2012 in review for BTWWTF?!?!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Evan’s new washing machine: The gift that keeps on giving

Pinterest: I think I love you!

Pinterest

I was hesitant to answer the invite to join yet another social network. But I’m so glad I did.

Pinterest isn’t like other social networks in my eyes. In fact, it  may very well be the first social network I actually enjoy …The first social network that doesn’t make me  angsty, angry or annoyed.

When I log onto Pinterest, it’s as if I am on a journey of discovery and enlightenment, a search for do-it-yourself projects (projects I never even knew I wanted to do myself).

Since joining, I’ve made a portable sewing kit out of a mason jar, a cork candle holder and a bedside table cover. I’ve even been inspired to decorate my garden.

Pinterest appeals to the OCD part of my brain that feels compelled to organize things. It also appeals to the visual part of my brain, which likes things to be organized in a clean and attractive fashion.

On Facebook and twitter I often feel like a spectator of other people’s “exciting” lives. Not so with Pinterest. Here there are no Farmville requests, no random status updates, no over sharing. I’m not cluttered by people’s private conversations made public. It’s all about what I find interesting. I can click on the posts that appeal to me and easily filter out those which don’t.

Ultimately, what I love best about Pinterest is how it sparks positive ideas that occupy my mind long after I’ve logged off. Instead of logging off Facebook or twitter with an ugly feeling, I am filled with a desire to beautify my life.

Feeling depressed? Blame it in part on your modern life

As I sit here typing this, I am growing increasingly depressed. I long for physical activity and the feel of a fresh breeze on my cheek. Instead I am sedentarily positioned in a deserted corner of an office under artificial lights with my face shoved up to a computer monitor.

The downward spiral I experience each day as I sit all day at my desk tweeting, facebooking, surfing the net, (and of course doing my writing job), isn’t just in my imagination.

In a recent article in Newsweek, Dr. Andrew Weil, author of the book Spontaneous Happiness, explains that those who are living in industrialized nations in this Internet age are actually at higher risk for depression than those in poorer, less modern environments. He says we are experiencing a “nature-defecit,” and that as society immerses itself more and more in technology and other socially isolating activities, we are creating a fertile ground for depression.

When you think about it, even supposed “social” networking is many ways a form of social isolation. Sending tweets and commenting on Facebook posts is by no means as stimulating as actually going out and spending real time with a person.

The brains and bodies of humans — who evolved to thrive in nature and bond with others — are just not equipped for 21st Century life, says Weil.

More and more of us are sedentary, spending most of our time indoors. We eat industrial food much altered from its natural sources … We are deluged by an unprecedented overload of information and stimulation in this age of the Internet, email, mobile phones, and multimedia, all of which favor social isolation and certainly affect our emotional (and physical) health. Behaviors strongly associated with depression—reduced physical activity and human contact, overconsumption of processed food, seeking endless distraction—are the very behaviors that more and more people now can do, are even forced to do by the nature of their sedentary, indoor jobs.

To create a better balance, Dr. Weil recommends: “Increasing aerobic exercise, improving sleep, spending more time in the sun, eating more fish to boost intake of omega-3 fatty acids, socializing more, and not dwelling on negative thoughts.”

I for one am determined to try his suggestions (and here are a few of my own). But since I have no choice to be stuck in front of a computer for the next 8 hours, I think I’ll start small, by setting a photo of a sunny beach as my desktop wallpaper. If that doesn’t work, I’m totally taking a nap.

More on the topic:
Log Off. Reboot: A break from modern technology is good for your health

National Unfriend Day: A Day to Trim Your Facebook Fat

Yesterday comedian Jimmy Kimmel endorsed the second annual National Unfriend Day (a holiday he invented). On this day, Facebook users are encouraged to unfriend those supposed connections who are nothing more than mere acquaintances. Though the holiday doesn’t have a Glazed Ham or Roasted Turkey, there is still quite a lot of fat trimming involved:

While we at BTWWTF?!?! have many opinions on Facebook friends and the process of unfriending, we are more interested to hear how you — our faithful readers — fared of National Unfriend Day. Did you trim much Facebook fat or were you an unfortunate trimee? Do you think Jimmy Kimmel should have thrown in a free Whopper? How long do you think it will be before National Unfriend Day becomes a Hallmark holiday? Let us know your thoughts and opinions on National Unfriend Day  in the comment section below:

Caption Contest

Welcome to the first-ever BTWWTF?!?! Caption Contest. The photo below is absolutely ripe for a caption!

Rules:

  1. Leave your recommended captions in the comment section below
  2. Enter as many times as you’d like.
  3. The winning caption and captionista will be featured on our blog and our Twitter feed with a link to their blog or website of choice within 24 hours.
  4. The rules and the prizes are subject to change. But probably won’t.
  5. Like what you see here? Give us a tweet! Or better yet, subscribe to our blog (in the sidebar on the left)!

All about apples:
Quick and easy apple pancakes: recipe, fun facts

Are you a follower? Time to lead the purge charge

Illustration by Scott Hampson. Borrowed from http://laurelpapworth.com

Last week I noticed something very interesting about my personal twitter account: There is absolutely nothing interesting about my personal twitter account.

I was on auto-follow for a good portion of my early twitterings, and I ended up following a bunch of random people, bots, and businesses that mean about as much to me as  the unemployed mean to Herman Cain.

So here I am following more than 1,000 tweeps, and my eye-rolling rate increases significantly with each visit to twitter.

Time for a major purge.

Up until now I never really made a point to “unfollow” anyone. I guess I felt like “unfollowing” was a bit of a dirty word. Sort of like the infamous act of “unfriending” someone on Facebook. I didn’t want to hurt any feelings. I also worried about hurting my bottom line … my number of twitter followers.

This week I began slowly weeding through the people I follow, and “unfollowing” like a mad woman. I still have a ways to go, but I’ve made progress. This is the criteria by which I am choosing whom to keep:

  1.  We share similar values and interests.
  2. You inspire, entertain or amuse me.
  3.  I know you in real life, and you don’t entirely make me want to throw up in my mouth.
  4. You don’t claim to be a social media or marketing expert who can increase my followers and my income.
  5. You’re not a web cam porn star.

So far I’ve unfollowed about 200 people and I’ve lost about 75 followers. I am not taking it personally. I want my followers to find just as much value in following me, as I want to find value in following them. I would rather have a smaller, more attentive following, then a large following where I’m tweeting into a vacuum. Besides, I am pretty sure a lot of the people I have unfollowed so far are not even people at all as they unfollowed me back almost instantaneously.

Slowly, but surely, I am noticing that my twitter stream is becoming more relevant to my life, and I am more interested in logging in.

And so the purge continues …

What about you? What’s your feeling on following and unfollowing?