Posts Tagged ‘friends’

It Was Your Birthday? Social Media Didn’t Tell Me That!

June 2, 2010 15 comments

In case you did not know, Tuesday, June 1st, was my birthday. Surprise!

For most, it was a surprise.

Months ago, inspired by someone who did what I am about to describe, I chose to test my friends to see who actually remembered my birthday by taking my birthday off from Facebook and avoiding any discussion around my birthday.

Why would I do this? This was not a loyalty test. I felt there was an opportunity to make a statement about how social media is impacting the quality of all relationships, even if it is at the expense of my birthday.

Just five years ago, people did not have Facebook to keep track of their friends’ activities, happenings, current events, and important dates such as birthday’s, anniversaries, and more. We had to use our own brainpower to remember the important things about our friends and family. If you forgot someone’s birthday, you were considered a bad friend.

This brings me back to yesterday, the day of my experiment. I get online around 945am to see only one Facebook happy birthday wish from my girlfriend’s Mom, an early one at that.  I started g-chatting with my friend Nick, who wished me a happy birthday in the chat, as he was the only person who knew of my experiment. We kept track of birthday wishes, which was not difficult.

Suddenly, it was 10:35, and I had zero twitter friends wishing a happy birthday, and only one new happy birthday wish on Facebook. However, I did have four business emails wishing me happy birthday. For those keeping score: Email 4, People on social media: 2.

This confirmed what I had thought. Without a reminder, very few people would know about my birthday. Everything changed when my girlfriend, Amanda, sent a happy birthday tweet and Facebook status update. Experiment: dead. Before her status update on Facebook: 6 birthday wishes. After: 30. Before her tweet: zero. After: 40+.

Even though I told myself that I couldn’t be mad at anyone for forgetting my birthday this year (since it was part of an experiment), I had mixed feelings about certain people or groups forgetting my birthday. From most of the people in my office (yes, the place I work and spend 40+ hours a week forgot save for two people), and even friends I have had since junior high (you know who you are), it was a bit of an eye opener.

Imagine not having a girlfriend to send out a simple message to her network of friends that would trigger such a reaction.

Imagine having your birthday forgotten.

That did not happen to me, as after the tweet & facebook status posted by Amanda, the outpouring of support was overwhelming. I have so many thank you’s to give out. Amanda made this the best birthday  I have ever had. I will forever be grateful to her for that.

To those who did wish me an early, day of, or belated birthday, thank you!

I cannot point fingers without pointing one at myself. I rely on the birthday reminders as much as the rest of the world. I suck. But, isn’t that a statement of how relationships have changed?

Why do we have to know our friends when we have social media to know our friends?

I work within the social media and online marketing world, and see all of the good it does connecting people who otherwise may never cross paths. There are some negatives to what social media is doing to society, notably, the impact it is having on relationships.  I know hundreds, maybe thousands of people moderately well. Ask me what day their birthday lies on, and I will fail miserably. You would do the same.

It makes me wonder: how well do my friends know me? How well do I know my friends?

So many people worry about the relationships that corporations and brands have or should have with followers, fans, etc. What is more important: the Minnesota Twins following you back on Twitter, or a close friend wishing you a happy birthday?

Let’s get back to solidifying the friendships that social media have provided to us. Otherwise, what’s the point?



Is Sobriety Killing My Social Life?

February 16, 2009 5 comments

It is a tough thing to say goodbye to.  I have had such a thriving social live for so long; to see the decrease in mine is kind of shocking, especially because of what I blame the majority of it on: sobriety.

Earlier this month, I graded myself on how I did on my 2009 goals for the month of January.  When writing about the ‘no drinking’ goal, I wrote: “and people are still willing to hang out with me!”  This is semi-true still; I just get this odd vibe that people do not know what to do if someone in their group is not drinking when they are.

People are used to me being a good chunk of the life of the party.  Whether it is just having a good ol’ drunken fun time, or if it’s just me being too drunk, annoying, and giving people something to talk about, all is good if I have a drink in my hand.

I was out last night with a couple college friends.  My main goal was to watch the NBA All-Star festivities, do some dinner, and possibly let my eyes wander for any single women out celebrating what people call ‘Singles Awareness Day’.  We went to Liquor Lyle’s based on a suggestion that they had very good wings.  Whoever told my friend that obviously was playing a joke on him.

All was good through the skills competition, dinner, the 3-point contest, and the dunk contest.  Drinks were consumed, laughs were plentiful, and there was talk ofpossibly meeting people at another location or having those people meet us where we were.  Then at 9:30, my friends became tired.   Then came 10pm; NBA All-Star Saturday Night festivities were done.  We got our check, paid, left, I dropped them off all by 10:10.  Was my night over at only 10:10pm?

I called another friend, and he was out on a date.  Despite this, both him and the lady he was with invited me to crash their date.  After a couple minutes of thought and being pitched on the idea, I met them downtown.  I was there for about a half hour and they decided they needed to get back home.  On ‘singles awareness day’, I was home before midnight.

This was kind of shocking at first glance.  I hope this is not the case, but when my friends became tired, it had the feel of ‘tired’ to it.  Am I that boring sober?

I then thought back to a couple weeks prior when a bunch of us went to Hooter’s to watch UFC 94.  Again, I was the sober guy and sober driver.  I was legitimately tired when the event ended at midnight.  When trying to figure out what to do, I left the decision up to everyone else.  I may have given off the vibe that I didn’t want to go out or do anything, which I regret if that is what I did, because I may have been the one that sent the signal saying ‘I’m sober, and I am not staying out late anymore.’  I am all about everyone having a good time.  Things just seemed to die down and I ended up dropping everyone off either at a bar nearer to their home, or at their home.  Maybe that was a product of people being downtown Minneapolis, where they’re not as into that scene as I am.

There is just something going on here that seems odd.  My friends are my age, in above average health, and just do not get tired at 9:30pm on a Saturday night.

The problems with this situation: I have over three months until I compete and complete a half-marathon.  Then I earn the priviledge to drink alcohol once again.  If I am that boring sober, it is going to be a while before that changes.  The other problem: are any of my friends only friends with me to see what I will do next?  How drunk will he get?  What will he do?  What can we tell him he did since he is obviously blacked out?  What story will be created because of this?

I hate that these thoughts are going through my head.  It is probably a bunch of paranoia all on my end.  If I am right, I need new friends.


twitter: @jasondouglas

Networking: Not Just For Business

January 17, 2009 2 comments

Networking is something that most every career oriented person does.  The saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ might be the slogan for networking.  The reason we do it: meet like minded people in a related industry or a potential client to further our career or business respectively.  Networking does not always have to be for business purposes.  Here is a recent example:

After Christmas, a friend of mine named Michelle moved from Minnesota to Nashville, TN for a promotion she accepted from General Mills.  It is a big step for a 23 year old girl to move by herself to a foreign place is a huge step.  Not knowing anyone in your new home makes it that much more difficult.

I was not worried about Michelle meeting new people.  She has one of the most outgoing personalities I have ever met.  Despite that, there’s no guarantee that Nashville would be ready with open arms to Michelle.  Brainstorming at 2am on a night where I could not sleep (as usual), the lightbulb started to shine bright, the brain was fully functioning and running full with ideas.  One of the ideas led to me think of another friend I had that lived in Nashville, Emily.

Emily and I met in New Orleans at an AMA Collegiate Conference.  A graduate of Nebraska-Lincoln, she moved to Nashville in 2007 in search for something new and a great career.   After thinking about Emily and Michelle, the rest was simple.  I talked to Emily about Michelle who was all for me giving Michelle her contact info.  That happened in a facebook message I sent to Michelle on another 2am night where I could not sleep.

Last night, Emily and Michelle finally got together, went out for drinks, text messaged meplenty in an attempt to lead me to think that they were not getting along, and had a great night. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a fantastic friendship.

Plenty of people move to new places with no friends; it is something that I don’t think I would want to do or could to at this point in my life.  This is one of the benefits of social networking sites.  People that you meet a few times, even only once, can be added to your ‘friend’ list on facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.  By keeping in touch with them, that leaves the possibility of a story like this being told down the road.  Networking brough two people together for non-business reasons, and should not be used just to advance  your career or to gain a new client.  No matter how big your client list is, or how many business cards you trade with industry people, one can never have enough real friends in their network.

I love bringing people together 🙂

Have you ever networked through a friend to meet someone new just for friendship? Would you ever try it?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Good times with friends

January 15, 2009 Leave a comment

The last two nights have been filled with friends I haven’t been able to actually sit down and talk with in ages.  Sure, you see someone at a happy hour, house party, etc; it’s not the same as one-on-one or small group interaction.

Tuesday night, I met up with Al, Emily, Molly, and Al’s girlfriend Emily at McCormick & Schmicks in the Westin Hotel in Edina.  It has been since late summer since we played beach volleyball since I had seen him for any length of time.  It was an absolute blast; he was fun, his friends were fun, his girlfriend was awesome.  Non-girlfriend Emily is also running in the half-marathon I’ll be participating in; maybe we’ll have to have a side bet rewarding the heads-up winner.  I’m hoping to see the same crew Sunday night for sushi.

Last night, I met up with Caitlin at Lone Spur Grill in Minnetonka.  I’ve known her since AMA days in college.  It had only been a couple months since I last saw her; that was in a large group where it’s tough to interact with everyone.  We caught up on our careers, our lives, new years resolutions, and everything in between.  It’s always good to hear about someone else doing well and living happily.

I hope more get togethers with lost friends happen soon.  I’ve made more calls, and have been getting a positive response every time someone answers and it’s not a wrong number.  I’m glad that I chose to start calling people; it’s been a great re-connecting experience.  Hopefully, this will re-start many friendships.

Other personal notes: the workouts have been going well.  I had another workout get together with Katie last night; worked on the chest, shoulders, and triceps; was also able to run for 12 minutes, stopping due to a sticky treadmill.  My foot stuck twice making the treatmill ‘stop’ or stick, which made my leg feel like it was buckling.  Everything is ok, but it was kind of scary.  The positive that came from that: definitely could have ran for a few more minutes.  We’re hoping to get another workout in either tomorrow or Saturday.

Tonight is going to be a chill-out night; possibly do some core work and watch ‘Must See TV’ on NBC; a.k.a. The Office. Rumor is that Andy finds out that Angela has been cheating on him with Dwight; ooh the drama!

Life is very good 🙂

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas