Sunday, July 5, 2015

July journal update

Still want to get this week's post in before the night was over, so it'll be a quick update on life, followed by some thoughts I've had lately on social media.

For the last couple weeks, we've been lucky to have my sister Katie and her family in town visiting from Hawaii. Her husband is in the Navy, so having enough time off to make a trip out here worthwhile is somewhat rare. But he was able to stay for a full week, and the rest of them will be with us for a few more. We had some family pictures taken that should be finished soon, so I'll post some once I have access to them.

Yesterday, being Independence Day here in the States, we all went up to my brother's house in Salt Lake and had a great little barbecue, followed by some fireworks. I've always enjoyed fireworks shows, and by far the best one I've been to is the Stadium of Fire in Provo. They hold it at the BYU football stadium, and they often have a famous musical performer/group performing shortly before they set it all off. This year they had Journey, and in years past they've had acts like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and the Beach Boys (who were there the year I saw it). While there have been people claiming that there are bigger shows, and I'm sure there are, the fact that it was a concert as well made it a pretty great experience. And they sounded great, even for it being their 50th anniversary tour!

I haven't been able to use my Fitbit for the last few weeks because I lost the charger for it in the deep recesses of my room. (It's actually pretty clean, I just have no idea where it could be...) But another plus of my sister visiting is that she's got a charger for hers that works for mine as well. The model I use was actually recalled a while back because a few people got rashes, but since I never had a problem with it I never bothered to replace it. I've got a new charger on its way from Amazon already, but in the meantime I can get back on track by using the one she brought. I made it down to about 232 pounds, and I'd love to get below 200 before the end of the year.
K, so maybe this will be longer than I planned on it being. Oh well, I'm on a roll.
I've just been thinking a bit about what kinds of social media I've been using. My main ones, in the order of frequency used, are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and to a much lesser extent Blogger. YouTube is technically a form of social media as well, though much different than any of the ones I've mentioned. And I used to have Snapchat, but I got rid of the app a while ago because 1) it took forever to do anything with it on my phone (although it's a four-year-old phone, and it's been a while since I updated the iOS on it) and 2) I just never really enjoyed communicating through it. It's a novel idea, certainly, but often times if I was ever sent videos they'd go too fast to really get a good feel of what they were. And picture messages a lot of times were without much context, which I guess is fine for people who are used to messaging that way, but I just never really got into it too much.

After the Supreme Court decision a little over a week ago (and I'm not going to get political on this post, don't worry), it was incredibly interesting to see how much people showed their feelings over it. And I say interesting in an honest sense, not just as a passive adjective to move this paragraph along. While I don't ever plan on studying psychology as a career or anything, some concepts of psychology have held my curiosity every so often. And I can't say that it's "research" by any means, but what is so interesting to me is to see how vocal some people get behind the shield of the internet. A lot more people feel open to share what they feel, what they think, what they believe, because they're not afraid of being harassed "publicly" about it. At least, most people I know feel free to openly express themselves – many celebrities still need to be careful of any backlash, much like Jim Carrey on Twitter recently stating his opinion on vaccinations. (For the record, he is pro-vaccination, but "anti-neurotoxin", as he stated in a few later tweets.)

I don't post as much on my Facebook as much as I used to some years ago. And on Twitter, I mostly just have it to follow other accounts, big names, some organizations, etc. Occasionally I'll retweet a funny comment or share a post, and every so often I'll post my own status, tweet something, put up a picture on Instagram and have it post to my other accounts, but that's about it. I like writing here because it's hard to get misinterpreted about what I mean for whatever I say. I can be as lengthy or brief as I want, and since I share these posts on Facebook where there's the highest chance for people to see it, anyone who really wants to know what's going on, how I'm feeling, "what's on my mind?" as Facebook is currently asking in its status box – anyone can come see any of that whenever they'd like. And on top of all that, I feel like writing is becoming a lost art form; sure, we're still taught how to write and type and communicate properly, but with texting and tweeting and messaging all being the dominant ways we communicate, doing stuff like this just isn't really seen all that much anymore. Vlogging has been popular, though I think a lot of people got into it to try to make money off of YouTube. That's all well and good, though I hope they realize how much work it takes to actually make a successful living off of online videos. And that you need a somewhat exciting or enticing personality to pull it off – you can't just sit yourself in front of a camera, talk into it for five to ten minutes in a monotone voice, put it online, and expect people to love it immediately. Building up a fan base takes time, skill, and dedication for it. Internet fame can happen overnight, but lasting internet fame requires work.

Maybe that's why people feel the need to be so brazen on social media every so often. Maybe they're hoping to make the controversial status that will be seen across the country, or make the trending hashtag that everyone will use for a few days, or put up the picture that gets them thousands of followers. Or they could just troll everyone they talk to for the sole purpose of annoying them. Again, they have the shield of a computer screen and who knows what actual distance they have between the person they're insulting. Alfred from The Dark Knight said it best: they can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

I don't know if I'd ever like to be "internet famous". It'd be nice, but there's a lot of unseen drama that can go with it. But if it ever were to happen, I do want to be transparent about what I put up, what I represent, and what I come across as to everyone who sees what I do.

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