Day in the Life #13148: In which we all pronounce it "road grater", and general musings on shrinking my online habit...

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Summary: Cutting out a habit from grad school has had banal consequences, a word is mispronounced by everyone I know, and some links cleared out.

BLOT: (30 May 2013 - 01:20:40 AM)

Day in the Life #13148: In which we all pronounce it "road grater", and general musings on shrinking my online habit...

Yesterday while reading Laird Barron's "LD50", I came across the line, "Almost went head to head with a good old boy on a road grader with the blade up." My first thought was, "Oh, he mistyped road grater," and then immediately went "Shit, no, I've been saying it wrong for over 30 years." I grew up on the sort of dirt roads they write horror stories about, and this whole time I thought it was road grater. I remember the bastards, big and yellow, would churn up dust, loud and imposing. Trapping you down the road until they were done. Superstitiously, we always associated them with rain, because it almost always would, the next day, and turn everything to mud and wasted time.

It is grader, by the way, a word which makes immediate sense if you think about it. I just don't know if I was mishearing people my whole life or if everyone was saying it wrong. 50/50 really.

Back when I was in grad school, I had to be online a lot. My classes were largely online; my classmates were largely from places other-than-Huntsville; and many classes recommended or required interaction on not only the classroom software but Twitter, Facebook, and etc. This lead to a habit of me taking a week or two offline in between semesters. Recently I've become aware of a missed benefit to this.

If you take a week off from the Internet, there is a backlog. One solution is to just ignore the missed portions except for a select few. Another is to evaluate which sources you are skipping/blocking/hiding, and then to unfollow those until you get something you feel is worth going back through. I did the latter, mostly. Which meant that three times a year I had an opportunity to fine tune whom I followed and what I wanted to read on a daily basis. Add feeds, subtract feeds. My internet usage had a self-shrinking habit. The filler was obvious.

Without this pattern, my accounts accumulated dozens of people that I was only following because I never had taken the time to unfollow them. It was getting frustrating. Walking through wet sand. I was starting to skip information from my friends because it was easier than really digging in to see what was worthwhile.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I reevaluated. Ended up unfollowing about 50+ people on Twitter (nearly all being celebrity/product types). Ended up cutting down Youtube videos to just a small handful of key YTers, almost entirely Minecraft related, and probably 1/3 what it was. RSS feeds had a good number culled, but sadly many had self-culled as people stopped posting. I've dialed down stuff like Fark and GoogleNews, and am online half the time I was about three months ago.

The weird thing is, once you start cutting out people, it shows you how many more you can cut. There were a couple of celebs on Twitter that I was sure I would want to keep, but once I got to the meat of the platform, they stood out like sore thumbs.

How about you, how do you make the decision to unfollow something you have followed for a while? Is there a pattern, or do you go with what feels right?

Let's see what I have in the stored up links box.

Ok, enough for now. Time to go.

Me in 2013


Written by Doug Bolden

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