personal change

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Finding hope outside your inbox

Seven ways to break the habit of compulsive e-mail and Twitter check-ins


I was picking my daughter up from her first day of school, and I was so excited to hear how it went that got there a few minutes early. I could go in and spend a few extra minutes observing her class....or I could sneak one last peek at the day's e-mail. Sure enough, I pulled out my iPhone, only to experience that little ping of disappointment when the hoped-for e-mail from a prospective client had yet to arrive. I headed into my daughter's classroom, my excitement about the first day of school now dulled, ever so slightly, by the disappointment of that missing e-mail.

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Making love with social media

How the social web can nourish your most personal relationship

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When you work on something really hard together and enjoy the successes and challenges with each other, and then get through it not just whole but stronger—you realize how blessed you are, how much love you have together.

That sentence could describe my feelings about working with Rob on Social Signal. People are often amazed that I'm able to work with my husband, and ask us how we do it all: the business, the kids, the marriage. I'm amazed at all the people who can hold those threads separately.

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The beauty of tech maintenance

How to hack your tech to-do list

As a longtime (now mostly recovered) reader of women's magazines, I have struggled with the ever-mounting list of feminine maintenance tasks. Leg shaving, nail filing, face cleansing, check. Hair deep conditioning, sunscreening, foot pumicing, ok. Lash tinting, brow shaping, lip conditioning (hey, I'm not naming it if I haven't done it)....well, it gets to be quite a bit of work. And then you get older and the list just gets longer: hair colouring, skin de-tagging, botoxing...where do we ladies find the time?

After a dozen years and many more magazine pages, I finally concluded that the only rational solution was to keep a set number of beautification slots. If Glamour tells me to add botox, I'm giving up deep conditioning. If Elle tells me it's time for eyebrow shaping, I'll have to jettison leg shaving. There is just only so much time I have available for physical perfection and I've got to put the minutes where they count.

I've now been a computer owner for almost as long as I've been a magazine reader, and I'm afraid the challenges of tech maintenance are even more relentless than the challenges of beauty maintenance.

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Is Facebook trying to kill you?

What robots in popular culture tell us about our technology nightmares

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My new TV addiction is "The Sarah Connor Chronicles", which brings the Terminator franchise to the small screen. There's nothing like watching robots kick ass to make me think about the big issues in life, and this week's man-versus-machine showdown got me thinking about our widely-noted anxiety about the possibility of robot or cyborg takeover.

From Blade Runner to the Matrix, from Star Trek's Borg to Battlestar Galactica's Cylons, we've spent a lot of time imagining the day when our super-strong, super-smart robots get tired of vacuuming and decide they want to rule the world. You can even buy a witty and informative manual on How To Survive a Robot Uprising.

As a sci-fi fan and insomniac I've spent more than my share of hours staring at the ceiling and wondering whether our house is about to be stormed by robots who've made their escape from the Honda assembly line. That's given me an opportunity to consider a more immediate threat: Facebook. Not just Facebook, actually, but all the social networks and online communities to which we give our eyeballs, braincells, hearts and dollars. Could these online communities constitute the machine threat that sci-fi has taught us to anticipate?

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A little more soul

WorldChanging interviews Alex about the Soul of the Internet

Jon Lebkowsky of WorldChanging has followed up on Alex's recent blog post about The Soul of the Internet. Here's a quote from Jon's interview with Alex:

What struck me in reading The Soul of Money is how my general discomfort with money is not unlike the discomfort a lot of people feel around technology. Rob and I live at the intersection of two worlds – the webby, social media scene, on the one hand, and the progressive/sustainability scene on the other. Many of our sustainability friends are bemused by our techiness; they see the Internet as another way that people are taken out of the real world of human interaction and connection to the natural world. I've rolled with their disinclination to engage online; but reading Twist's book made me think about how we could help these techno-skeptics to get more comfortable with technology, the same way that we need to get more comfortable with money.

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Five ways to shape the soul of the Internet

Does YouTube make people into exhibitionists? Does Facebook stunt teenagers' social skills? Does 43Things help people realize their dreams?

Journalists, academics and web surfers have been arguing over whether the Internet is Ultimate Good or Ultimate Evil long before the social web (a.k.a. "web 2.0") came along. But blogs, social networks and other kinds of online communities have raised the stakes and intensified the debate. Social web sites are more intensively interactive, and more socially connected, so they offer users an experience that is potentially more compelling (or in the view of Internet skeptics, distracting/disengaging) and (in the view of Internet boosters) more elevating, because they realize the Internet's potential for forging and deepening interpersonal and community connectedness.

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.