Social Media Stress

I’ve had this post ready to go in various iterations over the last year or so, never really ready to post it, and continuously changing it. This is mostly due to the ongoing changes I’ve seen in social media – and more specifically how they relate to me. But a trend I have started seeing become more ‘popular’ made me decide to finally post about this – the cool thing is to actually leave social networking!

A lot of the various social media blogs (and even those that aren’t, because anything talking about this topic is link bait and easy ad revenue) have started writing numerous posts on how to delete your accounts, how relaxing it can be to not want to check Twitter obsessively. But I bet you – over half of those users ended up coming back to various social media sites, probably because they couldn’t actually kick the habit. But if you have gotten this far – I really feel like you are looking at this all wrong.

One (almost laughable) issue I have personally seen is various friends of mine on Facebook actually complaining about information overload, and trimming their friends, somewhat making them seem some elitist because ‘they have too many friendships or to popular’. And these aren’t people ‘into social media’ – they are the ‘OMG I can play with my virtual farm and ‘like’ Adam Lambert on here!’ type of users. I mostly find this funny – because those people really are doing nothing more than trying to inflate their ego, probably because they have nothing better to do. Doing this – trimming your connections on a social network, or heck, even in real life – is normal, and one thing that makes these sites dynamic and interesting to me. No one is telling you who you have to be friends with. But ‘bragging’ about it really is just being egotistical.

Which gets me back to my point – if you are having to think about this (or having to ‘brag’ about it) – you honestly are doing it wrong. We should be embracing the connectivity to other people, not annoying ourselves that we probably wouldn’t relate to outside of social media.

TechCrunch (who I really can’t stand) actually posted a great post about this today, saying “If you have social media fatigue, you’re doing it wrong“. I have felt this way for a while (not fatigued, but the gist of the actual post – it shouldn’t matter). If im tired of listening to someone complain or talk themselves up continuously, its pretty easy to rid my life of it. I shouldn’t be reading my twitter feed and keep on saying ‘man, this person is annoying’. I shouldn’t care about their feelings – for two reasons: 1) Theres a pretty huge chance they don’t care about mine, and 2) if they really get upset because someone stopped following them, they honestly need to get a life.

I have had very similar experiences to what is mentioned in this post – just general communication that either helped me or someone I know:

  • Impromptu meetings to get to know someone new (be it at a concert, outing, etc). If I am at something with others, we probably share similar interests
  • Met new clients to do some side work for, helping both me and them
  • Answering a programing, computer, local area, or automobile related question someone I follow has
  • Learned a new method (be it in programing, photography, or anything) that someone I followed shared a link to.
  • Met awesome people who I may not have met otherwise

I know writing this post is actually almost calling myself out on the topic I actually am speaking on – and I’m not trying to do that. I could easily tell you how I cut about 1/3 of the people I follow on twitter and started removing some people from Facebook. But this cleanup isn’t even social media related – I have been deleting tons of music and photos I have built up over the years – to make things easier. I removed about half of my RSS feeds (which I will write about soon) to stop wasting my time reading the same old thing. We generate so much media today that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend it all, and most of it I am sure is not needed.

I use all these technologies – Social Media, RSS, Blogs, etc – to learn and share. Outside of that – social media gives us the benefit of meeting new people and even connecting differently to people we know. But if it’s getting you down – you really need to first decide what you planned on getting out of it – before removing yourself completely and blaming others for it.

Remember – when you are consuming media (be it articles, blogs, or even less than 140 character blurbs on Twitter) – you are the one that put yourself in that place.

Snow pictures, news, and things to come

This winter has been long and cold, and record snow amounts in Richmond. Anyone that knows Richmond knows that even with a threat of snow, the place shuts down. Almost the entire month of January we were covered under snow, with two weekends back to back bringing a foot each.

This did give me a chance to get outdoors and try out the new T1i with some snow pics, which you can see by clicking the picture above or just going directly to the set here.

But I have to be honest…I’m really tired of taking pictures of the snow. Its a beautiful time, but im ready to really have some fun with this camera without having to adjust for over-exposure or such a solid color.

Otherwise, there is quite a bit going on. I recently celebrated my 27th birthday, which was amazing. We ended out having a few friends over for a potluck dinner, and everyone had a great time. I’ve also been doing a ton of stuff at work – all of which is paying off and still fun as ever to be involved with. Finally, I have been playing a ton of video games. I finished Assassin’s Creed 2 (and the first DLC) as well as Modern Warfare 2 shortly after they came out. I have been playing Left4Dead 2 quite a bit as well. But more recently, I picked up my copy of Gears of War (the first) recently after letting a co-worker borrow it, and finished that (its a rather short game). Currently I am playing Gears of War 2, which is so much better than the first, and a really great game.

Recently, I also have been getting quite a few post ideas that I would like to share soon. I have a few things I want to write about software development, some home projects, as well as some general thoughts I have been having, especially when it comes to online communication. While I don’t want to set a timeline on these – I do have a growing list of ideas, I can’t wait to share them.

A New Direction, A New Blog

So much has been changing in the last few months with my online presence, its been dizzying to say the least. For the most part, I shook things up, and started hosting my site again, with the assumptions:

  1. ive been getting enough traffic to start monetizing my work
  2. hosting will give me back all that freedom I had before on my site

Boy was I wrong

My numbers aren’t that low, and yes, I did make a few bucks using ads across my sites the last few months. But nothing really sustainable, and also not worth the hassle.

Which leaves me to my second note above – hosting is nothing like it was a few years ago. Now everyone and their brother is a web host, and will do anything to get your money. Even one of my favorite places, Dreamhost, is bursting at the seams and overselling sub-part equipment. Luckily, A friend of mine helped out for a few months as my new host, but in the end, I felt like it was best to get out of that market entirely. 

One thing I did realize in that process though was how to make this more sucessful in the future. So Im making a few changes:

  1. Im paying a few bucks to WordPress a year to host the site under my domain name. This will let me build up some SEO juice in case I decide to move away again.
  2. Spinning a large chunk of this blog off.
  3. That large chunk will get together again, at a yet-to-be-named new blog.
  4. When the new blog starts to really pick up traffic, it will still stay on WordPress.com, but probably be under a new domain name too, so once it takes off even more, I should be able to move it off much easier (as in, not loose my SEO juice).
  5. Im dropping my photography blog. 

What does that mean? Your going to see a LOT less (as in like no more) real posts about technology here. While writing about technology is what let my blog take off in the first place, its not the best to mix all of this together. I bore friends and family about geek stuff, and im pretty sure someone looking for a quick fix to a computer question isnt that interested in my new floors. 

Ill post when I come up with the new name* for the blog as well as a link. I hope that some of my readers will enjoy the new content as well, and even help contribute if interested. 

* Note: Debs and I have been tossing around names, but I’m all ears if anyone has any ideas.

Rest of the site coming together (and more updates)!

Its been a long week, but things are finally calming down a bit. First of all, Toby is back with us again. The lady I mentioned in my previous post kept him for a few days, and then had let him go. We then tried another lady my aunt worked with, who only gave him 2 hours (seriously, what the hell!). Finally, he spent the night at another possible new owners home last night, but her dog and him were not getting along that well. So finally, we are going to be looking into some Beagle Rescue Groups and the Richmond SPCA.

Otherwise, we have been keeping REALLY busy. We picked up a new desk the other day, and moved around some stuff in our house. Basically, our spare room and office swtiched, giving us a much larger and more useful office. We are also bringing my old PC back up online (with a new 22″ display) so we can get more work done as well. Ill actually be creating a new post on this when its complete!

I spent some time with the site this long weekend as well. As you may have noticed, the theme on this blog has changed a little, as well removing some pages. All this has been moved out of the blog and back up to the top of the domain http://jmlumpkin.com. It would be nice to have it all on one platform, but I couldnt figure out the best way to manage my gallery as well.

I also uploaded quite a few albums up to the new gallery install. Ill be highlighting these on the front page as well over time.

Over time, I really plan on building out the stuff ‘outside’ the blog more and more. Im starting to dabble in random projects, and would like to have a central place to highlight them!

New Site!

Well, I finally made the move to my own hosting environment again, and have made a few changes! Now I have full control over the look and feel of the site, as well as the ability to put up a LOT more content. Im going to be spending a few weeks really tuning and cleaning things up here, but the blog was to come first!

I started off with a Windows account on godaddy, but I was having a few problems getting things to work just right. They let you host on IIS7 and use .net 3.5, silverlight, and other cool new technologies, but getting certain PHP things to work right under it was a pain. So this morning I converted my account over to one of their newer Linux hosting accounts, which means I now also have access to Python, Ruby, and more! While I wanted to do a few things in ASP.net, the Linux hosting is a bit faster, and is going to force me to learn some new languages, which is something I wanted to do anyways 🙂

So please update your bookmarks and check back often with all of the changes! Also, i’ve moved over to FeedBurner for my RSS feed, and the new link is here – http://feeds.feedburner.com/jmlumpkin/blog