A Journey Part 3

And the story continues…

Maybe  it was my pending 18th birthday, perhaps it was my questioning my adoption and why I had been given up for adoption, or perhaps it was my pending high school graduation, however, during my senior year of high school, I broke my boycott on reflecting during Lent. As I feared, once again, “it” came rushing back  into my life. I did my best to keep it under wraps, and for a while made sure to not write anything even remotely close about it  on anything. Lent came and went, I graduated from high school and was about to go on my last summer mission trip.

I always had fun going and working with my youth group and youth groups from around the country in a town that needed help. Each night we had worship, and on Thursday Night we held a deep and emotional worship that was always a life changer for many of the campers. The last part of that worship session was where camp attendees were invited to stay in the worship area to think, pray and meditate. I stayed for a good while that night. At some points I sat there crying while others, I  just stared at the large cross they had erected on the worship stage. At some point, my youth group leaders had begun gathering behind me, concerned, since I was not being my optimistic bubbly self. I remember vividly though, that one of them came and sat next to me and wrapped her arms around me. We sat like that for a few minutes. Then I gathered the courage and asked her one question. “Do you think God forgives people who are mistakes?” She never really responded but she did say that I wasn’t a mistake. Granted, looking back it must have seemed a strange and random question, but it was at that moment that I knew I had to try this new life style, and why no try then, since I was starting a new chapter in my life anyway.

The following two years were tumultuous while I experimented, and kept it from my parents and friends. I was too ashamed and afraid to tell them I was trying to see if I fit into this unholy lifestyle that I had been raised up on to avoid and despise. However, shortly after Lent 2004 had begun, my parents searched my room (I was still living at home during college), because I was being more withdrawn than normal and they were concerned. They found a few emails and letters that I had started writing to a friend talking about what I was going through with questioning my identity. To no surprise, when I returned from school that day, they confronted me about my feelings and lifestyle and if I was honestly questioning my sexuality. We went through the same “condemning of my soul” conversation that I was unfortunately getting used to. However it was that day when my parents put their foot down and gave me an ultimatum; fix my life and live under their roof or if I wanted to experiment to move out. I vividly remember the way they put it too: “I can’t make decisions for you but if you want to live as a fag, I will not have it under my roof.”

I chose to move out.

After that, they helped me find an apartment, and in three days was living on my own. Over the next few years, they helped me out with rent and other major life issues, but for the most part, we kept our distance.

And this closes another part of my Lenten journey.

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

A Journey Part 2

This was a bit harder to write than I thought, but I pushed forward, and finally finished it. Hope you find some insight to your favorite Panda and why I am who I am.

Ever since I was little, I knew that I was different, but it wasn’t until Lent, 1997 when I decided that I had to deal with it. As a young, naive pre-teen, I had the anticipative urges that every boy has. But they weren’t towards girls; they were towards boys. As we progress through Lent, and during all of the reflections and also the craziness of Jr. High life, I began to acknowledge that I might be gay.

Now, this wasn’t a term that wasn’t welcomed in my home and I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, for fear of retribution, ridicule and isolation, so I began journals where I put my thoughts, ideas, and stories that were happening in my life. And of course as every good Jr. high student hid them in my “secret’ spots. For the next few months I filled journal after journal with my life. That following summer, I headed off to camp, but before leaving, made sure that I had  hidden all my journals in my “secret” spots.

So after securing my journals, we headed off to Hillsdale, Michigan for MASTA (String Orchestra Camp), my first week long over night camp. it was one of the best weeks I had ever had. Music, fun and new and old friendships were born and rekindled. On the final day, when my parents returned to pick me up and watch us perform from our week long rehearsals, I was looking forward to sharing with my parents what I had learned. However life had other plans. The minute I hugged my mom, I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but they were acting differently towards me. As if they were struggling or pretending to be glad to see me. Throughout the entire day this continued, and all the way home this feeling of awkwardness hung over us. During our dinner at a restaurant I knew that for some reason my parents couldn’t talk or connect with me anymore. When we got home, my parents let my brother watch the Lions game that was on while they pulled me into my bedroom to talk.

They pulled out my journals and writings.

My heart sank.

You know how the phrase goes “the ground pulled out from under you”, well it was that day,when I learned what it was referring to. I panicked. As my parents began to talk to me about how  it was not God’s will to be gay, and that they loved me and that they would help fix me no matter what it took. That I could get help. They would help find a shrink for me to speak with or talk with our priest about it or even send me to a camp or school that would help get me back on track and get rid of these horrible thoughts in my head.

I felt trapped. I was too afraid to lose them and my friends because of this horrid thing I was becoming. So, I became a coward, and I raced back into the closet, denying all of it. i told them what they wanted to hear; I was lying and that I was just pretending about what I had written. I told them that they could throw away those “lies” I had written down and after our talk, we did just that.  We threw away the evidence of who I was becoming, in hopes that I wouldn’t end up becoming that person. I turned my back on my Lenten promise to be true and honest about myself, because the threat of fear, rejection and isolation had scared and shaken me to my core. It was then I hid my true self and ran towards who I was expected to become. I wasn’t a nice person, during that time. I hurt so many, in order to keep up my facade. I felt I had to. I couldn’t lose my friends, family or life, so I hid within myself and became who they wanted me to become. I stopped reflecting during Lent for the next few years, for fear that I would bring back up that person I was desperately trying to keep at bay.

And this concludes the second part of my journey. I hope you’re finding it interesting or insightful or even both.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

A Journey Part 1

I was driving into work the other day and as I passed one of the cemeteries on Six Mile, I realized what day it was and was suddenly transported to Lent 2003. I then started a journey of Lents in my head that took my mind from driving.  It was one of those time warps that when I snapped out of it, I was a mile further than I remembered driving. (Hopefully, but not hopefully, one or two of you know what I mean.)

Since that day, I’ve been thinking and contemplating a lot on my life, and in particular a few Lenten seasons that had a large impact on my life, and thought I’d share them with you. (Perhaps you’ll find something inspirational or maybe give you some insight into how I ended up being the crazy but loving person I am today.)

Now, Lent has always been a HUGE part of my faith and life (tho perhaps off and on). I’ve always looked at it as a time to better myself and start anew. I only gave up things like chocolate, candy and pop when I was little. It wasn’t until about Jr. High when I first started to experience Lent as a time to work on myself.

I’m going to start this little series of Lenten reflections with a story from my history pages that has become a defining moment in my life. It just so happens this story occurred exactly 11 years ago this week and is what triggered all these memories.

It was Lent of 2003 and I was rounding out my first year of college. I was in the Honors program, pulling a 3.8, becoming a budding student leader, and having a blast with my life. Then one morning in late March, I was traveling between classes when my cell rang. It was my mother. She had called to let me know that, early that morning, one of my closest friends had been killed in a car accident.

Her name was Jessica, and I had known her for years. We grew up together in the same small church community and participated in everything together from religion classes to youth group to mission trips. We went through the good the bad, the rocky relationships, the teen years, and everything in between. I also knew her mother extremely well, because she was one of the choir members who got me involved with the church music team and a few other community projects. Needless to say I was very close to the family.

When I was told she had died, the world stopped spinning. I had always heard of that happening to people when they hear bad news, but until then I had never experienced it. I remember leaning against the wall and not really registering what she had told me. At some point in time, I straightened up and headed to my car to sit and have a cry. I eventually started my car and headed home. My mom met me at the door and we talked and she consoled me until I had to leave for my church later that evening.

I was in a church production of Godspell that year as a fundraiser for our Vacation Bible School.  My friend’s mother was also in the production but I didn’t expect to see her at the rehearsal. When I arrived at my church for rehearsal, the whole cast and crew had been informed and there were a few tears shed and comforting hugs being passed among us. However, just as we were about to began practice, her mother came into the church, looking tired and heart stricken but as she came in, she told us that she just wanted to sit and watch the rehearsal; that just being surrounded by the church community cast and crew gave her strength and comfort. She was greeted and hugged by everyone, but when she reached me, we hugged and cried for a good while. (Let’s just say, I now know why there are boxes of tissues in the organ seat at my church.)  From that moment on, the days seemed to drag on. The viewing may have been the hardest part. I felt like a child. I remember holding tight to the hands, of one of our former youth group leaders, as she went with me to view the body. I’ll never forget the stomach dropping and empty feeling when I saw my friend in the casket, confirming that she had passed. I dread the day I have to experience it again. The choir sang throughout the viewing/vigil service but I was never able to make it through an entire song. The funeral was the next day. I played my violin for her service with the choir for the mass, but I’ve never had work so hard to play my violin as I had that day. It was my one gift that I could give her. Beautiful music to say goodbye.

A few days later after the funeral, I arrived early for our Godspell rehearsal and just sat and thought. It had been a long few days that I tried to fill by being as busy as possible. Honestly, it was the only time in my college career when I had all of my assignments done weeks/months before they were due. I just wanted to be busy.  I had been trying not to think a lot since hearing of the news of my friend’s passing but as I sat down in the pew, I knew that it was time for me to stop being so busy. As I sat there, I could hear her laugh and her love of live in the memories that I relived. The sense of humanity and mortality hit me hard. It was then, when I acknowledged that I was about to embark on a journey that I knew was inevitable, but I had dreaded for years. But it was one that I knew would made her proud of me, once it had been completed.

This is just my first reflection I thought I’d share with you. I promise that when I’m finished you’ll probably have learned more about me than you may have wanted to know. But it’s something I think I’ve been needing to share for a  long time, and it seems that right now is when I’m suppose to share it. So I hope you enjoy coming on this journey with me over the next few days and weeks. :)

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

The Policy of Social Media

Over the past few weeks, the topic of Social Media Policies has popped up several times between NASPA backchanneling, the weekly #StrategyCar convos, and talking about social media with a few professional colleagues. Then I was required to research a topic for my law class which related to current issues in higher education and the law. So, of course I selected Social Media. :)

Now, I’m not the best academic writer, (I’m a much better blogger…surprise!) but I’m pretty proud of this one, so since it’s been a popular topic in my life, and pretty interesting, I thought I’d share my, hopefully good, paper with you. Enjoy!

Social Media Policies: Why Should An Institution Create Them?

Social media has become not only a way of communication, but has evolved into a key part of society. Today, social media is best defined by Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein in their article from Business Horizons. In their article, “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media”, they define social media as “a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan, 2010).

As with everything in the world, when material is created and exchanged, ownership and the confines of utilizing such material has rules and expectations. Moving this idea of creation and exchange into a professional frame, places a greater need for oversight, guidelines and best practices. It also opens organizations and individuals up to greater risk. Over the past decade, institutions of higher education have invested greatly in social media, which has increased the need to protect themselves from such risks. This paper will cover a brief overview of what social media is and some statistics of the use of social media, some of the most significant reasons for a higher education institution in creating and maintaining a social media policy, and several examples of social media policies at institutions. This paper will then close with some final warnings and tips when creating social media policies for an institution of higher education.

Originally, social media, as it is known today, began as a tool to connect with individuals. Many social media professionals and researchers claim that the first significant modern day social media platform was SixDegrees.com, a social networking site that helped a person make connections online through the popular concept of six degrees of separation. Over the next eight years, AOL Instant Messenger, LiveJournal, Napster, Friendster, MySpace, WordPress, and Skype subsequently followed. Then in 2005, when Facebook went public, social media began its conquest over society as the primary method of communication. These methods included blogs, status update platforms, and media exchange platforms. In 2005, only 8% of adults, 18 years old and older, utilized social media (Pew, 2013). Last year in 2013, 73% of adults, 18 years old and older, utilized social media (Pew, 2013). In less than a decade, social media usage has increased by 65%, making it one of the fast growing practices that mankind has ever adapted to. Among these individuals, in 2013, 90% of these individuals were 18-29 years old, the key demographic of higher education institutions (Pew, 2013). Similar to businesses and companies targeting young adults, as the usage of social media among this prime college bound demographic increased, higher education institutions began to jump on board and create institutional identities on social media platforms, outside of their websites. There are currently no statistics on the increasing rate of institutions on social media today in comparison to 2005, however, it is safe to say that today, it is impossible to find a college or university who does not have a presence on at least two social media platforms. With having professional presences on online platforms that were originally intended for social interactions, institutions began to establish policies and protocols on representing their respective institutions as well as attempting to draw a line between personal and professional usage and the implications of each on the other.

Over the past several years, as institutions began to increase their presence on social media platforms as well as individual usage began to rise, numerous conversations began to occur pertaining to the legality of placing boundaries and limitations on the usage of social media personally and professionally and what that meant. Additionally, conversations surrounding the extent to which an institution is able to protect itself from the risks of having a presence on these new platforms.

According to multiple blogs, websites and articles, the most common purposes for an institution, or any business, to create a social media policy include; informing staff, faculty and students of the nature of social media; a duty of loyalty to the institution by the staff, faulty and students; acceptable practices for the use of social media; and the boundaries of usage by the staff and faculty as employees and employers of the institution. Additionally, many institutions use social media policies to help clarify the gray area that can be created by social media in regards to several potential legal issues including violating the Second Amendment and the 1935 National Labor Relations Act.

To circumvent the tensions that are created by having a personal and professional online identity on social media platforms, institutions have been utilizing their preexisting standards and expectations for faculty, staff and students and expanding the scope of those expectations to the context of social media. Institutions are also informing their campus communities of the policy, the expectations and implications of social media, being purposeful and providing the ability for the policy to be effective in the constantly changing atmosphere of social media.

Social media policies vary and no one policy is the same. One final key factor for a social media policy is to allow the policy to fit a particular institution, and not to simply adopt a policy from another institution without at least making appropriate changes. There are several examples of social media policies that have led the way for higher education institutions in addressing this issue. This paper will now take several institutions from studentadvisor.com’s “Top 100 Social Media Colleges” list that was released in 2013, and review their policies and compare them to the suggested purposes for such policies and whether or not they provide a clear process to help circumvent legal issues.

To begin, Harvard University was given the number one spot on the “Top 100 Social Media Colleges” by studentadvisor.com. As a private institution of higher education, with substantial resevoirs of funds and resources, it is no surprise that this Ivy League Institution has a fine example for a social media policy.

From the first few paragraphs of the “Guidelines for Using Social Media” Harvard University makes note that their guidelines “cover the appropriate use of social media by individuals authorized to speak for Harvard, the use of social media by other employees remains subject to Harvard policies governing employee conduct” (Harvard, 2012). Right from the start Harvard also informs its community of faculty, staff and students that their policy is building from their established conduct codes. They address the need for constant attention to what an individual may post, both personally and professionally. They also include information, guidelines and rules on posts that could potentially violate HIPAA, FERPA and the 1935 NLRA. In their multiple page guideline, they recognize that individuals have personal views which may or may not reflect the views of their employers, and thusly provides several suggestions on aiding the individuals in separating their personal from their professional online identities, including disclaimers and depending on the position, maintaining two profiles, one for personal expression and the other for representing the institution.

An excellent example of providing guidelines and boundaries for personal profiles is Oregon State University. While placed 85th on the “Top 100” list, Oregon State provides several excellent paragraphs on the relationship between the institution and its staff and faculty. They layout clearly their interpretation of the relationship in the first line of the Personal Accounts Section; “As employees at Oregon State University, what we do and say reflects directly back to the institution, including our activity on social media…what you say on your personal accounts and networks will reflect directly on the university and on your career” (Oregon State, 2014). It also provides several suggestions for best practices in guiding its staff and faculty in maintaining positive and purposeful personal profiles which include disclaimers, understanding accountability and representing themselves.

A final example of a solid social media policy for higher education institutions is Princeton University’s Social Media Policies. Examining the detailed best practices and step by step processes laid out by the institution in their policies, helps an individual understand why they are number six on the “Top 100” list.

Princeton University lays out not only definitions and boundaries for the use of social media on their campus, but includes procedures, processes and even the use of university logos and images, all the while basing their foundation for individual and professional use to the expectations laid out in their Rights, Rules, Responsibilities of Princeton University and the Princeton University Information Technology Policy. They also capture potential conflicts such as releasing information related to FERPA, HIPAA, NCAA and the practice of private vs public personas with social media platforms and profiles. The purpose for their policy is summarized in a single line from their policy Overview; “…these policies are intended to help University account holders minimize risk while developing an effective social media program that maximizes user engagement” (Princeton, 2011).

To close this paper, there are a couple of suggestions from social media practitioners and lawyers to help create a substantial policy.

The most popular point to consider is to acknowledge the extent of responsibility of monitoring that the institution wishes to take on. It was best explained in an article on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website “…colleges should tread carefully, noting that a policy that suggests Internet behavior will be monitored creates an obligation that colleges do so fairly and effectively” (Stripling, 2011).

Another point of consideration for social media expectations is to determine whether or not the institution wishes to have a policy, a set of guidelines or best practices. Josie Ahlquist, a doctoral student at California Lutheran University best explains the basic legal relationship differences on her blog in a post entitled “Social Media Policy vs. Guideline vs. Best Practice in Higher Education” .

Policy is an action adopted or proposed by a body, in this case an institution. However in higher education     this can also be a division, department or unit. Policies are requirements that will be enforced…
Guidelines contain statements by which directs a course of action. The clear difference between a policy and a guideline is that this is not mandatory. Further, they are typically not enforced but instead attempts to streamline a process based around a sound practice.
Best Practice is a proven technique that has been shown to produce positive results, compared to others. The word “best” is a baseline, as even better methods for practices are developed. In other words, best practices evolve. Just as in a guideline, best practices are not mandatory and are not enforceable” (Ahlquist , 2013).

While there can be exceptions, and the literature recognizes this, utilizing these basic definitions can help guide an institution or office in creating the best document for their environment.

Finally, while this suggestion is not directly related to the policy writing, it is related to ensuring that all students, staff and faculty are appropriately informed of whatever parameters are set regarding social media. Units, departments, offices or the Institution should hold meetings, workshops and/or forums informing their community about the document and how it impacts them. Being transparent and informative will help lower the risk of poor social media representation, practice and decisions. Additionally they should communicate any changes to the policy, in particular as the platforms and nature of social media may change.

In closing, in order to minimize risk and maintain a professional yet engaging social media presence, higher education institutions should create a social media policy, a set of guidelines or at the very least best practices.

REFERENCES

Ahlquist, Josie (2013). Social media policy vs guidelines vs best practice in higher education [Weblog comment]. Retrieved from http://www.josieahlquist.com/2013/09/30/policyguidebestpractice

Harvard Universtiy (2012). Guidelines for using social media. Retrieved from http://www.provost.harvard.edu/policies_guidelines/Social_Media_Guidelines_FINAL_Version_1_0_effective_080112.pdf

J.j. Keller & Associates, Inc. (2014). Why you need a social media policy. Retrieved from http://www.manta.com/hr/social_policy_1010

Junco, Reynol (2011). The need for student social media policies. EducauseReview Online. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/need-student-social-media-policies

Kaplan, Andreas M., Haenlein, Michael (2010). “Users of theworld, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media”. Business Horizons 53(1). Pg. 61.

Kasarjian, Ashley (2011). The dangers of overbroad social media policies: Lessons learned from twitter and facebook. Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/legal-technology-and-social-media/archive/2011/05/26/the-dangers-of-overbroad-social-media-policies-lessons-learned-from-twitter-and-facebook.aspx

Oregon State University (2014). Social media policy and guidelines. Retrieved from http://oregonstate.edu/main/social-media-policy-and-guidelines

Pew Research Center (2013). Social networking fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

PRWeb (2014). Social media statistics: Study breaks college media presents the results of a survey on how college students are using social networking. Retrieved from http://prweb.com/releases/studybreaks-college-media/social-networking-student/prweb11565939.htm

Princeton University (2011). Princeton university social media policies. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/communications/services/social-media/

Stripling, Jack (2011). Panelists debate how far colleges should go to monitor online behavior. The Chronicle of higher Education. Retrieved from https://chronicle.com/article/Panelists-Debate-How-Far/126298/

StudentAdvisor.com (2013). Tops 100 social media colleges. Retrieved from http://www.studentadvisor.com/top-100-social-media-colleges

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Liebster Award

theinspiredtreehouse.com

Courtesy of theinspiredtreehouse.com

This weekend, I was honored with being nominated for my first Liebster Award! I was nominated by the fabulous Nichole who authors UpBeat UpLifts, which is an insightful, positive, and life affirming blog.

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award is an award which exists via the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. It is specifically for beginning bloggers. It helps people get to know them better and then allows them the chance to share the love with fellow beginning/smaller bloggers!

The rules for the award are as follows:
1) Create a post and answer the 11 questions the tagger set for you.
2) Nominate 11 people and link them in your post.
3) Create 11 questions for them.
4) Let them know they have been nominated.
5) No tag backs!

So, enjoy my answers to Nicole’s Questions, and make sure you check out my nominees and their awesome blogs at the end!

1) What things do you do in you spare time?
I love to spend time with my partner, Michael and hanging out with my family and friends. I also enjoy watching movies and TV Shows. Currently I’m stuck on Desperate Housewives, Once Upon A Time and Scandal. Finally, I love to cook. Let me tell you, the number of cook books I own is growing exponentially, and I normally spend my weekends trying new recipes out on Michael.

2) What types of posts are your favorite to read?
I really enjoy reading life affirming and positive blogs of blogs on social media and LGBT Issues and stories. I think its important to continually surround yourself with positive and uplifting activities and reading such blogs is a great way for perspective, insights and positive affirmations on life. I’m a bit obsessed with Social Media, and so I’m always looking for the new platform, practice or hottest tip to improve my social media usage. As far as LGBT Blogs, I’m always looking to stay current on the LGBT movement and hearing personal stories of individuals.

3) What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is Aladdin. I think it’s one of Disney’s BEST movies. I is well done, beautiful animation, and amazing music. Besides, I enjoyed running around my house when I was little pretending to be Aladdin and singing a Whole New World to everyone.

4) Where have you visited that you liked most?
I’ve traveled a lot in my almost 30 years (eeks) but i think one of the best places I’ve visited is Estes Park, CO. I spent 2 summers there for a job I had in college, and just fell in love with the small town. It can be touristy, but the people are friendly, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. It was also the last place I really enjoyed myself those few years before confronting my sexual orientation identity, which for a time sent me down a path of poor decisions and loneliness.

5) What are three things you cannot live without?
I cannot live without my iPhone, violin, and car.

6) What is your favorite color?
Currently my favorite color is red. It tends to change with my life phases.

7) Which social media is your go-to?
Oh, Nicole, this is such a Panda Question: Twitter is my go-to platform. Facebook is next, followed by Instagram.

8) What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasures are chocolate.There is no such practice as “one piece of chocolate” to me.

9) Which TV/movie character do you relate to best?
I relate the best to the conglomeration of the FRIENDS characters. I see a bit of myself in each one of them. My Type A Personality is completely Monica, my quirky mischievous traits are definitely Phoebe, my awkward clutsy side is 100% Chandler, my child-like traits are Joey and my emotional side is pure Rachel.

10) Who is your role model?
I have many role models. I look at my parents are individuals who have persisted and striven for what they have accomplished in life. I look to some of my faculty and former supervisors as role models for me in my profession. I look to fraternity brothers as role models of leadership and innovation and I look to friends as role models of compassion, strength and inspiration.

11) What is your favorite quote?

My favorite Movie Quote:  From The Emperor’s New Groove”

[Kuzco and Pacha are tied to a tree branch floating in a river]
Pacha: Uh-oh.
Kuzco: Don’t tell me. We’re about to go over a huge waterfall.
Pacha: Yep.
Kuzco: Sharp rocks at the bottom?
Pacha: Most likely.
Kuzco: Bring it on.

My favorite Life Quote: From Confucius
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

And those are 11 answers to 11 questions.

I don’t follow whole lot of new bloggers, however I do follow some amazing blogs, so I’m going to nominate some of the newest bloggers I follow and some of the best bloggers I follow:

Justin Shanlian
Alaina Weins
Josh Kohnert
Melissa Boles
Kelly Vanderwell
Jared Juetten
Kayla Cornell
Daniel and Mari
Amy Jorgensen
Niki Messmore
Sean Eddington

 ^^check them all out^^

Your questions are:
1) Why did you start your blog?
2) What is your favorite childhood memory?
3) What is your favorite movie?
4) Where would the perfect vacation be?
5) What is your favorite snack?
6) Name 3 qualities of find important to you in a friend.
7) Which social media is your go-to?
8) Who is your celebrity crush?
9) Which TV/movie character do you relate to best?
10) What is your favorite movie quote?
11) What’s your dream job?

Good luck! Remember to share the love with new bloggers you know!

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas

Gay = 1/2 a Male

Yesterday I participated in the weekly #SAChat. The topic for this week was “The Challenges/Benefits of being a Woman in Student Affairs.” Let me tell you, even though I might not have been able to contribute a ton, it was perhaps one of the best #SAChats I’ve participated in. Listening to the stories, perspectives, challenges and benefits of the women in Student Affairs, got me thinking about my male identity in both my professional and personal lives.

As I pondered, I knew I understood that in both my professional work and personal  life, my gender significantly influences how individuals related to me. However until last night, I never realized that the stereotypes and expectations as a male had shifted when I came out. That my sexual orientation identity influenced the masculinity of my gender identity.

For many reasons, I came out later in life at the age of 25. (I will elaborate with my 5 Year Coming Out Post in August). Reflecting back on the time when I identified as a straight male, it is now very apparent, the privileges and image of strength that I had.

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

Now, if you know me, I’m not the most masculine looking male in the world. In fact I’m a scrawny little thing, who is out of breath after climbing 2 flights of stairs. However, identifying as a straight male, allowed me a strong masculine identity. I now recognize that there was a privilege of strength, power and influence I carried with me solely due to my straight male identity. Many times I was asked to move furniture, heavy boxes, be in charge of set-up/tear-down and many other manual jobs. It was expected of me to hold the door open for women, help women across an icy street, pull out a chair for her to sit in, etc. I was expected to be strong, show little emotion and be a pillar of strength for others to rally around if needed. Also, my opinion as a straight male administrator seemed to carry significantly more weight at work.

Then, a year after I came out, I began seeing a pattern where the masculinity of my male identity had shifted. I was now a “gay male” which seemed to mean that I now had the best and worst of both male and female stereotypes/expectations due to my sexual orientation. Now, for those of you familiar with gender and sexual studies, gender and sexual orientation are two separate identities, both with individual models, theories, structures and so on. But the influence that sexual orientation has on gender was more significant than I had realized. When I began to identify as a gay male, the “strength” of my male gender identity seemed to have shifted because I had shifted my sexual orientation identity. I was still expected to uphold the male stereotypes of handling heavy furniture, and opening doors for females, and continued to maintain some male privileges such as pay and opportunity etc, but I seemed to have taken on the responsibility of some of the female identity stereotypes such as offering a “feeling” perspective, provide a softer touch to projects or help decorate a room or event because my sexual orientation had shifted to a “less masculine” identity  (Now, on the flip side, as a gay male I am apparently able to move my own furniture and decorate a room without any help from anyone else…so totally going to save money on movers and decorators for Michael and my new apartment in July :))

I also realized that when it came to relating to the male population, my perspective was sought out less after I came out. It was as though having a “less masculine” sexual orientation identity meant that I was unable to relate to the male population and was unable to advise, understand and even provide perspective for the gender as a whole. My sexual orientation seemed to dictate my ability to be a male or the levels of masculinity I portrayed.

Now that my teeth are sunk into this new perspective I am kind of excited to ponder and research it. But I thought I’d take a moment and share with you what my reflections so far on this were, and as always, comment and share what you are thinking.

Until Next Time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

4 #SoMe Peeps NOT To Be

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading up on social media and the law.  Now, originally I began this reading venture because I selected it as the topic for my law class. But my interests were peaked and I have become quite engulfed in the topic.

Throughout my reading, I’ve been noticing that there is a pattern to personalities  in the cases and have been reflecting on my own interaction with individuals on social media platforms. I’ve come to realize that there seem to be 4 online personalities that you should really avoid taking on, if you want to stay out of trouble. I thought I’d share my enlightening enlightenment with you :)

www.storycartoon.com

Courtesy of storycartoon.com

Personality

Type 1:

The Entitled

These social media peeps, seem to provide us the most entertainment. These individuals post whatever they wish and claim the “freedom of speech” phrase to justify their insensitive, misguided, or uneducated posts. They continually enjoy inciting those infamous Facebook and Twitter wars that we all have read, and break all social norms and standards that are mutually agreed upon by social media users as well as traditional societal norms and practices.

www.s469.photobucket.com

Courtesy of s469.photobucket.com

Personality

Type 2:

The Ignorant

These are our friends who get into those heated Facebook arguments (you know the kind) but don’t know why people are repetitively picking fights with them (sometimes these give the Entitled posters a run for their money in most entertaining). They post without knowing the situation or conversation that is taking place. They are regularly unwilling to learn about the situations or conversations that are taking place they just want to make comments. They are also unwilling to realize the impact of their comments and postings. They seem to all share a lack of desire to learn or correct their social media practices and habits.

Personality

www.nowacademyg203.org

Courtesy of nowacademyg203.org

Type 3:

The Oblivious

So these individuals are our social media friends who post, tweet, snapchat, etc. with no consciousness of their audience, themselves or their environment. They seem to forget their common sense when they post. They comment on posts that they think are hilarious, but offend half of their friends and/or society. They tend to react and post before reading the entire status or conversation, or ‘like’ a pretty photo, even though it leads to a link that supports an anti-LGBT organization (for example). They are open to learning and stopping foolish posting but it takes them posting and large arguments on their platforms for them to learn that they shouldn’t have posted it in the first place.

www.runningwithspoons.com

Courtesy of runningwithspoons.com

Personality

Type 4:

The Lost

These individuals are  people who ARE their social media. Social media is a TOOL to use to be social. It is not suppose to replace you. There seems to be a growing number or individuals who cannot exist outside of their online identities. They are unable to communicate, interact and socialize with fellow humans, however they are posting and commenting a thousand words a minute online. Now, these people seem to be different from introverts. Introverts are individuals who may interact less but with more purpose, or they are shy individuals, however they are able to maintain a balance between their online identity and their actual identity. These “Lost” people define themselves by their social media rather than allowing themselves to define their social media. In some aspect,perhaps this may be why cyber bullying is able to get such a firm grasp on the social media platforms.

Just some of my thoughts and reflections on personality type that we should avoid being while on our social media platforms.

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!