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There is a routine I have in those free times when I turn on my computer. It is usually accompanied by supper or a bowl of Extreme Moosetracks chocolate ice cream.

The first thing I do is pull up my Outlook Express and get it started downloading my emails. Then I open a window of Facebook (more recently via Google Chrome) and log in. While that is loading, I open two more tabs and send them to Blogger and WordPress.

Facebook is a between times activity. When a separate page is loading, or between tasks, I go scroll through my friends’ status updates, commenting on a few of them. I check to see who is listed as “online” at the moment, but hardly ever start chats with them. If a friend wants to chat with me, however, I’m usually up for it.

My Blogger Dashboard has my blog reader listed on it, so I begin scrolling through recently updated blogs for any that look interesting. I always click on the first post from A Holy Experience. That beautiful site plays the most peaceful music in the background, a soothing atmospheric playlist that can repeat for hours without growing old. It is also one of the blogs on which I will read every post until I am caught up. The other blog for which I do that is my brother’s, Silence Spoken. We’re like best friends, so I know most of what he says, though his poetry is a removed perspective, a picturesque turn of words to express the big ideas in his head and heart. Usually I will go through and open all the eye-catching blog titles in their own new tabs, so that I can read them later.

My email takes a while to download, but by this time they should be viewable. I start by deleting the emails I don’t want: updates from Amazon.com, Avon, weather forecasts from the week prior, Human Events ads and articles that I get because they are kind enough to email me Ann Coulter’s articles each week. Then I start at the earliest unread email and begin reading. Most are little Facebook notifications: someone commented on my wall. Another person added a comment to a wall-post or status on which I had commented. Friend requests and acceptances. Every month or so I collect all these into a separate file for archived Facebook notifications. The best things to read are emails sent just to me by a real live friend. Life ponderings, prayers and prayer requests, encouragement, or invitations to get together, these are my computer priority, and almost always earn a reply.

Blogger and WordPress will tell me if I have comments to approve for my blogs. I’ll read those, post them, and reply to them. On Blogger I will check out their profiles and their blogs if they have any. Then I stick in my USB thumb drive to upload the blogs I’ve written during my breaks at work. You can observe for yourself how frequently this happens. Finally I check WordPress for my blog stats, to see which posts are the most popular and if there are any surges of traffic. My most popular articles are about auto warranty telemarketers, chivalry and romanticism, making grilled cheese sandwiches Sometimes I’ll get a hit on a post I forgot I wrote, and I go see what the post was about.

Next I open an additional Internet Explorer or Google Chrome window. I use that to do my projects. Maybe I’m going to search for some information. See if a book I heard about is at my library. Renew library items. Shop. Check my Etsy.com shop, Mi-Re-Do.com website, Googleads, or ebay. I like to download “Let My People Think” at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Maybe I’ll be researching for my blog or my business.

IMDB is the best website for information on movies and actors – unless you want to buy a movie, and then Amazon is the place. When I post book reviews, I post them to Amazon.com as well. To see a decent review of a recent mainstream movie, Plugged In is pretty good. They do have spoilers, and I don’t always agree with their assessments or interpretations, but they have accurate objectionable content evaluation. For Bible Study, I use Blue Letter Bible, which has multiple versions, an online Strong’s concordance that can cross-reference the Greek words and root words too. Del.icio.us is on my toolbar so that I can quickly bookmark any awesome but singular articles I find and want to remember. (WordPress’s widget allows you to see my recent tags on Del.icio.us.)

If I am bored or lonely, I will frequently refresh Facebook and go searching for more than status updates on my friends, looking through their new photo albums especially. The best are babies and weddings, followed very closely by scenic pictures of far-off lands. When inspired, I update my own status. It usually has to do with what I did that day, will do tomorrow, or have been thinking. For some reason movies make frequent appearances.

When it seems my favorite blogs have been insufficiently updated, when I am craving a good intellectual read or a warm, encouraging girlfriend read, I’ll go to blogs that have lots of links and start exploring. Carolyn McCulley often has good links. WordPress has a tag surfer feature to find like-topic blogs. Or I can search places like Ligonier Ministries or Boundless for interesting articles. When I find a blog I may want to follow, I do follow it, pasting its URL into my Blog Reader on Blogger. It’s an eclectic list, as you can see if you look on my Profile.

Before I turn off my computer, I refresh Facebook one more time and check for any new emails. Then I minimize any windows I want to keep open, close the rest, and put my little laptop into hibernation.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Facebook is a genius’ invention for back door communication.  Rather than asking a person what is going on in their life, you can:

  • Read their wall, and see what others are saying to them, who the others are, and where they are from. 
  • Refresh (F5) Facebook home page (when you’re logged in) constantly in order to track any comments, picture posting, poking that occupies your friends.  Oh – one of the best items on this is relationship status.  Apparently everyone feels obligated to confess on Facebook exactly how they stand with regards to a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse.  I believe the options are “single,” “it’s complicated,” “in a relationship,” and “married.”  If your status changes, Facebook is smart enough to tell all your friends, with a broken heart image if you go from being “in a relationship” to “single.”  If their significant other is/was on Facebook, Facebook even supplies their name.  Of course there is hacking, and teasing, and the disappointment when you think a close friend has started a relationship without telling you. 
  • Comment on a photo in which they are tagged.  This is very indirect, if you wish.  Only those tagged in the photo will be notified, and get the message. Incidentally, if a random friend has something funny, complimentary, or unflattering to say about a photo of you, Facebook will keep you informed. 
  • Become friends with their good friends, and observe all their comments on walls and photos. 
  • Send them a friend suggestion.  Anyone an enterprising matchmaker? 

More direct modes of communication via Facebook are:

  • Writing on their wall.  I like the public nature of this, so that your conversation is monitored and kept necessarily to the topics and style that can be public. 
  • Sending a message.  For the friends who never got around to giving you their email for one reason or another, you can look them up on Facebook and send them a message.  I believe you can send a message on Facebook whether the person is officially your “friend” or not. 
  • Using their contact information listed on their profile to email, IM, or call them. 
  • Write a note and tag them in it.  Unlike tagging pictures, in my experience tagging is an invitation to read your note. 
  • Poke them.  In this form of communication, your intentions and specific meaning are ambiguous.  Observe their reaction to determine their interpretation, which reveals how they think of you and what they want to think of you. 
  • Tag them in a photo.  At least this will let them know that 1) you thought of them, 2) you know their name, and 3) you thought their picture worthy of a place in your Facebook photo albums which are generally public, even to people (if there are such) not on Facebook. 

 Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you change your status on Facebook, everyone can read it. 
  • If you post to someone’s wall regarding their status, the wall stays and the status goes away. 
  • Applications (Superpoke, movie compatibility, bumper stickers, etc.) will almost always ask you to invite all of your friends, and even have every option imaginable selected as default.  Take the time to “unselect” the options you don’t want.  Pay attention to which options are mandatory. 
  • When editing your profile, if you leave a field blank, it will not appear on your profile.  So you can leave blank your politics or religion if you don’t want to get into it. 
  • If you care about security, you’ll probably decline displaying your full birth date or address.  If you’re paranoid you won’t have any profile picture; you’ll use an assumed name, and you’ll only add friends as “limited profile.”  Either way, be careful that you don’t give the same information away on Facebook by writing on someone’s wall or commenting on a photo.  Friends may even tag you in photos using your real name.  Forgive them.  It is hard to remember. 
  • Get your parents on.  It should up your friend count and makes them look cooler, which definitely helps your reputation.  If they never log on, does it really matter? 
  • If you are a parent, make your kids add you on Facebook (and Myspace) – and make sure they don’t have an alter-ego they’re really using.  Show up every once in a while and comment.  Don’t say anything embarrassing.  Try something funny like, “Dinner’s ready.”  After all, we’re always looking for ways to improve inter-family communication. 
  • If you are a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, especially one officially recognized (by being posted on Facebook), drop by each others’ walls from time to time.  Don’t get mushy.  Share a link or comment on a photo.  Be a part of each others’ lives, even on Facebook.  After all, do you want the stalkers to get the wrong impression? 
  • Do not spend money on Facebook.  Seriously.  It’s the thought that counts.  Write something on a friend’s wall, or post a funny picture of them.  Draw them a picture using paint, and post it.  But do something free and thoughtful to show you care. 
  • Am I the only person who can’t handle the surge of envy when they read those applications like “top friends” or “voted best friend for advice,” etc.?  All because I’m too cool to add those applications and wasn’t an option, so obviously my friends didn’t vote for me?  Relax.  Be realistic.  It’s just Facebook. 
  • I’m not as paranoid as the hypothetical person I described above, but I think it’s a good idea if a log out button exists, to use it.  Amazon.com doesn’t have one, and every time I am on that website it knows my name.  Cookies. 
  • Be aware that Facebook has a million options for privacy settings, so some people are less present and visible on Facebook.  Deal with it or ask them to change.  (I suggested to one such friend that I could cure her fear of stalkers by writing a blog all about her with her name and phone numbers and pictures – but I won’t.) 
  • Select the options for email notification.  Email is my catch-all notification box, and I don’t have to type in any passwords to retrieve it on my home computer.  I have Outlook Express set up to sort my emails the way I want, so whenever something important happens to my profile on Facebook, I find out.  (I also get blog comment moderation notices).  So if you’re worried about getting addicted to Facebook, decide only to get on when you get a notification via email.  Do not live on Facebook – or Myspace, Blogger, or WordPress for that matter. 

Facebook is a site for social networking.  The more obvious modes of communication are the harder to use on Facebook.  Is there a reason for this?  Maybe.  Never underestimate the power or omnipresence of links.  Remember that people can read what you do.  Be yourself on Facebook, but be more yourself in real life. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

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