What’s next?

With Abuzz development winding down (after a small delay), I’ve been wondering what project I’ll take on next.  This isn’t to say that Abuzz won’t be improved upon and future releases won’t come out – the app will still own some of my life.  But what will own it after that?

I could do another iPhone app.  I have some ideas I’ve been kicking around and it doesn’t look like anyone else is doing them.  Plus, after Abuzz, I feel confident that I could manage such a project and do so more smoothly.  That route is open, but I’m currently looking in a different direction.

I want to do something disruptive.

One for another

Little known fact: in 2004, I moved and became a South Carolinian.  Leaving PA was something I had always wanted to do and I had no intention of returning.  Then something funny happened.

A goal got in the way.

I was going to put myself through college and, well, I was still considered an out-of-stater.  That means school is twice as expensive.  I had been admitted to Winthrop University, but I shelved that and came back to the bitter cold of Harrisburg.  I worked a few months as a temp for the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry, went to HACC and eventually transferred out to IUP.  If you know me, you know how that story ends.

Sometimes you have to give up something you want to get something else you want.  That’s life.

(Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on moving out of PA someday – I’m not built for this weather.)

What are your goals for 2010?

I have a few – some large, some small.  I’m hoping that putting them out there for the world to see will help me follow through.

  1. Write at least one blog post per day.
  2. Write a full-length novel.
  3. Attend at least three tech conferences/unconferences.
  4. Shape Abuzz into a must-have search application.
  5. Pay off at least half of my student loans.

What are yours?

When fighting back is acceptable

First things first – read this post.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait for you.

Now, let me try to figure out where you stand.  You could be in one of three camps:

  1. You respect Chris Brogan and you’re put off by that post,
  2. You think the blogger is raising some valid points, or
  3. You just don’t care

If you’re in Camp #1, you’re thinking and feeling the same way that I do.  If you sifted through the comments, you probably saw a lot of other people feeling the same way.  You might have even seen my comment.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say.  I was definitely going to say something – there’s no question about that.  I thought about the various avenues I could take.  Most social media types would tell us to be courteous, right?  Maybe I could leave a comment that politely acknowledged something in the post that had validity and then calmly make my case against the rest.  Yeah, that’s what I could do!

Nah.  I’d rather call him a tool.  That’s being real.

While we’re building all these relationships, we need to remember to maintain them, too.  That means having that person’s back.  If someone were to talk down one of my close friends, I would not let that fly.  When someone launches an unwarranted attack on a respectable guy like Chris, I won’t let that fly, either.

The same goes for my tweeps, my FriendFeeders, my PodCampers, BarCampers, blog readers and anyone else I like and respect.  If we’re going to push for authenticity and trumpet for more emotion by means of social media, then we need to start being more human.  I’m a pretty considerate guy and I try to be as nice as possible as much as possible.

But sometimes, you can’t be.  Sometimes you need to fight back.

Transparency is a joke

At least, it is for regular people. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have felt the need to create another blog where I could 100% be myself. I went back through my Xanga the other day and I genuinely miss that writing. I miss being able to talk like I’d talk to one of my best friends. So I decided to take all reasons why a new blog was a bad idea and totally ignore them. Blog = created.

We’ve created two worlds, now – I hope you all realize that. Before all these social networks crept into our lives, we already had two lives – our work/class lives and our personal lives. Social media has now taken the professional version of ourselves, usually kept in an 8-hour cage, and stretched it out to encompass almost the entire rest of our days.  We’re hiding our Myspace accounts.  We’re changing our last names on Facebook.  And if you’re like me, your own personal blog isn’t even yours – it’s a place for people to come and read thoughts from the “professional” you.  Ugh.  We do all of this just so we can keep what little of our lives we have left.  It sucks.

Personally, I’d love to be done with the nonsense, but too many “brilliant” people think that they can judge someone’s morality and work ethic by looking at some drunk camera phone pictures taken on the weekend.  The irony is that we’re all probably doing the same things – so why does anyone get the right to judge?

I wish I could just throw a link out there and say, “Here’s where you can find me writing uncut and without reservation,” but it would be tied to me through this site and, well – you know why I can’t do that.  I think we shouldn’t have to fear the reprocussions of what we say, but free speech is only free if everyone else is playing along.  Right now, they aren’t.  Until they are, we’ll all continue to hide who we really are online.  Transparency is a joke and will continue to be a joke until we all stand up to this crap.

Where I’ve been and where I’m going

I haven’t been posting over here as much as I’d like, but the news isn’t all bad. The truth is, I’m still writing blog posts – I’m just doing it elsewhere. :]

I started Monday as a part-time contributor to SlashGear, a fast-growing gadget/technology blog. While I’m now a whiz on the latest in consumer electronics, my blog reading had definitely taken a hit and, as a result, I’m not as “in the loop” on discussions about social media and web apps.  I’m trying to solve this problem – anyone have any ideas?  I’d love to hear them!

I feel extremely blessed to have landed a job, even part-time, doing something I love (writing) that relates to something else I love (technology).  I hope to keep this going as long as I possibly can – it’s definitely something I could see myself doing for a long time.  I do have a little bit of spare time right now, but I’m expecting that to be filled by something equally as cool.  What’s that?  You’ll have to wait and see. ;]

Moral of the story – I’m happy with where I’m at, and I’m certain the future’s only going to get better.  For all those who check in every now and again, thank you!

Stay classy, internet.

Go down swinging

Anyone who follows me on Twitter probably knows that I haven’t been having very much fun lately.  I’m the Fundraising Chair for Alpha Phi Omega, a community service fraternity here at IUP.  I have what should be a pretty easy job description – make the fraternity money.  I had a few ideas of things I wanted to do that I feel would have been pretty successful but, unfortunately, things got mixed up along the way.

We started the semester almost broke due to poor money management from previous officers.  This meant that I had very little money to spend in order to make money.  We decided to make working security at Heinz Field events mandatory for every brother and pledge.  This meant that I not only had to be a fundraiser, I had to become an expert in scheduling and logistics.

On top of the Heinz Field requirement, we also required that brothers and pledges complete three fundraising hours for the semester.  So not only was I scheduling everyone to go to Pittsburgh to work security, I was also trying to plan other fundraising events – just so people could meet their requirements.  Of course, there were snags along the way; Heinz Field switched security firms on us, we had to go through all new training with their new company and not everyone could make it.  I was forced to try and strike a fair compromise between those who had already worked games and those who wouldn’t be able to.  Things got messy, so I played the cards I was dealt – even though they weren’t that great.

And here I am today.  I feel that I made the best out of a poor set of circumstances, yet at the same time, I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get to do a lot of the things I wanted to do.  We missed out on doing Homecoming shirts for the first time in who knows how long.  I wanted to experiment with online sales as a type of fundraiser, but again, I felt like I had to focus more on creating physical events so that people could meet our fundraising requirements.  I was bitter for a day or two, but I’ve grown to accept it as a life lesson.  Not everything is going to turn out the way I want.

So what can YOU take away from this?  We all have dreams, goals, ideas, ambitions, wishes, wants, needs – but sometimes, things don’t go the way we planned.  I’m not telling you that you’ll never hit that homerun someday, but base hits are okay, too.  Aim for the rafters, but don’t feel like a double or triple constitutes failure.

And when you strike out completely, go down swinging.

Make someone’s day

If you knew you could make someone’s day, would you do it?

I’m not even talking about someone you know.  It could be a complete stranger – someone you will meet once and then never see again.  Would you still do it?

It’s really easy.  All you have to do is the opposite of what they’re expecting.

I went through the Taco Bell drive-thru earlier today and, upon reaching the menu/speaker, I was greeted with this – “How are you?”  I know, no big deal.  Every Taco Bell employee asks this question when you pull up.  What usually happens, though, is I reply by saying, “I’m fine, how are you?” and receive an answer that consists of silence followed by “Order when you’re ready.”

Today, the answer I got was a real one.  I actually laughed a little bit because I was so surprised.  Upon hearing this, I immediately knew who was on the other end.  It was the manager of another Taco Bell in the area (Front St, Harrisburg, if you’re familiar) who had been transferred (to the Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg).  He had stuck out in my mind previously because he seemed to actually give a crap about the people on the other end of the speaker.  And now here he was, at a completely different store and still the only Taco Bell employee I’ve ever met who has answered the question, “How are you?”

After this, I went to Target to pick up a few items (a new whiteboard, printer ink amongst other things).  I chose to forego the use of a cart on this trip, since I was only picking up a few things.  After finding everything, it was clear I should have used a cart.  I walked up to the checkout and heaved my items onto the belt, looking quite dumb in the process.  “In hindsight, a cart would have been a really good idea,” I said.  The checkout girl, who was looking somewhat bored, laughed and agreed.  From then on, she seemed a bit more lifted, and all it required was a little bit of me picking on myself.

I know work and other routine tasks can seem a little bit monotonous, but they don’t have to be.  Imagine that every single person you interact with is having a bad day and it’s your job to cheer them up.  Even if they don’t make it obvious, you are probably making their day just a little bit better.

Five years later, you move me

Can you believe that I graduated high school five years ago?  I can’t.

Though we’ve put this much time in between then and now, I’ve tried my hardest to stay true to myself.  According to my yearbook, that is what people wanted me to do.  I’ve taken a few excerpts of cool things people wrote – words that are still able to make me laugh, smile and remember some good times.  If you happen to read this and remember writing it, thank you.

“Hey!  Some days I hate you.” (LOL!  It was mutual.)

“It was fun having you listen to me bitch in English.” (You were VERY good at it!)

“You’re an awesome guy and a great friend.” (Thanks!)

“Don’t eat tooooo much cream cheese.  And vote Democrat.” (It’s like she knew the future…)

“You’ve stuck with me and have stood up for me so many times and I’m really grateful for all of it.” (Always will.)

“Well we never followed through with that ‘plan’ we always talked about! LOL!” (Never say never!)

“Thanks for being an awesome friend to me.” (You’re welcome.  Thank you.)

“Don’t ever change.”  (I’ve tried not to.)

“You are going to go far in the future because you’re so upbeat, friendly and just all around a great guy!” (I’m blushing.)

“And I am not a lesbian!” (Still waiting to be proven wrong on that.)

“We have to stay in touch, move out to Hollywood and start our own talk show.” (I’m ready when you are.)

“Cokeapookie.” (I wish I remembered what that means!)

“Maybe we could go out on a date sometime if Marie and I ever break up.” (Well?)

Thanks to everyone again.