Smaller but Magnified

Our world has become smaller in the pandemic, but also magnified.

A year ago, we were traveling across the country by plane to visit our relatives. Today, those trips are unthinkable on so many levels. Too much work or cannot leave the state due to unemployment rules. Too risky. Too much money as incomes fall. So, the trip in person becomes virtual and smaller, a video chat or a phone call, a text, a message, a comment, and a post.

Every day I watch my neighbor kids confined to their own yards, apart from playmates and school friends, who they visit now virtually like a memory or shadow. It is so hard for kids to lose school, birthday parties, and all of those in-person connections. They paste pictures in the windows and shout hellos across the street to their neighbors. Some parents find one or two safe playmates for their children. Compare that quiet experience to seeing dozens of kids every day.

Then I see what is magnified, like the little five-year-old girl next door learning to ride a bike with her parents both trotting by her side. As an only child, her parents are her primary playmates now. Two teens set loose on skateboards to give them that sense of freedom. In this smaller magnified world, the siblings who previously hung out with other kids their age instead walk together. Siblings are now friends; they laugh, talk, and support each other.

One day I saw two teen girls riding six feet apart on bikes, chattering like old times. They came back up the street with two more teens. Four girls on bikes meant they could stay six feet apart, see each other, exercise, feel better, and still chatter up a storm.

Their world is smaller but magnified. There is sorrow in giving up their childhood and teen rituals plus a magnified joy of finding new ones that work in a pandemic.  

Our world is magnified when we sit in our backyards day after day. All of a sudden, we can see the ants at work, those birds who live in the bushes, and that bug that we never noticed before. It’s all smaller but magnified. 

Before the pandemic, we went often to see our friends play and sing at live music shows. We’d walk in, hug all of them, kiss a few, sweat, dance, and chatter in tight booths for hours over drinks and food. Those were the times we’d catch up with 10 to 20 people in a night, and that experience is what we miss the most.

Now we choose carefully who to meet or who to talk to by phone or video. When we do meet, we don’t hug. We wear masks, stay six feet apart, and reduce the number of people we meet with to a handful. We turn down events that are too risky, like a memorial gathering for a dear friend who passed recently. Too many emotional people; too hard to avoid contact. There is burnout in the video meetings and talking with large groups virtually. Too much competition and noise. If you have done meetings virtually all day, it’s exhausting to do it at night or on weekends.

So, we are all reducing our contact with each other, looking at it, turning it over, blocking it, filtering it, and cutting it down to the core. We now know who is most important in our lives, a small group of dear ones. Our conversations are deeper and more emotional. Us adults, like the kids, have found our lives in this pandemic smaller but magnified. 

Featured photo courtesy of Pixabay, Vinzent Weinbeer.

Instructional Design Portfolio – One Central Location

For portfolio, keep it simple. Give people one spot to go check you out.

Have you ever been hammered by a business that tells you to connect with them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other forms of social media? I have worked for a few companies that do this.

The truth is only a few people will connect to a business on Facebook. Some may connect on LinkedIn, and others may only connect on Twitter. Many of us may not connect at all on social media, but we will use the company website.

So in this story, what is it that brings all the social media together? Why is the business bothering with all that stuff? Social marketing is really just a push and reminder, to keep the business in your mind so you will come to the business when you are ready to purchase.

If you are not yet ready to start a blog, your one spot could be your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn allows you to make your profile public. You could simply add some projects to your profile, and expand your profile summary to include new keywords and descriptions of your future work path. I added my brand as my job title, connected several projects, and I created a special section in my LinkedIn profile to capture and highlight my volunteer work, regardless of which employer I work for today.

Although it is popular today for recruiters and job hunters, it is important to remember not everyone uses LinkedIn. Many of us create our own blog or website to give ourselves a central place to show our talents to other people. I do too.

I publish portfolio pieces in different platforms because it gives me flexibility in the tools I use and the target audience. Rather than tell people go here today; go here tomorrow, I bring all my  portfolio publishing together in my blog. Then I advertise that blog through my social media.

On my personal business card I have three things: my blog, my brand and my email address. That is it. I experimented with adding everything else, but it just cluttered the card and the message. Giving people one place to go and check you out is an easy thing for them and for you.

Women in Technology: Find Your Mentor and Move Ahead

As women working in technology, the road ahead is not always smooth. It’s like riding a mountain bike on a rough trail. Why take on that project? Why learn that tool? See or download the following SlideShare presentation with tips on finding a mentor to guide your ride.

Link to Find Your Mentor on Slideshare.net

Content by Holly Justice; Graphics by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build.

Find Your Mentor and Move Ahead

Holly Justice: Thoughts on Advancing the Careers of Women in Technology
The road we travel as women working in technology is not always going be a smooth ride. It’s like riding a mountain bike on a rough trail.

Riding the mountain bike trail of technology work.

Graphic by Patrick Coan, Guild of Build

Let’s build our endurance by finding and using mentors along the way!

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Twitter? As a Business Tool? You bet!

A Twitter profile page about products, events and good news to share.This post is for those of you who wonder:

  • Why do I need to use Twitter?
  • What is the point of so few words?
  • How can I find the time for one more tool?

I suggest taking a new approach. Think of Twitter as a tool for research, a public current list of information about any business or organization. You can access this list without logging into Twitter or having a Twitter account.

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Solid Relationship Advice

One of the most enjoyable articles I read this week was from Jacki Zehner:

Best Advice: Invest in Relationships in All Directions

Jacki Zehner makes some excellent points about how every contact we make in business counts, no matter how small it may seem at the moment.  I like how she states:

“As a professional, you need to care about every single contact point you have with every single person, both internal and external.”

Ms. Zehner not only points out the value of having a “360 degree perspective“, but she challenges us as readers to take stock of our own experiences in the workplace. Her personal story in the article makes this a compelling read.

Social Media Tip:  I found this inspiring story and person thanks to LinkedIn. From there I was able to read more about Jacki Zehner’s background and locate her personal website to read more articles and view her videos.

Updating Your Linked In Profile Privately

Do you want all of your Linked In connections to know every time you make a small change to your profile?

Here is a quick video on why broadcasting everything could be irritating to your connections and how to prevent the problem.

Graphic for the software demonstration video.

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

I love using Linked In to look for jobs. My favorite feature on Linked In is the tool that allows me to save my job searches and set up e-mail alerts. Below is a quick demonstration:

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

Now if I forget to check Linked In, no worries. I’ll receive a daily or weekly e-mail each time a job that meets my criteria is posted.

Avoiding Facebook Overload

How do I get in there?

Today Facebook is big news on the stock market thanks to the IPO. I’ll be honest. I have worked hard to make Facebook a manageable, fun experience.

For me Facebook is a personal, highly effective platform where I keep up with friends and family despite incredibly busy schedules filled with work and college. Check out the next page for tips on how to save time and preserve your ego.