Aloha Friday: Social Media Time Out

As you read this, I’ll be offline celebrating the holiday of Sukkot.  It may be a more minor holiday than Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, but I like celebrating these holidays.  Now, I’m not Orthodox.  I do things like take photos, watch TV and the like.  One thing I don’t do, though, is use my phone or computer.  I use the holiday as time off from anything work-related (which includes all computers as I program websites for a living and phones as I could otherwise take calls from work defeating the purpose of being “off”).  Instead, I spend the time with my family.  The forced time offline means that I interact with my family more.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Do you regularly take vacations from social media/computers?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #109

Yom Kippur and PR Apologies

On Thursday, I wanted to go to sleep early.  I was tired and NEEDED my sleep.  But I didn’t.  I was too enthralled with watching the reactions from the fallout between Brand Link Communications and TheBloggess.

In case you are the single person online who hasn’t heard about it yet, TheBloggess was pitched by PR firm Brand Link Communications to run a piece about one of the Kardashians in pantyhose.  Now, TheBloggess’ blog is many things, but it is not about celebrities and what they wear.  This wasn’t the first bad pitch she’s gotten.  In fact, she gets so many that she has a dedicated page to send them to.

Normally, PR firms will either not contact her back or will apologize and/or remove her from their lists.  This time, however, they replied in a bit of a snippy manner.  At this point, I’m sure TheBloggess would have just shrugged and gone on with her life.  She would have, that is, had Jose from Brand Link not hit reply all and used quite a colorful phrase to describe her.  From this point on, the situation spiraled out of control and not in a positive way for Brand Link Communications.

What does this have to do with Yom Kippur?  On this Jewish holiday, we realize that we’re going to be judged for the things we’ve done in the past year.  To make amends, we traditionally apologize to people we’ve wronged.  An apology doesn’t always make everything better, but it can go a long way towards repairing all sorts of relationships.  However, these apologies need to be sincere.  Just saying “I’m sorry, but I’ll do it again” or “I’m sorry if you were offended” isn’t enough.

When Jose realized his mistake, his response should have been an unequivocal apology.  Something along the lines of: “I’m sorry.  I messed up both in my language and in the match between the original pitch and your blog’s content.  I’ll look into ways to better target pitches so that you receive pitches that your readers will actually find useful.”  This would have helped smooth things over and we would likely have never heard about the interaction (a good thing in hindsight).

Instead, Jose sent an “I’m sorry but…” reply.  He even went so far as to blame TheBloggess for starting the mess and to tell her that she should be thankful that they send content her way.  As if, without PR firms, TheBloggess would be a nobody with nothing to write about.

TheBloggess replied with soon-to-be-immortal (and hopefully emblazoned on a shirt) words: “Please stand by for a demonstration of relevancy.”

What happened next was quite a demonstration.  TheBloggess blogged about the situation and many of her 160,000 followers on Twitter started tweeting about it.   The story was picked up on by none other than Wil Wheaton (1.8 million followers) and Neil Gaiman (1.6 million followers), and Perez Hilton (3.9 million followers).  Obviously, there’s likely some overlap in followers, but needless to say that this story had millions of people worldwide viewing it.  It was a very public affair and very bad for Brand Link.

At one point, Jose (who has since deleted his Twitter account), tried defending his actions as trying to defend Wil Wheaton.  Then he claimed his account was hacked and finally, he mentioned that he had apologized to TheBloggess.

Could this have been avoided?  I was thinking about this during Yom Kippur and realized there were many times that Brand Link could have apologized and made it all go away.  After the original pitch and TheBloggess’ response, they could have apologized.  (And not had someone commit Reply-All-icide.)  After the Reply All, Jose could have been proactive, realized what he did and quickly followed it up with an apology (and not just a “I’m sorry if you were offended, but…”).

Once TheBloggess posted her blog post, however, the quiet person-to-person apologies needed to be big public apologies.  At that point, they didn’t need to satiate one angry Bloggess, but a few thousand (if not hundred thousand or million) folks.  There are many lessons to be learned from what happened between TheBloggess and Brand Link Communications, one of the big ones is how *not* to apologize.

Setting The Theme For The Year

Growing up, we would go to temple on Rosh Hashana morning.  Then, we’d come home for lunch before heading back for the afternoon/evening services.  During this gap, there was little to do to fill the time.  I didn’t watch TV, use computers or, in fact, use any electrical device.

The tempting thing to do was get a nap in.  My mother would always nix this idea, though.  She had a superstition that how one spent the Jewish New Year would reflect how the year to come would be.  If you napped on Rosh Hashana, you might be setting yourself up for a lazy year.

So what kind of year did I set myself up for?

I began by getting the boys and myself ready for temple.  B didn’t feel like going, so I took the boys by myself.  I’ll admit that I didn’t get to spend as much time praying as I’d have liked.  Instead, I was making sure that the boys were quiet, well-behaved, entertained and fed.  (We brought quiet toys, books and snacks with us.)

When we got home, and after we ate lunch, I began to think about what I wanted to do.  I began thinking about my “surprise” for B when she returned from SheStreams.  I had done some cleaning in the front room to get rid of and/or organize clutter.  Still, it felt like the job wasn’t completely done.  There were sections of the room that hadn’t been dusted in awhile.  Hard-to-reach, out of sight sections, but still sections I hadn’t touched.  I dove in with the vacuum at hand*.  I cleaned, dusted and vacuumed.

When I was done, I went for the boys’ room, seeking out the obscure corners that seemed to perpetually hide from the vacuum.

The next day, the boys and I headed back to temple.  This time, instead of spending our time in the temple services, we took advantage of the kids’ services.  Again, this meant less time for me praying, but it meant that the boys enjoyed the experience more and, to be honest, I think this was more important.

When I got home, I decided to tackle another room.  This time, it was the kitchen.  Again, my target was mainly the obscure areas that tended to get passed over every other time I cleaned.

So, if we were to go by the old superstition, how is my year going to go?  Well, I think it means I’ll be spending quite a lot of time with the boys and I’ll pay attention to small details that are usually overlooked.  Not a bad way for the year to go!


* When I was younger, I didn’t use any electrical device.  Since then, I’ve re-examined my religious practices.  Now I follow the “don’t work at your occupation” rule.  Anything that could be used to do work for my job is set aside.  This includes computers, phones, and writing.  Luckily, I don’t vacuum for a living, so that’s allowed.

Aloha Friday: Apples and Honey

Today, marks the new year on the Jewish Calendar.  On Rosh Hashaha, we celebrate having a sweet year by eating apples and honey.  This year, we’ll be eating plenty of that since B and JSL picked 19.5 pounds of apples!

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What is your favorite recipe to make with apples?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #107

Server Moves, Birthday Parties, Exhaustion, and Hava Nagilla

On Saturday night, after the kids were in bed, I began moving and from our old host to our new host.  This meant first backing up all of the files from the old host’s servers.  (I usually keep backups locally, but they had gotten out of date.)  This alone took some time.  Then, I backed up the databases.  Finally, I restored the whole thing onto the new hosts’ server.  A connection string change (to point to the new database) and name server update later, and our websites were up and running.

If I make it sound like a quick job, however, it wasn’t.  I began work at around 9pm and went to bed at 1:30 am.  At this point, I had about 4 hours worth of file transfers to go.  Luckily, these weren’t essential files.  Had you been able to see at this point, you might have noticed photos missing in blog posts or images missing from the sidebars.  Still, the blog posts would have been readable and WordPress would have functioned just fine.

Since I didn’t need to be present for this file transfer to run, I left my computer on and went to bed, falling asleep at about 2am.  At about 5am, I was woken up by B.  She wasn’t feeling good (horrible headache) and needed my help.  I got her some medicine and she went back to sleep.  Despite my exhaustion, however, I just couldn’t fall asleep.

I finally fell back to sleep around 6am only to be woken back up at 7am.  I laid in bed for as long as I could, but sleeping in was not an option.  We needed to get ready for NHL’s birthday party.

There were several moments during the party where I found myself unable to focus and/or dizzy.  Many times when I’d have liked to have snuck away for a “short” nap.  (Short meaning telling yourself only 5 minutes and then waking up 3 hours later.)  After the party was over, I felt the crash come hard.  Still, I pushed off exhaustion.

As I sit typing this, B is sitting with the boys, trying to get them to go to sleep.  I’m thinking that I really should process some of the photos from the party for a blog post.  I just can’t think straight enough, though.  Instead, here’s B’s post about the party.  (Mine will come later.)

I won’t leave you empty handed, though.  Thanks to a recent gift from Mimi to JSL, I think the Hava Nagilla will be sung quite a bit in our household:


Hopefully, by the time you read this, I’ll be well rested and coherent.  If I am, then hava nagilla (let us rejoice)!

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