Monday, January 5, 2009

7 Things You Don't Need to Know about Me

Now I haven't been tagged with this Meme, but when has that ever stopped me from doing something. There are some great ones out there, so far my favorite are: Miguel harju & The Clever Sheep.

1) I spent the summer between my junior and senior year in college working on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs in their Information Security Dept. I lived at Columbia University and had a great time being a New Yorker (if only for 3 months).

2) My love of science-fiction and fantasy was ensconced at an early age. In fourth grade on the way to school every day we listened to the BBC version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It took almost all year. In fact, it was that anecdotal story while I was waiting for a job interview, that helped me get a job at a Video Game company - I was geeky enough.

3) I was one of the first girls to play little league in Winston-Salem, NC. When I hit a home run, my coach told me, "Well, if we had to have a girl, I'm glad we got you." This started my rally of girl-power. Although when playing softball later on, my Dad would yell, "You hit like a girl!" and I'd hit a home run almost every time :)

4)I'm an avid sports fan. I played Softball, Volleyball, and Basketball in High School - but settled on Softball as my favorite sport. I played fast pitch in a rec league year-round while playing slow pitch in school. I still try to play on rec teams while I can, and coached while I was teaching middle and high school. In fact, when I was in Baltimore I played for NCSU in the Capital Area Alumni Softball league. There is nothing like playing on the DC mall in front of the monument!

5)My mother is British and every-other summer we would spend it in and around Lancashire and Cheshire, England. It is amazing how much of an impact that has made on my life, and how grateful I am for the experience of seeing the world through another set of eyes (even if it isn't that far away). My grandmother was determined I remember how British I am. I'm pretty sure, that between regular British Club meetings and my dependance on tea she would be proud :)

6) I love TV and movies, and playing Trivia about them. The only problem is, I married someone that dislikes TV and most movies. However, my little brother and I have the exact same taste in all of the above (what can I say, he never had a choice about what to watch or listen to when he was younger!) I live by my Tivo! In fact, I made it to the semi-finals of Teen Jeopardy and went to the regionals in Texas. It was pretty cool to meet Alex Trebec, even if it wasn't televised.

7) I was the president of my Harvard Model Congress Delegation in High School. Since we represented North Carolina, this meant I was one of the NC Senators. Yes, I debated for a whole week as Jesse Helms in the Foreign Affairs committee. I also got to work on a bill about Internet access in libraries. It was quiet illuminating, and one of the best experiences of my high school career. Oh, and did I mention I signed his name - Jessie (with a heart over the eye :)

So go ahead and carry on the 7 things meme - with or without an invitation!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Facebook: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I've been "against" Facebook for awhile now. Some of this is due to privacy issues, as illustrated at, some is due to this issues our pre-service teachers have had with how public they are on Facebook, and it has a bit to do with the fact my brother (who was just starting university) said I should try it and I told him it looked, well, useless (and I can't allow my brother to be correct now can I ;). However, my research is on Social Networking and I do quite a bit of it outside of Facebook, so why not take the plunge! The original idea was to keep Facebook my "personal" space and keep using this blog and my twitter as my "professional" space. But as we all well know, world's collide and I have just as many "professional" friends on facebook as ever. But I believe I will still try and keep my world's a bit seperate. I'm pretty sure my friends from high school don't want to know the latest on PLNs :) But so far, my thoughts on Facebook can be summarized as:

The Good
The interface is nice and clean. It's easy to find friends and groups. A good deal of the Social Networking System (SNS) research notes that most users connect to people they already know. In fact one of the first SNSs was - so I'm not surprised to see alumni groups so popular in Facebook. It was great to connect with old school mates and distant family members. The photo sharing capabilities are top notch - with tagging people the most useful (and potentially harmful see The Ugly).

The Bad
It has been difficult to determine whom to friend and whom not to friend. How much do I share with my professional life of my private. There are also some very chain letterish things such as "gifting" to others, etc. The good news is that with a host of FB privacy settings, you can keep your info almost completely private.

The Ugly
There are still some things you can't control. If someone tags you in a picture and their FB page is public - so is that photo of you. If you don't want that picture up there, they have to take it down. I also have issues with the advertising. Now some of the side advertising is pretty harmless, but I have issues with the advertising that is made to look as though it is apart of the group page. There were sevral times I clicked on somethig thinking it was FB related, when it went to a completely different site. I can accept that they need advertising to run, but don't try to trick me into it.

All in all I have to say that my FB expereince has been overwhelmingly positive. I've enjoyed connecting with old friends, and am glad to have a place that is similar to twitter, but for the more personal side of me :)