Tag Archives: lent

Breaking The Habit…Again

Breaking the Habit 124

So last year I wrote this brief post on Ash Wednesday explaining how I would be giving up social media for Lent. Facebook, Twitter, and the like would be limited to Sundays per Catholic Lenten rules from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but it ended up really refreshing. So I’m doing it again.

It’s amazing how much of last year’s post still rings true. I’m sitting here reading it and shaking my head in amazement:

“Whenever I log on to Facebook or Twitter any more, one of three things happen: I chuckle at a funny picture or joke, I get angry at someone being a moron, or I have no reaction at all.” – Still the case.

“For damn near ten years I’ve spent at least five to ten minutes a day wondering what other people are up to. It used to be interesting, it used to be fun; now it’s either someone complaining about their lives, someone complaining about current events, someone complaining about all the people on Facebook complaining about stuff, or cats.” – Yup.

“I’ve realized that outside of the occasional link to an interesting article or conversation with a friend or peer that I don’t normally see, Facebook and Twitter have added nothing to my life in a long time.” Outside of Eagles tickets in late November, this is true.

One major difference this year from last year is the balance of what is on my Twitter feeds anymore. There’s still complaining, there’s still cats, but now there’s story after story of people being endlessly harassed, poked and prodded with 140-character barbs that seems funny to the writer but can be devastating to the recipient. I don’t care if you’re man, woman, black, white, Asian, or space alien, reading things like that on a regular basis is not fun.

When did this become the standard? When did “I don’t agree with this person but I respect their opinion” become “I don’t agree with this person so let me log on to a random social media site and tell them to fuck off”? When did basic human empathy and respect get forgotten, replaced by vitriol and hate? It’s making me think that social media is slowly becoming the worst thing that’s ever happened to the human race. People who live on Facebook or Twitter day in and day out are starting to bring those inescapable feelings of annoyance, anger, and hate into the real world when they log off and come back to reality, and it’s starting to become noticeable.

Example: think about when you’re walking into the local convenience store and you see one patron hold the door open for another one. It used to be that you’d hear loud and clear “thank you” or some kind of audible recognition, a person speaking to another person in thanks of the small kind deed. Now the gesture is thanked with nervous eye contact, a quick “thanks” and a rushed entry through the doorway. People are slowly forgetting how to be people, which is really strange to see, and while I wouldn’t place the entire blame on walls and Twitter feeds I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they’re a major contributor.

(Sorry, that was a bit of a soapbox rant, but if nothing else I hope what I said made sense)

I’ve already removed the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone, and I’ve cleared the history on both my PC and my phone so I don’t feel tempted to look at the auto-logged in Safari pages. If you need to reach me, you can call or text, email me (even use the “CONTACT ME” link right above this post), or whatever else you want to use, but FB private messages and Twitter direct messages will only (maybe) be seen on Sundays. I’ll also be posting some more random crap here on the blog (which is programmed to post to my FB and Twitter in the hopes of becoming one of those links people click that make them happy). I’ll be updating my portfolio regularly too, putting my most recent work all over that page.

Thanks everyone for reading. In true Internet fashion, here’s a cat.

cat

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Breaking the Habit

Breaking the Habit 124

I am by no means a completely religious man. I have faith, sure, but church and I haven’t been seen together lately (outside of a few visits to my neighbor’s congregation). However, tomorrow is Lent, and we Catholics are supposed to sacrifice something for 40 days (until Easter Sunday for those rushing to calendars) to make us better people or something. I haven’t given anything up for Lent in a really long time (again, bad religious guy), but this year I’ve decided to take the plunge. I had been thinking of giving up that which I’ve decided to give up for Lent for a long time now; I’ve thought at length about what, if anything, this thing is adding to my life. I’ve come to realize that, outside of a few laughs and a few other small perks, that this thing which I used to treasure has become more of a burden than anything else.

Social media, it’s time you and I went our separate ways for a little while.

Whenever I log on to Facebook or Twitter any more, one of three things happen: I chuckle at a funny picture or joke, I get angry at someone being a moron, or I have no reaction at all. I just scroll through my feed endlessly, looking for something to pique my interest. What’s more, some of the discussions I do see on either feed get me so riled up than they can actually change my mood. I could be feeling more productive than ever, the world is my oyster, then I’ll read a Tweet from some idiot talking about God knows what and I’ll come to a screeching halt. It’s time to break free.

For damn near ten years I’ve spent at least five to ten minutes a day wondering what other people are up to. It used to be interesting, it used to be fun; now it’s either someone complaining about their lives, someone complaining about current events, someone complaining about all the people on Facebook complaining about stuff, or cats. I’ve realized that outside of the occasional link to an interesting article or conversation with a friend or peer that I don’t normally see, Facebook and Twitter have added nothing to my life in a long time, so I’ve decided to take a 40-day break. Score points with the big guy upstairs AND try to break free of these social media chains; it’s a win-win.

Most importantly, I realized that a few 140-character thoughts on Twitter or status updates on Facebook could turn into blog posts or even freelance ideas elsewhere. I figure since I’m losing my ability to quickly spout off and say something stupid about something, I can instead turn here to the personal blog, gather my thoughts, and write something more fleshed out. Who knows, my writing may even be better off for it.

Now, there are two caveats: one, I set up this blog to automatically post links to anything I publish on Facebook and Twitter, because I intend to include links to my work in my blog post ramblings. Also, it’ll make it easier for anything who decides to read the dumb crap I write on here a quick way to see that I posted something. Some may call that cheating, but it does not require me to sign on to either Facebook or Twitter, so I call it sound logic.

Second,  there is the Lenten rule that whatever is given up is allowed to be used on Sundays, so you might see me on Sundays post a thing or two, but I don’t want to make a habit of it.

So there ya go, my manifesto on my plans for the next forty days or so. Thanks for indulging me! Click on “Portfolio” up top to see my latest works, and maybe click on that “Talk to Me” next to it and drop me a line once in a while. No one said anything about emails!

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