Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 20 – 20 Aug 18 – Using less social media – Pt. 2

Another workday Monday has come and gone. It was productive, tedious but productive. This morning, the usual diatribe occurred between me and my brother in podcasting/tech/photographer/music, DarrenKeith regarding our social media use, or lack thereof. The discussion was briefly about plans of usage when returning back to FB and IG after this break is over. Strangely enough, I stumbled across this Twitter post and thread today:

The OP stated essentially the same thoughts I’ve been having regarding my return to Instagram. The only thing different between her and I is that she has a successful business that she’s been using FB and IG to promote. Me, all I have are two secondary IG counts used for branding my music production activities as a personal artist and one half of AfterSix Productions.

Reading the thread further solidfied my thoughts about deleting my personal IG account. Only two IG followers reached out to me since 1 August to ask about what happened to my IG account (there are 5 followers total whom I let know ahead of time that the sabbatical was going to take place). As of this writing, I’ve already requested IG send me a download link to retrieve all my content. That site will be deleted no later than 31 August 2018 at 11:59pm. The other two IG accounts will remain. As for FB, I’m considering what I will do once I returned regarding how much time I will actually engage there. Twitter will remain, as it provides a relatively high ROI. Flickr will become my platform for photosharing.

Well, studies say that it typically takes 21 days to form a habit. Tomorrow marks the 21st day of sabbatical from both FB and IG. We’ll see how valid, IRL, those studies are…

Peace and blessings,
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 14 – 14 Aug 18

Greetings readers…

Hope all is well with you and yours. Ironically, another Twitter (and IG) friend, B.Tramuel, posted the link to an article entitled Managing Your Social Media Intake (Without Quitting it Completely). Our Twitter exchange went like this:

Yeah, I read the article and personally found it lacking only because it didn’t impart unto me anything I didn’t or not currently doing. In addition, I think it’s just plain common sense, HOWEVER, I don’t know it would be useful, especially in a day and age where immersing on social media COULD take up so much time that could be better well spent engaging with others IRL or even just taking time for self beyond the scroll/point/click….

I went fo a 2 mile run after I got home from work – it was good.

Goodnight,
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 13 – 13 Aug 18 – Google Tracking/Data Harvesting

Now Playing: Fluid – Drown in the electronic sound of instrumental hiphop, future soul and liquid trap – on SomaFM.com

Greetings good people.

Happy Monday, or whatever day you are reading this. Glad this workday is behind me, not because it was particularly hard, but my sleep patterns have been messed up ever since the attempted Parker Solar Probe launch attempt I blogged about two days ago (off patterns are exacerbated by not going to bed as early as I should have over the last few nights). Can’t believe I napped not only on Saturday but on Sunday as well. Gotta break that. After some coding tonight, I’m flat out turning in, within the hour.

Well, thirteen days into this sabbatical and the insight has been becoming clearer. My tech/podcasting/blogging brotha DarrenKeith, are continuing to discuss this journey we are on, exchanging relative articles to the “cut back” and the resurrected freedbom of spending less time on “the scroll”, creating more content through blogging, etc. Nothing wrong with consuming content, but my desire is to always make sure I am getting an ROI that results in moving me forward in the goals I’m trying to achieve.

Today a particular article referenced the age old story of how social media sites use us as product, harvesting the data collected from our likes, searches, and similar to share with marketers in order to show us more ads about they THINK we like. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

On a similar note, I ironically came across a somewhat disturbing (yet not not new) article about how Google tracks your movements, even when you have Location turned off. I thought having Location turned off meant exactly but according to this article, that is not entirely true. I won’t get deeply on what the article states, as I think you’ll get a clearer understanding if you read it, but the short of amounts to something I did last year, despite what my iPhone settings are, and that is to go My Activity – Google and adjust your location and Web App activity settings there, accordingly, for all your Google profiles. As you read the article, you will read about Google’s “Google-ease” (as I call it) stating that they are quite clear about how to keep your timeline activity and similar private, however (like Facebook’s famed chameleon privacy settings) that clarity is not apparent to the average Google user. So, yeah…read the article and adjust your My Activity settings as necessary.

“How do I do that?”, you say? Check this out.
Make sure check out the Google Dashboard page of the site as well I’ve had my location and web activity tracking on lock since last year.

POST EDIT (16 Aug 18): AP News updates the above story saying the Google has updated the erroroneous language on their Help page. The article is here.

POST EDIT (20 Aug 18): Reuters News reports of the first lawsuit, here.

Ok folks, “that’s all she wrote, the pencil broke”…I’m out.

Be good…
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 12 – 12 Aug 18

Greetings all…

The weekend is gone that quick…what else is new? It was a good one nonetheless, outside of my broken sleep patterns via trying to see the launch on Saturday morning. It was a success this morning at 3:30 am or so (I didnt wake up for it, but will be checking out the replay when I get to work tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a shot of the Delta IV heavy lofting Parer Soar Probe into space, courtesy a Twitter post:

Question…how many of you are into tracking your quantified self? I’ve been using an app called Gyroscope, the free version. I primarily use it as an add-on to my Apple Watch fitness track data. Gyroscope has some great features and a privacy mode, but as with many apps, I often wonder how the collected data is being used. The quantified self movement was very big some years ago and a friend of mine on Twitter is actually featured on Gyroscopes site as an avid user of the paid app. We had an interesting discussion about what he thinks about all the many types of quantified data he shares. In short, I’m still not certain if I could go to the extent of data sharing that he (or many do), even though we have our “always-on” mobile phones. From my understanding, the whole aspect of tracking one’s quantified data is to make improvements to yourself over time. It’s the data aggregation aspects that still don’t sit 100% well with me, though I admit there is lot to be seen from such data over time. Id be interested in your thoughts.

On the productivity front, I came across another interesting article that I was discussing with DarrenKeith, my brother in podcasting, blogging, and tech. Ironically, I received the latest Fast Company in the mail yesterday. There is a sidebar to an article in there that speaks to the subject of this article – Why productivity isn’t the only thing your smartphone is stealing from you. I think there are points in it we all can relate to. FB and IG are creating ways to cause us to spend less time on our mobile devices and there are a lot of apps that are made to do the same (although that whole approach seems like an oxymoron – spending less time on your phone my checking apps that help….that are on your phone….ok.). Then there is this approach of changing your mobile phone’s colors to grayscale. Supposedly this is less appealing than the colors we adore (there have been studies) and as a result, we’ll want to look at them less.

My solution – just put the phone down.

Have a good week.

Doug

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 9 – 09 Aug 18

Greetings all…

A fair amount of things are on my plate at work, but I kinda fell back today to spending a little too much time on Twitter. I gathered a lot of resources with respect to the #100DaysOfCode campaign I’m involved in, but nonetheless, I’m bent on maximizing the insight I can out of this sabbatical. I was telling DarrenKeith that after nine days in, I’m starting to realize it wasn’t necessarily the need to kill the habit of constantly scrolling social media solely…now I’m starting to see the component also involves how much I keep checking my phone for way more than making/receiving calls. That, in itself, is a factor in the grand scheme of this experiment.

I found another article today that addresses this very same mindset…and some of it, no…a lot of it, walked right down my street: Why productivity isn’t the only thing your smartphone is stealing from you

There are tons of articles out on the interwebs like this, yeah, I get it, but there are a few points here that really resonated with me.

1. Dopamine has us hooked on tech.
We receive small shots of dopamine we receive every time we open a notification…check for text replies, scroll the net, etc. Instead of letting the mind be quiet or think on or of other things, or even being bored (*gasp*), human nature sets in, feening for that rush.

2. If you work a 9–5, I would go as far as to say that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to leave your smartphone out in your car and only allow yourself to check it during lunch and then again after work.

I tried this – even bought a Trac Phone to have my calls forwarded to me at my desk during the day. I have to say it did work, and I began to see this next point, owever, after the timeframe I bought ended, it was back to taking my phone into the building.

3. As you spend more and more time away from your phone, what you will find is that your focus sharpens, your quality of work improves drastically and your creativity runs wild.

Here’s a prime example. I will admit that I have always carried my phone everywhere I went – even into the rest room for that “breaktime” where I could check social, etc etc. Over the last two days, I stopped that. Today, I went down the first floor, taking the stares, and clearly got the vision of something that is going to help me better achieve the solution of a problem I’m working on. Had I been getting that dopamine shot as usual, I might have missed that opportunity.

My desire is to go back to #2 in order to minimize the effect of #2 so I can widely realize #3.

Time for some coding.

peace,
Fresh.

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Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 7 – 07 Aug 18

One week, people. This is the longest I’ve gone without Facebook and Instagram together. In this one week, I’ve learned some things, been enlightened, etc. One of the things I HAVE noticed it is this – it’s not necessarily ONLY the time spent aimlessly (sometimes, that is) scrolling social media BUT the time spent on the phone doing it. The more I have the phone on me, the more prone I am to scroll these sites, eating up my time. By habit, I still pick up my phone to do it when it appears I have idle time (which, in reality, I rarely do), only to remember those apps are no longer on my phone. That said, the habit not to do it (because I can’t) is slowly starting to form.

I don’t access FB or IG at work, so I’m starting to realize I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would. At least, what I believe will happen is, whenever I do go back to using either site, the habit will be formed that I will spend far less time on them – at least that is the desire. In light of things, over the past two days, I’ve been thinking about this:

Instagram, my personal feed to be specific, is what I am thinking of deleting. It’s strictly where I share photos BUT what is it netting me? Instagram has some fantastic photography, don’t get me wrong, but it is really more of a social media site and a branding tool. *I* am not a brand. Yes, I’ve found content worth reposting and hope that my content is worthwhile (I’ve been told by a follower that my positive contributions to his feed) as well. I get that, and I appreciate it, but again, what is it netting me? How is it helping me move forward in attaining any specific goal? I’ve told many of my disdain for certain aspects of IG – bot followers, bot friend requests, having to delete followers that post things I really don’t care for: viral videos, overkill memes, etc (none of which I can control), but I still love the beauty of photography, without the social media mess that comes with it. Filters, yeah they have their place, and one is not forced to use them, but again, they are another feature that I can live without.

Flickr, on the other hand, is where I started sharing photos prior to IG. It now offers 1TB of storage, shows the EXIF data of every pic you upload, has specific user groups, and has, what I consider to be, better user commentary without the social media branding and foolishness. I’m considering getting a digital SLR sometime in the future, as my love of photography is returning, The current camera I have is a Nikon Coolpix L810. Nice camera that my wife gave me for a gift 4 years ago, but it has a fixed lens and it’s not as fast (mechanically) as I’d like so…

I do have a fitness account on IG which I will keep, as well as two music production sites that are strictly branding tools, but for my personal Instagram, that may very well be going by the wayside. The thought process continues…

I’ve had some interesting discussions with DarrenKeith about the constructs of Facebook and ironically just came across this blog post about a construct called Blogmesh (see the last paragraph and associated link). Sounds promising for those of us that like to blog.

Thanks for the read,

peace,
Fresh

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 6 – 06 Aug 18 – The Experiment Continues

Greetings all…

Hope your Monday was not manic (cues Bangles song). It was typical for me. Posted my #100DaysOfCode status and made it through the workday. I’m actually in bed posting this (first time I’ve tried it).

Nothing much to say today, just learning a wee bit more about this experiment I’m conducting. Gave some thought of the possibility of ditching Instagram for Flickr, yeah Flickr, you remember that site, yes?

Ok lights out.

Peace,
Fresh

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 5 – 05 Aug 18 – Buh Bye FB phone app

Hello all…

So, for the past five days, I’ve been waxing philosophically about the results, merits, etc, of now scrolling social media. I don’t really miss FB (although I did wind of people in the Apple Watch Fitness Fans Group, of which I am one of the, and most active posting, admins) posting about me in reference to a topic. One of the membes, who convinced me to tell the group I was gonna be AWOL for August, said…”Doug’s on social media sabbatical, LOL” (what’s with the “LOL”? #eyeroll…hahah).

I decided I was going to post everyday of this journey, and I will hold fast to that. What I do see happening is once it becomes more habit and less getting used to, the posts may become shorter, but thats cool. Part of this exercise is really to see what I activities I end up substituting for the scroll time. They’ll be varied, I’m sure, but it’s certain that making time to learning this coding language, Python, will be one. So far it’s going well. I’m developing a project while doing tutorials (the best way to learn is to do). I’ve created a sub page here on my blog for that. I’ll be posting there more, as well as on my exercise and fitness sub page. As my friend-in-sabbatical, DarrenKeith said today, the absence of the scroll, has made blogging refreshing again. Definitely check out his blog – This World My Life

One thing I do know is after five days, I’m certain the FB app will not be back on my phone. Instagram, that’s a different story because it’s used for my music production and film scoring branding (at least for now). The key thing with any social app, overall, is to “control the scroll”

This is one of these short posts, it appears.

Have a great night (or day, evening, etc).

peace,
Fresh

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 4 – 04 Aug 18 – Phone Usage/”Attention Residue”

Ahh yes…Saturday greetings. Hope yours is going or went well. I got up later than I wanted to (if you want to call 8:30 am late). Getting up no later than 7am on a Saturday (a free one, where I don’t have to go choir musicians rehearsal at 8 am), is what I like to do because it seems like I get more out of the day. My body this morning, on the other hand, thought differently. In any event, I got up, with my phone by my bedside, and realized and remembered that I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps – which means that there is nothing to scroll through as I used to do so many mornings before even getting ready for the day. The Twitter app, however, I still had on my phone for the convenience of posting my #100DaysOfCode status.

I went downstairs, made breakfast (omlettes) and proceed to eat and decided to click on the Medium app to see if there were any interesting stories to read. Once again, ironically, I came across this one: The Benefits of Unplugging and Choosing To Be Present. Of course, this was a must read. Yeah, I know, there are plenty of similar stories out there on this very topic…I get it, but I still choose to read each one I come across, just in case there is a new perspective not formerly mentioned. What I found reiterated in this story is this (because it walked right down my street):

“For everyone else who finds themselves pulling out their phone when they have a free fifteen seconds, this was eye-opening. It seemed as if every free moment, I’d reach into my pocket looking for a convenient distraction. And sacrifice any opportunity for deep reflection. In the words of Dr. Daniel Levitin:

“Every time you shift your attention from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. So if you’re attempting to multitask, you know, doing four or five things at once, you’re not actually doing four or five things at once, because the brain doesn’t work that way. Instead, you’re rapidly shifting from one thing to the next, depleting neural resources as you go.”

I say reiterated because earlier this year, I read one of the most compelling (to me) books on productivity that I’ve come across – “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. I turned my friend, Calandra Branch on to this book as well She read it and can attest to it’s greatness. In this book, Cal mentioned the same thing but in slightly greater detail. In Chapter 1, he writes about what scientists believe the foundation of why deliberate practice works – myelin.

“Myelin is a layer of fatty tissue that grows around neurons, acting like an insulator that allows the cells to fire faster and cleaner…This new science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you cevelop more myelin around the relevant brain neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit to fire more effortlessly and effectively, To be great at something is to be well myelinated…it provides a neurological foundation for why deliberate practice works. By focusing intensely on a specific skill, your forcing the specific relevant circuit to fire, again and again, in isolation…The reason, therefore, why it;s important to focus intensely on the task at hand while avoiding distraction is because this the only way to isolate the relevant neural circuit enough to trigger useful myelin.”

Whether you believe in this neurological correlation or not, I happen to believe its true by experience (he also writes about “attention residue” – when multitask, there’s a “residue” from the previous task that will lessen the attention/focus you will spend on your current task. The key is (as illogical as it may seem to some, is to avoid the facade of multitask (seemingly getting more things done in less time( and create time blocks to do focused work in sequence. Intense focus during a block of time leads to great productivity.

The whole reaching for the phone thing in any bit of free time applies to me. Thinking I was using that time to constantly learn more in my free time is a logical thought, but truth be told, more of that free time (small as it may have been at times) I found myself scrolling and participating in social media. For that reason, this morning, I deleted Twitter from my phone as well.

As a result, what I REALLY noticed in day 4, is that I had less reason to want to carry my phone around with me. It made me realize that it was JUST the social media apps on there, but the need to want to use the phone to connect virtually anywhere besides social media. It was a necessary and revealing thought. Today the phone was with me less and less. As for Twitter, I’l post my coding status via computer only.

I’m learning….

Thanks for the read…
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 3 – 03 Aug 18 – Twitter/Usage Curbing Apps?

Greetings all…

Day 3, baby… It was a good day, productive at work. This particular spacecraft mission I’m working on is getting busier, especially with my immediate boss down at KSC supporting the Parker Solar Probe launch activities (we launch on a Delta IV on 11 August – hopefully we don’t slip).

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the belief that when you drop off social media, for whatever reason, *generally* you’re not really missed for a number of different reasons – folks busy with their own social media movements, folks busy with life, etc. DarrenKeith, who’s also on this sabbatical for the same reason, mentioned that sometimes you ARE actually missed. I replied in agreement. Interestingly, before he made that comment. I got this DM via Twitter:

It not only showed me that DarrenKeith was on point in his reply, but it showed me that how I roll on social media IS actually noticed, even if never publicly said. Good thing, yeah.

So yeah, Twitter is the only social network I’m still using for my 100 Days of Code progress status. Originally, my plan was to auto-schedule my status posts via Hootsuite, but I decided to keep the Twitter app on my phone for convenience. The one *issue* I see I am still having with this is….I’m still seeming to scroll tweets beyond what notifications or replies I’m getting via my progress status post. That said, I think I’m going to remove the app from my phone. Why? One of the other reasons for the sabbatical is to reduce the “phone addiction” EVERRRRYONE knows how convenient it is to scroll social media, play games, read news, whatever, via this mobile device. In short, my approach is to use the phone for what it was originally designed for – to make and receive calls. In other words, put it down – stop walking around with it.

Ironically, I got this email today about how Facebook and Instagram are developing tools to help the user spend less time on the phone. While this is not brand new, and I understand the intent, for the most part, I’m like….”Yeah, right”. The concept is oxymoronic to me. In summary, I agree with the last two sentences of the last paragraph:

“For some users, it might be enough to make social media feel nice again. But for most of us, it won’t do much to slow the scroll.” If you’re interested in the article, you can check it out here.

That’s it for now…

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

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