Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Happy Birthday Willow!

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

This is a personal post, unrelated to the Internet, and I don’t often write this type of post on this blog, but I thought I would make an exception. Today is my niece Willow’s first birthday. It’s practically a national holiday in my family as grandparents from both sides of the family are driving and flying into town for the party. I can’t believe a year has passed, and I just wanted to take a quick minute to say Happy Birthday to my first niece, who I love to pieces. Willow, you make everyone HGH around you so happy. You are so cute the way you laugh when your mom’s hair tickles your face, the way that you wave your hands around when you get excited to see someone or something that you like, and the way that when you’re really concentrating, that tongue that your daddy passed down comes out to play. You were such a good baby, and you’re such a fun one-year-old. I can’t wait until you grow up and read this and know that everyone loved you from the start. Happy Birthday! xoxoxo

Melissa and Willow

My review of Tweetie 2.0

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Tweetie 2.0 iconI am a big fan of the Tweetie iPhone app as a way to manage Twitter on my iPhone. So when I heard that Tweetie 2.0 was being released – and that it is awesome – I quickly downloaded it. This is despite my brother’s horror that I would pay for any iPhone app. To me, a good app is well worth the $2.99.

I’ve been using it for about a week, and I really do love the upgrades. My favorite new features are:

- The way that Tweetie 2.0 “remembers” where you were the last time that you were using it. I can pick up my Tweet stream where I left off, which is how I like to use Twitter, so that is perfect for me. They call this “persistence.”

- The added ability to retweet a post without having to go into the post itself. (In the previous version, you had to “open” the Tweet, and then the only option was to “Repost” – which didn’t use the common “RT @mchang16:” format.)

- The cool interface changes of a blue light indicating when I have new  messages, new direct messages or new @ replies, and the way that you load additional messages by pulling down to refresh.

Nearby Tweetie 2.0- Although I haven’t figured out a way to really use this feature yet vigrx vs vigrx plus, I love that I can see all the most recent Tweets that have happened “nearby” – it’s very interesting to see how many (in Beverly, where I live) or how few (in Topsfield, where I work) people are using Twitter. I could see how this feature might come in handy if I was somewhere new and wanted to write to ask someone for a local tip, although I haven’t used it that way just yet. Also, I found out that there is a death metal record label right down the street from my house in Beverly – totally interesting.

 – The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts is the reason that I fell in love with Tweetie to begin with, and the 2.0 version has only simplified the way that you can toggle between multiple accounts, apply changes to multiple accounts, and to send messages from one account when you’re reading messages in another.

I have always loved Tweetie and found it the best app for managing Twitter on my iPhone, and Tweetie 2.0 is a significant and awesome upgrade that I highly recommend.

THE ONLY THING IS – I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to anywhere – if anyone knows, please leave a comment! What are these numbers (pictured below) that show up on someone’s profile page?

What are the numbers on my profile page in Tweetie 2

What a tragedy in my hometown taught me about how media has changed forever

Monday, April 27th, 2009

(Note: Sorry for the blogging hiatus…I really wanted to publish this post before writing anything else, but have struggled with finishing it. Thanks for understanding and hopefully I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule now!)

I’m from Binghamton, N.Y.

In the past, when I told people that fact, I had to explain where Binghamton is located. (Upstate. Do you know where Syracuse is? No? Ithaca? No? How about Albany? You know, the state capital? About two hours from there.) But now, everyone has heard of Binghamton. I wish that it was because our basketball team made it to the NCAA championship. But sadly, it’s for a far grimmer reason.

Binghamton

I have had a number of posts half-written about what happened in Binghamton since I heard the news. None of them seems quite right to publish in the wake of the multitude of experiences and sadness and loss. But I will say that Binghamton is so much more than a sick shooter and tragedy and death. Just as the city isn’t all bad, it isn’t all good with “tidy houses lining the neat streets,” as I heard someone on CNN report (I guess they must have been reading Wikipedia). But Binghamton is my hometown, as Rod Serling wrote. I love it, and I love the people who live there. And I’m incredibly saddened by the recent events.

But that’s not really what this post is about. This post is about how the news spread, and just how much media has changed.

Just a few years back, news was spread by the mainstream media. Some event would happen, and other than the few people who might have been at the scene, the majority of people found out the news through TV, radio, or even the Internet. But typically, the people reporting on the news were the major news media outlets that were using various media to report the news.

But all that is changing. Now, there are a variety of publishing and communication tools that allow everyone – not just the mainstream media – to distribute news. My experience finding out about what had happened in the Binghamton shooting event was completely different than during any other news even in the past. Not only was the information transferred through a variety of media, but the people who were passing on the news were the people on the scene, the people who really knew what was happening; the people who I care about.

Here’s a timeline of what I found out, when and how:

April 3
12:45pm – Instant Message from a co-worker who saw the news on Twitter.

1:20pm – Phone call from my husband Chris, who was driving ativan online pharmacy to a meeting and heard the news on the radio.

1:24pm – Text from a friend: “Turn on CNN now if you can. Shootings in bingo.”

1:28pm – Text from another friend: “Binghamton is in the new Big Time. Shootings”

1:38pm – Twitter Direct Message: “Did you see what’s going on in Binghamton?”

2:44pm – Facebook post from friend: “I just heard that my brother [a Binghamton police officer] is safe from the incident in Binghamton. Thank god.”

4:24pm – Facebook post from my cousin, who’s a firefighter in Binghamton: “Just got back from working the worst shooting in Binghamton history. Never thought that being a firefighter I would be wearing a bullet proof jacket. It was not good at all. prayers for the injured.”

9:23pm – Text from a friend: “Sadly I heard from that [a friend’s] mom was teaching English there 2day and may have been killed. It’s not official yet, but likely.”

For me, during this event, the news that I cared the most about I got from my friends and family through a variety of means – text messages, IM, Facebook. I watched some of the news coverage on CNN and MSNBC, but when Geraldo started spouting off about how Binghamton “is a very tight knit community” I had to turn him off. I didn’t want to see pictures of the American Civic Association via Microsoft Virtual Earth. I didn’t want to watch the news teams scramble to find someone that they could talk to who knew the town and the people there. I wanted to connect with friends and family, via the phone, Twitter, texting, Facebook. I wanted the news from people I loved and trusted, just like I always have. But the big shift is that now there are ways to do this; to gather and disseminate information and to keep connected to all the people I want to talk to who are hundreds of miles away.

Now, instead of listening to what the mainstream media has to say about Binghamton, I can find out what my friends and family think. And I can be encouraged and inspired by things like this awesome note posted to Facebook by one of my cousins:

“Over the past few days, I have listened to people all over the country try and define Binghamton. I will take a stab at it. Binghamton consists of a majority of people that are “down to earth”, love their family, cherish good times with friends, are not afraid to work hard and care about their neighbors. That is why no matter where you go, it is always good to see Binghamtonians! You know who you are!”

The dilemma of a name, mine in particular

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

My name is Melissa Chang. That seems like a simple statement, but it really isn’t if you dig a little deeper. Some of you may know, for instance, that my name used to be Melissa Reyen – after all, it wasn’t so long ago that I got married and decided to take my husband’s name.

But the decision to change my name wasn’t a simple one. I had some credits to my name (although small ones, admittedly). I also have a strong love for my family and pride in my family name. (The Reyen Clan often breaks into chants of “Reyen’s Rule” at family weddings, BBQs and just walking down the street – hey, I said that we were proud, not that we were cool!)

But my wedding day was a solid year before I started my business and this blog. If it wasn’t, I’m honestly not sure what I would have done because changing my name to Melissa Chang was not a good business move.

The reason for this was raised by Ryan Healy today in the Employee Evolution blog. His article is all about controlling your name as your personal brand and figuring out how to dominate Google searches for your name as a keyword. As you might guess, it was simple to be ranked first for the term Melissa Reyen. In fact, just by writing the name Melissa Reyen a few more times in this post, it is entirely possible that this post will become #1 in Google for the term Melissa Reyen.

Reyen is a great name

But Melissa Chang is another story. In the U.S., Melissa is the 30th most popular first name and Chang is the 687th most popular last name. Expand the search to China, and Chang is the 5th most popular name. There are a lot of Melissa Chang’s out there, so it’s hard to stand out. I also don’t own the domain name www.melissachang.com, even though I own 500 other domains, including MadamChang.com (no, I’m not kidding).

Things are even trickier when it comes to managing my identity on social networking sites, especially when my user name is an important part of my profile. Mchang is never available; neither is melissachang. I usually end up going with mchang16, which is a combination of my name and my blog, but honestly isn’t very satisfactory.

But thankfully I didn’t think about all those issues when I was trying to decide if I should change my name. At the time I was more focused on leaving the name Melissa Reyen, which I was quite fond of, and wondering how many times people would make assumptions about me if I had the last name Chang. (Watch this clip from Seinfeld if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.)

Ultimately, I’m glad that I changed my name for all the reasons that mattered to me. But I’m very glad that I didn’t have to make the decision after I had spent time building my business and personal brand – because then things would have gotten complicated (although probably not as complicated as this).