Wednesday, October 26, 2022

alternatives

sometime in 2020 (or was it early 2021?), I decided I needed to streamline my social media footprint. until that time, it was a combination of Instagram for photos/videos, Facebook for links and general posts, and twitter for banter. if I had to pick one of the three, Facebook was the obvious winner, simply because it was the jack-of-all-trades, doing everything reasonably well. 

things have changed since then: Facebook has made it significantly more difficult to organise photos/videos, become so ad-littered that I struggle to find stuff to have meaningful conversations over, and my friends probably can't find most of my non-photo posts either. 

Instagram is worse: there isn't (and never was) any sense of organisation, engagement (other than people liking stuff) is ridiculously low, the ad ratio is close if not the same - it is Facebook after all.

Twitter was never a contender as far as being my primary social media platform is concerned, simply because there are too few friends on it. something like 5% of my Facebook friends! no organisation either, and tweets are simply lost in the ether once they are off the timeline. thankfully no ads though.

so, the solution is "none of the above". and in fact, it's now a matter of "build or use?"

as far as using existing platforms is concerned, this blog is one option. it cross-posts to Facebook, can cross-post to twitter, maybe even WhatsApp(!) and telegram, lets me organise stuff as I please, but is extremely limited as far as interaction is concerned. 

the thing with interaction though is, it already seems to be quite one-sided: friends interact with stuff I post more than I interact with stuff they post. as a result, most of my time spent interacting on any social platform seems one-sided and not very rewarding. so maybe it's time to just forget about it.

when it comes to building something new, my options recently reduced thanks to heroku announcing end of their free tier. so I'm going to have to find some new way to post. anything I build will obviously work with zapier, and hence be able to do everything my blog can - but can it do better? so far I don't have any ideas. but that's also because I hardly use my blog. 

so, it's time to move everything to my blog. everything is going to be public again(!).

there is also going to be a significant effort involved in building the structure I want to use. for example, my blog has no categories for any of the stuff I post on Facebook!

I just hope I don't give up halfway and decide it isn't worth it (because that would probably be the end of 20 years of my online presence!). 

Monday, October 10, 2022

hiatus

i only realized 5 minutes ago that my last post (before the one I posted 5 minutes ago) was 3 months ago! in fact, I had so completely forgotten about this blog that I'm now surprised I even remembered to type the last post - there has literally been a mental pathway that I seem to have stopped using! for example my birthday went by a couple of months ago and for the first time since the inception of this blog, I completely forgot to write about it! and it wasn't even for lack of content. in fact, I have more than the usual stuff to write about, and I also have more than the usual stuff to write about that I haven't been posting elsewhere (ie facebook/twitter)!

why then have I stopped blogging?

the answer is literally right in front of me as soon as I consciously started thinking about it: the internet  (specifically social media, or more accurately, Web 2.0) has rewired me.

I have always been big on social media - to the extent that I have probably been called a social media butterfly at one point (at least a few years ago to be fair). the biggest difference though is that while the amount of time I spend producing content has reduced, the time I spend consuming content has increased.

And most of the content I consume isn't particularly high on the cost/benefit scale I'm used to measuring my energy-weighted time and effort by.

Has facebook's algorithm's become inexplicably more addictive? I don't think I'm objective enough to be able to say. But something I'm more convinced of is that I've been trying to apply the same "dopamine feedback" loop that instant-gratification forms of social media promote, to other forms (like this blog).

this blog doesn't provide instant (or possibly any palpable) gratification. nobody comments. there is no like button (it does get cross-posted to facebook and there is a like button there, but I'm not sure if that counts), there are no notifications other than emails that get buried under hundreds of more important ones. heck, i recently exported my email subscribers (yes, google just killed feedburner, they want you on that dopamine feedback loop too!) and it was all of TWO. two subscribers over 15 years.

I know I'm actually writing this (and pretty much everything) for myself, but I can't help feeling that repeated reinforcement that nobody cares has caused me to stop caring too.

except that I do care. I care as long as I type. I stop caring once I click publish. But isn't that what it's supposed to be?

I feel that dopamine hit coming along as I hover over the bright orange button, ready to click - and feel the need to fight it. because too much of this good thing is most definitely bad.

either way, i'm back.

killjoy

apparently, one way to be a killjoy is to encourage others to pursue happiness using principles that seem to have worked for you.

Counterintuituve, but I think this might be because:

  • since happiness is objective, nobody is definitively happier than anybody else
  • the act of promoting "what worked for me" to somebody else is likely reduce their chances of finding happiness
  • pushing somebody to find something they aren't conciously searching for is likely to make said thing more elusive as they're now being forced to search for it
  • logic as a means of pursuing anything seems to work for some things more than others, and an attempt to fit something emotional into a logical process seems self contradictory and possibly self defeating

Saturday, July 30, 2022

hands-not-free

i have this strange problem: i try to minimize the amount of distance i need to walk when i'm trying to get stuff done at home. whenever i'm passing through a room, i think of all the things i need to do, and pick up the involved items. 

sometimes i forget what i'm actually supposed to do though. a couple of days last week i spent 6 hours with dirty socks in my pocket: i was supposed to deposit them in the laundry basket, but i completely forgot - i passed the laundry basket twice, and only remembered when i was trying to get something else out of my pocket and grabbed my socks instead. it took me longer to recall what i was trying to do with those socks than it would have to walk to the laundry basket and drop them in!

other times, i end up with too many things in my hands, and as a result, i need to do everything slowly, sometimes even depositing things on the floor and moving them bit by bit as i pass each room where i need to put them away.

worst of all though is when i have so many things in my hands that i attempt to do the wrong thing with the wrong object. in fact that's what inspired this post: I was leaving office, trying to get my coffee mug to the sink (to wash and put away), water bottle to put away, access card (which had the keys to my locker), motorbike keys, banana and orange peels (which I had eaten at my desk), and phone (to check for traffic). end resut: i almost tossed my phone into the bin instead of the peels.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

the refugee crisis

i was in a small shelter. shelter was barely appropriate term to call it: it was more like the dilapidated, crumbling remains of a shelter. it measured barely 12 by 6 feet, and the roof, if one could call it that, was just haphazardly placed sheets of wood/plastic. light filtered in from a couple of openings - these seemed to be collapsed window frames which had been propped up with stones/rubble. i peered out of the nearest one: in contrast to the dim insides of this shelter the sun was blazing bright outside. however, this shelter was adjacent to another similarly dilapidated one, and both of these shared a wall with a taller building, in a similar state. the other side was barely a couple of feet away from another building in a similarly bad state. between the two shelters, there was rubble and scrap planks of wood.

the air outside was still and there was no sign of movement or other people.

i shifted my attention back to the shelter i was in, and looked past the collapsed timber beams to the other side. a woman sat there, her back to the wall, an infant in her lap. she was trying to rock the infant to sleep, humming what might have been a lullaby, and the infant didn't make a sound or move, so it might very well have been asleep. the woman was dressed in tatters, and didn't look like she had bathed in a while.

the air was still and i felt trapped, even claustrophpobic in this tiny space.

I then realized that there was, in fact, a dark passage leading into the building this shelter shared a wall with. i was barely able to see into it, but it was just a few feet long and ended with a door. I tried the door, and it opened into a bright room.

I was back in my parents' apartment!

I closed the door behind me, and thought about what was back there. in a moment, mom (she must have heard the door) walked into the room from the kitchen and asked me how I was.

I told her there was a lady and child in a small room behind that door.

she told me they're refugees.

that's when I woke up.

Monday, July 18, 2022

retribution or support?

I happened to comment on a post about "mansplaining", asking if there's anything a man could comment there without being dismissed as an instance of mansplaining.

The amount of negativity a man earns by just virtue of being a man is... overwhelming.

I wonder, would it be easier to make the world a better place for women if every conversation about issues that primarily affect women would not be so overwhelmingly targetted against men (as opposed to the problematic behaviour itself, even if that behaviour is exhibited by the majority of men)? In other words, if a man chooses to try to make a difference (which every man should!), would it be more productive to offer retribution for the rest of his ilk and his/their past behaviour, or support?

And if it's not clear if a man actually exhibits the behaviour being discussed, would it be more productive to give the man the benefit of the doubt before coming to that conclusion? Or does the generalization make things easier to discuss, and making a few men feel bad for no fault of their own acceptable collateral damage?

The responses to the comment led me to conclude a few things:

  • Mainsplaining is so common that many women do not feel the need to quallify their statement about men
  • Mansplaining is so common that some (many?) women do not even realize it - they simply assume men know more
  • Most men and women fundamentally disagree when it comes to "can we talk about a problem without trying to solve it?"
  • The women involved consider "shut up if it doesn't refer to yourself" as a valid approach to take. It appears the men involved (myself included) do not. Is that because we're muddying the waters? Is that because the majority of men who'd comment on such a post are the ones who are either not guilty or blind to their faults?
  • When men do the gender-neurtal equivalent of mansplaining to other men, they are simply branded condescending (or, as one man would say to another: a dick). And it happens a lot, and men either ignore it or call it out and move on.
  • I need to stop taking claims about "men" personally, as I would be as guilty of inflicting collateral damage on women who have been at the receiving end of this sort of behaviour far too often for far too long.
I have not concluded whether retribution or support is the most productive line to take though. It's unlikely I will be able to make that decision.

Friday, July 15, 2022

toilet humour

 dad loved toilet humour. and some of it barely even qualifies as humour 😁

i remembered one of his favourite "jokes" today (you can imagine the situation that reminded me of it - I won't say more):

father, father, i confess
i went to the toilet and made a mess
the paper was thin and my finger went in
father, father, is it a sin?

i have no idea where he got that from. it seemed even more contrived because we don't use toilet paper in India! as a kid, i just assumed he made it up (although I'm now quite sure he didn't).

anyway, to make the rhyme loosely resemble a joke, he tacked on:

and the priest said "no problem, use thicker paper next time" (which I'm quite sure he came up with)

another of his favourite ones was (you might have to say this out loud and quicvkly, possibly more than once, to get it)

"hoof hearted, ice melted"

yeah, frequently I think of that one when i encounter melting ice... or when someone asks the question 😁

alternatives

sometime in 2020 (or was it early 2021?), I decided I needed to streamline my social media footprint. until that time, it was a combination ...