Facebook and other anti-social networks

FacebookI am pretty much wired to any social network available and try to keep as much as I can. I even share some stuff once in a while, especially on Facebook. But lately I get the feeling that a couple of social networks just don’t contribute to my expectations like they used to.
I’ve found that Facebook is the prime example of deterioration of interest over the years, even though I’ve been using it from it’s very early years.

Hyves

4ae2fb2e3aa5eb92dc7d980bc49bee369af24cdbIt very much reminds me of Hyves (early Dutch-oriented social network), back in the old days. That particular network received a real surge of users which went over to Facebook.
For some time, mostly kids and the more senior discoverers remained. Ultimately, a buyout and a change of course by the new owner TMG led to killing off the services on 2 december 2013.
I think the change of course was good (more focus on content and quality) but it was already too late: Facebook was already having more active users from our country than Hyves had at it’s peak.

Social pitfall

Let’s fast-forward to present day: Facebook is the biggest global social network. But what content does it offer?
I first would like to sum up some downfalls of social media, grabbed from a nice article written by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD (columnist of Psychology Today and Rootsofaction):

  • Lack of emotional connection
  • License to be hurtful
  • Decreases face-to-face communication skills
  • Conveys inauthentic expression of feelings
  • Diminished understanding and thoughtfulness
  • Causes face-to-face interactions to feel disconnected
  • Facilitates laziness
  • Can create a skewed self-image
  • Reduces family closeness
  • Causes distractions

I’m not even listing the possible privacy concerns here because it should already be clear you are paying with your privacy to keep things free of charge.
The above tells us, basically: We suffer a deficit on emotional and communication skills in real life, get distracted and lazy and might even hurt our self or others in the process.
While not necessarily true when being mindful around these subjects, it does lurk. Especially when you multiply that chance by using a plethora of social networks.

What am I on?

No, I’m not using controlled substances bar the occasional nice whiskey and a beer 🙂
While it had been more, I nowadays use the following social networks and social-enabled services:

  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Reddit (arguably)
  • Youtube

Of all the networks I use, I find Facebook to be the most annoying by far. It has grown into a place to share stuff nobody gives a shit about, resurrect the good ol’ chain letter (copy this and get no life rewards at all), find out if you’re a superhero and promote your own writing. I am guilty as charged to the former and latter, since cats are cute and else no one would read my blog otherwise. Well, I did write a technical blog about VCE and ome on Citrix, which literally got 10000’s of views through SEO, so social networking is not entirely necessary.

Anyway, I lost interest in probably close to 95% of what comes by on Facebook or I just stopped caring, which seems exactly the same type of content problem on Hyves, years ago. And I feel like Facebook isn’t giving people enough ease-of-use tools to better filter through the turds. Even Google does this better on it’s far less popular Google Plus.

Where does this lead to?

Basically, I am going to unplug, starting 1st of August. I am uninstalling all social media from my phone. I’m trading distraction for better battery life 🙂
Sure, I’ll still publish a blog now and then which automatically gets publicized to my social aliases, but I won’t read comments on social networks till come September 1st.

By then, I will review what I’ve missed and try to form a conclusion in a follow up on this blog. Got really important stuff to share with me? Mail me, call me, leave a direct message via the blog. See you next month social-networkers!

Onychophagia

Onychophagia - it's yummie with Raylex!
Raylex – it’s yummie!

Onychophagia

When asked about what their first memory is, most people recall something from the age 4 or 5. I remember vacations with family, crashing into my brother while we both gunned our BMX bikes through an alley on opposite sides and… onychophagia. I don’t recall how it began, but I know for sure it is an oral compulsory habit / parafunctional activity. So, what to do? Well a good dose of  denatonium benzoate should fix that!.  If you didn’t guess: I’m talking about biting nails. In this case for 30+ years and certainly not proud of it. But how to get rid of it?

Denatonium benzate

While sounding like a component of a weapon of mass destruction, it is used in medical placebo’s and discouragement of alcohols like methanol. I read that it’s the most bitter substance known to man. So the product with the highest concentration must be able to prevent me from putting my nails or fingers in my mouth, even when I’m acting on impulse, surely?  I tried out stuff like Byte-X in the past and I still continued biting anyways, so this time around, I tried Raylex. It’s some kind of marker pen, which you use to apply the stuff, full of denatonium benzate.

Marked for growth

It’s not that special, but you can actually get a companion app to remind you and coach you a bit and it does carry some ingredients to accelerate nail growth a bit. All said and done, being the ever skeptic, I started using it a couple of weeks before our holiday and followed the instructions through and through. I did found a small downside: it rubs off on your food as well, making everything very bitter. So I really had to think about the order of things to prevent a bitterness like no tomorrow. Not funny when eating a Wasa. Even avidly chewing gum doesn’t help for at least 10 minutes, meaning it really works well.

Onychophagia
Pen against onychophagia

So how did ye fare, biter?

Admittedly, I did bite 2 or 3 times over the course of more than a month, but it did make me feel sad since the rest was growing quite good. Bitten ones just fell out of tone and it shamed me to have a little relapse. “Surely I can keep  myself from this??” I thought by myself. Apply again. Ah. Forget to eat first. Dammit.

I had to clip my nails today for the first time since I can remember, because they were getting too long. And use a nail file, courtesy of girlfriend. Now that’s something new!
For most people a small feat, for me an honest personal victory. No more hiding fingers, folding hands on photo’s and the even bigger downfalls of biting nails. I do realize this probably reads like an advertorial, but this stuff actually worked for me.  I think that says a lot, coming from 30+ years of nail biting to this point.
I currently don’t bite my nails at all and I sincerely hope it stays out of my system for a long, long time. If you are having the same issue, be sure to try this out!

5 Stages of vacation grief

San Joan festivities
San Joan festivities

Ah… vacation. Waking up to the warm glow of the sun outside. Stumbling across the room, immediately changing sleep-attire for a swimming short. Sleepdrunk walking to the fridge, making a small breakfast and stepping out in the sun, walking past the swimmingpool and settling down beneath a hanook. Slowly eating breakfast consisting of the local prey from the Supermercado La Nucia. Spending the day warming up on loungebeds and dipping in the pool when it gets to much, only stopping the proces for primetime BBQ’ ing or visiting a restaurant. Or some funny festivity which involved putting up chopping a tree, carrying it to the village and setting it upright again with t-shirts in it.

The slower, but very good life. Vacation.

Aaaaand then you get back and must see through the 5 stages of vacation grief:

Denial – It’s not so bad!

Back at the office, still feeling the glow of sleeping late and forgetting this place actually existed.
Made some tea, thinking I actually have a job 🙂 Moreso, it is dry in the office, opposed to circumstances outside.

Anger – &(*()$&%!!!!

What the hell is all this mail?? Why the 180’s on stuff agreed prior to my leave? Why is a project timetable changed with deliverables due in 2 workdays?
Why does this place want my soul? Think happy thoughts. Vacation..

Bargaining – I can fix this

Well, I guess life is what you make it. If I can stay on top of the deadlines and this time NOT skip lunch as before the vacation, I’m going to be alright.
Maybe a refresher website or podcast on time management when I get home?

Depression – It’s all so meaningless!

Damn, woke up too late. Means getting the traffic penalty. Twice.
Oh hello desk, again. Was this place always so dim? And why is everyday becoming a repetition of the previous one?

Suddenly, it feels like I need a vacation but we only returned a week ago. Oh well..

Vacation
“Nuestra” casa en España

Acceptance

Let’s mark some dates for the next vacation, preferably with a lot of sun and fun. Rinse and repeat.
Maybe get a few days extra this year 🙂

Current stage: 5th! Let’s quickly organize something to look forward to 🙂