Categories
Events and Life Mindsets

New Year’s resolutions are a little weird, and arbitrary

New Year’s resolutions are a little weird. We pick this convenient change from one year to the next, and declare our intentions to do more or better.

I’m not sure that we give much thought to why we pick this one date as the time for this rededication to some form of self-improvement. New Year’s Day has had much less significance to me in recent years for a couple reasons.

For one thing, it’s not the new year in Israel tomorrow. We use the Hebrew calendar for official stuff, and our new year was in September this year.

A more personal reason why 1 January isn’t much more than Tuesday, a regular working day, to me is because there’s another day that’s a more meaningful day for a renewed sense of self-improvement – my birthday!

Sure, on 1 January, the year increments. Other than that, what’s the personal significance of the day?

I see my birthday as a celebration of my continued existence, and a reminder that I have yet another year behind me, and fewer ahead of me.

With that comes the realisation that I have fewer opportunities to make a difference, be a better parent, husband, friend, sibling, son, and so on. The time I have left is more precious, at the very least because there’s less of it.

I’m generally not conscious of this fact during the year because I’m so caught up in my daily dramas and busy work. My birthday is a convenient time to pause, look back, ahead, and at what I have, and think about what’s really important to me.

So, as 2018 draws to a close, I can’t help but think that it’s really just a Monday night, and I still need to be up at 5:30 tomorrow for an early shift.

Categories
Applications Devices Mobile Tech

Remove Facebook from your phone at your peril

I recently decided to remove Facebook from my phone. I made the decision after finding myself opening the app and frequently being pretty underwhelmed by the updates Facebook insisted on notifying me about.

Although I was tempted to delete the app altogether, I decided to remove the app from my home screen instead. This means I’d need to find it in my app drawer to open it.

The immediate benefit was that I didn’t find myself opening the app because I was bored and then wondered why I bothered. The downside had been that the main utility Facebook has for me has been buried: I’ve started missing birthdays!

Yup, probably the most valuable part of Facebook to me is the birthday calendar and not checking the app obsessively means I have started missing birthdays. I can’t seem to work out how to sync birthday calendars with my phone yet (I think I know how to do it) so I’ve been reliant on the app to remind me.

Aside from that, my decision to remove Facebook from my phone has been worthwhile so far. I don’t open the app out of mindless habit. I don’t have that regret when I do and I have replaced Facebook’s spot on my home screen with Feedly instead.

Much better use of that attention-grabbing spot.

If you’ve been dissatisfied with your Facebook experience lately and you’re tempted to remove it from your mobile device, just consider the loss of the features like the birthday calendar and decide if it’s worth it.

Categories
Social Web

I use Facebook for more than birthdays and stalking

Paul Jacobson

I come across a lot of people who tend to use Facebook more to stalk people they meet or to check who is having a birthday today. I do that stuff but I have been using Facebook as my primary online social space for a while now and it is a terrific tool for me. While Google+ gives users the ability to share selectively, very few of my friends and family are using it so it’s a very limited option for me. With the exception of a couple family members who are still concerned about Facebook’s privacy controls (I think their privacy is probably better protected on Facebook that out and about in their neighbourhoods), my family and friends are all on Facebook and use it fairly actively.

Most of the stuff I share on Facebook is invisible to the public and to a number of people who I have friended but remain on a restricted list. Facebook is where I share details of my life with my kids, wife, family generally and friends and I took a decision to only share that more personal stuff with people who I have met, am friendly with and would invite to my kids’ birthday parties. I’ve set my Instagram stream up to be private by default and when I publish to Facebook from Instagram, it goes to “Friends” by default. In fact, “Friends only” is my profile default.

Everyone else can see my public updates and, in that sense, I treat Facebook like Twitter. My public updates are posts I am happy to share with anyone who can see them just as my tweets are. I don’t understand why anyone would use Twitter as their primary social network. To me, Twitter is the online equivalent of standing in a crowded room shouting over everyone else in an attempt to maintain a coherent conversation. Photos and stuff you shared may as well be Polaroid prints you pass around the room to people you know and don’t know. Some people are public by default, I prefer to be more selective with who gets to see my more personal stuff (although what I regard as personal may not fall within your definition). With all Facebook’s efforts to get us to share more publicly in the past, selective sharing is what Facebook is good for and perhaps what it is really intended to be used for.

The people who I friend and assign to my restricted list tend to be people I have met and know on some level but they may be business contacts or people I just don’t know very well. If I don’t friend someone or refuse a friend request, it is generally because I just don’t know the person beyond a passing familiarity with the person online. I similarly don’t accept Foursquare connection requests from random people or people I don’t know well enough to feel comfortable disclosing my locations. Facebook, in many ways, mirrors my life generally. It’s more meaningful to me because of that.

I’m not quite sure why I felt the need to publish this post. I suppose one reason is to present another perspective on Facebook as a user who does more than stalk people and check birthdays (Facebook is awesome for birthdays!). As more of our lives is online, it is really important to have a space where we can share selectively if we choose to. If Facebook fell away, that space may be Google+ or whatever comes next. Path is also an interesting option although not all that compelling alongside Facebook. Path may be a preview of what may be coming in the years to come but, for now, it’s tough to beat Facebook. At least, for me.