Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick

Hello everyone! Here’s a St. Paddy’s Day repost. I hope it makes you smile. (I love the song by Rawlins Cross posted at the end.)

Take care of yourselves and each other. – Lori

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This day always reminds me of when I taught Grade 3 at St. Patrick’s School in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It was big celebration and, at night, there was at least one Celtic band playing somewhere in town. That was in the late 1990s when Celtic music blended with rock was popular. We’d go out and drink and dance and be happy that, maybe, just maybe, spring might come to that bleak northern landscape. I loved those days.

This St. Paddy’s Day, I’m celebrating again, although this time there’s no drinking and dancing (but the day is young…). I’m rejoicing because my nine-week full-time temporary teaching contract is done.

Challenging and Humbling

This teaching stint was a challenging and often humbling experience. Funny, I thought I knew something about being an educator and then I tackled that same job within a completely new context. I soon found out that in teaching, there’s always something to learn, and those students were my best teachers. I tripped and fell every day, and I staggered to my feet and kept on going.

I taught every grade in the school and I worked one-on-one with a number of students, too. It was busy and varied. I had to switch mental gears constantly to interact with the different ages and abilities of all the students. No wonder I’m exhausted! It was a very worthwhile assignment and this old dog learned a lot of new tricks. So I guess that saying flies out the window, at least in my case.

Fleeing Facebook

During this time, I left Facebook. As you likely know, I’d been considering this for a while for a whole bunch of good reasons. The reason that finally caused me to leave was a message I received criticizing my actions in the classroom. It was three o’clock in the morning and I was having trouble sleeping because of the very challenging day I’d had previously. Stupidly, I opened Facebook on my tablet and found the message. Stupidly, I read it. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach.

Celtic Shamrock

On Facebook, there was always someone to let me know when I failed in case I missed it. I hadn’t missed it, of course, but there’s pleasure for some in pointing out others’ shortcomings. It’s a sweet treat to correct and criticize, to feel that moral high ground beneath one’s feet. I’m sure I’ve felt that solid footing once or twice myself, that firm certainty.

Keep on posting, peon!

Because I posted frequently, and had several friends and followers, Facebook would automatically nag me each day with notifications reminding me to keep creating content for the company: 1073 people that like Lori Knutson haven’t heard from you in a while. And yet, when I left Facebook, I did not receive 1073 concerned phone calls or emails. I guess my posts weren’t as urgently needed as Facebook thought.

St Patrick and MedusaI do miss a lot of my friendly interactions on Facebook and I do feel a bit disconnected. On the other hand, my mind is clearer and I feel less distracted, less jittery. There used to be an anxious social media knot in my stomach. When I’d relax for a moment with a cup of tea and a book, I felt like I should be posting, should be “liking” and clicking. Now the knot is gone. While I miss some friends, I don’t miss Facebook. I feel like I’ve taken back a part of myself that I’d given too freely, and that feels good.

Have a happy Sunday, dear readers, and please consider following my WordPress blog. I’d really like to keep in touch and this is a good way to do it! And if you’d like to help me get around Facebook, please share my posts on that forum. Facebook still remains one of the best ways to promote content and sell a lawnmower.

Take good care and spread a little sunshine. This rock’n’roll song with bagpipes is too awesome not to share! Take a listen in Canada’s own Rawlins Cross.

~ Lori

Online Living

Online Living Image

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a nice Thursday so far. Since I wrote this post a few years back (I think I was still teaching then) I left Facebook and have been off for almost year. It’s been very refreshing, but I do miss kind, consistent communication with people because I’m all about the kind, consistent communication.

When I left Facebook, I started sending out a personalish newsletter via email. It basically covers some of the day-to-day goings on in my life, the type of things folks sometimes post to Facebook.

Even though I’m working more online now from home, I’m spending less time on social media and more time in real life. I still really enjoy connecting online but technology can feel intrusive and I like to keep it at arm’s length.

Take care and have a great December evening!

~ Lori

Etch a SketchLast week I took a 24-hour break from social media. Now for me, this is pretty big. I actively post on three sites and a few others less often.

I dream about posting; I dream about having my Facebook page liked or unliked; I dream about gaining Twitter followers. Surely during the nighttime hours of sleep my mind could occupy itself with sweeter images than these. And yet…

Often I get up from watching a good TV show or reading an excellent book in order to compulsively check my email, look at my notifications and to post something new. I fear I may be a social media addict. That’s why I took a day to dry out.

Listen to me read this post:

It was hard. Initially, I felt at loose ends, like I should have something to do, somewhere to go. After a bit, I began to relax into my time off, and my mind became freer and clearer, less cluttered. I thought the virtual world revolved around me but when I checked-in the following morning, I was horrified to discover that I was not missed. Not even a little! The virtual world did not spin off its axis in my absence. I felt happy and sad, relieved and dejected.

Eye PadIn a sense, social media is real. The people behind the posts are certainly real, and there’s a responsibility to be respectful and kind when online. Hurt feelings are hurt feelings, online or off. Being blocked or banned or having the door slammed in your face feel the same. Losing a friend is losing a friend.

But social media is restricted by the fact that it is virtual. If I need an egg or a cup of sugar, I go next door or across the street. If I get stuck in the alley after a heavy snowfall, I’m glad that Bob is not my Facebook friend but instead is my real neighbour and will give me a push. I know my 10, 500 Twitter followers won’t be crammed into the community hall the day of my funeral.

Social media builds bridges. Lots of times I’ll receive kind post comments from neighbours I rarely see or talk to – people who live in a 20 kilometre radius of me. I “like” their comments, but I don’t phone them or invite them over for coffee, for tea, or for something with a bit more of a kick. It’s sad. I crave company, but instead of making an effort and seeking it out, I sit in front of this computer screen.

CalculatorI know, I know. I see the irony, as well. You don’t have to point it out. When I’m done writing this, recording it, and reading it over a couple times, I’ll post it online for you to see. Without this virtual connection, you would never know the things I think about and how I view the world. For this and for the connections I’ve made online, I am grateful to social media.

During the upcoming week I’ll take another day off from social media – probably Tuesday again. Maybe I’ll make a phone call or watch an entire TV show or venture out for coffee. For one day I’ll try not to forsake real life for a life lived online. Wish me luck.

Getting Older

 

 

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. PatrickHappy St. Patrick’s Day! This day always reminds me of when I taught Grade 3 at St. Patrick’s School in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It was big celebration and, at night, there was at least one Celtic band playing somewhere in town. That was in the late 1990s when Celtic music blended with rock was popular. We’d go out and drink and dance and be happy that, maybe, just maybe, spring might come to that bleak northern landscape. I loved those days.

This St. Paddy’s Day, I’m celebrating again, although this time there’s no drinking and dancing (but the day is young…). I’m rejoicing because my nine-week full-time temporary teaching contract is done.

Challenging and Humbling

This teaching stint was a challenging and often humbling experience. Funny, I thought I knew something about being an educator and then I tackled that same job within a completely new context. I soon found out that in teaching, there’s always something to learn, and those students were my best teachers. I tripped and fell every day, and I staggered to my feet and kept on going.

I taught every grade in the school and I worked one-on-one with a number of students, too. It was busy and varied. I had to switch mental gears constantly to interact with the different ages and abilities of all the students. No wonder I’m exhausted! It was a very worthwhile assignment and this old dog learned a lot of new tricks. So I guess that saying flies out the window, at least in my case.

Fleeing Facebook

During this time, I left Facebook. As you likely know, I’d been considering this for a while for a whole bunch of good reasons. The reason that finally caused me to leave was a message I received criticizing my actions in the classroom. It was three o’clock in the morning and I was having trouble sleeping because of the very challenging day I’d had previously. Stupidly, I opened Facebook on my tablet and found the message. Stupidly, I read it. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach.

Celtic Shamrock

On Facebook, there was always someone to let me know when I failed in case I missed it. I hadn’t missed it, of course, but there’s pleasure for some in pointing out others’ shortcomings. It’s a sweet treat to correct and criticize, to feel that moral high ground beneath one’s feet. I’m sure I’ve felt that solid footing once or twice myself, that firm certainty.

Keep on posting, peon!

Because I posted frequently, and had several friends and followers, Facebook would automatically nag me each day with notifications reminding me to keep creating content for the company: 1073 people that like Lori Knutson haven’t heard from you in a while. And yet, when I left Facebook, I did not receive 1073 concerned phone calls or emails. I guess my posts weren’t as urgently needed as Facebook thought.

St Patrick and MedusaI do miss a lot of my friendly interactions on Facebook and I do feel a bit disconnected. On the other hand, my mind is clearer and I feel less distracted, less jittery. There used to be an anxious social media knot in my stomach. When I’d relax for a moment with a cup of tea and a book, I felt like I should be posting, should be “liking” and clicking. Now the knot is gone. While I miss some friends, I don’t miss Facebook. I feel like I’ve taken back a part of myself that I’d given too freely, and that feels good.

Have a happy Sunday, dear readers, and please consider following my WordPress blog. I’d really like to keep in touch and this is a good way to do it! And if you’d like to help me get around Facebook, please share my posts on that forum. Facebook still remains one of the best ways to promote content and sell a lawnmower.

Take good care and spread a little sunshine. This rock’n’roll song with bagpipes is too awesome not to share! Take a listen in Canada’s own Rawlins Cross.

~ Lori

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I Love Social Media

I love social media like I love salty potato chips! Even better, social media is like eating salty potato chips with interesting people from all over the world. When I consider leaving most social media platforms, I already miss those engaging people.

I know. I’ve heard about trolls, too, and I’ve interacted (briefly) with two. TWO! In all the years I’ve spent on all different social media platforms, I can only remember two users (and I think one of these was a bot) who actively tried to make others feel bad. The one who was not a bot was intelligent, articulate, and mean as a snake. But two trolls, that’s all in all that time.

Listen to me read this post:

Of course I’ve seen strongly-opinionated people. They’re easy to deal with. Just like in real life, I choose not to interact with them. They’re targeting an audience to which I don’t belong. I’m not looking for a fight and no one has ever approached me online looking for one.

Opinion Coffee

Through social media, I’ve connected with old friends and made a ton of new ones. I’ve got a young friend from Malaysia and an older friend from the Netherlands, lots of great writer friends on Twitter and Google+, and loyal local supporters of my work on Facebook. For me, social media was a positive place to spend time until it wasn’t.

Addicted?

I think now I’m addicted to the stats, to the clicks, and to the likes. I crave online attention. What’s this constant distraction doing to my brain? Experts say it’s breaking my concentration apart. I’m seeing evidence that they’re right.

My social media use changed when I quit my teaching job and returned to school as an online student. While teaching full time, there wasn’t the opportunity to be online. I don’t use a cell phone, so I didn’t even check that during the hectic workday. Most of the time, I was offline. My time on social media was necessarily limited.

computer-clipart-free-computer-clip-art-images-1

Working at the computer all day every day in my office, and being alone all the time means that I spend more time on social media looking for pleasant distractions. Then there’s my Samsung Galaxy tablet that makes my online addiction portable. Now I can move from room to room and still get my fix. It’s not so good.

Entertainment, Not a Fundamental Technology

Dr. Cal Newport says that social media is a form of entertainment more than it is a “fundamental technology.” This passage from the transcript of his TEDx Talk hosted in Tysons, Virginia made me question how I use social media, what I’m giving to it, and what I’m getting out of it in return:

Social media is not a fundamental technology. It leverages some fundamental technologies but it’s better understood as this, which is to say it’s a source of entertainment — entertainment product. The way the technologist Jaron Lanier puts it is that these companies offer you shiny treats in exchange for minutes of your attention and bites of your personal data, which can then be packaged up and sold.

Who’s Getting Rich?

This made me consider all the time I spend posting my own photographs, creating engaging content, and writing online. I work for likes from my followers and for the benefit of the social media company to which I post. Which one of us, the social media company or me, is getting rich? (Hint: it’s not me.)

gold coins

These platforms offer me shiny treats that leave me hungry, and still I eat them up.

What’s My Problem?

So what’s my biggest problem with how I use social media? As a writer and an editor, and as a regular meditator, I resent how social media has fragmented my concentration, another effect that Dr. Newport pointed out to me.

I’m certain that I’d be more productive and more focused without the distraction of social media. How do I know? I know because prior to my increased use of social media I was more productive and more focused. I cherish my mind and my thought processes. I hate to think that I’m allowing them to be harmed for a taste of virtual sweetness.

casino_sign_template_yellow_neon_decoration_flat_design_6829023

It’s Not Social Media’s Fault

Let me be clear. I’m not blaming social media for my choices just like I wouldn’t blame a bottle of wine or a casino. I’m an adult and I choose my behaviours. Social media is there to draw me in, to entertain me, to connect me, and to keep me coming back. That’s its job and that’s how it profits.

When I think about leaving, I’m hesitant for the same reasons that Dr. Newport outlined in his TEDx Talk. In fact, I felt like he was speaking directly to me when he said:

So here’s the second common objection I hear when I suggest that people quit social media, the objection goes as follows: ‘Cal, I can’t quit social media because it is vital to my success in the 21st century economy. If I do not have a well cultivated social media brand, people won’t know who I am, people won’t be able to find me, opportunities won’t come my way, and I will effectively disappear from the economy.’

Heck, this person could have been me explaining to Dr. Newport why I’m nervous about leaving social media. I have a lot of social media followers and I do a lot of online advertising. That being said, I don’t sell a lot of books or writing services online. The majority of my sales are made face to face and in real life. That’s how I connect with people, and how I market my products and services.

If and when I leave a platform we share, I hope that you know that you can find me on my website at any time. You can comment there on my posts or contact me through one of the bazillion contact forms on my WordPress site. Consider following my blog then you won’t miss a post.

Canada-Post-Mailbox

Keep in Touch!

If you’ve enjoyed our interaction, get in touch and I’ll send you my personal email. Give me your mailing address and I’ll even send you a Christmas card. There are lots of ways for us to stay connected. I’m not sure I want to do it through a medium that compromises my concentration and my imagination.

I hope that in leaving some social media behind, I can keep you and my focus, too!

Did you like what you read here? Consider following my blog either right here on WordPress or through email. See the right sidebar to follow me. It’s easy and it’s free. This way, you won’t miss any of my posts. Thanks for reading! ~ Lori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Living

Online Living Image

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a nice Thursday so far. Since I wrote this post a few years back (I think I was still teaching then) I left Facebook and have been off for almost year. It’s been very refreshing, but I do miss kind, consistent communication with people because I’m all about the kind, consistent communication.

When I left Facebook, I started sending out a personalish newsletter via email. It basically covers some of the day-to-day goings on in my life, the type of things folks sometimes post to Facebook.

Even though I’m working more online now from home, I’m spending less time on social media and more time in real life. I still really enjoy connecting online but technology can feel intrusive and I like to keep it at arm’s length.

Take care and have a great December evening!

~ Lori

Etch a SketchLast week I took a 24-hour break from social media. Now for me, this is pretty big. I actively post on three sites and a few others less often.

I dream about posting; I dream about having my Facebook page liked or unliked; I dream about gaining Twitter followers. Surely during the nighttime hours of sleep my mind could occupy itself with sweeter images than these. And yet…

Often I get up from watching a good TV show or reading an excellent book in order to compulsively check my email, look at my notifications and to post something new. I fear I may be a social media addict. That’s why I took a day to dry out.

Listen to me read this post:

 

It was hard. Initially, I felt at loose ends, like I should have something to do, somewhere to go. After a bit, I began to relax into my time off, and my mind became freer and clearer, less cluttered. I thought the virtual world revolved around me but when I checked-in the following morning, I was horrified to discover that I was not missed. Not even a little! The virtual world did not spin off its axis in my absence. I felt happy and sad, relieved and dejected.

Eye PadIn a sense, social media is real. The people behind the posts are certainly real, and there’s a responsibility to be respectful and kind when online. Hurt feelings are hurt feelings, online or off. Being blocked or banned or having the door slammed in your face feel the same. Losing a friend is losing a friend.

But social media is restricted by the fact that it is virtual. If I need an egg or a cup of sugar, I go next door or across the street. If I get stuck in the alley after a heavy snowfall, I’m glad that Bob is not my Facebook friend but instead is my real neighbour and will give me a push. I know my 10, 500 Twitter followers won’t be crammed into the community hall the day of my funeral.

Social media builds bridges. Lots of times I’ll receive kind post comments from neighbours I rarely see or talk to – people who live in a 20 kilometre radius of me. I “like” their comments, but I don’t phone them or invite them over for coffee, for tea, or for something with a bit more of a kick. It’s sad. I crave company, but instead of making an effort and seeking it out, I sit in front of this computer screen.

 

CalculatorI know, I know. I see the irony, as well. You don’t have to point it out. When I’m done writing this, recording it, and reading it over a couple times, I’ll post it online for you to see. Without this virtual connection, you would never know the things I think about and how I view the world. For this and for the connections I’ve made online, I am grateful to social media.

During the upcoming week I’ll take another day off from social media – probably Tuesday again. Maybe I’ll make a phone call or watch an entire TV show or venture out for coffee. For one day I’ll try not to forsake real life for a life lived online. Wish me luck.

Getting Older