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.

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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.

Creative Progress

Things have been going well here creatively over the last few weeks.  If only I could gather the mental strength to do the same in preparation of my 8th year of teaching high school and second year of college.

I’m currently drafting the third episode of what should hopefully be a 10-12 episode series for my upcoming podcast, Shadowvane.  If you want more information on the project or to be kept up to date, please visit Shadowvane.net and follow @Shadowvanecast on Twitter.

The goal is to have at least four or five episodes completed and edited by the middle of August.  From there, we’ll be starting the process of holding casting for the various roles.  As it stands right now, there are three recurring major characters in this story as well as several smaller parts.  We will be searching for reliable voice actors to send us high quality recordings throughout the next several months.  We cannot offer anything in the way of compensation since the project is free to the public, but if things go well, it can serve as a valuable production to add to any resume.

More information on the upcoming casting will be available later this month.

Aside from that, it’s that time of year when teachers all around the world are gearing up to go back to the profession that they have put their hearts and souls into.  Whether you are a novice or a long-time teacher, I offer nothing but encouragement.  Let’s make this the best year yet for our profession and our students.

And now I leave you all with a bit of wisdom:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhi

May–that Dreaded Month

I started off fairly strongly with my blogging activity; however, the damned month known as May has struck once more.
My fellow educators out there know exactly what I’m talking about.  When the erratic Midwest weather begins to warm and stabilize, in comes the flood waters of final essays and exams. This year I’m trying to make things as easy on myself as possible.  And for all those that have faced a massive stack of essays within the last few weeks of class know so well that you have to plan accordingly in order to keep your sanity.

Following are some of my personal tips for bravely surviving those end-of-the-year blues: Continue reading