Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: CSA goodness

this week's bounty from my CSA share. yum!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thoughts on Targeted Ads & MS

Ever since I liked The National MS Society on Facebook, I've been noticing tons of MS-themed ads peppering the sides of the site. In case you're not familiar with the concept, this is an example of targeted advertising, wherein data is collected about people in order for businesses to "target" potential customers in their target markets. This is a cost-effective strategy for businesses. Someone selling maternity clothes, for example, ideally wants to advertise primarily to/at pregnant women. Another example is if you visit a particular website, you might notice that ads for that website (or product you were looking at) will show up on the sides of other websites over the next few weeks. The site wants to keep their product or name in your mind.

Targeted advertising tends to stir some people up. The main issue these people have is about privacy. They don't like the idea that data is being collected about them and that the data can be used in attempts to manipulate them. My feelings on the subject are mixed. I absolutely recognize the business perspective. It makes sense to prefer to direct your ads at those most likely to be interested in what you are advertising. I also recognize this as a positive from the perspective of a customer. I don't want to see ads for products or services that have zero interest for me, and I sometimes want to see ads for things I'm in the market for. (Other times, of course, I'd prefer to see no ads at all!)

The huge number of MS-themed Facebook ads, though, have left me feeling a little uneasy or annoyed. The first ones I noticed were a constant presence for months, and I still see them quite a bit - those advertising the famed liberation procedure for CCSVI. Now, I have tried not to form an official opinion about the whole CCSVI thing. I'm very interested in the research being done and I will continue to pay attention to the issue. However, I certainly have reservations. These are based almost entirely, for better or worse, on the rhetoric that so many of the proponents of the theory use. I find it off-putting and suspect. I've been working hard to temper these negative feelings, but it doesn't help the situation at all to constantly see these Facebook ads, which, if anything, make the whole thing seem that much less credible to me. I mean, isn't there something a little ridiculous about an ad on a social network for a medical procedure like this?

Getting Liberated with Facebook

I'm also annoyed to see ads offering miracle cures or other such nonsense, like those that follow. I say this without having actually looked at the sources advertised. I'm making assumptions here, but I don't think they are unreasonable.

the answers you've been looking for, thanks to FB!
However, many of the ads I've been seeing fall into that category that I see as a positive to both businesses or organizations and consumers, like those that follow. I don't at all mind seeing ads for MS-related products like cooling vests or ads for various MS fundraising events or ads for MS resources.

MS resources advertised on Facebook

I do, though, have some concerns in regards to privacy and data collection and all of that. While I'm relatively open about having MS in many parts of my life, I'm not sure that I want there to be that MS patient piece of data floating around about me. It's important to note that I've never described myself as such on the social network - all I did to spur this constant barrage of ads was like the MS Society. So, presumably my brother and others who have also liked the MS Society's Facebook page but don't have MS, are also seeing these ads. (I know my brother reads this blog, so please comment and let us know if you have noticed any!) I haven't liked all that many organizations or businesses, and I don't really share very much information about myself on Facebook, so maybe I just notice what seems like a ridiculous amount of MS-themed ads because I haven't given them that much else to work with other than that I'm a young female who likes music and has some sort of connection to the MS Society. Maybe I'm partially bothered because I don't like the constant visual reminder that I have MS every time I visit the site, because I'm aware of that fact too much as it is.

So, enough of my ramblings on the subject. What do YOU think about targeted advertising in general and especially about targeted ads and MS? Do you notice MS themed ads often on Facebook or other websites? Are you concerned about how data related to your health is collected and used?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All I Ever Do sleep.

This according to my 5-years-old-and-sleep-is-so-boring niece.

My mom and I hang out with her to get our princess movie and barbie fix one day a week, and she knows that I tend to "rest" through a portion of that day. Well, yesterday was one of those days when my MS just doesn't feel like playing nice and the fatigue just wouldn't stop. I ended up taking two naps yesterday, a most unbelievable concept for her young mind to grasp. I can only imagine her distress if she were to find out that after this day of mostly just sleeping I went home and slept for sixteen hours straight!

I know that one day a long way down the line, she'll come to understand that sleep is, in fact, an awesome use of time, but I hope and pray that she never understands MS fatigue.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Magazine Monday: Cool Sheets

Here's a little blurb from the May 2011 issue of Shape magazine. Not directly MS related, but since both heat and sleep can be contentious for many of us, I thought it was applicable. The image probably isn't too readable, so I'll summarize. Basically this lists three new products for ensuring a cool night of sleep. Sheex Sheets: sound really nice, but far too pricey for me right now. The Stress Ease Comfort Reader Pillow delivers some chill to your neck - sounds like an item I'll add to a gift wish list. Brookstone's Bed Fan: blows breeze under top sheet - could be great, could be annoying. In any case, three products that may be beneficial to some of us!

Any tips or products that you use for staying cool at night and getting some good sleep?

Friday, June 10, 2011

5 Things Friday: Coming Posts & My Week

 5 Posts I'm Planning to Write Soon
1. Targeted Advertising & MS
2. What You Do vs. Who You Are and how MS affects the situation
3. MS & fiction - reviews of novels wherein MS is a "character"
4. An account of my strangest and most annoying symptom
5. My awesome sister is going to write a guest post. (Right, Traci????)

glorious Colorado hike
 5 Things I Did This Week
1. Gave a commencement speech*, during which I started crying, which is weird for me as I cry maybe once every two years, not counting during movies
2. Went on a LONG hike in Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, CO - GORGEOUS!
3. Took lots of extra drugs and had a rotten night when the long hike made my pain super bad. (But it was SO worth it.)
4. Had a garage sale, which will also be happening tomorrow
5. Made delicious homemade garlic & red pepper hummus

* I'm not really that special to be asked to do this officially at any institution. But my sister is cool enough to ditch her own graduate school commencement ceremony to go hiking and hold her own ceremony wherein our mom was master of ceremonies and I was the speaker. I also received an honorary doctorate. The location was breathtaking and the whole experience was so much more personal and meaningful to all of us than a long, boring, official ceremony would have been. She also continued to wear her mortarboard and tassel and her Master's hood throughout the hike. A few people commented, but mostly they just gave her strange looks or averted their eyes. It was pretty great.
a big congratulations toTraci, Master of Music!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thankful Thursday: more bloggers

I'm writing this post early because by the time it's published I'll be off in the mountains where I always feel extra thankful! But in addition to feeling gratitude for glorious scenery, I'm also still thankful for some awesome MS bloggers. Today I'll feature some of the younger bloggers I feel some sort of generational kinship with:

I am thankful for Jodi of Jodi Bean's Blog. I love that she shares lots of pictures and stories from her life at work as a social worker and with friends and family, in addition to being a great advocate for MS. And, like me, she embraces the awesomeness of being an aunt to some very cute nieces!

I am thankful for Jenn of Losing It. A great writer who opens up about life and life with MS with honesty and humor.

I am thankful for Dan and Jennifer Digmann of This couple takes their unique story and uses it as an advocacy platform. Positive and energetic, they embody the idea of not letting MS hold you back. And, they hail from Michigan, where I attended grad school, which holds a special, mitten-shaped place in my heart.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: On the Way to...

I've had a busy week traveling a bit and spending time with family. And today, I'm in my dear car (Lola) with my mom and sister for a lovely 13-ish hour drive to one of my very favorite places, COLORADO!!

Lola likes the view just as much as I do!