Category Archives: Facebook

A Few of My Favorite Things (2012)

Sometimes I get to blog just about personal life things that I’ve enjoyed.  2012 was a fun year and brought many new things to life – some planned, others unexpected.  Here’s a list of a few of them.  I’m blogging this for my own memories, but I hope you can find some value also.

Favorite Author: Jon Swanson

Jon write at 300WordsaDay and he is the one blogger I read daily.  He writes about following Jesus in 300 words per day – brilliant.  Short posts but they cause me to reflect and think deeply about my faith.

Workout Gear: TRX

TRX

I did a project for a grad class this semester where we looked at the biomechanical analysis of the TRX.  The TRX is suspension training and my research reminded me how efficient and challenging this workout can be.  For our class, the professor built a quick make-shift TRX so we could work with it.  His craftsmanship inspired me so I’ll be building my own this season.

Phone:  iPhone 5

iPhone 5

I couldn’t resist.  I was due for an upgrade and a couple weeks ago I got the latest Apple phone.  My main reason was that Katie requires higher megapixels on our pics since she uses them for calendars and photo books, and my iPhone 4 wasn’t cutting it.  It’s a wonderful upgrade.

New Project: Sorin’s photo book

Katie has been making photo books each year for our kids as gifts to my mom.  This year I jumped in on the fun and did all of Sorin’s book.  I had so much fun!  And now Katie and I are working together to revamp how we organize our pictures so we can do these books easier and more often.  What a fun project.

Start-up business: 8Bit

My blog runs on Standard Theme, a product of the guys at 8Bit.  John Saddington and his crew do great work, they’re fun to watch as a team, and they are a pleasure to work and talk with on Twitter.  I find a lot of inspiration from these guys.

8bit

News feed: Zite

One thing I do every morning while eating breakfast is check Zite.  It’s an iPad app that puts together various feeds of news based on categories I choose.  Then when I read or star certain items, Zite gets even better at providing relevant news.

Lists/Groups:  Facebook and Twitter

I was so much more productive this year b/c I was able to filter out my Twitter and Facebook feeds using lists.  I get very annoyed at people who complain that there’s too much on the social media sites.  The fact is a little discipline and you can make the social networks work for YOU.  I’m spending part of my winter break slimming down the lists even more for 2013.

Notebook: Moleskin and Evernote

moleskin evernote

I’m a hoarder, I admit it.  But with Evernote, that’s not a problem.  I literally keep my life in Evernote.  But you can never get away from analog writing, planning, drafting.  So that’s where the Moleskin notebook comes in.  I’m almost to the point where the two are perfectly in sync.  But that’s just me.

 

 

Business tool:  Fit411

I had a fantastic conversation with Briana from Salus this semester and concluded that her software has so much potential to advance my business.  I’ll stop here b/c you probably don’t care.  Again remember, this is more for me than you.

App:  Instagram

Though they had quite the PR debacle at the end of the year regarding their terms of service, Instagram was a ton of fun this year.  It’s amazing how well a picture can tell a story and how creative these pictures can be.  I’ve enjoyed looking back at my Instagram feed from the year.  (there were a lot of coffee and espresso references)

instagram

 

 

There you have it!  These favorites from 2012 don’t represent everything from the year.  These are essentially just the things that have come to mind at the end of the year.  Probably what’s more important than looking back is looking forward.  That’s what will happen later this week when I write about my 3 words for the new year.  Having a great year is all about goals, not resolutions.

How about you?  What are a few of your favorite things from 2012?

Some Reading Material

One of my biggest frustrations is not being able to find time to read all the good stuff I come across on a daily basis.  First, of course, are the books I have going.  As I mentioned back in December, my reading list is long.  Currently I’m getting back into Principle of the Path so I can get a family book club blog back up and running again.  I’ve also started to read Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer.  But as I mentioned earlier in the week, the GRE has been my main text for the last few weeks.

So there’s the books, but then there’s the internet.  Critics will have a field day with this, but Twitter has put a huge burden on my reading list.  I follow some pretty smart and compelling people on Twitter – you should too.  And I don’t want to hear that you don’t have time b/c it’s as much or as little as you make it.  Sure, I’m kind of complaining about Twitter adding to my reading list.  But I’d rather take time to sort through the stuff than not be connected like I am.  Anyway, Twitter feeds me with articles about blogging, fitness, news, and leadership which I all find completely fascinating.

What about you?  What are you reading?  Do you have a regular source for keeping up with the world or your personal interests?  Of course I’d recommend finding some interesting people on Twitter.  Tell me your interests and I’ll try to point you towards some smart people.

Blogs are also great for finding good stories.  Recently I came across two great posts I want to share with you.  The first is from Spence Smith who works for Compassion International and has a great blog.  This article is called Leaders Who Blog Engage Their Audience is a great argument for why leaders should blog and the influence they can experience.  Look around Spence’s website for other articles –  I read him every week.

If blogging and leadership aren’t your thing I’ve got a compelling story for you.  Katie found this blog from a friend of hers and I’ll give you three guarantees: (1) you will see beautiful photography and excellent writing, (2) it’s a long read (3) you will thank me for pointing you to this when you’re done.  If it doesn’t affect you, check your pulse.  Enjoy the story of Nella.

Most of my readers know I’m really into social media – blogging, Twitter, Facebook.  The whole point of social media is to be social.  So I’m sharing what I’m reading.

Do you have anything to share with me?

Training Log: I Use DailyMile.com

After three seasons of running, it looks like this summer will be an off-season for me.  I’ve really enjoyed the different challenges of each race.  But Katie and I are expecting our second child this April and that means our household will be busier than ever.  Time for training will be hard to come by, so I’m planning on a much lighter exercise routine.

But as a personal trainer I have come to find great joy in helping others experience success and a healthier lifestyle.  I’ve promoted this lifestyle and these runs (half and full marathons) and a few members of our extended family have taken the challenge and joined me in these different races.  This season I’m focusing on two of these people, Jess and her dad Kevin.  Jess is the finance of Katie’s brother Grant.  Kevin is her dad.

I’ve found a great website that will be helping us stay in contact with our workouts.  It’s called DailyMile and it’s free!  If you use Facebook you’ll see the similarities.  Once you create a profile (which you can link to Facebook) you find other friends who join your News Feed.  When your friends post a workout or make a comment (“note”) it shows up in your News Feed under “You and Friends.” 

I am really impressed with the way technology is allowing us to create community in the exercise and fitness industry.  Sure, it can get overwhelming.  But with a little discipline and initiative it’s possible to start a couple accounts on social networks and create some community as you get fit.

What I Learned From the Haiti Challenge

This Haiti Challenge has been a mini-series on The Game Plan.  I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s made me think of the project from many different angles.

It helped people: 10 days ago this money hadn’t been given.  The need arose, people responded, and money was donated.  People benefited from our work.

Teamwork wins:  I’m very proud of the fact that my efforts in combination with the efforts of my team produced more dollars than would have been donated with just one person. Some would have donated anyway, some donated after reading the Challenge.  We formed a team.

Not everyone will join:  My biggest frustration and learning moment is that not everyone will join the cause, as good and as necessary as it may be.  I admitted in my first post of this series that,

It’s too easy to pass up opportunities to help.  I’ve done it so many times in the past.

I knew only a small percentage of my friends on Facebook and the blog would respond.  My blog has a small readership, and I know I have exactly 416 friends of Facebook.  But I honestly thought I could get at least 20-30 people to donate $5 or $10.  This honestly baffles me.  Maybe it shouldn’t b/c I’ve passed on other similar opportunities to give.  It’s leaving a sour taste in my mouth, so I’m done digitally processing this thought.

(Alright, tt’s still pissing me off)

People appreciate a good story:  I thoroughly enjoy researching a topic and presenting it to my readers and friends.  This story of course was a global disaster, but I took it and organized a sub-story for people to join.  If I’m frustrated with those who didn’t join, I’m equally joyful with those who did.  They joined my story. 

Social Media will be a platform for really good things:  Not everyone is into Twitter and Facebook.  I hope they will see how quickly good information and stories can spread if we get involved in networks that are so viral.  And texting generated so much money.  Technology can be such a powerful tool.

Every cause needs a champion:  I’m not saying I championed this Haiti cause, but I moved towards it.  For 7 days I was a leader for a really good cause.  This disaster will pass, recovery will happen.  In the big picture this is a small story.  Serious but small.  What are the bigger stories?  What stories need to be told?  What stories need a champion?  How has God gifted you or given you experiences that have drawn you towards a cause or problem that needs to be solved?

I’m not going to go back and delete that point about my frustration with those who didn’t join.  I know many may read it and be turned off by my harsh words, but I can live with that.  My frustration is equally directed at myself b/c in years past I haven’t put my money where my heart was.  Hypocrite?  No.  I’m learning and I’m growing.  I’m willing to challenge people to excellence even if I can’t always produce it myself.  I want to be in the game and leading myself and those I love towards goals that are bigger than ourselves.

Jack wrote his check to World Vision on Friday.  I wrote my checks this morning – $45 each to World Vision, Compassion, and Red Cross.  Thanks for reading about this Haiti Challenge.  Let’s continue to do good things and cheer each other on to greatness.

Final Numbers for the Haiti Challenge

There was no way I was going to process the reports from Haiti and not do anything.  It was impossible.  Over a two day period I watched Twitter and glanced at nytimes and cnn.com.  I saw the tragedy unfolding and knew that as a God-fearing man and father of a little boy that it was my responsibility to take action.  Families were being torn apart and forced into extreme conditions.  It was my obligation to assist in whatever way I could to the relief efforts. 

What I did was not revolutionary.  It wasn’t even my idea.  I was reading my Twitter feed and saw that Bebo Norman (singer from Nashville) was donating $5 for every person that mentioned that a link where you could donate: 

Help Haiti. Donate to Compassion’s Disaster Relief. Roshare & I will give $5 for every person that RT’s this link http://bit.ly/8VNyfF from TweetDeck

Bebo has 5,000+ people “following” him, so you can do the math and see how their bill could add up really quickly.  But the idea inspired me.  I talked to Katie about us donating, and then I decided to create my own Haiti Challenge.

I’m happy to report that my team raised $133 in six days.  The challenge was posted on Facebook and on my blog.  One of my blog readers then decided to match whatever I had to match.  So “Jack” is contributing $133.

Our grand total is $399!  Sorin just found four quarters in our couch, so you can tell people that the Haiti Challenge raised $400. 

I would like to thank each person who joined my team for this effort.  When people work together for a single cause, big things can happen.  $400 isn’t even a drop in the bucket for the problems in Haiti, but that money will certainly provide assistance to someone who needs it a whole lot more than we do.

(Stay tuned: my next post will include additional thoughts about this project and I’ll report when I write the check and where it goes.)

Haiti Challenge

I admit I haven’t done much reading on this disaster in Haiti.  I’m just sitting down to write about thoughts that have been going through my mind for 24 hours with no time to process.  Yesterday the recurring theme on Twitter was, “Watching scenes from Haiti.  Wow.  Shocked.  Praying for Haiti.”

From where I sit on a daily basis I get my news from Twitter.  I fire up my iPod Touch and read “tweets” from people who make sense to me.  But this post is NOT about Twitter.  It’s about people’s reactions to the world.  My Twitter feed has given me a very unique perspective on this event from people who I highly respect.  I don’t hear from strangers.  I hear from very intelligent, thoughtful, and caring people.  And their response has been one of awe, compassion and action.  And that is what this post is about – action.

My life has changed since Sorin was born. The thought of my son suffering is unbearable.  And when I look at cnn.com and nytimes.com and see the photos of Haiti, I see news through a new lens now – awe.  I see it through the parent’s lens, and I know each person suffering is someone’s child.  And they need help.

As I said, I haven’t done much reading on this.  But really, what do you need to know?  You need to see pictures and hear a couple stories of what’s happening.  From the nytimes.com:

“You can’t do anything about the dead bodies, but inside many of these buildings people may still be alive. And their time is running out.”

–Eduardo A. Fierro, a structural engineer
inspecting quake-damaged buildings

Their time is running out.  I’m sitting on a laptop computer, sore from a hard day’s work, and ready to get some sleep.  But their time is running out.  

Compassion.

I have no other stories to share.  Do you really need one?  My purpose is very simple:  action.  It’s too easy to pass up opportunities to help.  I’ve done it so many times in the past.  Not this time.  I was inspired by Bebo Norman’s tweet where he said that he would donate $5 for everyone who repeated his plea (on Twitter) for financial support to Compassion International.  My challenge is this:  

  • donate $5 or $10 to World Vision, Compassion International, or the Red Cross (texting “disaster” or “Haiti” to 90999 will take it right out of your phone bill)
  • write on my Facebook wall that you did this (or comment on this blog post)
  • I will match your gift 

I started the challenge this morning, and I have 4 partners on my team

If you’d like to forward this blog post to someone who may be interested, please copy and paste right after you visit one of the three websites above.

Awe   =>>  Compassion   =>>   Action

Things I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a great time for family and reflection.  It’s a holiday that everyone can agree on and this is evident in our culture’s universal celebration on this weekend.  Of course as I’m writing this plenty of people have moved beyond Thanksgiving towards Christmas and the Black Friday event that’s gotten completely out of control.  But still, Thanksgiving is a great weekend.

Briefly, let me reflect on what I’m thankful for.  Let me start with the Big Rocks:
  1. Family:  Katie is such an amazing mother.  She works so hard and makes me so proud.  Sorin is healthy and a joy to watch as he plays throughout the day and grows up before our eyes.
  2. My job:  While this isn’t a career for me, Bill at H&H Arborists is an excellent employer.  I’ve learned a lot from him and had an opportunity to grow in my leadership and management.
  3. My parents:  mom and dad are right across the street and have helped with Sorin and other duties around our house.  They are very giving individuals, both of their time and their resources.
  4. My in-laws:  Steve and Sue are very welcoming and involved in our lives as we work into parenthood.  
  5. My relationship with God:  My rock and my Savior.  All comfort and security is found in the Creator.
And then I’m thankful for many things that are along a different line of thinking.  Let me explain:
  1. My gifts and abilities:  I am discovering day after day how God has established qualities in me that show how He will use me in this world.  Sure, I’m frustrated with certain areas of life (I’m not in the career field I want to be in) but he’s given me passions and skills, thoughts and ideas to where I can see where this is leading me in the future.
  2. Social Media:  I have the ability to keep up with so much information right now.  I follow top notch pastors from around the country.  I hear industry tips and best practices from exercise specialists who are further along in their career than me which motivates me and my business plans.  I have relationships with friends on Facebook that weren’t possible years ago because they’ve moved away.  Social media has allowed me to be hyper-connected and it’s a really good thing.
  3. Things that are FREE:  With so much information and good products available, think of what we get for free.  Google has made everything knowable within seconds.  My blog freely allows me to reflect on life and share it with whoever wants to listen (all five of you).  Twitter allow me to listen to and write to thousands of people on a variety of subjects.  And YouTube allows me to watch U2 live from the Rose Bowl, all for free.
  4. My health:  I love running.  I won’t be winning any races any time soon but working out is enjoyable for me.  I’m always up for a challenge and my goals are changing by the season.  
  5. My career goals:  God gave me the passion for exercise and education.  I feel like I’ve been charged with helping people become healthier individuals and this is an admirable calling in life.  God has instilled this in me and continues to bless me with the thoughts and ideas required to have a successful business and affect on my community.
  6. The Office and Community:  Katie and I laugh weekly very hard when we watch these two shows.
  7. Sorin’s Puma sweatsuit from Grant and Jes:  You’ve got to see him in this – he should have one of these outfits at every stage of his growth.
I’m very thankful on many different levels.  We live in a very privileged society and we should never forget that.  

A Night Off, A Night Alone

In one of my educational psychology classes in college, I remember a professor talking about the brain and learning.  He said that when we learn, the brain is like a sponge; it can absorb only to a certain point.  Sponges can only hold so much water before they need to be squeezed out.  Purging is essential for the sponge to function properly; same goes for the brain.  It needs to be emptied at regular intervals to continue to be efficient, even effective.

I’m finding myself in a season of busy work.  Life is very busy right now and the routine sometimes gets the best of me and I get complacent and lazy. 

  • the same morning routine.
  • the same thing for lunch
  • the same search for a new job
  • the same evening with family

Are these all bad?  No!  I love my time with family.  Sorin is changing daily.  Katie and I had a great talk at dinner last night.  My days aren’t always (or completely) boring.  But I certainly lack a freshness to my daily activities.  I get stuck in a rut.  Certain things lack excitement.  I need to squeeze out the sponge before I can refill.  For me that means a full day off.

For two evenings I’m home alone.  Katie went to Cedarburg for three days to be with family, so I’ve got run of the house.  And Katie knows this about me – sometimes I just need this alone time to refocus.  Life has been very predictable.  But tonight I knew I was coming home with no pressure or responsibilities to be “on” with family.

Tonight I was able to catch up on a few blogs – less than I would have liked, but that’s probably a good thing.  At the same time I checked Facebook and then an interesting thing happened.  A couple people started posting comments on my blog and on my Facebook according to some of the things I’d recently written.  It started a series of small discussions that led me to think proactvely about my next career move.  Katie and I have talked about developing my fitness business and what that would entail.  Tonight I was able to share with some of my friends some of my thoughts and I was also able to see that I can get relevant discussions started with people – this is big if you’re starting a business.

My brain needed this.  I believe God had this night set aside for me to decompress from life and be able to engage with people in a way that I rarely have time for.  It was very refreshing.  It’s hard to talk about this because I don’t want it to seem like I need to get away from family to be productive.  But there is something to be said for retreats – retreats from the normal day-to-day routines that get us bogged down with sameness. 

So I’m happy with the night.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow night.  I need time away like this and so do you?  If you didn’t have to answer to anyone for a night, what would you do?  What could you accomplish?  Would it make any relationship better? 

How to Read 47 Blogs Per Day

Technology is progressing such that we no longer have to search out information or news:  it comes to us.  Each day we check email, Facebook, our favorite news sites, and maybe some blogs.  Is that accurate?  How do you spend your time online?  How do you get your information?

Would it surprise you that I read 47 blogs per day?  Would you believe that on average I catch up on my news in less than 20 minutes?  This includes 47 blogs and about 150 Twitter updates per day!

How is it possible?

Well if you look over my shoulder as I sit in my office, you’d see that I’m not reading every post or every update.  That’s probably obvious.  But with the help of Google Reader I can look through the titles of every post and even the first few paragraphs to determine if it’s something I should read in its entirety.  We all do this with the paper or our favorite magazines.  The beautiful part of this is that I’m sorting through blogs that interest me and news sources that I’ve chosen to subscribe to.

Here’s how it works:  Go to Google Reader and set up an account.  (If you already have a Gmail or Blogger account you can use the same login and password).  On the left you will see all your subscription.  Now you need to fill them.  Open a separate tab (tell me you’re using Firefox) and go to a blog you’d like to follow.  For example here’s Sorin’s.  When you visit a website or blog that updates their information on a regular basis, they’re assigned an RSS feed and the icon looks like this.  What you need to do is click this button and then “subscribe to RSS” and it will take you to a page where you can “add to Google Homepage” or “add to Google Reader.”  Choose the Reader. 

You’ve just subscribed to your first blog – and a good one at that!!  Start finding some good blogs to follow, then progress to websites and news feeds.  You’ll be surprised what’s out there.  If you need more help I’d be happy to walk through more details with you. 

Remember:  Make the technology work for you.  You don’t need to visit each website or blog, it will come to you!  Are you interested in the Health Section of the NYTimes.com or the Business Section of FoxNews?  You can have these websites come to your Google Reader rather than visit them every day.  You’ll never go back.

Controlling Facebook Noise

While the number of users and the time spent on Facebook is only increasing, I still hear friends talk about too much noise on Facebook.  

  • “I don’t need to hear what every friend is doing today.”
  • “It’s too much of a distraction.”
  • “I only really want to hear about a handful of friends.”
I coudn’t agree more.  It has been fun to reconnect with old friends.  Certain stories and updates are compelling and I’m pleasantly surprised to have online discussions from people I never thought I’d talk to again.  But as family life gets busier and my hobbies demand more of my quality time, I find myself needing to prioritize how I stay connected on Facebook.
Why Facebook?  I have found that Facebook does everything I want as a communication platform.  I can:
  • update my daily (and hourly) status 
  • import my blog (‘notes’ on Facebook)
  • share news stories
  • see what friends are doing and reading
  • share pictures
This post isn’t about why you should be on Facebook.  It’s about why you should stay on Facebook if you want to have an online presence without all the noise.
The only requirement on your part is the following: being able to honestly determine who’s on your Short List.
Here’s how it works.  Click on HOME which takes you to your news feed.  On the left hand side you’ll see your lists of categories, technically called Lists.  At the bottom click “more.”  Then your whole set of lists is displayed, and now at the bottom you can click CREATE NEW LIST.
A new window will open and first you should give your list a name (Inner Circle, Real Friends, Cool People, Jet Setters).  Then you can click on any of your friends (groups are also listed and available) to add them to this group.  That’s it!  
To make this feature really work, you’ll have to rearrange the list to the top so that Facebook reads it first – one less click when you login.  To do this you’ll have to expand your lists again (click MORE at the bottom).  Now all your lists will have three horizontal lines at the right and you’ll have the ability to drag your new list to the top (you can also arrange any list if you want to prioritize).  
So my newest list (“Inner Circle”) is at the top, and right under that is my NEWS FEED.  Now when I login, my homepage only lists the news of my Inner Circle list.  If I have more time, I can click on NEWS FEED and I get every update from every friend.
Will this help?  Are you able to determine your Short List?  Your Inner Circle? 
I truly wish everyone was on Facebook because I think it’s a very powerful way to keep in touch and share stories.  Don’t ask if you’re on my Short List.  Please feel free to reference this article to friends who are want Facebook to be more efficient.