Hey, I'm Alexandra White.
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April 10, 2011

“Alone Together”

I was reading a New York Times article, “Feel Like a Wallflower? Maybe It’s Your Facebook Wall,” and it really made me think about the effect social media has on our (social) lives. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is something I often suffer with upon going online. I may be perfectly content sitting and watching a movie, relaxing. Then I check my twitter feed and see that four of my friends are out at the bar, having a blast. I always want to join.

This is something I have been struggling with for many years. I used to hate it when my friends would make plans and not invite me. It was one thing if just two friends were hanging out together, but it’s entirely different when it’s a big group. I always want to be a part of it, if only to remember that they like me. It seems childish but we all seek that approval. Social media has really impacted they way and think I feel about this issue. Going online reminds you that you’re online and not out, living life.

There are some opposing views. For example, with smart phones (and it’s 2011, so more and more people are being forced by providers to acquire such phones) we can be connected at any point in time. This means, we’re not necessarily sitting at home alone and reading about our friends’ fun time. We could be out having our own fun. However, there is still a natural emotional pull to be doing what your other friends are doing. You want to be where they are.

So, does this mean that we leave social media? Is it affecting our lives so much that it causes depression, leaving us unable to function? I say, “Nay!” It is our job to find a balance and accept that people can not revolve around our own lives. On the other hand, it would be an agreeable statement to say that social media does lead to depression. It does lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness. Growing up is hard, and it’s made harder by our ever growing number of connections. Our minds are overwhelmed. We can only process so much.

In the end, now that we’re so connected, it may be next to impossible to disconnect yourself. Yes, you can delete your Facebook and Twitter. In theory, you would never have to worry about it. However, more and more invitations go out on Facebook. You may crave the knowledge that comes with living your life online.

Good luck with your decision making.

March 27, 2011

Lansing Give Camp

This weekend was the third annual Lansing Give Camp, a weekend long event where web developers, designers, and database ninjas donate their time to create programs/software/webpages for non-profits. It officially began at 5PM on Friday and ended at 5PM on Sunday afternoon, where we gathered in the basement of Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing. I met my team: Amelia Marschall from Gravity Works Design, Daniel Hogan of Ginger and the Geek, and Kathleen Kiester to help re-design the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council (Mid-MEAC) webpage.

The old webpage is still hosted on the domain as of today, but you can also check out our re-design here. I created the favicon, the tri-county Michigan iconography, the Facebook landing page, Twitter background, and did content editing across the site. Overall, we didn’t have as much work as I had expected. I initially brought a bag with clothes to stay the weekend, but we finished relatively early each night.

The experience was incredible. I was surrounded by some of the most talented designers/coders in the Lansing area all working non-stop to create incredible projects. In addition, I learned a lot about the awesome non-profits in the area and the work that they do. For example, 401 Change was an idea not previously backed by any online presence. With every good action you do, others will do good. These good deeds will help change the world. 401 Change was designed to track those good deeds and show the good that people are doing all around the world. It’s amazing the ideas that people have and their desire to change the way we think about our lives. Non-Profit work is some of the most difficult and most rewarding work that one could take part in. I’m glad I got to be a part of it for at least one weekend.

So many companies sponsored our meals, donated prizes, and helped make this possible. Other Give Camps exist across the country, something I find thrilling. I plan on continuing to participate in Give Camps, if not in Lansing, then other places around the United States. Nothing feels better than knowing at the end of the day, you made a difference.

You were the change that the world needed to see.