Facebook D Day

I think today may be the day that my Facebook account dies. I say I think, because I’m not really sure. I think Facebook wants it that way. When you go to delete your account, they say it will take effect within 14 days, but it may be sooner – or maybe later? My past experiences tell me that when you think it’s gone – and try logging in to check – miraculously, it’s still there and it ‘reactivates’ you so you would need to go through the whole process and waiting period again.

By my calculations, today would be Day 14, but I’m not going to attempt to login to check, I’ve been suckered before.

Cruising my Feedly today I came across this article, relevant to my Facebook usage – or former Facebook usage.

How to Use Social Media Wisely and Mindfully

One particularly relevant excerpt in my case:

“We can also become more mindful and curious about social media’s effects on our minds and hearts, weighing the good and bad. We should ask ourselves how social media makes us feel and behave, and decide whether we need to limit our exposure to social media altogether (by logging out or deactivating our accounts) or simply modify our social media environment. Some people I’ve spoken with find ways of cleaning up their newsfeeds—from hiding everyone but their closest friends to “liking” only reputable news, information, and entertainment sources.”

Over the past several years (yes, it’s been that long) I’ve experimented with various levels/methods of monitoring social media use. Logging out of some accounts for extended periods and attempting to curate more specifically the people/organizations I follow among others.

Overwhelmingly I found that certain platforms bug me more than others. Facebook was the number one offender, so I decided to dump it. Twitter was second, and I had pretty much stopped using it, so it went as well.

I was back and forth with Instagram, but I find that I still enjoy it in a unique way, and overall, it doesn’t impact my moods and outlook the way my Facebook experience did (negatively), so I’ve kept it. For now.

After abandoning Google+ for awhile when I gave up ALL social media for a stint, I’ve gone back to it. Although it’s lost a lot of the specifics of the platform that made it unique from the early days – anyone who’s followed me for an extended period of time know’s I championed it early on – I still find that there’s something about it that allows for more interesting and less frustrating engagement. That said, I’ve still cut way back on the number of people I’m following and become more selective. In addition, I’ve also decided not to follow any Pages (brands, companies, organizations) and stick to (supposedly) real people. I find this helps keep the noise down.

Full disclosure – I still have a Facebook account with a fake name that I use for work. As it stands I’m responsible for managing some client Pages as well as overseeing ad and social media campaigns so I still needed a way to be on the platform. My ‘fake account’ doesn’t follow anyone though and I don’t post anything with it.

So perhaps I am off the Facebook. I don’t know. Maybe you can never really leave.

Au Revoir, Facebook.

I’ve deactivated it for time periods before, but going full monty this time. Over the past few months I’ve pretty much jumped off all the social medias, including the Plus here, but have decided to gradually come back to some, in a more curated fashion. Found overall that spending less time in front of screens was a really beneficial exercise.

I’m still going to have some reservations about not having a Facebook account, things that kept me from deleting it before. A couple of Groups I was managing, and a few other things, but for the most part I won’t miss it. I’ve made arrangements to share photos with family via Flickr and I have been keeping in touch via more ‘conventional means’ like email, text, and old-fashioned voice phone.

I had hung on to Facebook for a long time primarily for Messenger, but I’ve learned you don’t have to have a Facebook account to use it. People from Facebook can still connect with you on it provided they have your phone number. It also works with Instagram – just learned this today – which I plan on keeping because I enjoy it quite a bit. Something about it being image-based, and there’s less politics and drama. I hate that they’ve started fucking with the timeline chronology, but, oh well.

Deleted my twitter account as well. Hadn’t used it as more than a link-reposting device in months and frankly, looking at it these days just bores me.

I think I will be dipping my toes back into Google+ some, though it will never be like the early days. Just poking around I very much dislike a lot of what’s been done with it, even in the short time I haven’t really been paying attention. It seems that it’s even harder now to find that genuine engagement that made it so exhilarating in the beginning. I find there’s too much being ‘pushed’ at me now, with suggestions, ‘things I might like’ or other upsells.

Collections, though good in theory, only works if everyone uses them, allowing you to opt out of portions of people’s content. Unfortunately I find most people don’t use them, or at least the ones I wish did, don’t.

So my Facebook goes dark 14 (or less) days from now supposedly. Perhaps I’ll do some sort of countdown here, because, reasons. Whatever.

Bare Bones

In an effort to focus time spent here more on content and not mucking about with design and bells and whistles, I’m conducting a bit of an experiment by going with the straight up stock default WordPress theme vs. a Studiopress theme and/or various plugins. It’s also my effort to better understand the stock features of WordPress and Jetpack – many of which I currently have no idea with regards to their usage or function, even though I’ve been developing WordPress sites for several years now.

In addition with the increase of doing actual day-job work on WordPress sites, my desire to noodle with the design and features of my own has dwindled. In fact, part of the reason I never post here is because visiting has become quite ponderous. Social media has – for all intents and purposes – supplanted the blog for the most part. I often forget though, that the Jetpack Publish feature will automatically post these to my various social media sites.

I keep telling my clients that the web has shifted from a few years ago and more emphasis is now on both content and usability – particularly mobile responsiveness/friendlyness – with regards to sites and less so on fancy designs and gimmicks. One benefit of the stock WP theme is that it’s mobile responsive right out of the box. (Not that the Studiopress themes aren’t – they are, but just saying.) Websites have essentially become online apps that people use to execute a need – be it read your post, find you company, buy your thing.

Among other things on the to-do list is to once and for all try to assemble some sort of online portfolio of my design work. Over the years I’ve used various methods including galleries on this page, galleries on photo sites such as flickr or Google+ and third party sites like Behance all to various levels of success/satisfaction. I’d really like to find one solution and stick with it.

Call it an exercise in minimalism if you will, but really what I’m trying to do is strip things down in order to get more. It just occurs to me that coincidentally, I’m trying to do the same in the real world as well.

The Return of Green Day?

Ok, so pursuant to a thread last week on my Google+ page about Green Day records, for the past week I’ve been checking out their latest ‘trilogy’ for lack of a better word, Uno! Dos! Tré!.

I remember being nonplussed when they started releasing these. I have to admit that my first reaction was, they’re releasing THREE records? WTF? Ok, they’ve finally jumped the shark.

The records were released to relatively little fanfare, especially after BJA’s on-stage blow up and subsequent rock star cliché ‘admission to a substance abuse program’ both overshadowed the records themselves and also caused the cancellation of the majority of the live shows that were in support their releases.

I remember joking with a buddy that maybe BJA’s tirade was ‘orchestrated’ to get press the day before one of the records (I think the first) dropped. If so, the plan backfired.

All that being what it is, now that I’ve given the records their chance, I think they’re solid. As often with double albums, I often wonder if they shouldn’t have just focused more and whittled it down to two records, but then, well, the novelty would be lost, I guess, since they’re three of ’em right? (Well actually there’s four now, these sessions were the first to include touring guitarist Jason White – the now ‘official’ 4th member of Green Day, so where’s his record?).

I don’t think that this material is as monumental as say American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown, but then again, I don’t think it’s supposed to be. I think that’s maybe part of my hang up. After the grandiose expanse of the last two records, I’m actually having trouble adjusting back to two minute, 3 chord bashers. I think my inner prog – punk rock love child needed more.

Now that I’ve let the set grow on me though, I’m digging it. There’s a few tunes that I could do without and a few that are drop dead awesome – as would be expected in an artillery of 37 tracks, but I’m getting past my initial instinct to find the characters in the tunes (as I did with the last two records) and just listen to the songs themselves, and I’m finding as a whole, they’re pretty good.

It’s like going from standing against the back wall of the club, nodding your head in pensive reflection of the deeper meaning of it all, and getting back into the pit at the edge of the stage and throwing elbows again.

Why you should consider Google+. Again.

I’ve been having lots of conversations with people lately regarding their trust – or lack thereof – of Facebook/Instagram and their use/intentions with regards to your content and data. I’ve always maintained that posting info on ANY service on the internet is never going to be 100% guaranteed, but how a company conducts itself ethically, to me speaks volumes as to what level of confidence you should have in said service.

I dumped my Instagram account when Facebook bought them, because I was pretty sure no good would come of that.

I myself, don’t really trust Facebook anymore and pretty much only maintain an account there to connect with people that I don’t have a means to anywhere else, and also to administer my company’s page.

Though it may seem like a hassle to learn something new and you might have heard reports to the contrary, Google+ is a real alternative with a thriving community, better development and applications, and considerably less bullshit.

The level and quality of engagement I’ve found on Google+ with both people I knew already and new people I’ve connected with vastly surpasses most experiences I’ve had on Facebook.

It may seem silly to speak in such earnest and sincere terms about something that to many is ‘just an app’ or merely a ‘distraction’, but the fact of the matter is, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the way we connect with people, build relationships both at work and home, find services and products, learn new things, and gather information has changed and will continue to change, sometimes in the very moments as we type.

With the continuing proliferation of wireless connectivity and mobile devices, these ‘tools’ will continue to become more ingrained and integrated into our lives. Like any other issue of our days – politics, human rights, etc. – change will only come about if people choose to ‘vote’ for it, by demonstration with their actions.

How do you want to move forward?

The Status Quo will always be just that, unless people change. If you believe there’s no viable options to Facebook – or whatever service you’re unhappy with – then you are making the choice yourself to stay in the situation you’re in.