1/05/2014

Rethinking my social media options

As 2014 continues to retain a slight glow, I find myself seeking new habits and patterns. I am revisiting the fifth year anniversary of my second divorce the same year I will observe the tenth year anniversary of my first. 

This isn't stuff I want to write on Facebook. I've had the practice of stripping my status updates of anything that indicated any negative emotional states. I don't want to project any doubt into an online platform that mirrors the social ecosystem in which I live my life. Friends are in the same club as people I've never met before, and I'd rather they see my best side.

So, I post boring stuff like this:

As a bearded man, I have to say I love the practice of sports teams not shaving through the playoffs.

Nonsense and piffle, I'd say, but it's designed to be piffle. Occasionally I'll post something hoping to start a philosophical conversation, but I can't control how others perceive me. I end up censoring myself as a result.

Not so in this blog, which contains many embarrassing confessions that my life is not always perfect. No one's life is, and since I was a teenager I have used writing to to mark my days. When you take them all in totality, these scrawls define my existence. They make me who I am, and I often wonder whether super-intelligent computers in the future will know of me because a Googlesphere submarine will preserve the entire set of blog posts I've been writing here for the past 7 years. Cross-check those with the memory fields that will be built in space by Facebook, and it's possible our virtual selves could exist for quite some time to come.

I'm not disappearing from Facebook. This isn't one of those posts. I figure, we're so far into the 21st century now that communicating with each other in this manner is going to continue, and continue to evolve.

But I want to be more aware of what it's doing to me. And I want to see if I can alter how I use the utility in order to indeed craft out a better future for myself. After all, the regenerative glow of 2014 continues to pulse and it's time to set some policies. 

For starters, on Facebook, I am not going to be afraid to unfriend people. It seems like the rude thing to do, but I would kick people out of my bar, and would kick people out of my house. In real life, I've chosen to withdraw from certain people and to no longer interact with them. Why should I not do this on Facebook as well?

So, I've begun whittling down my list. I began with deleting three people with whom I failed to start relationships with. Two of them were from last year, and other person was from 2012. I no longer need to know any details about their lives. That information might be out there, but I do not need to see it. I do not need to have my outlook pulled backwards through lingering magnetism. 

I also will pledge to not get involved in political debates. I've done pretty well with this, but my role as a journalist and a referee of argument is put in jeopardy when I open my big mouth with my impulsive fingers. I have opinions, and I am sure they will come out over the course of my lifetime. But, they do not inform my reporting, because I have spent my career building a reputation as a neutral arbiter of what happens. 

I will continue to post pictures of my children, because that's something I enjoy doing and because they are the main focus of my life at this point.

But, I'm going to continue reevaluating Facebook and the role it plays in my life. 

I will continue to only use Twitter primarily as a way of advancing my journalistic interests. I am considering updating my current profile, which now says this: 

Journalist for Charlottesville Tomorrow interested in infrastructure, local government in England and Virginia.

This is true, but I hope to flesh it out a bit, make it more pointed. Twitter is a platform where I should try to expand my number of followers, whereas I want more quality friends on Facebook. 

And then there's Google Plus, the one that everyone's forgotten except for Google. I've noticed that many of my posts there are now getting a lot of comments from strangers, people I don't know. This is a bit better due to what I post there, which is mostly links to music and movies I like. These posts show up there, too, but I can turn that off. But I won't. 

I've realized that no one wants to read long blog entries. This is where I find obscurity! But, also, accountability, because nothing I post here is something I would want to keep secret. I may not want to shine the brightest light on what I write here, because this is my most reliable outlet for getting some catharsis.

Also, I've deleted my profile on a free dating site. That was nothing but trouble and a confirmation that romance is for other people. This year is the year I stop caring that I don't have a partner, and hopefully a reminder that my attractions to other people have been the source of great misery. 

Finally, there's Tumblr, which I use to post little snippets of "music" I create in my spare time. I'm not sure why I do this because I don't think any of what I do is ready for other ears to listen. Likewise, I post material to SoundCloud as well. I'm not sure why, because I've had at least one person tell me I shouldn't do this. The goal is to find a collaborator or a partner, and I'll still try to figure out how to make that happen.

In short, I live a pretty solitary life, despite being in public a lot and leaving a lot of myself online. Somehow I'm more expressive on here than I am anywhere else. I'm just a person going through the motions, and my contributions to social media in part define how people perceive of me. Yet, what I'm putting out there is only a distorted version of who I am. This year I'm hoping to flesh that out as I continue living out my fifth decade in this rapidly evolving century of ours.

So, 2014, bring it on. I'm ready to document it all. 

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