“There are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.”  
– Henry David Thoreau

 

As an introvert, the parallel universe of all things online and social media used to be somewhat of a safe haven for me. The ability to quietly observe, choosing if and when to comment or post or make my presence known was like a dream come true. There was no one shouting across the room at me to “HEY, HAVE A DRINK AND LIGHTEN UP”. I could nerdily study the wonders of human behavior in comment sections without making anyone uncomfortable. But lately that has changed. The internet has gotten so noisy that I can’t even hear myself – talk, shout, or think.

It feels like those family dinners where everyone in the room is talking louder and louder over everyone else just to be heard (or is that just my family). When I am in those rooms I tend to go silent. Sometimes it feels like a smoky, crowded casino in Vegas with large neon signs popping out in front of me every time I turn the corner and a lot of really drunk angry people mouthing off at everyone and no one. And some days, I just want to go home.

But this year instead of going silent I’m going to try something new. I’m going to whisper. Maybe no one will hear me. Maybe all the screaming and yelling and bright, flashing lights will drown out what I am trying to say. I’m okay with that. Because there is a small chance that you will make the effort to hear what I have to say and maybe you will even whisper back.

My first whisper baby-step:

Instead of posting on Facebook links to articles I enjoy, where they will most likely just get buried, I am offering you a weekly Café Gourmand for your brain. This means I will post a weekly digest – presented in small, tasty bites washed down with a strong jolt of caffeine – of the content I have consumed (articles, videos, books, etc.) that made me think – “hmmm…I really need to share this with someone other than my chicken”.

 

Café Gourmand – Week 1

 

FACEBOOK & DATA: Ever wonder where Facebook gets all that data that us marketers use to find the perfect audience for your ads? Here’s what ProPublica could find out about it (hint – it’s not much but it’s just enough to leave you a little squirmy).

SOCIAL MEDIA PRESIDENT: Was it a good thing for us and our country that Obama was so social media savvy? That’s a tricky question to answer right now. It’s hard to know what we need as a society when it comes to something like the internet and social media – with no precedence already set, no history to look back on. Broaden the scope of this article from The Atlantic and you get a sense of the kinds of questions that I struggle with daily, as someone who makes a living from social media and as a mom of a teenager who has grown up knowing nothing else. The last paragraph really struck a chord with me.

THOSE MILLENNIALS: On the same topic of things that would keep me up at night if I didn’t love to sleep so much is this is amazing video that my friend Kareen shared with me last week after a discussion about millennials and social media during our weekly French conversation and tea (side note – if you’re in Bozeman, you speak a little French and ever care to join us, just get in touch. Double side note – just in case you are ever discussing this same topic in French millennials = les millénaires). I immediately made my daughter watch the video after I did and I hope you’ll watch it too.

 

READ MORE BOOKS: And now, moving away from social media and the internet and on to something about which I am even more passionate – books! I get asked a lot how I manage to read as much as I do. Short answer: I make it a priority and I will often pick up a book in place of other activities (aimlessly browsing Facebook, for instance). Want some ideas for how to find more time to read in your life? Check out this Farnam Street post – The Best Way to Find More Time to Read.

Bonus – on a lighter note:

COMMERCIALS THAT SUCK: Do you judgementally yell at the commercials on TV like I do? If you are nodding your head yes, then you need to know that we are not alone! Want proof – read this hilarious take on some recent commercials you’ve probably seen if you’ve watched TV recently. This one contains some bad word so skip it if that kind of thing offends you.

FRENCH POLITICS: For anyone at all interested in knowing more about French politics (and laughing a little) check out this breakdown of the many, many, many candidates running for president in France this year. It’s a little bit dated since the French primary for the droite/centre already took place but it’s a good primer for the rest of the elections coming up and a good introduction to the crazy world of the French political parties.

That’s it for this week. A la semaine prochaine!