Fred R. on Yelp

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Social Networking and Real World Connections

Two movies are out that tackle the world of Facebook and social networking in general. There are others that grapple with the issues surrounding virtual friendships, online relationships and stereotypes of those of us who use these sites.

The movie Catfish takes a look at the nature of trust and belief that individuals place in the content shared via these sites. The movie The Social Network examines the story behind the birth of Facebook and personalities involved in the process. After watching these movies and their intentional (and unintentional) commentary on the nature of online communities, I decided to weigh in with my two cents worth.

I’d like to think that I am a contributor to my online community. I review businesses I frequent, I share photos and thoughts, contribute to causes I support and communicate with family and friends. In a virtual drink, I’m the digital straw that stirs the drink.

So like many other Facebook users, I often look for long lost friends and family. Recently, after watching an episode of Last Comic Standing, I saw a comedian with the same last name. I’ve heard all my life that there are not that many Rochas out there, so I did a Facebook search and found that Jerry Rocha had a page. A friend request and acceptance leads to a new connection and a new friendship.

Lucky for me Jerry relocated to the LA area and frequents comedy clubs all over the state. We had a chance to see him, meet him and bring together as many Rocha family members as I legally could at one time. We got together this past Saturday at the Irvine Improv, caught Jerry’s set and had a blast getting to know the real person. We still don’t know how we are related, but that’s not the important part. The important part is that we have a new real connection to a real person. The more people we know, the greater the opportunity to feel part of a greater whole and not so alone on this big blue marble.

The power of social networking (to me at least) is the ability to develop connectedness when physical barriers limit direct connection. It also allows us to reconnect with people we should of held close but let slip away. I don’t think virtual connections replace physical ones.

Like any other advance in technology, the ability to use any product or application for good or evil lies in the individual. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. What’s your opinion?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beauty is all around you as long as you are open to the flow...

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's The Small Things in Life...

Out of the blue, it happens; you run into a long lost friend, find something you forgot you lost, stick your hand in a jacket pocket you haven't worn in a long time and find a $20.00...whatever the occurrence, it suddenly puts an unexpected smile on your face.

It really is the small things that go right or go wrong that have hidden impact on our life. Have you ever just missed being in an accident and thought about how different it would have been had you been a few seconds later? 

One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors. The movie takes a look how mere seconds in life transform us in unexpected ways. This movie takes a look at how a life diverges based on a simple split second fork in the road. When you have a moment, watch it and tell me what you think.

For me, it really is the small things that make all the difference. I know it is easy to focus on the big events; births, deaths, graduations, promotions, terminations  and so on. But I have found that when I look back at the small moments, I find they have profound impact. I have had many a former student tell me years later that some little comment or suggestion I made stuck with them and placed onto a path that I never even dreamed of. When I look back at changes I made while plotting my course through life, I find that the comment made to me seemed profound, yet the person who made the comment never gave it a second thought.

So perhaps the moral of the story is that all small things are larger than they appear. Perhaps it is all simply perspective. Small to one, huge to another. In any case, I'd like to hear from you.

Are there small things in life?

How much do we impact the lives of others and never realize it?

Do you have a moment you want to share?


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friends and Food

I get asked (A LOT) why I take pictures of food. I also sometimes get asked why I don't take pictures of the people I'm with when we go out dining. So for those of you who wonder, here is my explanation.

Food doesn't worry if it's make up is perfect, if it's hair is just right. Nor will food ask to see the picture and approve it before posting. Food doesn't worry what others will think about it's portion size and whether anyone will think they are a pig for eating it. 

That is the simple acerbic answer. There are other reasons, but I think the questions miss the point of my pictures. For me, eating and dining is a social event. I love to break bread with friends and family. Eating is what we do to nourish the body. Socializing while eating is how I nourish my soul.

I conduct business while eating and drinking. I bring colleagues together over food and drink in order to spark creativity and to build community. I make meals and visit new restaurants with friends and family to generate debates over the best (fill in the blank) I've had and to create great memories for us all.

They say all of our senses are tied to memories. I know I can smell fresh bread and instantly remember the best artisan loaf Kim has made for us and how cold it was that November morning. I know I can taste a 1988 Dom Perignon and instantly go back to day we brought my oldest daughter home from the hospital. For me, my memories have multiple triggers and strange connections. I like that personally.

So the next time you see a picture on my Facebook page, one of my websites or posts, please realize I am documenting my memories with family and friends. With every scone, burger, pizza or libation is story waiting to be shared.

So here are my questions to you:

What memory triggers are strongest for you?

How do you document or record your special daily moments?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Soundtrack to Your Life?

So I came upon this site the other day, and thought: "Wouldn't it be cool if as we were living each day, the appropriate song was playing in the background?" I know there are songs that instantly transport me back to different times in my life.

The Wonder Years TV show made me wish someone was narrating my life as well, but that's another blog post for another day...

The wonder of iPods (and mp3 players in general) is that they make it easy for home DJs to put together hit lists that often serve as our personal soundtracks. I know that mix tapes and boom-boxes get a lot of credit for this concept (Cue John Cusack in Say Anything and High Fidelity) but even the process of burning your own CD was a singular process and a snapshot in time. MP3s changed all that. They were small and easily portable. When the proper players came out that took them off of hard drives and placed them in our pockets, the true revolution began. 

So this post asks you to share if you care to:

Does your life have a Theme Song?

Do you have a soundtrack playing in your mind at different times?  

Did the MP3 development make it easier to hear your personal soundtrack?

Thanks in advance for sharing!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Digital Images at our Fingertips...

In the not too distant past, taking a photo required a person to bring a camera with them. Whether it was digital or film, the photographer had to consciously think about the potential for needing the device and bring it with them. Now most cell phones and other hand-held devices come equipped with digital cameras. Many of the "smart phones" allow you to directly upload photos or videos to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. With all of these tools and services at our disposal, is it any wonder why every event, private or public is captured and available for scrutiny and review? In an age where a picture of Tiger Woods (post scandal) can bring $300k, is it no wonder why everyone is ready to snap a photo or shoot a video in order to cash in? 

What most people fail to contemplate is the consequences of posting photos or video online. It is estimated that once you share a photo or video, Pandora's box is open and it is not possible to retract or remove digital content due to the ability of search engines to retain cached information and other netizens to store copies on their computers. Just ask anyone who is the subject of a news report how quickly agencies search out online images long since forgotten or in some cases, content that he/she was not aware of in the first place.

So my question to you is this: Do your share pictures and/or videos online? If so, do you worry who could be viewing it?