Push Notifications Off

I engaged in a little personal action research the past month.  Some weeks back, I disabled all my social medial notifications–no pings from Facebook friends, Messenger senders, Twitter tweeters, or Instagram followers.  Not even likes or comments from WordPress and my beloved blogosphere here.  It was time to detox.  I needed an intervention. I’d become a touch too “SQUIRREL-Y!”  I worried my constant vigilance to likes, follows, comments, etc. was interfering with my here and now.  Here’s what happened:

Day 1

“Wow, Facebook is soooooo quiet today.  Weird.”  Along with my push notifications, I apparently disabled my short term memory.  Jaysus.  I used to be smart; you’ll just have to trust me that it’s true.

Day 2

Me, acting like it’s no thing, all “Look at my phone over there on the table while I’m sitting here in my chair reading a novel not even checking my phone.  What a morally superior person I must be not to be one of those people who can’t separate their phones from their hands without surgical intervention.”

Also me:  *unlocking my phone on the hour, opening up each social app, checking to see if anyone has reacted to anything I’ve written because, how could they not?? and no big deal if I check because I turned off notifications, but that doesn’t mean I’ve turned off being curious and engaging with my world in the ways we do in 2018*

Day 3

Unlocking my phone and opening up my social media apps only at prescribed times throughout the day is a solid plan, Wendy.  It’s what they tell you to do–slot a scheduled time with work emails, for example, in order to sustain productivity and lessen the negative impact of multi-tasking (which is bad now I guess upon further review).  OK, create and stick to a schedule.  Day 3 was easier than Day 2.  I feel like there’s a drug abuse/social media withdrawal analogy that can be drawn here, but I’ve never done a drug in all my life, and joking about rehab is not cool.  My point is I cleared the social media delirium tremens phase and dialed down that sniff of superiority.

One Week-Present

At the one-week mark, I noticed that I noticed less, attended less to what types of feedback I got.  Mind you, I didn’t stop participating in social media, just ceased the hunt for its continued, constant feedback.

Some friends, I feared, would believe that my inconsistency or unresponsiveness was a direct reflection on them, or that I was being a “bad friend.”  Because apparently, though I’ve lost my short-term memory, I make up for it in spades with middle school-level egocentrism.  If I didn’t respond to comments made by friends and followers, who took the time to comment after all,  I felt a little like maybe others thought I was being non-reciprocal.  After all, social media is about give and take.

Conclusion:

Over time, you come to miss less what you don’t have.  Sorta.  But you do miss a TON OF FUN when your favorite band commences its summer tour, and you’re not up-to-date 24/7.  So I turned on Twitter notifications again, but only from Barenaked Ladies, ’cause, you know, hall of fame musicians care deeply about my degree of fandom.  Seriously, why isn’t there a font that reads to you in my tone of voice and can roll its eyes when I do?  Can someone get crackin’ on that?  Please?

I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.  But I can’t do it cold turkey, and especially not during The Last Summer on Earth!

Updates on my son’s school talent show performance were delayed.  I was late to the party getting information about MDA Camp.  You guys, my son goes to his third Muscular Dystrophy Association camp this week!  But not before he graduates from middle school, which occurs Thursday, and about which I am immensely proud and wholly unprepared.  Well, I did order a cake for the after-ceremony celebration, so, go, me!  See?  Look what I can accomplish when the siren song of phone notifications is lulled!

I’m probably supposed to burst with epiphany and joy that I’ve extended my phone’s battery life while decreasing my ties to immediacy.  That would be only partly true though, and I pretty much never lie.  But I didn’t die without those instant ties to the internet, so there’s that.  I believe it’s accurate to say I was a smidgen in the moment-er.  It’s a start.  But with less than three weeks until I see my favorite band again, how can I possibly avoid it?

My Life Is A Sitcom And I Don’t Know It

 

About three-fourths of the way into Monday evening’s dog walking escapade, I began to compose this Facebook post mentally.  My dog is an idiot, and me with now two elbows chock full o’ tendinitis?  I needed the distraction.  I’ve not been an inspired writer of late, and I’m so dismayed at my dearth of productivity.

I thought I was pretty clever, but no.  It was my friends who brought their collective A-game to the party.  As the night progressed, I was in near hysterics.  Thank you for swaddling me up in a blanket of laughter, Facebook friends.  And to those who wrote this post for me–my sympathies.  And thanks, of course, my thanks. Caleb is a dimwit (or constantly exuding a degree of joy unequaled by humans, you pick), and it looks like he is in good, furry company.

My friend Kathie isn’t on Facebook, but has experienced the wonder that is Caleb, the canine backpack, so I sent her a screenshot of the Facebook post. She responded by telling me my life was a sitcom and I didn’t even know it.  I wonder who they’ll get to play me. . .

My Facebook Life

 

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Thank you, someecards.com.  Still  love you as much as I ever have.

Seen this one?  It’s been niggling at me, rolling around my cortex for some time now.  I’m on both sides of this one generally, but today I’m willing to go to the mat for the side who believes that painting pictures filled with magic sparkle dust, daisies, and rainbows on social media represents a brighter, more balanced outlook.

Social media is F-A-S-C-I-N-A-T-I-N-G, wouldn’t you agree?  I LOVE Facebook and Twitter.  I suck at Twitter, but I love it.  People I admire, but have not a speck of dust in the universe of a chance of knowing, have responded to blasts I’ve written.  Facebook has allowed me to connect with new people and reconnect with others I’m delighted remember me.  Facebook cheers you up when it’s your birthday, it helps raise money and awareness for worthy (along with shady) causes, it reminds you of the recent history you’ve put out there, (including the best hair ever!  no really, the best hair EVER!  Check it here–I wouldn’t lie about such things), and it provides a vehicle to share in friends’ celebrations and sorrows. This blog and its comments are a different form of cybersocial interaction, and has become semi-essential to my mental health. I am clearly pro-sharing, but discriminating where I share.  No, rhyme and reason don’t apply evenly.  Check your logic at the door.

Say what you will about instant gratification and the importance of “likes.”  I can’t pretend I’m immune or that it’s not true, but I’m also not developing an anthropological or sociological treatise here.  I’m just saying I enjoy shooting positive or silly feedback of sorts.  Who doesn’t want to say or hear, “Awww, your kid’s so cute?” or “I love that smile?” or “This smartass meme made me think of you?”

The stuff people say and write when they’re down though?  It worries me.  It worries me for them for reals, as in “what can I do to help you?”  It also concerns me for society at large.  There’s a need for first world citizenry to expose its rawest nerve to accomplish, well, to accomplish what?  Wait, don’t answer yet.

This weblog drove me home when I lost my way and needed a ride back last year. I am way more exposed here, virtually naked sometimes, but I guess that is the point of a blog.  I deposit my sorrows and worries here, allowing my head and heart to march ahead.  It’s cheaper than therapy, and it’s fun for me to write, even when my subject matter isn’t upbeat.  Plus, Sudoku as a brain-builder is fucking killing me.  How can I be so galactically stupid at something third-graders can do??  Moving right along. . .  Feedback here is scant and episodic, and that’s OK with me.  Although I’m not gonna lie–still waiting for that special something to go viral and allow me to make a living on the TV talk show circuit.  Kidding–I’m still not delusional. I couldn’t take to more instantaneous media when airing my most profound spousal, parental, or workplace aches and pains, yet have little hesitation doing so here. Why is that?

A high school acquaintance of mine aggressively shared painful, excruciating detail of a cheating spouse and subsequent divorce each step of the way.  Another acquaintance broadcasts (brags?) her every disagreement with her boyfriend, especially those in which she believes she’s firmly in the right, and you guys, it gets ugly.  What is to be gained?  Why am I OK being worried for someone by a Twitter/Facebook emotional display and not my own? It feels like a random application of rules. I’m not the only one who does that, right?  Do I know I’m essentially OK?  Is that why I read others’ soul-baring as pleas for help and not my own?  I rant and know it’s a rant; I also know I’m “done” once I’ve written it out, but I don’t always read others’ rest of the story.

Yeah, my Facebook/Twitter life is a much diluted version of my autobiography, but it isn’t completely sanitized either.  Deep thoughts bubble to surface there, true and deep sentiments of loss and elation get reported alongside the mundane every shade in between–

“I think I speak for everyone when I say, ‘Everybody have fun tonight, everybody Wang Chung tonight.’ Thanks, SiriusXM.”

“No matter how big he gets, and he is a mighty big 10-year-old, I still see his baby self when I watch him sleep so peacefully. My sweet boy.”

“If you think a toasted French toast flavored bagel topped with Nutella and bacon isn’t a good dinner option, you’re wrong”

#1: What’s the temperature gonna be like today, Mom? Short sleeves or long?
Me: 50s. You can go either way probably, but I’d go long.
#1: I guess I’ll go with short then.
Me: Good talk, son.

“If you’re wondering if I enjoy removing thousands of staples from an 80-year-old floor, it’s a no.”

“You probably think that the first time you run after a long hiatus is the worst day. You’d be wrong though. No, no. After the second day you run is the one where your body laughs its ass off at your hubris.”

You get the idea.  But I think it’s all right this way.  For me anyway.  Facebook mundane feels a lot better than–

So now my son’s neurologist identified chorea, which is involuntary, non-purposeful movement, in his hands and legs and has ordered a series of labs to rule out a metabolic disease.  These lab results are delivered to my inbox without interpretation besides Dr. Google, and Dr. Google proves himself an EXTREMELY unreliable motherf’er.  MDA camp is in two weeks, and while I’m beyond excited and elated he’s been selected, I still wish he didn’t need to have this opportunity.  Not having a kitchen has finally beaten my capacity to exercise patience and I may have been a total bitch to my  husband about something super deep and complex like, “breakfast is ready.”  I’m worried that the project is going to break our bank, and I’ll never be able to help my kids pay for their education.  I feel constantly reminded of my inability to accomplish good things for my colleagues.  It seems that an important friend has begun to communicate with me through an intermediary or avoid me altogether, and it stings.

So yeah, pack your pixie dust and ride your unicorn on over to my Facebook wall and Twitter feed.  We’re gonna suspend a more bleak reality for a little while and have a little par-tay.  Maybe you’ll laugh.  Maybe you’ll smirk.  Maybe you’ll read a reminder to be kind or see a silly meme about shenanigans.  Oh, Wendy’s written yet another love letter about Barenaked Ladies??  Color me shocked!  You won’t see me take someone to task there though.  You might read about butterflies in my tummy about MDA camp, but you won’t read that those butterflies feel more like velociraptors tearing me up.  My Facebook life isn’t awesome, but it’s not a death knell either.