Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Use Your Phone To Not Look At Your Phone

I've seen a lot of posts lately from people who want to remind others how impolite it is to keep pulling out your cell phone or messing with your phone when you're supposed to be spending quality time with someone else... like at meals, especially meals out.

We live in an instant gratification world. We knew this, but everything around us reminds me of this. When I don't answer email within a few hours, I've literally had people write back and ask if I'm still in business. Really? That's all the time you gave me? There is a Blackberry commercial where a woman talks about how if she sends you a BBM (Blackberry Message), she knows you got it, even if you don't respond... well, why didn't you respond! I guess she didn't realise not everybody wants to write her back that second.

This was my biggest problem when I had the Palm Pre from July 2009 - Nov 2009. Out of the box, it made one sound that a friend said sounded like the Law and Order thundersheety gavel thing. It took me months, but I finally noticed I was the WORST person to hang out with. Every time that phone went BONK BONK, I pulled it out because it could be anything... text mesage, email, tweet, low battery alert, voicemail. I was constantly looking at my phone. I put in some hacks that eventually gave me some more sound options, but I still had to look at the phone a LOT to know what it was trying to notify me of.

So what can we do to put the politeness and the personal connection back into the times when we should be connecting with someone sitting right there? I say that if you're not just going to turn off your phone or choose to ignore anything it could do, use your phone to not look at your phone. Huh?

I have an Android phone. Just about every app I have asks me if I want to pick a notification sound just for that app. Do that. Make each app a different sound, and make it a sound you'll remember. I edit all my sound samples so they're meaningful bits of songs rather than blips and squeaks. I've got an XTC song going off for when the twitter app sees a new mention of me. Not worth looking at while having dinner with someone. I have an app called Ringo Lite that lets me pick different text message sounds. If I'm out of town, and "Suzie Safety" by Sparks goes off, that's a text from my pet sitter... I need to look at that.

I use an app called K9 email rather than the default email. I am polling 5 accounts every minute. Each account makes a different sound. I can choose to look at the phone or not based on which account just got an email. My 5th email account is for my boyfriend. He gets his own sound. :) When K9 does rules, I'm going to make a sound just for Facebook notifications, which come into my personal email account, so that they are easier to ignore OR if I'm expecting an important reply I think will come via Facebook, maybe in that moment, that sound is important.

Most phones have features like this. Most will let you choose different tones for different apps, accounts, and people. Use that. And then create priorities. If we're out, and I'm hoping our focus is on each other, let's only look at our phones if we think the sound is something really important. Everything else can wait.

I'm old enough to remember when people didn't have cell phones. You probably remember that too... how you had to wait for someone to be at home or work to reach them. And somehow, you lived without instant contact. You probably rmember when not every had email or not everybody checked it all day. It'll be OK if someone gets back to you in hours or a day. Let's dial our craziness down a bit. :)

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Don't Forget About Color

Seth Godin wrote a great blog post recently called, "Don't Forget About Color." http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/08/dont-forget-about-color.html

It reminded me of a conversation I had with him over email a few years ago. I showed him the designs we were doing for eBay, and how effective they were. He was surprised. He figured that designed worked better when there were more white space.

I beileve that we are getting more and more visual, and mood, personality, image, and ease of use are the new white space. I've been saying that, and people smile. But now, Seth Godin is saying something similar, at least that's how I read it.

I don't think websites need more white space. They need more attention to UX/UI, bringing people's eyes to the most important elements, and providing a real feel and mood to the site. You want to stand out from every other website.

It's about colour, but it's also about usability. When you don't really have colour, design, or mood, you have a layout. I don't think you have a design, but you have a layout! We're at the point where if things are the wrong colour, nobody sees them, and your design isn't as easy to use. Take eBay's grey tabs on a white background... nobody sees those, and now they're changing them again.

More and more, our clients are asking us for websites that feel "warm," "inviting," "pull people in," "make them feel involved," etc... That's why all of our designs are custom and unique, from scratch, and based on the image you want to project to your audience or shopper.

That's where design is going. We've been doing that for years, but we know that some people are just getting the memo now. :) Some designers are still making layouts. :)

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 27 August 2010

Why As Was Left eBay's Certified Provider Program

Hi. I'm Debbie Levitt, CEO of As Was, and I'm here to tell you that after 6 years in eBay's Certified Provider program, I have decided to not renew our membership there.

Nothing else is changing. We still focus on eBay design and strategy for sellers. We do websites, print work, marketing, etc... As Was is the same! You just won't see the CP logo next to our name anymore. No, we didn't get thrown out or asked to leave. We were asked to renew and pay for another year, and I decided not to.

I helped create the CP program back in 2004, and As Was became the first Certified Services Provider. The program offered a heap of perks and benefits, and I loved the program. I was the poster child. :) However, in the last 18 months, something has changed, and I'm not too sure what it is, but the perks and benefits just really aren't there for us anymore. It costs $3,000 per year to be a member, and I just couldn't find a reason to pay for another year when I felt I hadn't been seeing an ROI from that in about 18 months.

I am under the impression that other well-known and well-loved companies have terminated their CP memberships as well. So I'm not the only one... and remember that a lack of a CP logo doesn't mean there is anything wrong with a company or their products or services! It's pay for play, and as I'm not paying, I don't get to use the logo anymore. We still make magic happen for eBay sellers; we still have a perfect rating in the Solutions Directory, and our average client sees a 30% increase in sales after working with us.

http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?SolutionsDirectory&subgroup=20&page=details&solutionId=210

We still love eBay, and we have great relationships with many individuals and departments. We want to continue improving and enhancing everything we do relating to eBay. If the CP program ever morphed into something that offered great value to As Was, I'd love to join again. But for now, it doesn't make sense.

I'll be at eBay On Location in San Jose, and I'm speaking at PayPal's conference in October. You'll still see me everywhere. I'm not going away!

And hey, if you want us to do something for you in time for your holiday selling, we need to start right away! Please head to http://www.aswas.com and contact us!

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

eBay Dumps Third Party Checkout

http://announcements.ebay.com/2010/08/ebay-checkout-update-for-2011

eBay has announced that third party checkout will be discontinued next June 2011. What does that mean? Well, have you ever bought from an eBay seller, and during the checkout process got dumped on another website to finish your checkout? You'll often see that with sellers who use companies like ChannelAdvisor and Marketworks. I have tended to NOT buy from these sellers for partially that reason. I hate those checkouts.

I'm not the only one. eBay is saying that less than 10% of sales come through third party checkouts, so this doesn't affect most people. I agree. I do a fair amount of shopping and buying on eBay, and I don't see as many checkouts as I used to.

I think this is a good move towards consistency of experience on eBay. We should all go through one checkout, and we should all go through a unified checkout, even if we have bought multiple items from multiple sellers. We are all used to shopping carts and that style of eCommerce. It doesn't make sense for eBay to still make us check out mostly one thing at a time.

So I would say I like the direction in which this is going, but I think it puts pressure on certain outside software companies to offer more value. People used to want those companies partially to have that checkout feature, and that will go away. People might choose third party software based on different criteria, and hopefully those companies will have strong offerings that make what they charge a good value for sellers.

Who do I like right now in third party software? Well, it tends to change based on word on the street and what my clients tell me about their experiences. So right now, I'd pick Vendio, Seller Sourcebook, and Auctiva. For eCommerce, I like Volusion and Magento. And of course, we design for all of these. ;)

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Last time I Was Really Impressed By Technology

I was thinking about the last time I was really amazed at technology. My Android phone comes close. But before that, when was I really wowed?

2002. I was Queen Geek and early adopter. People thought I just beamed down from Star Trek.

  • My phone was a little Sony Ericsson flip phone on the GSM network VoiceStream (later T-Mobile). 
  • I travelled to England in October 02, and my phone still worked. Paid wild roaming charges, but it was very cool to see the phone work perfectly everywhere I went. Texted my British pals to meet up with them. I'm not sure I was texting anybody else on the planet at that time.
  • I had a Palm i705 with an always-on connection to Cingular Wireless, now AT&T Mobile. The Palm picked up my email all day. I could send email. I had completely mobile email in late 2002, bitches! :)
  • I had a foldable keyboard that the Palm snapped into. That was rather cool. Faster typing than the Palm keyboard.
  • I had a Bluetooth headset because my Sony phone was Bluetooth compatible. Didn't need a dongle. People were amazed at the Bluetooth headset.

That was some cool tech... before a Treo, before a Blackberry. Before everybody needed a Bluetooth headset on their ear at dinner.

This was the last time I was really impressed by tech.

| | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 20 August 2010

I'm in San Diego!

If you're reading this, I'm in San Diego. Or it's the future, and I WAS in San Diego on this date.

Just letting people know I'm taking a long weekend with my best friend in San Diego. He prefers to see me be off the grid. Ha! I'll probably still put some pics on Facebook, but may not answer emails as quickly as usual.

Why am I telling you? Because I've found that when I don't answer people's emails in like an hour, even on the weekend, they call to see if I'm still in business. I'm still in business. Been in biz since 1995. Not planning to stop any time soon. It's just a long weekend. You'll be OK!

I'll be back at my desk Tuesday the 24th.

Thanks!

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Which Makes Me Less of a Stalker?

Which makes me less of a stalker?

Checking my boyfriend's Facebook all day to see if he's said anything interesting, funny, insightful, or posted a photo?

Or...

Wishing someone had an app that notified me when he did so that I wouldn't be checking all the time like a goofy-ass girlfriend?

I'm going to pick the second. I would rather have an app that notified me. That may not be less stalking but it would save time! :)

| | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Would Tax Cuts Really Help?

I keep hearing Republicans making it sound like most of our country's economic problems can be solved by tax cuts. The idea seems to be if you're paying less in taxes, you're going to take that money and pump it back into the economy... which will stimulate things, and get us out of the recession.

What I want to know is how much of a tax cut would you have to get? How much would you have to get for you to really notice you have more money in your pocket? And how much of a tax cut would you have to get for you to then run out and spend it on something you weren't currently buying?

I don't mean spending it on the mortgage or car payment... you have to make those anyway! I don't mean putting that money in savings, the kids' college fund, or just letting it sit in your account.

The idea is that tax cuts give people money to spend, and the spending is what makes things flow. So I want to know... if you paid less taxes next year, would you be spending that "extra" money on random stuff? I'm just curious what other people would do.

Me? I have some small balances on credit cards I haven't paid off yet. I think if I had "extra" money, I'd pay those off. But does that stimulate the economy, especially if I plan to not spend money on those cards and leave them paid off?

| | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

How Fast Will eBay Take Down A Fake Site?

I have to hand it to eBay on this one. They really impressed me last week.

When we do templates, sometimes clients say they don't want to approve the final version until they see it mocked up on eBay's View Item page. OK, fair enough. Typically, I take the eBay page, and I just dump the client's mockup where the listing would be. I upload it to our servers, and I send the client a link. He normally approves it, and I take it down.

I did that last week. Client approved it. I was distracted, so I didn't take it down right away. I soon got a call from eBay. Someone who didn't know who I was was telling me that I had a fake eBay page on my server, and I was therefore infringing their copyright. Whoa.

Bigger whoa was that I then went to my page in my browser (Firefox). The page was fire red, and told me I could NOT see this page because it was fraud. WHOA. eBay somehow got my page on a list of banned pages!!! I hit my FTP app, and took the page down.

I explained that we're designers, we were just mocking up, blah blah blah. She understood. She said next time to please password protect the page so that it's only for the client, and can't be accessed by the public. OK, fair enough. Sorry!

I told her that was amazingly fast because I only had the page up about an hour. She said yes, she got the email warning her about my page an hour ago, but was only just getting around to calling me.

Whoa.

Gotta hand it to eBay on that one. If I were a fake site, and they are catching them this fast, that's WONDERFUL. Good job to eBay not only for handling it so fast, but for taking the time to call me to clear things up. I would have hated to have my site marked fraud when it was a simple misunderstanding.

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 16 August 2010

Facebook Tells Me Your Secrets

I'm weird. I tend to really listen to what people don't say... what they aren't telling me, what they are dancing around telling me. I read intentions. But sometimes, a lack of something says a lot to me.

The pics I put up on Facebook tell you story of my life. Of course, you have to be a good friend to see them since my Facebook is personal and not for biz. But for those in that circle, you know my world through pictures... where I live, who I spend time with, my pets, my car, places I like to eat...

If there is a lack of something, it's not by accident. No pictures of family? Yes, I have no family. No pictures of a special someone? Well, I'm in a new relationship, and I'm not sharing photos yet. Lots of pictures of guy friends? Yes, I'm friends with many of the guys I dated in the early 1990s. Anything that's missing from FB photos is not by accident.

So you get my story from what I include but also what I exclude. I think people are giving away more than they realise from things like Facebook posts and photos.

I have many friends who are unhappily married, and are either considering divorce or just starting to fantasise about it. Their Facebook pics tell a lot of the story when I see zero or nearly zero pictures of the wife. Pictures of pets, pictures of kids, pictures of places, pictures of other family. No (or really few) wife pics.

Compare that to some FB friends I have who seem to really love their wives. They're always posting about where they're going out. They post appreciation for her. They post mountains of pictures of them doing things together. These aren't newlyweds. Just happy couples. They haven't gone extinct. :)

Another friend of mine just split with his wife. He removed his relationship status. So it said married, and now it says nothing and is hidden. I thought it was too early to say single as the ink isn't dry, and a lot of people would ask a lot of questions. But a guy you think is married with a hidden relationship status? Could mean he's making a change.

It makes me feel like what you exclude is telling part of your story, and I'm listening. I wonder how many real life friends of my unhappily married Facebook friends know their friend is unhappily married. I can tell he's unhappy. I wonder if they get the clues or are missing the clues. How many of these people would be surprised if these unhappy people left their wives? I wouldn't be! I'm watching the clues!

I'm not saying that your FB needs to be papered with your wife everywhere, and devoted odes of passion. :) But disconnection looks like disconnection, and I think Facebook makes that easier to see.

| | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 13 August 2010

We Design and Customize ChannelAdvisor Stores

Hey, are you a ChannelAdvisor customer? Yes? Well you're in luck. :) We design and customer CA Stores, both their Basic Store as well as their premium ASP DOT NET Store. Here is a very cool Premium store we did.

http://www.laretrogifts.com

We're all about matching the design to the mood and image you are looking to project. Otherwise, if your designer isn't doing that, he or she probably just stuck your logo up top, or made you a collage. Booo! Demand better! :)

We can get this ready in time for holiday selling, so contact us now for a quote! http://www.aswas.com

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Getting Into ProStores?

Are you getting into an eBay ProStore (formerly Kurant Stores, years ago)? Well so are we! We will soon be ProStores Certified Designers, so if you are considering a ProStore, let us give you a quote on unique and custom design.

If you already have a ProStore, but want it more customised, or with a fresh look and mood, that's our specialty! Get in touch. We'd love to get your project done ASAP so it's ready in time for your holiday selling!

http://www.aswas.com

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Getting More From Website Design

With over 15 years in the biz of designing websites, I can finally put into words how online sellers and businesses can get more from web design and your website designer.

When starting a project, a typical web designer wants to know what you sell, what colour you like, if you have a logo, and a few pictures of what you sell. You typically end up with a website that looks like everybody else's, but with your logo and a few pictures of what you sell slapped up there.

There is a whole other school of thought when it comes to designing websites, and it's often called UX/UI, standing for "user experience/user interface." The idea is that an expert in this area is not just thinking about the layout and design of a website. He or she is taking into consideration...

  • Profiles of typical users/shoppers. Who are these people? What's important to them? Why are they coming to your website?
  • Messaging... what do we need to tell these people and in what order? How do we phrase it so that people have to do the least reading and thinking?
  • Navigation... how will people get around the website? Are you putting a bunch of rows of choices up top and then more down the sides? Does that really work for non-thinkers and non-readers? :) What are fresher and more intuitive ways to plan the navigation?
  • The best in modern design. Boxy websites with heaps of columns and dizzying home pages seem so 2002. There are better ways to design now. You don't need to settle for the same old ways, which I think for the most part don't really work for how people surf the web and how people think.

As a UX/UI expert, I think bringing in someone like me bring a whole other dimension to your website. It will help it stand out, and be easier to use. The less time people spend thinking and reading, the more important it is to have a website that is easy and obvious to use. It's more important to have a home page that makes sense, connects with your audience, and projects the most important messages in ways that make sense to your shopper.

You have such little time to make an impression on people, and technology is getting wackier... I see more and more sites using Flash while Apple is blocking Flash on everything. So if you build something in Flash, you've just kissed off everybody who might hit your site from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod as well as most mobile phones.

A UX/UI person is dedicated to making something truly work for your business. A website designer (typically) wants to take what you already have, throw it together, and get it online. It's often not very creative, and often doesn't take "deeper" ideas into account, like how your shopper is likely to behave, where your shoppers eyes will naturally go, and what messages your shopper needs in what order. A website designer typically does what you say whereas a UX/UI person is often in more of a consulting and expert role. It's not that I don't do what you say, but it's more of a relationship where the client knows they are coming to me to take advantage of my years of expertise and experience.

If you'd like a quote on some really special website work, please get in touch with us at http://www.aswas.com.

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Is Global Warming Real?

Everybody wants to debate Global Warming. Is it real? Or is it just a typical shift like our earth has had before?

There's one thing I feel like I'm not hearing enough. And that is that whether or not you believe in Global Warming, Climate Change, or whatever you want to call it, there is NO good reason to NOT change our habits and do more for our planet.

Recycling is a great idea whether you believe people cause climate change or not. No reason to throw things away and have them pile up on stinking piles in states where we all live. Recycling is easy. You throw some things in one bin, and some in another. Then you put each bin in the right place. Or maybe where you live, you just drag these bins out, and someone takes them for you.

That was EASY. I will even throw a paper towel I used to dry my hands in the recycle bin. It can come back as a Starbucks thingy so you don't burn your hand on the hot cup. :)

Being smart with energy is easy, and will save you money on your electric bill. So even if you don't want to do it for somebody's idea of what's good for the planet, do it to save money. Turn off lights and ceiling fans in rooms you're not in. Keep the thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter. There are small things you can do that can save electricity, save you money, and don't compromise however you see your lifestyle.

Turn off water while you are brushing your teeth or washing your face. Turn it back on when you need it. Don't let it run. Cut your shower down by a few minutes. Yes, please wash :) but you could probably cut 2 minutes out of your shower every day, even if that's 2 minutes of not getting in the shower yet even though the water has heated up.

Carpool where you can. Share rides. Nobody gets any points for driving their own car and having to park it. See if you can travel with someone else. Save gasoline, save on pollution from vehicles, save on traffic in your area. Imagine if traffic moved faster because 1/3 of the people in your area decided to share a ride instead of taking their car too.

I'm thinking about a scooter. If I have to go 0.5 miles to Target to get some shampoo, I probably don't need to drive my V6 SUV. I could ride an efficient scooter getting a zillion miles to the gallon and putting out less pollution.

Got solar? There are lots of great solar chargers out there. Leave them in the sun, plug in something like a cell phone, and you're powered.    

Doesn't matter if Climate Change is real or not. Doesn't matter who caused it. Doesn't matter if it will go away soon. We should be smarter. We should think ahead more. We should save our resources, our community resources, our state resources, our country resources. Little bits count, and are WORTH doing.

What are some things that you do?

| | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 09 August 2010

Get Professional Web and eCommerce Design Now!

Holiday selling is coming up soon. It's a GREAT time to be redesigning your website or eCommerce shop with a look that's uniquely yours. You can even be setting up your own website now. Why not drive all your traffic to your own store!

We at As Was have been building websites and designing online stores since 1995. Hey, we do this! And we're ready to start projects right away. Jump in now, and contact us about getting your own website custom designed.

http://www.aswas.com

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 06 August 2010

Must-Have Android Apps

I've had the HTC Evo 4G for Sprint since the day it came out about 2 months ago. This phone is amazing, especially with FroYo (version 2.2 of the operating system). But you really make the most out of a phone like this with the apps you can download and use. Here are the apps that rock my world right now. You can find them in the Market.

ShapeWriter. Can't live without it. You can also try its competitor, Swype. These apps let you type words at a time instead of letters at a time. Faster than a real touch keyboard.

K9 Email. I am polling 5 IMAP accounts every MINUTE. Yes, minute. K9 has a huge number of features, and is updated often. If you are looking for really powerful email with a lot of features, get K9. My fave feature is different notification sound and vibration patterns for different accounts.

QuickProfiles. I can make phone profiles for volumes, vibrate, airplane mode, etc... I can access them with one button. My fave feature is that I can set a different wallpaper for different profiles. I use a certain wallpaper for silent and quiet profiles so that if I look at my phone, I'm reminded by the wallpaper that the phone is silent. Reminds me to turn the volume back on!

Three travel apps: Kayak, TripIt, and FlightTrack (the pro version with the TripIt integration). I'm a huge TripIt user, and I travel once or twice a month. So these are really handy for having all of my travel details in one place, and to track flights. TripIt also notifies, emails, or SMS when your flight changes, and reminds you to check in for flights. Very helpful!

Startup Cleaner keeps certain apps from starting up. Android doesn't really need a task killer, but there are a few apps I don't even want to start up.

Ringo Lite lets me set ring tones and SMS tones for different people.

Fring is my IM app right now. I really want Skype. I haven't gotten into Qik. I'm open to other IM apps. If Digsby made an Android app, I'd want that!

ColorNote is a great app for a checklist. Grocery IQ is a fun and easy shopping list.

Pandora and Rhapsody. Gotta have my music!

I'm not much of a gamer, but I do love my MahJong tile removal game. :)

I'm now playing with SayMyName Dessert. This will read email senders and subjects, SMS, and announce callers. You can control each separately. It's great for driving, working out, or any time I'm not really looking at the phone. I can hear what the email is, and decide if I want to look or not. Helpful!

Those are my suggestions!

| | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, 05 August 2010

The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage

So Prop 8 was overturned in California. I read some of the articles quoting the ruling, and I noticed something interesting. What religions recognise and what states' laws recognise aren't always the same thing. Prop 8 is a matter of law and not religion. There are plenty of places where law and religion don't match!

A state can see a couple as divorced. Their religion can refuse to see them as divorced. A state will give an annulment to a religious couple even if they have kids. A state will break a covenant marriage, which is supposed to be unbreakable. So even before you bring gay rights issues into the picture, you already have a mismatch between what states recognise or allow and what religions recognise or allow. There are plenty of places where the Bible doesn't match up with anything in the USA... like we DON'T sell our children into slavery, even though the Bible says we can.

As a divorced woman, I know that many marriages do not last. Plenty that do are unhappy. Imagine it as an eBay seller. If you made more than 50% of your customers unhappy, eBay wouldn't even let you sell. So why do marriages go so wrong?

To me, the real threat to traditional marriage is the imbalance between people in a couple. This imbalance can be played out a number of ways. Maybe one person makes most/all of the money, and the other person feels "kept." Maybe one person is hyper-sensitive, and makes the other feel like he or she is "walking on eggshells"... that if you say or do the "wrong" thing, no matter how small, it'll be a battle. Maybe the couple isn't a good sexual match. Maybe they don't have similar core values, religious beliefs, approaches to child care, levels of neatness or organisation.

Isn't Marriage Supposed To Be "Hard" and Take a Lot of Work?

That's a story we tell ourselves when things are hard. When the relationship was GREAT, we didn't tell ourselves, "Well, this is just supposed to be hard and take work.... why is this so great and easy?!?!?" We matched the story we told ourselves to what our reality was, hoping we'll feel better. When the relationship got hard, we told ourselves, well, that's just marriage... it's hard. We need to stop telling ourselves made-up stories to try to feel better. We need that cold splash of water in the face.

Be careful of the stories you tell yourself. "Love will conquer all." Well, it may not. I found my love didn't do squat when it came to trying to deal with a dry drunk with unresolved childhood issues. I didn't cause those problems, and I can't fix them, which is a good lesson for everybody: you are unlikely to be able to fix problems you didn't cause, especially deep ones from before you met your partner. Love didn't conquer anything.

Another story we tell ourselves is that we've put so many years into this, why walk away. We don't keep a car because we've had it for 10 years. We don't sell or junk it because we've had it for 10 years. We get rid of it when it's not right for us anymore. I think relationships should be the same. I think people should consider disconnecting when the relationship isn't working, and can't be fixed... even if it's a vintage car. :) Putting more coats of paint on it won't make it better.

So How Do You Find That Successful Relationship?

Hey, I'm not perfect. I'm talking more from experience of long-term relationships that ended (badly). But I do have friends who have been married for decades, and say the spark and lightning are still there. Those people chose the right people. I'm hoping that right choice will come my way soon, if it hasn't already. :)

Think about your relationship with your best friend. You don't have to TRY to make that person happy. In fact, nobody would dream for a second that it's your JOB to make that person happy! You're each responsible for your own happiness. You don't have to say the right things or do the right things. You and your best friend just click, and you can talk about anything. You can say something, take it back, reshape it, try again, and your best friend doesn't pick a fight with you.

To me, the success or failure of a relationship always comes down to balance, equality, and how you share. This comes back to not the genders of people or the religion, but it comes down to who we choose as our (hopefully) life partner. It's about our expectations. If you expect your partner to "make you happy," that's a lot of pressure on that person. I prefer dating a happy person who wants to share that with me rather than someone looking for me to say and do all the right things so he'll be happy.

To me, the threat to traditional marriage isn't gay people. It's not religious people who want to superimpose their beliefs and preferences on everybody else as if there is only one right way. The biggest threat to traditional marriage are all of us who chose the wrong people and stayed. There is at least one fantastically right life partner out there for you... someone who makes you feel loved, supported, beautiful, and full of lightning. Life is short. Go find that person. :) Your marriage is a model for how your kids will see love... if you wouldn't want your kids in a relationship like yours, go find a really healthy one that they will hopefully use as a model instead.

And on a side note, that's why I like Chelsea Clinton... I like a girl who is JUST NOW marrying a guy she met 17 years ago. I think if more people took extra time to live together and see how the relationship evolves over time BEFORE getting married, we'd see a lot less divorce. Think about your the person you were dating 17 years ago. :)

| | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 03 August 2010

Why I'm Off Twitter

As of a few months ago, I'm pretty much off Twitter. I still have accounts. Some still have feeds going to them. But I haven't posted anything. I check maybe once a week to see if anybody has @ me. I'll respond to a direct message because I get an email. But that's it.

What happened?

Facebook. Let me explain.

Let's say I post an eBay selling tip to Twitter. If someone responds to it, I don't know about it. You didn't see her response. She didn't see your response. It's not threaded or logical in any way. It's really disjointed. And since I have no idea either of you responded anything, I haven't responded either.

I used to live in front of a Twitter app, waiting for someone to respond so I could respond right back. And it just wasn't happening. It was disjointed. Some people responded days later. It didn't seem like a conversation anymore. And when people do respond, you're like, "What are they responding to? I don't even remember."

Facebook has that mostly solved. When I post something, and you respond, I get an email. When someone else responds, it's there under what I said and what you said... so it's linear and logical. You can respond to my other friends. They see what you said. It's more like a conversation.

I think that building communities is about having that conversation. Facebook lets that happen. Twitter seems to be more of a broadcast, a shouting out there through a toilet paper roll, and not really knowing if anybody says anything back.

So I think I'm done with Twitter. I can't make time for it. I'm having quality interactions on Facebook, both on friends' walls and on business/fan pages. My time is best spent where I'm finding quality interactions. So is yours. :)

| | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)