Exhaustion is my worst best friend.
I call Exhaustion my worst best friend because, as worst friends go, he sucks all of my energy. He causes me pain. I feel him in my achy joints. My battles with his sidekick, plantar fasciitis, are legendary.
Exhaustion is my also my “bestie” because he’s constantly reminding me that I don’t really need to feel fatigued, that I can say “no” to things, that I can put off those nagging chores for another day.
It’s not Exhaustion’s fault. I constantly feed him with more reasons to stick around. I see a pesky task and say, “Oh, I should do that now.” Or I get a new opportunity at work and think, “Oh, I should definitely do that.”
All the while, there’s Exhaustion, hanging from my sore shoulder, with a stupid grin on his face, shaking his head.
We know each other well, and quite frankly, he takes advantage of me every day.
The only way to keep pace with Exhaustion is to maintain a running list of my professional and personal chores. It’s a to-do list to end all to-do lists.
Recently I’ve found that keeping a list holds Exhaustion’s daily visits to a minimum. This list also makes those around me a little happier.
Case in point: as my wife loves to do (when I’m vulnerable and Exhaustion is sipping a beer), she cracks off a list of things that must be accomplished around the home. Mostly she’s just making polite small talk. She’s trying to reconnect with me at the end of a busy day. But the responsible husband in me can’t escape the “honey-do” list and check-boxes that flash before my eyes.
Exhaustion has now gone from sipping his beer to chugging it. He’s got work to do.
I whip out my trusty, dusty smartphone and open Google’s “Keep” app. It has a prominent place next to Facebook and Twitter on my smartphone’s home screen. It makes my wife happy to see these items added to my important list.
Keep “keeps” me organized and quiets Exhaustion’s drunken laughter. I can open the app and create a new list or edit an old one. My favorite feature is the ability to archive completed lists (and on really good days, deleting them).
These lists also help at 3:00 AM, when I wake in a cold sweat, afraid I’ll forget what needs to be done the next day. Keep helps ease my mind and lull me back to sleep. This is because I can share those lists with co-workers, family and friends, and they can add to and edit the list as needed.
I’m not alone in my relationship with Exhaustion. Thanks to apps like Keep, I’m able to spend more time with my family and friends. At the end of the day, those are the only relationships that really matter.
Being in a bad mood is not a good look for me. I know this because my wife and kids call me “Shrek” when I get grumpy.
Imagine a comical, ogre-like guy stomping around the house, letting out the occasional “hrumpf” with a frown, smoke coming from his ears. Although my bad moods are rare, that’s what I look like on a bad day.
Maybe you know someone who resembles these features.
It used to be that if I wanted the rest of the world beyond my home to share in my gloom, I’d turn to social media. Misery loves company, and there’s lots of miserable company on social media.
Of course, those days are gone. I learned my lesson. Heeding the advice I’ve shared in past columns, I steer clear of social media on bad days.
It’s easy to understand the allure of social media for sharing angry thoughts. After all, no one really wants to be angry. It doesn’t feel good. So, some claim benefits to posting melancholy moments online. Some users claim they get a therapeutic-type release from publicly posting their rants.
If this is true—that posting rants provides relief—what was the outlet for our “relief” before social media? Certainly we had some other venue for sharing our dark days.
The truth is, when we wanted to vent pre-social media, we talked to our family. We called our friends. Some of us wrote in diaries or we penned letters to local papers or political leaders. We’ve also become a nation obsessed with winning the Online Outrage Olympics, or the OOOs as I like to call them (pronounced “ohhhs,” as in “Oh no! Not another rant!”).
Never heard of the OOOs? It’s a battle to see who can be the most ticked off on the hot-button, social-political issue of the day. There are no rules, but there are many judges. There are no visible boundary lines marking the social media court, but if you go outside of the lines, some will tell you.
There are no medals.
There are no ceremonies.
There are no winners.
Maybe some social media users will be outraged by my take on their bad moods. I suspect they’ll take to their favorite platform to express their displeasure.
I hope they don’t, but if they do, get ready for the next OOOs.
Rather than preparing for the next Outrage Olympics, we should remember take time to breath and cool down. Sharing our thoughts offline with those closest to us is probably a bit more therapeutic than sharing our rage on Facebook.
You might not look as silly as me (i.e., Shrek), but I challenge you to find anyone who looks good in a bad mood.
No one looks good in a bad mood.
We look worse when share those bad moods online.
Some technological innovations take a little longer than others to catch on. Some never do.
Our neighbors owned a Betamax in the mid-80s. I walked around with a minidisc player in the mid-90s. Both inventions still serve as sad punch lines to bad tech jokes.
The same cannot be said for the success of the podcast. As inventions go, this one is a head-scratcher.
Adam Curry and Dave Winer receive co-credit with the birth of podcasting. Winer created the software for syndicating audio feeds in the early-2000s. If you’ve heard the term “RSS feed,” that’s Winer’s work. Curry is credited with launching some of the first content for podcasts in 2004.
It was technology journalist Ben Hammersley who gave us the term “podcasting” in a 2004 article for The Guardian.
Then nothing; virtual crickets from the podcasting world for the better part of a decade.
Okay, that’s not entirely fair. We’ve had good podcasts available to us since the beginning. It’s just that most of us weren’t listening. Thanks to Apple’s iPod and the addition of podcast downloads to iTunes in 2005, entertaining audio content, rich with news and interviews, started to fill the store.
Downloading podcasts to iPods and computers was really the only way to listen in those early days. But we still weren’t listening. Not like we are today. So what changed?
Two things: 1) better content and 2) better devices.
First, there’s an argument to be made for This American Life’s now infamous 2014 season of Serial as the savior of a stagnate podcasting industry.
Sure, good podcasts were available before Serial. But according to a report published last week by the Pew Research Center on the State of the News Media, the podcasting industry saw a drop in listeners between 2012 and 2013 (about 2-percent).
After Serial, podcast listeners jumped 3-percent. Did Serial save podcasting? Maybe. The series had more than 68 million downloads in 2014 and won several media and entertainment industry awards.
Let’s face it, radio people know audio, and they know how to tell good stories. It probably helped that Serial’s producers had their connections to National Public Radio (NPR).
According to the report, “The average weekly unique users who download NPR podcasts, which include some of the most popular podcasts in the iTunes library, such as Up First and Planet Money, rose from 5.4 million in 2017 to 7.1 million in 2018.”
There’s more and more content made available to us everyday from people who know how to tell great stories.
Second, we have great devices and apps for streaming, downloading and listening to great audio content. If you’re new to podcasting, check out Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud to find your favorite content.
Podcasting has enjoyed a slow growth. Now that they have good content and we have the right tech to listen, podcasters have our attention.
I was obsessed with Bigfoot as a kid.
Maybe it was a 1976 episode of The Six Million Dollar Man when Steve Austin battled Bigfoot that got me started. Maybe it was Harry and Hendersons? Full disclosure, I still get sucked in to Animal Planet episodes of Finding Bigfoot.
Maybe I’m still obsessed. After all, I’ve got a lot in common with the big guy.
Like Bigfoot, I’m tall and hairy (well, except for my bald head). I leave large footprints in the ground, trudging through the woods on weekend afternoons looking for wildlife, berries and mushrooms.
At the risk of angering Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) members, I’m not buying it anymore. Chalk it up to too many hoaxes, but every bit of evidence – from pictures to footprints to “droppings” – has been debunked. Not to mention the fact that after 90 episodes of Finding Bigfoot, they’re really found nothing. Nada.
Just like the seemingly endless fascination with the search for Bigfoot, there are endless myths about social media that are easily debunked with just a few facts. And just like Bigfoot, I have two favorites.
Myth #1: Facebook is dying. Or my favorite, “Face-book is dead.” I realize it’s easy to pile on the beast of social media, and kicking them when they’re down seems to be the topic of many tech columns du jour.
“Around seven-in-ten U.S. adults (69 percent) use Facebook, according to a survey conducted in early 2019,” John Gramlich of the Pew Research Center wrote in May. “That’s unchanged since April 2016, but up from 54 percent of adults in August 2012.”
So if that many people are still using Facebook in light of all their many scandals, how is Facebook dead and dying?
They’re not. If those facts aren’t enough to make you a believer, look at the most download applications and you’ll find Facebook and related apps rise to the top in most social media categories.
“With the exception of YouTube... no other major social media platform comes close to Facebook in terms of usage,” Gramlich added.
Myth #2: Twitter is fake news. If this were true, it would stand to reason that fewer Twitter users would report using the microblogging platform to get news.
But as other platforms struggle to offer credible news (e.g., Facebook), Twitter actually has it figured out. Twitter has been proactive in banning and blocking known fake news offenders.
Tom Rosenstiel and his team of researchers at the American Press Institute found that “Three quarters of Twitter news users follow individual journalists, writers and commentators (73 percent) and nearly two thirds follow institutional accounts (62 percent).”
They also found that Twitter users discovered new journalists and writers and followed their work.
Just like Bigfoot, there will always be true believers in social media myths. Now we have some evidence to debunk those myths.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.