#FridayFive: 8/3/2018

Happy Friday, y’all! Here are 5 stories with a “screen” theme!

[Note: A couple of these throw in some profanities, I think, but I can’t quite recall which ones. If you’d rather not risk it, feel free to pass on reading this week’s entries. Hit me up on Twitter, I’ll give you a nickel-summary of them!]

What I Learned About Deep Productivity from a 30-Day Digital Declutter: This post by Nick Wignall provides a case study for what happens when we start re-training our brains to do “deep work” for sustained amounts of time. The read is a little longer than some of these others, but it provides some interesting ideas about how our attention spans can be adapted (or “hacked,” if you want to be click-baity about it).

Facebook’s Addiction Wasn’t Free: Programming guru DHH explores some of the true costs of Facebook usage. Like many others, he addresses the idea that we, the users, were the product being sold. It reminds me of another article I read recently (but can’t remember the author, in order to cite him or her), about how writers/creators should seek to build their own websites and platforms, because to create content and put it on a social media site like FB or Instagram is basically “digital sharecropping.” You get the scraps, while the boss (in this case, the platform you are using for “free”) gets the benefits. I’ve been considering this lately in the context of my own professional and creative plans.

Why I Don’t Think #DeleteFacebook Will Stick: Back in March, when the Cambridge Analytica firestorm first broke, Dylan Sellberg wrote this post to predict why he thought the #DeleteFacebook movement would fizzle out. Four months later, it appears he may have been right. While there have been some who followed through on closing their Facebook accounts (I know a few, and none of them regret it), many of us who clucked our tongues at that story kept on clicking. If the popular history of social media had been scripted 20 years ago (specifically, the hybridization and monopolization of user data and platform access into the hands of a few key players), you would have expected it to be the set-up for a dystopian novel. Well…the future is now.

Florence: Sharing this story feels like a bit of a paradox, because I both wanted and didn’t want to read it myself. It contains spoilers about the new app-based story-game from the creators of Monument Valley (which is an outstanding and elegant puzzle game I can’t recommend highly enough). But this article is fascinating to me both as a casual gamer and as a writer because it demonstrates how this team conceptualized a video game about the life cycle of a romantic relationship. I love games that tell compelling stories in unique ways. I look forward to exploring and experiencing this one.

I’m A Millennial Tech Worker Who Switched to An Old-School Flip Phone: The title pretty much spells it out, doesn’t it? In the interest of full disclosure, I would probably have earned the author’s reply of “Hogwash!” as she describes those who claim they “need” their smartphones. I’ve only had one for a few years, and I admit that I’ve become more dependent on it, particularly as my home computer has become less and less dependable. I use my phone as my food/weight tracker, map, side-hustle platform, calendar, notebook, etc. I’ve made myself dependent on this device. On the other hand, there are times when I look back on the days of having a “dumb” phone and slightly regret making the switch. There may come a point after my smartphone bites the dust that I go back to the much-cheaper dumb-phone era. If I could find a decent slider phone with a full QWERTY keyboard, I’d be almost all the way sold.

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There you go, friends: five tech stories for your consideration this weekend.

Let me also challenge you (and myself): Pick a block of time this weekend to go “screen-free.” Talk a walk, hang out with a friend, play a board game, or maybe read a paper (!) book. I think we all could use a respite from screens now and then. I know I could.

Have a great weekend!

A Little Anti-Social.

Well, I’m back. I won’t bore you with the usual mea culpa‘s and excuses. I’ll just say the last couple weeks have been interesting. Not terrible, not traumatic. Just a little more hectic than usual.  But hey–life, right? 

And now I’m back to blog, and the only thing I can think of to right about at the moment is more marriage stuff. I’M SORRY, OKAY? IT’S KIND OF ON MY MIND LATELY. 32 DAYS. 😉  But it’s not ENTIRELY about marriage, so don’t zone out.  And I’ll try to post about something pop-culturey or controversial soon, to break up the monotony.

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So H. and I have been talking lately about social media. She sent me this video, which I recommend you watch, because it definitely makes you think. (Of course, most YT videos that make you think don’t result in follow-up actions, but at least you think for a second, yes?)

The question of “social media replacing personal interaction” is one that a lot of people have strong opinions on, but no one does anything about.  It’s one of those classic “we’ve got to DO SOMETHING” causes. It’s the type of thing we share on Facebook, but yet it never goes beyond the share or like or even comment, if we feel really strongly.

(By the way, anyone know what’s going on with Kony? No? Okay, nevermind.)

But that’s not the point of this story. That’s just a freebie for people who are bored with marriage talk.

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As I said, H. and I were discussing social media, particularly post-wedding. There’s a good chance we’re both gonna disappear from the FB and Twitter circles for a while afterward. (Haven’t decided what will happen here, but as little as I’m blogging lately, would anyone notice? I might as well just turn over the keys to Web and be done with it.)

Another one of the ideas we are kicking around is replacing our individual Facebook accounts with a joint account.

*Cue the groans from the single folks* 

I know some of you may be rolling your eyes, convinced we’ve just become another one of those couples so into each other that their identities and FB accounts are intertwined. Allow me to pre-emptively address some of the criticisms of this idea.

  • First, give me some credit here. I’ve worked very hard to make sure the focus of my life is not solely my upcoming wedding. (32 days, y’all.)  But seriously. There’s more to our lives than this marriage, but it IS a big deal, so cut us a little slack.
  • Second, if you’re concerned that a joint FB account is proof of lost identity, you put WAY too much stock in what a FB account means.  Facebook is the highlight reel. Facebook is not real life. Facebook is a snapshot. (I think we all need to repeat this to ourselves daily.) Besides, we’ve already combined our Netflix accounts. You wanna talk about COMMITMENT…?
  • Third, it was my idea, not hers. I’ve seen this happen, where one distrustful partner forces the other to share the FB account. That’s not the case. I mentioned, a few months back, that I could see the benefit of having a combined FB account, in terms of the “living above reproach” idea. I don’t need to keep secrets from my wife. To her, I want to be as open and transparent as I can be to any living person. So what’s the big deal?

All that said, I wanted to throw this out to you, the mostly-silent 4DB community: Joining FB accounts when you get married–good idea or bad idea, and why?