Thanks Obama (Seriously, Thanks)

Let me start off this blog post with this: I love Obama. As a fellow Illinoisian, Barack Obama is, without a doubt, my favorite president. Now, with that in mind, I can say that even if he wasn’t my favorite president, I would have loved Obama’s Farewell Address.

For those of you who are reading this and have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, Barack Obama gave his Farewell Address on January 10th, 2017 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. The speech lasted about 50 minutes, and within that time, there were several memorable moments (at least they were memorable to me)

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First moment I found memorable: When President Obama talked about ‘Selective Sorting of Facts’. He basically talked about the blatant uneven-ness (that’s a word, right?) of how people in this country sometimes act towards things. Here’s the actual quote:

“How can elected officcals rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschools for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in out own parties but pounce when the other party does the same thing?”

The reason I liked this quote is because it put into words the way I believe people in this country have a tendency to act towards each other and not always intentionally. Sometimes people, and when I say people here I’m mostly talking about the two prominent political parties, are so focused on their party and making sure their party wins or is right that they don’t see the other side of the situation.

Next part I enjoyed: Obama mentioning the troops. Say what you will about Obama (and no this is not an open invitation for you to post political opinions in my comment section) but the man loves the troops.

Case in point about how much he loves them is this quote from about 20 minutes into his speech:

“To all who serve or have served, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your commander-in-chief”

That quote, in my opinion as a girl who has friends currently overseas in the Army, meant a lot because you could tell he meant it. There has never been a moment in Barack Obama’s presidency that I felt like he could care less about our men and women overseas defending our country, and that comment there did a very nice job summing that up, at least to me.

Second the last point (Sorry, I know there are a lot, just bare with me). I’m not even going to explain myself on why I like this one, I think it speaks for itself:

“So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed. Mine sure has been.”

Wow…. that’s all I can say about that.

Last moment, the moment that made not only myself and everyone watching at home emotional, but Barack Obama even wiped away a tear at the very mention of his wife. Michelle Obama (don’t even get me started about her or we will be here for another 700 words, at MINIMUM) was sitting there watching with one of her daughters, smiling whenever the camera glanced at her. The crowd even gave her a standing ovation!

“Michelle LaVaughn Robinson of the South Side… for the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for. And you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style, and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You have made me proud, and you have made the country proud.”

I mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THAT!

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Overall, I loved the speech a lot more than I thought I would. As you saw I actually, for the first time I can remember, had favorite sections like this one:

“And to all of you out there — every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town, every kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change — you are the best supporters and organizers anybody could ever hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because you did change the world.”

So, with that, I’m going to leave you with the end of Obama’s speech, because it actually made me cry and I hope it makes you feel all the emotions it made me feel.

“My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.

I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can.

Yes, we did”

Yes, we did Barack.

Yes, we did.

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Visual Beauty on Social Media

If you are an organization that relies heavily on visuals and the sort, then I wholeheartedly believe you should have an Instagram page for your organization. Personally, I love Instagram. It’s probably one of my top three favorite social media sites, and on that site, I even follow a few brands and nonprofit accounts that I think use Instagram to their advantage.

In terms of brands, there are a few that come to mind as using Instagram and sites like it to their advantage. A few that come to mind include National Geographic, Saturday Night Live, and HomeGoods.

Some photos from the mentioned Instagram pages (left: HomeGoods, SNL, National Geo)

There are two brands that I think go above and beyond when it comes to Instagram: NoYourCity and Ballet de l Opera de Paris.

First, NoYourCity is an account that shares photos of New York City. The photos are so beautiful! I’m talking professional grade beauty right here. I think this site does a really good job of showing the positive parts of New York. It also does a good job of showing that the images you post on Instagram don’t necessarily need to have a bunch of things happening in them. They can be super simple but still get the point you intended across.

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The other brand that I think does a very good job of using Instagram is Ballet de l Opera de Paris. This one also has images that are more simple in concept, but are still beautiful! I don’t about you, but I can’t fly to Paris at the drop of a hat to take in a ballet, so I appreciate this account because it shares images of the productions they put on. One of the other things I LOVE about their account is they use up the whole ‘three photos a line’ aspect of Instagram. It’s hard to put into words what I mean, so I’ll just show you.

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You see what I mean?

Now, apart from brands that I follow, I did happen to come across a certain nonprofit account that I think does a very good job at using the account. That account belongs to NeverThirst. This account belongs to an organization that… well I’ll let them explain it. “We are called to bring clean water, health and hope to those who lack access to what many of us take for granted every day” This account is very nice because it does a number of things via their photos. The first is that it shows the crisis for clean water by showing what the water looked like before filters were installed.screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-44-32-pm

It also posts pictures showing the people who are helped with the clean water, which does a good job of emotionally connecting with the followers. This photo that I found is one of my favorites for that exact reason

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Overall, I think that all the accounts I talked about in this post do a very good job of using Instagram for their advantage. Not every brand that has an account, nor every nonprofit, does a very good job at getting their message across with their account, but these do. Personally, I don’t follow many brands except for the two I said were my favorite, but some of the other ones I listed I might actually follow now because the pictures they post are just so enticing. Honestly, some of these brands have better Instagram accounts that I do… maybe I should have been taking notes.

One Sentence…. Only One???

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard about the prompt for this week’s blog post, I thought it was going to be easy. Me? A girl who writes on her laptop more than she does anything else, come up with a single sentence? Easy! But now? Now I wish the prompt was literally ANYTHING else! Seriously, this prompt has caused me to just stare at my computer for hours on end just wondering what I could write.

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Now, for those readers who have no idea what this ‘one sentence’ thing is about, you can check out this video for a better explanation. Basically, it needs to be a sentence that explains what my personal brand is, and if you have no idea what that concept is either, go ahead and click here.

When it came time for me to draft my own single sentence, I went through a sort-of worksheet that was supposed to help me. Here is a cut-down version of that worksheet (meaning here are the aspects of it that I found most helpful in drafting my final copy)

  1. My top three personal strengths:

          -Family oriented

         – Creative

         – Hard Working

Ok, so we have a handful of skills I think I exceed at, now what? I mean, these skills are things that you can find in any Cosmo or People personality quiz, how are they going to help me? Well, let’s look at the second question:

2. My top three talents:

            -Music

            -Writing skills

            -Multi-tasking ability

Now, these? These I can work with… well kind of. Basically, the main get away from these last two questions is that I’m obviously a creative person (ignoring that I wrote ‘creative’ as a personality trait) I listed two of my top three talents as something creative: music and writing. But my sentence can’t just be something like ‘I’m a creative person’, that’s lame. So what else could I put?

Then, my eyes lingered a bit on the first personality trait I wrote down: Family oriented. For those of you reading this who don’t know, I’m the oldest of six kids, the youngest being ten/almost 11-year-old triplets. I would do anything for my siblings, my family in general. And when I say family, I don’t just mean those who I’m biologically related to. I mean my friends, my roommate, my fellow pep band members, sorority sister, you name it. If we are close in any sense of the word (except proximity… I’m hoping you get what I mean by close here), chances are I will do whatever it takes to make you happy and help you if you need it.

At that moment, my sentence came to me. Well, a version of my sentence came to me, which I tweaked more times than I can count until I came to rest on the following 15-word phrase that I think describes me perfectly:

She puts people before herself while trying to make the world a more creative place.

The Voice of Generation: A Good Voice or a Bad One?

There are SO MANY social media sites out there today. Seriously, when I was in high school, there were only the two big ones: Facebook and Twitter (and Snapchat in later years but we will get to that later). Now, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I feel like every time I go home for breaks, my younger siblings try to convince me to join yet another social media site which, most of the time, I refuse. The sites I myself use include Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. I have a Tumblr and a LinkedIn, but I don’t really use those sites all that much, or as much as I used to. Back in freshman year of college I was obsessed with Tumblr, I would be on that site more than any other of my social media sites, and I think the reason for that was that I had never seen a site like this before. But now? Now I rarely go on it. Actually, I’m fairly certain I deleted my profile on that site, that’s how much I don’t use the site. The other sites though (Facebook, Twitter, and all the other ones I mentioned that I have profiles on? Yeah those), I go on those FREQUENTLY. We’re talking several times a day, probably if I’m on my phone I’m on each of the sites once every two hours, and if I’m on my computer I check Twitter every half hour with Facebook just being constantly open.

Even though my habits regarding social media have changed over the years, my overall feelings about them have, for the most part, stayed the same.

PROS:

 -Gives me the ability to keep up with friends and family who I’m not with 24/7 (AKA anyone back in Illinois)

-For the most part, it’s how I get my news, especially when it just happens (This is referring mostly to Twitter, but sometimes Facebook is pretty good about keeping me informed with more developed news)

-Allows me to keep up with what my favorite social media stars/celebrities/ overall famous people are doing (…that doesn’t make me sound too stalker-ish, right?)

– It’s entertaining (THIS IS A HUGE PRO! These sites are so good at giving me something to do when I’m bored, it’s unbelievable.)

CONS:

FAKE NEWS! This didn’t use to be a problem, and on Twitter I don’t see it quite as much as I do on Facebook, but now? Now I can’t log into my account without seeing at least one or two of these fake articles online. And they are things that are CLEARLY fake if people bothered to Google them! Ok, I’m going to stop because if I don’t the rest of this post will just be me complaining about this, and I don’t think anyone wants to read that.

-Having to see every opinion one of my friends/relatives have and their reasoning about why it is clearly superior my own. This has just gotten worse since the elections, but it’s always been bad, though maybe that’s just with my family? Anyway, I have found myself just blocking certain people because I can no longer read their posts about politics, their opinion on current events (Planned Parenthood funding, shootings, BLM, you name it they have an opinion on it), or anything like that. I don’t want to hear about that! It’s not why I got social media in the first place! And most people feel the same way!

Overall, I love social media, don’t get me wrong. The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion, though only slightly. The sites I use the most (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) each have their own pros and cons, but overall they each do a good job at their intended objectives, and the overall objective each has as a whole which, in my opinion, is to entertain. Most people go on social media because they are bored and are looking for something to pass the time. There are exceptions, such as if you are using social media for work or such, but for the most part it seems like an entertainment tool, a way to stay connected to individuals around the world, and things like that.

Class Wrap-Up!

16 weeks, 2 tests and, as of this very post you are currently reading, 10 blog posts. Over the course of this semester, we have covered almost every concept under the sun: types of jobs in the media, advertising and how it affects everyday life, photojournalism, and so on. There were some things in class I enjoyed immensely, and some things I didn’t enjoy quite as much.

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Let’s start with the good things. One of the main things I enjoyed during the time I was in this class was all the videos we were shown. Ranging from John Oliver to Stephen Colbert,  all the videos we were shown were always entertaining and full of information. Another thing I liked, and this plays into some of the things I don’t like as well, is everything that we did that wasn’t simply a powerpoint. For instance, the exercise where we were given a noun and we had to create an app, website, or the such that would sell that noun and still make money. While that was difficult given the word I received (Seriously, how does a single individual sell the word ‘hope’?) I actually really enjoyed it. It was fun in some respects, it made me think in a way I never actually had to before, which I guess is why I enjoyed it.

Now on to the negatives: there aren’t many. In fact, there is actually only one. While I enjoyed the lessons we learned and everything like that, I didn’t enjoy that everything we seemed to learn came in the way of PowerPoints. Sometimes, and this may be because on the days we have class I’ve been listening to lectures for the last 3-4 hours, it gets very difficult to follow another lecture. Not that the lectures weren’t informative and entertaining, for the most part they were, just sometimes it is difficult to listen to someone talk at you for 50 minutes and be able to retain everything that is said.

Overall, I enjoyed this class more than I thought I would. I learned a lot and it made me realize exactly what I was getting myself into with a career in Journalism.

Justin Kemerling: My Review

I am not an artistic person. Ok, that may be an understatement. I can’t even draw stick people without them looking like they were chopped in half and put back together by a drunk toddler. Because of this pleasant fact, I always simply assume that graphic design and myself were not two things that would mix well.

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With that belief in mind, I was pleasantly surprised to say the least by Justin Kemerling’s presentation. Simply listening to all the work he had done with various organizations and the causes they stand for (see a few here) was really cool in my opinion. The video he showed in class, the one he made to try and convince people to vote, was really well done and I thought it was super cool and pretty effective. That may have been one of my favorite things he showed us, that and all of the stuff he helped the ‘Pipeline Fighters’ (I have to say I love this title he created for them.).

Justin seemed like a very down-to-earth guy who was super easy to understand and follow as he explained exactly what he did in his day-to-day career. Whatever questions were thrown at him, he always seemed to come up with coherent, easy to understand answers.

I really liked the work he does with non-profit organizations. For some reason I didn’t think it was going to be like how he described it to be (very vague, I know), but it was actually really interesting to hear about and I’m super glad I got to listen to him speak.

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Overall, I’m very impressed with everything Justin Kemerling has done in his career and everything he showed our class in his presentation. It made me realize that being artistic is only one skill that a graphic designer needs to be successful in his or her career. While I am not artistic, I think if graphic design is something I want to pursue in my future, I may just do it… not that I think it is, but you know, now I feel like if it was I could do it… but I probably won’t.

 

Ads…Nothing But Ads…

If you are like me and spend most of your free time either watching TV or surfing the web, you probably are very familiar with the concept of ads and probably even more familiar with the concept of commercials. These ‘objects’ (for lack of a better descriptive word) fill almost every corner of the television world and find their way into the darkest reaches of our web searches, not only that but they even find themselves on the sides of buildings and in public eye, but they aren’t just annoying concepts that we seem forced to endure. These objects are used to convince the viewing audience to buy a product and, as much as I hate to admit it, they are quite effective in this task.

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Companies have several different ways to go about selling a product through advertising, whether it be by telling a story or by being weird in a way that gets people talking, all of these ways get people to want to buy your product, or at least give it a try. Now, coming from the point of view of the consumer, each and every one of us has a different version of these tactics that are our favorites. Some love the humor-filled commercials, others enjoy the witty one-liners that you sometimes see during the Super Bowl. As for myself, I enjoy the story-based ones and the ones that are emotionally charged.

The emotionally charged advertisements work in my personal opinion because, at least from my own point of view, they make the viewer more likely to watch the ad until the very end as opposed to changing the channel half way through or hitting the “skip” button at the bottom of their screens. Take, for example, the P&G commercial entitled “Thank You Mom”. In this commercial, you watch four athletes grow from infants to the Olympic athletes the world knows them as, and how their mothers did everything in their power to get them there. The commercial was such a big success, they made another one just like it a few years later, both of which made me emotional.

I’m not saying that all other types of commercials don’t work for me, I’m just saying that these emotionally charged ones work the best in terms of keeping me engaged from beginning to end. Companies that do this are, in my opinion, going to have a much easier time getting people to buy their product because they are more emotionally connected to their message or that they have an emotional response to connect the product to. I mean, I don’t cry when I see a P&G product, but it makes me think of the commercial and how I connected to it more than I do to, say, a Doritos commercial (which I will say some a pretty funny but over all I find those really dumb). For me personally, emotion seems to be a very good response for commercials to attempt to play to because it seems to work.

Reactions to: “Angels and Ghosts: Anatomy of a Story”

Let me preface this review with this statement: I am not a very emotional person. I rarely cry at movies I watch or books I read (I think the the last movie I cried at was Inside Out  and that was only because my mom was sitting next to me and was sobbing), and while this article didn’t make me openly cry, it did make me feel more than I was expecting it to.

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The issues she is referring to is something that no parents should ever have to deal with, but to many in this world are forced to. Given the emotion of the situation, most journalists would have stayed clear, but not Diana Sugg. She went into the situation head on and, despite getting emotional at times, didn’t shy away from anything, which I really admired. If I were in her shoes, I do not believe I would have been able to handle the situation the way she did; in fact I would probably have spent a majority of the time freaking out about if I was being overly personal with my questions or presence.

The major question this article makes you ask is this: Were they being vultures when they ‘gathered information’ from the family of a dying child? In my opinion, they were not. It wasn’t as though they holding microphones and tape recorders to the parents’s faces as their child was dying in front of them, she was very laid back in a sense where she was only in the room if the parents and the child allowed them and didn’t ask any question she felt was too personal. Apart from the actual ‘interview’ part (I put interview in quotes because in my opinion she did so much more than simply interview the people in her article), even after the child died, Diana stayed in contact with R.J.’s mother in order to tell her about the article, but even more than that. She listened to her, and not just when she was asked questions that Sugg waned to use in her article; Sugg listened to her every single day, no matter the topic matter. Most journalists wouldn’t stay this connected to a ‘source’ after their stories were over, but Diana did, which made me even more emotionally attached to this article than I already was.

Overall, I really enjoyed this article (more than I thought I would initially). Not only was it interesting to read and very easy for me to get through, but it kept me emotionally connected from basically the first word to the last, almost to the point where I didn’t want it to end. I HIGHLY recommend this article to basically anyone, I enjoyed it that much.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Nothing stays the same forever. Sooner or later, everything changes in one way or another, even if we don’t like it. Some changes are good: like changing from winter to spring or graduating from one grade to another, while others are not so great. The changes we read about in “Blur” however, which shaped the way we currently see media and communication, are changes that I consider to be very good overall.

The first change that I think transformed communication in any significant way is the creation of written language (obviously). Let me give you one clear example on why this was a big deal back in the day, and still is right now: look at this word. This one right here. Know what that word is? Of course you do, because you know how to read.  If you didn’t know how to read, why would you be on this site in the first place? So the very idea of a written language was a huge accomplishment that was used to make information easier to convey across the world.

The other advancement in communication that I want to touch on is the creation of the radio. When you think of radio now-a-days, you usually think of that box that is found in your car that is responsible for giving you music while you drive. The older generation (like my mother) sometimes listens to talk radio instead of music (in my Dad’s case it’s sports radio instead of NPR but the concept is still the same) which is more of how the radio was initially supposed to be used.

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The radio was invented sometime around the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, no one is really 100% sure on the timeline, but the timeframe doesn’t matter to the point I am trying to make. The initial job of the radio wasn’t used for music, it was used more for the likes of NPR. People used to sit around the radio at night with the whole family, usually after dinner, and listened to the news of the day/week. Ever heard of FDR’s Fireside Chats? No? Essentially it was a group of about 30 radio speeches President Roosevelt gave over the radio for the nation to hear. This was the first major way, besides newspapers, that allowed the whole nation to get connected to the news at the same time. It was like TV news before TV news was actually a thing. It shaped the way that people received their news, and would receive their news for years to come.

In conclusion (wow I feel like I’m writing an essay right now), the advancements made in both communication and media have shaped the way we receive news today. Without the creation of a written language, the way we live in general would be gone completely (can you even imagine a world where there is no written language of any kind?) and without the creation of the radio as a way to receive news, the modern TV news stations would probably not exist in the same manner as they are in now.

Love Online

Merriam-Webster defines relationships as “an emotional attachment between individuals” . Let me ask you a question, dear reader, does that definition say anything about the locations of the individuals? No? Well, lets try another one, shall we? The Oxford Dictionary defines this phenomenon as “The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Again, no mention of location or anything of the like. Now, at this point you may be asking yourself: “Why is this girl going off about the various definitions of the term relationship? I think I know what the definition of one simple word is.” Well, dear reader, there is one reason I am bringing this up, and that reason is this: relationships online.

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Let me back up for a second. When you think of relationships, what do you think of? And I’m not just talking about the types of relationships that involve dating, I’m talking about any and all relationships. Friendships, dating, siblings even, all of those categories have their own relationship aspects. When I think of these, I think of people being in the same place interacting with each other, keywords on IN THE SAME PLACE! In today’s culture thought, people being in the same place sometimes isn’t possible, which is where online relationships come into play.

There is one relationship that I think relies on online interaction more than others, and that relationship is Long Distance Relationships, or as I like to call them: LDR. Now, this is a relationship that I actually partake in; my boyfriend Quinn goes to law school in Chicago while I’m currently finishing up my college career in the great state of Nebraska. That makes the distance between us 470 miles, making us being in the same location at any given time not exactly a likely occurrence. Due to this, online aspects (such as Facebook, Skype, and iMessage) are kind of the only way our relationship works nine out of twelve months of the year.

Speaking from experience, there are some positives and negatives when it comes to online aspects of relationships. In terms of the positives, one of them is that it allows you to feel like you are gaining insight into their day to day life through such online sights as Twitter and Facebook. Another is that it gives you another ability to communicate with them outside of simply texting or talking on the phone (specifically referring to Skype here).

Now, like in most situations, where there are positives, there most likely have to be negatives, and online relationships are no exception. The main issue with online interaction, in my opinion, is how easy it is for people to misconstrue what you mean. Let me explain what I mean: Take the simple text “K”. Now, this example is thrown around a lot, seeing as it can mean a variety of things, as illustrated by this picture.

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This example may be more humorous than anything else, but the point still stands. Over text and other forms of online communication, what you say and what you actually mean can be interpreted wrong since the person you are talking to can’t see your face or hear the tone of your voice when you speak. This could potentially pose a problem when it comes to interpreting what the message itself means.

Overall, I think that online aspects are a good way of keeping a relationship going if distance plays a factor, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that you rely on. If online aspects are the only thing you use to keep your relationship going, you’re probably going to run into problems more often than not.