The Frustrations of Life

Monday, February 15, 2010

It seems like the older I get, the more things I run across in life that just seem completely frustrating. Why is that?

Let's talk about events. I am involved in a few organizations/activities/whatever that have required me to be a part of the planning or execution of various events. My involvement has included pretty much everything from advertising all the way through to sweeping the floor after it was all done.
Tell me, when you see an event advertised, what makes you want to attend it?
  • It looks like fun?
  • It's cheap?
  • It's at a time you are available?
  • It's for a cause you feel strongly about?
  • Someone personally invited you and you felt good about that? You knew others were going that you know?
  • You knew the organizers and felt obligated?
That's just a few reasons that come to mind. Likewise, what reasons cause you to decide not to go?
  • It looks cheesy.
  • It's too expensive.
  • You're busy that night.
  • The reason for the event doesn't turn your crank.
  • You didn't know anyone else going to it.
I've never really thought of myself as a negative person. But...maybe I'm getting that way. I say this because throughout my involvement with these various events, I would often turn the tables and put myself in the shoes of the people we were trying to reach in order to advertise most effectively. And often my thoughts would be..."Would I go to this if I got an email about it? Would I be a part of this if I got a Facebook invite? Would I just plain go to this if I wasn't part of the leadership of it?".

And often my answer is no. And I think to myself, "Why do I feel this way? What would change that?".

Well, all the reasons I listed above. If I was available. If it wasn't too expensive. (Although these days my automatic answer to any 'extras' is usually no). If I knew I could get someone to watch my kids, if that was necessary. If it was a cause I felt strongly about. If someone personally invited me---I think that's a huge one. I can think of specific times that I've not planned to attend something, and then did when I was personally invited. That nice warm feeling that someone likes me and wants to see me at the event was a huge motivation. I think that's a better way to get people out to an event than any amount of glossy advertising.

But I digress. My point is the frustration. Recently, I was doing some advertising for an event through Facebook. Now, it's my understanding that generally there's a "rule" of 10%. Roughly 10% return on your investment. So, back when I was doing Creative Memories, they'd say that for every 10 people you asked to host a get-together, you'd get one yes. Pretty depressing.

Well, I invited about 250 people through Facebook. In the end, this resulted in about half the people turning it down, a little less than half not even responding and about 4 people rsvping positively.

But maybe that's what you can expect from free advertising? I'd say my success rate through email was about the same.

My point here is....why do we do these? Why do we even bother to create events, fundraisers, fun get-togethers when it seems like most people are just too busy? Time and time again, this is another extremely common reason for not being a part of something. We all just have so many other things we're involved in that someone asking us to give another evening out or whatever is just too much. And so, as an organizer, it's extremely frustrating...and depressing. And it makes you wonder why you're doing any of it to begin with. Why bother putting yourself through that?

Another frustration of life has become email and/or internet based communication.

For the most part, we have all become very technologically based when it comes to our communication. Sure, the old fashioned phone is still up there, but email, texting, facebook messaging, msning, going to a website for info and tweeting have become huge. But how effective is it really?
We're starting to see reports and studies coming out that talk about how much email we're all getting--and how much spam. I just discovered that I had over 1000 unread emails in some folder of Microsoft Outlook. Suddenly my email wasn't working and I was getting some 'capacity reached' message. Couldn't figure it out and then James helped me find this folder that I'd never noticed. It's RSS feeds from msnbc. I have NO idea how it got there....NO idea how I got signed up to receive them.....and NO interest in getting it at all. Over a thousand!!
I only go on Facebook about once a week---just too much info there for my brain to handle. I have a Tweet page (is that what you call it?) but I'm never on it, only made about half a dozen posts to it.
And I myself have a number of blogs and websites that I try to keep updated, especially the ones that are integral to the communication in some of my jobs. Time and time again though, I am terribly frustrated to find that people are:
  • Not reading my emails
  • Not reading my blog/website posts
  • Not thoroughly reading either of the above and only understanding half of what is going on.
And so, I again try to put myself in their shoes. Why is it so difficult for some people to make the best use of these forms of communication?
  • They're too busy--they just don't think of it.
  • They read the stuff and then forget about it.
  • They don't have time to read thoroughly.
  • They don't know/understand how to access the info--maybe their computer is dated or throwing up some firewall--this is a reason I've been given before.
And so I'm constantly wondering--is this really working? Is this really effective? Am I annoying the heck out of people?

Related to this is another phenomenon of the 21st century that I've been butting heads with.


I find it intensely frustrating that I see us as a society slowly turning so far inward that someday we'll surely be to the point of dressing all our children in head to toe veils and not allowing them outside the house.
Ok, maybe I'm going overboard.
But, lets take the example of posting pictures on the internet. Now, you can obviously see that I have no problem with that. I'm sure alot of people think I'm nuts that I don't have a problem with that, but really, I'm just not seeing it.
Everywhere I go, people see my face. I am not of some religion that requires me to cover up, so I am fully visible.
  • At school
  • At church
  • At work
  • At the grocery store
  • Through the front window of my house, on which there is no curtain
  • On TV when my choir concerts are taped
  • Driving on the highway
  • Walking in my neighbourhood
  • I could go on, ad nauseum!
So please, enlighten my poor dull brain, what is the sudden and tremendous difference if someone was to take my picture?!

I'm suddenly not moving. Ok......

And if said picture was then (gasp) put on a website or blog or something, what has now become the difference?
Maybe a few more people would see it? Yes, yes, I do realize that www stands for WORLD WIDE WEB. But really, who is looking at this or the other blogs/websites I upkeep? Perhaps a few other people might stumble across it, but mostly, it's people that know me, people that come visiting from another blog or facebook. People I've invited to come see, people who are a part of my organizations. Friends. Family.

And so what if someone who doesn't know me, and I don't know them, sees my picture?


Why is my face worthy of such privacy? No one's going to make any money off of it by selling it to People magazine. My children are not the offspring of two famous movie stars that I feel they needed to be shielded from papparazzi.

The whole issue of pedophiles has been mentioned to me. Maybe I'm REALLY naive but I'm just not figuring that one out. So some pedophile is scanning the internet and sees some picture of my four year old blowing out her birthday candles. How exactly is that endangering my kid? Really now, are the chances that this creep would read my entire blog and put together clues and figure out where I live and come kidnap my daughter and molest her REALLY all the more than if I didn't put her picture on my blog? I have a sneaky suspicion that if some statistician worked up some numbers, we'd find similar results as the chances of being killed in Afghanistan. (Higher if you are walking in downtown Toronto--especially these days). Or being killed by a handgun (greater chance of drowning in a backyard pool). Or dying in an airplane crash (greater chance driving on the 401). What do these have in common? People more likely believe the first of each example. Because they're scarier sounding.

I suppose some would say that ANY chance of that occurring is enough to keep their children's pictures off the internet. I say that in 10 years time we'll be living in a veil covered bubble if we keep thinking like that.

We are PEOPLE.
We need to CONNECT with other PEOPLE.
This is why we are LIVING on this EARTH.

And my kids are gorgeous. Look at them all you want.



secondofwett said...

I I guess I'll just stay home and quilt! :0) ...seriously,...I think adults are getting just as hard to impress about events as kids sure does make our job most difficult. There is little community encouragement...just reading another blog abt how a church rallied to help a couple get married on Valentines Day when they couldn't afford's a church I'd like to visit!

J9 said...

Let me start out by saying, I do not disagree with you. However, some people in certain professions (ie. police officers, soldiers, insurance adjusters) may want to keep some anonymity to protect themselves from crazy people who might want to hunt them down and threaten them. (don't laugh - it's happened to colleagues of mine) Which is why you won't find my name on my blog, and why I'm considering changing my name on my FB page. That being said, there IS such a thing as being paranoid...and you are more than right - we all need human interaction!

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