Pardon me for a moment. I want to steal a few moments of your day to say something. It's going to be a little rambly, and perhaps a bit disorganized, but I hope you'll indulge me.
When Facebook pretty much took over the Internet, killed MySpace, and lured all my friends from LiveJournal and other places, I naturally followed.1
It's been pretty much crickets here, since. I completely abandoned Twitter.2
But LiveJournal is far superior to Facebook in a fair number of ways. For one thing, I can write more freely here without regard to having only a certain number of characters. For another, there is an accessible archive I can use to go back and see my own posts going back to the very first one in January of 2003. I have—or had—a set of people who regularly read my posts and commented on them. And in spite of my claim in 2003 that I would probably never post anything, this post will be the 2799th post I never intended to make. The temptation to make another post before this one and make this
one the Big Round Number Post (2800) is almost overwhelming, but I'm going to try to resist it. :)
I've invested a lot of time in LiveJournal. I've written some of my best material, here. I'm frankly proud of what I've accomplished. And judging from some of the comments I used to get, a fair number of you used to enjoy reading my posts, as well.
Well, dammit, I'm not about
to abandon LiveJournal. Dammit, this is just a better venue. Sure, everything I post here is automagically posted to Facebook so people can read it, but that doesn't change the fact that I just prefer writing for this venue.
Nor does this mean I'm going to abandon Facebook, either. But I'm thinking that it's time to cut back there and do more elsewhere. I have three blogs. I have this one, one over on Blogger where I put more philosophical stuff (I even call it Philosophidian
(the blog itself is pithily titled "Insert Something Pithy Here") and I have my "Professional Writer Blog," (WriteWright
) which, if you've been paying attention—and I couldn't blame you if you haven't been, given the layers of dust, spider webs, and tumbleweeds collecting here—are also automatically duplicated over here. Not always in the most expert of ways. I'm still a novice at getting Wordpress to do my bidding, but I'm learning. If posts occasionally turn too long and you wish I'd just learn to use an <lj-cut>, please bear with me. There's no easy way to get that to happen, apparently.
It's no secret from anyone that I want to be a professional writer when I grow up, but I almost never write. Why is that? I think if I can solve that little conundrum, I'll have answered a fundamental question about myself. But I suspect part of it is having fallen out of the habit of writing here
But anyway, enough navel-gazing. What I'm leading up to saying is this: I'm back. I want to really make an effort to get back into the habit of making posts here, at Philosophidian, and on WriteWright. This is my fifth post in three days, I think, and I have several more in development.
I've assigned myself the task of making entries "more often." So much for SMART
goals, huh? :)
I'm using EverNote
to help. I make notes all day about every topic imaginable using this software. I've even started going through my old note-taking software (which only runs under Windows, so is less useful to me; EverNote runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and my phone) finding all the "[LJ]" notes I made—posts I intended to make, usually half-written or even just half-baked, vague ideas—and copying those over to EverNote so I'll have them with me on the go.
I used to have a set of rules:
1. If it's a short, single sentence thing or a link that needs no explanation, put it on Twitter.
2. If it's slightly longer, isn't worth a lot of writing, or is a link that needs some explanation, put it on Facebook.
3. Everything else goes here, at Blogger, or on my writing blog (depending on topic and target audience)
Over time, Facebook—like the invasive species with no natural predators it is—took over all three of those. They just recently relaxed the strict character limit for statuses on Facebook. It used to be 420 characters, or three tweets' worth. Now you can put multiple paragraphs. I'm sure their intent is to murder all the other social networks out there.
The recent changes . . . have disturbed me. I don't like where Facebook is headed. It wants to be too many things to too many people. It wants all
of my life to be public, whether I'm comfortable with that or not. It will be interesting to see how the user base reacts to the sweeping changes coming soon, with music and video being incorporated into Facebook as they go after those markets as well.3
People are reacting to the changes in a couple of interesting ways.
Some are threatening to leave. Google+ just opened recently, and they have many of the same functions as Facebook with a slightly different look and feel, and without being "evil" yet . . . but I just can't get "comfortable" on Google+. It feels like I'm visiting friends I don't know all that well and I'm staying in their guest room with all the furniture they inherited from their grandparents. It doesn't match, it's a bit fragile-looking, and it smells kind of funny. OK, the analogy went somewhere I wasn't intending, but I'm going to leave it. :)
Others are crying foul very loudly . . . but will forget it soon and go back to using Facebook the way they always have. Until the next major change comes along, at which point they'll complain how it's better the way it used to be, with no sense of irony that they hated that
Still others are threatening to abandon social networking altogether. To just unplug from it all
and become social-networking hermits. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Google+. Just a phone and email.
But it had a different effect on me.
What it made me do was miss the time I spent crafting an entry, here.4
I might spend ten minutes on Facebook. I often spend three hours
writing these posts for LiveJournal, because . . . I guess it "feels" more like . . . something permanent. I edit these as ruthlessly as I edit a short story or novel chapter. I try to give them a beginning, middle, and end.
Facebook has a way for you to download your statuses. But it only goes back three months. To get to anything older, you have to manually go to your own profile and start pressing the "back" button. A lot. And don't accidentally refresh the page—it kills all the effort.
Then you have to carefully expand all of your posts out so you can see everything you wrote and all the responses . . . and then
and only then can you think about saving the page as raw html so you can use it as a reference for that thing you wrote a year ago about chickens, but then forgot.
I want to get back the feeling I used to have when I'd starting writing a post in my head and couldn't wait to get back to my desk to do it. Now, I'm much more likely to take out my phone and write a few words to Facebook. For a fleeting amusement that goes by in an instant and is quickly forgotten.
I miss Skippy
, and even Jürgen
. They're still very much parts of my psyche, and I want to bring them out more. Maybe there are even more of them lurking in the dark recesses of my subconscious mind.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm back. Hopefully for good. Hopefully not Spammy. Hopefully not like last night's chili.
And hopefully, with old friends and new.
- The only reason I'm on LiveJournal is that all my friends abandoned TinyTIM and came over here in droves. The same ones that flocked to Facebook.
- There are other reasons for that, most prominent of which is that it's just impossible to keep up with people tweeting and retweeting one another anywhere from 5 to 20 times per day. I got weeks behind at one point and then just . . . gave up. I go back every few weeks, catch up on the most recent hour or two of tweets, and then abandon it again for a while. I still tweet whenever I make a blog post, so this one will be visible over there within minutes of my posting it.
- Check out the livestream of their F8 conference.
- Note to telleestmavie: While I did give you blanket permission to punch me in the face if I ever referred to writing as "my craft" unless I was doing so ironically or mocking someone else, this does not quite qualify. There is a certain amount of craft that goes into any writing, and I acknowledge that. I still want never to find myself using the über-pretentious-sounding "my craft." So I guess what I'm saying is "Please don't punch me in the face. Yet."