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Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

I’d Rather be a Shepherd Than a Sheep

Yet Another Slaughter Makes the Sheep Bleat

With yet another school shooting in the news, people are once again taking to Social Media to voice their opinions and rant their usual rants, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. While I don’t fault any of them for being socially conscious, I am curious as to how those rants are any better (or worse, for that matter) than the standard placebo “our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims”?

Worse yet, is jumping on another bandwagon of anger and blame something they’re doing by conscious choice, or because they continue to allow themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter by media and politics? Does anyone realize how much they promote the political demon’s divisiveness by their outspokenness on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever their Social media du jour might be?

Can We Listen to Ideas for Solutions Without Judgement?

In the last couple of years, I’ve seen and re-seen the same basic arguments for and against gun control. I’ve seen the same groups blamed, and the same groups defended.

Wake up everyone! The only way to solve anything is to join together, air all points of view in an environment of open-mindedness, and find the solutions we’re all missing while holding tight to our own skewed points of view.

In a healthy business environment, solutions are found with brainstorming. An effective brainstorming session will respect anything and everything offered without judgement. Once all ideas are on the board, they can be debated until the less viable are weeded out and you’re left with those most likely to succeed. There’s no guarantee those remaining will be the most conservative, the tried and true, or the least far-fetched either. All options have an equal chance of being considered.

Clinging Desperately to Our Own Sinking Ships

Sadly, we’re so busy hanging onto our deeply ingrained beliefs and values, we would rather cling to what’s not working than consider something completely outside our comfort zone which might. We are children with security blankets being manipulated by the adults in the room (and I refer to the manipulators as adults only in the loosest sense) to cling to those security blankets of ours at all costs. Like Linus of “Peanuts” fame, we’ll hold onto those blankets even if the building is burning down around us, or we’re flung into the ocean without lifeboat or paddle.

How long are we going to cling to the past and to tried and untrue values and solutions before we recognize the futility of continuing to fight with both friends and foes virtually, while watching our world go down in flames around us? And people wonder why I refuse to join the futility and the chest pounding.

Getting Beyond Our Ingrained Beliefs

That isn’t to say there aren’t some real gems of wisdom out there. Whenever I see someone suggesting we listen to those with opposing views and try to understand why they reached them, I want to stand up and cheer. Even more, we could try to understand why we hold the views we do? Is it habit? A particular wrong we can’t let go of? Tunnel vision? Or worse, is it putting our trust in someone just because we always have, so of course, whatever they tell us must be true?

I’m willing to bet we are all guilty of all these reasons, and more which make no logical sense. People on one side or the other are reluctant if not militantly unwilling to listen to why someone supports an opposing person or viewpoint. And god forbid you even suggest to some of them that they were subtly manipulated into believing the most far-fetched of notions. I get it. No one wants to admit they believed a pile of horseshit was a lush garden with wine flowing from the fountains. We don’t want to admit our opinions have no basis in fact, but came simply from being bombarded with fake facts created (supposedly) by sources we thought we could trust.

We Need More Watch Dogs

The title of this post might be a bit misleading given what I’ve already written, but does, in its own way still hold true. Though I have no desire to manipulate anyone or give them reason to believe whatever my version of the truth might be, I also have no desire to be led to the slaughter by all of the crap being published these days. There is absolutely no way of knowing any more whether an article or comment from a trusted source truly came from that trusted source. Groups like Anonymous who do have the talent and ability to dig deep into the source of those words and expose the actual voices behind them are likely so overwhelmed right now, both with flying under the radar and weeding through so much virtual manure that they’re barely scratching the surface.

Even if they did have the manpower and ability to keep doing what they’re doing without getting caught and stifled, we have all allowed ourselves to become somewhat complacent about believing those “trusted sources”.

Breaking Free of My Personal Paradigms

Despite my refusal to jump on the latest cause, I’m attempting to use my gift for words to debate, demand, and maybe even offer a viable solution. Yet I, too am somewhat hobbled by an ingrained belief system. I do find a kind of dark humor in the latest piece of idiocy attributed to our current commander in chief. Yet I also believe (whether accurately or not) that an awful lot of it is fabricated by people who are paid very well to do so. Why? Because it keeps the rest of the country (and even the world) fighting over the stupidity and unreasonableness while supporters cling even more tightly to their beliefs, despite the obvious insanity. Or at least it’s obvious to those of us in the opposition, right?

Today, it’s easy to explain away something we don’t want to believe by attacking the source of information. We can write off an entire argument by saying or thinking “I can’t possibly believe that. It came from a person or publication which, in my opinion, does nothing but lie”.

What Ever Happened to Honesty and Truth?

To misquote a country song, we’re searching for truth in all the wrong places. The trouble is, we’ve lost all sight and perspective for where truth can actually be found. I wish I could say I know where that place is, but frankly, I’m as baffled as the rest of the world. I’d also like to say I’ve not been influenced by the lies being spread like peanut butter on bread, but again, I’m baffled and confused. I will at times react instead of responding. I will at times accept something I read without doing my due diligence.

Laziness? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as a time limitation. Who among us has time to check everything we see and hear for voracity? Who has time to research every supposed fact and still live their lives with balance and integrity? We all depend on someone or something to tell us the truth, and sadly, we’re all let down time and again.

Though you probably won’t see me out there leading the charge any time soon, I will remain in the shadows trying to make sense of it all and refrain from fighting with those I know and love. I disagree with most of them on at least one major point, but I no more have actual facts to refute their beliefs than I think they do to refute mine. And frankly, unless we can both discuss the matter rationally and objectively, the discussion runs the risk of devolving into an argument where nobody wins and everyone loses. I’m not willing to risk my friendships like that.

Without Friends, Being Right is a Recipe for Loneliness

It’s taken me decades of my life to learn how to truly have and be a friend. To allow the years I’ve spent learning to be open, honest and vulnerable to go up in a cloud of smoke because we believe different sources of information strikes me as the ultimate in stupidity. I love my friends, not because they believe exactly the same way I do, but because  they don’t. I can learn from what they believe as much as I can learn from the lessons they’ve mastered. If there’s one thing friendship has taught me, it’s to choose people willing to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. I’ve learned and grown so much more, and appreciate my amazing friends for their willingness and ability to tell it like it is.

Do people actually follow me (aside from the concept created by social media and blogs)? I doubt it. Do people agree with me? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it doesn’t really matter. I try to consider their points of view, even if they are as far away from mine as it’s possible to get. I try to respond rather than reacting, and when I can’t do so, to hold my tongue. Shouting my beliefs or my outrage from the rooftops will truly only reach those who already share my point of view. Those who don’t will either shut down, or try to shout back, increasing the breach already created by differing beliefs, and dividing us further. In that, I refuse to be a sheep, and easy pickings for the monsters among us who seek to swallow us whole.

Perhaps there is a bit of the shepherd in me, as I would lead with gentleness and understanding rather than by force. It’s a crazy world we live in. More like “Alice in Wonderland” than “Pollyanna”, but I choose to believe we can still navigate it successfully if we keep our heads and trust our hearts.

Finding Gratitude in Things Both Big and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends on both sides of the divides created by opinion and lies.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I learn, some of which cause me to re-think the path I travel and the destination I see in the distance.
  3. I am grateful for my home and my cats. They are the touchstone and the balance I need to navigate a world where the rules change without notice and the road drops away when I least expect it.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. It is and always has been my friend, my therapist, my outlet, and my sanity.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, advice, friendship, joy, opportunities, financial upswings, job offers, new clients, reassessments, new contacts, expanded horizons, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Social Media be Damned

A Much-Needed Wake-Up Call

This week I accidentally performed a test of my real impact on people via social media and the results were, to say the least, humbling. A unique alignment of factors which began with a three day Mexican cruise and ended with being laid low by a rather nasty virus meant that my desire and ability to post were non-existent for the better part of a week.

That means I didn’t link blog posts or share positive affirmations or inspirational quotes. I didn’t share any wins or revelations on the groups to which I belong. It is now a full week of near radio silence and guess what? NOBODY NOTICED.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Three people know why I’m not posting: two by happenstance and one because she’s my daughter. Not one, single person from all of my social media “friends” has even noticed I’m gone or, if they have, weren’t concerned enough to ask why. Before you think I’m wallowing in self-pity, I want to assure you that what I’ve learned from this is quite the opposite and far more valuable in the long run.

I’ve been guilty of wasting a lot of time and effort on something which doesn’t deserve that much of my attention. This was the wake-up call I needed to put my focus on myself and stop trying to uplift or encourage anyone but myself.

Sometimes, we just need a little reminder that if we want to improve ourselves, improve our lives, reaching out to others isn’t going to do the job. We need to do the internal construction and sometimes even demolition ourselves. Everyone else is far too busy making something of their own lives to be concerned about where ours is going (unless, of course, they’re receiving compensation for their troubles).

Like so many before me have learned, there will be a limited and scheduled time for my social media activities from now on. The rest of the time will be spent doing things which will actually improve myself, my skills, my life and me as a person. I couldn’t have a clearer message that social media not only can’t do these things but has probably been hindering my progress.

Today’s lesson leaves me with a very long list of gratitudes, but I’ll keep the list short for the sake of time and space.

1. I am grateful for lessons which come with pain as they remind me far longer than the pain-free ones do.
2. I am grateful for my self-sufficiency. It is something I know I can count on.
3. I am grateful for my talents and abilities. I overlook them and second guess them far too often. But I’m learning to appreciate just how valuable they are.
4. I am grateful for my cats who have snuggled all week, no matter how bad I smell or how long it takes for me to scoop their sand boxes.
5. I am grateful for abundance: talent, self-sufficiency, inspiration, motivation, healing, self-love, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Building My Platform: Where to Spend My Time

To Twitter or Not to Twitter, That’s my Burning Question

Lately I’ve been more active on Twitter and as a result, have more than doubled the number of followers I have. I’m certainly not breaking any records any more than I’ve broken 100 followers yet, but I’ve noticed something interesting. Some of the people I follow back are tweeting well over a hundred posts a day! Who in the heck has time for that? I link my blog posts and a few other things so one post shows up in more than one place, but over 100 social media posts in a day? In an hour? Craziness! When do they have time for other stuff? I can’t imagine getting the 10,000 words of Nano I’ve written in the last 3 days if I’m tweeting or Facebooking or Instagramming that frequently. Or do they have some kind of automated tweeter?

Even more amazing to me is that people take the time to read that much stuff! In my case, if someone’s tweets are filling up my screen, I eventually take them off of my follow list. I want variety, not the same person over and over. That, to me, is boring and reeks of someone who a. needs to get a life and b. needs to learn to validate themselves.

I’m the First to Admit There’s a Lot I Don’t Know

I’m sure there are some automated posting mechanisms out there, but if they’re automated, it would mean some kind of formula and lack of originality in the posts. I think my real issue is with whether people actually read that many posts or if post overload by some means nobody reads the rest of us because they’re burnt out long before they even see what we’ve written. As in everything we do, there is a valid argument for moderation in social media posts unless, of course, you’re trying to win the popularity portion of #TheVoice or other contest which you’re hoping will launch your career. I can see how saturating the marketplace is reminiscent of our political system. He/she with the most name recognition wins.

But for those such as I who are fledgling writers, artists, photographers and the like, I wish the over-posters would give us a break and leave some space for people to see and share our achievements as well.

And speaking of achievements, Day 4 of #NaNoWriMo isn’t even over and I’m already at 11,575 words. My first year, it took me until June to finish the first draft of “Sasha’s Journey”; my second, until March to finish the first draft of “A Dubious Gift”. I’m determined to finish all 80, 90 or 100,000 words of the first draft of “Hannah’s Chair” by November 30, as one of my old bosses used to say, “Come hell or high water!” I’d also have to add “commitments to clients willing and the crick don’t rise.”

Enjoy your social media and I promise not to be the one to flood it with 100 posts an hour!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the progress I’m making on a novel I didn’t even know existed 4 days ago.
2. I am grateful for the moral support of all my fellow #Nanowrimo writers including the wonderful group of Inklings he talked me into it again this year.
3. I am grateful for the stories which continue to grow in my head and flow out through my fingers. I don’t know where they’ll go, but I’m enjoying the journey.
4. I am grateful for friends who understand or at least humor me about my dreams.
5. I am grateful that I’ve learned to follow the passion trusting the money will eventually come, at least enough to take care of my cats, keep a roof over our heads and put food in our bellies.
6. I am grateful to, inch by inch, be conquering the fears which made me wait so many years to follow my dreams.
7. I am grateful for the Universal head slaps and the friendly butt kicks which are pushing me along, helping me overcome the fears and above all, write my little fingers off.
8. I am grateful for abundance; motivation, inspiration, imagination, love, friendship, support, joy, humor, murderous intent (on paper of course), sharing, caring, kindness, compassion, celebrations of success, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at and . Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

September 8, 2014 A brief message to the angry ones

On August 28th, I wrote a post about de-friending vs. unfollowing on Facebook and listed a few topics on which I typically unfollow people. Of course, you (and you know who you are) took one item completely out of context and chose to post more of the vitriol I had to block when I was on the old blog platform.

First of all, please accept my thanks for reminding me who you are so I can put the blocks back in place on this platform. Secondly, I urge you to find a support group that is based more on what you can still do rather than on bemoaning what you can’t. I have had a few friends with your condition, and they found ways to still be useful and productive, despite the fact that their abilities were, in the first place, undependable, and in the second, constantly decreasing. One, in particular, would literally drop out of site for a few weeks, often having to re-establish her walking and even, speaking skills before rejoining the world. It is not the talking about health issues which I choose to unfollow, it’s the part about feeling sorry for yourself and expecting the rest of us to do so as well.

We all have some kind of limitation we have to deal with, but how we choose to deal with it dictates just how much of a limitation it is. I wish you all well, and hope you find some purpose which will brighten the lives you’ve been given, but know that your angry, vitriolic rants will not appear in the comment section of my blog. I created this blog to emphasize ways to behave in a positive manner, regardless of what life throws at you. While not always possible, it is possible, at some point, to find the lesson in every, single one of the challenges we face. May you find yours and do what you can to make the world a better place because of what you’ve learned.

Love and light

August 28, 2014 Social media…do you want fries with that?

Unfollow or unfriend.  Choose wisely.   August 28, 2014 Social media…do you want fries with that?.

August 28, 2014 Social media…do you want fries with that?

When it comes to social media, it really is to each her own, these days!

As time has gone on, the different ways people perceive and use social media has created an ever-widening gap between me and those who are on my friends list; but I’m not alone in this. The discussions about de-friending or unfollowing someone because of the content they share on our news feed has been escalating, at least among the people I know. Here is what I’ve observed people sharing of late (in no particular order):

  • Family pictures
  • Health status
  • Relationship status/changes
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion
  • Positive affirmations
  • Games, both, ostensibly in promotion of a cause, or just for fun
  • Observations of the world in general
  • Doom and gloom prophecies
  • Music appreciation
  • Selfies

We all have our own ideas of what is “allowed” on our news feed and what’s not, and the reasons for our choices don’t need to be explained. I’ve learned that if I unfollow someone, it doesn’t raise a glaring red flag, nor is it telling someone (erroneously) that I don’t like them as a person. It simply says “I appreciate your opinion, but I prefer that I don’t see it all the time on a place I go for fun and, sometimes, inspiration.” That being said, I’ve unfollowed people when posts become excessive in the following areas:

  • Health status, when there is an excess of posts complaining about conditions, yet failing to actually do something about it.
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion (this one only when the posts become really excessive, so it doesn’t happen often)
  • Doom and gloom prophecies. I don’t really care whether these prophecies are based in fact or not. I simply don’t want to see anything which complains or blames without offering feasible solutions.

Again, if someone posts on any of these subjects now and again, I really don’t have a problem with seeing the occasional post on my news feed. It’s like anything else. Everything is fine in moderation (except maybe abusiveness or pure evil).

Most of my friends are pretty open and honest about what they do and do not like to see, and I try to respect that, at least insofar as anything I might post to their wall. I like to think that, with the exception of positive affirmations, I don’t post any topic in excess, but I am sure there are some who might see differently. (OK, so I may post more than my share of adorable cat pictures, but in my defense, I’m not posting a bunch of pictures of adorable grandchildren!).

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

The main thing is that we respect each others’ right to post what is important for them to share, knowing that there are polite and impolite ways to shield ourselves from the ones which might annoy or offend us. Heck, if we were all interested in exactly the same things, it wouldn’t be long before we’d just see the same posts over and over and over again, and, like a soap opera, we’d only need to check in every week or two to know everything that was going on! How boring would that be? As it is, some posts already go around for awhile, then, just as we think we’ve seen the last, someone starts re-posting them all over again! I can’t tell you how many times I’ll start reading something, only to realize that I saw it a month or so ago. It just goes to show that things travel more quickly in some circles than others.

For the people out there who are tired of my content, feel free to unfollow me; I completely understand. But if you unfriend me just because we have different viewpoints, we’ll both be the poorer as our world will become less diverse. Whether it’s meant that way or not, removing someone as a friend translates into an act of anger, whether  intended or not, and it’s often difficult to bridge the gap once it’s in place.

So to those who’ve let me know that they don’t appreciate or participate in some of the shenanigans, rest assured that I’ll try to remember to exclude you next time one goes around. But if, for some reason, I forget, please feel free to remind me before you just block me out of your life. I don’t set out to annoy or offend (though I will, on occasion post a rant with clear warnings!), but as a human, I do, on occasion, err, and once I either figure it out for myself or have it brought to my attention, I’ll always take ownership and do my best to make it right. (admittedly, I won’t always agree that I have been offensive or unkind. Like everyone else, I’m a work in progress, and my experiences have colored my perspective.)

Fortunately, I know that a lot of my friends are like me and appreciate the diversity as it allows us to bring each other lessons we might otherwise have missed, or at least, would have taken much longer to learn. But I think, over the last couple of years, we’ve all learned what social media can and cannot do for us, and have, for the most part, used it to connect, but after connecting, we all get out into the world rather than hiding behind our computers as the stereotypical user might do. It makes me wonder what the numbers are as far as users who think talking to people on the computer all day is real connecting vs. those who use the medium to reach out, but save the true connecting for social gatherings which actually require you to shower, dress and leave the comparative comfort of the four walls they call home…something to ponder.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friends in all of their wonderful, unique, sometimes quirky, but never boring, diversity.
2. I am grateful that I’ve reached the end of my current hermit stage, and that my friends care enough to be concerned when I’m not present, but understand when I explain why.
3. I am grateful that I have the ability to check out from society whenever I want or need to, but can just as easily check back in.
4. I am grateful for the amazing relationship I have with my daughter, and how much we continue to share, despite the distance in miles.
5. I am grateful for all of the abundance in my life; love, friendship, health, happiness, peace, harmony, prosperity and charity.


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