Del Williams

It's 2017 and 68 percent of Americans own a smartphone according to a Pew study. We see the effects of this when people everywhere seem to have their heads down in their phone no matter where they are. The funniest are people who go out with friends and families, yet spend their time looking at their phones.

Technology is great, but considering the average person has less than ten friends, it's also a distraction. Of course every generation has it's own thing which sends them away from their friends and families ranging from newspapers to video games. What makes the cellphone so different is because it's almost a right hand in the current age. You can use it for everything from ordering your groceries to watching TV. It's not just for calls anymore.

In "I Had a Friend" Orison Swett Marden, the founder of Success Magazine, makes a strong case that even back in 1912 (when the book was published)  people stopped nurturing their friendships. He says the main culprit of the time was being a dollar chaser. In fact, he goes on to say that people wouldn't cultivate friendships unless they could "help" them in some way.

Doesn't that sound familiar? If you look at any social media site or read some of the blog posts or listen to  conversations, there is a tendency to ignore those who who can't help the bottom line. It's as if  social media, as an example, has become a worldwide trade show, and if you are not buying then you are not worth the time or attention.

"We have developed colossal money glands in our brain for secreting dollars; and in the process, we have lost that which is valuable -- we have commercialized our friendships."

There isn't a day when some Internet famous person isn't raving about their "fans." The funny thing is, the conversation is usually centered around what the fans are buying from them or the content they are reading of theirs. "Friends" are usually someone in the same gig that they met on the way.
Technology has changed the definition of friendship. Many people have never met in person, or just shared a dinner at a conference. There is no cultivation of the friendship outside of a business aspect. What they can do for each other to increase their bank accounts.

"We cultivate those who can push us, give us a pull, who can boost us into fortune or fame..To choose our friends with an eye to their commercial value to us is to proclaim ourselves unworthy of the friendship of any noble soul, incapable of winning real friends" 

It would be foolish to call it trivial, since it's actually troubling. Troubling in the sense that, in the 100 years since the book was written, it's still chasing the dollar as the culprit of  humanity not being able to form and keep friendships. It may have changed how it is being done, but the result is still the same. Technology is not the enemy as much as we are. We have chosen to forgo the real and the lasting for the temporary  and the vain. We have commercialized friendships instead of cultivating them.

What I am going to write may offend some of you,  so be prepared.  Yesterday I was looking for groups to join,  and Facebook suggested some that my friends belonged to.  Sadly this one person belonged to several groups which referred to Liberals as "libtards." At first I dismissed it,  but then I got pissed. 

You see,  it comes down to decency, not political correctness.  If you want respect,  you have to give it to others.  Second,  free speech is for protection from the government silencing you due to opposing views,  not  private individuals who exercised the same right to vote or not as you did.  If you are calling them names and they react,  it's not because they are being sensitive,  it's because there's no room for it.  We have had enough of bullying and belittling over shit which is really none of your damn business.

I normally don't give a crap what groups you belong to. Actually,  I never really notice.  This one got me because it was someone I respected,  but he was involved in multiple groups with the same sentiment.  Groups which refer to people like me as niggers,  lazy and stupid. Groups which pretend like people of color and gay people are the reasons for all the trouble in the world.  Uh,  nope.  Groups who feel entitled to something someone else built.

I have many friends who voted for Trump,  so this is not an anti-Trump message.  This is a human message.  A message that every human deserves to be treated with respect and decency.  When  you belong to groups which devalue me and others like me,  you have shown me your real views of me.  You see,  I don't ascribe to the "they may think that,  but I don't " club.  You do agree with them at some level,  so on no level do you have a place in my life.

Nikki Giovanni taught me that I'm not that hungry that I need to sit and eat at the same table who abhore my existence or that I don't like. Maya Angelou said,  when people show you who they are,  believe them the first time.

America is a grand experiment in Democracy. Last night millions used their main tool (voting) as a means to vote in as President-elect Donald Trump. For nearly two years he has bullied and spewed hate at every turn. Americans found that appealing. They found a man who could belittle women, and be baited with a tweet as honest. They are right, it was honest. It showed the hate and vile which filled his heart. The question now is can those who voted for him live under the burden he will bring on America. Once a shining beacon, now the laughing stock of the world.

It grows worse for minority groups, who Trump and his cronies have constantly insulted and maligned. Christians said it was about the right to life. Nope. This had zero to do with that. This has to do with the lack of values he brings to the Country. He brings none worthy of admiration. Everything he stands for Christ admonished against.

What you really voted for:
1. Serial adulterer on his third wife
2. Lawsuits: He's got 4000 against him and his companies, 90 of which are still open.
3. Fraud: There's a lawsuit which starts this month showing he willfully defrauded thousands of people with phony claims.
4. Misogynist , he has it in spades.
5. Racist: Against Africa Americans, Mexicans, Jews, and Muslims.

For the next four years we will have to live with Presidency, but more importantly, spend that time recruiting people with real values to run for office.  If, by voting in Trump America has turned a page, which can never heal, then America, as a grand experiment will have come to failure.

As I watch the news or stroll through my Twitter feed, the one thing which astounds me is the victim mentality. This is not disregarding the bad things which happen to people, but it gives me pause when the bad thing becomes the only story. Their whole life becomes the "somebody done me wrong" song.

Studies have been done about siblings, twins, and strangers who have gone through traumatic experiences such as abuse, observation of domestic violence, and alcoholism, and they have found consistently that there are usually one of two outcomes. One, continues in the trauma by becoming an abuser, addict, or whatever the trauma was. While the other goes the complete opposite way.  This suggests that choice is involved. Some say it is the difference between reacting and responding.

I'm not saying we need to ignore what happened in our past, but we have to decide how we view it and use it. We get to decide if we are going to use it to get attention and sympathy, or overcome it and use it to help ourselves and others.

We live in a time where everyone has a platform to share their stories on, but we have to ask ourselves, to what end? Are we telling our stories to heal, get sympathy, or Help others? If we share it just to benefit ourselves then we have not overcome, and are still a victim.

Robert Frost said  we will come to a crossroad in life and by choosing the path least traveled, it can make a difference. Taking the victorious path is the road least traveled by most, because sometimes living as a victim is easier than doing the work to break its hold. Staying in our mess and garnering sympathy from it can be addictive.

The person who is victorious over their past looks at it as something they lived through to tell the story, but don't let their lives be run by it. They don't blame their past, but use it to show they can overcome obstacles. Tony Robbins, the Self-help speaker said in his documentary, that had his abusive mother not been the type of woman she was, he would not have become the type of man he is today. Instead of remaining a victim, he became victorious. We need to do the same.

No person has really finished his education until he has learned to live the life
victorious, that is, until they have learned to face always towards victory, never towards
defeat, until their habitual mental attitude is what Mirabeau’s was when he said: “Why
should we call ourselves men, unless it be to succeed in everything, everywhere? Say of
nothing, ‘This is beneath me’; nor feel that anything is beyond your powers. Nothing is
impossible to the man who can will.” Orison Swett Marden

One of the things that stayed with me long after I left my family was the inability to speak up for myself without getting frustrated because I couldn’t say exactly what I wanted to convey. I could do it in writing, I later learned, but not verbally. I had no problem sticking up for others, but could not give myself that same courtesy or compassion. 

I remember once I was in 7th or 8th grade and I was getting ready for gym, and was taking far too long. Some girls came in and were banging on lockers and such and since I was in there the teacher, Ms. Goldberg, thought I was doing it too. No matter what I said, they did not believe me. I remember the anger I felt at being blamed for something I didn’t do. 

Sadly, this was a thing that was blown out of proportion because it was a school where Black students were bused in, and we were not wanted there. Let me add this school was not in the deep South, but in Queens, NY and it was the late 70s. So my two years at Elizabeth Blackwell, JHS was filled with Black students being unfairly punished, suspended, given failing grades, and more. It was made clear to me that truth did not matter as much as the color of my skin.

I learned not to speak up since it didn’t matter. I saw my grades from that time decades later, and how on earth I ever made it to high school is a mystery. My grades suffered for being in a hostile environment for two years. A place where except when things went wrong, I was invisible.

My point of telling about that time is that, we have to instill in our children that their voices matter. The  uprisings in various cities around the Country is complicated, but one reason is that they are not heard, and are trying to get someone to listen.

After the whole “Dark Side of the Light Chaser” thing I noticed I could speak up. But I also noticed I was more selective on when I did. Or, I didn’t feel the necessity of it for whatever reason. I spent far too much of my life being silent when my voice was needed.

I should have learned how to communicate so that I was heard. I was able to do it for others, so clearly the capability was there, but low self-esteem and feeling devalued and dismissed held me back.

I remember when Oprah did her last show, one of the first things she spoke about we that every person she interviewed asked the same question, “Was that alright.?” She explained that they needed to be assured that they had been heard.

When I was watching a multi-part documentary about Tatler Magazine, Kate Reardon, the Editor, was giving a speech to some students. She stressed the need of making sure we listen so that people are heard.

My days of silence are long gone. I have my voice, and I am not afraid to use it for myself as well as for others. If ever there was a time for people to use their voice, we seem to be in it.

We have a choice between sitting there and taking the blame for things we didn’t do, or actually fight our corner, not to be right, but because truth and the voiceless demand we speak.

There are people who have had an impact on my life, even though some are not friends or acquaintances in real life. They are my social media squad. To keep it simple I am going to limit it to Twitter. They are people who I laugh with, cry with, learn from, encourage and genuinely like.

Kathy Ireland @kathyireland  (Kathy Ireland Worldwide) – We became friends in 2009 when she responded to a tweet I had sent her. We also share the same birthday, though I like to tease her since she is older. My time around her, though limited, has allowed me to see her discipline. While others get distracted chasing shiny objects, she holds steadfast. When she stopped modeling she founded her company with a pair of socks. That company is now worth billions.

Gini Dietrich  @ginidietrich (Arment Dietrich) – How we found each other on Twitter is anyone’s guess. We have never met in person, but it feels like I know her so well. She is smart, honest, and has a great sense of humor. Her business in PR has changed over the years, and as I have watched from online, it is clear that she does what she needs to do, but not blindly. She is also a Bears fan, loves jelly beans, and is an avid biker.

Kat Cole @katcoleatl (Cinnabon)– I think I found her because of an article on her. She is a smart woman who has her hand on the pulse of changing business strategies. From what I have seen, she is into the startup scene, and loves Burning Man and I think biking.

Lisa Bevere @lisabevere – is an author and preacher dedicated to helping women be their best. I knew who she was and had read her books years before we ever became friends. In fact, how we became friends is a story best left out of this post because it makes me cringe at my attitude at the time. She is an avid coffee drinker, travels internationally quite a bit, is a mom and grand. She has a sense of humor, and is one of the best storytellers I have ever heard.

Rieva Lesonsky @rieva (Grow Biz) is a small business expert. She is a native New Yorker and loves baseball. She gives talks quite a bit around the country helping companies learn new trends and how to utilize them. She has a wicked sense of humor and keeps up to date with changes in the way business is being conducted due to new technology.

I only gave you a few women who have had an impact on my life, but I know they are also impacting other women as well. The one characteristic they all share is they are not selfish. They didn’t become successful and push the people who got them there to the side.

With the exception of Kathy who I know well, the others I have learned of their character, dreams, and antics via social media. Although, Gini back in the day had a way of calling me when I was in the library.

We all have people who have had an impact on our lives. These are mine, but I believe you should follow them. Watch how they help others, impart their business strategies, and help other women see the possibilities.

We are taught that people we don’t see in real life are not our real friends. I would argue that the way people become friends have changed. We may not be swapping boyfriend/husband stories at a coffee shop, but it works. Don’t limit yourself. 

When you turn on a TV or read the news, you would think that the only African Americans doing anything are in sports or entertainment. Some look up to them as heroes. I would contend that our views of heroes are limited. Somehow many who have changed the world are ignored in favor of those who appeal to our vanity. For a people who were forced into Slavery, the contributions African Americans have made speak for themselves.

Harriet Tubman freed hundreds through the Underground Railroad. There is even discussion of her being placed on the $20 bill.

Frederick Douglass was a writer, speaker, and advocate for the abolishment of slavery. He was befriended by President Lincoln. 

Oprah Winfrey is a household name due to a show, but she is also one of the top philanthropist who sent thousands to school, built a school in South Africa, and more. She was the first African American woman to own a TV Studio (Harpo). After retiring from her daily talk show she founded a TV network (OWN) . Her word still can sellout a book or make a stock rise.

President Barack Obama is an African American in the highest office in the land. Considering America’s history of slavery, and that at the time of his birth, his parent’s relationship was illegal in most of America, this is quite the accomplishment.

Condoleezza Rice served as Secretary of State. Again an accomplishment. A woman who started out learning piano, and became an authority on Russia and International relations.

Colin Powell served under multiple Presidents from Joint Chief of Staff to Secretary of State. The retired 4-star General, used the military to get the education and opportunities he needed.

The Library of Congress after 214 years, just named Carla Hayden, the first woman and African American to hold the position of lead Librarian.

We are used to seeing African American in sports and entertainment, but often overlook the positions of power many hold. Worse, we get into idiotic arguments of how Black someone is. Then some even turn on other African Americans because they are successful in the “White” arena.

Is it any wonder that African American youth don’t know who our true heroes/leaders are? All they are taught is to be of use or valued by White society they have to be the best entertainer. They are not taught to aim higher.

Tina Turner said in a song that "We Don't Need Another Hero," but I think we need to recognize our true heroes. The ones who have helped African Americans and America.

What can we do to change this for the next generation? How do we get beyond just looking at temporary celebrities as our heroes while ignoring our real heroes?

Smartphones should be considered almost like car. Meaning they should be updated and maintained in order for them to keep running.   One of the top things I see are people who don’t do basic upkeep of their phones. Phones they have paid, or are paying hundreds of dollars for. Here are some times on how to care for your smartphone.
  • Update your OS when you are alerted to do so. You should be on WIFI if possible since they are usually large files. This will usually only be three times per year and are usually just security updates.
  • Update apps that need it by WIFI at least once per week. The longer you delay, the less reliable the app will be. Some won’t even work without updating. Set your notifications in the Play Store to update via WIFI only. You will see a notice of the name or number of apps which need to be updated. When you first get a phone, they will all need to be updated.
  • Write down your passwords for Google. This baffles me that people rely on their memory, and can’t even remember the answers to recover their password. Since Lollipop 5.1.1 if a phone is hard reset, it requires the information from the last account, and if the password has been recovered or changed, it takes up to 72 hours to get back into the phone.
  • Set up your own phone. One of the reasons some people don’t remember their information is because they let someone else set it up for them. In fact, do it at the store as you are buying the phone so you can have someone help you if you are unfamiliar with how to do this.
  • Don’t download apps that you don’t know how to use or how it will affect your phone. Many download extra security apps, cache cleaning apps, and battery savers. All of them end up making the higher end phones drain the battery faster and mess up the system. In higher end phones all these features are already included.
  • Don’t use Iris scanners and fingerprints as sole security methods. If the phone can’t read them for whatever reason, you will be locked out of your phone. Always set up at least two fingers for security just in case you cut your finger or it’s wet.
  • Put a case on your phone. Phones are expensive, and fixing them is as well. A cracked screen could cost $200. The best are Tech 21 and Otterbox. Spending $69 can save you from hundreds of dollars of repairs not covered by insurance or warranty.
  • Don’t overcharge your phone. Every phone battery is designed to work for 2000 to 3000 cycles. By charging it when it’s not necessary, you are cutting down the length the battery will work.
  • Allow Google to upload your photos automatically. The saddest thing is when people lose their photos because their phone has completely stopped working. It’s an unnecessary loss. At minimum, if capable, use a microSD card to hold your photos.
  • Get to know your phones capabilities. A person who is just using their phones for calls and texts don’t need a $800 phone. It’s sort of an overkill. 

By maintaining your phone, you can expect it to last for at least two or three years. If it is not properly maintained, then you will have to purchase another one sooner. With proper care, you will get the best from your phone.
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