It's eclectic… just like life.

The whole frenzied response to YouTube Red got me thinking about what it was that attracted me to YouTube at the outset.

YouTube started out as a place where the average Joe could upload their amateurish video and show all their buddies and a few wandering strangers. What I liked about it was that it wasn’t overproduced, but it looked like Grandma handed Aunt Mary the camera and said “here, get a good shot!” It was good to see stuff that wasn’t produced by Paramount studios, and yet was just fun and homey, like mom’s apple pie. I liked it because it wasn’t television. It was cat videos and other stuff you’d expect to see if you launched your camera app while visiting a friend.

I liked being able to subscribe to a few people and get a sense (either real or imagined) that I was getting acquainted with them. It was amateur and had a personal feel to it. I’m a big fan of the unpolished. A big fan of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

But the homey hub of videos has expanded. I grew up all my life being exposed to commercials (on tv, magazines, newspapers, radio), so when YouTube started implementing ads to be able to maintain and pay for the content we saw, I just shrugged my shoulders and rolled with it. I shall continue to do so. I just hope the “premium version” of YouTube does not in any way disrupt the watchability for those of us who don’t mind ads.

(On a semi-unrelated aside) There is one vlogger who we still enjoy watching, but one of my favorite features of their vlogs was truncated (the outro/comments). Before they re-designed that feature, I used to read every single featured comment (one from each of the main social medias). But they truncated the ending song and now only show one comment but not nearly long enough to read it. We still watch them because we find them interesting, and our family seems to share a lot of the same interests as that “crowd” who are part of that vlogging process. But a small part of me wishes for the “old days” when there was more of a two-way feel.

Now, YouTube in general seems to not be much different than television. But that is the nature of the beast when something becomes “big” and popular worldwide.

I think the internet is a marvelous medium for communication, however it may change.

I’m wanting to get more into two things: podcasts and reading.

What better way to re-start these two interests than by listening to a podcast about reading?

On occasion I had watched the Book Riot videos on YouTube,  and listened to some of their podcasts.  So I started up Podcast Addict on my phone (I like this app so much I ended up buying the ad-free version) and discovered that for over 20 episodes they have a newer podcast called All the Books.  The link takes you to their archive so you can download it on any device you wish.

I enjoy listening to them talk about up coming releases and ideas for my ever growing queue of TBR books.  I use my library card for both digital and physical copies. 

I also am thinking of starting a diary for my books.  Nothing fancy, just loose-leaf in a duotang, or a scribbler.  Titles will often pique my interest and then of course life will boldly interrupt my daydreams. I like to keep track of where I first heard of a book,  why I’m interested in it,  and then the results.  I do use Goodreads for the social media side of things.  But it’s good to have a place to ramble about random nothings, too.

I want to start being a better reader.  All too often I’ll get excited about a book, start it and then get distracted.  I’m excited about finding new books to read. 📚

“It’s not you, it’s me”

As a fall gift to myself, I have decided to take a break from Facebook.  I de-activated my account.  It’s far too early to say how long this break will be.

I will state a disclaimer by saying up front that my reasons are my own.  I don’t think that temporarily or permanently opting out of Facebook makes me any “better” than my peers.  I’ve sometimes seen that attitude slip out from other people who I’ve encountered who have said they don’t use Facebook.  People who like it and enjoy it still live in my household so I’d be lording it over a lot of really important people in my life if that was my attitude. Nor is my decision a “grudge” because someone “did something” to me.  It is not intended to be a slap in the face to people who genuinely care, or a snub at anyone’s lifestyle choices.

Here is an explanation as it applies to my own mindset and experience:

My first is that I acknowledge my own difficulty in time management.  I’ve spent hours and hours reading posts that people have made to Facebook, comments on news stories I follow, and I’ve found it to be a waste of time, rather than “something fun”.

It has never been very fulfilling to me socially.  Like many people, I had struggles in middle school and high school.  It seems that even to this day, I observe the social structure and it’s a matter of cultural appeal whether a person makes it through their school years unscathed, making the cut.  My social anxiety is with me to this day, and I have not found Facebook instrumental to alleviate that.

I work very hard and place a high priority in not offending other people, and therefore, I’ve added friends who really don’t matter much to me (and vice versa I am sure)  for the sake of social etiquette, and then promptly “unfollowed” so I wouldn’t see their posts scrolling through my newsfeed, without unfriending them.  I knew that is how people manage their friendship with me as well, because only a handful of people “saw” my post several years back when I announced my mother passing away or other significant events in my life where I’ve needed support.

I did a search on Google for “I deactivated Facebook” or variations on the theme, and I found many people’s reasoning to ring true for me as well.  Here is one.

There was discomfort with the “friend suggestions”.  There are friend suggestions where there are no mutual friends, and I wonder how many tiers deep of “degrees of separation” Facebook’s coding searches for because there were some names which reminded me of unpleasant situations in the past in the “People you may also know” sidebar.  I found that to be really creepy.

I also found that I had to be an annoying pain in the butt to get friends of mine who wanted to contact me privately to use e-mail or even better, if they also had a cell phone texting plan, to text me, or phone me (talking on the phone is my least preferred way to “chat” but I will do it gladly over using Facebook’s interface.)  I did not want Facebook messenger to host or archive all my private conversations.  My texting plan is unlimited and as it is, I was a late adopter into getting a phone.  If I fill out a contact form, usually my email address, landline, and cell number are the spaces I see.  Facebook is not my phone number. Nor is their chat interface the equivalent of “texting”.

It might seem a little hypocritical that I have a cell phone and like it, and I’m keeping Twitter, and yet want to prune Facebook.  But maybe it’s not. I don’t have to cut off all technology, just the sources that leave me feeling empty inside. But they are not the same thing. On Twitter I am more likely to actually click on the link, and read the news story articles of news sources I follow than to go straight to the comments and read what people say..  I did that all the time on Facebook.  Kind of addicting to read what other people say about the news rather than the news itself.

I used to really enjoy reading, and learning to improve my skills on new hobbies.  I enjoy piano, guitar, clarinet, knitting, and pumping my e-reader full of books.  But 9pm would come and did I do many of those things?  Most of the down time was spent on Facebook, or playing the games, and none of the pages of library books I’d borrowed would be touched.  So for me, it’s really a matter of taking grownup responsibility to facilitate the things I want to do.

There is a passage in the Bible which reads, (paraphrasing) “If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off”.  And it’s true for me.

Again.  This could be a temporary thing, or something I may choose to cut out completely, but this is how I feel at the time of this writing.  It’s important to me to examine my own lifestyle and tweak accordingly to what works for me.  It’s a time declutter.  I’ll have to see for myself how the results are.