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I Met My Boyfriend on LinkedIn and We Were Long-Distance for 11 Years

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I Met My Boyfriend on LinkedIn and We Were Long-Distance for 11 Years

  • When I started a graphic-design business, I connected with another business owner on LinkedIn. 
  • We connected easily, which quickly turned to romance; we sometimes talked on Skype all day.
  • We were long-distance for 11 years, then bought a house; we learned love can overcome many things. 

In September 2011, I was at a low point in my life. It had been a hellacious six months of sharing the same space with my husband while we planned our divorce. Having been a stay-at-home mom for seven years, I struggled to find a full-time job. Eventually, out of sheer frustration, I started my own freelance graphic-design business. I’d managed to snag a few gigs by word of mouth but continued to energetically promote my business online. One way I did this was through LinkedIn groups.

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That December, I noticed a “follow along” post in one of my business groups, in which you post the link to your business’ Facebook page and follow the others in the thread. We were instructed to not only like the Facebook page, but to also leave a little note saying we were from the business group on LinkedIn.

Following an obscure business page had an unexpected result

One business I followed had a logo that I baffled me. It was a hand-drawn collection of objects floating in space — which told me nothing about the business — but I dutifully liked the page and left a note. A few moments later, I saw the owner of that business had liked my business page and left a note in return.

At the same time, I had my 100th follower on my personal blog. Curious and excited, I clicked over to look; lo and behold, it was the same person. He had left the usual comment that he had come from the LinkedIn group, so I replied, “You’re my 100th follower! Thanks, you’re the bomb!”

His punny response was, “I have been told by some I have an explosive personality.” I said something along the lines of, “How did you find my blog page, by the way?” He answered that he had his certificate in Facebook stalking, which I found amusing.

His name was Brad, and he proceeded to immediately message me on Facebook to apologize for following me across the internet. He then asked if I wanted to work together because he thought our businesses would be a good fit. I was a freelance graphic designer, and he created a Facebook app that allowed users to gift products and services to others. I wasn’t sure our businesses would be a good fit, but we continued to chat.

Despite the distance, our relationship quickly flourished

At one point, I threw an “Alice in Wonderland” quote into the conversation, and to my surprise, he responded with another “Alice in Wonderland” quote. That launched us into a conversation about books, which was followed by a discussion about movies and TV shows. We continued to message continuously for two days about everything under the sun. We had so much in common. He asked if we could switch to Skype, which we did. I had already looked up his photo and found he looked like a handsome English professor — I was interested in more than friendship at this point.

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I found out he lived in Reno, Nevada, while I lived in south-central Pennsylvania. I was still technically married. Though neither of us knew exactly where this was going, we kept talking. At one point, I consciously decided to jump into a romantic relationship with him, despite the distance.

Soon, we were finishing each other’s sentences and leaving Skype on 24 hours a day, talking while we cooked, working in companionable silence, and even going to sleep while still on Skype. By week six, we were saying “I love you.” He entertained my 2-year-old, who chatted with him and showed him her toys. The first person my middle son read to at 6 years old was Brad over Skype.

My mom and sisters were worried I was visiting an ax murderer

A year later, I scraped the funds together to fly out to Reno to meet Brad for the first time and have a visit with him while my kids were with my ex. We spent a blissful week together, punctuated by regular text messages from my mom and two sisters, who were worried I was visiting an ax murderer or, at the very least, visiting a scammer of some kind. We enjoyed meals out, cooked together, went for walks in the city, and watched our favorite shows together. I went home knowing Brad was the one for me.

My kids and I flew to Reno three years later to visit him. We couldn’t afford lots of back-and-forth travel, so this was my second visit with him. Then he drove to surprise me three times over the next few years, showing up at my townhouse and staying at a local hotel. Last year we all — even the dog — went on vacation together to a beach in Delaware, where we spent a week relaxing and enjoying the ocean.

A total of 11 years went by, during which we dealt with numerous issues: dealing with layoffs; stabilizing our finances; getting my divorce finalized and custody case worked out; and enduring the pandemic.

We learned love can persevere

In 2022, I started looking into buying a house and moving out of the tiny rental in which the kids and I had been living. I talked about the process with Brad, and he pointed out that we could get a house big enough for all of us if we pooled our resources. So in May 2023, we bought a house together in south-central Pennsylvania.

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The kids and I moved in June, and Brad drove across the country to move in with us the first week of October. Our 12-year anniversary is on December 14. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and each other along the way, but we mostly found that love can persevere and overcome many things. We enjoy spending the days together, doing everyday things such as making meals, running errands, and enjoying time with the kids. We anticipate making many more memories together from now on.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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