On Tuesday, March 15 at 7:00 PM I decided I couldn't do it anymore. After hours of toying with my emotions of whether I needed a break or if I could keep going, I quit. I decided I need to unplug myself from the machine that is social media.
"Why?" You may ask. The simple question is I wanted to see if I could control my ritual which I'm sure an ongoing majority of Americans find themselves in. Wake up, and instead of turning on the TV check my Facebook and Twitter accounts to see if I missed anything of importance or received a new message, mention, or even poke. Then log back on throughout the day because of habit, plus the time it can waste being on social media sites. It's been a habitual situation I have found myself in for some time now and I know I'm not along.
To expand further, it was also Spring Break and I was headed to KY for a few days and knew that besides a limited window of time, I would have no service in any of the locations of wilderness I was planning on inhabiting. That itself made the transition of the break that much easier to cope with and gave me even less of an ability to "Check In."
Moonshiner's arch behind my campsite, where you guessed it they use to make moonshine at
So how did it go? Better then I expected. I didn't maim anyone, shake, or hallucinate from the lack of Twitter/Facebook. Even though I was tempted to look, given I had service on my phone on Friday (my big 28th bday) I stayed strong and weathered the storm (Let's face it everyone has to check their Facebook on their bday to see the wishes they receive!) and did not return online until 3:00 PM on Saturday, but only to post a short "Thank You" to all those who had wished me a happy birthday (I didn't want to seem like an ungrateful Facebook friend!). Even then I actually had reluctance to log back in because I was enjoying the time away from Twitter and Facebook and the break from the overload of information that can happen when addicted to social media.
Since Saturday I have fell back more into the old routine of checking, but at the same time not as much as previously. To me, it seems once you have taken an extended break from using Facebook, Twitter, etc. not only do you remember how life was before revolving around friend requests, retweets, new followers, with the possibility of getting more done in the real world, appreciation can be made toward the positive benefits that social media enables users to have. In my case throughout the ordeal it was not only to thank people who remembered me on my big day (you love me, you really love me) but to remember how it was social media itself (Facebook) that enabled me to coordinate with friends back home to organize my birthday party location for that Friday night (*coordination took place before my boycott) which I'm sure others have used the outlets for similar situations.
Its easy to get lost on not only social media forums, but the internet in general (anyone who has used Wikipedia knows that), but at the same time it is what I think crucial for every once in a while take a break and enjoy what you have physically in front of you and though sounding cliche, "stop and smell the roses."
I have an addiction. If it is true that addiction can be genetics then I have to blame my mother and father for part of this, being my enablers. My mom recently told me that during my birthday parties growing up that my Grandpa and Dad had to have their own fix of this addiction even while my young mind was blowing out my birthday cake wishing for whatever the cool toy/fad was at the time (possibly parachute pants). Maybe they, themselves, were not fully aware that they too were addicts and never sought help for their own addictions. It doesn't help that I was cursed to be born not only during the height of when my addiction is at its strongest, but was also born into the one area where there are thousands upon thousands who suffer from the same strong signs of addiction as myself. After 27 years (28 next Friday) of suffering, I have decided to write about this demon in order to let others in on this addiction in case they also are suffering from it.
I AM A COLLEGE BASKETBALL JUNKIE
There I said it, it feels better to put that out there. As anyone who has read previous entries of this blog know or have ever met me, I'm an avid Kentucky Wildcat basketball fan. We are known as one of the most passionate, crazy fanbases in ALL of sports. Every team has their crazies, but it seems that we push the envelope to another level, just tune in to the SEC tournament this weekend, regardless who is playing its a guarantee you're going to see more blue on the television then any other color. Like Charlie Sheen, that's how we roll. As much as I could/can/would love to spend this entire blog gushing about my love all things related to UK basketball (as I glance upon my shelve of numerous UK memorabilia that had to make the trek to Indiana with me) unfortunately this is not the time nor place. Instead it's about the sport of basketball and more importantly the college game itself. Being brought up in a crazy basketball state, family, and being a warped UK fan myself (always wear blue on game day, actually just always wear blue or some other form of UK related gear) that just sewed the seeds of my addiction with the sport.
Rule 1 of being a UK fan is swearing your undying allegiance to Ashley Judd
Rule 2: Whenever someone mentions church, this is exactly what you think of
However, that wasn't enough, I needed more. If there is a game on, I'm watching it. From October until April I am on a constant high. See where this is going yet? You can have the Superbowl, that's just one game, just leave me the month of March (and first weekend of April), and I'll be happy. That's over 100 games at my fingertips to be engulfed in, last time I checked 100>1. Keep the NBA as well. To me the basketball played in the NBA is not "pure" there are way to many egos and multi-millionares that polluted the game. Lebron is great, but how can I feel sorry for him when he loses, but still makes more in one game then I do in ten years? I want to watch the Cinderella teams, buzzer beaters, watch players who know they won't make it to the pros leave everything they have on the floor (with HD technology the emotion can be felt in ways that were never before seen).
Growing up in KY you are told if you don't behave the boogeyman will get you, this is the boogeyman
Once again its that time of the year when I constantly need my fix and the drug itself comes in extreme doses. Yesterday I spent 14 solid hours on my couch watching college basketball on my TV as well as my computer, AT THE SAME TIME. At one point I was watching 4 games simultaneously. It was bliss. I also have to thank Microsoft for creating the Kinect, it made my day much easier as instead of using a remote to change channels, I could just shout at my Xbox to change the games for me (irony, the fact the Kinect was made for physical activity). Today is no different, nor will be Saturday, and definitely not Selection Sunday. For the next several weeks my life will revolve around my addiction. After the tournament is over I will again go through the severe withdrawals, and again do what I have done in the past, count down until my next fix. I take solace in knowing that I am not alone in dealing with my addiction and in March it seems all my fellow junkies and I can share our addiction experience with each other without having judgement passed upon us. God I love this game.
UPDATE 1: To put how crazy UK fans are in a better perspective. Yesterday, (3/12/11) I ran into a fellow UK fan at Dick's Sporting Goods. While I was expressing my frustrating on playing starters with a big lead with only a few minutes remaining in the game, my fellow UK fan was more upset with the fact that UK only won by 15 after being up more throughout the game. That's right he was really upset that we only won by 15.
UPDATE 2: My excessive basketball watching was just to much for my Xbox. Late last night during the UL/UCONN game I was disturbed by a sudden knock then a frozen screen. After that my Xbox displayed to me the Red Ring of Death. R.I.P. Xbox 2005-2011, you will be missed until I replace you later today.
This past Tuesday night in Tech 621 one of the topics that we discussed was how the accessibility of knowledge has changed drastically in such a short period of time. The original way that people were able to gain knowledge was in the physical form and by that I mean books, lots and lots of books. However, as anyone in today's time knows, that would mean what you could and could not learn would be limited to what books that you had access to. So to wrap this up in a bind, if the only books that you had access to were coloring books, you may not be able to read to much, and your knowledge on worldly topics would be limited, but you would be hands down the best colorer around (though in the long term I don't think this would pay to much dividends unless you were going to be an artist and even then you would need to be able to read your contracts).
What happens when you're only exposed to coloring books
However, as technology developed (Three Cheers Digital AGE!), including the internet, more transcripts were transferred to an online format, the ability to access a grand archive of works that one may not have been entitled to prior was readily made available. Kind of like going from having to slave over a stove for hours to make dinner, to being able to fix dinner via T.V. entrees, that is how easy it is to gain information on any topic that an inquisitive mind wanted to inquire about.
Not only is knowledge tasty, but it now comes in eco-friendly trays
During class I had an epiphany that may or may not be a way to describe how big of a change the evolution of technology has been. It all deals with Plato's old story about the prisoners in the cave story that his teacher, Socrates, told him ( he also told him that whenever you are double dog dared to drink hemlock you have to do it, though he regretted this later in life). In this story, Socrates described to Plato a scenario where prisoners who were born into a world of bondage (kind of like a Lady Gaga video) and immobilized in a dark cave, were only basically given a marionette show the entire time they were there.
Exactly how Socrates imagined the prisoners
Instead of knowing these things to be fake, the prisoners would accept everything they heard and saw as the absolute truth since they never knew anything different. This was their reality. The next part of this story focuses on what would happen if one of the prisoners were freed and found out that everything they knew was fake and orchestrated and slowly was introduced into the real world, sun, seasons, markets, etc. Finally, Socrates concluded his allegory by stating to Plato to imagine what it would be like if the prisoner had to go back to the cave and how life would be different for him knowing that everything he was seeing again was fake and not real after being exposed to what is reality, how difficult it would be.
To me this relates to the topic discussed in class because we, as society, are no longer bounded by the "cave" that we once inhabited due to the digital age and the ability to learn anything about everything from online formats because of the rapid access we have of information readily available at our fingertips. At the same time, what has seemed like a longtime mainstay, the digital age and internet, in reality is still a new and developing technology. I myself can still remember growing up in a world where there was no internet, cell phones, etc. Where the information and knowledge I was able to achieve was only through books (along with teachers, parents, invisible friends, etc.) which even then was a small library in the grand scheme of things. Needless to say, after being freed from the cave due to technology, that cave, is one I wish not to visit again.
I use Twitter (follow me at scottabney3) so I'm smarter than you. That is unless you are also on Twitter than there's a good chance that both of us have a higher level of intelligence than the average person. I know it's a tough pill to swallow and even when I heard it at the beginning of this semester in my Tech 621 class I scoffed at the idea and found it preposterous. There is no way that could be true, I was one of the first people at my university and the first person in my city to use Facebook back in 03' (maybe 04', possibly 05' time goes by so fast these days). I was Facebooking when Myspace was still the happening place to be and not the trailer park of the social media outlets.
Artist rendition of current state of Myspace
Tech 621, along with other articles I've read, have changed my perception of that. It's like taking the red pill over the blue pill and opening my eyes to the truth. I just can't believe that it took me so long to figure this out. Then again, I was holding my own prejudices against Twitter which blinded me from this inconceivable truth. Smarter people really are on Twitter.Why is that I wondered? Several of the articles I read stated the same overlaying theme. Those who seek knowledge are those who use Twitter. Facebook on the other hand is used by those who want to a chance to express themselves through photos, groups, etc.
How the first day of Tech 621 began
I do believe there is something else to consider, its the evolution of the social media outlets. When Myspace was the veteran and Facebook was still the new kid on the block, Facebook was EXCLUSIVE to those who were in college. See where I'm going with this, at one point Facebook was for the smart kids. What changed this to what we have today is that Facebook did what any good business model does, it expands. When it opened its doors to everyone some contaminants where let in and lowered the IQ pool of Facebook. Twitter then launched and it seems that people who have evolved to Twitter are wanting to get the most out of 165 characters as possible through links and other informative methods and not as concerned with the extras.
There are exceptions to the "smart people on Twitter rule."
When I first used Twitter I never thought it would come to this, but I'm slowly turning my back on Facebook because of the contaminants. Seeing the status updates of broken hearts, drama, and other unbearable information that has became all too familiar in the land of Facebook instead of the links that I am now getting accustomed to in Twitter has left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Will another mass social media outlet develop that outsmarts Twitter users, probably, that's how evolution works just like Myspace and Facebook before it. Will I adapt to it? Yeah if its going to keep me informed of areas of my research along with other topics, as well as if using it makes me appear smarter.
In case you have been hiding under a rock the past two weeks or so, then you have missed the awesomeness that has been Charlie Sheen. The above picture captures Charlie in an unflattering manner, but at this current time (8:39 P.M, March 3, 2011) I doubt that picture is high on Charlie's priority list. Before I get to much further let me post a few quick links for you fine people sitting at your computer regarding Uncle Charlie and some of his finer moments in the past couple of weeks
If you took the time to look at some of those several great comedic (whether intentional or not) quotes stood out that Charlie said such as the tiger's blood, I am a warlock, I'm not bi-polar I'm bi-winning, etc.
However, the one thing that no one can deny (unless you have been living under said rock) is that Charlie Sheen is everywhere right now, there is a 75% chance he is behind you as you read this sentence. He has taken the media by storm and dominated in a fashion that is unfathomable.
March 1st, 2011 will be a day that will live in Twitter infamy. That was the day Charlie joined the social network, within 24 hours he had over 1 million followers, as of right now its quickly approaching the 1.5 million mark. Will this number drop off anytime soon, probably not as long as Charles keeps on ranting, people want to see what the next crazy, outrageous comment he may say and they want it in a way where they can have first hand access to it. That is what his Twitter account allows people. Even right now #tigerblood is the most used thing that is trending on Twitter.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man that he never existed. The greatest trick Charlie Sheen may be pulling before our very eyes is convincing everyone he is crazy while he really is "from some other terrestrial plane." His statement today is that he is using Twitter as a way to make extra cash (the avg price for a celebrity tweet is $10k) which is plausible but I don't believe that is his only reason for doing so, nor should you. TMZ did report that the picture of Charlie holding a jug of chocolate milk did make that company's sales go through the roof and the owner of the company stated Charlie acted on his own showing the milk (though he offered to pay him in chocolate milk next time he stopped by the farm). Coincidence? I highly doubt it. Back to the point though, Charlie is on Twitter for one thing, to promote the Charlie Sheen brand, and its working.
After my Tech 621 Class where the possibility of researching online self image and identity and tying this into Charlie Sheen became available, I feel that this is a topic that would be not only fun, but very informative. Giving the ability of the software that is at our fingertips in class, another nod to you Radian 6, it would be interesting to just see how much Charlie Sheen has influenced the online media in the past week through both primary (Uncle Charlie) actions as well as secondary actions (how products he hocks including the chocolate milk).
So for the last few days I have been exploring Radian 6 and trying to get a feel for all of its capabilities. At times I feel like I'm asking "What is the meaning of life?" because everything it shoots back at me can be overwhelming. I had hoped to somewhat stay in college athletics and social media for this assignment, but as noted in previous posts the lack of good quality of research is greatly deterring me from going down that road. I've explored some things on the web and the areas at this time that I am looking at for research is between how companies use social media platforms and consumers respond (broad topic at this time I know) or to fall back on my poli sci degree, look at how social media is being used for government purposes because I really feel like between policies and individual politicians a lot can be explored.
So after being bogged down on the Iphone 3G I finally decided I needed a change. As hard as it was to switch from my beloved Apple product that goes hand in hand with my MacBook I decided to switch allegiances to the Android technology and purchased the Motorola Atrix 4G. Now I will not go into all the neat bells and whistles that this phone does (it can double as laptop, go run and tell that homeboy), but however this blog is to focus on some of the bigger aspects of what happens when you GO BEHIND ENEMY LINES and try to run Android technology on an Apple Macbook (cliff notes version: it's frustrating at first).
The biggest problem was the fact of trying to download all the music from my Apple Itunes to my phone. It would be great if it worked just like the Iphone and all I had to do was plug into my computer and Itunes recognized I needed music, however this was not the case. Instead I had to download the Android version of Itunes, Doubletwist, which acted as the 3rd party vendor and got the music from my library and openly obliged to letting me sync music on my phone. I stress music because all of my Itunes movies and videos have the dreaded DRM on them and I am now looking at ways to transfer video over.
After what seriously took 2 hours to finally load music I was satisfied with my switch and all was right in the world.
Perhaps the biggest aspect of this phone that I like is how open the Android app market is compared to the App Store of Apple. One of the best apps actually came installed on my phone and it is Social Networking. With this app I can look at all recent posts from both Twitter and Facebook (Myspace as well if I had an account) and comment, like, or retweet messages. However the drawback to this is not being able to do a status update. Even with that I find this app very easy to use and I like how it combines both of the major social networks that I am on and lets me stay up to date instead of switching between the two.
Also, when I was in the AT&T store and purchased my phone one of the first things I was able to do automatically on start up was register my Twitter and Facebook accounts before continuing on to the home screen. To me, this moment showed just how far society has come with social networks. Just a few years ago to stay up to date through mobile devices you had to use the browser to check in, then came apps, and now phones are already installed with software. This is comparable to automobile features, years ago electric windows were an added luxury, then slowly overtime it became the norm in production.
It seems as phones continuously evolve, so will their ability to keep us in touch with our social lives.