Tag Archives: Facebook

First days of no social media

So I am a few days into going cold turkey on social media. I think the wife feels a bit put out that I am not there to be entertained by her. For me it has not really been too bad, but I do have to admit that I do feel a bit cut off and isolated. On the other hand I seem to have a lot more time on my hands. Instead of going to Twitter and Facebook, I am going to other websites, in many cases sites I have not visited in years, reading up on RPG’s, comic books and computers. I am also researching secure Linux distros and brushing up on my penetration testing skills. I think my next step is going to be killing all the stupid TV shows I have been forcing myself to watch.

RE: Facebook and Me

Facebook, well really all social media, and I have always had a tenuous relationship. I mean I almost always have to force myself to post anything with any consistency. Lately I have found myself self censoring, basically not responding to things other people posted because I didn’t really want to stir the pot. When I would post things to stir the pot, I found basically everyone else is self censoring as well. So then the question becomes what do I need social media for?

The obvious answer here is so I can stay in touch with friends and family. This makes sense on face value, Facebook lets me keep track on people in more or less real time. Going back to my first paragraph, if I am self censoring and everyone I know is self censoring, then we are not really having any sort of real dialog. All we are really using the platform for is to send targeted messages to each other. Okay, I have an email address for that and a phone number that receives text messages. So then I am back to the question what do I need social media for?

PezWitch uses social media as a way to express herself. She posts pictures and video’s on a near daily basis. Much of this stuff is very creative and fun to do, I can see why she does it. My hobbies are very different though, I play dungeons & dragons, read comic books and mess with computers. This blog is very much an expression of those hobbies. For the most part I enjoy posting here because I know the people who come here do so to specifically read what I am writing and people who don’t like it rarely come back and that is alright with me. Posting stuff on Twitter there is a 100% chance someone whom you do not know and has no business reading your posts is going to read something they don’t like and freak out. Here its nice and quiet, its just me writing about things I enjoy doing and if someone gets stupid, I delete their comments and block their IP address. Once again I am back to the question of do I really need social media?

FaceBook and Me

I have not culled my FaceBook friends in several years, I had actually allowed myself to get to 50 followers. I had become complacent because I found a functional way to manage posts from my FB friends through the use of lists. The problem was of course I ended up with a ghetto list where I put everyone I was not interested in and then I had a Work list, where I put everyone on that list on my restricted list so they could not see posts of questionable content. Basically, I was spending a lot of time managing what people see from me and what I saw from them. Over the last few weeks I have come to the conclusion that I should not have to do this, I should be willing to share my life with people on Facebook and in turn, I should enjoy the posts of those people with whom my relationship is primarily through FB. I am sure there is going to be some butt-hurt over this, but you know, whatever.

RE: Facebook and Me

Currently I am deleting my old posts on Facebook when I post something new. I am shooting for a sort of Anti-Facebook Facebook experience. My intent is to not have a hisory of my life, but only my last thought. This really has nothing to do with data collection or anonymity, it is simply an experiment in different ways to use Facebook. If you are really interested in my posting history, you can always pop over to G+, I have deleted nothing from there and my G+ posts are a 90% mirror of my Facebook posts.

Before I deleted all my old Facebook posts, I read through them just to see if there was anything I wanted save. I quickly came to the conclusion that no, there is nothing worth saving here. In fact most of my posts for the last few years have been exceedingly boring, very sanitized. Sure I drop the F bomb here and there, but over all my postings have been very……non controversial. Even my responses to others posts have been uninspired. Even when people were posting things to get under the skins of liberals (me), I tended towards being risk adverse. Then I went back to look at this blog and sure enough, same thing. I has been a very long time since I have written anything like my various 10 Commandments posts, found here, here and here.

Essentially, I have been a victim of societal pressure to go along to get along. I have even pigeon holed all my Facebook friends into groups and I know damn well which of those groups of people are the least likely to annoy me, so guess which groups get read every day versus those groups I ready once a month, and then only the first page is skimmed. So then I started wondering if this happens to everyone, so I started reading old posts from different people, especially those whom I disagreed with on a variety of subjects and have had online debates with. Sure enough, over time almost everyone starts self editing themselves. My current theory on this is, we get tired of trolling each other. Over time we stop talking about controversial subjects and we stop responding to people who do post about controversial subjects. Of course on the off occasion we do do engage in these things, they tend to be watered down and non-confrontational.

 

More Facebook Crap

I am currently trying to organize FaceBook to make it a more manageable tool. left unmodified, you pretty much get an unending stream of conscience from the entity known as “Your Friends”. The first thing I did was remove everyone from my news feed except those who consistently post interesting content, unsurprisingly, that was about 10% of my friends list. I then clicked on the Friends link on the side bar where I can manage lists. I took advantage of the pre-made lists for Close Friends, Acquaintances, Family and then I added a Work list.

  • Family: Everyone I am related to either by blood or marriage.
  • Close Friends: Anyone not related with whom I have a life long bond with.
  • Work: Everyone with whom my relationship is primarily professional.
  • Acquaintances: Pretty much everyone else who did not fit into any of the above categories.

I then added everyone on my Work list to my Restricted list, this keeps those people from seeing posts unless I specifically allow them to see it. This keeps me from having to edit myself, or worry about SFW content or an off color statement affecting my career. And of course when the next culling comes, the Work and Acquaintances pools gives me a short list for the UN-friending.

Facebook and me

I think Facebook has deemed me a threat and is defending itself against me. I am trying to delete all my old posts and unnecessary photos. Just when I think I have them all deleted, I come back 20 minutes later and BANG!, there are 5 posts I seemingly missed. Either Facebook is hiding posts from me or it is not deleting my posts and it is playing mind games with me. My personal theory is it is trying to make the process so difficult that I will eventually give up and not try again.

The apocalypse is at hand

This morning FaceBook was broken and no one could post anything. In other news productivity in the U.S. skyrocketed with no obvious explanation.

The Got Identity

Something like 6 months ago someone who seemed to be a total stranger tried to friend me on FaceBook (FB). I of course said no with prejudice. A few days later at our weekly D&D game, my friend says hey that “Got” guy who tried to friend you is me. We then had a conversation about why he has two FB accounts, one under his real name and one under this fictitious name. He explained it started out as a way to pump up the various FB games that give you points for trying to recruit other FB members to their games and now he uses it to post political rants. So in a fit of amusement asked him if I could become Chris Got and he said sure, thus was borne The Got Identity, which I then promptly forgot about. Last weekend The Got Identity appears on PezWitch’s “People You Might Know” and this profile picture quickly drew her attention.

 

This is the picture I use pretty regularly as my online avatar and she recognized it instantly. This brought what I am sure was a moment of anxiety in the time between her realizing the account was mine and her asking me what this was in a very judgemental fashion. After all the internet is rife with stories about cheating husbands who have alternate FB accounts used for picking up women. My first reaction was, what are you going on about woman? When she showed me the profile pic, I remembered where the account came from and then had to explain the whole thing and in retrospect, it probably sounded kind of silly and lets be frank, it was pretty silly, but no one can accuse me of being a terribly serious person. The upside was this lead to a hilarious FB exchange where I was arguing with my alter ego about which of us was the real person.

So long and thanks for all the fish – Part 1

Okay, I am going to admit defeat here. I simply do not have the bandwidth anymore to post here on anything remotely resembling regularity. In the next day or two I am going to decide if I just want t take a break for the summer or if I need to just shut it down and shift what little blogging I do back to Facebook. Right now, I am leaning towards the latter rather than the former.

RE: FaceBook and Me

I read this interesting article about how FaceBook is really making us more miserable. This kind of makes sense to me. While I was an active participant on FaceBook, I almost dreaded reading it and I hated myself for going there several times a day. I hated it because so many people were posting too much garbage. At first I thought it was just the game requests, but after I got all that stuff blocked out, I still found it annoying. What made it even worse was I kept going back, because for a lot of my friends, it was the only way to stay in touch, even if their posts made me cringe sometimes. I think the final nail in the FaceBook coffin for me, was when they banned it at work. I felt relieved and almost elated. Now I check FaceBook once a week and I am pretty satisfied with that.

Goodbye Google+

The other day I deleted my Google+ account when I realized I did not remember the last time I looked at it and it had been at least a week or two. Then I thought about it, and decided while I was at it, I should delete my Twitter account since it had been at least a month since I last looked at that. I suppose there really is only room enough in my life for one social network, FaceBook seems to be the default and I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon.

As a side note, this morning while surfing the web I came across this tidbit on Slashdot which is a discussion about Google+ being an identity service and the social network is just a side line. It included two links of interest.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20096313-264/what-happens-when-google-cuts-you-off/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/117378076401635777570/posts/2y7vqXBtLny

 

Hookey Bobbing

Over on Facebook there is a new group called “You know you are from Billings when..”, for the most part this group has been less than amusing. However, the other day the discussion of Hookey Bobbing came up. Hookey Bobbing is when, during the winter and all the roads were covered with snow and ice, we would grab the bumper of a car while it was stopped at a light and then let the car pull us along, often at speeds of 35 miles an hour or greater. As tremendously stupid as this sounds it was the primary mode of transportation to school during the winter for teenagers not yet old enough to own a car. The pit falls of Hookey Bobbing are obvious, hit a bare spot of pavement and if you were lucky, you lost soles of your boots, if you were not lucky, you ended up with a dislocated shoulder. Sudden stops by the car usually meant a black eye or broken nose and speed dips or speed bumps usually sent you flying into the nearest wall, telephone pole or mail box. Sometimes I am truly amazed that I survived my childhood.

RE: Google+

I am so uncool, my own wife refused to send me a Google+ invite, I had to get one of the guys I work with to send me one and of course today after I signed up I got like three other invites. I suppose that is the way of it. Anyone who wants an invite, drop me a line and I will send you one.

So far it is pretty much a Facebook (FB), but It adds some options I do like. For instance I can break my friends into circles and then limit who can see the content I post by circle. For instance, the standard circles are Family, Friends and Acquaintances, I added Co-Workers as well. This way I can keep my Sisters and Co-Workers from seeing the pictures of Chad’s naked ass from the New Year Party in 1981, while inflicting said pictures on my Friends and Acquaintances.

FB does have the option to make Groups place all your friends into various ones and use it to control who sees what content, but the problem is FB Groups are clunky to make and use. It was a pain in the ass to go through my 44 FB friends and place them in a Group, I can’t imagine what that process would be like if I had 440. Although I suppose it would not be too bad if you started doing it early on instead of waiting until you have 440 Friends.

Since I have a love/hate relationship with FB, I am sure I will have similar feelings about Google+. I suspect all the gripes I have with FB, will probably apply to Google+ as well. For the immediate future, I do not see myself using Google+ any more than I use FB. In the mean time, Gizmodo has an article suggesting some things we should do to Google+.

Gizmodo: So-what-the-hell-are-we-supposed-to-put-on-Google+

Google+

Looks like Google has decided to move into Facebook territory and will soon be offering a social network they are calling Google+. Today’s XKCD sums things up nicely I think.

Facebook and Me

Facebook and I have always had a tenuous relationship. I have never been a big fan of their privacy policy and I have written before about how Facebook is a content provider only it is we users who produce the content for our friends to consume and we do this free of charge. That aside, Facebook is increasingly becoming more important in our lives whether we want it to or not. Almost everyone I know is on it, although not everyone uses it much, myself included. Facebook is a nice centralized place to maintain things like current email address and phone numbers. It is also a pretty good way to send messages, there are people out there who check their email once a month, but are on Facebook 4 hours day. I think the time is coming where we will sneer at people who don’t have Facebook accounts in the same way we sneer at vegans and people who don’t own TV’s.

Site Stats and Facebook

Here are my site stats as of this morning. On the surface it looks like linking to my blog from Facebook does indeed drive traffic here. In the month of December I saw about a 20% increase in traffic. I also noticed there were no comments by anyone who had not left a comment in the past. Of course most of the people who comment here are also the people who would be likely to respond to my posts on Facebook.

[TABLE=9]


Edit: Just for the record, this site had 59,761 hits for 2010.

Funny 80’s pictures

Recently my sister posted a bunch of pictures of her and her friends from the early 80’s. She also added some family pictures. Fortunately I came out pretty good, no pictures of me in my underwear or visibly stoned, drunk or otherwise reality challenged. I can not say the same for some others. To show I am a good sport, I am re-posting one of the pictures she posted. This picture was taken in probably 30 years and 100 lbs ago. I have no idea why I was dressed up, I only wore that suit like three times, so I am guessing a funeral. More interesting is the 80’s mustache, god I loved that mustache, it was a power unto itself,  PezWitch denies it, but she knows deep down, the mustache was what drew her to me and I am certain it ended the cold war as well. All men should be so lucky as to have had an 80’s mustache.

 

Picture no longer available

New Facebook Profile

The new look for Facebook has arrived at my profile. I have cleverly used the new look to customize my profile page.

Picture no longer available

 

For those not in the know, the picture I assembled there is of the Knights of the Dinner Table. A comicbook published by Kenzer and Company, about a dysfunctional group of gamers. Anybody who has ever played D&D for any length of time will recognize the archetypes here.

There are a lot of people doing interesting things with the new Facebook profiles. To see some examples, have a look here,

http://reface.me/hacks/new-facebook-profile-hack/

It is fairly easy to accomplish. Each of the pictures you want to appear in your header must have a width of 97 pixels and a height of 68 pixels. Once you upload them, tag yourself in each of the pictures. Facebook displays pictures you are tagged in from the latest picture you were tagged in to the oldest, so to get them in the proper order, tag the picture you to appear on the right first and then tag the next pictures as you move to the left. In my case I tagged the picture of Brian first (the big guy with red hair), then I tagged Sara and Bob, then I tagged Bob and B.A..

24 Hour Society

I am regurgitating (maybe that is a bad word) this from Facebook, because I think it is an interesting subject

On Facebook my friend Carolyn wrote a nice note about how she occasionally gets caught up in the cycle of doing just one more thing before going to bed and she has to eventually has to force herself to stop and say, “my desire to be in bed at that time is OK.  Not only am I allowed to go to bed.  That’s where I am supposed to be.  Tomorrow is another day.”. I think Carolyn makes a profound observation here, I responded with the following.

More and more our society is becoming a 24 hour society. It use to be is you were awake at 3AM, the only other people in the world who were awake lived in India, the TV and radio stations went off the air and on Sunday, EVERYTHING was closed. Today none of that is true, I can do practically anything at 3AM almost as well as 3PM, virtually all TV channels are 24 hour and nothing shuts down on Sunday, heck Walmart even opens on Christmas day now. The problem with all this is we all have this nagging feeling we are missing something.

On top of that, I’d like to add, I don’t think this is a good thing. Perhaps I am just a bit nostalgic, as men my age tend to be. It seems to me perhaps Walmart should not be open on Christmas day, maybe everything should close down on Sundays and yes maybe the TV channels should call it quits at midnight. Let everyone take some time to sleep, spend time with friends and family, or read a book. I am aware, I can do all that stuff now, I can refuse to go to the mall on Sunday, I can turn off the TV whenever I want and I can set my computer aside and pick up a book. The problem is all these things are designed to be distractions and the people who do the designing are really good at their jobs and these things distract us. Maybe we need to slow down a bit and say to ourselves, its okay to go to bed.

Site Stats

As you can see from the table below, over the last six months the page requests on my site has steadily increased, peaking in October at 10,000+ hits.

[TABLE=8]

It appears on the surface of it that if I am not active on Facebook, at least a few of my “Friends” forget I maintain a blog. It is really too bad too, because November was when I blogged about ComicCon and anyone who didn’t come here, missed a significant event of the year. I will be very interested to look at these numbers again in January to see if my active posting on Facebook increases my page hits.

Edit: Keep in mind, these number are page requests, not neccessarily the number of people visiting the site.

People as products

I heard a saying last week, it went something like “If the service is free, you are the product being sold.”. The gist of this saying is, any product you use which is free or stupidly cheap, then the company is making money by collecting information about you and selling that information to other organizations. Some of this seems pretty harmless to me, privacy issues aside.

Facebook, Twitter and Myspace certainly make their money by selling targeted  advertisements. Google certainly does this as well with Gmail, Google Docs and its other services. In fact if you are logged into any “Cloud” service, including Yahoo or Windows Live, you are essentially feeding them a steady stream of information about you.

Other free services scare me considerably more. Intuit for instance offeres free tax preparation services on their website. Think about this in context of the first sentence of this post. Last year Intuit purchased Mint.com. If you don’t known, Mint.com is a popular money management site that helps you figure out where your money is going, so you can budget you money effectively. To make the service more user friendly, you can give Mint.com access to your checking account and will import data directly into their own database so you don’t have to type anything in. Anyone thinking about this for longer than 10 seconds should be terrified of the amount and the kind of information Inuit is collecting.

Thinking about this further, I realize, my banking “Free” as well. The only fees I pay are if I bounce a check. Otherwise maintaining a checking account and a savings account cost me nothing. However, I use very little cash, I pay my bills online, I use a debit card to buy 99% of the things I buy these days. I only write two checks a month and I rarely have more than soda machine change in my pocket. Even if all they sell is aggregate information, I can see this being very profitable for them.

In the name of disclosure, even this website collects information about those people who visit. My hosting service logs IP addresses, browsers used, Operating System used, referring page and a lot more. The WordPress software also sets a cookie on your system and uses it to remember you on a return visit. I don’t use this information for anything, but I can not tell you for sure whether or not GoDaddy or WordPress uses this information. If I had to guess, I would probbaly say, “If the service is free, you are the product being sold.”.

Return to Facebook

I am beginning phase two of my social networking experiment (yes, you are all my guinea pigs). For the month of December, I have loosened up my privacy settings and I am going to start posting on Facebook again. I will of course comment on other peoples posts as I always have, however, when I write my own stuff, I will be posting it here on my blog and linking to it on Facebook. This phase will last until January 1st when I move into phase three.

Facebook free month

This month I am going Facebook free. I will only be answering private messages sent to me, I will not be participating in any discussions and I doubt I will even visit unless I get an email saying I have a private message.  I am not planning on giving up Facebook, this is simply small test in a larger project. I am trying to gage my online social life, where my connections come from and the quality of those connections. In the mean time if you miss my shining personality, you can post here, send me an email or god forbide,  you can pick up the phone and call me.

Facebook Theme for WordPress Blogs

I am considering a new theme for my blog. I picked this theme because I liked the calm colors and rounded edges, but some have complained it is difficult to read and hard on the eyes. I have been considering a theme which makes WordPress blogs look more or less like FaceBook. Now I am certainly no fan of the FaceBook look and feel, but I do like how comments are handled, with comments displayed right there under the post along with an editing box, and that feature is not available in a whole lot of themes. A Facebook style theme would also add a level of familarity to my site, which I hope will make people more comfortable.

Have a look at the mock up and tell me what you think.

http://carnifex.game-host.org/blog/

Living the satisfied life

A few days ago a friend of mine on FaceBook commented on how is younger self had a lot to answer for, because of the current condition of his body. I responded with the following;

I look at it like this, at the end of your life you can either walk to the pearly gates all prim and perfect and sigh in boredom, OR you can slide into home base with a cigar in one hand, a martini in the other, your body all chewed the fuck up and yelling “WOOHOO WHAT A RIDE !”

Some of the responses to this post were somewhat, although not altogether, negative. Just for the record, I don’t regret my misspent youth in the least. Yeah, I have a bad back and knee that hurts even when I am sitting down, but it was all worth it, every bit of it. I truly feel sorry for anyone who does not feel the same way.