I have been weaning off of social media. Yesterday, I deleted my Twitter account entirely. I’ve decided to be far less active on Facebook, except for sharing things with people who might be interested.
The Feed is was gets me. It’s too much. It’s too much all at once. I gave it a shot. I gave it ten years. I told it everything I liked and everything I didn’t. After ten years, it was all at once too much.
I don’t need all of those inputs.
I just need a few.
I don’t need to play emotional/mental/spiritual roulette, good news, bad news, red space, black. Hot takes, rants, yours and mine. Pictures of everything just so.
I don’t want all of those inputs. I want the sun, the rain, the seasons. Sometimes, I want Pennsylvania to be more like California, I think, though I’ve never been there.
I want to go there, though.
I want the inputs of voices and eyes and inflections. People stuttering and blushing. The rolled-up gum of sweat and dirt and effort in the creases of my hands.
The Feed is what gets me. It’s left me overweight and undernourished, it’s an anemic drip I’m done stabbing myself for.
Today is the first sunny day in Pennsylvania in what feels like a week. There are goldfinches outside my window, eating seed I put there just for them. They are common, people say. I have never really noticed.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to share the message at First Presbyterian Church yesterday at the 8:45 and 10:10 alternative services. Thank you!
I used social media to frame part of the message, saying that Pinterest had bucked conventional wisdom because it’s a platform where people share inspiring and uplifting things. By offering a new kind of experience and an environment where generative things are shared and curated, Pinterest now drives more traffic to external sites than Twitter.
Klout is going after middle-American novice tweeters who might have mentioned a body spray once or twice. With its service, Axe could reach people like that directly in large bunches and give them samples of new products.
This type of comment was posted over and over again there:
Very unhappy with this change. My score went from 73 down to 53. 20 point drop. I’ve been working for months to increase my Klout score. Please fix this.
This is proof that people who are “working” on being relevant shouldn’t use any type of service. As my good friend Alex Hillman says and has tattooed on his arm, “JFDI”. Just do it, and don’t worry about what you’re getting out of it, and all will be fine.
He’s right, isn’t he? It’s tempting to worry about Klout, to obsess about why your Facebook friend count is down or why someone stopped following your blog. It’s easy to fixate on stats. Just do what you like and do it well. Curate that beauty and be that unique voice.
Also: It can’t be a coincidence that JFDI is just one letter from Jedi.
I’m hoping to record and post two new video blogs later today or tomorrow. One is going to be about social media in the hands of people watching the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt from afar. I’ve talked about it already here, but I what I think I’ll end up saying in the new post was inspired by a question from my good friend and frequent reader/commenter here at TDC, Chad Hogg. Chad is a supremely super-intelligent and thoughtful man. You should read his blog. By the way, Chad, I’m listening to a track from Tragic Kingdom as I type this. I thought you should know.
In related links below, Andrew Sullivan makes fun of Malcolm Gladwell for the later’s agnosticism on the impact social media has had on the Tunisian and Egyptian movements. Confession: I love Andrew Sullivan and am a frequent reader of his Daily Dish, but I haven’t read the linked piece yet.
That said, you probably know that I’ve been very interested in this whole topic and have been following it across various forms of media. Something immediately apparent to me is my almost shocking desire to refer to news sites as “Old Media” in this discussion. I really was just about to say that I’ve been following the story across New and Old Media online, but New Media is, by definition, online. We’re realizing more and more, though, that online media is not necessarily New Media. In many cases, New Media has become old media, and the unquestionably new New Media is social. Twitter and Facebook are to CNN.com what CNN.com is to newspapers. I think that’s becoming clear. But the new New Media isn’t just new. It is, in very real senses, a media outside of time. It almost doesn’t make sense to call it New or to even call it real time. It is the media of witness, and that’s what I’m going to talk about.
If you’re following at home, I’m now listening to the Ronettes.
Last night, I came across this very well-done cartoon that outlines a popular essay about which plausible dystopian anxiety (George Orwell’s or Aldous Huxley’s) is more likely in our present and emerging future. It’s long, so let me say up front that I think both propositions need to be guarded against (that might be the most obvious thing I’ve said, ever), but that I obviously can’t go all the way with the “Huxley is right” argument when it comes to things like social media. (And neither should you. Pesky normative statement alert.)
Needless to say, I believe in curating beauty and that loving things worth loving (and sharing that love) will actually make us better. Loving crap is something different. Loving pop culture? Like anything, that’s a mixed bag. I love Pet Sounds because its beautiful. I love Elvis because he’s singular. I love “Sweet Child O’Mine” because it’s awesome and life-affirming. I think the balance lies precisely there…do the things we love encourage us to live bigger, more fulfilling, more creative lives, or do they diminish the expectations we have for ourselves by their sheer size and repetition? Friends, isn’t that finally up to us?
The other video will about about The New Sincerity. That is to say, I think I’m going to encourage everyone to keep on being awesome.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been approached with advertising opportunities here on The Daily Cocca. All the offers were for legitimate operations; no link farms and nothing MLM or sleazy. Sponsored links and content, and the content has been things I think my readers would actually enjoy. But for now, I won’t be going down those routes. You might know that the good folks here at Automattic (the company that runs WordPress) have a policy against blog owners running ads or sponsored content on WordPress.com hosted sites like this one. Blogs with traffic in excess of 25,000 visits per month are eligible for an Ad Control feature. The Daily Cocca is gaining steam, but is not quite at 900ish hits per day, dear readers. If I ever do run ads or sponsored content, rest assured the ads will only be for things that are on the square, and the content will only be posts or graphics that are engaging and worth your time and mine. I’m not into blogging for the money (sort of like writing). I’m interested in connecting with awesome people and sharing awesome things.
If you know me professionally, you know that I do make part of my living by working on content and social media outreach for groups with the right kind of ethics. Three Pillars Trading Co. is a new company I’m working with. They’ve asked me to help capture the essence of their fair-trade products and three-pillared approach to sustainable, responsible business. I’m plugging them here because I like their mission. I’m going to put a link to their Facebook page in one of my sidebars to help promote them and to pretty up all that white space. For the record, they have not asked me to do this and I’m not being paid to place their content here at TDC. I just want to give them a shout out, and perhaps start a discussion about how we can use our blogs to help ethical, sustainable operations simply because it’s the right thing to do. We’re all in this together. To that end, if any of you have projects that you think might sort of fit in with this idea and you’d like me to put together a graphical link to them and display them on my white space, let me know. I’ll do it for free (though a link back here would be appreciated). If you want to talk about hiring me for other things, well, hey, that’s great too.
I’ve had a few discussions recently about the utility and value of services like Facebook, WordPress, twitter, and Flickr. The reasons people use various social media platforms or begin sharing content online in the first place keep changing, but doesn’t 2011 already feel like the Year of Curation? That word is everywhere. I’ve used it two or three times in recent posts here, and it’s turning up in comments and discussions about whether the presentation offered by The Daily‘s (News Corp’s iPad newspaper) editorial team will be worth 99 cents per digital issue when the web is deep and wide like a Doors song and so much of it is free. If you’re already not paying for most of the content you enjoy, why pay for curation when your friends and colleagues are so eager to share opinion, art, entertainment, and news?
As the social networks have grown, it’s been fashionable to talk about how much information we passively consume through our various feeds. But we’re also busy passing on things that move us, that strike us, that frustrate or empower us. We don’t always do that with tact — we’re still learning. That we can do it at all, but also with power and speed, well, that’s still new to history. While you’re praying for Egypt and everywhere people struggle, think about what you consume and what you curate. Keep sharing those things that give life.
Today, I’m sharing this picture I found on Flickr. It took my breath away…the moment was, dare I say, holy. I hope you experience something like that this week. Happy Monday to all.