The Neverland of Facebook

As one of my Facebook contacts pointed out last night, her wall “is often filled with substantial posts, or the opposite, or something in between”. You find all sorts of things on Facebook, that’s a truth I can’t refute.

I commented quite categorically that “one should not search for substance on Facebook”. In my experience, substantial information is for the most posted as a link on Facebook. So FB becomes a means of distribution, not the source of substance itself.

In general terms, I find the private use of FB mainly turns the platform into a Neverland; a symbol for childhood (or childlessness) , immortality and escapism. I would say that the instant recognition of the likes appeals to the child within us, that we seek to immortalize ourselves through the documentation of happy moments or deep thoughts, and that we try to escape reality, boredom or our daily chores by constantly checking what new status updates have come up on our wall.

We post everything on Facebook, what we are proud of, what makes us happy, sad, angry, etc. For the most, we fail to realize that our posts are like a cry into the wind that has very limited relevance for anyone but ourselves. Even when realizing this, we post anyway, “because we’re worth it”.

Among others, Facebook is the land of make-believe, of self-promotion and self-staging. Danish journalist Heidi Vesterberg has written a good reflection about self-staging on FB. Here is Heidi’s post in Danish

She argues that we have always tried to present our better side, like we do on FB today. And that we still have the ability to see through the falseness of it. I agree that it’s human to present our better side in a social context, but I would argue that the reach of social media is unprecedented and actually changes our social behavior. So that the nature of our interactions, our conversations, our opinions are affected by the media we use. And thereby also their content and substance. We’re all busy checking what we missed out on in the last five minutes. Mass consumerism has taken over our personal relations too.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Facebook as much as I dislike it. It is a useful tool, and not even the reprehensible fact that Facebook experiments with its users without their knowledge or consent has stopped me from having an active profile.

But I do resent the effect that FB has on me. I resent using too much time on irrelevant information from people that I seldomly see or that I see everyday, quick fix articles of the type: “5 reasons why you should quit doing this or that”, and I resent that I keep coming back for more.

So whenever I feel that I’ve had enough of it, I take a break, and deactivate my profile for a while. I can then put my time to better use on other media which I feel is more agreeable. And then there is “downtime”. Time without internet connection. Scary. Might have to do that more?

Do you feel you have sufficient “downtime” away from social media? Do you also have mixed feelings regarding FB or other social media platforms?

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Bli en stjärna på digital marknadsföring. 7 prylar att göra efter semestern.

Originally posted on Digital marknadsföring - Katarina Jönsson:

Hur ska jag göra vårt företag bättre på digital marknadsföring? Strategier och marknadsplaner sätter mål och affärsfokus, men hur omsätter du det i praktiken? Vad blir den digitala taktiken?

Hanna Kastås, strateg på byrån Bazooka, tipsar om att göra följande 7 punkter:
(Se videon från hennes seminarium i Almedalen)

  1. Ta digitalt på allvar!

    De flesta på marknads- och kommunikationsavdelningar vet att digital närvaro och aktivitet är viktig. Missionera om det för alla avdelningar på företaget. Se till att ledningen får lära sig varför det är viktigt att göra digitalt till ett prioriterat område.

  1. Studera användarens resa och curla!

    Lär dig hur användarna av din webbplats, app, facebooksida mm upplever sin vistelse där. Känns det lätt att använda verktygen? Fattar man vad man ska göra? Kommer man till avslut (anmäler sig, köper något, kontaktar en säljare)? Se till att hitta hindren och ta bort dem. Förbättra, testa och förbättra…

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Running in the Windy City

Sometimes our own circumstances make us more aware of things that would otherwise go unnoticed. For instance when you expect a child, and all you can see are pregnant women or babies around you.

Well, I see runners EVERYWHERE. All shapes and sizes, and trotting along all over the planet. It seems to me that running has become a global mainstream activity. There might be statistics to back this up. Or is it just me noticing all the runners out there now that I have tried running myself?

Recently, I visited Chicago. Besides being a wonderful touristic experience, I was quite surprised by the amount of runners that we saw in The Windy City. Last week I was in Bilbao, Spain. Much like Chicago, Bilbao has transformed. Both cities had heavy industry by the river, and toxic river water. Now they are embellished, cleaned up, developed. And filled with runners by the river.

If running has indeed become a global movement gone mainstream, I think we can all pat ourselves and each other on the shoulder and rejoice! Sure, there will be injuries and the like. But the benefits of being physically active outweigh the cost.20140711-003557-2157164.jpg

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When life calls for offline presence

Being one of those people for whom online and offline presence are indissolubly merged into one, the thought that offline life has a higher value or is more “real” does not really resound with me.

To me online presence is another way of presence, just as real as physical presence. It provides me with a means to communicate, to document, to relax. To virtually spend time together with my parents and sisters who live thousands of kilometers away. To follow the lives of aunts and cousins. To be in touch with old school friends. To learn, to share, to discover. I remember how life was before the internet, and it was a poorer existence.

Nevertheless, there are times where life calls for more offline and less online presence.

The past 3 weeks have been like that. My very dear friend and my children’s grandma passed away. Thankfully all her family had the opportunity to see her and say goodbye, and this is a great comfort. But the grief of having lost a loved one hits sometimes. That realization that we will not see each other soon is painful. At the same time I feel so grateful that she was a part of our lives, and have countless fond memories of our many years of friendship to remember.

The passing of Hanne coincided with my starting in a new position at work. I might have underestimated how demanding it is to start a new job even in the same organization. My brain is filled up with new information and there are no established processes or routines for me yet – it’s all new. So coming home in the evening I can barely do anything else than sit and stare after a long day at work.

Finally, the knee injury has meant that I have not been running for weeks. I had all sorts of good intentions to do some other type of exercise but I did not pull through. It seems that running is about the only thing I am really willing to do. For now, I just feel (and look) heavy.

As a consequence, my energy levels have been very low lately. I have had difficulties sleeping at night. No appetite for blogging, just trying to prioritize the necessary and put everything else on stand by.

Regarding my knee, I hoped that resting for 3 weeks would help. I went out for a very short test run of 2 kms yesterday. I must still be careful and pay attention to my knee, the way my feet land on the ground, my breathing…but I was pleased that it worked out ok.

Hopefully by being careful and starting from scratch I will get my running back on track.

After all, spring is here, and this is the perfect time for running!

Have a wonderful week and a good run

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Glorious desserts

Don’t you agree that half of the pleasure of eating a great dessert is its presentation?

The dessert itself need not be over complicated before it is a feast for the eyes and the senses.

Whether it is a light fruit sorbet with liquorice powder, a delicious pannacotta with nuts or a merengue cloud covered with whipped cream and topped with berries, or just a latte and a biscuit, it’s all about taking the time to look, smell, taste and enjoy every bite.

Have a nice run and a nice day!

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The longest distance

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Last Sunday’s run was special, beyond the fact that it was the first time that I ran 12 kms. I ran with someone and for someone else.

My life partner accompanied me. He has now officially become my coach and agreed to run with me once a week, and bicycle beside me on the longer runs. His presence is a huge support on longer distances. So it’s goodbye to being a lone runner (at least twice a week).

I dedicated my running effort to one of my loved ones, and that was the reason that I managed to pull through and did not stop at km 9. I know my running will unfortunately not cure her, but somehow it helps me to process the sorrow, impotence and loss that I feel. I have decided to engage myself in public runs that have a charitable purpose or raise money for cancer research. If I’m going to run, it might as well be useful to someone else.

I have never run with music and I try to practice “mindful running”. I focus on my breathing and how my body reacts. Sometimes it feels like giving birth. When the physical effort requires so much focus and endurance that you are immersed in a bubble.

I had a sense of achievement and progress after the 12 kms. I even started believing that the HM on April 27th was doable. But the bad news is that I have not been able to run for a week and I think I have injured my right knee.

This is quite a set back, so I am redefining my most inmediate goals and I am cautious about pushing myself. I think I have to take one week at a time.

As long as I cannot run, I plan to do some cross training and yoga. I will need to be disciplined about it, as it’s not part of my routine right now and can easily be neglected in the course of a hectic week. I have to make it a priority, as I would with running. I hope that will help me keep a bit of endurance for when I am able to run again.

Oh, and maybe I should also work on these excercises

Painful knees? Check out these excercises

Do you run for a good cause? Have you had knee injuries? How did they affect your training plans and what did you do to recover?

Running and the end of zapping

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I have been taking everyday pictures of my running activity and healthy endeavors, wanting to share them with you. I am fortunate enough to live close to the city but still have beautiful natural surroundings and even wildlife in my garden every now and then. Some days ago we had Mr. Fox on a visit. Unfortunately I have been a bit short of time (and inspiration) to write lately.

After a disappointing couple of months running wise, I am back on the saddle, trying not to lose my training focus and keeping up with your stories. I find there are so many positive messages in the posts I follow, they make me in a good mood, thank you for sharing.

You know, I have noticed that I am better at making conscious choices and prioritizing my spare time than I was before I started running. This is true regardless of the quality of my training.

“Killing time” in front of the TV does not really happen to me anymore. I am not even watching the news. I choose Netflix and read online news. I do not stay up late, as I want my body to rest and be ready to run. I drink more water. I am generally more relaxed and focused.

So this is still a happy story for me, even though there are 3 areas that I want to deal with where I can see important room for improvement:

1. Learning about running techniques and trying to avoid injuries
2. My eating habits and resulting weight
3. Seeking training support (coaching)

More to come on these three subjects on upcoming posts.

Have a great run!

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Time for Plan B

Since I am several weeks behind training schedule for my first “trial” half-marathon in April, some evaluation and adjustments are in order.

Let’s see…10 kms has been my longest running distance to date. With 8 weeks left to the race, I am a bit concerned that I don’t have enough time to build up, and might end up with an injury.

Cold weather conditions and the darkness have affected my training discipline quite drastically in January and February. On the plus side, the days are getting longer, warmer, and spring is fast approaching now!

I have found it difficult to run alone, especially when I have not felt top motivated. I have also struggled a bit with a painful right knee, so I am trying to be careful.

Finally, I have not been consistent about hydration and diet, and this has clearly had a negative impact on my ability to run longer distances.

Question is: am I still up for this half-marathon or should I call it off and take the next in line?

After some consideration, I have decided to train as if I were to run in April anyway, and make a decision 2 weeks before the race.

If my body is ready by then, I figure that it will do me good to try the distance and learn something useful for the Broløbet half-marathon in September.

I have talked to some experienced runners who have reassured me and offered advice on how to adapt the training program. With their comments in mind, I have made a new running schedule. I am also reaching out for support in order to stick to it.

My primary goal now is to build on distance without getting injuries, slowly but surely. And whether I become ready for April 27th or not remains to be seen.

What about you? Have you ever had to reconsider your training and participation to a race? Have you ever backed out of a race?

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Relative improvements count too

Did I meet my training goals this week? No. Am I happy? Definitely yes!

I have made a relative improvement compared to last week, going from training once a total distance of 3 kms, to running 3 times this week, 5-4-2 kms.

My 2 km run today was extremely short, embarrassingly so. I basically had to run back home after one kilometer because I could not feel my fingers!

It’s minus 4 degrees Celsius and I was not equipped for the icy wind and freezing cold. I had my winter tights on, my hat, my long-sleeved termo t-shirt, but my H&M running gloves are clearly not designed for these temperatures and after a short while I had to head back home.

Instead of feeling disappointed about today’s failed running attempt, I decided to look for an alternative that would make me feel good. That ruled out taking “the last resort” (45 minutes on the crosstrainer), so I did some yoga instead. I highly recommend this yoga app with 20, 40 or 60 minutes sessions. It’s so convenient to just press play and practise yoga anywhere and anytime. And I like the relaxing sound of waves in the background.

Have a great week and happy running everyone!