Category Archives: Opinion

Moving

I’m sorry to do this, but I am moving my blog (actually.. just combining  blogs). You will now be able to find me at:

www.racheldiscovershappiness.wordpress.com

You can read about why I am moving by clicking here.

I hope I will see you on my other blog! (That one is probably more fun to read anyway…)

Have a wonderful Monday!

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Friday Links 2012: Week 5

This week was so crazy. I hardly had time to check email and read my morning websites. In fact, I don’t think I read my normal allotment of sites a single day this week, so I apologize for the lame links.

As I said in my other blog, I’m not quite ready to share everything with Cyber Land yet, but I promise it will happen within the next few days.

Anyway, here you go:

And a picture from today just because I thought this tea was pretty.

(**Squeals!!**)

I hope your week was productive and that your February started out wonderfully!


Twitter-vention

Earlier this month, as I was curled up in bed with my beloved Glamour magazine, I came across an article entitled “Twitter DOs & DON’Ts: Your 10 Tweeting Commandments” and, naturally, I was intrigued. As I quickly breezed past the basic rules such as “DO play nice” and “DON’T bitch about work. This is not the place (and—hello!—they can see you).”

I was about to turn the page since it is all stuff I’d heard before… that is, until I reached Commandment Number 6: “DON’T exceed your tolerable four-tweets-a-day limit.” My heart stopped.

WHAT?! But BufferApp lets me schedule up to FIFTY-TWEETS-A-DAY, and you’re telling me that I can only post four times if I want to be nice to my followers?!

Once I collected myself, I decided I would hold a personal Twitter-vention and ask a few friends who are in similar industries as I what they had to say. Luckily we were already in a group Gchat so I didn’t have to look too far to get some advice.

When I announced my surprise, frustration, and yes, shame at the number of allotted Tweets per day, I was greeted with affirmation that more than four Tweets a day was a little excessive. But there was a catch: more than four Tweets a day was only excessive if the main purpose of the Tweeter in question was to inform their followers of their personal life. (See Commandment Number 2: “DON’T overshare.”)

After we established that some people share way, WAY too much on Twitter, we also agreed that it was okay for certain accounts to post more than their allotted four-tweets-a-day. These accounts include (but are not limited to):

  1. TV/Web Personalities (as long as they are entertaining) 
  2. Informative Blogs/Websites 
  3. Amusing Bloggers 
  4. News Stations 
  5. Innovative and Funny Accounts 
  6. Harry Potter Parodies (as long as they are funny) 
  7. Justin Bieber 

Whew. My anxiety subsided a little bit. I tend to use Twitter for a combination of personal and professional information – an activity that I don’t recommend since it is not easily accomplished. I never post things immensely personal to myself or my friends. I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t want my boss to read or that my parents would be shocked to see. Sometimes I post opinions, include videos, or share random thoughts, but that is very rare and definitely doesn’t exceed the four-a-day limit.

I do, however, post an average of seven professional/newsworthy Tweets a day, as well as one or two good retweets. (Note: This number is for week days – on weekends I hardly ever post professional/newsworthy things, and I tend to only post four times a day on Saturday and Sundays.)

Today I cam across the following Tweet from @BufferApp: 

After clicking through to the link and reading through the  blog post, I was put at ease. The post encourages bloggers to retweet their post four times in order to gain maximum coverage. That is 14% of your weekly Tweet allowance. If I’m writing three blog posts a week and Tweeting about those posts four times each, that takes up 42% of my allowance!! No way is that correct.

Through the research I’ve done since discovering that Glamour article, I’ve decided that the four-tweets-a-day allotment goes for personal Tweets. That does not include professional tweets, articles, retweets, or replies to followers/Tweets you find interesting.

Maybe I’m kidding myself and I’m just a Twitter addict, but either way, until I’m proven wrong, I’m going to just continue doing what I’m doing.

What do you think? How do you use Twitter? How many posts is too many on any given day? What are your favorite accounts to follow?


A Sincere Letter to Cash-Only Businesses

Note: I originally posted this on my other blog, Rachel Discovers Happiness, but I feel so strongly about it that I felt the need to share it with you here as well. Enjoy.

Dear Businesses that Don’t Accept Credit/Debit Cards (yup, I’m talking to you Little Sandwich Place on Union St. in San Francisco):

I want to begin this heart felt letter by saying that, although I understand your side of things, I still feel as though you really suck.

Okay, never mind, I take that back, I don’t understand your side of things. What century do you think you’re in? This isn’t the 18- or 19- hundreds anymore! It is the 21st century!!

I get that having a credit card swiper thing in your place of work means that you have to pay a little bit more when somebody chooses to use that form of payment, but can’t you just raise your prices by a tiny bit? Like, an extra quarter per sandwich? Instead, as your customer, when I can’t pay because I only have cards with me, I have to walk two blocks in order to find an ATM which then, in turn, charges me $2.50 to withdraw my $40. That charge is a 20% increase in the price of my purchase!

As somebody who is trying to follow her 2012 resolutions, I have started using my debit card a lot more because it is easier to track expenses that way. I don’t have to take receipts (which are not environmentally friendly in the first place) because my bank records all my transactions for me.* I don’t have to worry about change – paper or metal. I’m not concerned about my $20 bills blowing away or my change spilling everywhere as I’m crossing the street causing me to have to stop in the middle of the road, block traffic, risk my life, and pick up my measly 63¢. Or what to do with the pennies that are piling up in my car’s center console because a) I don’t have enough space in my wallet to carry all of them b) I can’t use them anywhere – including gumball machines like I could when I was little and c) it bothers me that the penny is bigger than the dime even though it is worth less. But I digress.

Don’t you see how big of an inconvenience this is to all of us? Now, I promise you, the 21st century isn’t as scary as we thought it was going to be a little over 12 years ago. Remember Y2K? When we all thought computers wouldn’t know how to handle the year code (’00 vs. ’99)? Or when we thought, for sure, there was going to be some hugeastronomical change when the clock hit midnight (even though we are on the West Coast of the United States and just about everybody else on earth had already made it safely into the 2000’s), but then it didn’t?

I promise, when you choose to join the rest of us in the world of technology and those small, rectangular, plastic things we all call credit cards, the world will not collapse around you. Yes, the world as you know it will be no more, but I promise, it will be better. It will be a place that doesn’t force people, such as myself, to spend a whole bunch of extra money on things such as sandwiches. The rest of us, who are already in the second decade of the new millenium, will gladly welcome you with open arms (and wallets).

I sincerely hope you take this letter to heart.

Regards,

Rachel

*Please spare me the lecture on how I shouldn’t count on my bank as a means of tracking my finances. I’ve heard it all before. It’s just so easy that way! And i’m not spending/making enough money for there to be any big discrepancy right now. I promise I will start to keep closer tabs on my ATM/credit card purchases in the future.


Friday Links 2012: Week 1

Welcome to the first Friday Links of 2012! I have just started using BufferApp which helps me schedule Tweets throughout the day, even if I’m not signed on to Twitter. That way, my Tweets aren’t all posted at the same time – in the morning when I do my big daily news binge.

Because I am now posting on Twitter a lot more, I will try to limit myself to 10-15 of my favorite links for the week, that way my readers aren’t inundated with every single post I put on Twitter. That would defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it? Plus, if you want to see all of my Twitter posts, you can just follow me 🙂

P.S. If you like my Friday Links posts on this blog, you might want to check out my Picture-A-Day posts on my other blog: Rachel Discovers Happiness.


In Defense of Toms

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost a week. How lame am I?! I couldn’t let this blog go untouched for an entire week and have two Friday Links posts in a row – that would just be pathetic.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but couldn’t really find the words (plus I wanted to take some photos for it). It’s about the shoe (and glasses) movement: Toms*.

If you aren’t familiar with Toms mission statement, it’s simple: One For One. With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.

One of my Christmas presents from my mom was a pair of women’s “ash” Toms. Everybody I know has a pair of Toms. I liked the idea of receiving a pair of Toms for Christmas because not only can I wear them anywhere, but they are comfortable (oh so comfortable!), “cute” (I think the other benefits make them cuter than they would be otherwise) AND they help out kids who don’t have the means to purchase their own shoes.

I was so excited when I opened them, and my mom felt really good about gifting them to me. That is, until the first day I wore them in front of Philo. When I pointed out to my mom that I was wearing them, MJD piped in and mentioned that Toms are just about all his girlfriend wears – she likes how cute and comfortable they are. Then, Philo piped in… like he always does.

He started in on this rant about how Toms isn’t actually as great as everybody thinks it is. That the organization may help children, but actually harms the shoe producers and stores in the area that the shoes are handed out.

This is a habit of Philo’s that annoys us all, but have all learned to ignore. One of us says something and Philo jumps in with how we are wrong, then he informs us of the correct way to think about whatever situation we are talking about, and all of it is based off of some article that he read once. Eating meat? Humans are not built to consume meat, also, it’s not sustainable, also, you are consuming a carcass. (I’m sorry for that mental image, but imagine hearing that every time you eat meat) Donating to a charity? That charity isn’t as good as you think it is, the money doesn’t go where you think it does, plus, here is a list of all the vegan charities that actually make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Blah, blah, blah, blah… he goes on and on. Nobody else’s opinions are valid. He always finds a counter argument for everything we say. I could say that dogs like to be pet and wag their tails, and he would come up with a reason why I’m wrong.

Anyway, so this conversation thoroughly bothered the rest of us. When my mom and I got home, we sat down and did some research on Toms, their mission, and where the shoes go. I downloaded the Toms Giving Report and read it beginning to end, then saved it on my computer. I read blogs, articles, and opinion pieces on not only Toms, but other charities as well.

Page from the Toms Giving Report

My conclusion after all my research? Toms was about the best of the best as far as charities go. Your donation goes where they say it goes, and I can’t find anything to suggest otherwise. They aren’t asking you for money, they are asking you to purchase a pair of shoes for yourself so that you get something as well as the children you are helping. Children. NOT adults. Local shoe stores aren’t going out of business; Toms shoes go to children who wouldn’t be shopping at those shoe stores in the first place.

Shoes have value beyond being critical for physical health. Many schools in developing countries require shoes for attendance. And some soil-based diseases not only cause physical symptoms, but create cognitive impairment too, crippling a child’s long- term potential … Children who are healthy are more likely to be successful students, and access to education is a critical determinant of long-term success.

– Toms Giving Report

The shoes go to kids whose families don’t have the means to purchase shoes on their own. If the kids don’t have shoes, they aren’t able to go to school. If they aren’t able to go to school, they aren’t able to get an education. If they can’t get an education, they are less capable to pull their families and their countries above the poverty line. Toms makes sure that the shoes given to children follow their school’s dress code/uniform in order to ensure that the shoes accomplish what Toms wants them to. Toms also only makes shoes in sizes that are required by the children in need.

School children in Nairobi, Kenya wearing their Toms. (via: http://www.facebook.com/Toms)

Toms is not only giving these children shoes, Toms is giving them a future.

That might sound cheesy, but I firmly believe that it is true.

Toms gives shoes in places such as Argentina, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia, to name a few. These locations aren’t picked at random. Toms and its affiliates do lots of research to make sure that the the children receiving the shoes are deserving and that the shoes will make a difference. Toms doesn’t use any child labor in the production of its shoes and the organization works with its partners around the world as well as businesses where the shoes are delivered whenever possible.

Recently, Toms has expanded from shoes to glasses. I guarantee there will be further expansion in the future. I’d keep my eyes open if I were you.

Anyway, I apologize for this rant. It just really frustrated me and I thought that I would share my thoughts with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Have you done any research on Toms or other charities? Where are your favorite places to donate? Do you have any opinions that parallel Philo’s mentality?

*FYI: TOMS stands for “Shoes For a Better Tomorrow”

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Toms or any of its affiliates. The opinions stated in this post are 100% my own.  


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