Archive | June 2011

A New Social Form – The Facebook-er!

I wrote the following paper for a sociology class last year, and thought I should share it here. Hope you find it interesting. (10/25/2010)

Facebook, a social network of prominence today has a clientele which grows daily. I have chosen to refer to users of this social network, as “The Facebooker (s).” According to Courtney Ramirez, “Facebook is the most dominant social networking site in the world.” This project which started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, who initially created something called Facemash in October of 2003, has taken wings beyond the very comprehension of its creator. This new social form began with an aim to attract University students. It has since opened its doors to high school students which have only served to increase its usage. In his article, Ramirez says, “In April of 2008, Facebook outranked MySpace by total number of visitors for the first time. Facebook had 123.9 million unique visitors and MySpace had 114.6 [million] unique visitors.” Such clear evidence substantiates the formation of such a term as “The Facebook-er.”

It is my view that if Georg Simmel was alive today, he would see the entire social network world with all its diverse names and forms, as a new social form with many sub-forms. Such form would most likely captivate him, hold his interest, and thus, would become one of his many butterfly-ish pursuits. He would take a particular keen interest in “The Facebooker” form. According to our class text , Illuminating Social Life, “Simmel argued during his professional life for “the conception that society consists of a web of patterned interactions, and that it is the task of sociology to study the forms of these interactions as they occur and reoccur in diverse historical periods and cultural settings.” As if Simmel had long seen the future, the development of the World Wide Web, the formation of social networks and more so, as if he was ready to study Facebook and its impact on society, his above mentioned statement is so timely. It captures the concept of connection. The use of the word “web” to refer to a pattern of interaction is right on target. The Facebook-er certainly lives in somewhat of a web.

The Facebook-er lives in a world where he or she becomes both connected to a community, with several sub-communities within it, yet is often alienated, or separated from his or her actual immediate community. It is so easy for the Facebook-er to get entangled into the Facebook society while time elapses often without their actual notice. Work, study, family togetherness, and personal one on one time with friends, all suffer when “The Facebook-er” gets immersed into their virtual world. Productivity is said to decrease in many sectors, people’s personal life stories are shared with “facebook – friends”, walls become news papers, love letters, poetry boards, prayer rooms, and an unending means of self expressions. With such vast usage of the virtual space, where the user becomes an addict in many instances, one could argue that the main, if not sole underlying purpose behind the use of this social form is the need for interaction. According to Simmel, “the major field of study for the student of society is, therefore, sociation, that is, the particular patterns and forms in which men associate and interact with each other.”

As a budding sociologist, I can’t help, but to see this as an area or pattern worth studying. While one may see all the odds of the life of the Facebook-er, who must return for a daily fix of the Facebook drug, it can be argued that this social form allows for interaction. It gives the voiceless a voice, allows the angry to vent, empowers the coward to try bravery, constantly asks the Facebook-er “what’s on your mind?” and still creates the avenue for its user to reveal his or her best face. The Facebook-er feels a sense of belonging, they gain interaction with people in various parts of the world, they forget their problems, if but for a moment, relish the chances to befriend new people, fall in love, relinquish relationships as they please, and build bridges where they see fit. All these activities are frills on the border of interaction, and are experienced by “The-Facebook-er who is seeking to maintain a sense of connection with his or her world, be it virtual and or real. Interactions, resulting from the need to socialize, to form society, to feel important, and to get needs met, are the reasons for the development of such a social form and its counterparts.
“In terms of Simmel’s famous form/content dichotomy: any social phenomenon is composed of two elements which in reality are inseparable (distinction is only analytical).

1) Content: the interest, purpose, or motive of the phenomenon or interaction
2) Form: the mode of interaction among individuals through/in the shape of which the specific content achieves social reality. Furthermore, the existence of society requires a reciprocal interaction among its individual elements, mere spatial or temporal aggregation of parts is not sufficient.” – Donald Levine. This above quote confirms to a large extent the experiences of the Facebook-er. Facebook creates the platform for reciprocity. People affirm each other, like each other’s comments, share their lives updates with others, read the stories of others and remain updated about their progression or regression. The Facebook-er finds more than a mere spacial or temporal aggregation in their world, for Facebook has both content and form. I have no hesitation in concluding that this concept of interaction via the use of the internet is indeed a social form itself.

Sources Cited

http://socialnetworking.lovetoknow.com/How_Did_Facebook_Originate

http://ssr1.uchicago.edu/PRELIMS/Theory/simmel.html

Illuminating Social Life, 4th Edition – Classical and Contemporary Theory Revised – Edited by Peter Kivisto.

Why should I give to this: Back to School Scholarship Program?

Hitting the www.insidepossie.com website, the first thing that might catch your attention is this sizable forest green box-shaped notice with the words: “INSIDE POSSIE 2nd Annual Back to School Scholarship Program IS ON NOW,” written in white. Alongside it you will find a yellow banner giving a very modest explanation of the purpose for this activity. The promoters and organizers suggest that it is mainly to provide stationary to needy children of the community of Portsmouth and surrounding areas.

But, why should you give? I mean, is it our business to give to people in such hard economic times? What is the point? Maybe we are even thinking; why can’t parents go to find work to provide for their children? Why are they making children if they cannot provide for them? Maybe some people will say that their children never got any help when they were going to school. The point is I am certain we can probably rake up a hip of reasons why we shouldn’t care to give to something like a Scholarship Fund.

Well I have given some thought to this and here’s what I concluded. Firstly, I hereby submit that WE SHOULD GIVE to this fund. Here’s why!

1. There are genuine needy people in our town and surrounding communities. Seek them out, and you would be surprised the magnitude of the need.

2. We are responsible for the state of our community, we shape what is looks like, how others live (survive) whether they have a plate of food, or not. What do I mean by that? It is simple: To close my eyes to the needs of my neighbor is to be uncaring about their well-being. Thus, if my community has derelicts in a few years and I never cared to help when I could, should I be surprised? Am I prepared to live with such people and their lifestyle as they seek to survive in the same community later?

3. It is better to be proactive than reactive. Let us nip the roots of a social problem from the bud now while we can. Or, we may find our future hometown unbearable.

4. Every one of us cannot be on the same economic bracket, though someone like Karl Marx may advocate for opposite of today’s societal economic standard. The reality is that our society is not organized in such a way for us to all have the same things. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the fact remains, the haves need to take care of the have-nots. It is a necessary duty.

5. An educated people, is a productive people. Failure to invest in the education of one is reason to create a monster roaming in sheer ignorance. Do we want to have uneducated youth loitering our streets? (Mark you, I know the argument of – so many educated have nothing to do – that is another subject in itself.) But can we use this rational to NOT-GIVE? That is a future we cannot predict. So, what is the best thing to do? Deal with the NOW – the now is WE HAVE NEEDY CHILDREN in Possie /Dominica.

6. Many of us were blessed to receive some kind of help during the formation of our educational foundation. Thank God for the various agencies, individuals, and or institutions which supported us? So, what are our duties? To be grateful, to show gratitude. The best way is to give back.

7. Finally, though there are a million reasons why YOU and I should give, I hereby subscribe to, and promote the very word of God in which as a Christian people we should live: Luke 6:38 beckons to us to Give! “Give and it will come back to you, full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” Do you need any other reason to give dear friend? NO! Case in point? IT is a Christian duty, a national obligation, a moral responsibility and a loving act.
Let us GIVE TODAY!!! God bless you and may God bless our needy children and families, while His grace enfolds our blessed land. Thank you for reading – now let’s ACT!

For evidence of the work of this humble group of young men and women who are promoting this noble act. Check http://www.insidepossie.com/scholarship-programs

The Life!

Often we try to live an upbeat life, one where we feel like we are on top of the world, in a place where we can soar above life’s tragedies as if we’re untouchable. Then, you wonder, how realistic is that? You live in a place where everyone around you seems well adorned – they’ve got it all plus more. So you ask yourself, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like these people? Why it is my life is so much on the downturn? Can this be fair? Life sometimes sucks at such times. I mean isn’t that the phrase often used in an effort to describe “life”? Many circumstances give us that final determination. One famous predicament is in times when we try to be accepted by people who never will appreciate us. Too often we try to belong in places where belonging is a foreign word. The only choice we have really is to dig deep, and start belonging to ourselves.

You see, as my life unfolds I increasingly realize that, once it seems like I am losing everything, I need to dig deep into myself to find what I can hold on to. A famous line from one of my favorite singers Tracy Chapman says it all: in the final analysis “All that you have is your soul.” We must embrace the soul which is at core, irremovable and overly valuable. Yet is that easy? How easy is it to dig deep? How hard is it to find that which lies at the human core? Where are the answers to finding that safe zone? Who holds the map?

Someone once said, “on our knees we stand the tallest,” and I think that is where we can reach God. Well, once we sink to the knees, our elevation will begin, though not immediately will our tallness occur, but we will begin to find some height. Our hearts will be exalted, thereby giving wings to the grounded soul. Once the soul is elevated, we begin to connect to the power which lies therein. Though this may move us to tears, we realize there is a love so deep awaiting us there. A God so real, who is dying to connect with us. So why are you so downcast oh my soul? – Really why am I so downcast shutting down the doors of that soul by seeking temporary, mortal, imperfect “love”? Seek God, oh my soul, – connect with HIM who lies therein, and you will find total healing and fulfillment. You will regain your backbone, and make decisions to benefit your worth.

The truth about life is that, it really is not itself. The journey of our lives is what I think often suck. It has its hard days, its moments when we feel that the one heart we have is dying to burst out of our chests. There is so much to face along the path, so many downs, and often so little ups, or so it seems. Life itself is supposed to be wonderful, even when the journey is rough. Life is Christ – scripture tells me in the gospel of John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth and the life…” If that is so, then how can I say life sucks? It means that I am saying that the God-man equates that pessimistic expression. Thus, my thoughts that life as we often refer to it, is not that in itself, rather, it is Christ. To survive it, I must learn to entrust my journey, though battered, rejected, confused, frustrated, depressed and all the things that we often feel sometimes, – I must surrender the journey to “The Life.” All to Jesus, I seek to surrender!

Each of us needs a reminder sometimes: May this song motivate or encourage you like it does me. It’s one of my personal and self-sung compositions.

(Why go on living?) – To Be; is a blessing!

Sometimes we go through life thinking, why should I go on? Many people are walking the face of the earth, with extremely heavy hearts and minds. Is there hope for them? Is there a reason to go on?
I remember calling a good friend one morning, only be to told, – “I was just contemplating ending my life.” The surprise which captured me, was strong, but I resorted to the one thing I knew to tell my friend.
There is hope, even when there seems not. Today my friend is alive, thank God. Has the struggles ended for that friend? Not at all, but life has taken new turns, which have thus far, led the individual to a greater sense of living, wholeness and perseverance.

Still, I know of others who are suffering from the hands of people they should be able to trust. They constantly labor to make it to the next day. Is there a reason for them to go on? What can we say to people suffering from the hands of parents, husbands, wives, boyfriends / girlfriends (lovers) who claim to love them? What do we say to the young man or woman who is being bullied daily because he or she is “different?” Is there a reason to still be alive? Why continue in such a cruel world?

I hate to say here that, many people have often contributed to their own pain, suffering, and frustration due to bad decisions. Others are constantly choosing to remain in their visibly hopeless situations, while having the means necessary to get out. Meanwhile, they cry and threaten to end their precious life in order to hopefully seek the attention of someone else. If that is the case, such a person is digging his or her own grave. If you can move, then move. You have the power, but you gave it away, – take it back.

Though I don’t hold all the answers, I dare say: YES – There are reasons to keep living. There are reasons to keep fighting for your life. There are reasons to go on.

Here are 3 solid reasons to keep on living:

1. God sees your pain, and knows them through and through and He values you. Matthew 6:25-35 assures you that you are more than the birds of the air and God knows your EVERY need. (Matthew 11:28-30). His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And He promises never to leave you nor to forsake you (even though sometimes you think he has) – God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that he should change His mind. – (Numbers 23-19) He is a man of His words, trust him more today. YOU are Priceless!

2. As long as you have life there is hope. Try gratitude! Thank God for your circumstances, even if and when it is difficult. Kind of unrealistic right? I know it sounds that way, but try to count the many things in your life that you can be thankful for, and you may be surprised how much blessings surround you. Think of people, pets, nature, books, stories, the air, your ability to breathe, water, food, internet and the list goes on….Lately, I have begun a journal of gratitude as inspired by one of my favorite authors. When I feel most frustrated, hopeless, sad and like my life seems empty and alone, I go there, and write why I am grateful. It helps to transform my thoughts into positives.

3. Who is more important, the person who hurts you or you? You should be more important to yourself. Not in a snobbish sort of way, but in a way whereby, you learn to appreciate yourself first, in order to live to love others. Taking your life cannot solve the problem. Meanwhile, you would have handed the perpetrator of the your pain the keys to your sanity, the power over your life, and the means to live a happy life on earth without you. Do they deserve to live more than you? If you are tempted to say yes, I want to quickly tell you – NO! You deserve to enjoy the good in this life, just as much as this person. They don’t deserve your life. Cherish YOU today.

There must be other reasons, for I am certain I cannot exhaust all the millions of reasons why someone should keep on fighting for their life. Yet, these three seem pertinent. To BE,- (Alive) is a Blessing and to live is holy. Fear not, I have had my share of frustrations with this life, and who said it is over? Still, I choose Life TODAY!

I have chosen to share the following link with you. May you be inspired by it. God bless (Vocalist – your truely – CeezPaul) (please forgive the musical part :))

Over-spectives

I write about things which are of great interest to me.

Music, Books, Education, Youth / Young People,

Health, Networking, Relationships etc.  :)

In the event that you are wondering what is “over-spectives,” let me clarify.

Over-spectives simply means “perspectives of my overstanding.”  Overstanding is

another way of me saying, “Understanding.”  However, I believe that stating the

term as “over” standing would emphasize my clarity, or personal beliefs on matters of life.

I hope this clarifies the self-created term - “over-spectives.”

It is my hope that you will have fun reading.

Sincerely,

Why faith-matters?

It is my belief that we are more than physical beings, we are also spiritual in nature, and must nurture that aspect of us.    Most importantly to me in life is my relationship with Christ, manifested through relationships with those encountered throughout this temporary earthly journey.

Be assured that I am quite aware of my imperfections, thus the actual need to surrender to a perfect God.  Here you can find various thoughts on spirituality from my “Overstanding” as a young Christian woman.   I am no expert on spirituality, but my personal experiences and perspectives are what I express.

It is my prayer that you will find a level of edification herein.   God’s eternal peace to you today!

Inundated!

Today, I am thinking and feeling like I am totally “Inundated.”   This word has played on my mind for a few days now, but particularly since my recent heightened usage of the internet for educational purposes.  We must be grateful for the multitude of information that is out there in cyberspace.  Everywhere subject you are interested in, or anything word you type into a browser can bring you a wealth of information – often more than you desire.  With such wealth at our fingertips, gratitude is in order for its existence.  Yet, sometimes too much is just too much, and it hurts our heads.  We can never read all the information thrown at us.  There emerges inundation.

The first known use of the word, inundate was in 1590.  It is of Latin origin, and stems from the word inundatus, as a past participle of inundare from in- + unda (wave) – more at water.  Inundate is defined as: “to cover with a flood: Overflow or overwhelm.”      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inundated

This expression has come alive over the past week, with me juggling the requirements of my personal life, while trying to buildhttp://ceezpaul.wordpress.com into something meaningful.  Along with that, I have been making a considerable effort trying to learn how to properly utilize www.twitter.com.   Twitter is proving to be a wonderful tool of knowledge for me, and most certainly I am grateful.  But, I have to say, it certainly has contributed to this recent feeling as well.

So why am I feeling so inundated?  I think it is because when I visit www.twitter.com I see a long thread of tweets on my homepage.  But isn’t this the nature of twitter?  Thus, that should be expected.  The thing is, these tweets, spur my interest to the extent where I feel like I want to read them all, or click on most of the links offering some sort of knowledge, or opportunity.  But, in reality, that would probably take me a long time.  Then, there are the tweets that I receive directly on my phone where there are usually an exorbitant number of them awaiting my viewing.  Mark you, the majority of tweets directed to my phone is important and interesting.  Then, inundation holds me again, because there is no way I am going to get through reading all the information coming at me on this android.  My phone after all is still limited in its capacity, so though I often follow some links via this medium, most of my reading is done using a computer.  This too, can complicate the matter.

On the computer, twitter is one, then there is facebook, personal emails, blogs that I want to develop, and just the basic catching up on past events (news / shows) using the computer.  With such demand for my attention, how do I cope?    Inundation is the result, and if not controlled can spiral into frustration, depression and who knows, maybe even a feeling of hopelessness.  I personally don’t want to get to such a low point.

Somehow, I don’t think I am alone in this predicament.  Maybe many of you have felt overwhelmed at just having to focus on more than one thing at any given time?  Multi-tasking, with several opened pages on the computer, trying to get more than one thing done at the same time can cause inundation.   I call it craziness, but isn’t that what is required in order to stay on top of everything?  Can we really be effective or efficient in that way?  These questions are lurking right now, as I seek new ways to deal with this feeling of being inundated.

Having given this some thought, I have concluded that the following should help me cope.

  1. Just like I can filter what emails I want to go to my inbox, a folder, or straight to junk mail, I should think about filtering which tweets I want to hit my phone.
  2. Review the content of the people I follow on twitter, and evaluate whether it is necessary to have their tweets come to my phone prior to deciding.
  3. Create meaningful “lists” on twitter.  Making those which pertains to my interests or niche be the ones that hit my phone, since I won’t want to miss pertinent and timely information.
  4. Focus on one matter at a time, making sufficient time for each important online activity.
  5. Waste no time on facebook.  I realize the use of facebook can be a sucker of time, and if I am not careful, it can certainly distract my focus.  So, the best thing is, when I need to focus on my reading, research, or other forms of usage of the computer without distraction, I should put facebook to rest.  Just don’t log in, or just log off.  That calls for discipline, but why should we let anything online control us?  WE have the ability to override any distraction online.  :)
  6. Take time to be quiet.  I know I like listening to soft background music while using the computer, but there are times when I just can’t stand it.  Failure to turn the music off when it is really needed is likely to result in that feeling of inundation.  So, spend time in the school of silence.
  7. Create a to-do list, and then prioritize it.  Follow that list ardently while using computer.  Do not procrastinate.
  8. Take control of what you want to do online, avoid distractions and stay focused on your goal.

With some effort, these can be achieved.  Now, let me get on it, and surprise myself over and over again.  “Procrastination and inundation move aside, make room for productivity! – Yeah :)”