Wednesday, 10 October 2018

All Good Things

It has been said time and again that all good things must come to an end. No, I'm not eulogizing this blog just yet, but I have decided to make some changes surrounding this blog that might be for the best. I've worked hard to keep people informed by using this blog, and to make that happen I was using my social media channels as promotional tools for the articles written here. Of note, with all the things that Facebook has done in the last few years regarding selling and allowing access to personal information from its users to third-party application developers to the hacks it has suffered to its insistence on adding advertisements, features, and news to timelines, it might be time to curb some social media usage for this writer.

While none of my personal information seems to have been bought or leaked, I'm quite comfortable in not having a personal Facebook account. Having a blog-based Facebook account that legitimately only had friends of this blog, accounts from pro hockey teams, and a handful of outside interests was fun, but there is so much garbage littering my timeline that I no longer find it useful.

I've taken the necessary steps to thin the herd on my Facebook timeline. I'd unfollowed accounts I once followed. I've remained friends with some people, but I have turned off their news feeding into my timeline. I've completely walked away from all pro hockey teams since they do nothing but clutter my timeline with the same news stories day after day and week after week. It's become a lot quieter on Facebook, but it's still not quiet enough.

Allow me to present Thomas Haden Church with my view on Facebook.
It makes it hard to get caught up with people you haven't seen for days, weeks, or months when they're posting their every activity to Facebook and/or other social media platforms. The art of a conversation is something that seemingly has been lost when I know exactly what one has been doing for the last few days, so why would I bother reaching out and finding out what one has been up to? If you know me, that's not who I am. I tend to be very social, and I enjoy engaging in a conversation and hearing about the yins and yangs in my friends' lives. Instead, we see every minute detail of people's lives on social media, so my asking you becomes redundant.

I don't use Instagram, I don't take selfies, and I don't post many images of myself on social media. I loathe being tagged in anything, and I often turn notifications off on my phone for everything except vital functions. Here's where a lot of people will find fault in me, but I don't care about your photos either. I know what your kids look like, I know what you look like, and I'm happy that you're experiencing life, but I want to get together with you and discuss all these things rather than seeing them on some social media site. I want to cultivate relationships, not add to your "Like" totals.

At the end of the day, people seemingly are craving social interactions from anyone rather than the very people they should be seeking that interaction from - friends and family. They count their likes and followers rather than fostering new friendships and maintaining current ones. People want to text rather than talk on the phone. I've been told to "send me a snap" from people I've just met rather than exchanging phone numbers despite those people needing a phone to use SnapChat. My brain struggles with this, and I am left rather discouraged by these interactions.

Like the teens in this article from The Guardian, less is more for me.
While many of us have been engrossed in the Instagram lives of our co-workers and peers, a backlash among young people has been quietly boiling. One 2017 survey of British schoolchildren found that 63% would be happy if social media had never been invented. Another survey of 9,000 internet users from the research firm Ampere Analysis found that people aged 18-24 had significantly changed their attitudes towards social media in the past two years. Whereas 66% of this demographic agreed with the statement "social media is important to me" in 2016, only 57% make this claim in 2018. As young people increasingly reject social media, older generations increasingly embrace it: among the 45-plus age bracket, the proportion who value social media has increased from 23% to 28% in the past year, according to Ampere's data.

Look, I can sit here and preach about how we all need to look up from our phones, tablets, and laptops once in a while, but I have been just as guilty as the next person. It's becoming far more appranent, however, that I need to start doing what I have stated above - more real, authentic relationships in real-life with less social media posting and checking. I'm not saying that I won't go on Twitter where I do a lot of networking to see if I can grab a guest or two for The Hockey Show, but I will do less liking and retweeting on social media and less messaging on Facebook and via text, replacing those interactions with more phone calling and real-life meetings.

The older I get, the more I realize that these real-life friendships and relationships are the only "likes" that matter.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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