The last several years have seen me swallowed up in the various social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google-Plus, Instagram, and so on.
It is the way my family shares pictures, news about ourselves, and so on.
It is the way my friends share their goings on.
It is how I find news and information, and to hear the opinions by people I want to hear from on issues of the day.
It is sometimes a place to get inspiration.
But mostly, social media is merely a filler, something to page through when I’m not engaging my mind in some other pursuit. It is the windows solitaire of our day. And personally, it is getting out of hand.
none of this is new, or even news, or even mildly profound
Before today’s social media, before Myspace, before Friendster, before livejournal, and even before the web, the way I communicated with people was through email. I used to subscribe to several different mailing lists of different topics that were interesting and important to me at the time.
The primary difference to me between writing emails to a list (or longer-form blog posts like this) and posting on any particular SM platform is one of length. A follow-on from that is that instead of writing into a tiny little text field, I would write into a regular text editor, as I am with this blog post. The differences are tremendous: while writing at length, I necessarily slow down my posting activity, spending more time composing, and waaaayy more time editing, considering, and polishing my words. There will more than likely still be some typos and such, but far fewer missing entire words. I can press the enter key and all that happens is I get a new line.
Publishing these thoughts takes an additional step, or two or three, which is extremely antithetical to the pace seemingly required to keep up on social media.
The cost is that people have to subscribe to my blog, or be on an email list with me, and it can lead to much greater obscurity. As well, the conversation is more difficult to establish and maintain since people need to spend more effort than clicking on a “Like” button, or typing a couple emoji in a reply.
Perhaps this is my own personal “kids these days” rant; I’ll cop to that. But social media is not serving my needs, and I feel my own abilities declining in the face of it. In addition, social media is so bloody easy to fall into, and it’s on every device I use, so I go to that because it’s also easier than getting out the sketchbook, setting up the watercolours, getting out with my camera and taking intentional photographs (vs. documenting things with is all I use my camera for these days).
In recent years, I have returned to pen and paper journaling, as well as keeping a notebook for software engineering. This was really only due to my falling in love with fountain pens, and extension of my now nearly non-existent sketching practice. I’m using journals to record things I learn, things I want to learn, ideas, quotes, and all those things I was trying to remember, but never getting around to actually thinking about.
where i want to go
One of my goals for this 2019 year is to spend more time writing intentionally like this, and less time actually on social media. I intend to use social media to point to my writings, and hopefully the conversations can begin and continue. I want, overall, to live more of my life intentionally, and that is not something spending whole days scrolling and refreshing social media is.
For example, this post is wholly stream of consciousness, but it is something I’ve been noodling over for at least the past year. The difficulty of not getting my thoughts off the back burner in my brain and out into the forefront has been an issue of not spending time intentionally. I suppose today I find myself a bit fed up with myself.
No one can really hold me accountable to this except myself. I need to step back into some personal practices that have served me in the past, such as performing regular reviews, following a routine for starting and ending my day, taking more time for writing, both reflecting and planning. Putting together a longer term set of goals, and defining my purpose, now that I am in my 62nd year of life.
goals for 2019
making meaningful progress towards defeating institutional racism, ablism, misogyny, classism, hatred, and oppression, to make marginalized people’s everyday lives and existence easier
increasing the opportunities and abilities for people to reach for those opportunities in tech and particularly in software engineering which is my own specialty
to speak out, call out, and name white supremacy when I see it happening, most especially if I’m engaging in it
to listen and learn from marginalized people, and forward their words