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Archive for the ‘self-portraiture’ Category

slackerific

Posted by Ms. Herr on 10.19.2009

image credit: slworking2 on Flickr

photo credit: slworking2

You know those posts where bloggers apologize for neglecting their blog, or only blogging sporadically, over a long period of time and subsequently promising to deliver more good content in the very near future? I’ve never understood these posts. It’s like having a meeting to talk about what hasn’t been done, thereby creating the need to have another meeting at some indefinite point in the future when something has actually been done. It’s a waste of time on something that has no point.

Yet bloggers still write, and publish, these “sorry I’ll be better” posts. And this is mine.

Thanks for reading. 😉

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Posted in blogging, randomness, self-portraiture | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

endnotes: @MsHerr avatar version 2.0

Posted by Ms. Herr on 08.29.2009

Over the past two weeks, many that I know, and a few that I don’t commented on the soft edit set for my next avatar. I said I’d crowd-source the selection, and that the image that rose to the surface during the soft edit process would be the image I moved forward with. But in the end, I’ve chosen another image for very specific reasons.

The portrait with the most votes bears a lot of resemblance in expression to my first crowd-sourced avatar. They share an uninhibited smile, a joyful disposition, and a welcoming air. Perhaps there’s even a hint of mischievousness. These qualities may be some of the best loved by those who know me. They set both friend and stranger at ease, in essence, opening them to me.

crowd-selected avatars

crowd-selected avatars*

I take comfort that these qualities are so continuous in my character that they reveal a corresponding continuity in my photo shoots. However, as I plan to keep my previous avatar in rotation, and perhaps even primary, I’d rather not have two avatars so similar.

On a more technical note, cropping and image size also had a significant impact on my selection. Many individuals addressed cropping issues in the evaluation of the jump photos. No one mentioned it with the profile on the swings, wherein my hand would likely get cut off entirely. And no one addressed image size. Consider that social profiles and applications display images fairly small. Twitter’s web interface displays images at a mere 48×48 pixels. When you scale down many of the top images from my soft edit set, something gets lost. In the jump photos, it’s the fact that I’m jumping and it’s most of my distinguishing features except for my hair. In the crowd-selected image, it’s my eyes. With one of my words, touch, being so much about connection, and with so much of that connection flowing from great eye contact, I could not justify that loss.

selected images from soft edit set

selected images from soft edit set*

That brings us to my final selection, the image that was liked by most who commented, voted top by a handful, and caused the one who didn’t know me want to. Thank you to all who participated. Your feedback was insightful and had a great deal of influence on what is now @MsHerr avatar version 2 point oh.

MsHerr avatar

*All photography by Tyson Crosbie. I love him. He’s awesome!

Posted in self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

crowd-sourcing my avatar selection, version 2.0

Posted by Ms. Herr on 08.14.2009

Four hundred sixty some odd days ago, I sat down for a portrait session with Tyson Crosbie. Of the hundred or so shots that were taken, a soft edit set of 16 images were uploaded to Flickr and opened for comments. I asked a public, comprised of my online communities of friends and followers, to tell me which image they most connected with as a representation of Ms. Herr.

And I’m at it again.

Seven days ago, Tyson and I got together to capture a new body of images. In his process, a session is driven by three words chosen by the subject as articulating what they want the final portrait to portray.

MHwo_avatar_touch joy rogue

These are my words, chosen after significant personal reflection, chosen because they distill not only who I am, but also how I aspire to engage the world around me.

The soft edit set for this session will go went live on Flickr today. Comments will be open for people to select their favorite(s) and provide critical feedback. Which one(s) most genuinely conveys my character? My aspirations? My human dimensionality? Which one captures my words? Which one connects?

I hope you’ll help me choose.

Posted in self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

@MsHerr hits 10k tweets… & hands over the keys

Posted by Ms. Herr on 07.21.2009

Twitter_MsHerr_9953rd tweet

After 26 months on Twitter, I’m fast approaching ten thousand Twitter updates. That’s a lot of characters. It’s a bit of a milestone. Not like turning 18. Or turning 21. Or losing your virginity. But a milestone nevertheless.

@spectagirl suggested 10,000 shots. Indeed momentous, but not quite what I had in mind. @smarti9 started #MsHerr10kWatch2oo9. My friends are often quick to rally behind my endeavors in some fashion or another.

A few hours ago, I was 10 tweets away from 10k. By the time you read this, I’ll be 7 tweets or less from 10k. The build up to that 10,000th tweet has been fun, but also a bit daunting. Suddenly 140 characters has become a much bigger deal than necessary. There is this pressure to be momentous. Funny considering I’m much more likely to miss it completely (despite @smarti9’s 10k watch) and either use it on a reply or post something completely irrelevant.

I’ve decided to hand over the keys to my Twitter account. That means you (and everyone else) will have the opportunity to post as and from @MsHerr for up to 26 hours.

Why am I doing this? This is not the first time I’ve yielded control of my social presence. A year ago, I asked my community to help me select my avatar. My reasons then still hold true today. I believe in the social web. I believe in trusting my friends, connections, and communities. I believe in yielding control. And I’m curious to see what will happen. It could be phenomenal success or it could be an abysmal failure. But why not? Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

How will it work? I have set up a Ping.fm account linked to @MsHerr and will publish the associated posting email address in my 10,000th tweet. You (and everyone else) can send a tweet to this address, where it will then feed automatically to @MsHerr. My only request is that you sign your tweet with ^@yourtwittername (please replace yourtwittername with your actual twitter name so people can link to you). Ping accepts text updates and photo updates, so feel free to post pics too. If you need a how-to, check out Ping’s posting guides.

My disclaimer: I reserve the right to delete any tweet. If you do not sign your tweet, I will probably delete it. If I feel violated by your tweet, I will probably delete it. After all, this is my account we’re talking about.

That’s it. That’s the deal Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me proud. And remind me why I fell in love with the social web so many months ago.

Posted in blogging, geekery, self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

will work for food

Posted by Ms. Herr on 04.12.2009

It seems we can’t go a day without ever more disturbing news about our downward spinning economy. Bank failures, auto industry bailouts, rising unemployment rates. Those newly laid off are just beginning to feel the pinch, dipping into savings accounts while they try to find new jobs. Meanwhile, those who were on the leading cuts have long ago turned to 401k and supplemental retirement accounts.

I first started to feel the pinch over two years ago as the company I was partner in struggled to line up new clients. First it was half-pay every other pay cycle. Then half-pay every pay cycle. At its worst, I drew only 20% of my expected monthly draw. Things improved, then declined again. The partnership ended as September 2008 ended. My stake in the company was so small that I had no say in the matter.

I’ve have yet to land another full-time position. I’ve filed applications, submitted resumes, had over a handful of interviews, and dozens more informal conversations. Some opportunities led to second and third round interviews only to be end with a “we are holding off on hiring” or something similar. In some cases, I’ve discovered weeks later that company is implementing ideas I presented during my interview. I’ve taken on two part-time jobs, a roommate, and contract work. It’s still not enough to sustain me.

The point of this sob story is not sympathy. It’s context. Yeah, things have been hard. Sure, I’ve felt defeated. And yes, I’ve sobbed. But somewhere among all the pieces, I discovered something…

Will Work for Food (photo credit: Technosailor)

Will Work for Food (photo credit: Technosailor)

We work. We earn an income. We buy things we need. We dream about things we want. We get better jobs. We earn more income. We buy the things we want. We call them needs.

That’s generally how things go when one climbs the ladder of success. But when the ladder morphs into a slide and income declines or disappears, we look for ways to decrease our needs. We turn of the lights when we leave the room. We cancel cable. We put student loans in forbearance. We take public transportation. One by one, we eliminate budgetary line items. Until in the end, you realize… We’re all just working for food!

Posted in human dimensionality, self-portraiture | 5 Comments »

7 things that are not like the others

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.12.2009

I got memed. Just before the new year. That tattle tell known as Google alerted me that someone had been talking about @MsHerr. I employed my keen detective skills to discover that Dani Cutler had tagged me in one of the two circulating memes. I love memes. Isn’t meme just web jargon for chain letter? And I love chain letters. Especially the completely irrational, yet annoyingly persistent, feeling I have of letting down friend/family/acquaintance/imposter while I blatantly ignore the letter.

But I’ve been known to look on the bright side of things. I thought it could be a good way to kick off ‘09. So I started writing…

one: I want to adopt at least one child.

I think that there are people who have an obligation to love each of us, and the first among these are the two people whose actions conceived us: our birth mothers and fathers. Yet real life rarely follows the shoulds. Families form through blood and change through choice.

My birth father was absentee before, during, and after the short nine months he and my mother were married. When I was four, another man came into our lives. When I was seven, this man became my mother’s husband. In sixth grade, I was given three choices: keep my birth name, change my last name, be adopted. I chose adoption. But he became my dad long before that, and I have been blessed to receive a father’s love from a man who had no obligation to show such concern.

Consider that there are many children in this world who, for whatever reason, have birth parents but no mom and no dad. I want to share the blessing that I still enjoy. I want to love and care for, to adopt, a child who is in need of a mom.

two: I used to be a puppeteer.

Growing up in Gallup, the church I went to had a couple of youth groups. One was a puppeteering group for 6th through 12th graders. We’d learn skits that we’d then perform during services or various public events throughout the community. Some were funny. Some were dramatic. Not all were religiously-themed. But all had a lesson of some sort. We had a large collection of high quality puppets and props, a stage large enough for up to seven puppeteers, and a sound system. Not exactly small-time for a church youth group.

Besides being moderately interesting, I share this because, believe it or not, there is some serious technique to operating a puppet. Rather than explain it, check out this video from Puppets and Stuff and Expert Village.

Then verbosity became my downfall. I had set out to briefly capture the story behind each of these seven things, but the lack of a consistent theme has plagued me. My attempts to be consistent in voice, inspiration, and length have been thwarted. Each time I put finger to keyboard, I’ve spun time’s wheels. So here I take a page from Jeremy Tanner’s book, err… blog. Keep it simple. Keep it brief. Stick to the headlines.

three: Kid-in-a-candy-store is my favorite flavor of happy.

four: Braiding my hair is my one pre-race ritual.

five: I enjoy traveling alone.

six: Of all the virtues, patience is the one I dislike the most.

seven: I’d love to work for Harley-Davidson. Corporate. *

There. It’s done. It’s no longer the start of new year. That shiny newness has worn off. The novelty is gone. That unalterable pattern of 24/7 has reasserted itself. It’s only the start of the remaining 96.9% of ‘09, a rather arbitrary statistic.

And so I close with an offer… Should you find any of the above headlines so intriguing that you want a story, holla at me. I will gladly oblige.

And a promise… I shall not meme anyone unless you, again, holla at me.

* Don’t worry Phoenix, I’m not leaving you yet. There is too much great stuff going on here, now, that I want to be a part of. But someday, perhaps two or three or seven years from now…

Posted in blogging, KIACS, randomness, self-portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

a few considerations before starting that 2nd, or 3rd, Twitter account

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.6.2009

“Who should I follow?” It’s a question every new Twitter user asks. But it’s also a question that established users continue to grapple with. As our following counts escalate, so do the challenges of keeping up with it all. The questions may shift to more narrow focuses such as follow etiquette, data quantity and filtration practices, but the root question is the same.

There is a worthwhile conversation emerging on this subject on Tomas Carrillo’s blog. I highly encourage you to read both his original post and the comment string before continuing with the rest of this post.

Tomas is leaning toward creating a second account so that he can manage his professional and personal interests separately. For many, this can appear an attractive solution.

The jump into multiple accounts is a critical step with a variety of implications. The benefits will vary depending on your goals, but there are some ramifications, for both user and reader, that are easy to overlook.

  1. Compartmentalizing business, personal, and niche identities as separate entities forces others who may be interested in the multiple sides of you to follow multiple streams. It’s easy to think others might only be interested in the _blank_ side of you, or that you’re only interested in the _blank_ side of others, but that’s rarely true. Being one-dimensional is usually considered a character weakness.
  2. Maintaining multiple accounts is likely to increase your overall time investment on Twitter. Just as you are forcing a reader interested in the multiple sides of you to read multiple streams, there will be individuals you engage both professionally and personally. On which account do you then follow them? More often than not, you’ll probably choose to follow them on each of your accounts, increasing the redundancy of your feeds.
  3. One account is likely to become favored, while another will become neglected. While your time invested on Twitter increases, time available in a day remains static, making it less feasible to devote equal and adequate attention to each account.
  4. You may undermine your brand. Whether you are a company or an individual, your brand is the unique composition that emerges from a variety of facets, from history to aspirations, from deep-seated values to social connections. As you siphon off certain facets for promotion in other channels, you risk the overall richness of the fuller brand. This risk is greater for freelancers and sole entrepreneurs. Your business is most likely an extension of yourself, and as such, your professional and personal lives are mutually reinforcing.

Using multiple Twitter accounts to separate interests is a growing trend, but in general, it’s something I would advise against. The exception may be for highly niche interests. For example, I maintain @PhxArtYC to provide updates on events at the Phoenix Art Museum. And consider Francine Hardaway who tweets as @Earth911 which is dedicated to environmental and recycling content.

Unless there is a need separate a niche interest from your personal brand, keep a single stream and show of all the different sides of you.

Posted in blogging, marketing & advertising, self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

rant: the resolution waiting game

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.1.2009

I like goals. I dislike resolutions. New Year’s resolutions specifically. They go a little something like this…

Spend the last day(s) of December reflecting on the prior year. Identify one or more things that you want to change. Make sure they’re significant enough so you can feel accomplished when you succeed. But not so significant as to set yourself up for failure. Set a start date of January First. Celebrate the last hour(s) of the old year with general debauchery and proclamations of how great the new year will be.

Wake up January First and do one of two things:

  1. Succeed.
  2. Fail.

I’ve no issue with either success or failure. Each have their purpose. I do, however, have issue with waiting to start working toward some goal, whether ginormous or itsy bitsy, on some day that is rather arbitrary in the greater scheme of time. Days, months, years are just markers that while relevant to the documentation of historical occurrences and the planning of future events, are less meaningful than both history and future.

January 1, 2000-whatever ain’t nuthin’ but a number.

Whether you hope to make a lifestyle change or launch into a new project, does it really matter if the start date coincides with something so arbitrary? January First may be generally accepted as the dawn of a new year, but are the mechanics that change the dial from ’08 to ’09 really any more significant than those that change it from 2:59 to 3:00? Set a goal and start it today. Sure, today is January First, but what if today was April 17? Or August 29? Or December  23?

Celebrate beginnings.

But don’t wait for them.

Posted in events, rants, self-portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

a good samaritan stiffer

Posted by Ms. Herr on 12.2.2008

This morning I went to Daily Rush (soon to be D’Lish) for a morning coffee date. After dropping a friend at the airport, I was an hour early. A perfect opportunity to have some breakfast so that I wouldn’t be talking with my mouth full of food.

It’s crude and it’s lewd to talk with your mouth full of food. Why, even the milk cow who moo’d as she chewed never talked with her mouth full of food and the cuckoo would never have ever cuckoo’d if he coo’d with his mouth full of food.*

So I ordered a breakfast sandwich with bacon and a double syrup black cherry mocha. I ordered my food from the bar, which is the only place to order food other than the drive-thru. I sat down. My order was brought out to me. I ate. It was tasty. And I drank. Also tasty. I did stuff on the interwebz. I met my coffee date. He talked. I talked. We talked. We both had other meetings. We said our goodbyes. I left.

An hour and a half later, it hits me: I didn’t pay. I ordered my breakfast sandwich and coffee at the bar, but was not rung up. I was not given any sort of check in the two+ hours I was there. And when I left, I was already running a tad late for my next meeting.

Suddenly I’m feeling pretty guilty. I was in the food service industry once and I know from experience that walkouts suck. Besides, I go to local coffee shops like Daily Rush to support them. I don’t think stiffing them is a very effective way of supporting them. I considered driving back to Daily Rush to pay them. I think about gas. I think about my financial pinch. I think about just forgetting about it and carrying on merrily with my day. Saved gas + saved money = … well in truth, not much except prolonged agony given my pinch is being applied by a vice grip. Prolonged agony is postponed certain death. But remember the part about supporting local coffee shops?

Long story short… err… shortened…, I called Daily Rush, told them what happened, and asked them to charge my credit card. The gentleman who answered the phone seemed very confused by my request. I’d guess they get very few walkouts. And even fewer who call back asking to be charged.

* Coffee date for the first person to correctly guess the author.

Posted in randomness, self-portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

update: a map of sorts

Posted by Ms. Herr on 10.28.2008

Back in January, I conceived a plan to document and visualize how I spent my time. The project has been tabled for many months, but I’ve recently begun to devote time to it once again.

Posted in blogging, self-portraiture | Tagged: | 2 Comments »