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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UnPlug for Charity 2014

So it begins...

It's just a few hours from Thanksgiving Eve. That may not be a very significant day for most people - it usually isn't for me - but this year it means that I'll start a 35-day fast of social media.

Social media has definitely become a part of who I am and my persona - which has its pros and cons.

People have been asking me: "Don't you use it a lot for work?" "How will you invite people to your birthday party in December?" "So, you won't share photos of any trips or anything you do/eat?" "How will you survive?"

The answer to all of these is: I don't know.

I haven't gone on a social media detox in years - at least seven years, and that was before I became so involved in Facebook, before Twitter and definitely before Tumblr, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram. And, honestly, it's giving me a headache just thinking about the inconvenience.

I will miss the calendar and event notifications. And I will miss the easy communication available with thousands of Facebook friends.

I will *not* miss the seemingly ever increasing spam on all social media platforms. Also, I won't miss constantly being on social media.

Like many, I think, I've become kind of addicted to social media. I enjoy scrolling through my newsfeeds in the morning to see what my friends have been up to and what they've shared. I've formed friendships - real friendships - purely from our online interactions. I report local news and other interesting items that come up. But I also find myself becoming way too attached to it - maybe even to the point where it's unhealthy.

So, I've flipped all my iPhone social media notifications off and I'll be ignoring those apps for the next 35 days - from Thanksgiving Eve through New Years Eve. I'll have to find another way to wake up in the morning and be informed without scrolling through a newsfeed. And I'll have to revert back to email, blogs, texting or calling people to communicate. Maybe I'll even set up some coffee and lunch dates - in person - as opposed to having lunch at my desk while my index finger rolls my mouse through everyone's digital lives.

I'm expecting a couple cheat days - whether through raising $100 on the donation site or through my donating $25 per day to charity. I'm also scheduling at least a couple posts in advance through Hootsuite.

One challenge I foresee is the fact that Google has made it almost impossible to use Gmail without its social media Google+ counterpart. So we'll see how that goes.

I have some goals, too. Considering I estimate I use various forms of social media upwards of five hours each day, I'm thinking I can use that time more wisely:

  • to work out at least 20-30 minutes five days a week
  • to call/text people directly more, instead of sending out a mass status update
  • to work on several work projects that have been brewing in my head
  • to finish the rough draft on a novel I've started
  • to blog more (I've missed it)
  • to start working on spring fundraising efforts for the Grown Up Egg Hunt
  • to definitely read more.

Yes, this is an uncharted experience for me. But those are my favorite experiences.

You can check in on me here, on my blog. There are a lot of blog posts I need to catch up on from summer/fall trips.

You'll also find me at:
290-8362 (w)
461-7911 (c) /

And come by to say hi - and make sure I'm still alive as I go through social media withdrawal - at work: 501 Broadway in Troy.

If you really miss me, donate (I'll come back a day for every $100):

If you want to cheer me on, donate to:

All proceeds will be evenly divided between Camp Little Notch and the Pawling Statue Project.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, folks! And - if I don't see you - Happy Hannukah, Kwanza, Festivus and Christmas! I'll see you in the New Year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm Going to Give Up Social Media for Charity

I have an idea but I want to get people's input on if they'd participate/help: I want to give up social media from Thanksgiving Eve to New Years Eve for charity.
Here's how it would work - I would not check or post on *any* social media (no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no G+, no Pinterest, which I don't check anyway, etc) for those 35 days and for every day that I am not "plugged in", I would ask that people pledge an amount to a worthy cause (so far, I'm thinking maybe Friends of Camp Little Notch or Col. Albert Pawling Memorial Statue Project, or both).
Camp Little Notch is a former Girl Scout camp in the Adirondacks which is now run by many of its former campers to serve today's youth and provide a natural sanctuary for adults as well, on the eastern side of Lake George.
The Pawling Statue Project is a local endeavor that is partially being spearheaded by my brother Adam to erect a statue of Troy's first mayor, Albert Pawling, at the intersection of Pawling Ave. and Congress St.
I would have my co-workers, family, and friends keep me in check to make sure I'm following through - and make sure I'm not "cheating".
If I do fall off the wagon, I would pledge $25 per day that I cheat.

My goal would be to raise at least $1,000 in those 35 days. I would need at least 29 people to pledge $1 per day (or $35 total) to reach that goal.
The way I see it, this would be a win no matter what: some local causes would get some extra money, I would finally have extra time to write more (both for work and for my own projects) and you'll get a break from my random posts for a few weeks.
So, friends, what do you say? Do I have 29 people who will donate $35? Or maybe 66 people who will donate $15?
If so, I'll set up the donation site (or link to the appropriate sites) and we'll be ready to go offline Nov. 26.