Saturday, December 23, 2017

Social Media Blackout Progress

Some of you know that I endeavored to go dark and quiet between Thanksgiving and Christmas on Twitter and Facebook. Results as we near the end of the period in question are mixed. I have utterly failed to "blackout", but the spirit of the exercise remains.

Really the only way for me to have totally blacked out on them would have been to remove the ability to access them. Essentially, this means no internet (due to my own lack of self-control, mainly). This isn't really practical.

For the first couple of weeks, I did well, using Facebook only to post Christmas carol videos (which were never on the blackout list) and Twitter not at all.

Then came the first quandary; while my desire to move away from social media was centered largely around my approach to Twitter (show-offy, sarcastic, snarky, douchey), I failed to recognize how important Twitter is to my professional life. I write a lot of stuff besides this spectacular blog--stuff I get paid for and stuff that helps me get paid for other stuff. Twitter is a remarkably efficient mechanism for getting that stuff out there to the people I most want to read it.

As this blackout was entirely self-imposed, I needed only to convince myself that there was room for a waiver for professional matters. Except of course, that to some extent, my exile was also a presentation to the Kitten/Kittens that I could actually manage to push away. So I brought it up to the Kitten one day, basically saying "I'd not considered the impact on my professional writing...." to which she quite sensibly said, "Well that's dumb. You should use the tool for positive things."

And so, the door was cracked open. I had sanction to Tweet or post about professional matters. I have used it sparingly, to publicize my own work. But I've slipped up. I've cheated now and then.

I've also begun to lurk on both Twitter and Facebook in a passive mode, reading what is going on and finding myself thinking "were I not on blackout, I'd respond to that" or more healthily, saying "when the blackout is over, this is the kind of thing I'll avoid doing that I once relished".

The thing I've missed most about this exercise? Tweeting along with UVA basketball games. The Hoos are 11-1 and approaching top Ten status in most polls...are MUCH deeper, more offensive-minded, and faster than I think anyone really anticipated this year. Tweeting and watching is a poor substitute for the live experience of communal support--but when no one else in the house will watch games with you, it helps connect with others.

So--to summarize--thus far it's been a positive experience, but not nearly as disciplined as I would have hoped.

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