attributed many of her childhood health problems to her weight and never tested her for kidney disease.

Did you know? Kidney disease often has no symptoms. Millions of Americans don‚Äôt know they have kidney disease. –¬†American Kidney Fund (AKF)

During my sister’s illness I watched her work full-time, while attending school, and fighting for her life with a smile on her face at all times. Only those that were close to Betsy knew her struggles, others were shocked – finding it hard to believe that someone could have such a positive outlook while on¬†dialysis 3 times a week, taking over 15 types of medication a day, and visiting the doctor regularly for blood test. Betsy was determined to beat kidney disease and on¬†December 21, 2007, I donated my right kidney to Betsy. It was the greatest gift I could give to anyone¬†especially my best friend.

Social Revolution’s blog post, emphasized the fact that you should appreciate your health because there is always someone who is in a worse position. I agree with this statement and would add that there is a lesson or experience to be gained from every trial in our life. Though it may be difficult to interrupt the lesson during the time of struggle, if one is patient, obedient, and grateful the lesson can be learned.¬†Today Betsy is thriving, taking good care of my kidney and giving back through her non-profits, ¬†Kidney Kare 4 Youth & Adolescence, founded in 2008 and¬†Neighbors United. Both organization are geared towards improving the lives of the community through awareness, opportunity, and education.

Betsy’s story is not¬†alone. There are millions of men, women and ¬†children suffering from kidney disease and childhood obesity. Becoming an organ donor is safe and easy. It’s a gift that brings life and in my opinion the greatest most selfless gift one can give. Through my gift of my kidney, Betsy has been able to encourage others through her story. To find out more and what you can do to help join ¬†Neighbors United¬†Facebook page.


Personal #2: Strip, Pole Dance, and Burlesque Your Way into Shape!

Burlesque Aerobics, Striptease Aerobics, and Exotic Aerobics are some of the new exercise trends in the ¬†U.S. I’ve heard about these new aerobic trends, but hadn’t tried any until today. Today, I took my first burlesque aerobic¬†class and began to discover why this new form of aerobics is becoming so popular.

During my burlesque class we practiced a few “Betty Boop” moves, like the classic Betty Bop hand over your mouth move. ¬†We were told to be sassy, confident, and tap into our inner sexy. We were given props like boas and fans to help us maximize our sexy. After class I decided to¬†re-familiarize¬†myself with Betty Boop, see why her moves were used in my class. I saw that though Betty was a cartoon, her look was classic, mixing the big sweet eyes with the sassy seductive legs and lips. Though a cartoon, Betty made sexy look effortless and fun.

I believe this to be the reason exotic aerobics has become so popular. Every women wants to feel beautiful, sexy, and confident in an environment that is¬†nonjudgmental. Individuals get tired of the same gym routine and dancing aerobics like Zumba and ¬†exotic aerobics gives us ladies a fun new way to work-out, have fun, and shed some pounds. What started out as a way for Sheila Kelley (creator of S-Factor strip workouts) to drop some baby weight, has turned into a national¬†phenomenon (it’s a phenomenon when Martha Stewart is pole dancing!). You can head to your local gym (Bally’s/Crunch) with your 6’inch heels in hand wearing the outfit that makes you feel the sexiest and get a great one-hour workout and not be judged by your peers. It required me to take a class, to fully understand why this whole exotic aerobics has taken off, but after I did it I understood…It’s about self-confidence and fitness. Sadly I’m not very rhythmically inclined, but I had a ball today, worked up a sweat and felt good. Next class…the pole.

 

Response #1: Eagles Fans Unite

The Philadelphia Eagles are #1 in that dance video and currently #1 in the NFC East. For this reason and that fact that I’ve been inspired by my classmate’s E-A-G-L-E-S blog post, I’ve decided to blog about the E-A-G-L-E-S!

In my family you’re either an Eagle fan or you’re disowned from the family. Harsh, I know, but my uncle Ernest Calloway was drafted for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969 and when I was born, I was¬†automatically¬†made into Eagle fan. Like Jessie, I also have a baby picture in an eagle outfit before I could even walk.

As I read Jessie’s blog, I wondered – “What makes a true fan?” Following this thought, I began my Google search and ran across a Bleacher Report, written by Jack Shore. Shore defined a TRUE fan as simply, “They just need to feel what the team feels and believe with all their heart that their team will win.”¬†Is this enough to be considered a TRUE fan – believe in your team and feel what they feel? Though I liked the sentiment, I decided to keep searching.

Next, I stumbled upon an old (2002), “Rules for Being a Fan” blog posting from ESPN. Surely ESPN would know the real guidelines that define being a fan. The article stated rather amusing rules for being a fan like:

  • If you’re attending an NBA game, don’t wear the jersey of a team that isn’t competing in the game.
  • Don’t wear cheap-looking replica jerseys or flimsy-looking bargain-basement hats. Come on. You’re representing every fan from your team. Show some pride.
  • It’s also OK to wager against your team, if they’re hopelessly out of the playoff race. But only then. And only if you don’t make it a habit.
  • Once you choose a team, you’re stuck with that team for the rest of your life …

Though¬†Bill Simmons‘s article was meant to be funny it validated Shore’s main point. A true fan shouldn’t have to abide by a set of guidelines. A true fan just wants to see the game (live or on TV), represent his/her team (w/ cheap¬†paraphernalia or authentic), and feel that¬†adrenalin¬†rush whenever their team is playing. Of the two fan theories, I think Shore had the right idea. It matters not how many games you attend, or how much paraphernalia you have. It’s about supporting your team when they have the best or worst record in the franchise. Feeling the excitement during a close game and the disappointment during a loss. I’m a die hard Eagles fan and though I don’t have much¬†paraphernalia¬†and I’ve only been to two games, I watch them religiously, celebrate their wins (Redskins massacre) and mourn their losses.

Weekly 11: E is for Egypt

Today I began browsing Global Voices. Global Voices is an international community of bloggers who write blogs about social events from around the world. I decided to browse the the county Egypt because I’m planning a trip there in 2011 and thought it would be interesting to see the topics Egyptians were discussing. I began my search with no specific expectations regarding my findings, just curiosity. What I found were blogs of various topics from, free Kareem (Abdel Karim Nabil an Egyptian law student arrested for blogging) to social media protest against Vodafone for an ad that Egyptian felt mocked a historic scientist.

While reading, Egyptian: Wanna be a Bride,¬†I reached my moment of clarity —¬†we are all the same despite our country of origin. What is the difference between “Wanna be a Bride” and “The Bachelorette“? Yes. I can¬†guarantee¬†the¬†TV¬†series of the Egyptian version of “Wanna be a Bride” will not be as racy and sexual as the American version of “The Bachelorette,” but it’s telling the same story. A story of one person’s pursuit of happiness and in the process entertaining thousands even millions.

Now I’ll admit, not all of my blog searching was spent on amusing blogs, such as “Wanna be a Bride”. Though I enjoyed the amusing blogs I was seeing on Global Voice I quickly noticed that I wasn’t finding many blogs which focused on Egyptian political issues or daily life. It was almost as if the real Egyptian voice had been silenced. I did discovered a blog on police brutality and one on a working treaty to grant access to the use of the Nile. However it appears that the Global Voices bloggers are aware of the severe punishment for¬†openly criticizing the¬†Egyptian¬†government, therefore many blogs were light hearted and did not focus on some of the more¬†sensitive subject matter that has happen or currently happening in¬†Egypt¬†.

If you watched the YouTube video posted on this blog, you’ll see that there is a new voice emerging in Egypt. It’s the voice of a new generation that has found a way to use Facebook and blogs to ignite a movement. In the U.S. online¬†anonymity¬†is frowned upon, but in Egypt anonymity is essential when creating a voice of change. Facebook and blogs has given many courage and despite the repercussions they are determined to retain their voice.

Weekly #10: Giving Thanks

I love Thanksgiving. It’s a time to come together with friends and family and be thankful for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. I love the mounds and mounds of food and I love especially love just laying around the house watching football, playing cards or board games, and lastly watching movies with the family. Clearly, family and friends are a big part of my life so in 2010, I can honestly say the website I’m most thankful for is Facebook!

Facebook is my favorite site for keeping in touch with friends and family. Through Facebook I’ve been able to connect with lost high school friends, view pictures of friends and family, engage in community football/award show banter, and I even caught my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend) cheating! Really what could be better?

At first, I was hesitant to create a page on any social networking site, I felt like if I created a page anyone could access me and that felt a bit scary. In 2007, I finally caved to the peer pressure of having a Facebook account and joined. I found the experience instantly addictive. For the first few months I seemed obsessessed with looking through pictures, and¬†accumulating¬†friends. The Facebook MMOGs, gifts, and applications never interested me too much, but the idea of staying connected to my old boss in London or my co-worker who moved to Singapore is what kept me coming back, it’s what makes it “sticky” for me.

Facebook is about connecting. I know Facebook is expanding daily but I’m still in love with the basics of Facebook (wall, photos, events, and news feed). As I begin my new internship with non-profit Neighbors United, ¬†I hope to¬†integrate¬†Facebook and other social networking sites into their organization. Then maybe, I’ll begin experimenting with the many apps Facebook has to offer. For now…I’m just thankful that in seconds Facebook allows me to connect with my 500+ closest friends.

Weekly 9# Before Judging a Gamer, Ask Are You a Gamer

Last night I played Second Life for the first time. It reminded me of a chat room from the early 90’s but now users could create virtual versions of themselves and travel to new locations and even engage in recreational sports. I found creating my Avatar to be the most time consuming and exciting because I had to select a name, dress it and though I knew I wouldn’t be a Second Lifer for long I saw how quickly I was drawn into the game.

This experience got me thinking; what percentage of Americans are considered gamers? When I discovered that 53% of adults had engaged in some form of gaming either online, offline, or on their cell phone it made sense. I thought about the amount of time I spent playing Nintendo Wii, Guitar Hero, and Bejeweled and recalled how easy it was to pull up Bejeweled while on the train during my commute home, or play rock band with the family for hours.

This recollection reminded me that gaming is fun. It passes the time, brings people together and even satisfies various need levels. ¬†Let’s exam Maslow’s Hierchary of Needs against gaming.

  1. Physiological: When engaging in an activity you enjoy, time is not a concern. For some gaming is like breathing or eating. It apart of their daily life and though they may not die without playing their favorite game, they may certainly go into withdrawal.
  2. Safety: Studies show online gaming and social interaction is often emotionally safer than face-to-face interaction. For those who have trouble “fitting in” in the outside world, gaming can be safe haven and a comfort zone for gamers.
  3. Love & Belonging: In the world of online gaming you can form a community brought together by a common interest. This community can satisfy a gamers need to be connected to another. For some the online connect can be stronger than an actual physical face-to-face interaction.
  4. Esteem: Achieving status in a online game can satisfy an individual’s self-confidence. This could be why people spend hundreds of dollars purchasing online gaming products, enhancing their online characters and building up their online persona.
  5. Self-Actualization: Knowing who you are is the peak of Maslow’s pyramid. Defining your position in the online world is time consuming, taking hours investing in your online game. This need for self-actualization could be why Second Life has Real Estate Tycoons and Four Square has Mayors of establishments.

Before writing this I thought gamers had too much time on their hands and completely against online gaming. After thinking about it, I realize more than half of Americans game in some shape or form. Gaming is an acceptable pass-time, like going to the movies or watching tv.

Personal #1: Best Buy Error Equals Customer Responsiblity

I love Best Buy. It’s a wonderful world of gadgets, what’s not to love? They have televisions, computers, music and movies and oh yes…warranties that if coded inproperly become the customer’s responsibility.

Last year I purchased a beautiful Sony Cybershot camera from Best Buy. Like all of my other electronics purchased from Best Buy, I requested and purchased a 2-year full-coverage warranty. I felt secure knowing that if anything ever happened to my camera, I’d be covered. Well, when my camera fell last week and the screen cracked I wasn’t worried because I had my security blanket, my extended full-coverage warranty would protect me. How naive was I?

When I took my camera to Best Buy, the Geek Squad technician informed me that I was not covered for incidentals only technical damages. I told the technician that she MUST be mistaken because I specifically requested the full-coverage warranty and was told all the benefits of the warranty by the sales rep, so I’m sure I have full-coverage. After reviewing my receipt the technician told me that the sales rep had probably made a mistake in the “coding” of my warranty and that I should take my camera back to the original store and have them resolve my issue. Great customer service, go somewhere else and have someone else resolve your issue…Just go.

At this point I requested to speak to the manager. What help that was. The manager told me that Best Buy was not responsible and I would have have to pay for the repairs. I asked the manager how was I suppose to recognize the error until now, when I’m actually trying to use the insurance. To this I was told that the technical warranty was “DSC BTP” and the accidental warranty was “ADH”…WTF!!!! Who, other than a Best Buy employee would know the coding for the various Best Buy warranties? To the average person like myself, when you ask for the warranty and your receipt has an additional charge with 2YR next to it, you assume that it’s the 2yr warranty you requested…would you not?

So what to do now? I’m thinking of taking a page out of Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody book and start a Best Buy movement. I’ve contacted Best Buy and addressed the issue on their Facebook page and community forum page and now will wait (semi patiently) for a response. If my issue is not resolved I will create a blog to address the poor customer service I’m receiving and create a forum for others to log their¬†dissatisfaction¬†with Best Buy. I’ve began researching complaints against Best Buy and with a simply Facebook posting and Google Search I’ve found that Best Buy is not the Best when it comes to addressing customer warranty complaints. With over 500 Facebook friends and according to Dunbar’s number at least 150 who will listen, I feel confident in my ability to start a movement. With the holidays approaching, millions in revenue to be lost in bad publicity and a community of online unhappy Best Buy consumers, I’m ready for battle.