I recently came across a lengthy article by Andrew Sullivan I had read more than five years ago about being “a very early adopter of what we might now call living-in-the-web.”
See: I Use to Be a Human Being, by Andrew Sullivan, Sept. 19, 2016. New York Magazine. (If you are unable to open and read it, please let me know. I can paste it into an email.)
Upon my initial reading, it led to, though was not the total reason for, my withdrawal from Facebook. Now, upon rereading it five years later, it is leading to my withdrawal from Instagram and Twitter.
Sullivan nailed many of the factors in the addictive nature and power of the Web, Smart Phones, and similar devices and activities. Now, five years later, there is even more evidence of the negative impacts of what this is doing to us as individuals and as a society.
I am not withdrawing totally from that world (mainly the prime social media platforms). I will continue to use it for some connections and communications with others (i.e., MillersTime, The Family Foundation, Inc., email) and to keep in touch with many of my areas of interest – news, sports, weather, travel, etc. I hope, however, that I can significantly reduce the time I am involved with the iPhone and the time I spend on the Web.
Like many addictions, this one is powerful and perhaps more intense than any of us realize.
My hope is that I can get more control over it, spend less time with it, and when doing so, use it for its best attributes
Not the kind of diet I’ve been on for the last three years, with some success, despite some ‘give backs.’
But a diet from the two to three to four hours a day I spend between email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and a variety of websites that provide me with some form of input about things important and not so important.
I’m starting by withdrawing from Facebook, which is something I’ve been considering for a year or more, not just because of the amount of time I spend on it, but also for a number of other reasons.
There’s lots I like about FB, particularly for being in touch with friends (and some foes) with whom I otherwise might not have frequent contact. Certainly I enjoy posting photos (mine and Ellen’s) and links to my MillersTime.net blog. And there are a number of links that I follow from various FB posts that I might not know about otherwise.But I’m choosing to start this diet with FB because of what FB has become and what its leaders, particularly Mark Zuckerberg, have done with this once promising social networking website. I’ll spare reposting Lisa W’s list and explanation of Ten Reasons Why You Should Quit Facebook Now. Suffice it to say that I agree with at least eight of her 10 points.
(I have previously posted (on FB!) Sacha Baron Cohen’s powerful three minute video of how FB’s platform and policies are allowing the spread of hate and lies in our political and other discourse and, in fact, makes what is occurring there even worse by their unwillingness to intervene. If you haven’t listened to Cohen’s message, stop now and click on the link above.
I will continue, for now, with my Instagram and Twitter accounts knowing that Instagram is owned by FB. As with any diet, you can’t cut out everything at once, but you have to start somewhere. In order not to just transfer my FB time to one of the other social media time killers, I will also limit my total time spent using these (and other) social media platforms.
So by the end of January, I will no longer have a Facebook account. Between now and then, I will figure out alternative ways to stay in touch with some individuals abroad and with friends here in the US. I’m open to suggestions as how to do that.
And if you want to help me (having partners in dieting has proven valuable to me with my weight loss), you can let me know if you’d like to be on my MillersTime.net mailing list, which at no cost to you will get you three for four emails a month that describe my most recent blog post (on travel, photos, family, grand kids, books, films, baseball, and an occasional attempt at describing something that is on my alleged mind.) Just email me if you want to get those notifications about new blog posts.
Finally, for now, I will retain my two Instagram accounts (samesty84 and millerstimeblogger). So feel free to follow me there and send me your Instagram handle (if you want to stay in touch that way).
There’s always that old fashion way of communicating – email (Samesty84 at gmail dot com) and texting. I am diligent in responding to email (and snail mail) from friends…and texts, which seem to be my wife’s and daughters’ preferred way of reaching me.
As I occasionally do, I am posting a link to an article that I found of value. It’s not arguing for any particular candidate, but it’s author, Clay Shirky, believes “There’s No Such Thing as Protest Vote,” and he explains why.
If you read the article, scroll to the very bottom and click on “Show All Responses.” Unlike many Comment sections following an article that may be controversial, some of these responses are quite good and many take exception to what Shirky writes, but they do so respectfully.
I’m pasteing in the first few paragraphs so you can see if it is something you want to spend the six minutes it will take to read the article:
There’s No Such Thing As A Protest Vote
We’re in the season of protest vote advocacy, with writers of all political stripes making arguments for third-party candidates (Jill Stein, Gary Johnson), write-in votes (Bernie Sanders, Rod Silva), or refusing to vote altogether (#NeverTrump, #BernieOrBust.) For all the eloquence and passion and rage in these arguments, however, they suffer from a common flaw: there is no such thing as a protest vote.
The authors of these pieces rarely line up their preferred Presidential voting strategies — third-party, write-in, refusal — with the electoral system as it actually exists. In 2016, that system will offer 130 million or so voters just three options:
A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.
B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.
C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.
That’s it. Those are the choices. All strategies other than a preference for Trump over Clinton or vice-versa reduce to Option C.
You can link to the article Here and get to the Comments Here.
Clay Shirky is someone I respect and follow. He wrote an important book — Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (2008) — and is one of the more informed and thoughtful individuals on the emerging role of the Internet and on Internet technology. Among the many other things in which he’s involved, he teaches at NYU and his writings and thoughts are usually at the forefront of what is happening in this new world of the Internet.
Medium, the site on which Shirky published this article is a somewhat new ‘publishing platform’ founded by Ev Williams and Biz Stone, who among other things were founders of Twitter. This endeavor is to give writers a longer space (longer than 140 characters) to post articles. They also have writers of their own, and I think Shirky might be writing for them. Their website explains, “Medium is a community of readers and writers offering unique perspectives on ideas large and small.” If you’re interested in learning more about Medium, you can check out the site here.
Finally, as always, I encourage MillersTime readers to comment, respectfully, on these linked articles directly on my site. Please consider doing so and let others know what you think about Shirky’s view that “There Is No Such Thing as a Protest Vote.”
Update: 7/29/8:52 PM: See below Scott Simon’s last four tweets about his mother’s death.
* * * * *
I suspect most readers of MillersTime are not ‘on’ Twitter, do not know much about it, or perhaps are disdainful of what they might believe is a waste of time or of a self-indulgence in which they do not wish to participate.
But I have been drawn to something on Twitter over the past few days that I want to mention and that reminds me of something from my own recent life, experience, and learning.
Scott Simon, journalist and host of NPR’s Saturday’s Weekend Edition, has been live tweeting the last days of his mother’s life. He is doing so from her ICU hospital room (see pix above).