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Changing the clock, getting some time back

Reading Time: 6 minutes
photo of a piles of books, and logos of linkedIn, Twitter, Slack, Mastodon for the Scottish instance, WhatsApp, Telegram, Arrêt sur images, Hors Serie and oüiFM

My weekend started Friday and we were changing the clocks. With the Twitter takeover, I started wondering if I should leave that space and this prompted a bigger reflexion about how I want to use my time and get informed.

Before Social Media

Social media, and even Internet were not a thing for a big part of my life (yes I’m that old ahahaha!). As a teen, my info was coming from others from school, or uni, from the radio (Ouï FM) some magazines like Rolling Stones and a French satiric newspaper called Le Canard Enchainé and books. The Dictionary at home was made to good use too.

collage with the logo of OuiFM which is a red circle with the 3 letters OUI and underneath 102.3FM and the slogan ouï rock you, next to this is a screenshot of the Canard Enchainé journal with drawings of ducks and the cover of a French issue of Rolling Stones magazine featuring U2

Later, I would get some recommendations of things to read or watch via colleagues (mostly in the teaching space which was my role at the time). I used internet early but I came to Social Media quite late. I was reading a lot at the time, mostly books.

LinkedIn, then Facebook and Twitter much later

LinkedIn

I can’t remember the year I join LinkedIn, it was probably when I started looking for roles in 2015 (?) I never read my feed that much. This space is way too ‘fake’ for me, there is a lot of pretending. But it’s useful to ‘put yourself out there’ when you look for new jobs. I use it for messaging or to post things around accessibility/inclusion and giving advice for people trying to start new roles in government or design. I don’t get much info from it, but I don’t spend a lot of time there, so I’m happy to keep it for now.

Facebook

I can’t remember exactly when I joined. Probably 2008 (?), I was running my own French classes at the time so it was useful to advertise them. It was also useful to see what was going on locally and to keep in touch with friends in France.

I don’t watch the mainstream sources of news in France anymore, so Facebook offered some alternative sources, which I now have on Twitter.

I think I left in 2020. I never regretted my decision. I got a lot of time back from not checking it. I did lose track of what some ‘friends’ are doing and probably have miss wishing some birthdays ahaha! but other than that, it was a good move.

Twitter

It took me a while to warm up to Twitter. I joined in 2017 as it felt like it was the best place to understand and learn from the design community at a time where I was transitioning from Software development to Design. But it was also a lot of people venting or complaining about services or companies. A bit like when at the office a colleague is on the phone next to you to complain about a delivery or a service provider: do I really want to hear about this? no, unless it’s funny but it’s rarely funny.

A lot of people also use Twitter like LinkedIn for self-promotion. Putting big ideas and principles out there which are often not really what they put in practice in their work once you know them a bit better. The tweets around the recent SDinGOV conference were very symptomatic of this: a lot of people were claiming to be big on inclusion, but the majority of photos of the events were posted without alt text by attendees, and I’ve only seen one speaker sharing their slides publicly. It feels really weird to me to be speaking about inclusion and at the same time not sharing your slides.

Twitter served its purpose for me: over the years, I’ve learned a lot about design on it, but also about Accessibility and Neurodiversity. I’ve got more to learn but now Twitter is a lot of noise too. Too much noise and it feels wrong to me to stay on it considering what it might become now.

So…I started a big tidy-up: I’ve reviewed the list of things/people I follow and reduced it drastically. Was 500+ and now is a more healthy 100+. Please, don’t be offended if I used to follow you there but don’t anymore. My plan is to only occasionally check twitter instead of checking it daily, and see if I miss a lot of info or not. I’ve removed the app from my phone to limit the temptation. I’ll probably stop checking eventually.

a saltire flag with the drawing of a mammoth using a phone in the middle
Logo of a Scottish instance of Mastodon: Mastodon.scot

Mastodon

Hmmm… not sure what to think about it yet. My ‘home feed’ is not super relevant just now but improving. The local feed is puzzling me a little. It’s about people from my server/instance which is a Scottish one: Mastodon.scot.

You can find me here. I don’t think I’m going to post much for a while though and will mostly observe like I did when I first joined Twitter.

If you are looking for help about Mastodon, these links could be useful:

The influence of my job on my sources of information

Since August, I’m a civil servant again, which means I need to be a bit more cautious about what I post online but also what I might ‘like’ or ‘re-tweet’/share (saying that your views are your owns etc is apparently not enough). I’m a bit less active as a result.

I’m now working in the Health and Social care sector which is new to me. So I’m learning a lot but most of the information I need is ‘coming to me’ at work, I don’t really have to look for it. At least not yet.

So this is another reason why I probably don’t need to spend this much time on social media now.

Newsletters and subscription to blogs

A lot of people I follow have newsletters you can subscribe to or blogs. I did register to a few, but to be honest, I hardly read them. Not sure why. It feels like too much info when I receive them. I quickly scan them and do not engage, so will unsubscribe.

RSS feed?

That’s another option I could use more.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It helps you stay up-to-date with blogs, websites and social media channels in one place.

It’s an aggregator. Instead of visiting many places, you subscribe to sites to receive notifications of new posts and read them in an RSS reader, like Feedly for example.

It wasn’t used that much anymore since it was created (1995!), but it’s making a come back.

You can learn more about What’s an RSS Feed? (And Where to Get It) on Lifewire.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for my blog.

My sources of info

I mostly find blog posts or articles of interest via people posting them on Twitter or on Slack spaces I’m part of. But a lot of Slack spaces are ‘dying’. People have stopped engaging there and I’m also cutting back anyway.

I’d like to make more time to read books. I don’t even need to buy anything for a while, because I have loads that have been sitting on my desk unread or only started.

On the French side, I’m paying for 2 news websites which keep me updated: Arrêt sur images and Hors Série.

What’s next?

Time will tell. I think I might manage to get rid of Twitter just like I got rid of Facebook. Not sure I’ll ever be very big on Mastodon but that’s ok, I’m getting time back and I’m spending less time on my phone as a result.

I’ve not been very active here on this blog lately. I do have notes from a book to add as a blog post, and if I read more books, I might share more notes about them too in the future.

So if you want to stay in touch you can subscribe to my blog. Don’t worry, you probably won’t be flooded with notifications of new blog posts hahaaha!