Tech

Plenty Of Fish: Works For Me!

You may remember a while back, I interviewed my friend D. who had jumped into online dating. Using both paid and unpaid services, she was getting dates and meeting people. I’ve been watching from the sidelines, admiring her courage but myself a little hesitant.

It could be that spring is in the air but I thought I’d finally give online dating yet another shot.

I wrote my online profile on PlentyOfFish, uploaded a photo, and waited. (As a side note, turn off the photo rating option on your profile if your self-esteem is at all shaky. People apparently expect a lot these days!)

The initial response was lukewarm. I got two e-mails, one asking if I design websites (aww, using me already?) and one simply saying “yer cute” and that’s it. Not quite what I was hoping for.

I looked at my profile again a week or so later with a more critical eye and realized that while I sounded really nice, I also sounded kind of boring. I tapped into my slightly wacky side and rewrote. I then got 7 responses in 24 hours. Plenty of fish indeed!

A few dates into my great social experiment, I met a nice young man that I am now dating. For the moment we’ll call him John, since that is his name and he’s ok with me using it.

A few words of caution from my most recent stint in the trenches:

1) There are some weird people out there, on free and paid services. While most correspondence has been nice (if gramatically incorrect), I got an email that would make most men apologize for their entire gender about two weeks ago. (It was quite graphic and inappropriate.) Just hit “block” because just like in real life, you don’t have to correspond to anyone you don’t want to.

2) You shouldn’t have to convince anyone to be with you. No chemistry? It’s fine. I feel like I have a lot to offer and not a lot of time or energy to chase people who don’t agree. Keep putting yourself out there and eventually you’ll get chemistry on both ends.

3) Don’t be too nice. Ok this sounds counterintuitive but everyone out there is “a nice girl looking for a great guy who likes to be outdoors and cuddle while watching movies” or “a great guy who’s tired of girls who play games” (plus that last one makes it sound like you have issues with the ladyfolk i.e. is a big red flag to me).

Under interests, I put such things as “avocados”, “social media”, and “dogs with short legs”. Yes, it’s great to be nice but if you are selling yourself on these sites, you need to stand out from the crowd. Just like your high school English teacher taught you, show don’t tell. “On the weekends, you’ll catch me biking around Acadia National Park because I do love those hills!” says a lot more to me then “I like biking.” That said, don’t go on and on. A couple paragraphs should get people interested; let them ask you the follow up questions.

4) Just try it. Did you know one out of every eight married couples met online? Trust me, the stigma against this is almost completely gone. There are so many people on these sites, why shouldn’t you be one of them?

Oh and if you have some good online dating stories that went bad, at least you can contribute them to this fine website that my friend Mel and I are trying to start. One way or the other, you’ll get something out of online dating!

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Time’s Ten Ideas Changing The World Right Now

Thank goodness for breakroom magazines and the people who bring them in. I don't know what I would do for entertainment without them, you know, apart from making fun of my coworkers.

Along the same vein as Newsweek's list-o-cool-things earlier this year, Time has come out with their shorter though slightly more in-depth list of 10 things changing the world. Unlike every other "coolest things ever" list, Twitter was not even mentioned (gasp!) but there were a few cool ideas in this article.

The number one idea changing the world according to Time is "Jobs Are The New Assets". Here is the opening paragraph to set the scene:

Spam-museum Remember when jobs weren't worth your small talk? Think back a year or two. Picture yourself at a cocktail party or maybe picking up the kids from soccer. How did the conversation go? You talked about your house. A new deck! You talked about your portfolio. Gotta go small cap. Did you mention how much pleasure you derived from bringing home a steady paycheck? Probably not. "Land was valuable, and capital was valuable, and labor — who cared?" says David Ellison, a Boston-based money manager. "The attitude was, As long as I buy a few homes and invest in a hedge fund, I'm done. I can sit in my chair and watch football games."

In short, people now have to work for their money. I'm not really sure what world Time has been living in (probably an upper middle class, slightly Republican one maybe) but I think a lot of people already know this and have known the joy and need of a paycheck for awhile. Our jobs are not necessarily who we are, which I think a lot of us can attest to, but they have been a necessary evil all this time, if only for the health insurance and to keep us from watching too much television all day. (See yesterday's post about not knowing what your friends do for work if you think our jobs are really critical to who we are.) But in general people are much less likely now to whine about or leave their jobs then they might have a few years ago.

The most interesting and hopeful point on this list to me was actually number two "Recycling the Suburbs". Rather than creating whole new structures, repurposing abandoned malls and superstores make so much more sense. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but the malls and superstores are already located near where many people live, and making use of space near where people already live makes sense. I mean, anyone who has the vision to turn an old Kmart into a Spam Museum is pretty fantastic in my book.

So, heck with Time, what's changing your world right now?

Read the article…

Time's Ten Ideas Changing The World Right Now

Thank goodness for breakroom magazines and the people who bring them in. I don’t know what I would do for entertainment without them, you know, apart from making fun of my coworkers.

Along the same vein as Newsweek’s list-o-cool-things earlier this year, Time has come out with their shorter though slightly more in-depth list of 10 things changing the world. Unlike every other “coolest things ever” list, Twitter was not even mentioned (gasp!) but there were a few cool ideas in this article.

The number one idea changing the world according to Time is “Jobs Are The New Assets”. Here is the opening paragraph to set the scene:

Spam-museum Remember when jobs weren’t worth your small talk? Think back a year or two. Picture yourself at a cocktail party or maybe picking up the kids from soccer. How did the conversation go? You talked about your house. A new deck! You talked about your portfolio. Gotta go small cap. Did you mention how much pleasure you derived from bringing home a steady paycheck? Probably not. “Land was valuable, and capital was valuable, and labor — who cared?” says David Ellison, a Boston-based money manager. “The attitude was, As long as I buy a few homes and invest in a hedge fund, I’m done. I can sit in my chair and watch football games.”

In short, people now have to work for their money. I’m not really sure what world Time has been living in (probably an upper middle class, slightly Republican one maybe) but I think a lot of people already know this and have known the joy and need of a paycheck for awhile. Our jobs are not necessarily who we are, which I think a lot of us can attest to, but they have been a necessary evil all this time, if only for the health insurance and to keep us from watching too much television all day. (See yesterday’s post about not knowing what your friends do for work if you think our jobs are really critical to who we are.) But in general people are much less likely now to whine about or leave their jobs then they might have a few years ago.

The most interesting and hopeful point on this list to me was actually number two “Recycling the Suburbs”. Rather than creating whole new structures, repurposing abandoned malls and superstores make so much more sense. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but the malls and superstores are already located near where many people live, and making use of space near where people already live makes sense. I mean, anyone who has the vision to turn an old Kmart into a Spam Museum is pretty fantastic in my book.

So, heck with Time, what’s changing your world right now?

Read the article…

Technology In Education: A Discussion With Jim Burke

Holy Technology! week continues…

One of the most technological people I know is someone who is actually doing a lot with education. Jim Burke is the Western Maine MLTI Mentor/Coach, a position he's held for the past 4 years. He blogs about technology and education at Learning In Maine. Previous to that he was a district-wide technology integrator for 2 years. And prior to that, he was in the trenches a classroom teacher for 32 years in the Oxford Hills School District.

Jim lives in the village of West Paris, within walking distance to the general store. He two grown daughters; Jessica, a physician in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Melissa, a stable manager at Iron Spring Farms in Pennsylvania. When not immersed in technology, he enjoy gardening, community theater, carpentry, fishing, and being a jack-of-all-trades at my local church.

I continue to be interested in education and to think about how technology is changing it.

Your blog Learning In Maine really tackles technology in education in such a community way that I don't often run into online. How much time do you spend keeping it going? 
I think community is important, Nicole, and physical community has certainly taken a hit during my lifetime. I'm not sure online communities replace that, but they seem to be what is available and  certainly do open up the world in ways that I couldn't have imagined 20 years ago.  The concept of the LIM blog was to have a place where many writers would share their thoughts and suggestions on learning, with a focus on Maine.  While passionate writers like yourself and several others have made wonderful contributions, I've been hoping many more would jump in.  Be that as it may, I've certainly enjoyed testing my own ideas and finding connections with so many others. 

I think you would agree that to grow a site, you have to  post often. I average about a post a day.  Sometimes that translates into several a day.  Sometimes when very busy with other work, I might miss several days.  Nevertheless, it is important to try to keep it current.  Again, the idea is to connect people with what is happening statewide and beyond.

What's one technology that teachers you work with seem to be really embracing? 
I firmly believe that a tool used by busy teachers needs to be simple and user-friendly.  There are many of them out there!  When the tool gets in the way of learning, then it should be reconsidered.  Many teachers are now using wikis to open an online presence.  Many are using  online web 2.0 apps such as Voicethread.  I encourage the use of Google apps even though many schools still block those sites.Teachers are pragmatic . . . they'll use tools that they can depend on.

If you could make every teacher and student try something out, technologywise, something that you think would change their lives, what would it be?
Gosh, Nicole, there are so many possibilities.  There are some extremely powerful tools on the MLTI laptops, such as GarageBand, Sketch-Up Pro, and iMovie.  As far as online tools, my personal favorite at this moment is the Ning make-your-own social network.  I think it could be a "killer-app" for the classroom!  I certainly would be making use of it if I were still a classroom teacher.

Some older teachers must be reluctant to use technology in their classrooms. What are some ways you help them come around?
There has to be a good reason to use a new technology.  It has to serve a purpose, be dependable and engage the teacher and students.  Like just about anything else in education, it is important to connect at a personal level.  In my work with teachers, that is what I try to do.

What do you see as the next big thing in technology and education?
I'm not much of a prognosticator, Nicole.  Lots of magic out there.  I see incredible developments almost every day.  I see the multi-touch tablet notebook/netbook to have great possibilities.  Imagine being able to sculpt the screen.  Seems to me that adds a whole new level of participation.  The semantic web, what some call web 3.0, will certainly take us to a new level as well.

Will we become enslaved by technology or empowered by it?
This question occupies my thoughts perhaps more than it should.  Perhaps it is because of my age, but I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Where is it taking us?  I think we all need to keep asking questions and not just accept blindly what comes down the road. Neil Postman explained better than I can in "Informing Ourselves to Death" http://www.frostbytes.com/~jimf/informing.html and Jason Ohler gives us some sub-questions to ask http://www.jasonohler.com/resources/handouts.cfm.

Adventures In (Free) Online Dating

A friend asked me last week about being ready to date again and to be honest, I don't think I really am. I do know someone, however, who's really putting herself out there in an admirable way on free online dating sites.

Because I want her to be candid with her answers, I'm interviewing her anonymously.

Which dating sites are you using?
Match, Yahoo Personal, PlentyofFish, OKCupid, DowntoEarth

Which one is working out best for you?
PlentyofFish has been good, but once I was on that it seemed that Match started to work too.

Have you ever used any of the pay sites before (like Match, eHarmony, etc.)?
I am on both Yahoo Personals and Match, mostly because i was unaware of the newer free sites. A few years back when I was last single I used Match so that's what I knew about. There is also LavaLife but that site is not a good for this part of the country.

How do the free sites compare?
I like them, I actually think that I like them better. But when I was online earlier today I found out that PlentyofFish has a paid aspect too…. called a Certified Member. Paying to have your membership prominently displayed can help get people's attention (it works like any featured listing).

What are some "green lights" that you're looking for when you see a profile? Green Lights include people who state that they have what I am looking for. Some big things are people who I find attractive, age, location, family, wants children, non-smoker, and people with the similar interests.

What about "red flags"?
Smokers, people with partial nudity in photos, people who don't want kids, people with no photos.

What advice would you give to someone who's considering online dating?
Do IT! its a good way to get to meet people. Be open to meeting people. If someone asks you out and you are somewhat interested…. GO! If you are uncomfortable meeting someone go to a place you are comfortable, like your favorite restaurant or coffee shop where you know people and meet for lunch during a work day. This way you can keep it short and simple, and if you click then make plans to meet again.

Ah, technology, making our lives more interesting everyday!

Cell Phone Etiquette

The third post of my Holy Technology! series this week only.

So I once went on a date with a guy a few years ago and he stuck his cell phone on the table… with it still being on. It was like I was on a date with both of them. Yikes.

It was in part this need of constantly being connected (at least some people) that made me hold out on getting a cell phone for so long. Then I sat next to a guy on the plane to Vegas last year and half of our 5 hours of conversation was on the subject of cell phones and what they meant to our society. He convinced me I was being an old fashioned ninny (not his words) and I finally broke down and got one.

I now love to send little text messages to my friends and calling them in spare moments when I know they're free too. But may I put a few rules out there that I think everyone should follow?

1) Turn off your cell phone whenever you want to give your undivided attention to someone or something, whether it is your date or the meeting you are attending.

2) Give anyone who acts annoyed about not being able to reach you instantly a reality check.

3) If you have to have a more then two minute conversation, please duck somewhere private. Oh, and not the bathroom.

4) Chuck out all these rules if you are, say, an emergency room doctor or waiting for an organ donation.

Please share any additional personal rules you have or even funny situations you've experienced related to cell phone manners (or lack thereof).

Way more rules about cell phones to forward to clueless friends…

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