Thursday, March 31, 2016

This Digital Life

The last time I posted on this blog, Bryan and I were relative newcomers to Catskill. Small-town life is a lot more familiar to us now. I return to this spot to examine my digital life. Right after the new year in 2014 I posted about my intentions to leave Facebook and well, that never happened. My dad used to say that my generation lacked discipline. As a kid I never understood why his criticisms were pointed at me, since I had nothing to do with the way my habits were forming in the face of popular culture, and it wasn't my choice to grow up in the suburbs. But I can't help thinking that if my dad believed there was too much opportunity for distraction in the 70's, he would really be a critic of culture today. Social media does encourage constant distraction, and to fight its allure requires discipline and vigilance.

If I do a simple inventory of the various blogging, sharing or social media websites I engage in, the list looks like this, in order of when I joined. I am including websites such as etsy that didn't initially start out as social media sites, but eventually acquired a social element.

Twitter (inactive)

There are several reasons I am thinking about this now, beyond a general feeling of uneasiness with the amount of time I spend mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. And yes, the social media giant continues to be my biggest problem. From a business standpoint, I am thinking about the amount of time I put into marketing my work, versus the amount of sales I am making. While social media can be fun, such as the case with Instagram, it is not generating the business I would hope for. I know that it works for some people. And I know that there are things I can be doing outside the web to draw people in. But for where I am right now, I am putting too much time into posting content that doesn't result in a whole lot of sales.

If I have to consider what I would like my digital life to look and feel like it would be more streamlined, more user-generated (less controlled by a behemoth like Facebook) easier to navigate, and more reflective of who I am. I want to feel good about not only the content I present, but the interface through which I present it. And I suppose this is why I return to blogspot at this moment, because it asks very little of me. I am able to write what I want without distraction. The challenge and the tradeoff for all that distraction is that almost everyone is on Facebook. Being able to release it means having the faith to believe that people will find me if I leave. And perhaps things will follow their own natural course if I do. Last night while clicking through the sidebar of links on this blog, I discovered how many people are still using blogspot. It's not a dead platform by any means, but switching my attention from all-consuming Facebook to doing things the old-fashioned way requires a bit more work. And maybe that's okay and that's exactly what I need.

I have more thoughts on this but I will leave it here for now.

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