Tag Archives: Facebook

Seeing Red

Pink and red aren’t exactly complementary, and few people can pull it off. I haven’t tried, myself. I’m not even sure why they’ve been chosen. I haven’t looked it up, either, because I don’t really care about that aspect. I didn’t change my profile picture, because if you know me, you should know that I’m gay, and I think two consenting adults should be allowed to be married in the US, regardless of their genitalia. I’m kind of on the in with this one. Implicit, not explicit, so to speak.

I’m also well aware that changing your Facebook photo isn’t going to change how the Supreme Court rules, but despite that, it’s nice to know that for all the years of:

  • Getting picked on as a kid for innate behavior, largely out of my control
  • Wondering, as a child,  if I was simply doomed to die, since gay men got sick and did so when I was growing up, and the growing suspicion I might be One of Them
  • Worrying that I’d never find someone to love, and even if I did, if my family would disown me

… there are now people who think I should be allowed to get married, legally. That finally, I’m considered fully (mostly?) human, after praying as a little boy for a higher power to change me into something acceptable.

My prayers were answered, just not in the way I’d ever anticipated: it’s inspiring to see the sea of support. It makes up—a little—for all those years of nagging doubt despite my best efforts otherwise.

However, I also wonder if we live in an echo chamber when it comes to the people with whom we associate, because I wasn’t seeing a negative response. I’m guessing Facebook’s algorithms work to screen these kinds of things as a side effect of how interests intersect otherwise. Or maybe people are just being quiet, figuring their stance is just as implicit as mine.

So I went looking, and found a few things. I found that some people, while they disagree, aren’t taking a political stance on Facebook. Thanks: I appreciate it.  I think it’s important to have people in your life with whom you disagree, and people who understand that idea are worth having around, even if you do disagree. Sometimes you can learn things.

Is this for or against gay marriage? I know some gay Christians who agree that God is love, and a plus can be used to add any two things together.

Is this for or against gay marriage? I know some gay Christians who agree that God is love, and a plus can be used to add any two things together. Vague messaging, needs better marketing. Does the Red Cross know about this?

A literal interpretation of Genesis? You may want to consider studying the bible—that means its origins, not just reading it.

A literal interpretation of Genesis? You may want to consider studying the Bible—that means its origins, not just reading it. If you want literal, there was only one rule in Eden: 2:17. Also, the honey badger would disagree with 1:28 and dominion over all the animals.

But there is a line: I don’t want to be friends with people who explicitly make it a stance to deny me my humanity. It triggers a fight-or-flight response—this is survival—and I’ve spent my life doing well by others, my community, and largely living by the tenets, morals and principles set by my family and church growing up. I’m not going to consciously allow myself to be stomped on by the fallibility of man. I’ll listen to an argument, and we may even do business, but we’re not going to be friends.

If you don’t like gay marriage, here are some tips:

  1. Don’t have one.
  2. Don’t go to one if you’re invited.

However, please understand: there is a separation between church and state, and eventually this particular institution will be realized within that context.

And to those of you who support us, thank you. It means more than you may realize.


Facebook Withdrawal

Last year, I gave up Facebook for Lent—I’m not a practicing Catholic, but it has a few handy practices—and decided to keep a diary about the process.154668_340.jpg

After two days, I realized I didn’t care enough to continue writing things down. Basically, the first few days were the hardest, like… breaking any habit. Interestingly enough, a paper I read on social interaction design commented that it takes 3 days to come off social media habits. While I couldn’t find a cite for it, it does seem to hold true for me. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and their ilk are desire engines. Effectively, despite all your rage, you’re still just a rat in a cage. It’s no longer enough to dazzle people to get attention; instead, sites and products must instill habit, and they do. Fortunately, there are ways to break habits by recognizing exactly what it is they reward.

At the end of the year, I decided to do it again for a couple of weeks because of several days of reactive behavior:

Critical thinking had died.

I’m back—who cares, really—and here are some observations about things on Facebook:

  • Arguing about gun control and posting crappy images, one way or another, immedately after Sandy Hook seems really, really tactless if you go review it all now.
  • The next time some free social media service changes their Terms of Service, give them a few days before you react… chances are they’re just not thinking particularly clearly. They’re not geniuses, they’re just people like you and me.
  • Google something before posting it as truth, especially if it seems pretty fantastic.

Some observations about Facebook withdrawal:

  • People check in via texts and messages when they notice you’re gone; that’s nice.
  • It takes a bit to shake firing up Facebook when you get bored or frustrated.
  • I use Facebook to keep on top of current events; moreso than news websites: regular news websites have their own (entertainment) agenda and can be slower than Facebook.
  • Facebook messages, while sometimes spotty, can be more reliable than regular email.
  • I missed seeing my family.

Some positive things:

  • I occupied myself, e.g. finishing all those online articles I meant to read later.
  • I felt like time slowed a bit, because life was more quiet.
  • Created more, consumed less.

I recommend the experience. Another friend is doing it for a year, which is pretty impressive. I’ll miss him, but I’ll just have to find him in person to see how life is going. Personally, I’m going to limit myself, but I’m not quite sure how, yet. I like being connected to people, so how often? Once a day? Once a week? What do other people do?


I signed up for Facebook sometime in the Fall of 2007.  After Friendster (why?), Orkut (too closed—and G+ didn’t learn anything from that; BRAZILIANS!) and MySpace (getting there, but indulging everyone’s inner kindergartner a little too much), I really didn’t think much would come of social networking, so I promptly did nothing.

I don’t even know why I signed up.

In Feb. of 2008, I traveled to Savannah, Georgia, to attend the IxDA ’08 conference.  While there, I realized I didn’t have a calling card: my business cards were out-of-date (and embarrassingly boring) and my personal website was stuck in 1997.  The organizers had made an attempt to create an online social group for the conference that required you to build a personal profile.  When it came to website… I hesitated.

And then realized that Facebook might just come in handy.

I switched over and set up my Facebook profile, adding a photo and filling out various bits of information.  Unfortunately, at that time, Facebook was more closed and less user-friendly: the URL looked ugly, and when you clicked on it, you couldn’t see much other than the fact that you and I were not friends.

I made no friends that way, but suddenly, Facebook was a little more interesting.  Friends of mine commented on my spiffy new photo and invited me to play Scrabulous (“Words with Friends” in 2008).  Photos?  Online games?  It was like The Sierra Network in 1993, or AOL.  The public internet had finally crossed the chasm and embraced what it made fun of when the AOL newbies were unleashed upon it in 1993.

I use Facebook frequently now.  I keep up with my far-flung family, I get news from it, I find out about cool upcoming events: it’s very handy!  But I find myself checking it—without even thinking—for that little hit of dopamine, more often than I’d like.  And frankly, people are just not updating or doing things fast enough to keep up with my addiction.   I have become a rat in a cage.   So I’m going to take a break and see what it’s like.  It’s been four years, Facebook.  We need a little time away.

See you in the spring.

Facebook: All About You

You may have heard that Facebook records every little thing you’ve done since you started using it.  You probably don’t remember exactly what that might be, either.  For a close approximation of everything—meaning it doesn’t inlcude things you’ve deleted, or clicks recorded—you can at least download an archive of information still available on Facebook and see what exactly what’s available for others to view.

  1. Click on the triangle pointing down next to the Home link on the upper-right side of the page and then click on Account Settings:
  2. The Account Settings page will feature a link at the bottom that allows you to download a copy of your “Facebook data”:
  3. You’ll be taken to a page that will allow you to download your data.  If you haven’t visited this page before, it will tell you to click a button to create the archive.  You can safely leave this page and come back to it later, and Facebook will also send you an email with a link to the page once the archive is created.  Once the archive is available, you’ll be presented with the following screen.  Enter your password and press Continue:
  4. Once you’ve entered your password, you’ll be presented with a Download button that you can click to begin the download:
  5. The downloaded file is zipped, so unzip it with your favorite utility:
  6. It will unzip the files into a directory.  You can view the files using a web browser by clicking on the index.html file:
  7.  The default view is your profile page, and there are clickable links on the side that will allow you to view a variety of things including: all visible posts on your Wall; all visible photos, videos; a list of your friends; every note you’ve ever written; any upcoming events on your calendar; and every message thread since you started using Facebook.  Let’s see what the first thing I wrote on Facebook was by clicking on the Wall link:
  8. Ah, yes, I started using Facebook back when you wrote every status message in the third-person because you were required to use the word “is”:

    Heidi and Rich, my Facebook buds during earlier, more innocent times. Writing about the status of the cat box is far less novel these days.