Archive for the ‘higher education’ Category

THE BIG TWEET: Twitter, Facebook, Oprah, “Women, Food and God”

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, each other, and our own experiences. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how to be happy if…

THE BIG TWEET: Twitter, Facebook, Oprah, “Women, Food and God”

I’ve been reading Oprah Winfrey’s’ web interview with Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food and God ( featured in O Magazine). Geneen and Oprah (who finished the book in one gulp) believe that food addiction is an attempt to fill an emotional emptiness.

“Oprah: I think this book could have been called “Women, Shopping and God, or Women, Meth and God, or Women, Gambling and God,” since food is just one of the things we use to deny our own worthiness—for love, for godliness, for peace.”

Whoa!  That’s a lot of addiction! From chocolate to Jimmy Choo shoes! From pizza to Prada – from Meth clinics to online gaming sites!

So I started to wonder – am I an addict?

I have all the symptoms – dark circles under my eyes, disconnect from reality, trembling hands, the obsessive hunt  for a hit.

It’s true. I am addicted to… Facebook!

At first, I was in denial. I told myself I was a social user.  But the truth hit me in at 2 am – the dark night of the soul.

There I was, clicking away in the wee small hours of a Manhattan morning,  adding Facebook friends with all the frenzy of the cyber-friendless. Then I hit a snag. I spotted a tiny photo of a middle-aged (okay, my age) woman and clicked “Add as Friend.”

Soon after that, I read her response on my Facebook wall: “Do I know you?”

Now, I was not ready for this heavy-duty conversation. I mean,  does anyone really know anyone?…not only in the philosophical sense, but more importantly, in the Facebook sense.

I don’t like to waste my Facebook time on unrequited friendship, but I thought I’d give her another shot.

Her Facebook page said she lived in Florida, so I shot back.  “Maybe you know my sister. She lives in Florida.”

I thought that was fair and specific. I mean, Florida is just a state and has what – a  measly 18  million people? Facebook has 350 million registered users!  That’s a country! A big one! With a stable government!  I mean, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is president for life – and look at the trouble Obama is having!

But that Florida woman would have none of it.  Politely, but persistently, she kept trying to find out if we knew each other.  I wanted to say, “Know each other? In the Biblical sense?”  But this was Facebook, where (like the Holy Book) every remark is recorded for eternity.  So I bit my tongue  (or rather, clenched my typing fingers) and politely suggested that she might feel more comfortable being friends with people she knows. “Knows” means she has actually met them.

Not that I cared about actually meeting anyone.  By now I was deep in addiction.

And Facebook was only the gateway drug.  After a brief spell of weak-willed resistance, I joined Twitter.

Soon I was tweeting away – and thrilled to discover I could accumulate followers!  Followers? On Facebook all I got was friends. On Twitter I had followers!  Like I was some kind of guru!  Like Gandhi! But, of course, better dressed – and fed.  I mean, later for the loincloth and protest fasts!  As Oprah and Geneen remind me, it’s “Women, Food (or Shopping) and God” – not Women, Self-Denial, and God.

Oprah says that what women are really hungry for is not food – but “love, godliness, and peace, divine connection.”

Now I totally get this.  Why else would 350 million plus people be up at all hours of the night – clicking and tweeting away unless they were hungry for unconditional love and peace – the kind you can only get with cyber-friends – who don’t know you, don’t want to – and don’t make demands?

What about the hunger for godliness?

Twitter allows only 140 characters. That’s less than a blog, less than what’s on most Facebook walls – and way less than the average sermon.  No wonder more people visit Twitter than attend church!

Twitter asks only one question – “What are you doing?”  Now that’s marketing genius!   Unlike “Do I know you?” everybody can answer that question, because, well,  you’re always doing something!

Plus, Twitter inclines toward a refreshing frankness and lack of pretense. Ashton Kutcher, Top Tweeter on Twitter (5000 followers)  – says in his bio, “Actually I make up stuff, stories mostly, collaborations of thoughts, dreams, and actions. That’s me.”

In today’s techno world, we want our gurus to make stuff up, get to the point, and be doing something.

And gurus are certainly godly – at least to their followers.

People are hungry to twitter – to be each other’s gurus.

If you tell me what people hunger for, I’ll tell you what they worship .

Right now it looks like what people worship is — the BIG TWEET!

Can we find godliness, a.k.a. compassion, connection and inspiration in each other?

That’s what this blog is all about – helping each other learn how to be happy – based on our own real experiences.

But enough of these 2am thoughts.

A few hours later, I gulped coffee and headed for my English class.  I have admit that while I was teaching my students English grammar and poetic techniques, I was mentally obsessing about my Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

As I made my students turn off their cell phones,  I was counting the seconds till I get back to social networking.

I felt guilty but what could I do?  My addiction was out of hand. What was worse, I was coming down with a cold from lack of sleep.

So now I’m in rehab.

I make myself turn off my computer an hour before I go to sleep.  I’m exercising my body – not just my typing fingers. And I’m reminding myself that a real friend offers face time not just cyber-space time.

How can this help us be happy?

Happiness Habits

  • Face your addictions – that’s any habit that 1. you can’t control  2. interferes with your ability to lead a healthy, productive, enjoyable life
  • Find positive alternatives to addiction – like exercise, friends, and family.
  • If you get caught up in fantasy connections – to gorgeous celebrities, to cyberfriends, followers, and romances – take it for what it is – an exciting illusion. Your feelings may be intense – but they may not have much to do with what the other person is really like.
  • Enjoy your life – in and out of cyberspace!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

PROFESSOR AMY BISHOP / RateMyProfessors.com

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, each other, and our own experiences. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how to be happy if…

Professor Amy Bishop / RateMyProfessors.com:

How to Be Happy If People Are Rude

First off – rudeness is in the eye of the beholder – yours, mine, and Professor Amy Bishop’s.

Professor Bishop – who walked into her U. of Alabama department meeting and shot the senior professors who refused to give her tenure,  would be considered rude (to say the least)  by most standards  – but not by hers.

As an adjunct professor who didn’t get promoted (just like Prof. Bishop), I have also considered direct action. However, unlike Amy Bishop, I’m a poor shot. I’m also practical. After Amy’s revenge on the people who didn’t promote her, my first thought was, “Well, she won’t get tenure now!”

How true that is – you can’t get tenure (or a man*) with a gun!  You can get a moose (and a Republican nomination)  – two good reasons Sarah Palin owns one.   But since academic ambitions don’t usually call for firearms (except in Amy’s fevered imagination) and there are no moose in Manhattan,  I don’t own a gun.  (I do own a mini Swiss army knife, which I use for cutting apples. I did this in front of my 8 am English classes – which woke them up – “Whoa! Professor! You got a knife?”)

Anyway, when I didn’t get my own promotion, I went to talk to my Department Chair.  I have the usual defects (I’m well past my 20’s so I can’t be counted on for a long life in harness to the needs of the department) – plus some special ones (My Ph.D. is in Theatre, and I’m in the English Department – which means I crossed turfs – a no-no in academia).  However, my Department Chair did give me some advice: “Be collegial.”

Collegial?  Must have something to do with being non-rude. I think of myself as a friendly, polite person.  What could he mean? I asked a friend who had spent many years in the halls of academe.

My friend said: “Collegial means – kissing A**.”

But whose A**?  My students? I do spend 90% of my time with them. Does that count?

RatemyProfessors.com  is a student run internet site that ranks professors on a scale of 1 to 5 based on set criteria: easiness, clarity, and the reviewer’s interest in the subject matter.  Students also award professors chili pepper icons (for hot looks).

I haven’t actually checked my rating on RateMyProfessors.com. Being well acquainted with my own vanity, I would probably count chili peppers. But I think I’m okay because I regularly get Emails from students who are friends of former students and want to be in my classes. I hope this is also because they are learning the subject matter. (Actually, I know they are – and not by my grades alone, which, according to RateMyProfessors.com could be suspect. My 095 remedial classes are entirely made up of students who failed the college writing exam – which I do not grade.  By the end of our semester, they retake the exam. Many pass – several with scores that leapfrog the passing grade into higher numbers.)

But enough about me – what about Professor Amy Bishop? Was she rude to her students?

I checked out Amy Bishop on RateMyProfessors.com,  and came up with….Zero!  Nothing! However, on another search, she seemed to get reasonably favorable ratings.  Why the discrepancy? Could this be a cover up?

The news is full of articles about the carelessness – or cover up – that wiped out her history of violence (beginning with shooting her own brother, when she was 19, and continued with her alleged link (with her husband) to a pipe bomb aimed at a Harvard professor who ticked her off, and included a stop at IHOP, where she bitch-slapped a fellow patron for not giving up a booster seat to Amy’s child. (Amy is currently in custody. But police detonated a suspicious PVC pipe found inside the Huntsville home she occupied with husband Jim Anderson, who is still running around free!

Okay – I know I just slid into paranoia-land – where my colleagues are likely to include Amy and hubby Jim-who, I am mindful, is on the loose.  But apart from the presence of  loose screwballs, there is something to be said for rating one’s professors.

Why is student opinion irrelevant to keeping academic jobs or getting promotions?

Aren’t the students the ones we serve?

Maybe RateMyProfessors.com has some silly standards. But that could be updated and include more educational criteria.  Contrary to cynical opinion, most students want to learn – not waste their time.

They also want to be treated with compassion, caring, respect and responsibility – not rudeness. As do we all.

Amy Bishop is at the far end of a spectrum of poor anger management (and probably mentally unbalanced).  But she is certainly human.

Her belief that her own needs (like getting tenure and booster seats) completely override the rights of others is at the core of rude behavior.

That driver who cuts you off on the highway – endangering your safety; that person who curses into a cell phone on the elevator -polluting your ears; that date or appointment who stands you up – wasting your time and chipping away at your self-esteem – all little bits of Amy.

And, since this blog is titled, “How To Be Happy If …, how can thinking about the meaning of rudeness help us be happy?

Happiness Habits

  • Don’t take it personally. When someone is rude, it’s usually not about you -and it doesn’t demand confrontation.
  • Don’t escalate the argument. It’s usually counter-productive – the most angry, rude person wins (if you can call it winning).
  • Do take signs of an explosive temper seriously. Major abuse begins with little tests – if you go along with it, you enable it.
  • Do protect yourself and others – speak to authorities, file a report
  • If you’re the one with anger issues – get help – before it gets out of hand.
  • Do what you love – tenure or not, I love teaching – and for that I am very grateful.

(* “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” is a song by Irving Berlin from the great musical Annie Get Your Gun. Popular songs have taught me a lot – besides, they make me happy.)

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

Dr. Sue Horowitz is a Motivational, Entertaining Speaker, Singer-Songwriter, Professor, Author of “Queens of Comedy” (interviews with Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Joy Behar, etc.),  “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Poetry)

Web: http://www.drsue.com

Keys of Love” –  positive songs on CD Baby – http://www.cdbaby.com/drsueDr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (https://drsue3.wordpress.com)

copyright 2010 Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz

husband Jim Anderson.

FRIENDSHIP

Dr. Sue's CD "Keys of Love"Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

“A good friend is like a good bra – gives you support and makes you look good! A bad friend is like underwear that pinches when you get it home – you can’t get a refund and you can’t give it away – so take the loss and move on” – Dr. Sue

How to choose and be a friend – ask yourself a few questions and be honest

  • Does this person support me – does he/she have talents, knowledge, skills  (material support is one kind of help -there are many others – all of value) etc. that help me?
  • Does this person support me in being a better person – does being in this person’s company make me happier, kinder, more generous, more committed in working toward my goals, more confident…etc.?
  • Does this person show me appreciation-by words and/or deeds?
  • Do this person compliment me on my good qualities?
  • Does this person present me to others in a positive light?  Or does he/she put me down in front of others?
  • Does this person give me honest, caring feedback on how I am presenting myself?

Be a Good Friend – ask Yourself:

  • Do I support this person with my talents, knowledge, skills (material support is one kind of help -there are many others – all of value) etc.?
  • Do I support this friend in becoming a better person  – does being in my company make my friend happier, kinder, more generous, more committed in working toward goals, more confident…etc.?
  • Do I show my friend appreciation -by words and/or deeds?
  • Do I compliment my friend on his/her good qualities?
  • Do I present my friend to others in a positive light?  Do I put my friend down in front of others?
  • Do I give my friend honest, caring feedback on how he/she is presenting myself – when asked or when it seems to get in the way of my friend’s happiness and goals?
  • Giving advice and feedback can be tricky. I try to do it only when asked – and to relate my feedback to the goals and needs of the person asking.

Be Your Own Best Friend

  • Treat your time, feelings, talents, knowledge, skills, and body as if they have real value – because they do!
  • Set Limits. Being a friend does not mean that you say “yes” to everything. Sometimes you need to protect your time, privacy, or personal space by saying “no”. Try to do it in a way that is courteous and clear. This can be a challenge, so get help if you need it.

Be a good friend to your romantic partner

  • We sometimes put friends and romantic partners in different categories. While it’s true that being a good friend doesn’t necessarily make sparks fly, being a bad friend will put the fire out. To sustain your relationship, be a good friend.

Be a friend to different people on different levels

  • Co-workers, classmates, neighbors, people you meet on line and online – they’re all part of a vast social network – so be friendly – you’ll brighten everyone’s day.

None of us are perfect friends – but we can work on perfecting our friendships.

If you have questions about friendship (or any relationship that has a friendship aspect) please post your response below. I’ll do my best to answer it.

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

Happiness Buddies

I got this tip from the locker room attendant at the gym where I do my morning exercise. As I stopped to sip some water, she said, “You look like you had a good workout.”  I nodded and asked, “Can you tell?”  She nodded and said, “I feel like I need a buddy to motivate myself to exercise.”  I agreed that it helped.  In fact, one of the things that motivates me to get to the gym is the thought that I will run into  activities buddies- a female accountant who likes to swim – and a good-natured, strong-looking maintenance worker. I never see him actually exercise – mainly, he’s eating doughnuts and drinking coffee – but he does cheer me on. (He also told me he shoots hoops, but I told him he better exercise or he will get weaker, and I (all of 5′ 2″) will get stronger and beat him at basketball!

Anyway…we can create Happiness Buddies – in life or online and check in with each other on how we are learning and applying Happiness Habits to our lives. It will motivate us to think and act in a positive way, and enhance connections to others – essential to happiness.

By the way, I did not really feel like exercising this morning – but it is a Happiness Habit – so I did it anyway.

My body thanks me and so will yours – I mean your body will thank you – didn’t mean to get personal 🙂

Let me know if  you find a Happiness Buddy- and post your responses below.

Happiness Habits

  • Motivate yourself  and a friend. Be “Happiness Buddies”
  • Learn from everyone
  • Exercise regularly – it benefits your body, mind, and mood
  • Be friendly – you will brighten your day, make connections, and learn new things
  • “No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

    Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

    Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter CD “Keys of Love” (www.cdbaby.com/drsue), Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Ellen DeGeneres, etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry), Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (https://drsue3.wordpress.com)

    copyright 2010 Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz