Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Should you fall in love online? These are some things all romantics should know.

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Not long ago, online dating was a bit embarrassing – an implied concession that you’d exhausted your options among friends, friends of friends, and the children of your parents’ friends “in the real world”.

Personally, I’m all for it: handwringing over the “death of romance” brought about by these apps often boils down to technophobia or moralising over casual sex, when in fact they help people date outside their immediate circle. If you’ve ever been in a group setting and realised, with no small horror, that everyone present is either your ex or a friend’s ex, you will attest that this is no bad thing.

Look at photos they’re tagged in, not just those they post – and pay attention to who consistently likes their selfies.

Plus, the algorithms employed by more formal online services such as OkCupid do a lot of the groundwork of establishing compatibility, pre-empting deal-breakers by asking “Should gay marriage be legal?” and “Does living on a sailboat sound like a good idea?”

But even outside online dating platforms, it’s easy to register – and solicit – romantic interest on the internet. There is a dance one performs on social media to turn a platonic friendship, acquaintance or even “internet friend” into something more.

Just as a bird of paradise might display his plumage to attract the attention of a potential mate, a potential partner interested in you might like your three-week-old Instagram post, or send you a direct message (as in, “slides into your DMs”).

“If you’re really putting yourself out there, you could comment on their picture with a heart emoji.”

“When I have a crush on someone and I want them to know I go on their page and like a lot of pictures in a row.”

“Like all of them. Like, like, like, like, like, like all the pictures.”

Several of my own romantic dalliances have been initiated or progressed over social media, particularly Facebook. Allow me to convince you that this is less sad than it sounds: at its best, the platform is like a lively bar – it’s easy to meet like-minded people; you can eavesdrop or join in on others’ conversations; everyone is a bit funnier and more attractive there than they are in daylight.

And from observing banter that’s then gone conspicuously silent as the conversation is moved to private messaging, like a couple who think they’ve very discreetly removed themselves from a house party, I am confident I am not the only one. (Tip: it’s never the people blowing up your timeline with their tedious flirtation who have taken their friendship to the next level. It’s the people who were.)

You’re more likely to use Instagram and Facebook to investigate crushes in your outer circle of friends, particularly to establish whether they’re single or not. (Another tip: look at photos they’re tagged in, not just those they post – and pay attention to who consistently like their selfies.)

Now, after all that, you’ve got to work out if you actually like them, particularly if you’re meeting for the first time. Some people’s online presences are not representative, which can be a good or a bad thing. Sometimes you meet someone who is as good value online as they are in person: you should hold them tight and never let them go.

Other times it’s painfully obvious that you’re better as internet friends. When you’ve communicated more – and more intimately – with someone over text than you have in person, it can create a gulf that’s awkward to bridge, and sometimes insurmountable.

How do you cast someone back into the internet from whence they came?

You might try “ghosting”: cutting off contact with zero announcement or explanation. According to the experts, it’s “common and not considered particularly impolite … usually a mutual, conscious uncoupling” (“If you start losing juice, they’ll start losing juice”).

I have mixed feelings about it as a tactic, having seen too many hearts broken more by the absence of explanation than the depth of investment, but it’s not an inappropriate course of action after one fireworks-free first meeting.

If you’re too old school or fundamentally decent to disappear entirely, you can get out of this mess the way you got into it: by pushing them back down the totem of chat. Answer missed calls with texts, respond to texts with messages on Twitter or Facebook and, eventually, public posts. They’ll get the idea.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. My goal is to help media savvy women to pursue a happy life in this media mad world.

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Is timing everything when it comes to social media posting?

No. Timing is not everything when it comes to social media posts.

Would it really matter what time you got that knock at your front door by that good Samaritan? The one with the treasure map for you! I doubt it.

The growth of social media provides an invaluable opportunity for entrepreneurs to interact with their audience. But are you listening to what they’re telling you?

Here are my tips and tricks to social media posting.

Be patient.

Don’t get stuck in bad habits.

Test material and listen to the feedback loop.

Post different posts and be open to what feedback you get in the loop.

If you are committed to optimising your social media channels, finding the right tone of voice is probably a great place to start. Generally, it is a more casual form of communication – with short replies, rather than lengthy explanations that may be suitable for email. How to speak to your audience, should largely be dictated by how your audience naturally speak to and respond to you.

I have quite a relaxed tone of voice, but it’s something I’ve really been able to hone over time by watching and listening how people respond. It’s about making people feel comfortable. It’s about people trusting your voice. I’m quite an everywoman and a little bit cheeky.

There are benefits with developing a genuine tone of voice that go beyond social media channels. Elevated levels of responses are largely based on the fact that people know what to expect.

I’ve had negative comments like us all, but put that in the feedback loop, and you’ll have loads of rave reviews in the future.

Convey personality and I think that’s how we stand out from the heard.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. What should women do to boost confidence and get ahead at work? Here’s three tips women can use in the workplace.

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Focus on what you’re good at

“Follow your passion” is a cliché, but for women it might be better to choose a career that uses their best skills – instead of their passion. Success can come from refining the skills that you already possess, rather than worrying if your job is right for you. Focusing on your best skills and drawing confidence from knowing that you are good at your job can help you thrive at work.

We know we can’t be good at everything, so it is still a good idea to practise doing things you lack confidence in. But when it comes to putting yourself forward for an opportunity, whether you are negotiating a promotion, training or more responsibility – lead with your best skills and then talk about the skills you are developing. You will naturally have more confidence in discussing the areas that you know you are good at, and those you have repeatedly practised.

Recognise the value of your soft skills

Research shows that women are likely to be better listeners and collaborators – so you should make the most of these skills in the workplace. Being welcoming and sociable is essential to sustain strong business relationships, so focus on building a social network at work to highlight these skills.

Likewise, when it comes to interviews and appraisals, focus on emphasising your soft skills such as being a strong communicator, or a good team player – and make sure you are able to explain why they are valuable to the business.

Life skills count for a lot and an employer will not necessarily just be looking for someone who can get the job done, but will also fit in with their culture and gel with work colleagues. So, draw confidence from emphasising social skills to show you are a well-rounded individual.

Put yourself forward

In the workplace, women are less likely to put themselves forward for opportunities, as they doubt their capability more so than men. When it comes to appraisals, this can mean that they are overlooked for progression.

To counter this, it’s a good idea to consciously put yourself forward for opportunities – whether it is leading on a new project, attending an event or organising the office party. Doing this means you are more likely to be noticed, and it will give you tangible examples to draw on during job interviews and appraisals, meaning you’re more likely to stand out and succeed.

We know the world needs more female managers, leaders and chief executives. However, we also know that not everyone wants a top job. The point is, regardless of what people’s aspirations are, we need to help women of all ages reach their goals, and I believe the key to that is by building career confidence.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. I worked through my anxieties when I became interested in other people’s lives. These are things you should know.

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Everyday anxiety is on the increase and the things that are part of modern life drive it. We are in a permanent state of frenetic, highly agitated states of being; not getting enough sleep, rushing, too much work, not enough balance – stressful conditions. We’re emulating anxious conditions in our everyday living.

We live with an epidemic of anxiety. In 1980, 4% of Americans suffered a mental disorder associated with anxiety. Today half do. The trends in Britain are similar. A third of Britons will experience anxiety disorder at some stage in their life, with an explosion of reported anxiety among teenagers and young adults. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, attention deficit disorder and profound eating problems afflict us as never before.

Anxiety has always been part of the human condition – as has depression and tendencies to self-harm – but never, it seems, on this scale. A number of trends appear to be colliding. This is an era when everyone is expected to find their personal route to happiness at the same time as the bonds of society, faith and community – tried and tested mechanisms to support wellbeing – are fraying. Teenagers in particular – fearful of missing out – are beset by a myriad of agonising choices about how to achieve the good life with fewer social and psychological anchors to help them navigate their way. Who can blame them if they respond with an ever-rising sense of anxiety, if not panic?

At the same time, there has been a transformation in individuals’ willingness and society’s readiness to accept that the resulting anguish is not something inherent in the human condition – but often a form of malady that should be recognised and treated. In Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea, the (anti-) hero, Antoine Roquentin, is so plagued by wondering if existence has any purpose that he becomes intensely depressed and listless. Nausea was celebrated as breaking new literary ground in the 1930s, illuminating the essence of the human condition. Today Roquentin would be diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, and prescribed an antidepressant or invited to undergo a course of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Is there, however, too great a readiness to pathologise the anxiety of being alive? Almost certainly. There is great and growing unease in parts of the psychology and psychiatry professions that too many practitioners have become trigger happy – too quick to prescribe mood-altering drugs to patients only going through life events, ranging from bereavement to divorce, which are naturally anxiety inducing.

Life never was and never can be an uninterrupted progress towards utopian bliss. Grief following the loss of someone beloved, a great ambition thwarted or simply witnessing one’s body age or wither through illness are all concomitants of being alive – pains alongside life’s many wonderful pleasures. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the patients complaining of acute mental anxiety feel intensely disturbed beyond some normal level of anxiousness – and that teenagers can feel this more acutely still.

Young women in particular are ever more transfixed with how they look to the point that, for a growing proportion, it is translating into mental health disorders with physical side-effects – bulimia, anorexia and self-harm. Asking them to snap out of it is not going to work. And while there probably is too great a readiness to pathologise anxiety, doctors and counsellors, faced with a growing epidemic, are only responding as best they can. To ignore what is going on would be equally damnable.

Happiness – when individual liberty is seen as all-important – lies in exercising choice and taking responsibility for our own lives. Get the choices right, and self-realisation, self-fulfilment and happiness will follow. Get them wrong and you risk mockery and marginalisation. Teenagers know as never before that they must get their choices right, pass their exams – and many will have 24/7 parents “helping” them in their quest. However, the act of making many choices with necessarily imperfect information perforce induces anxiety and stress – and once they are made, happiness does not automatically follow. Small wonder that teenagers in general, and teenage girls in particular, find the whole experience traumatising – as do their elders, even if they have better-developed emotional and psychological resource to deal with it.

Teenagers, for instance, need parents who understand that parenting is less about being friends with their children – partners in their kids’ exercise of choice. Rather, parenting is about creating strong families in which parents have to lead and exercise authority – havens from the 24/7 intrusiveness of social media.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. I want to help you be your best. This is something you should know.

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There’s been such a change in the tide of how businesses do business, I think if there are two of the same product in the market place and one brand has a social impact aspect people will pay much more for that product because of the social impact it has.

People have become so much more aware of changes that need to be made in the world, and there have been so many successful examples of companies that have done that. Roma Boots for example; people will buy that boot instead of others because it gives away a free boot to someone in need. We live in a global community where everyone wants to help each other. It’s not only a new trend, it’s probably the only way your business can be sustainable.

And these days, work has become more than a job. But a guide. A mentor. Is how you can fast track in life, and how you can be a powerful motivator to drive you to success.

When I think back to key moments in my life, I was fortunate enough to have supportive mentors who helped provide me with guidance, ideas and confidence, to achieve my goals at different points in time. I think back to a teacher at my school who recognised my interest in writing and helped me consider a foreign student exchange. I also think of the encouragement from my boss during my first job after college to pursue a part-time degree. As recent as two years ago, it was dinner with a friend (successful woman) who suggested I start my own business – an idea that hadn’t even crossed my mind prior to her suggesting it.

I am very grateful for the mentorship I’ve received. The guidance and support of these important people helped (and to this day continue to help) shape my path. Mentors are invaluable to provide a sounding board during times of important decisions. They provided tough love when I need an extra push, an encouraging voice during times of failure and a way to stay grounded during times of success. I believe having trusted and supportive mentors are pivotal for everyone through all stages of their life. Mentoring fills a gap that you may not be receiving from friends, family, teachers or colleagues.

I have also considered being a mentor myself which would be an extremely fulfilling and fun thing to do. I am constantly learning from the people who mentor me. These relationships have helped to enrich my life and I love being able to work through my challenges in this way. I’m motivated by their passion and extremely committed to their success.

And I think mentorship is one of the best things we can do.

You can’t be what you can’t see.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. These are books you should know about and read.

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It’s nearly three months since my first novel went on to Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Bridge-Adventures-Maisie-Brown/dp/1520953291  and I confess publicity is a daunting task, so as a well-read copy sits on my desk here are 8 of the most mentioned authors generally, and in no particular order.

1. Doris Lessing (born 1919)

The two landmarks, for me, are Shikasta, her monumental portrait of humanity, and The Four-Gated City (part of the Children of Violence series), Lessing’s visionary mapping of London and the no-man’s-land between psychosis and sanity – this book opened doors for me. Her understanding of resilience and transformation in the midst of upheaval is profound.

2. Toni Morrison (born 1931)

Start with: Beloved – Beloved represents a terrible pain and suffering of a people whose very mother-love is warped by torture into murder.

3. Ursula K Le Guin (born 1929)

The Earthsea trilogy is absolutely magnificent: poetry, wisdom, sadness, satisfaction, fantasy, realism. Far better dragons than Tolkien’s or George RR Martin’s, far better written – the whole shebang, except for humour. But then, Tolstoy didn’t go in for jokes much either. She taught me that there is nothing wrong with life or with death: the one is to be delighted in, the other accepted.

4. Virginia Woolf (born 1882)

To The Lighthouse, it had a huge impact on me when I first read it. It really made me consider and reconsider how I think and find direction. I loved Lily Briscoe and that devastatingly matter-of-fact middle chapter/section that splits the novel. There are so many books by women that I love, but TTL is a favourite.

5. Clarice Lispector (born 1920)

If a writer such as Clarice Lispector is to be considered significant from a feminist point of view, then it would probably be due to the absence of anything in her work or life which could be said to resemble the stereotype of the “Lady Novelist”. As well as living like a sort of secular hermit, her writing is elusive and mystical, being much less concerned with plot and character than with abstract ideas, such as The Apple in the Dark’s consideration of the nature of artistic creation or Agua Viva’s obsessive focus on trying to isolate single moments in time.

6. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 1977)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah has moved me like no other in recent memory. I would describe it as transformational because it provided an insight into the reality of what it means to be a young, ambitious, highly intelligent, sometimes single black woman in contemporary America. It’s an honest book about race, identity and the constant longing and nostalgia one feels for this metaphorical place called home.

 7. Margaret Atwood (born 1939)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. She predicted all that is happening today in that book.

8. Zadie Smith (born 1975)

White Teeth, by Zadie Smith. Could read it over and over again.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Cowardly Terrorism comes to London last night. Cynical and inhuman criminals.

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The current bout of global terrorism came to the heart of London last night in a number of fatal attacks outside Borough Market.

As yet, nothing is known of the terrorists.

For the next few days, BBC reporters on the spot will repeat the words panic, threat and menace by the hour. World leaders will declare that “all of the World has been attacked”.

The terrorists are helpless without the assistance of the media and those who feed it with words and deeds. The so-called threat to democracy, about which politicians like to talk at such times, lies not in any bloodshed and damage. It is the more real danger of provoking ill-judged, extravagant and counterproductive state responses. But this puts those who choose to be “provoked” in a peculiar and compromising position. Only if the media respond in a certain way can the terrorists achieve whatever spurious ends they may have.

We should recall that Theresa May as home secretary used the Paris and Belgium attacks to champion her “snooper’s charter”, the most severe intrusion on personal privacy anywhere in the western world – May added that the “terrorist threat” was why we should stay in the EU, as otherwise “they would roam free”. She warned that it took 143 days to process terrorist DNA outside the EU, against 15 minutes inside. Does she still say that? We must respect those who defend us, but terrorism induces a strange madness.

The British government also rushed ahead with its Prevent strategy, commanding every educational institution to show it had programmes in place to counter nonviolent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism. The attendant bureaucracy is now massive. Hardly a week passes without the Metropolitan police demanding vigilance – inducing fear, caution and nervousness towards strangers.

In struggling to put these incidents into proportion, we need to remember that there are now massive amounts of money in counterterrorism. Now is not the time to say this money is disproportionate, but it is open to the charge of serving terror’s purposes. Everyone involved has, in truth, a sort of interest in it, from journalists and politicians to police and security lobbyists. The paucity of terror incidents in totalitarian countries that censor news shows the crucial role of publicity to terror’s methodology. That said, suppressing such news cannot be justified in a free society. There is even a reluctance to admit self-censorship. When last year the French newspaper Le Monde decided not to publish the names of those responsible for terrorist killings as it clearly aided their martyrdom, it was criticised for denying coverage.

But every decision to publish an item of news involves a choice, a judgment. That is not “censorship”. For those seeking publicity for their misdeeds, there is a world of difference between the top spot on the news and the bottom. If the intention is not just to kill a few but thereby to terrify a multitude, the media is an essential accomplice. It is not the act that spreads terror, it is the report, the broadcast, the edited presentation, the decision on prominence.

All analysts of terrorism reiterate that it is not an ideology. Guns and bombs pose no “existential” threat to a country or society. Politicians who exploit it to engender fear are cynics with vested interests. Terrorism is a methodology of conflict. There is no real defence against madmen who kill, though it’s worth restating that London’s streets have probably never been safer places.

The use of vehicles to convey death is as old as the motor car – or at least since Mario Buda exploded his car bomb in Wall Street in 1920. Recent advances in electronics have clearly taken this a step further, hence the new horror of laptops on board aeroplanes. But planes are safer vehicles than ever.

That is why the response of British governments to IRA incidents in the 1970s and 80s – to regard them as random crimes not quasi-political gestures – was surely correct. IRA terrorism was a much worse threat than anything experienced at present. Some freedoms were curtailed, as in detention without trial and the censoring of IRA spokespeople. They were minor victories for terror. But for the most part, British freedoms were not infringed, life went on and the threat eventually passed. Let us hope the same applies today.