PowerSergSS: Relaunch

It’s been a long time! Let me explain where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to in these recent months.

First off, PowerSergSS is taking a new direction in regards to the content I’ll be blogging about. I enjoy keeping up with tech news and current events, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I love to report on them, which is what I was doing, the reason why this blog was even created. It was a semester long project for a marketing class that I decided to wash my hands clean of as soon as commencement came around.

I went through my post-grad, “Wow, I guess I don’t know what I want to do with my life,” crisis. And what a learning experience that was. I neglected blogging, with many other things because I was in the dumps with the wasted efforts on my part, or so I thought, to even land an interview.

Well not anymore! There are many exciting things on the horizon so you’ll have to stay tuned as I update on the chronicles of career hunting, with the occasional rants and life lessons along the way.

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Why I’d pass up a potential job instead of giving up my Facebook password.

I’ve read a few stories online here and there about employers asking applicants for their passwords on Facebook. Just now I was browsing USA Today and noticed a story, Senators ask feds to probe requests for Facebook passwords. You can read it by clicking here. I don’t know about you, but I never thought about how one day we would be looking at online profiles when considering employees. Maybe that was naive of me but then again I was only 16 when I made my account on FB. It’s interesting to me to see that this is something that is being addressed by state senators. Here, you can also read about what Facebook has to say about the matter.

There’s been a lot of buzz about whether or not its justified that employers can ask for passwords from applicants and it really got me thinking about how Facebook as morphed from my own space online to an extension of myself. I think there’s been times where all of us felt like what was online didn’t matter in the “real world.” And now in this day and age we learn about managing our reputation online. It’s so common for people, especially my peers, to be changing their names on Facebook or untagging photos. All for the sake of one day losing out on an opportunity at a job or grad school because of a photo or angry post about politics or something.

We all do it. And it makes sense why. The things that gets me mad is the idea that my future boss will want my password to dig around my life to see if I’m the right candidate. Like I said above, I feel like now FB and any other social networking site has become an extension of who we are, just in a digital format. Everybody has their own secrets, that’s the nature of things, and sometimes those secrets make their way into our digital worlds, so we do what we can to keep them hidden, if that makes sense. In that respect I feel as though it’s perfectly uncalled for anybody to ask for your password, whether it be FB or any other accounts online.

I’m okay with whatever may be visible on my personal FB, and that goes for those inbox messages and anything else in between. But in my own right, I wouldn’t give my password to anyone. I like to believe that my pictures aren’t the only thing employers may be looking for, and that they will look at my likes, interests, groups I’m involved in, etc would better encompass my character than that photo where I may have had a few too many beers at birthday party. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work and have taken great pride in my accomplishments. If an employer overlooks that, and denies me a job because I prefer to have some sort of privacy of my personal life online, then I’m doing myself a favor. Who want to be working for a Big Brother kind of organization anyways?

 

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Infographics! Social media’s influence on the GOP & Super Tuesday.

Super Tuesday is upon us! I have to admit; I’ve fallen out of the loop more than I intended to in regards to the political news over the last month or so. To be honest, it’s because I can’t stand any of the GOP candidates. But that’s a different story…

These awesome infographics that were posted on Mashable.com reflect mentions of each candidate through a number of social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I love infographics! It’s a fun way to look at data collected from other sources. Mashable is constantly using them it seems like, and I’m okay with it. Click the link if you want to read more about the graphics on Mashable’s site.

If you’re in a bit of a haze like I am, these graphics might make some sense as to what’s going on with social media leading up to today. (Note: All I’m saying is that these are a great way to see statistics reflected by the social networking sites involved. YOU need to research/discuss to decide for yourself if any of these guys are worth your while.)

Especially since we live in a society where we are always connected and engaging with each other via social media, it’s so cool to see what an influence each of the candidates have in what people are posting. What do you think about the contenders and their influence on social media sites? Are you posting about any of them too?

This makes it easy to see what the hot topics are in each of the states on Super Tuesday.

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Epiphany of a last-semester undergrad.

The last couple months have been a whirlwind of resumes, professional organizations, internships, and learning about industries to make it less stressful to enter “the real world,” for those of us on the brink of graduation.

I’ve been consumed with enhancing my professional life and learning as much as possible about making my mark to earn an entry-level position as soon as I have a diploma in hand. Sleepless nights, homework, projects, and stress have become a constant during my final semester as an undergrad. But really, I’ve spent more time in the library this school year lone than I have in my entire time combined at Canisius I’m sure. And it was until the last 2 weeks or so that I really started to recognize how unhealthy this obsession has become for me.

I had initially planed to post about how much I loathe Rick Santorum tonight, but I was caught in conversation with my older sister, literally venting about how burnt out I feel and how I feel as though I’m wasting time/energy for a couple classes I don’t give any fucks about and am learning nothing from. Yeah, I know there’s only a few months left of senior year, and we need to be focused on life after graduation aka getting a job and starting a career. I’m not saying none of that is important by any means, but I’ve spent so much time thinking about it and pouring every once of energy I have into my education and plans for making a career very soon after graduation.

Tonight I’m really starting to recognize how this entire school year has been about being professional, or preparing for job interviews, how to act, what you have to hide about yourself on the web for employers and all that entails for a post-grad. It’s exhausting. I believe I’m more than ready to face the work force, and what not. I believe I have the skills and qualities that set me aside form my peers, and I believe that it’s only put me at a greater advantage when it comes time for applying to jobs and interviews. More than anything, I got myself into believing that I WANT to be working towards my dream career as soon as I walk across that stage; essentially hit the ground running to chase that goal.

I don’t want any of that. Just yet at least. More than anything I want to enjoy opportunities now that I may not be able to experience when committing to a career. It’s so important to me to really be happy, and avoid that feeling of being content.

I’m a social person and thrive when it comes to engaging and even learning from others. Exploring is something that’s always been natural for me. I didn’t allow myself to panic for the one day in Rome when I looked up to see my classmates m.i.a. Minutes of “oh shit, now what?” turned into “why am I worried? I know where the hotel is. I’m going to use this map explore the city on my own and see all I can instead.” and that’s the type of attitude I’ve always seemed to have. Things always fall into place.

Rather than trying to find a career path right away, I need to find something to engage in that doesn’t involve the cookie-cutter lifestyle I initially envisioned for myself. I want to explore, and I don’t mean by working a job or 2 for X years, and internships before realizing what I want and then chasing after it. I mean volunteering, traveling, meeting new people and learning. Really pushing my boundaries beyond that of work. I want time to recognize what makes me genuinely happy; take a time out between completing my education, and entering “the world” of worrying about 401k and what benefits I can rely on with my job. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to completely remove myself from any professional sort of setting for a little while all together.

That lifestyle is not something I can devote myself to so soon. Diversity, and unpredictability allow for me to thrive, and ultimately allow for me to flourish. I need so desperately to escape the cookie-cutter lifestyle that will eventually exhaust me, as everything seemed to since I can remember. Our culture does a fantastic job at making us believe that we need an education (and I agree with that) to essentially thwart us into a job to earn a salary and blah blah blah. That shit is tiring, and I’m just grateful to identify that that isn’t something I want in my life just yet I want to make a change, and be apart of something bigger and influential, and much more important than selling products or services that so many of us take for granted, or communicating on behalf of a company to make customers feel good. Just want a break from all of this “you gotta find a job soon,” bullshit because frankly, there’s other stuff that I can and want do before I commit to a career. I guess I shouldn’t entirely rule it out since there’s always a possibility that I’ll find a job that is appealing to me, and what I hope to achieve, something like non-profit work I’d imagine, but I am getting past expectations I had set in place for myself and moving away from the fast-paced life and stress I’ve been consumed with over the last couple months. I just need a damn break.

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” -Christopher Johnson McCandless, Into The Wild

 

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Twitter and the Grammys: YIKES!

Mashable posted an INFORGRAPH a few days ago showing how Twitter users were using the social media site to predict the winners of the 2012 Grammys. Cool chart for sure, but it also shows how saturated the site was with talk about the [arguably] biggest night in the music industry. You could only imagine what people would be tweeting during/after the show…

First, I’m appalled that “Who’s Paul McCartney?” was trending on Twitter. It’s understandable that there is a generation gap and all that stuff that could mean people don’t know who he is (one of the arguments I’ve heard). But what I’m getting at is that it’s a “palm-to-face” situation. I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse. SO MANY of my peers, and even people younger than myself know some of the most celebrated and legendary artists in the music industry. Frank Sinatra, The Beatles (though I’m not so sure about that one anymore), Etta James, just to name a few. Even though many, myself included, may not have listened to any of these influential artist, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know who they were or their place in history. What sort of explanation could there be for so many people not knowing who this man is? Am I holding a high standard, or is anybody else baffled by this trending topic? Let’s just hope this was a joke…but really.

Next order of business: Chris Brown. I never cared much for his music, but I did envy his relationship with Rihanna. That’s besides the point however. A friend of mine (shout out to Maria!) brought this to my attention the Monday following the 2012 Grammys. Low and behold…

I’m not sure where on Tumblr this collection of tweets came from, but I covered up the names so they don’t get harassed or whatever. Again, let’s hope that this is just a joke, the fact that these young(?) women would ever allow Chris Brown, or anyBODY (no just guys) to slug them across the face. I like to believe we live in a culture where an individual would know that violence is not the answer. I’m all for second chances and people learning form their mistakes, but it’s also very important not to forget the past (American history anybody?) This guy beat up Rihanna pretty bad, see the pic here. Chris Brown took the stage, and although I don’t like him, I thought it was fine that he performed. But then this sort of nonsense takes the web and it leaves me scratching my head along with my peers. Do you think this is just as much of a “WTF?” as I do? It just doesn’t make sense that people would be okay for this to happen. It happens, I’m well aware of that, but something like this sends a wrong message in my opinion. Not sure what it says about the culture we live in today either.

Side notes: Props to Adele! And Why the hell did Bon Iver win best new artist by the way?  Been around for a few years…Yeah, Bon Iver is a band. Also, I want to pay my respects to Whitney Houston. I never listened to her music but it’s always a shock to hear about a death of a public figure that has influenced so many over their careers. Never paid attention to her career or any of that (duh) but it doesn’t mean I don’t understand the significance of her role in this world. But to be honest, I’m SO sick of hearing about her and her damn song, “I will Always Love You.”  She’s every woman, and wants to dance with somebody, I get it blahblahblah….OVER ALL OF IT.

 

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Possibly put to death over tweets?

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Take a look at Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi Arabian blogger, potentially being sentenced to death as a result of his tweets that were perceived as insulting to Islamic conservatives. The 23 year old journalist was detained in Malaysia as a result of sending various tweets that happened to be in regards to the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed. Apparently he was on his way to seek asylum in New Zealand.

These are the tweets I came across via Mashable.com:

“On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.” He followed with this tweet,

“On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.”

“On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.”

Mashable also reported that his account is no longer active. The Daily Beast quoted Kashgari from an interview before his arrest stating,  “I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights — freedom of expression and thought — so nothing was done in vain.”

This is insane! This story enough is enough for me to be grateful of the freedoms and protections we have under the law (though at times I understand can and will be challenged.) But it’s so alarming to even think of the consequences of speaking freely, even when you believe its safe to do so.

This story also demonstrates how a 140-character message can resonate with so many. It’s scary to think about the power of the tweet. Just serve as another reminder that everybody is being watched on the web. Hopefully we can learn more about this case as the days go on.

 

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Why I believe M.I.A’s middle finger is no big deal.

Bird is the word. (Image from rap-up.com)

Everybody’s outraged that M.I.A flipped the bird during the half-time show last night when she performed with Nicki Minaj and Madonna. And to be frank, I think people are making it out to be a bigger deal than it was.

Let me start off by saying it shouldn’t be a shock to anybody that pays attention to M.I.A. She’s outspoken in some instances and has created some controversy in the past, like in regards to her music video for “Born Free.” I’ve been a big fan of her and her music for the past 4 or 5 years now, and I think the content of her music is one of the main reasons why. But I digress…

Lets take a few seconds to reflect on what sort of things are on television today: One finds love on a reality shows by dating X number of men/women on national TV, sex is everywhere, pregnant teenagers, violence, Fox news…

There’s so much content on television that could be perceived as unsuitable for young audiences but they seem to go by unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. M.I.A put up her middle finger at televised sporting event that’s viewed by millions. Let’s be honest with ourselves, everybody has, at one point or another in their childhood, said a swear word or even stuck up the finger themselves. I guess what enrages me the most is that parents and other adults, as well as the media, have their underwear in a knot are taking this situation to a new extreme. If so many people are worried about corrupting the future of America, the they should also be examining why it’s okay to let them see a well to-do man date 12 women at the same time to see which one he wants to keep around. I get so annoyed with overprotective parents and sheltered people. Instead of trying to keep something that may be inappropriate hidden, lets talk about it and try to understand why it’s not appropriate.

Come to think of it, the only reason I’m disappointed with M.I.A for agreeing to do a track with Madonna, let alone perform with her. The old lady is washed up and her music sucks.

And another thing, its obnoxious to believe that M.I.A flipped the finger as a means of getting attention/trying to upstage Madonna. How could anybody upstage a 50+year old, gaped-tooth hag showing more skin than many of my peers? And yes, she can help that she’s so gap-toothed. And yes again, that is a Mean Girls reference. (She can afford dental work I’m sure) I think Nick’s butt is a bigger deal, pun intended. And I feel as though people on the web are calling her out in an effort to steal the show. I don’t believe that at all. M.I.A is an artist that writes music that reflects some controversial issues. Her artwork (yes, she’s done more than just make music) expresses all sorts of ideas from politics, to violence (she was invited on a genocide tour with a reporter once but turned down the offer. Google it or just listen to ‘Jimmy‘). Her middle finger is nothing in compared to some of the radical things that M.I.A has put out there for the world to see/hear in the past. What I’m trying to say is that the middle finger should be the least of our concerns. If you really want to continue being sheltered and overprotective then continue to whine and be outraged by what is seen in the media and feel free to blame the world. That’s your prerogative. I really believe that a lot of the reasons why parents are so concerned with what their youngsters are seeing on the tube is because they don’t realize how important it is to talk with them and engage in conversation to explain why. Hiding shit doesn’t make it disappear for good.

That was a bold post, but I also don’t think the middle finger is a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and compared to everything else going on in the world.

 

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Digging up Marilyn and “destroying America” (AKA partying until the knickers come off)

Let it be known, I LOVE MASHABLE. When I saw this post I figured it was appropriate to post since both of the marketing classes I’m taking are saturated with Twitter talk and what not. First things first, watch the video.

I don’t even really have an opinion about this to be honest. It’s a goofy story that I think deserves some publicity to prevent anybody from unexpectedly cutting their vacation short because of something as nonchalant as tweeting. But then again there’s nothing funny about the threat of a potential terrorist attack/jeopardizing the safety and well being of others.  So I guess I can understand why homeland security took the tweets so seriously.

Now on to the next tweet, who would honestly dig up Marilyn Monroe? I know there’s some crazy people in the world but, wait, hold that thought. There are A LOT of people in this world that have gone off the deep end (Ex: Charles Manson, Michele Bachmann, Charlie Sheen, need I go on?) so if homeland security is going to stop some people from across the pond in fear that they would actually “destroy America,” then it only makes sense to question whether or not Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting were serious about digging up the blonde bombshell.

On a different note, I can’t help but wonder how many people tweet things that could be perceived as threats against the U.S. And of those potentially threatening posts on Twitter, how many come from overseas/foreigners?

 

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India’s Censor Board believes, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ is “unsuitable.”

image from mankabros.com

The Huffington Post is reporting that “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” will not be released in India since the censorship board has declared the film to be inappropriate for audiences. Let me start off by saying I think censorship is bullshit. I also believe that India is doing an injustice by preventing the film to be screened on the basis that there are many social issues that I believe should be addressed by the Indian people/government, but I digress. I’ll spare you the details since I’ll go off on a tangent and go completely off topic.  Okay, here we go…

1-I thought the film was OUTSTANDING. I’m a fan of Daniel Craig to begin with, and seeing Rooney Mara’s performance in the film blew me away. I haven’t read the novel, by Stieg Larsson, but I’m not letting that influence how I feel about the movie all together. Everything from the premise, to the characters, to the cinematography, was what I was expecting to see on the big screen. I’d say it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent months.

2-I don’t think censorship doesn’t do anything beneficial at all to be honest. I never understood how overprotective parents could justify keeping their kids from watching violent television, or how a government could ban books in a society as you may recall reading about  in Fahrenheit 451. Censoring content just keeps it from being exposed to a mass. I believe it only makes a society more naive in terms of the things that happen in the real world. It would be more constructive and progressive if we saw the things that some may want to be banned and discussed why it’s controversial, or crude, or inhumane, or whatever the reason may be. Everybody gets a better understanding of how disgusting or inhuman or “unsuitable” something maybe by seeing it for themselves.

Furthermore, *the rape scene that is mentioned in the article demonstrates the horror that Lisbeth (Mara) experienced and reinforces the character development in the film. *The full-frontal nudity: everybody knows what boobs look like. You either have your own, or Googled to see what they look like when mom and dad weren’t home as a kid. Lets just leave it at that. *The lesbians kiss? I can understand why that’s a hot button issue in India, but on a personal note, I’m cool with same-sex relationships. The scene is short and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Lisbeth ends up having sex with Mikael (Craig) once or twice anyways. Woops, spoiler alert?

3-I disagree quite a bit with Indian culture, and the social issues over there. My parents are immigrants of the subcontinent so I’ve heard all sorts of stories growing up. It wasn’t until college that I further understood the social climate in India. I think the Indian people and government need to reevaluate what is considered taboo. There are social laws I don’t accept, corruption, and taboos, which prevent people from being exposed to, discussing, and understanding a number of things. I get it, I may not have the best insight in regards to India since I was born and raised in the good old U.S.A but cant help but to feel so strongly that Indians are so sheltered and “living in the cave.” (Shout out to Plato!)

4-Kudos to Sony for standing behind the director of the film, David Fincher! I’m an advocate for the arts and couldn’t be happier that he refused to re-edit the film to accommodate the Indian standard for what is deemed “suitable. This makes me believe that Fincher is a man about content and telling a story rather than making bank on his movie. Just think about how big India’s population is, and how much money would be made by moviegoers to see it! ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ was a great movie on its own and by cleaning it up if you will, would only take away the significance of it all.

In a nutshell: India refusing to screen the film is their call, which I think is completely unjustified and stupid on their part. But I’m happy that Sony is supporting Fincher in saying “see ya!” to the Censorship Board in India.

 

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First Post: Who’s Suraj? What’s the blog about?

I’m a college senior. This is my very first attempt at blogging at a professional level! I’m new to this so bare with me as I figure out the ins and outs of the blogging world. Oh, and I should warn you that I get sarcastic time to time.

I’ve paid close attention to current events and pop culture since I can remember. Seems like the only time I really get to have a conversation about things going on in the world when I’m either A-in a classroom (in most cases at least) or B-with some of my college buddies after knocking back a few too many beers. I’ve become a very opinionated guy over the last 8 or 9 years since my fascination began with watching the news/reading the paper. As a result, I have a lot to say.

So of course, I take to the internet in a feeble attempt to strike up conversation with any of my peers that are willing to take 10 minutes to read and respond. Here’s the thing, we’re all REALLY busy! I get it, but it’s so important to know what’s happening in the world since it has a strong influence on the way we live our lives.

I’ll be updating frequently, or at least attempt to update frequently. Again, just ask that you keep in mind that I’m not trying to make anybody see my point of view, but to encourage conversation and engage my friends/peers.

 

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