Countdown to Melbourne

Whenever you make plans much in advance, you never really feel the weight of the reality until it comes down to the last final days before the big event.

Well, I’m officially less than one week away from my long-anticipated trip to Melbourne, Australia.

This is my first trip overseas and I couldn’t be more excited, A week ago, however, I was whistling a different tune.

2014 has been a very significant year of transformation for me. In fact, many of the major life events that have happened to me this year have revolved around my trip to Australia. I moved out of my apartment, moved back home, broke up with the guy I was dating, didn’t get to run the San Francisco Marathon, (which I spent $150 on) and cut way back on going out with my friends. On top of that, there were also hardships that occurred at the most inconvenient timing.

A week ago, I still had not received my passport (which I applied for in May). Trying to stay calm, I tried to reassure myself that it was in-transit and everything was going to be okay. Naturally, I began to panic the following day. The weight of the realities that have happened in the past few months all started catching up to me like a wave approaching the shore.

Fortunately, in these last final days as I’m getting closer to my trip, things started falling into place and my panic turned back into excitement once again. I received my passport, finished up last minute plans, and began to breathe again.

It never ceases to amaze me at how worried I get when things aren’t going as planned.

It’s been a rough year, but I’m banking on this trip to salvage all the hopes that I had lost for 2014. I needed something to look forward to, and now that it’s finally happening, I’m just crossing my fingers that everything will be okay.

After all, everything has always worked itself out in the past.

To follow my journey through Melbourne, follow me on Twitter or Instagram (Lindseyruns)

#australia2014 #lindseyinaustralia #lindseyrunsinaustralia

Identity Crisis: Online versus In-Person

In the current realm of social media, it’s easy to claim oneself as anything they want. Through the internet, you can create an online-version of yourself, who has an insurmountable number of talents, skills, hobbies, professions, etc.

And in terms of personality, you can be funny, political, philosophical, dramatic.

You can be as passive as you want or as aggressive as you want; Say little to nothing or tweet every 27 seconds.

Basically, anything goes. Every post is fair game.

However, the downside to this is determining authenticity and credibility.

In my Freshmen year of college, I wrote a paper (which I still take a great deal of pride in) about the impact that Wikipedia has on education and the way students learn. I wrote this paper 4 years ago, and I’m even more blown away by how quickly information is relayed over the internet.

There are almost no surprises anymore. We know everything about everything and everyone.

Getting back to the topic of online-versions of people, there are two ways to look at it:

  1. Social Media simplifies the way we get to know people
  2. Social Media complicates the way we get to know people

To start with the first point of view: Social Media simplifies the way we get to know people

There are a few things…

Getting the dirt on someone nowadays is very accessible. A majority of people across the globe have at least one online profile of some sort, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, Vine, OKCupid…the number of platforms are endless. Even if they didn’t create a profile themselves, the chances are that there is a website out there that has already created one for them.

Gathering information online and piecing it together to form a hypothesis about what a person is really like is not exactly rocket science.

Similar to a way a person carries themselves in real life, such as the way they walk, talk, sit, etc., is the same as the way a person carries themselves over the internet. The pictures they post, the links they share, the statuses they write. Most people can draw assumptions off of someone based solely by looking at their profile picture. And then there’s the information that they post.

The “About Me” section is critical. No one wants to seem too much of a certain way, so they try to sum themselves up in as many different descriptions as possible.

People include their job, musical preferences, the school they went to, the kind of food they like, the movies they enjoy…the list goes on.

This is the part that simplifies everything.

Many girl friends of mine create pros and cons lists to evaluate certain situations. Typically, it’s for the guys they date. Here’s an example:

Pros:

  • Has a good job
  • Is athletic
  • Likes Mexican food

Cons:

  • Too short
  • Just got out of a relationship
  • Lives too far away

It’s easy for anyone to weed out the traits that we don’t like before we even meet person

And onto the second point of view: Social Media complicates the way we get to know people

The tricky part is that it’s really unfair to judge a person that you’ve never even met in person.

Again, similar to the way a person carries themselves in real life, we can make the same judgments in person as we do online.

But as the saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”

You always have to give people the benefit of the doubt. Chances are that you are wrong about them…or right. It can go either direction, but that’s exactly why you have to see for yourself.

Disclaimer: Meeting people is at your own discretion. I am not an advocate for online dating or anything of that sort.

In summation, you never really know what a person is like. Sometimes there are people that you have known in-person for years, but still haven’t quite learned everything. It’s impossible.

We’re all complicated individuals. Every experience has molded us differently. So again, you have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. People could surprise you and like I said, it could go either direction.

The Depth of a Hashtag

In continuation to my post about the beautiful weather that New York City had on Tuesday, I’d like to include more details on some recent observations I have made.

On Tuesday night, as I was walking with my sister down 3rd Avenue from the 86th Street entrance of Central Park, I noticed that we were both mindlessly documenting the amazing run we just had. Both she and I were uploading post-run photos onto Instagram and Twitter, then waiting and watching as the wave of “likes” came rushing in. We even asked each other our opinions before posting.

At first, I didn’t comment on the fact that we were doing this. I didn’t think twice about it. It was just a normal thing to do. Not until hours later when I kept checking back on my photos and status updates, did I realize how involved I was with social media.

In all honesty, I’m the type of person who is in denial of a current fad. I subtly refuse to give into the popular websites (aside from Facebook). I can shamelessly admit that only recently have I truly gained a greater understanding towards the impact of hashtags. I never fully grasped the concept of a hashtag. I thought that Twitter was so silly at first. I often said to myself, “Why do we need another website to update your status when you can just do that on Facebook?” I have repeatedly created and deleted my Twitter account approximately 3 or 4 times because I didn’t see the purpose of it. I can finally say that I have the hang of it now (for the most part).

Originally, I didn’t even know that Instagram was a form of social media. I just thought that it was an application to help make my pictures look pretty due to the lack of strong camera quality that my poor, little iPhone 3 had to offer. I never labeled my photos, followed anyone, or used hashtags to connect myself to other Instagram users. I just wanted my pictures to look less crappy and also make myself feel slightly artsy (I’m totally not)

Only recently have I signed up for Pinterest, and even with that, I haven’t had a chance to look through it because I’m too lazy to filter my interests.

Then comes SnapChat, which I got quickly bored with. Why did I need to individually send people pictures of the random day-to-do activities I’m partaking in? I can just send a mass photo-upload to Facebook or Twitter.

We are so consumed in these various social media sites that it takes up hours and hours of our day just to upload photos and statuses, look through our news feed, like, comment, and do all the other things that these sites have to offer. I have even noticed lately that I come home to my apartment to go on my computer even more after I have already been on the computer all day at work.

I catch myself purposely interrupting my life just to post about my life. Why do people even care? Why do we need to know so much about people’s whereabouts? It’s information overload. With a simple click on Google’s search engine, we are yielded with an overabundance of information on just about anything from potatoes to who Adam Levine is currently dating. It’s very overwhelming.

I recently caught up on Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother”, which is my favorite show and I will often reference scenes from episodes. In one episode on Season 7, there was scene where the characters were sitting together at a bar, not even speaking to each other. They were just looking at their phones. Then, it flashed back to about 6 or 7 years ago, before the introduction to smart phones and the massive spike in social media websites. In the flashback scene, they were sitting together at the bar, laughing, talking, and having a good time with just each other’s mere presence.

How did hanging out with friends become so impersonal? I saw a Facebook status update of a friend who somehow had an entire conversation with her boyfriend only using “Meme“, which for those of you who don’t know, are random pictures with a statement that’s usually humorous and relates to a certain cultural stereotype- see below for example)

theoffice

We have the ability to constantly communicate with someone without using a single spoken word. It’s mad! I’m not cynical nor am I opposed to social media. Clearly, I am an active social media user. At this very moment, I am using WordPress to document these current thoughts going through my head. It’s just a shame that we have become desensitized to getting to know a person organically.

Where do we even go from here?

I fear for the future and wonder about the ripple effects of this glitch in verbal communication. I guess for now all I can say is Happy Posting!