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This recent Dilbert comic made me laugh, but also made me wonder if many people believe that it’s true. We know that we’re spending more time online now than ever before, especially with the growth of social networking sites. In fact, it has been suggested that internet searches for porn have been overtaken by social networking.

We’re a plugged in society, ordering the internet-to-go with us now on laptops, PDAs, Blackberrys, iPhones (iPod Touches as well), and any other device that can catch a signal. Do you find it hard nowadays to go an hour without checking your email or Twitter stream. Admittedly, I know I do, as one who has been fully connected since the age of 12.

Still, my thoughts are trekking back to this comic strip. Do we value the internet more now than we do the outside world, and well, real people? Perhaps, but I’m going to make a case for those of us who have been interested in the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

Social networking, social media, web 2.0 – whatever you want to call it, is about creating community. It doesn’t come easy, however, as you have to be willing to invest a lot of time. (It can cost money, too, depending on your intentions). If you really dig deep you can meet many interesting people from all walks of life. But, the thing about the internet is you can be whoever you want to be, right? True, but I’ve found that for every person who isn’t always truthful, there’s dozens more who are as real as possible.

We all have different reasons behind our interest in social media. For some, it’s to make money. Others are communications or tech professionals who want to understand more about how SM can help grow their organizations. Still, some people just want a conversation – to find a group of people who have similar interests and share experiences.

We can have all of that with a click of a button and a few strokes on the keyboard.  What we’re seeing now, however, are things like tweet-ups, PodCamp and so many other meet-ups because people want to take these relationships offline. They’re not interested in hiding behind a computer screen. It’s a suggestion that relationships are very much real and meaningful to people offline as they are online.

So, here’s my answer: There are aspects of the internet that are interesting, but I think that what it ultimately does, in this day and age, is lead you to far more interesting people.

Hope y’all had a great holiday. Surprisingly, I made it to the airport by 4:20 p.m. today for a 5:10 p.m. flight with virtually no wait to check in my bag or go through security. It was amazing. If you’ve ever flown through Philadelphia International, you know it’s never cake. Perhaps I got lucky because of the holiday. Oh well, moving on …

I’ve been thinking about it and I’d like to revive the “Can We Talk?” Yahoo! Group. It’s not directly affiliated with this blog, though it’s a shared name. It was intended to be a branched-off group from YoungPRPros, as a forum for students and young professionals. Admittedly, it kind of fell to the wayside after I graduated college the first time in 2006.

Now that there are many more students and young professionals participating in social media, I think that a very valuable exchange of ideas can go down with this listserv. I’m hoping to start things off slow and welcome back those of you who were previous members and those who were interested in joining when it went defunct.

Let’s talk!

Today, We Give Thanks

It’s that time of year once again, where we gather together to eat ridiculous amounts of food and reflect on the things we are thankful for in our lives.

Well, here’s my little list:

Family

I’m thankful I have the opportunity to be with them again this year, after not seeing anyone since Christmas. It’s still pretty weird to know that when I’m back in NJ, it’s just to visit.

Friends

As it goes, friends have this amazing ability to get you through the best and worst of times in a way that your family members cannot. They always make life a little easier.

Opportunities

I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to develop both personally and professionally. I’m even more thankful to those who have been willing to give me a shot as I look to advance my career, and the possiblities that have yet to come.

YOU

I’m thankful that I’ve met some really awesome people through social media. Moving to Pittsburgh afforded me that opportunity and it’s something I never even thought possible. I am looking forward to meeting even more folks in the future.

It’s also important to remember those this holiday who are less fortunate and cannot count their blessings. Let us think of them and what we can do to help make their lives a little better.

As a side note –

The Macys Parade Rickrolled us all with the man, Rick Astley, himself. If that’s not an indication that social tools have such a profound impact, than I don’t know what is. It’s obvious he lipsynced, but it was still awesome.

A few days ago, I read an article that Facebook sought to acquire Twitter, but the microblogging service apparently backed out over the financials. It seems there’s disagreement over the value of the Facebook empire. It’s been appraised as high as $15 billion, but the Twitter folks believe it’s inflated from a more realistic $5 billion. To them, this meant that Facebook’s offer of $500 million in stock was really only worth $150 million.

Frankly, I’m pretty happy that the deal fell through.

It may come to pass that Twitter will be scooped up one day from a large media conglomerate. It seems it happens often. My main concern is that if Twitter is acquired, it’ll be absorbed into some service and lose its identity. I’m afraid that’s what would happen if Twitter went to Facebook. I’m already sick enough of 99% of the applications and do-hickeys on Facebook. Would Twitter just become a built-in component of the site or would the Facebook folks be content enough to let it stand alone? If that were to happen, I think the dynamic of community would largely change and not necessarily for the better.

I’m not dissing Facebook as I like it and do use it, but there’s just so much more to Twitter than “What are you doing?” I think the concept of community is inherently different for each service – while Twitter’s community seems small and inviting, Facebook’s community just feels cold and disconnected. At least, that’s the experience for me.

The biggest problem Twitter faces right now is generating revenue. The service has one part down with a user base that has rapidly expanded the last year, but like any business it has to show its backers that it is sustainable. Should it stay as a free service? Should it incorporate ads into the user experience? I think it would be wise of Twitter to spread its wings and find out, instead of taking the easy route and having another company do it for them.

As promised, I wanted to share the pumpkin pie recipe that my mom uses and I have made since then for work and social functions. It’s positively sweet and delicious.

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 large eggs

1 can (29 oz) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

2 cans (14 fl oz) sweetened condensed milk (We use Borden Eagle Brand)

2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells, brought to room temperature (We like Pillsbury)

Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl, stirring in the pumpkin and sugar-cinnamon mixture. Gradually stir in the sweetened condensed milk.

Mix together a little more cinnamon and sugar, lightly sprinkling into the prepared pie shells. This will give the crust a sweet taste.

Pour pie mixture into shells and wrap aluminum foil around the edges of each pie.

Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake for 40-50 minutes. Cool on wire rack for about two hours.

You can serve it thereafter, but I would recommend it cold, served with a glob of ReddiWip.

It’s an easy recipe, modified from what you can find on the back of a can, but it really is a sweet take on the traditional Thanksgiving dessert.

ENJOY!

Photo credit: endless beauty

Patrick Roy, former NHL goaltender, has many accolades – four Stanley Cup rings, numerous NHL records, trophies and a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. There’s one thing (in my opinion) this prolific goaltender, revered by fans as “St. Patrick,” can’t add to his long resume: classy.

Earlier this year at a Quebec Remparts-Chicoutimi Sagueneens playoff matchup, Roy and his son, Jonathan, were involved in a scuffle during which Jonathan skated across the ice and attacked the opposing goaltender, who clearly refused to fight. That little incident got Jonathan, a goaltender like his dad, suspended and fined. The elder Roy (the Remparts’ co-owner, general manager, and coach) was also suspended and fined for apparently encouraging (0:07 in video) his son to fight.

Just eight months later, it’s happened again. Frederick, Roy’s other son who also plays for the Remparts, has just been suspended for cross-checking an opposing player in the face during a timeout.

Both incidents call into question Roy’s integrity and the ideals he’s instilling in his sons. If you’re a hockey fan, you know fighting is a part of the game, but blatant goonery and thuggery have no place.

Roy has always been known to have an attitude and a bit of a violent streak. Like it or not, however, he is a role model. He needs to hold himself to a higher standard – not just for his own kids, but also for the thousands of young hockey players who look up to him. Even the Colorado Avalanche’s current starting goaltender, Peter Budaj, grew up idolizing his predecessor.

How can Roy overcome this bad press as of late? For one, he needs to remind his sons to play hard, but refrain from the cheap shots and maintain a low profile. He stated after the first incident that he has no control over the player’s actions on the ice during the heat of the moment, but we all know that’s false.

I think he also needs to teach his sons some humility – Jonathan apologized for the obscene gestures to the crowd, but not for pummeling the opposing goalie. There is a clear lack of good sportsmanship here and concern for the opposing player. What if the kid was seriously injured?

Finally, a donation to a child abuse organization may help boost his image. Hockey players may fight each other on the ice for little reason, but there are thousands of children who are on the receiving end of abuse every day and it is not part of a game.

I’m sure Roy wants to be remembered for his impressive career rather than the antics since his retirement. It’s high time he strapped on his game face once again and became a man to idolize both on and off the ice.

Left On A Jet Plane

1. I made it to New Jersey safe and sound. It’s definitely different to be in a house full of people and crazy pets again, if even for just a week. Looking forward to food, folks and fun. Wait, I think I just ripped off an old McDonald’s tagline.

2. While on my flight, I came across a fun little article about Pittsburgh in Southwest AirlinesSpirit Magazine. You might have trouble with the quiz, but I recommend reading through all the choices. It’s a good time.

3. It’s pretty sad that Pittsburgh International Airport isn’t as jumping as it used to be. Please come back, airlines.

I’m aware my posts have been pretty minimal and off-topic the past few days. Hence the “random things” in my tagline. I got it covered. 😉