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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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

Projects, Planning, and Surviving Burn Out

It’s been quite some time since my last post.  My apologies for neglecting my blog, folks.  As I’m sure all teachers end up saying each year, this year has been even busier than any other year.  Since I have a moment to breathe, I figured I’d talk education and writing for a little bit.

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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

The Beginnings of Shadowvane

For those of you who don’t know (or care about wrestling), I’ve been featured as a guest and eventually co-host of The Rundown Wrestling Podcast for the last year.  If you like wrestling, crude humor, and/or talking raccoons, this may be the podcast for you.

My experience as a part of this podcast and my love for the written word and other podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale and Sayer has sparked an interest to create my very own storytelling podcast.  After a lot of writing, reflection, and conversation with others, I have decided to give it a go.

Thus, The Shadowvane Podcast is currently in the works.  Think of it as an episodic radio drama that focuses on creating horror and suspense stories told from the voices of the actual characters.  Unlike Night Vale or Sayer, the stories will be limited to a certain number of episodes.  After each run, there will be a short break, and then we will release a whole new story for your enjoyment.

The first set of episodes are currently being written and edited.  Once they are at a point where we’re ready to begin production, I will be holding an open casting for anyone wishing to be a part of the storytelling.  There will be more on that later.

The logo above was recently created by Ray Williams III, who also provided the artwork for my recent chapbook, Chasing Distant Horizons.

Feel free to bookmark the Podcast’s webpage and check back later as we come closer to bringing it to fruition.  You can also follow the podcast on Twitter (@ShadowvaneCast).

Perhaps a darker quote to close this out:

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” -Edgar Allan Poe

Enjoying Nature & Writing

It’s been a while since I’ve updated.  I’ve been rather busy with the end of my 7th year of teaching coming to an official end and some amazing personal things going on in my life.  I’m officially taking some time to recharge the ol’ battery with a trip out to Rockport, Massachusetts.  I can honestly say that the trip is not only needed physically, but it’s been a great thing mentally.

As part of that mental recharge, I’ve been able to get some creative work done between sitting around on the beach, browsing all the little shops, and having some amazing food.  In just one day, I’ve managed to get a lot accomplished while still having a ton of fun.
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Chasing Distant Horizons

I’ve been inspired all day by listening to Fear the Boot‘s recent podcast on Crowd Funding.  It has led me to work diligently on researching information for my upcoming poetry chapbook, tentatively titled Chasing Distant Horizons.  That being said, I’ve run into a lot of difficulties on just how to create the final product in a physical, dead paper form.

Is there anyone out there that has experience with creating chapbooks?  I found some templates online, but they have led to some printing trials and errors.

After some additional research on turning my final product into a marketable ebook, I’m stuck between going the Amazon route and perhaps get more exposure or Gumroad.

Choices, choices…

“You are doomed to make choices.  This is life’s greatest paradox.” -Wayne Dyer