Another successful interaction with a man!

As a disclaimer, it takes a lot to keep my attention and I suck at flirting, so falling in love is a long process for me. Several friends have banned me from wingman duty after I got bored, started checking my phone and wandered off while on call. Follow these nine easy steps and you just might fall in love. It worked for me.

1. Meet new people. Whether it's through volunteering at a local film festival or through trivia, diversifying your friend group can lead to increased happiness on its own.

2. Take a chance. Did a cute guy just sit down across from you? Start the conversation. Is he interesting? Stay for a bit.

3. Judge their interest level. Is he smiling? Are there Lisa Frank stickers available? If so, aim for the forehead. Is he still smiling? Congratulations! You have just had another successful interaction with a man.

4. Connect on social media. Does he like Nickelback? If so, ignore. If not, proceed. Mention cephalopods, NPR and mixology.

5. Hang out with a group. Commandeer the hammock. Ignore everyone to discuss the Superman black bag issue and comics-based movie franchises.

6. Hang out one on one. Take over a six pack of stout. Watch R. Kelly's "Trapped In The Closet." Stay up til 4 talking. Sleep. Eat breakfast. Watch football. Repeat.

7. Plan a trip abroad. After a few months, you're going to need a little space to cement your thoughts. When you're dropped off at 5 AM, realize you don't want to travel alone for three weeks. Bawl. Repeat when you get out of cell range and again when you find that your Internet won't support Skype or FaceTime.

8. Come back. More importantly, share what you learned. Smile more. Flirt more. Sometimes it takes half a world's distance to realize the value the person next to you holds.

9. Be kind. Slip that tiny bar of bacon chocolate into his bag. Expect excited text messages two days later when he finds it.

Title taken from a recurring phrase on "30 Rock."

Staccato signals of constant information

When my family moved to Alabama, my parents gave me a Lisa Frank diary. For a few months, I locked the details of my playground exploits, crushes and friends behind the unicorns playing on the rainbow covers. One day, I left it unlocked and open in the living room. At that point, I hadn’t acclimated. After eight years of life in Virginia, my new yellow (more Naples yellow than cream, ick) bedroom still seemed foreign.

Because what I had written was unhappy but tame—I had only just heard my first curse word—they sat me down to talk about it. I was mortified. As an only child, I wasn’t used to having my stuff moved or touched. I knew how to share, but that was my diary. That was MINE.

Now I don’t keep thoughts for anything other than writing projects on paper. There are a few drafts of angry letters to exes shuffled away somewhere and some notes from the trip I took to Europe, but those are camouflaged in my cluttered apartment.

As a paranoid member of Gen Y, it kind of makes sense. One look at my Facebook timeline and you're privy to an electronic record of the past seven years of my life. Until LiveJournal went through a purge earlier this year, you could’ve found my adolescent pre-Facebook drama there. Thank goodness that’s not readily available.

Thing is, social media has become the new way to journal and document life. This switch has some serious consequences—the electronic record is almost never entirely erased. It is easily shareable through social media and never entirely dies. On the other hand, paper can be scanned or copied, but it can also be totally destroyed. It doesn’t hurt that burning old documents can purge both your filing cabinet and your mind.

If Facebook had been around when I was younger, I probably would have been diagnosed with ADD and medicated accordingly. Multitasking at the same rate that I do now would have rendered me almost entirely unable to keep attention on one task at a time. Since I started Tweeting, Facebooking and text messaging later in life, I am still able to turn my phone on silent, make a friend change my social media passwords and get down to writing/working physics/being fully present. Once the assignment/hang out is over, though, I go right back to being constantly connected.

That’s the beauty and danger of social media. It’s possible to plug more into your community and to connect deeply with others who share your passion. It’s also easy to get sucked into documenting every detail of your life for everyone in your network to see.

Striking a balance between these two is the key—if you can’t, I’m going to hide your profile. That’s the purpose behind journaling, not social media, and is best left off the web. I heard that the book store you mentioned quite a few times on Tumblr is having a sale on Moleskines

Title taken from Paul Simon's "The Boy In The Bubble"