These empty, faceless days Pass in a nameless haze; A smorgasbord of news bites Leaves our minds eaten away. Should we be grateful or afraid? Tomorrow promises the same; Isolated from routines, We adapt to this new distance– Please stay six feet away. Flower children, pressed inside Our individual pages: We remain solitary, Confined, safe, waiting To be allowed to play Once again. To hold hands, To hug and dance! Will it ever be the same? I wonder what The history books will say About us.
What’s the difference between my social media presence now and how it was before Covid, the election of 2020, etc.? Welp, several things have changed. First, I’m mellower now, and I prefer lightness and kindness to intense conversations online. That may seem strange, given that so many others seem harsher, less forgiving, and more argumentative. But I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, and I see nothing beneficial in fighting with trolls or even interacting with angry, stubborn, opinionated “friends” who would never consider another POV.
My two-year Facebook break put a lot of things in perspective. While I focused on blogging and tweeting, I realized that not only do I enjoy nice things, but it is within my power to create them. Instead of moaning about all the T* in my feed, for example, I began hiding and blocking the accounts who focused on him 24/7. Suddenly, my reading selections were much more fun. I even muted accounts I agreed with, if they were solely posting negative stuff.
Then I turned the lens on myself. I deleted posts and tweets that were full of nasty sarcasm and toxic words, or agreeing with same. I dumped my “dating stories” because even though some were funny, most were just a big fat bitchfest. When I returned to Facebook, I was surprised at how much worse it had become in two years. People were constantly seeking confrontation! Reluctantly, I began to hide/block the worst offenders, which sadly included a few long-time friends. We do have the tools to curate our own experience, which to me is preferable to continuing to complain about other people’s speech. I take responsibility for what I allow into my life.
Here’s another example. I have managed to rid my feeds of most celeb stories in the past month or so by religiously blocking all garbage media at the source (aka tabloids) and hiding celeb articles from sources I like otherwise. Now, I’m not so frustrated when I go to read real news. It really makes a difference to use the tools we have at our disposal.
Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.
For a long time, I resisted downloading apps. This wasn’t so much of a philosophical aversion to them as my OCD in keeping my phone looking neat and organized. But slowly, they crept up on me. Oh, the convenience! Right? That’s how they get you. Convenient for who though? It is certainly convenient for merchants to pester us over apps. It is convenient for social media to ding your apps with notifications so you’ll feel compelled to go look (just for a sec!) to see what’s up (and view more ads in the process). Etc.
I downloaded the WordPress app a few years ago and, indeed, it seemed like a great way to view posts and compose them as well. But during my refresh I discovered a couple things. One, your post may appear on the app reader quite differently from the way it looks on your actual blog. This may not bother some people, but I spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time making sure my blog looks the way I want it, so I was pretty horrified to discover messed up line breaks, misaligned images, and screwy fonts. On the app, you can’t see a lot of this stuff.
Two, the app sometimes “forgets” some of your images in your media library, at least mine did (I had thousands of images). It’s not a matter of using the correct search term, since I could search and find the images in my library from a browser. I don’t want to sound nutty, but I think it’s deliberate ~ to get you to download more images and thus run out of library space faster. Then you’ll have to upgrade your plan. Welp, instead of that nonsense, I’ve deleted tons of images. Hah! (You can’t do that unless you’re willing painstakingly sort through all your posts to decided what you want to keep and discard, but I’ve made the time for that.)
Three, I wasn’t getting a sense of other bloggers’ blogs from the app because the “convenience” of reading gobs of posts quickly and dropping likes everywhere kept me from actually visiting their blogs. Since I want people to visit mine, it’s only fair that I visit theirs. This last week, I have been doing so and it’s a better experience. The “downside” is that I no longer have time to skim everything in my feed and plop likes on each item. Oh well. Quality over quantity, amirite?
I have deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps as well. This keeps me from mindlessly clicking on them every time I’m bored. It’s not a coincidence that I’ve been reading more books this year. I’m well on my way to my goal of 100 by December 31.
This isn’t to say all apps are bad. I find the weather app useful, as well as Google maps, email, news, and some others.
Image is mine, altered from the original on Pixabay.
My weekly smile is regarding my blog’s refresh. I learned a lot while conforming my older posts to the block editor and deleting posts that don’t make me happy. I view social media/blogging as a hobby, not a job, and I want my writing to reflect this. Not that all posts will be upbeat; I’m reposting plenty of sad poetry. But it will be poetry I like, not lines strung together simply to respond to a prompt. Note, I am not criticizing anyone who has a different view of things, nor am I fussed if you’re trying to make money via blogging. I’m speaking only about myself.
I’ve deleted the WordPress app and have been using a browser exclusively to write and edit. That’s working out much better for me. Apps in general create an aura of mindless clicking and posting (in my case), and one of my goals is to be more mindful of what I write and comment on.
I’ve also discovered that contrary to all I’ve read, we can write single-spaced poetry from our phones. If you hold the shift key while pressing return, you get a single space. You do not have to go into the code and insert “br” a zillion times while deleting the P breaks. Unless I’m writing a haiku or something very short, I do not want my poems to be double-spaced. It looks terrible (imo) and I’m fixing them all ~ the poems I want to keep anyway.
I’m also resizing all my images to “medium” and dumping duplicates. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but it seems that WP encourages multiple uploads of the same image and makes it difficult to find previous ones. Then suddenly your library is full and you have to upgrade. I’ve already cut my library in half and freed up lots of space. While I do have a paid plan to get rid of ads, I don’t want to keep upgrading it.
Also, I’m writing for adults and see no need to insert multiple images in most posts (there are some exceptions, such as when I will be talking about the various actors who played Blofeld). If people are turned off because there are lots of words in my posts and few images/emojis, then they aren’t really my kind of reader. I’ve dumped the Bitmojis for the same reason. I know I may lose some readers and am okay with that.
I had over 100 tags, many of which were other people’s, and I couldn’t even remember whose or why they were there. Some were used only once or twice. I’ve deleted those and streamlined the rest. If I respond to a prompt in the future, I’m not adding a tag just because the prompter asks. If they delete my trackback link because of that, fine. When I was hosting prompts, I never actually searched on the tag ~ I only followed the links in comments.
I’m excited about my refreshed blog. During April I will be doing the A2Z prompt and posting about James Bond. Researching the movies and trivia has been a blast, and I hope at least some of you will enjoy reading it. I also have loads of other reposts scheduled: my favorite fiction and poetry pieces and a few humorous question posts. Most question posts have been deleted. Please don’t take offense if I rarely respond to those kind of posts from now on. I may take one interesting question and write a whole essay on it, but I don’t want my pages to be full of other people’s prompts.