A couple of days ago I did the unthinkable. I deleted a social media account.

You will probably know that I recently deleted my Facebook pages for this blog and The Pukeko Patch. I thought that was a pretty decent first step in my self-styled “slow retreat” from the increasingly unpleasant world that this section of the internet has become. But I wasn’t feeling the same bravery around my own personal social media accounts. There was a lingering sensation of FOMO.

If there was ever an acronym that should be considered an onomatopoeia word, then FOMO is it. I’m sure it’s the scratchy little sound that comes unbidden from the back of your throat as your finger wavers side to side over your keyboard just before the final plunge to hit “DELETE”.
The fight between your thinking brain and your fear of being ‘an outsider’ concludes with a little whimpering sound….


And then the deed is done. In the press of a button it’s over.

Well, in fairness, I have thirty days to recant and all will be well in my little corner of the Twittersphere but I have no intention to do so. In a remarkable turn of events I was able to ditch the social media platform I probably spent the most time on, Twitter, with very little trauma and only the tiniest, scratchy FOmo… sound.
For me the hard #SMexit will be the deletion of Facebook.
Yes, I did just make up a hashtag for this process.

So what prompted this act of unwarranted bravery?
Well, an episode of Alan Alda’s Clear+Vivid podcast is the culprit.
I’ve been dipping in to it on occasion and enjoying it. On last week’s show Alan was interviewing Jaron Lanier who is a founding father of the realm of virtual reality, and sounds quite the character in addition to that.

As part of their conversation they spoke about Lanier’s new book, “Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now“.
Here’s a link to his webpage relating to it. The cover of the book succinctly sums up the ten arguments. I found most, if not all, of them are accurate in my experience.
It was while listening to that conversation and weighing up some of their comments with my own observations that I came to the conclusion that it was time to gain back some of my life.
– Infinite scroll anyone?!?
And some of my hope for humanity.
– No more reading comments from bots or real, but vitriolic, people with no empathy can only improve my mental health!

My next challenge is to do the same with Facebook. I have some ideas about how I’m going to go about it, so I’m ever hopeful that I will vanquish the biggest of my SMexit foes. I just need to work up a bit more courage and do it.

Wish me luck!

More reading / watching: How we need to remake the internet


Unlike !

It has finally happened.

I have removed Oh Waily Waily from Facebook. In fact, I’ve removed both of my personal blogs’ Facebook pages and have reduced my time online there altogether.
It’s long overdue and part of my gradual retreat from the behemoth of social media.
In truth, if I could remove myself entirely I would. Sadly it is the ‘go to’ place for ease of community building and there are a couple of communities that I still value more than my full retreat.

As I continue to reduce my time on social media I’ve come to realise that there are plenty of things I won’t miss.

I won’t miss the Friends List, most of whom didn’t interact with me or I with them. This is not meant as a slight to those on the list, but simply an acknowledgement that time doesn’t stand still. We may have been mates back in the day but rarely, if ever, see each other in real life or even chat online. Over time I found the Friends List became an obligation to live in the past for fear of offending people with the dreaded “unfriend” button. Then one day I had an epiphany… these people pretty much never comment on or like my few remaining posts and there’s a good chance that I am buried in their 500 friends and will never be missed should I quietly disappear. So I chose to disappear.

Ooo, I’m such a rebel !

Now my remaining Friends List consists mostly of old friends who live overseas, family who live overseas or folk that I still hear from. But I’ve finally decided to ditch the unfriend guilt and continue a regular cull of the remaining list members until eventually it really is down to those for whom this is the best or sole way of keeping in touch.

Another thing I won’t miss is the banality of Facebook posts. I like a good meme as much as the next person, I really do, but my timeline has become almost nothing but memes, Year in Review and “Memories” posts. Once I had installed a browser extension to rid me of the stalking posts and promotional posts it really showed me what was going on, and the memes and memories were pretty much it. There are one or two friends who liven it up with personal, humorous and real life stories, but they are an extreme rarity.
I don’t blame any of my friends for this, it’s what the platform encourages and I am as guilty of it as anyone else. My friends aren’t my entertainment committee, although Jane Austen may have been correct:

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

So perhaps I should cut the platform some slack on that front.

What I will miss is the ability to quickly and easily post something I think would interest others. Things that I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing a blog post about.
But then, I won’t miss the ease of quick posts and dropping links, which I have come to realise has slowly eroded my motivation for thinking and writing blog posts over the past few years. This hasn’t sat well with me.
In real life I’m not really interested in small talk as I’d rather have a meaty chat about the state of the world, the random stupidity and genius of the people who populate it, and what makes up a meaningful life.
Susan Cain describes this really well in the quote below, although it’s overstating my preference for interesting discussions to say I have ‘a horror of small talk’.

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.

Susan Cain,  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Although I may also be overstating the idea that I “listen more than I talk” as some of you who have known me a long time in real life* can attest to.

So here we are, retreating back to the blog. Retreating back to the quiet of my thoughts, a blank screen and a keyboard.
Not a meme in sight.

Hopefully we can have some deep discussions together.

*does anyone remember Mr Edmonds from Primary School? About the only thing I recall about him now is the fact that he got me to shut up in class one day by nicknaming me “Parrot”. Not a kind thing to do, in hindsight, but quite probably an accurate representation of my talkativeness.

Fillers and stalkers

An interesting thing wandered across my social media screen this morning and because I’m rarely up at 5:30am these days I thought I’d take advantage of the quiet morning to check out if I was imagining things.

A few days ago I posted about Facebook and since then I’ve noticed how much junk there was in my “like” list. Most of that list I barely saw a post from, so what was the point of keeping them?  I pared it down from over 300 to under 100.  I’m now wondering if what turned up in my feed this morning is a result of that or if it’s always been this way and I just never noticed before.

Apparently life on Facebook overnight has been so quiet that of the first 100 posts in my feed 42 were what I would label “stalker” posts.  Yes!  Nearly half of all the first 100 posts were my friends commenting on *their* friends posts or posts that my friends were ‘liking’.  The first of these is just creepy as they involve people I wouldn’t know from Adam and presumably aren’t expecting me to be getting a glimpse in to their life.  The second type isn’t quite so creepy, but again I figure my friends would share the post they’ve liked if they wanted me to know about them enjoying it.

That makes nearly half of my general scrolling limit on the news feed a filler or a stalker post! (For a full list, see the end of this post.)

These issues that are pushing me even more in to minimising my time at the social media giant – the creepiness of the news feed (witness above comments and numbers), and the flip side of that creepiness… the increasing irrelevance to my daily life that the news feed has fast become.

I’ve spent more time at Google+ lately just to see if it’s less creepy, as I value the quick and easy way social media allows me to interact with folk I don’t get to see every day.  It doesn’t seem, so far, to be posting random stalker posts – which is a big deal.  It doesn’t seem to mind if my post list doesn’t change much – no adverts so far and only posts from people or communities I actually belong to.
I’m sure they’re not snow white either, but ditching the fillers and the stalkers gets them a big thumbs up from me.

The only downside I see is the inertia of friends choosing to stay and interact at Facebook rather than have to suffer having two active social media accounts.  It’s a tough place to be if the goal of being involved is to actually stay in touch with folk who aren’t inclined to change.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to move forward, other than it’s clear to me that my time at Facebook is going to decrease.  Just how I manage my move away from it isn’t quite so clear.

If you’ve moved social media platforms – how did you manage it?

Full list

Post #2 = Suggested post
Post # 8 = Suggested post
Post #16 = “A friend likes this” post
Post # 19 = “A friend likes this” post
Post # 29 = “A friend likes this” post
Post # 37 – 39 = “A friend likes this” post
Post #40 = a multiple post of latests posts from a page
Post #41 – 43  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #46 – 48  = “A friend likes this” post
Post #51 – 52  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #54 – 55  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #57 – 60  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #62 – 65  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #67 – 74  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #76  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #78 – 79  = “A friend likes this” post or “A friend commented on this” post
Post #82  = “A friend likes this” post
Post #91  =  “A friend commented on this” post
Post #94  = “A friend commented on this” post
Post #100 = “A friend likes this” post

The Wide World of Podcasts

Apple_Podcast_logoDo you listen to podcasts?  Or am I speaking a foreign language simply mentioning them?

I first dipped my toes in ever-so-briefly and then jumped back out of the pod-filled water nearly four years ago now. And up until the beginning of this year I would still have been in the foreign language crowd.  I had a vague notion that I might be missing out and that it was something worth checking out again.

So, about four months ago I tried again, starting with the folk at Freakonomics Radio.  Choosing to listen to episodes that sounded interesting led me back to the water and suddenly there I was, splashing and duck-diving in to the wide world of podcasts.  I’ve subscribed to quite a few and ditched almost as many.  Then I hit Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast and I’ve been addicted to my Wednesday night hit ever since.

I even have several children’s story-telling podcasts now, ostensibly for when we’re away or travelling and could do with a bit of variety in our listening entertainment.  Look out for Storynory and see what your kids think.  In the self-help and simplifying your life area, the very popular for good reason, Zen Habits blog has a podcast at Zen Habits Radio.

On the home education front I’m giving Stories of an Unschooling Family a go and it looks very promising. And my newest trial will be with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons, starting this week. I’ll let you know how that one goes.

Naturally I can’t go without putting in a word for the large choice out of the BBC.  With them it’s rather a case of what not to listen to.  Please don’t get too lost in the myriad of choices.  (If you think I’m joking, I’m not.  They have close to 500 podcasts!)  I’m restricting myself to one at a time, and currently that means I’m slowly working my way through A History of the World in 100 Objects.

Folk have been happy to recommend a number of podcasts to me, and my list of trialists is growing.

What would you add, if you are a podcast fan?  And why?