Self-imposed technology limits

I know I’m spending too much time writing and reading.  Having been here before in the past, I know that things like work, life and relationships start suffering in favor of writing and spending time reading articles.  With that said, I’ve decided to put some restrictions on myself to help alleviate any problems before they’re actually problems.

Post Limits

Starting this Thursday, I’m going to publish a post every Monday and Thursday.  Thursday’s post will be the regular Three Things Thursday and Monday’s post will be something related to whatever fired me up or I found interesting from the week before.  I can take a few hours on the weekend to concentrate the post instead of having 3-5 posts only partially done at any given time.

Reading Hours

Feeling that reading blogs has started to take more and more of my free time, I’m scheduling 1-hour blocks on various days through the week to read and comment on blogs.  It will be a fundamental shift in what I’ve been doing the last several months and comments will be made only when I have something substantive to add; otherwise a simple “Like” will be made after reading something.

Daily/Weekly Digests

Most of the blogs I follow email me as posts are published.  It was fine when I only followed 10-20 blogs, but now I’m following almost 100 of them and it takes a large amount of time to work through 200 emails in my inbox sometimes.  Starting this weekend, I’m going to be switching to daily/weekly digest emails so that all posts from an author are consolidated in one email per day or week depending on frequencies.  What this means is that “Likes” and comments will come in groups rather than trickle in as they have been.

Twitter

Since deleting my Facebook account, my Twitter use has increased steadily over the last several weeks.  I still have not decided how I’m going to limit my use of Twitter as I’ve been using it more and more as a news aggregator and following publications rather than people.  I may decide that it doesn’t require limits, just simply turning off the notification on my phone/desktop app may be all that is required.  More thought on this is needed.

Suggestions

I’m open to suggestions that might help and open to hearing what has worked or not worked for you.  I know I’m not the only one that has had this issue and been forced to make some changes to their technology consumption.  Thankfully I’ve caught it in time as it hasn’t affected anything too serious yet.

#daily-digests, #reading, #social-media, #technology, #twitter, #weekly-digests, #writing

Facebook, no more, finally gone

Ever since I deleted my Facebook account, I’ve found that I look at my phone so much less than I used to.  I was never really into Facebook or social media that much, but I did find that I became a lurker.  Someone who read everyone else’s posts but rarely commented or posted anything on my own.  Deleting my account was a multi-step process that shouldn’t have been necessary, that’s a post in of itself.

The time I spent on Facebook, Twitter, etc. was an unknown to me until I finally got rid of them.  It would be the first thing I checked in the morning, thumbed through at random times through the day, spend at least a half hour at bedtime. It’s all time I won’t ever get back and it was time I could have been talking to my wife (but she’s on her phone too).  I’m hoping that not having my nose to the screen will prompt her to not do as much of that when I’m around and willing to talk, with my voice, in real life, no virtual keyboard required.

There are other benefits as well, such as my mobile phone.  I started this morning with 100% as is typical with a nightly charge, but at the end of the day, I still have 72% with moderate to heavy use.  I’ve deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Messenger from my phone.  Seeing the amount of data that Facebook alone used, it was #2 in my most used data list behind the Google store.  I listen to streaming music almost 6-8 hours a day and the data usage for those apps didn’t even break the top 5.  Social media and its “always on” applications are a battery vampire apparently.

I’m still using Twitter, but only for political posts and to follow my third party candiates.  I’d share my handle, but that would remove the anonomity I enjoy on this blog.  As I don’t have the app installed on my mobile, I am forced to read updates only when at a real computer, mostly at lunch or during boring bits in meetings when I’m not sharing my screen.  Social media is a drain on time, productivity, and mobile batteries.  If you’ve been playing with the idea of taking a break or deleting your account, I’d take the jump.  Facebook has a “deactivate” feature where you’re account is put into hibernation but not deleted.  It will give you a trial run to see if deleting is the right thing for you.  Stay tuned for my experience in deleting my Facebook account.

#cut-the-social-media-cord, #deleted-facebook, #facebook, #social-media

Year of the third party candidate

Conversations with people over the last several months has consistently floated into politics. I like to consider myself having an open mind and as such, form my opinions based on fact rather than other people’s opinions. I refuse to pander to the mainstream media’s view of “Trump or Clinton” where this is no other choice. My strong opinions and views of both these candidates is barely classified as mediocre at best. The reasons are many, but that isn’t the point of this blog post, rather this blog post is about the rise of the third-party candidate and their strong chances this year to actually affect the elections positively. We have the Libertarian ticket with Johnson/Weld (JW) and the Green ticket with Stein/Baraka (SB). During my research of both, I’ve found a lot more similarity than difference in their positions. The key factor here is if one or both of them can make it to 15% or more on the 6 national polls to allow them an opportunity to participate in the Presidential debates. Without that, I fear that neither will have a major impact on the elections and have a similar impact as Ross Perot and Ron Paul in previous elections.

I’m so frustrated with the back and forth that Trump and Clinton have started. Some of the articles I’ve read make it feel more like two bullies at recess fighting to see who is better, something I’ve had a lot of experience with being on the receiving end of a bully or two. A lesson in how to herd cats, neither the Republican or Democratic party can figure out if they’re looking at their heads or their butts. Media certainly doesn’t make anything better in their obviously filtered decisions on what to cover and what not to cover. Statistics based on polls of males college educated vs. non-college educated, minorities, women college educated vs non-educated, individuals who believe the sky is purple….. the ridiculous list of stats goes on and on. Stats don’t show the true story of what or how people are thinking in my opinion. The stats are the media’s way to justify headlines like “Clinton responds to Trump labeling her a ‘bigot'” and “Clinton see Trump ties to ‘alt-right’ dystopian ideology”. I’m literally shaking my head after typing that last one….. and this comes from the Associated Press of all places. Dystopian ideology indeed. Ask anyone the difference between utopian and dystopian and I’d wager they would need to look it up. I’m a science-fiction fan, so know the different pretty well. Bladerunner = dystopian, The Giver = utopian (but discovered truly dystopian). Star Trek The Next Generation, in essence, is a utopian society in that they eliminated poverty, hunger, war (at least on planets in the Federation). Enough geeking though.

I was close to a decision on a third-party candidate and my choice takes into a lot of factors that technically aren’t relevant to this blog post. The Monster in Your Closet has provided her endorsement and I share a lot of the same viewpoints she does in her support of Jill Stein and the Green Party.  Several of the platform points that I’m behind are:

  • 20 million new jobs by creating WWII-era workforce mobilization to migrate to 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe
  • Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act which banned secondary boycotts and permitted state “right-to-work” laws. Enact a federal just cause law (to prohibit firing without just cause,) and outlaw scabbing on striking workers
  • Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve
  • Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure
  • Abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the President using a national popular vote with ranked-choice voting
  • Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers

The above are not in any particular order of importance. A lot of what she is standing for in her platform is what the American public has told her are the problems that need to be corrected. Both the Libertarian and Green parties have listened to the “people” who most politicians have ignored to a large extent. Normal people are not part of the inner circle of greed and therefore, don’t have any leverage to change anything. I’m a normal person and as such, feel powerless to make any change, or so I thought. Both Stein and Johnson have a major battle to not only be part of the debates, but also be listed as a candidate on all 50 state ballots. There are so many rules and blocks to getting on the ballot no wonder we’re stuck in this two-party system rut. Our power as individual voters lies with social media, conversations, and grass-roots efforts of support.

I’ve yet to choose my third-party candidate at this point, however I lean heavily to Stein/Baraka. My decision will most likely come down to who, if any, make enough headway to earn their spot in this years debates. One thing I am certain of though, is that my vote will NOT be for Trump or Clinton, as I feel for me, that is endorsing one of the two school yard bullies. Supporting a bully only results in slightly less attention, but you continue to be bullied regardless. I can no longer support a system that continues to get richer while I struggle to keep myself above water without making any real difference. The difference I’m making this year is in support of the “good Samaritan” that steps in to stop the bully in the schoolyard from picking on me. If one of the third party candidates manage to win the election, it will truly be one for the history books.

#gary-johnson, #green, #jill-stein, #libertarian, #media, #social-media

To be social or not to be social? That is the question.

I get asked a lot about my social media habits being in the Information Security field.  Generally, they revolve around security and privacy and what I do to keep things protected in a world that seemingly gets hacked all the time.  I see social media as more of a bother than something useful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a Facebook or LinkedIn account.  I’ve even given Google+ and Twitter a spin just to realize they were a tremendous waste of time.  Being the private person that I am, social media presents a complicated problem that after several years still is not completely understood.

Facebook

Everyone knows what it is.  Even my Mom has a Facebook [FB] account.  No, I’m not friends with my Mom.  Before you tell me that isn’t a nice thing to do, let me explain first.  I see Facebook as an extension of my circle of personal friends (more acquaintances) only in a digital form.  There isn’t a single person on my friends list that I have not at least got to

Yes, its a real phone!

Yes, its a real phone!

know in person first.  I’ve had a FB account for almost 8 years and only have 89 friends to my name.  I don’t see family fitting into my social life much in the way that you don’t take your Mom or sibling on a date with your wife.  Therefore, I don’t have any family members listed in my friends listing.  I use email and this old school concept called “talking on the phone” because texting infuriates me (that’s another post topic for another day).

FB, for its intent and purpose, is a good model for sharing with people that you normally wouldn’t have contact with except on rare occasions.  One of my friends from high school lives in California and I haven’t seen him in person for about 5 years, but we stay in regular contact via FB.  The problem with FB, especially for younger people, is that it allows a pervasive anti-social behavior pattern to develop.  I’m sure you’ve seen the family out to dinner at a local diner, all with their phones in front of their faces, not talking to each other.  Further observation reveals that the children of the group are in fact texting each other while sitting next to each other.  Personally I see this as disturbing and an ominous trend of the current generation not being able to socialize without an electronic device.

LinkedIn

I call this service the Facebook for Business [FBB] as it is catered to the business person to socialize and advertise themselves online to prospective employers and colleagues.  FBB is actually quite useful for my purposes as it provides the work-personal segregation that I fiercely support.  In fact, I would not be moving into a new job on Oct 1st if it weren’t for FBB as the recruiter found my profile and solicited me for the position.

I’ve supported people getting onto LinkedIn countless times in the past several years as I see its value clearly.  The more you detail your work history, obtain recommendations and advertise your accomplishments the easier it is for potential employers and recruiters to find your profile.  FBB requires a finesse to achieve a balance between base and high level detail so that you’re standing out in the crowd.  The fact there isn’t a ridiculous reliance on the social aspect FBB doesn’t have the same issues that FB has.

Social Balance

At the end of the day, you’re going to use social media so that it fits into your life style.  My life style doesn’t support FB, but does support FBB.  Others would see FBB as a waste of time and just another social media account to cultivate and keep up to date.  My use of FB is out of the necessity of keeping in touch with people that hold value in my life; it is NOT a replacement for physical socialization with family and local friends.  I find it to be a necessary evil that I utilize sparingly.  FBB on the other hand, is something that I log onto every day, tweak consistently and ensure is as precise as possible.  For every 9 solicitations from “linked in sharks” there is 1 solid lead that actually pans out to a real offer.  In my case, I was given that real offer.

Tread lightly into social media as it is the largest human experiment in history where no one knows anything about the conclusion.

#facebook, #linkedin, #social-media