Facebook Follies

Years ago I used to post about six or seven status updates on Facebook every day. This was not including the amount of times I’d change my profile picture as well. I went through a phase where I shared any and every humorous Star Wars image I could find.

Back in March of this year I took a drastic approach to this addiction. I deleted all my friends from Facebook. I’m not blaming my friends for my addiction. It’s just they humored my zany antics and prompted me to continue. I needed the next big laugh or long list of “comments” and “likes”. Those feelings never lasted and I craved more attention creating a vicious circle.

I find now that my daily blog is more informative and a better use of my time. It allows me to truly express myself and share how my life is going. I’m also reading more pieces from other bloggers and feeling much more productive. There’s an entire world out there that doesn’t require “a like for a like.”

I still use Facebook, but in a much different facet. I read articles that are enlightening or educational to me. I also interact with my blog followers when they comment. It’s a different, more grown up feeling I’m getting from using Facebook.

And I “like” it.

Healthy Lifestyle both Physically and Mentally

As I get older I feel that my life needs a bit more of a health upgrade. My wife is constantly pushing me to be more active. And she’s right. Look at yesterday for example:

I become stagnant and inert sometimes without realizing it. Yesterday she accomplished nearly 12,000 steps. I barely did 1700. As you can see- her goal is significantly higher than mine. Now that I’m in my early 40’s- it’s time to really start looking at my future.

I’m planning to retire by my mid 50’s. Which means besides being financially secure by then, I also want to be able to enjoy life. I don’t see myself hitting the gym, but walking more and getting off my phone to see the world are becoming more prevalent choices in order to feel healthy. So I also took a drastic approach to my cellphone addiction on Sunday.

On Sunday, as I was waiting for my son to compete in his Speed Skating competition, I noticed how everyone in the stands was on their phones- hardly interacting with one another. Naturally, I took out my phone and opened Facebook. This is when I realized I have a problem. It became clear that even though in the past I have taken a month hiatus periodically from the Social Media- I needed to do more. So I began by looking at my “Friends” list. I removed people to try and “clean house”.

By the end, I had removed nearly everyone on my list. There is now only my wife and daughters, my three friends who have passed away and two fellows whom I respect in many ways. One is a hard working artist, the other is my son’s coach. It took four days before anyone noticed that they weren’t my “Friend” anymore. The one who did notice is a close friend of mine and messaged me last night. Others may not have noticed, because if they follow my Blog- they are still seeing me posts on a daily basis because WordPress shares directly there for me.

After nearly 12 years on Facebook, it is tough to just give it up. I have kept my Facebook “alive” in order to read stories and news articles from groups that I follow. As well as to interact with those who comment on my blog posts. A couple of years ago I stopped using Twitter. The one social media I do enjoy is Instagram. I follow many of my Former Facebook Friends on their and enjoy seeing quick snapshots of their adventures.

Maybe one day I’ll regret dropping all of those Facebook contacts. I didn’t announce it to the world at the time because it really shouldn’t be a big deal. So I guess this is that announcement just to let people know. Time for me to move on. And by move, I mean walk more. Healthy living should be both physical and mental.

A new journey lies ahead. If I put my phone down- I’ll see where I’m going.

Not Socializing on Social Media

Last night as I lay in bed watching Netflix I was also browsing for nothing in particular on my smartphone (or should we just call it a phone now since most of us have one?). I don’t know what I was looking for. But it started and ended with Facebook.

First was a rabbit hole of videos. Everything from Fail Compilations to Wood Carving. Many of which I have seen before on these late night journeys of nothingness. Then I decided to try looking up former coworkers and schoolmates that I am not “Friends” with currently. Why? I have no idea.

Credit:Bizarro Comics

Do I need to pad my online self worth with people I once knew? Was it a deeper connection I desired with these strangers? I stopped myself before I began sending “Friend Requests”. I’ve come to realize that I have some great friends on Facebook. Ones who do share with me quite often even though we don’t see each other outside of social media.

I have also turned into the type of person that rarely comments on posts because I don’t want to offend. So my opinion remains curtailed and I lay dormant and quiet. Which is probably why I watch those videos. There is no interaction required. Just mind numbing useless videos that make me feel inadequate (I cannot turn wood into beautiful works of art) or I feel righteous (because of watching people fail at life doing stupid stunts).

The Fear of missing out prevents me from just abandoning social media all together. Maybe it’s time to reassess my reasons for staying on board. I’ve stopped using Twitter and Pinterest. I was never into Reddit. I enjoy Instagram because I love seeing the beauty in the world. But Facebook? No idea why I’m still going back. Sometimes I see a success story from a friend’s feed that makes me smile. Is it those moments that I crave?

I have a buddy that I have been friends with since kindergarten in the early 80’s. He has zero social media presence. He never did either. He and I are still in contact through text messages and calls on a regular basis. We meet up every few months and it feels like we never separated. I have a couple other friends like this. But I need more of those types of friends.

As I flip flop through deciding to abandon the social networking all together, I have to look at what’s important to me. Seeing success stories makes me happy. Using social media to keep up with technology and entertainment is also useful. Seeing hatred and misinformation spread is not.

Maybe it’s time for me to take my Month Long Break again.

Breaking a Bad Routine or Two

I never realized that I had a routine. One that many of us fall victim to. An addiction.

Ugh. The word “Addiction” is so horrible sounding. I personally picture heroin junkies whenever the word is spoken. But that’s not the only thing I imagine-

I see myself. And that sucks.

The Oatmeal nails it.

Last month I took a Break From Social Media. It felt good. However, on September 1st, just after midnight, I spent the good portion of an hour catching up on Facebook and Instagram. The Fear Of Missing Out won me over after 31 days.

I’m still refusing to use the social media platforms unless I’m on WiFi. I’ve also tucked them away in a folder on my phone to keep them more out of sight. Gotta stop opening the apps when quiet takes over…

Perhaps I can one day push myself into the Joy Of Missing Out. Not all of it is important. Most of it isn’t. But what if it is…? Dammit- gotta stop second guessing myself.

No mo’ FOMO.

Joe needs JOMO.

Like a MOFO.

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August Break

A couple of years ago, I took the month of August off from social media. I did it last March as well. I just randomly choose a month and avoid Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I usually end up “going dark” when I realize that I’m checking my iPhone far too frequently. Or if I notice my family and friends are obsessing over their phones as well. Sure, we all take a moment when on the toilet to watch a video… but in a social setting- it should be time to interact with those around you. (Using a public washroom doesn’t count as a social setting- just saying.)

I’m also choosing August as a time for a break from social media because for the second half of the month I will be enjoying the great outdoors. I’m taking a couple of my kids to a cabin with a friend of mine for a week, followed by a week of camping in one of my favorite spots in BC- Twenty Mile Bay.

You can’t tell me that relaxing with your feet up on an inflatable raft in the middle of a peaceful lake staring off into the mountains isn’t good for the soul.

The same way our electronics need a recharge- so do our minds. A chance to unplug is good for everyone.

Le Sigh

I know most of my friends won’t care that I am not on social media for the month. In fact they may be relieved because I tend to share, like, and comment quite frequently. Of course, during the month of August I still have to do work, pay bills, etc… I’m not disappearing from the Internet all together- I am still going to be writing everyday.

My blog automatically shares on social media. But while I’m out doing things with the family- I may not have internet access. Which is totally fine with me. It just means when my blogs do get posted, they may be a few days later.

So if you follow along, please bear with my posts as they may not come everyday. But you may get bombarded with a couple each day when I return to the technological era.

10 Day Music

Recently on Facebook, one of those “copy and paste” challenges has been going around:

“Ten albums in no particular order that made an impact on you that are still in your rotation today. No explanation is required, just post the cover and nominate someone new each day to do the same.”

I had been watching this unfold on many friends’ feeds for few months. Each time I saw an album posted, I understood more about that person. Even though it says “no explanation is required…” most people explained a bit about the album. Some of the music shared was really good. Some was stuff I’d never heard of.

Ten days ago, I was nominated by a friend. So I decided to play along. I enjoyed posting a new album every day. It was neat to get response from people about my choices. My music selection over the ten days were:

  1. Monty Python: Sings
  2. James: Laid
  3. Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
  4. Space: Female Of The Species
  5. Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
  6. Beastie Boys: License To Ill
  7. Martin Solveig: Smash
  8. Faith No More: King For A Day…
  9. Green Day: Dookie
  10. Queen: Greatest Hits

All of these albums are still being played constantly. I hope I inspired others to listen to my music. Who knows, maybe I’ll figure out more music that I’ve missed out on or forgotten about as my friends continue to share their albums.

Controversial

I don’t tend to write about anything controversial. I have opinions that aren’t always popular or agreed upon. Many topics are subjective as it is anyways. I find that not everything is black and white. There are shades of grey just blended closer to one side or the other.

I had a high school teacher always say to the class, “Everyone is entitled to their wrong opinion.” As clever as he may have sounded when I was a teen- it closes the door to one’s mind. Having an ability to hear and understand someone else’s position opens up healthy dialogue.

I don’t find the need to be confrontational anymore. There was a time and place that I’d raise my voice. However I found it fell on deaf ears and only caused animosity among friends. So now, I often keep my thoughts on politics and religion to myself. Occasionally I share an image or a link to shed some humor in an all too serious world.

Dystopian Life

Our eldest daughter just discovered the novel 1984. I had recommended it to her ages ago, but of course she only wanted to read it when she discovered it at school. Why would Dad know something about anything. But I digress.

I am happy she is enjoying it. I’m trying to recommend other novels as well. I loved reading about dystopian ideas as a teen. Sometimes the ideas, like the ones in the novel 1984, hit close to home eventually. You could easily compare “Fake News” to “Doublespeak” with today’s information sharing. Even terminology was derived from the novel- “Big Brother is watching.” Sadly, we’ve all just become accustomed to it.

I have even recommended a couple of movies to my daughter. Brazil is a personal favorite. I love Terry Gilliam films, always have. Somehow he envisions people working around “the system” with possible consequences. Not everything is a happy ending. Perhaps my children need to learn that not everything has Disney feel good moments. Sometimes the world just exists and the people are merely pawns.

And as we move forward through life, staring at smartphones, sharing our lives willingly on social media- I can’t help but think that we are somehow living in Orwellian Times. As said in 1984:

Ignorance is strength.

The Death of Social Media

Is social media dying? One word:

Advertisements.


I am among most people who have been groomed into social media sites over the past few years.  In its infancy it started as using a computer having an identity on ICQ or later on, Messenger.  Advertising began as little ad bars along the top or sides of your message windows.  Easy enough to ignore. Typing took a lot of focus!


Then Facebook boomed. There were no ads, a bit of freedom to share statuses and tidbits of your life.  All you had to do was log in.  Facebook started to allow links to websites, photos, and simple word based games that forced you to log on repeatedly to get further on.  All of it exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. People staring at screens for hours on end, logging in hourly, hoping to connect.


Even as Twitter and Instagram grew as alternative options to Facebook, the freedom to just spend time with online friends soared. Someone out there realized that there was an untapped advertising market.  So now as you scroll through your smartphone, trying to see what’s new with your friends, every third of fourth thing is an ad. 

Much like the way movie theaters know that they can put 20 mins of commercials at the start of a film because they already have “bums in seats”. There was no where to look but directly in front of you. Now, we do it to ourselves.  The amazing computer in your palm spewing advertisements when all you want to know is if your friend had a good birthday the day before.

Social media we once knew is dying. It is no longer “Social”.  At some point, there will be something new and everyone will jump on board because of the lack of initial advertising.  But it too will become a stream of commercials. We need to start calling it like it is:

Sommercial Media

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

Independence Day 2017

As we have done every year, we are watching ID4 as a family. Last year I mentioned the story of how I made my children believe that this film was a documentary based on real events: ID-4. This year I cannot help but feel that if I were to tell my children that now for the first time, they would almost believe it again. 


That’s because there is far too much “Fake News” going around.  And that scares me. My example may seem far fetched, but is it?What if our history books get rewritten?  Or legitimate news articles get buried and erased from existence?  At what point will we as a species completely forget what is real or the truth? Stories handed down from generation to generation and then forgotten or lost. There’s nothing stopping this.

And so we watch on social media.  We watch and interact with one another.  We eat it up. And we yearn for the next story. We spark up conversations about hot topics and buzz words.  Have you heard the term “Flex for the gram”?  That’s what we all do on social media.  We portray the perfection of our lives that we want shown. We don’t share realism.  We share what we think others want to see.  We share our own “fake news”.  I’m guilty of this. I know I am.  I’ve also shared some unfunny and darker stories, but I’ve kept much of it private. I love sharing the adventures of my family.


Tonight as people celebrate Independence Day, my family and I are just hanging out.  A quick dinner in the backyard and the movie on in the theater room. Family time as we start the summer break. Watching this film is our tradition. Laughing at it and pointing out the flaws is so much fun.  On a side note- President Whitmore would be a better man to run the USA at this point in time… if he were real.