Social Media Cleanse – Days 2 & 3

Three days are down, and things are getting a little bit easier.

Number of Attempts:

On Thursday I only tried to log into social media a total of eight times.  I credit that in part to having a very busy day and night.  During the course of today’s less busy day, I tried to log in a total of ten times.

Reasons for Attempts:

Unlike Wednesday, where I was trying to avoid my preparation for my inservice presentation, I was pretty much busy actually giving the presentation (which went rather well!).  My first attempt were in the morning, which is normally my ritual time to wake up and check what everyone else was up to while I was asleep.

Aside from that, during lunch at the inservice I nervously kept somewhat to my phone, and my attempts to log into Facebook obviously led me instead to making awkward small talk.

Thursday night I went out on a date to the movies, and since we got there early, I once again fell prey to immediately going to my phone.

Today was a bit different.  I decided on a whim that I’ll be heading to Gen Con once again, which is in a short five days, so instead of social media, I spent most of today on the website picking out my activities.


I think I’m starting to realize I can’t log in to my Facebook right now, so I’m making fewer attempts at wasting my time there.  Instead today I managed to finish writing a podcast episode, beat a video game, and finish one of the five books I’m concurrently reading at the moment.  The presentation itself went well, and I think the extra time I put into the presentation combined with getting a decent amount of sleep by keeping on task really helped out.


I feel a little bit better about this not having constant access to social media.  That being said, there are still so many things I want to post and talk about.  It does make me wonder, though, why myself and others are so concerned with telling the rest of the world what we’re doing.  It’s as if we need others to know that we’re busy, that we’re accomplishing things, that we’re still alive.  Perhaps that’s what keeps us going back to our feeds, or maybe it’s just a really bad habit that our society just can’t break.

Social Media Cleanse – Day 1

Well, I went a full day without losing my mind, and I am pretty floored by the number of times my addled brain tried to log into my deactivated Facebook account.

Number of Attempts:

Over the course of the entire day, I tried to log into Facebook/Twitter a total of 30 times.  Yes, that’s 3-0.

Reasons for Attempts:

Every time I attempted to waste some time on Facebook yesterday, I tried to pay attention to just what I was doing when it happened.  Since I still had a lot of work to do for the inservice I’m leading today, I spent from 9 am to about 11 pm working on putting the presentation together.  I noticed most of the attempts were when I got discouraged with the project.  My brain apparently is used to using Facebook or Twitter as a way to procrastinate and not do the difficult work that I needed to get done.

I also tried jumping into Facebook or Twitter whenever I had an interesting idea or wanted to share my progress on my lengthy process.  I actually felt rather discouraged when I couldn’t post something.  It’s like I had suddenly lost my voice.

There were a few other times that I attempted to get at my social media sites.  When I took a few mental breaks, my fingers tried loading the apps on my phone in order to waste a bit of time.

The most surprising thing of all was that of the 30 times, my brain opened a new tab and tried to load Facebook 5 times without me even realizing it.  It was like it tried to operate on auto-pilot, and I would be suddenly staring at the log-in screen wondering just how the hell I even got there.


Had I not disabled my Facebook, I’m not sure I would have managed to finish my work on this presentation by a decent time.  Thinking about the number of times I tried to get at my social media alone, I probably would have been up until at least 1 am working on this presentation.  Thank goodness I didn’t, or else this presentation today probably would have been more of a disaster.

Aside from the work that I needed to do, my brain began to move toward other projects.  I’m not sure if that was because I didn’t want to do 14 hours of work on the presentation or not, but I wanted to work on podcasting and even a few new project ideas.


Well, day one is officially over, and I’m on to a very busy day.  I’ll be out at the R.O.E. until about 3 today, and then I have dinner plans tonight, so I’m thinking my number will drop significantly for today.

I did try to log into FB/Twitter twice already today, though.

Social Experiment – Week Cleanse of Facebook & Twitter

Facebook is a drug.

Okay, well, not just Facebook, but social media in general.  Don’t get me wrong.  Social media has a ton of positives, and I think we live in a society where it’s much easier to keep up with others by following their daily statuses due to how busy our schedules are day to day.

That being said, just how much of our daily free time is consumed by social media?  According to an article last year on MSNBC, Americans spend an average of 40 minutes a day on Facebook.  That’s close to 3% of a person’s day spent staring at your feed.  Combine that with all the other websites and social media outlets out there, and you have a very distracted country.

This week I’ve been working on preparing for presenting an in-service at a local R.O.E. on the topic of standards-based grading.  Like my students, I procrastinated until the weeks leading up to the event.  Now with a few days to go, I noticed that I was distracted from my work at least two dozen times by checking on my messages and feed.  I’m not saying that I would absolutely have kept on task and not been distracted by other things on the internet, but for me (and I’m sure many others), I can’t help randomly checking on Facebook when I’m supposed to be doing something else.

To be clear, I have no intention of permanently saying goodbye to my Facebook until it goes the way of Myspace or LiveJournal.  However, it did beg the question of whether or not I could be more productive without the influence of Facebook always being there.

So that leads me to my social experiment.  Starting tomorrow, I’m deactivating my Facebook account for a week.  I’m planning on setting it up to reactivate in exactly 7 days.  Each day, I’m going to keep track of all that I’ve accomplished and see if social media is actually negatively affecting me.

Here’s my plan:

  1. I’m going to deactivate my Facebook and have someone change my Twitter account password.  I’ll keep them closed for a week.
  2. The only time I’m allowing myself to use social media is for updating information for my podcast Shadowvane.
  3. I will keep track of the number of times I attempt to check my social media since I know I’m going to forget that I locked them.
  4. I’ll write a short post here each day to detail what I accomplished, how I spent my free time, and how I feel without having access to FB/Twitter.

Over the course of the next seven days, I hope to be able to do more.  This will hopefully include much needed house work and projects, podcast writing, catching up on reading, get to some of my massive video game library, and preparing for the upcoming school year.

I managed to only check Facebook twice while writing this post!  Here’s hoping the experiment yields positive results and makes others consider how much time they spend on social media.

A Weekly Better You

Normally I use this blog for bits of creative writing and discussions about teaching.  However, I thought I’d take a slight break from that and talk about a mental and physical challenge I’ve decided to undertake in the hopes of bettering myself.  It’s been working pretty well so far, so I thought I’d pass this challenge along to others.

Right now, I’m trying to establish (or re-establish) good habits in my life.  For those that know me, I’m the type of person that buries myself in work, and a lot of my healthy habits (physical, mental, and emotional) have gone out the window over this last stressful school year.

What I’ve done is set up a challenge for myself.  Each week I’m going to try and make a change and keep with it.  Instead of change everything all at once and failing, I’m taking smaller, easier steps.

I’m currently on week two, and things are going well.  Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far.

Week 1:  No more soda.

  • I’ve done well over the years from going to having 5-6 sodas a day to no longer keeping it in the house.  That being said, I’ve fallen back on caffeine as much as once a day as a crutch this last school year, and I could tell it was taking its toll on my health.  No more soda, more water.

Week 2:  Daily dog walks for Zeus.

  • Just getting off of a terrible cold winter, the last thing I wanted to do is take my poor puppy for a walk.  He spent a lot of times shivering in the back yard while I slaved over my school work.  No more of that.  Rain or shine, we both get a nice walk.

I’ll update you all as my road to self-improvement moves onward.  I challenge YOU to make changes in your own life for the better.  You only get one life, so why not live it the right way?

Speaking of living life…I leave you with a quote by one of my favorites.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Henry David Thoreau

Strictly Prohibited

Inspired by my yearly responsibility of proctoring the ACT test.

Welcome to test room 3B.

Please note that the following actions are strictly prohibited:

Eating, drinking, or the use of tobacco are not permitted in the test room.
Neither is talking, smiling, thinking, or breathing.
If you are caught doing any of these things, your test materials will be confiscated and scored with the incorrect answer key.

You may not have a cell phone, media player, or other electronic, steam-powered, or psycho-kinetic device with you in the test room.
All such items will be confiscated, used by the test room proctor to keep them awake during testing, and then smashed to pieces in front of you after you have finished testing.

You may not fill in or alter ovals on a test section after time has been called.
Ovals are very sensitive and only like being touched at the specified times.

Do not look back at a previous test, forward to the next test, or into the pit of your soul.
It is dark there and full of repressed memories.

No giving or receiving assistance by any means, including but not limited to the following:
Passing notes, looking at another’s answer sheet, sending messages via carrier pigeon or smoke signal—smoking, as we have already discussed, is strictly prohibited—or via psychic or supernatural means.

You must not use your calculator on any test other than the mathematics or quantum physics test.
Doing so will cause your immortal soul to be trapped forever within the device.
Calculators are not a thing to be trifled with.

You will be provided a break between hours 12 and 13 of testing.
All testing materials must remain in the test room during this time.
Attempts to remove test materials, personal effects or your shell of a human form will result in becoming lost within the labyrinth of hallways outside Room 3B.

You may only leave when told to do so.
Testing facilitators and the test company itself are not responsible for loss of property, limbs, or sanity.

Please do not exhibit confrontational, threatening, or unruly behavior.
Save such behavior for the combat proficiency portion of today’s testing.

You may wear a wrist or neck watch.
However, be sure to turn off all alarms or carbon monoxide detection functions.
If an alarm sounds, you will be instantly encased in The Zone of Silence, where your carbon monoxide alarm will suit only as an annoyance during your final, peaceful moments of life.

Above all else, please follow the directions for each test very carefully.
Test booklets are known to provide directions in the form of riddles and sometimes include ancient summoning rituals.

If there are no questions, we wish you the best of luck during today’s tests!
Please turn your answer booklet to page 2 and fill out boxes 4-12.
Include all contact information of your loved ones and your preferred method of bodily disposal.

Fill in all corresponding ovals very carefully.

Horror/Sci-Fi/Suspense Writing Contest

I know that many of my followers are writers, so I thought I’d toss this out there.

As some of you know, I’ve been writing and producing a horror radio drama, and we’re looking for entries for a contest!

The entire rules are on the link that follows.  All stories or scripts need to be no longer than 4,000 words, and they must fit the theme of the podcast, which would include horror, science fiction, or general suspense stories.

Pass this along to anyone that might be interested!  The deadline is March 31st!

The Shadowvane Podcast Fiction Contest

32 Years (poem rough draft)

I recently turned 32 years,
an age at once young and old.
Enough time to look back upon
and celebrate and mourn days gone by,
yet search amongst an indefinite time ahead—
a number of days, months, years
set in place by whatever future to be.

Within the span of 32 years
(11,680 days—give or take a few leap days),
I have lived and loved, loved and lost,
lost love, lived loss, loved lost, lived love;
I have seen far too many sunrises with a frown
and far too few sunsets with a sense of accomplishment;
I have heard the cries of many I love
and feel the warm streaks on my own face
from the loss of those that mattered most;
I have worked until my body and brain ached;
I have thought things and done things
that I will forever regret
and some I will always cherish.

Whether 32 years from now I’m enjoying my days on Earth
or plotted beneath the busy feet of those living,
I know I will have loved more, lost more,
made more mistakes, shaped more lives,
and lived the life meant for me to its fullest.