Reliving desperation and admiration

I interviewed with a BBC Radio show today. (It won’t air until next week. I’ll let you know when.) The topic for the host started out as basically, people being almost addicted to their cell phones. Then by chance during an internet search she came across my story.

If you somehow aren’t aware yet, I first joined Twitter and social media in 2009 while I was homeless. What started out as me not knowing a thing about Twitter or how to even use it, quickly grew to experiences that I’d have never dreamed of ever having! I could use computers at the library during the day, but other than that, I mostly tweeted by SMS/text message from my phone. My phone was my life — my dire connection to the world in my times of need. I could call someone, text or email by SMS. I didn’t have a smartphone. Just a simple, basic phone. A dumb phone. In fact, that’s the type of phone I use now.

I had unlimited texting so I could post messages to Twitter as much as I wanted, anytime I wanted, all day and all night. Whenever I had a need to say something. Which, back then, was quite a lot! I posted about my activities, shared thoughts or information on jobs or things I heard about, and wrote volumes of tweets from my emotions.

Fear, anxiety, and prayers dominated many of my tweets. I shared a number of hopes and wishes, too. There were many nights I lied on the ground, afraid and paranoid that someone would come up to me in the night. Is someone watching? Is someone here? Who is here watching me? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affected me severely. There I was alone, but I couldn’t tell because my mind conjured up invisible people who might have been lurking.

I kept my “security blanket” tightly in hand all night. My phone was my connection to the world. Anytime I needed to say something, to vent, to express my fears, somebody was able to hear me. I couldn’t get their replies until I went to the computers at the library the next day, but they were there. Somebody cared. Another person suffered the same plight of PTSD once. I’m really not alone.

The tweets from my phone led to development of virtual and real-life relationships with people and businesses. Through my sincerity and openness of my life, stigma changed to acceptance, understanding, and kindness. I got to see God’s love in action, and emotion. These people — my social media followers — said that I changed them for the better. What I saw is how they changed me.

Sharing my story online and in real life at speaking engagements has helped me to open up. I am still shy and very socially awkward, but I am much more open with my emotions. Having constant access to my phone and being able to tweet by text has been extremely therapeutic.

I still tweet Clint Eastwood style — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes I feel that I share too much. But I need to get things out. Sometimes I need to vent. In a way, being able to tweet and vent my emotions is more than emotionally therapeutic. It can also be protective against bad thoughts so I don’t try to self-injure. I haven’t done any cutting in however many years. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes still have those thoughts about doing it. So I greatly appreciate the kindness and compassion from all of you, my followers. A small gift, a kind word, a hug. It means the world to me! God’s love in action, indeed.

I discussed all of these areas and more on the BBC Radio show. (Again, I will share the link to the broadcast after it airs.) Talking about these things have so much effect on me emotionally! Ever since then my thoughts have been on all of my followers and how you have affected me, the place you have in my heart. I am reliving the desperation of my past and the admiration and love for the compassion I have received. Thank you all so much!

PS: Side note to Joan of Real Time Paradigm, my blogging teacher at NextDoor:  I clicked “Publish”! 😜

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Is being open and honest the best social media policy? #survey #poll

I am doing a little research and would like your thoughts on best social media practices with honesty in posting, and the blocking–or following–of accounts that regularly post truthful feedback, both negatively and positively. I am particularly interested in views of businesses and organizations, those who have expertise in online marketing and other aspects of the online etiquette and behavior of consumers and business. I am interested in how consumers feel business and organizational accounts treat them for posting their honest experiences and reviews as well. Please comment below or email padschicago@aol.com. Thank you!

Olive love Mediterranean Grill!

I attended an event last night associated with the Chicago Social Media Marketing Group. It was held at Olive Mediterranean Grill at 111 W. Illinois, here in Chicago. There we met Mr. James Gray, VP of Operations. He discussed many aspects of the business and how he uses social media for growth and success. He is a very fine presenter who believes much as I do and in keeping things real. I’m not just saying this because of the delicious food offered to us! OMG! And speaking of OMG, I have to add that I love the business’ website address, http://eatomg.com/.  😉

PS: There is a possibility of Olive selling wine in the future! For now, I am told that BYOB is welcome.

 

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I’m at Joe Dini’s Hair Designers w @mafiahairdreser @nickcanhelpu teaching SoMe! (Schaumburg) [pic]: http://4sq.com/RxRPbU

I’m at Joe Dini’s Hair Designers (Schaumburg) [pic]: http://4sq.com/S4cIGH

Sleep is overrated

It’s going on 2:00am Monday and no, I don’t know what I am doing awake at this hour. I’ve been trying to catch up with and do too-many-things-at-once online. Multi-tasking in a good/bad way. It’s been a couple days since my last blog post, though I did start one yesterday. I should go back and finish it later. It will be a little more complicated than this post. After this post, I am going to bed! Thought I might get this easy one out of the way. Okay, I admit that I am doing this not just to take up space in my blog and give you something to read. I am also doing it because it will help my price/score and Empire Avenue. It’s a fun game. As if social networking wasn’t fun already? Heh. Now it’s even MORE fun! It’s been around for a little while but I signed up there just a couple weeks ago. Anyway, besides Empire Avenue, my night has been filled with new Flickr uploads, making a couple friends on YouTube, checking my Linked In groups, Facebook, Twitter, and checking out Google stuff. Oh, yeah, and a few emails and reading news. I don’t know how to do just one thing at a time! It’s a quiet day if I have less than ten windows open on my laptop. I better finally get some sleep. Good night, tweeps!

 

Yes, I am an addict

The craving is always there. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I love how it makes me feel. It boosts my mood and I have so much more fun than without it. I can’t imagine life without social media. 😉

I have accounts with Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Posterous, Linked In, Foursquare, Get Glue, Gowalla, Klout, Huffington Post and so many more! My newest is with Empire Avenue, a virtual stock market in which you “buy” people. My apologies if you are tiring of my tweets about all of my achievements I win and who I am buying. LOL. It’s a new toy. I am trying to tweet other things to mix things up a little and not be so boring.

Social networking is like an addiction. It is one of the first things I do in the morning, throughout the day, and the last thing I do at night before going to sleep. When I am someplace I don’t want to be it becomes my focus of thoughts–“I could be tweeting instead of this.” People who aren’t in to SM just don’t understand! I am trying to get one of my doctors in to it as well. He’s promised to at least check it out. I am sure there is social media/networking in heaven. So whenever the rapture does happen, we all won’t go through withdrawal. After all, God loves us and I am sure that He likes to have fun too. Right? 🙂

Moonshine

Its a cloudy, rainy night here in Chicago. Its also about 1:30am. What am I doing up? Heck, I don’t know. Yes, I am tired. I guess I just don’t feel like sleeping. I went so long without internet on my laptop that I probably was going through withdrawal. I admit, computer genius me (uh, yeah) made a mistake downloading updates which rendered my laptop unable to access the internet for a few days. Thankfully, my dear photographer friend Paul, a.k.a. @paulsaini on Twitter, came to my rescue late in the afternoon and made me the happiest person alive! Muah!! XOXOXO So yes, I am back online, tweeting, blogging and Facebooking, using Linked In… Between my new home and being back online tonight on social media and networking, I am thoroughly living an awesome life! I love this!

Special message… By the way, the moon is nowhere to be seen in the sky tonight but I still the light.  🙂

Hurdle jumping

Life is like running a race. You run fast as you can, jumping hurdle after hurdle. I have endured many obstacles in my life. I have tried to run around them, but even if I reach the same finish line it is never successful. Nothing is learned or gained by avoiding. One must run head on toward any obstacle, plan for them and what to do about them, and leap over them.

I have considered giving up in situations many times. It seems so much “easier” when in reality, it is not. Stepping aside from the problem causes it to recur. By executing a plan of action, a person can leap over obstacles. If the leap is a bit short and the hurdle is hit, learn, plan and run again. I keep telling myself this when the barriers in life impede my way to the finish line.

I was recently discouraged by the disrespect of someone who rained on my parade, so to speak. I lost interest in being around others and had no motivation. I couldn’t live with myself and reminded myself that regardless, the outcome that I helped make a lot of people happy was the same. I looked at what happened from a different perspective and moved forward.

I joined Twitter and social media first out of curiosity. Then it became a tool to help me learn to socialize more and to improve upon my life by exchanging in conversation with others, and sharing information and resources. Social media became my connection to others. I vented my frustrations and emotions, I educated the world about homelessness and social issues, I shared information that others might have been able to use. My passion was to find hope and to be hope for someone else. I crave that influence, to know that I have made a difference in someone’s life. I have inspired thousands of people thus far, including myself. I have gone from sleeping homeless outside in a vacant, grassy lot in the suburbs to social media events to a supportive transitional housing program with a focus on developing a successful life! It IS happening NOW! I am richly blessed by the Lord for all that He has given me, and thank Him for all my social media friends and real life friends and family. I thank you for sharing your lives with me. I am grateful for every opportunity to discover and use my strengths and weaknesses and overcome the hurdles with you.

I hope all of this makes sense. I am really tired and rambling now. LOL! Good night!

Old friends never be forgot

I came across a caseworker from Journeys from PADS to Hope through an automated list of suggestions through my connections on Linked In. I am quite impressed by the fact that he is listed, but disappointed by his lack of effort in completing his profile and adding a photo, among other things. But enough about that; I am not writing this post to critique a kind, misdirected man’s social networking skills. Seeing his profile did, however, inspire thoughts of friends.

I haven’t stayed at the PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) shelters yet this season. I could have used them several times when I had events to go to. Naturally, after being “in the system” there for so long I met many people. My thoughts are with them today as I remember the good times and bad, the meals we shared, the volunteers we loved. I want all of my PADS friends, including volunteers, to know that I am thinking of you. I actually miss staying at the PADS shelters because of all my friendships. I send each of you a hug and hope to see you at Cross & Crown on Saturdays, if not at the Arlington Heights Library or Metra station at any other time.

I nearly left the shelter I am currently staying at more than once. In fact, several times. In all cases, in one way or another, due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) issues. Its a never ending struggle with that no matter where I stay; thus I am still here giving it a longer go and refusing to give up. My life is becoming more successful the harder I try. I am grateful for all the help I have received and that to come. Without people like you who believe me, it would be a lot harder to believe in myself.