It's okay to turn it off

A never-ending stream of pictures. People who are prettier than you, happier than you, more confident than you. Weddings that are fancier than yours was, with sun-dappled trees, luscious desserts and delighted relatives. Or perhaps it’s the status updates from everyone who is where you aren’t, but wish you were.

And the billboards and the magazine ads always show us the people we’d like to be instead of the people we are.

In the short run, gazing at all this perfection gives us a short hit of dopamine, a chance to imagine what it might be like.

Over time, though, the grinding inadequacy caused by the marketing machine wears us down.

It’s okay to turn it off.

— Seth Godin, Inadequacy on parade

I think sometimes it can feel like we have to try to be connected to everything all the time, because that's what everyone is doing, so it must be expected of us as well.

Sometimes all it takes to feel free to change is permission, "It's okay."

It's okay to turn it off.

On Facebook

A colleague at work today asked about my disdain for Facebook. This was my response.

I would start by saying that I recognize that it is possible for Facebook to be evil and at the same time for you to get a lot of benefit from it. My problem with Facebook isn’t that it’s just crap, and has had no positive side effects of any kind, but rather that Facebook consistently demonstrates a shameless disregard for the well being of humans, while seeming to believe it is doing the opposite.

Here are some things Facebook has done that are Wrong:

At the core, Facebook just has too much power and influence. Their goal isn’t to “connect” people, their goal is to get users to spend as much time as possible in the Facebook app. That means selling out to the most basic attractors like sensational posts (truth be damned), FOMO moments, and the like.

They spend 25 billion dollars a year investing in data analysis to attract the eyeballs of as many human beings as possible, by whatever means are effective. The job is literally, “how can we get Carol to spend 3 more minutes per day on Facebook?” They don’t care if those 3 minutes are good for you or bad for you, just so long as you spend them looking at that news feed.

Facebook is like a massive, mechanized Foie gras farm. Every day the cages get a little smaller, the amount of food to be force-fed a little larger. “We can leave any time we want,” the ducks say. And all the while they sit contentedly, arguing about whether the earth is round or flat, and laughing at cat videos.

Oak Update

Oak, the Rails blogging engine I've been working on, now supports 20 out 34 Micropub tests.

Making progress.

Refactor Day

Yesterday I chose to set the entire day apart to only do some basic code cleanup and minor refactoring.

I renamed methods and variables, DRYed up a bunch of duplicate code, extracted a few things into swift extensions, and deleted unused code and no-longer-necessary debugging output.

It was a nice change of pace, our code base is now cleaner than it was at the beginning of the day, and I left feeling great at having left things better than I found them.

I’m going to do this again soon.