LEWINSKY

Rebranding Monica Lewinsky

In January of 1998, I was about to turn 5.  I hadn’t yet started kindergarten and I rocked a curly afro with a bow– often pink– perpetually in my hair.

For a 24-year-old woman named Monica Lewinksy, life was about to change drastically for the worse.  It was in January 1998 that the news of her affair with the then-President Bill Clinton while she was a was released.

Overnight, Lewinsky became a very public figure and she was put in a negative light.  She was the mistress to the beloved President.  I imagine almost everyone knows details of this story and you know as well as I do that this scandal didn’t just blow over like some scandals do.  It did just the opposite.

The audio of recorded phone calls of Monica Lewinsky and her testimony in the trial against President Clinton were posted all over the news.  Her pictures were published and her life was open for the world to judge.

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Not to diminish the amount of pain Monica went through and how much negative attention she got for years and years, but had the scandal happened today there would have been much more backlash coming from everyone.  Anyone could post a status on social media giving his or her two cents on the situation rather than just publishers and news sources.

At the same time, the Internet age has given Monica a platform to rebrand herself in a way that would not have been possible in the late 1990s or the early 2000s.

She wrote a piece for Vanity Fair sharing her side of the story in June of 2014 and even touched on that very point.

While participating in a question and answer session for the filming of an HBO documentary, a member of the audience asked her “‘How does it feel to be America’s premier blow-job queen?”  Monica was able to bounce back and answer the question in a somewhat graceful manner but in reference to the incident, she had this to say.

“Had that awkward moment at Cooper Union aired only a few years later, with the advent of social media, the humiliation would have been even more devastating. That clip would have gone viral on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TMZ, Gawker. It would have become a meme of its own on Tumblr.”

She’s right.

There would be memes made of her picture.  Twitter accounts would be made as parodies of her (think fake Monica Lewinsky, Monica’s blue dress, etc.) that’d tweet jokes constantly.

The Internet opened the door for information, good or bad, to be spread quickly to an incredibly large amount of people, perpetuating the embarrassment Monica felt.

Though the Internet can be a force for spreading hate and cyberbullying, Monica has been given a platform to give the world her point of view through all of this.

She even gave a TED Talk in March of 2015.  You can watch the video here.  She was able to give the world a glimpse into the nightmare she experienced 17 years ago, and she did so on a platform so many people respect and– most importantly– in a way that will remain available for years to come.

I’m unsure if Monica can completely rebrand herself (I mean, she opened her TED Talk with the fact that she has been mentioned in 40 rap songs, included the great Beyonce) but she’s doing a great job of trying.  The Internet, though not a part of her demise, is helping her make a comeback.

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Here we go again, Snapchat

I’m probably as tired of writing about Snapchat as you are of reading my blogs about them, but here we are.  I’ve decided that I’m not mad at Snapchat anymore but if the Chi Omega dodgeball tournament in a few weeks doesn’t get a Geofilter like Phi Mu’s Bonnamu philanthropy event, we’re going to have some problems.

Anyways, I’ve discussed Snapchat on multiple occasions (here and here) but I’ve found that I keep coming back to its My Story/ Our Story features.  The My Story concept is pretty brilliant because it gives users a platform to show real-time updates to their friends with the luxury of the posts disappearing in 24 hours.  The Our Story feature is also brilliant because it connects users in a certain location and allows them to participate in a conversation (well, a conversation of photos) and show the world.

I’m a pretty big fan of Snapchat, if you can’t tell.

I add snaps to my snap story almost every day and love that I have that option.  I’ve been told once or twice (or 10 times) that I’m annoying on Snapchat but I really don’t care.  I think I’m hilarious and that’s all that matters.

Sorry, off topic.

I discussed Snapchat’s Our Story feature that included a sponsored snap by Vice with a filter specific to Vice and though I thought this could open doors for advertisers and brands, I was worried that this great feature would be polluted with ads in the future.

Well, turns out I wasn’t far off.

On Saturday morning, I was clicking through a Snapchat story (for something that obviously wasn’t that interesting because I can’t remember what it was called) and stumbled upon this.

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This is less subtle as Vice’s plug for its interview with President Obama, this is a full blown advertisement.  This wasn’t a still image, it was a video showing a clip from the new Furious 7 movie.

RIP Paul Walker.

Not that I dislike the movies but when I look at an Our Story feature for something totally not memorable, I want to see picture from that boring place, not ads trying to make me go see a movie.

There was a great Our Story feature that was called “Wear Yellow for Seth” that my classmate Tala wrote about.  The story started with the images shown below.

wear-yellow-for-sethThe Snap story raised awareness for Seth Lane for the disorder that he has: severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID).

I have to applaud Snapchat for this.  It was uplifting and positive rather than the usual snap stories they have.  Bravo, Snapchat.  This is great.

So while Snapchat is opening the door for advertisers to make its Our Story feature less enjoyable, it is also using the platform for good.

I’m sure I’ll notice a change soon and blog about it.  Until then, go follow my dontmakemeleaveunc Instagram.  The posts have been funny lately (slash all the time).

 

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If you chew with your mouth open, stay away from me

I try to keep some of my weirdness hidden and truth be told, I do a pretty terrible job of it.  I’m not ashamed of my quirkiness but I try to let it out little by little as people get to know me.

Today, I’m letting my freak flag fly.  I’m going to be upfront with this because once you read the entirety of this post, you’ll know it and here’s the kicker– I don’t care.

Alright, here I go.

Let me start by asking a few simple questions.

  1. Do you chew with your mouth open?
  2. Do you smack your lips while you eat?
  3. Do you eat in class?
  4. Do you smack your lip while you chew gum, or chew gum with your mouth open?

If you answered yes to any, or all, of these questions, there is a great chance that you and I will not get along when there is food around.

That may be a little aggressive and upfront so apologies if you’re in someway offended.  Maybe if you’re offended, you should evaluate your eating habits.  Again, aggressive.  Sorry.

Let me back it up a little bit and explain.

Last week I blogged about white noise and how it’s become a necessity for me over the years (my sound machine is on as I type this) and how sounds can really distract me.  Normal sounds don’t bother me unless I’m trying to accomplish something.  The sounds of eating, however, are something entirely different.

Take for example, an apple.  They’re crisp and make a loud noise when you bite into them.  Back in the day I used to eat apple slices with peanut butter and not think anything of it.

Not anymore.

I would consider the sound of someone biting into an apple the worst sound ever to me.  Worse than nails on a chalk board.  Worse than a baby crying on an airplane.  Worse than anything.  It makes me actually uncomfortable to hear it and truth be told, I’ve gotten into a few (a million) fights with my apple-loving sister and mom.  My roommates last year would eat their apples in the hallway instead of our room to avoid me squirming around uncomfortably.  They’re the real MVPs.

I don’t really know when this change happened but I can’t eat apples without getting goosebumps all over my body.  I force myself to eat the apple slices if I get a McDonalds Happy Meal because, well, they come with the meal.  Even then, I shove them all into my mouth at once, chew incessantly and freak out for a minute or two.

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Don’t judge.

I’m in a sorority and I eat meals with a lot of different people at our house.  The majority of the time, the girls I sit with eat like normal people and I don’t notice it one bit.  There are a few girls that I try reaaallly hard to avoid sitting with because they were either not taught to chew with their mouths closed or think that eating like animals is acceptable.  Whatever it is, I can’t do it.

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I know there are some of y’all out there that don’t like when people eat their food while showing us the contents of their mouth at the same time.  You may be less vocal about it (and less sensitive to it), but I’m not alone in this.

My mom posted a New York Times article on my Facebook wall a few weeks ago entitled “Please Stop Making That Noise” and before reading more than the first line or two, I immediately empathized with the author.

The author, Barron H. Lerner, is a doctor and suffers from misophonia, a condition with which certain sounds can drive someone into a burst of rage or disgust.  This condition has only been recognized and named in the last 20 years, the article explains.  Misophonia means “hatred of sound” and a 2013 study at the University of Amsterdam identified the most common irritants as eating sounds (lip smacking and swallowing), breathing sounds (nostril noises and sneezing), and hand sounds (typing and pen clicking).

Hand sounds don’t bother me and I can’t really think about what ‘nostril noises’ means so I’m not sure if those sounds bother me….. but there was this one time I apparently got mad at my sister for “breathing too loud” when she was sick.  Sorry Lex.

I’m not diagnosing myself with misophonia but I definitely have visceral reactions when I have to be around someone while they eat or chew gum in a gross way.  And believe me, there’s not much worse than being stuck in a class while the person beside you smacks their lips while chewing gum for hours on end.

Cue my heart rate to go through the roof.

I don’t have any psychiatric conditions like the NYT suggests (unless being dramatic and sassy is a psychiatric condition) but I wouldn’t consider my reactions normal.

But that’s okay.  I don’t want to be normal.  Maybe I have misophonia but maybe I just have a low tolerance for gross sounds people make when they eat.

Don’t eat apples around me and it won’t be an issue.  You’ve been warned.

~* Don’t judge my weirdness *~

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This news isn’t news to me

Hi.  My name is Anastasia and I’m a Millennial.

Unless you thought I was much older– or younger– than the 22-year-old that I am, you probably already knew this.

Since I am the subject of many studies done recently about Millennials and how they consume news, the results don’t really surprise me because the results describe me, my peers and my friends.

A report released by the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research discussed Millennials and how this generation consumes news.

There was worry that millennials– adults between the ages of 18 and 34– “do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch television news, or seek out news in great numbers” the introduction reads.  Getting past the insulting tone of that statement, the American Press Institute doesn’t have much faith in us.   And this is just in the introduction.  The intro goes on to say that the worry is that “Millennials’ awareness of the world, as a result, is narrow, their discovery of events is incidental and passive, and that news is just one of many random elements in a social feed.”

Those are fighting words.  But API saves itself and says that we are actually anything but without knowledge of the news, passive or uninterested in what’s going on in the world.

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Turns out, Millennials consume news frequently and place value in keeping up with the news.  This generation consumes its news in new ways– through social media or friends– opposed to how older generations reading a paper newspaper every morning or watching the evening news.  The older Millennials tend to actively seek out the news, whereas younger Millennials let the news find them in a more passive manner, though the report stated that almost everyone in the generation uses a mixture of manners to find news.

You’re preaching to the choir, American Press Institute.

When Millennials want to learn more about a topic more, 57 percent rely on search engines and cite this method as being the most helpful.  This isn’t news to me because I Google everything and an article written in January of this year told us just that: search engines have become more trusted as a source for general news and information opposed to traditional media.

Now I could’ve told you that I trust search engines and the results they provide me more than a single article I read from News Source XYZ because I believe that I can find a better range of information on a subject by reading many articles written by many different sources than just one.  I don’t go to one news source over another whereas my grandparents have a primary news source– I don’t.  Google News aggregates news for me and doesn’t give me a one-sided view of the world.

API’s report also said that only 2 out of 10 Millennials worry about privacy but 86 percent have changed something about their online behavior and presence to limit what others see.  Y’all already know how I feel about privacy (chocolate is worth more than privacy) but I, too, think about what I say and put out there for privacy purposes.  If my privacy was taken away and y’all could see the nearly 4,000 pictures on my phone and every text I’ve sent, I’d probably think about privacy a little differently.

But I’m glad that this study was done and that the worry that Millennials have a narrow awareness of the world, passively encounter news and that it just happens to show up on our social media feeds.  Just because we consume news differently than the traditional way doesn’t make us less informed or care any less about what’s happening.

I’ll put my fighting fists down for now American Press Institute, the results of your study saved you.

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Think before you tweet

Think before you tweet.

At just 140 characters, tweets are short.  There isn’t room for anything too controversial in a message that short, so you couldn’t possibly have consequences from your tweets…. right?

Wrong.

I’ve already discussed that despite certain aspects of the internet that are constantly changing, the internet has a permanent quality about it too.  Take Justine Sacco for example.  Justine was a public relations executive that tweeted something before getting on a 12-hour flight to South Africa back in December 2013.   The tweet was controversial and it got a lot of negative attention, all while she was without internet access on a flight.  The tweet is below.

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Justine had less than 500 followers on Twitter when she tweeted this but it quickly spiraled out of control.  People were anxious for her plane to land and they used the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet in tweets.  Justine was seen as a racist and some of her earlier tweets revealed other racist and insensitive tweets in her past.  Justine was fired from her job because of this incident.

Let’s switch gears a little bit.

Mo’ne Davis is a 13-year-old who became the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series.  That’s a big deal.  A Disney Channel movie is going to be made about her (and if you’ve seen any Disney Channel movies before, you know they’re great).

Here comes my piece of advice once again: think before you tweet.  I’m looking at you, Joey Casselberry.  (Below is a tweet sent by Casselberry and includes language that may be offensive to some people, FYI).

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Casselberry, a junior baseball player for Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania (the state where Mo’ne is from) was dismissed from the team because of this tweet.  Before deleting the tweet and his Twitter account, Casselberry tweeted an apology saying that he isn’t sexist and that he’s actually a big fan of Mo’ne, but the damage was already done.

When Mo’ne heard this news, she emailed the school to urge them to give him a second chance because “everyone makes mistakes.”

The school is standing its ground and keeping its decision as of now, but this goes to show that a message of 140 characters or fewer can impact your life in a negative way.

Both Joey and Justine got a lot of negative attention following their tweets but they had real consequences as well.

You should think before you tweet so that you don’t become the next Justine Sacco or Joey Casselberry.

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Breaking up with Timehop

I love pictures.

I love how they can instantly transport you to a different time and place and make you remember exactly how you felt in that moment.  I don’t necessarily love the process of taking them (once upon a time, my photography teacher hated every single picture I took so maybe that’s why), nor do I use a fancy camera, but I still love pictures.

When I created my dontmakemeleaveunc Instagram– which may have been one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had because it makes me want to cry every day– I mentioned this photo obsession.  I had 3,037 items (photos and videos) in my Camera Roll when that post was published on January 29th, and today, March 23, I have 3,652 pictures and 281 videos on my phone.  Combined, I have 3,933 items in my Camera Roll.  I can say with confidence that I will have over 4,000 by the end of Friday.  I know I will.

Below is the first picture on my phone.

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Excuse the small size, it was taken on my pink Razor phone with one of my best friends Justin.  I’m 99% sure that I’m wearing white shorts and that this was a JV football game at my high school, North Meck, in the 11th grade.  I think it’s the 11th grade because Justin is a year older than me, went to my rival high school and had it been a Friday night, he would have been playing and I would’ve been cheering.  So it had to be on a Thursday night at a JV football game.  That’s typically how I figure out the details of a picture and I could be wrong, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I was 16 years old in this picture, but on my flight back from Jamaica a few weeks ago, a woman asked if I was 15.  I wouldn’t have minded if she guessed that back in 2009 when this picture was taken, but I’m 22 years old now.  Will I always look like I just got my drivers permit???

Ugh.

Sorry, back to the pictures.

The last picture in my phone is below.

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I instagrammed this picture on my dontmakemeleaveunc Instagram to mourn the loss of my cornrows.  March 9- March 22, 2015.  RIP cornrows, I already miss you.

Back in high school, I took my digital camera almost everywhere and took an unnecessary number of pictures.  My friends and I could be trying on Halloween costumes, getting ready to cheer at at football game, or simply at school during spirit week dressed up and I would take hundreds of pictures… and put most of them on Facebook (these pictures are still on Facebook and if you want a good laugh, go look at them).

Nowadays I rely on my iPhone’s camera because the quality is pretty good and, most importantly, I can instantly access them.

I use these pictures as an aid to my memory.  Sure, I can remember events and places without the help of a photograph, but pictures help enhance the memory for me.  When I used my digital camera, I would keep a lot of the pictures on my camera so that I could scroll through and look at them.  The images were already on my computer– just like the pictures on my phone are on my computer– but I liked being able to look at them wherever I was.

I could use clues from pictures before and after an image to figure out when it happened, and because I had an arsenal of images, this wasn’t that difficult.  After all, I take pictures of everything not just “important” things.

When I heard of an app called Timehop that let you know what you did in the past on social media– including the camera roll on your phone– I was hooked.  I could now have certainty in what pictures I took on specific days, the Facebook statuses and picture I uploaded, what I tweeted and what I instagrammed.  It was like a dream come true!

I had the app remind me every morning to check what I had been up to in the past and I loved it.  I had a daily reminder of the past every single day.  I’d text these throwbacks to my best friends from high school, my family or anyone that the picture included.  Even though there were some seriously cringe-worthy Facebook statuses (brought to you by dysfunctional relationships), it didn’t deter me from using the app.

Sidenote: why in the world was it acceptable to post statuses with song lyrics all the time???  Why didn’t anyone stop me is probably the better question to ask.  These statuses get brought to light every few months when my friends stalk me and bring up my awkward past.

Anyways, I loved this daily reminder of the past so much that I checked it religiously for months and months.  It became a part of my routine.  I loved Timehop.

Key word: loved.

I’m no longer infatuated with Timehop though my love for pictures is still going strong.

I never thought that I’d get to this point, but here I am.  I don’t look forward to looking at Timehop in the morning, and more times than not, I don’t want to see the pictures included in the throwback.  I very rarely go through and purge the photos on my phone so they include pictures of things– and people– I don’t want to see first thing in the morning.

Sure, a potential solution could be going through and deleting every picture with “person I don’t talk to anymore”, “ex- best friend” and “ex- boyfriend” but then there will be serious holes in the timeline that is my life.  I’d rather an accurate timeline with pictures I don’t want to see every morning than a timeline that doesn’t accurately portray the last 6 years (there are 6 years of pictures on my phone, believe it or not).

Since I used to have to remember when things happened without the help of Timehop, I got pretty good at remembering dates and quite a few of them are still etched in my brain.  Today is March 23rd and I could tell you what happened on this day a few years back, but I’ll spare you.

Instead, I’ll remove the daily reminder of the pictures from my daily routine.  I’ll keep Timehop on my phone for days when I’m feeling extra nostalgic, but I’ve removed the notification reminding me to check the app every morning.

I don’t want to start my day with a sour taste in my mouth because of Timehop.  So I won’t.

Sorry Timehop: it’s not you, it’s me.

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Native ads, revisited

I’ve discussed native advertisements before (you can read it here if your heart so desires) and I came to the conclusion that I dislike native ads.  I think that they’re a little bit sneaky and aren’t upfront with the fact that the purpose of the pieces aren’t to inform or entertain the public, but to persuade them to think the way they want.

Well, I’m not the only person that’s hesitant about native ads but they won’t go away.

Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism is conducting a survey to assess how native advertising affects the credibility of news sites.  Fergus Pitt, a research fellow at the Tow Center, had this to say about native ads: “Native advertising is still advertising, and to be most efficient, native advertising needs to be seen by the most valuable people, implying a degree of targeting and therefore tracking.”

This hits the nail on the head about why I dislike this form of advertising: it is a shark dressed in sheep’s clothing (is that how the phrase goes?).  And I’m not hating on the ad industry, I’ve applauded some incredible ads on this blog here and here and I don’t dislike the industry.  That’s not the point I’m trying to make.  Native ads are deceptive whereas normal advertisements are pretty straight forward.

Back to my point.

This deceptiveness caught the attention of the Better Business Bureau and they issued a warning about these ads.  To be specific, it was a compliance warning.  Pretty dramatic (just how I like things).

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The warning reminded advertisers that even if the ad is native, it is still required to follow the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA Principles).  These rules (from what I can tell) regulate how advertisers track the browsing history of consumers, and how upfront they are with users that the content they are seeing is an advertisement.  The rules also call for advertisers to give users “transparency and control” meaning that ads should be clearly labeled and users should have the option to opt-out of the tracking.

The simple fact that a warning needed to be issued shows that native ads are changing the advertisement game.  Are they changing it in a good way or a bad way?  I certainly don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll figure that out at some point.

Whether or not the change is positive, negative or neutral, there is a change.  Upworthy reported that it generated more than $10 million in revenue for its publisher Upworthy Collaborations.  Upworthy also said that native ads did 38 times better than the industry standard for social content according to research done by NewsWhip, suggesting that the change is positive.

NewsWhip also reported that clients using native ads “have seen a 50 percent to 100 percent brand awareness lift and a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in positive brand association.”

Josh Luger, Upworthy’s director of revenue thinks that native ads have succeeded for them.  “Upworthy Collaborations proves that native campaigns can work best when centered around meaningful and authentic messages that resonate on a deep, emotional level with consumers,” Luger said. “We’ve continued to see growing and overwhelming demand for our native programs in 2015, and we expect that trend to continue.”

This, once again, reminds me why I’m not jumping on the native-advertisement-bandwagon.  They obviously have success when they tap into our emotions, great advertisements do just that.  The difference, however, is that it isn’t being upfront with how, or why, it wants us to connect with it.  Does it want me to feel curious and make me want to join Ancestry.com, or does it remind me how much I love old pictures and make me want to buy a Polaroid camera?  Is it telling me that it works for Ancestry.com or Polaroid?  If not, I don’t think that’s right.

It’s making money for companies, so I’m going to have to get over it.

Ugh.

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White noise

I don’t know about you, but I love white noise.  Not the white noise that your TV makes when it can’t find a channel or how old TVs are full of static and occasionally have a gray and black screen that makes a creepy noise.

I mean the type of white noise that my ceiling fan makes or the hum of a car on the highway.  Those sounds can put me to sleep (provided I’m not the one driving the vehicle), and they have many times.

Whenever I sleep somewhere new, I like having a noise barrier between me and the rest of the house because, well, I’m a worrier and if I hear one sound I’ll freak out.  I won’t be able to sleep obsessing over the creak that could be a murderer coming to get me.  This simply isn’t acceptable because sleep is one of the most important things in my life (behind my family and tied with food).  I’m a monster if I don’t have food or sleep so if I’m grumpy, there’s a good chance I didn’t get enough of one of those.

My maternal grandma also has problems sleeping in dead silence and one day she called to tell me that she ordered me a sound machine just like hers.  Little did I know that my life would be forever changed after opening that little box.

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This is the brand of my sound machine, and lucky for me, it’s portable so I can take it everywhere with me (I even had it on every night in Jamaica).

The sound settings are Ocean, Summer Night, Rain, Thunder, White Noise & Brook.  My machine is always on white noise.

It’s not that I don’t like silence at all, it’s just that I like having background noise that isn’t distracting when I’m doing stuff.  I can’t listen to music when I read but get irritated when I hear people doing, well, anything so I have to listen to white noise through my headphones when I’m in public doing work.  My favorite is the video below.

It’s a 10 hour video so you don’t have to constantly restart it.  And it’s soothing.  And great.

Before you judge my obsession with white noise, let me explain.

Since birth, I slept with a Heartbeat Bear: a bear that made sounds that mimicked the sounds a baby hears inside the womb.  My obsession was born at the same time as I was born.  My sister had a similar bear when she was born but my mom said she would turn it off as soon as it was on in her crib.  I did just the opposite and let it lull me to sleep.

When my mom and I flew to St. Louis, MO to visit my aunt and her family before I was a year old, I fell asleep before takeoff.  I don’t spend a lot of time with one year olds but I’m pretty sure that isn’t normal.  The baby on the flight back from Jamaica with me certainly didn’t sleep at all and was noisy.

Cars lull me to sleep even to this day (when I’m the passenger).  I’ll fight the sleep but sure enough, I’ll drift off to sleep.  The same happens when I’m on an airplane.

What does any of this have to do with anything?

Well, let me explain.

This white noise helps me relax my often-racing mind and very few things can do that.  The white noise helps me focus on what I need to get done– fall asleep, stay asleep, read an assignment– better than anything else helps me.

I dance around and lip-sync to music when I listen to it while doing work.  I don’t do that with white noise.

I pay attention to TV when it’s the background noise while I do my homework (especially when Law and Order: SVU is on).  I don’t do that with white noise.

I get reminiscent or nostalgic when listening to music.  Once again, I don’t do that with white noise.

This white noise is important to me for more reasons than helping me fall asleep.  It helps me put my head down, get to work and be productive.  In my Branding of Me class before Spring Break started, someone mentioned white noise as a tool for helping them be productive or .  I immediately created a draft on WordPress because I identified so closely with that statement.  Now that almost two weeks have passed since that statement, the exact wording and context escape me.

Even without the exact wording, I know that white noise can be used for much, much more than a sleep aid.  Not the noise necessarily, but you can have something in your life that helps you drown out the outside world to help you focus.

Though I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, I know I have something that acts like white noise in my life.  I know this because even when I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I’m still able to push the bad out of my mind long enough to get stuff done.  My mind is temporarily soothed and my emotions are temporarily paused.  Before you think this is avoiding my problems, let me explain.

We’re always going to have stuff going on in our lives that aren’t perfect.  Maybe it’s a rejection letter from a job you really wanted, a fight with your best friend, a break-up or just a lousy day.  These things don’t care what you have scheduled for the day and it’s not worth it to put everything on hold for you to deal with something that most likely won’t matter next week, next month or next year.

I’m guilty of wallowing but I recognize that this isn’t the best strategy, so I try to find my white noise.

When I identify what that white noise is for me, I’ll let you know.

Do you have white noise in your life, either the actual sound or something acting as white noise for you?

*Sorry I’m not sorry there isn’t a commenting form on here, but you should know that if you read my blog about disliking comments.*

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#NoFilter

Since it’s the week after Spring Break, there are a surplus of pictures being uploaded to Facebook from the week prior.  This means that we constantly check Facebook eager to see the new pictures from everyone’s adventures whether or not they were in the same place as you.

I don’t have a waterproof phone case so I didn’t use my phone very much while I was in Jamaica.  The Wifi wasn’t stellar when we weren’t in our house either (and even then, it wasn’t always great) so the majority of the time I used my phone, it was in my house.  When we went to our pool, someone else’s pool, on a boat or to the beach, my phone was in a Ziploc bag to make sure it didn’t drown.  Yup, basically I was the coolest kid wherever I went.

That being said, whenever I got a picture of myself that a friend took of me, I had to edit it before Instagramming it or putting it on any other social media platform.  I would do this for pictures taken on my phone as well, but this step was just a little more evident to me when the pictures weren’t coming directly from my own phone.

What’s the big deal about unedited pictures anyways?

Well, it actually seems like a lot is wrong with it.  I’ve discussed this topic before: celebrities edit their photos and I expect that from them, but when brands heavily edit the models in their advertisements, I don’t enjoy that.  Aerie took a stand against this and stopped editing the models in all advertisements.

When pictures of Cindy Crawford were leaked showing her looking like a real person rather than an airbrushed flawless model, my classmate Caroline wrote about it.  She wasn’t shocked by this picture and liked that comments beneath the picture were supportive of her 50-year-old body.

When un-edited pictures of Beyonce were released, Mashable reported how the Beyhive (the army of Beyonce supporters) went crazy.

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**Disclaimer: I think that Beyonce is flawless and I haven’t been shy about saying that before.  That being said, I refuse to believe that those photos are real and that she doesn’t look perfect 24/7.  Half kidding.**

The above video is reference to what the Queen Bey looks like in L’Oréal ads so you can see the difference.

Some members of the Beyhive agree with me and refuse to believe that Beyonce doesn’t wake up *flawless*, post up *flawless*, ridin’ round in that *flawless*, flossing all on that *flawless*.

Okay, sorry I’ve gotten a little off topic… I’m watching Beyonce music videos now pretending that I’m her.  Ugh.  Why am I not Beyonce???

Sorry… back to the pictures.

Others used the leaked images as proof that images in the media are heavily edited and manipulated which, to some, is an issue.  I agree to a certain extent: I don’t think the images should be altered so much so that they don’t resemble the original.  In other words, even if your FB profile picture or Instagrams are perfect, we know what you look like in person.

Editing images to remove a blemish or adjust the colors and exposure of the image are fair game in my book.  If you erase part of your thigh to seem smaller like Target did, that’s not good (rumors say that Beyonce does this and I don’t have the heart to discuss that).

Though I still think that brands should steer away from manipulating images of their models, I think a slightly different standard exists for individuals.  I don’t care as much if Kim K makes her waistline slimmer because, well, it’s Kim Kardashian, a celebrity and I expect that from her.  It wouldn’t be as acceptable, or acceptable at all, if I made my waist much smaller than it is in real life.

But I’m going to continue using apps to make sure my pictures look great, but hopefully they still look like me in real life.

Hopefully.

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Snapchat, you’re rude

I’ve got a bone to pick with Snapchat.  I’ve written about Snapchat on multiple occasions, praising it for its innovativeness for introducing the Discover feature making this picture sharing application more news-y and, despite not being interested myself, I wrote how the introduction of a mini series on the platform was a great idea.

Still, Snapchat has turned on me.  And I’ll be bold enough to say that it’s turned on you, too.

Before I go into why I’m upset with a social media tool (Snapchat isn’t a person, FYI), I’ll explain how it, once again, Snapchat is being innovative and making the app more than where you send ugly pictures of yourself to your friends with the promise of the pictures disappearing in 10 seconds or less.

We’re used to My Stories, a feature where users can add images to show all of their Snapchat friends for 24 hours.  We’ve also seen many Our Stories, stories in which users in a certain location have the option of adding pictures to the story for everyone in that location (or in some cases, everyone that uses the app) can see for 24 hours.

Recently there has been a TGIF Snap Story every Friday (Thank God it’s Friday) with San Francisco, CA and places in Australia getting to add snaps to it.  I can view the story, but I cannot add.

There are actually two Our Stories happening right now: Los Angeles Life and St. Patrick’s Day.

The Los Angeles Life snap story starts with people going on a run with Manny Pacquiao.  Casual.  It continued with random snaps of people living in LA and then a man, who looked like he had just finished swimming, told viewers to go to Vice’s Snap page and see coverage of that man’s interview with President Obama.  So he wasn’t just a random swimming man: he’s a reporter.  There was even a Vice filter on that snap.

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I can’t go any further without addressing this.

I’ve never seen a brand-sponsored snap added to a Our Story before and I have mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I think this is a smart move for brands because a lot of people watch these snap stories so they’ll gain exposure quickly.  On the other hand, this makes these stories less authentic if brands are trying to sell you on their products.  Snapchat filters through all of the snaps sent to the Our Story and it ultimately decides what gets posted, so Snapchat knows that these brands are posting, and it’s approving it.  Is Snapchat getting a cut of the profits that Vice makes from the new visitors to the site?   Are these brands even making a profit?

I’ll have to keep my eye out for that and get back to you because I can’t find anything published about brands on My Stories.

The St. Patrick’s Day is what you would expect: beer and lots of green.

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Wait, I’ve gotten off track.  That’s not my point, but it’s relevant because it’s Snapchat.

What I was meaning to say was that Snapchat is going to use this feature for live sports broadcasting.  I’ve seen Our Stories for the BSC Championship game and for big rivalries in the SEC.  This isn’t new to me.

There was even an Our Story for the UNC vs. Dook basketball game held in the depths of Hell, uhh, I mean Cameron Indoor.

Rumors of a partnership between the NCAA and Snapchat open the door to the what these Our Stories could be: the stories could feature individual games (like Harvard vs. my boys in Blue on Thursday night), it could create the stories by rounds (Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, etc.) or it could create a story for each of the 4 regions of the bracket.

Regardless of how it’s handled, it highlights one of the reasons people are drawn to this app: Snapchat is what’s happening now.  Not last week, not a month ago, but right now.  The 24 hour stories are the least recent, or relevant, and the other content is new and rapidly changing.

The same can be said for the NCAA tournament.  There are always upsets (Lehigh > Dook and Mercer > Dook) and you can’t count anybody out.  The game of basketball is fast paced in general so this platform could work for it.

I’m anxious to see what comes out of this rumored partnership does for users.  Adding filters for users to add to their photographs could be a nice touch, but making it exclusively sponsored content like the Vice snap in the Los Angeles Life snap story won’t be a good move in my eyes.

Oh– I almost forgot to tell y’all why I’m feuding with Snapchat.  I’ll explain.

When UNC played at Cameron Indoor against Dook for the first time this season (remember? I wasn’t happy with how the game ended…), there was an Our Story entitled “Cameron Crazies.”  The vast majority of these snaps were of Dook students painting themselves in a gross shade of blue or camping out for the game.  In other words, it wasn’t fun to watch.

When UNC hosted Dook the Saturday that was almost perfect, a day you should definitely read about, there was no snap story.  None.

There should have been a UNC Tar Heels, or Roy’s Boys snap story at least.  But no, Snapchat, you let me down.

I don’t think I would be as upset if the first snap story was named something neutral, neither promoting the Devil or my Heels.  This, however, was not the case and Dook got a story named after them so we need one too!

During the first Dook game (when Dook had a snap story), I send angry videos to teamsnapchat in hopes that someone in a powerful position would see them and realize what a mistake they made.  No such thing happened.  Instead, Snapchat deleted proof that I sent them videos and ignored me.

Ugh.

Both games are done so I can’t do anything now, but this NCAA partnership could level the playing field for everyone to have a story when the game is held at home (at least for rivalry games).

Until that happens, I’ll use Snapchat to make annoyingly long, daily Snap Stories but will try my hardest to stop writing blogs about how great it is.  Wish me luck!

P.S.– Loving the filters for St. Patrick’s Day today, Snapchat.  I’m still mad at you though.