Tag Archives: social media

Grounded

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”

― Carl Jung

Yesterday was not a good day for me. Cooped up inside, my brain ran rampant with negative thoughts that weren’t getting me anywhere. So I decided that today I needed to get out of the house.

To get out of my head, and into the here and now, walking is perfect. I put on a nice warm jacket, my warm hat, some comfortable shoes and out the door I go. Easy, convenient, no preparations necessary.

Oh, and I take my phone with me and make some photos along the way. For me, it’s a little something extra that makes it even more appealing to go out and breathe in some fresh air, be there and see where I am.

Although I always start out thinking ‘I’ll just go around the block’, before I know it, it’s a few hours later and I’m still outside, putting one foot in front of the other.

What else is there to say about the last few days? — Oh, yeah, I left a bunch of social media platforms and after a few days, I can report I already feel the positive effect of that.

The problem with social media is that, together with making new friends, looking up old friends, checking in with family members, seeing what everybody’s up to, sharing what I’m up to myself, etc. — I’m also getting that whole attention sucking machinery attached to it. At the beginning of social media, that was maybe still a little hidden. But then, all of a sudden, updates of my friends were not being offered to me in a ‘recent first’ way, but in a way that was ‘optimized’ for my personal consumption, most ‘important’ updates first! (Unh-huh…)

More and more the Facebooks, Instagrams, TikToks and Twitters of this world started offering up stuff that I actually didn’t ask for, but they think I will like, trying to grab my focus and attention and throwing some advertisement (well, a lot of advertisement actually) in the mix as well.

So, while I’m trying to dodge all the ads, I’m scrolling through droves of short videos that usually either bring me nothing of importance or annoy the heck out of me. It’s like the intelligence and calculations behind it are getting smarter, while I am getting dumber and dumber with every flick of my finger. 

It is not a feeling I miss.

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Read some stuff today.

The antidote to social media is being more social
David Heinemeier Hansson rediscovering the face-to-face and conversations after the pandemic.

Reframing it
You can bitch about a (financial) loss and the person who caused it, or you can reframe it for yourself in such a way you get a new, less negative perspective.

Why Are So Many Men Still Resistant to Reading Women?
I was immediately teed off at the title but decided to push through and read it anyway, if only to challenge myself… Yeah, no. I should have left it at that.

Nota bene: why do people insist on victimizing themselves or the group they perceive themselves to be a part of, even to the point of blindly only looking for proof of their assumptions – instead of just rightfully claiming their own existence and brilliance? ‘Kay, I think I already kind of answered my own question. Onward.

it is not fair flat
I like poetry that makes me think and Jim’s always does.

Once the storm is over

“Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore (Source: Goodreads)
ENCI Maastricht, the Netherlands. Photo: Twan van Elk.

I just cannot keep up with the tempo of Twitter anymore. Or I am definitely doing something wrong in how I handle stuff there. Update after update I try to give my attention to. But I fail. And, as much as I hate to say it, the same goes for the avalanche of new posts that keeps rolling in on my WordPress Reader. The more interesting people and blogs I encounter, the longer the list of updates that waits for me, every time I come back. So, what do I do? I come back more often of course! Yah… as you can guess, that is not the solution for my attention problem.

I want, no, I need to focus on what I am doing right now: writing. Wrangling my thoughts, bullying my mind to stay on track, letting things make sense again, at least for me. Picking someone else’s brain sometimes is awesome, but when after a while that is all I do, I have no room anymore to process stuff in my own head. I don’t know if that’s the same for everyone, but that is how it works for me.

Constantly trying to follow what everybody else is doing and thinking is not stimulating for me right now, it is numbing. My own thoughts get pushed out of the way by that growing pile in my head. There is such a thing as daily life also, you know? Work, family, friends and the distractions and challenges that come with those, they all eat up attention, time and energy.

And when things stay unresolved because I actually don’t deal with them, not really, that pile just keeps on growing. Picking one item out of it gets harder every time, because of the increasing amount of stuff that is there, all yelling out at me, in a cacophony of blurry priorities.

Okay. I think my weekend can begin now. It is getting dark and I am going to have drinks with my love. Have a great one.

Into the trees

Trees rustling above me in the gloomy evening, while I gaze at my shoes:

Social features back on

I turned back on all social features on my WordPress site here. The experiment has ended. Turns out, I didn’t like it without —or, the other way around— I kinda liked the social functionality more than I thought (or would admit to myself).

Also, trying to read all blogs, magazines and other news via RSS isn’t what it used to be. Feedreaders like Feedly and Inoreader are starting to increasingly limit functionality on the free versions, while advertisement creeps in on more and more instances. And since I’m a cheapskate and don’t want to spend money on this stuff, it just isn’t working for me anymore. (Oh, if only Google Reader was still here…)

On top of all of that, I somehow stopped blogging… Like with the social stuff gone, I wasn’t… that interested anymore? I don’t know what happened there and whether I am making the right connections in my thinking, but right now, that is what it looks like.

Anyhoo, several other reasons, not interesting or private, added to this whole mix and the end-result is clear: social stuff back in place!

Letting the light in

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.

― Isaac Asimov

I have decided I want to start an experiment. I want to try out not using most of the social features of WordPress. So, at least on the front-end of this blog you won’t see likes and follows anymore. I already wasn’t using the Facebook, Twitter and what-have-you integrations, but now I’ll cut the WordPress ones out also.

There’s a bunch of reasons why I want to try this.

First off, a lot of spammy, weird, accounts were starting to show up in the likes as well as the follows. (No, not you.) That probably had something to do with me showing a big list of the followers of my blog on every page of the website, as well as the accounts that left likes under each article. More exposure means a higher possibility of click-troughs, right? Well, no more.

Furthermore, I don’t want to write for likes and follows. I think that if I am more aware of those, I start to write differently. I want to write because I need to and because I want to put it out there, that’s it. Whatever happens after that, happens.

I don’t even want to write for the comments, actually, but those I will leave in for now. Because I want to give you the chance to easily leave your thoughts if you’re so inclined to share them here. That is okay. If you have your own blog and want to write there and then link to me, that is even better. Think about it: you stay in control of your own comments and you will be adding new content to your own blog at the same time. Win-win!

That is also how I want to handle my own reading and reacting. No more follows and likes in the WordPress ecosystem, just reacting when I feel the need to or have something to add. On my own blog. You get a link to your content and I stay in control of mine.

Blogs I regularly want to check into, I will read via their RSS-feeds, which means that I can freely add and remove feeds when I want to, without having to think about the blog owners maybe feeling that I don’t like or support them or something like that. That whole a-like-for-a-like and a-follow-for-a-follow thing. It shouldn’t matter, but I don’t even want to go there. If you have an account on WordPress you probably know what I mean.

So. What else? Oh yeah, today’s playlist: I used to have a voice.

Out there

To Be Cursed To Utter True Prophecies

… but never be believed.

I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age

Michael Goldhaber saw it all coming:

“…the complete dominance of the internet, increased shamelessness in politics, terrorists co-opting social media, the rise of reality television, personal websites, oversharing, personal essay, fandoms and online influencer culture — along with the near destruction of our ability to focus.”

Charlie Warzel (The New York Times) – I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age

And while it is nice to read about someone who was actually smart enough to be able to see ahead, to see what the consequences and implications of these (technical) developments and changed perspectives are, I am not sure how that in itself helps us.

Fact is, we didn’t hear it and we didn’t listen to it at the time it was being said. It made not enough of an impact to prevent from happening what is now happening and already has happened. Goldhaber himself told Warzel that it is simply impossible to escape this ‘attention economy’. And with what I see going on in my life on a daily basis, I completely agree.

Goldhaber identifies the shamelessness that is underpinning success in such a system. The attention economy rewards those who manage to get into the spotlight and have the biggest audience the most. So the pressure to be always ‘on’, as he puts it, is immense and it is taking its toll on a lot of people.

It is true, I do see more and more people taking a step back and thinking about how we can change things around. And some of them even manage to take action. But while they come up with very insightful stuff and in some cases manage to successfully implement a significant different way of doing things, we’re still a long way off from making actual, substantial change in the way we are all living together om this planet.

(BTW – For anyone who didn’t immediately knew who this ‘Cassandra’ was, I had to look it up also.)