Geeking Out On Words

I’m kind of into words. Understanding definitions is something I sort of geek out on sometimes. Almost every day, I use a dictionary and thesaurus app.

My brain really likes to know the nuances of meaning between similar terms such as productivity and creativity. Context can give clues, but I still like to resort to a dictionary.

Here’s a question I have, “Is blogging creative or is it productive? Or can it be both?

To me, small distinctions between similar words are significant; they intrigue my mind. Some examples:

  • Impetus and Catalyst
  • Compel and Impel
  • Merge and Converge
  • Pantheism and Panentheism
  • Intelligence and Sentience
  • Vulnerable and Insecure
  • Constructive and Productive
  • Confession and Admission
  • Disinformation and Misinformation

Some words are simply just synonyms. Their meaning is basically the same; you just get blessed with linguistic variety.

One place that got me thinking specifically about this is word processor apps–I warned you, I’m a geek. Microsoft Word and Apple Pages are described as Productivity apps. So what do they produce? Writings such as essays, drafts, manuscripts, newsletters, etc. But are all of these products or are some creations?

If you had to pick one term, which would be most accurate? I think you could call them Creativity apps. Or maybe it depends. Is writing fiction creative whereas writing non-fiction is productive?

Accuracy in meaning is helpful and important. Yet I think sometimes people don’t care much for it. I get that. Sometimes pushing for clarity in language sounds like you’re ‘splitting hairs’ or being technical. It’s brushed aside as mere semantics.

But some word geeks like me beg to differ. I wouldn’t go so far as to argue about word distinctions in most cases. But I might debate them. Because “debate” is not the same as “argue.”

OK, back to the two words in question. My mind wants to classify productivity as a more general term and creativity as more specific. But I’m not sure that works.

A good example is that machines can produce things, but they cannot create things. A person can compose music (creation); a machine can print the notes on paper (production).

So there are some distinctions. But what’s the difference? Do you have any words that trip you up because their meaning is so similar? Let me know in the comments or follow-up with me on Twitter!

Blooming Bluebonnets

Every year, I like to add a fresh batch of bluebonnet pictures to my collection. They’re the Texas state flower, and they only last about 3 to 4 weeks a year–plus they’re blue! The bluebonnets for 2018 sprung up a day or two before the equinox; I first noticed them on March 20th and started taking photos. Continue reading Blooming Bluebonnets

Why I Quit Facebook

I quit Facebook. I chose the nuke from orbit option: deletion instead of deactivation. The recent Cambridge Analytica data exploit was the catalyst for my decision. But I had been wary of Facebook before and was already detaching from it.

Over my 9 years of friending, liking, and sharing, Facebook has been a mixed bag. I’ve enjoyed the positive things about it, but the negatives finally weighed enough for me to quit.

I still do social media–follow me on Twitter–but now I do less of it. Of course, I also deleted my Instagram account since it’s owned by Facebook. Now I plan to focus more on my blog…and my offline life.

So why did I quit Facebook? Of my many reasons, I’ll try to summarize only a few. Crack knuckles…begin!

Facebook neither protects your data nor respects your privacy

Facebook’s privacy mistakes and data sharing concerns have surfaced repeatedly throughout the years. It’s made me leary before. And now, the latest and greatest example is the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Altogether, it’s made me no longer trust Facebook.

Facebook is too addictive and manipulative

Facebook’s ability to keep our attention has been a growing concern over time; the pot seems to have boiled over. Tristan Harris and his site humanetech explain best, and my experience is like that of many. I’ve mindlessly scrolled the newsfeed and habitually checked for red circled notifications too much. I’ve written about it before: The End of Newsfeed Distraction and The Matrix of Social Media.

Facebook kills the open and indy web

Facebook’s ubiquity and utility make it a one-stop-shop; it tries to be everything to everyone. And under the pretense of privacy and security, it’s closed off–less so these days–from the rest of the internet. So most people stay on Facebook instead of visiting other websites and blogs. People once “surfed the web;” now they “scroll their feed.”

Facebook is too big and influential

Facebook has 2.2 billion members–more than the largest country in the world. This suggests great power requiring great responsibility. But I think for any one person, like founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, it is too much. The inherent risks are too great. And although being an influential and powerful agency, Facebook has been unregulated by any government and has proven unable or unwilling to regulate itself to any sufficient degree. Zuckerberg himself has shown reluctance to his assumed responsibilities.

Those are some of my reasons why I gained freedom from Facebook. Overall, I’m not totally against social media. It has pros and cons, and it affects people in different ways. But I think it would be good to re-evaluate the place of Facebook in your life and choose what’s best. Maybe you delete it or use it less. Or you could be good as is.

Have you thought about quitting Facebook before? What are some pros and cons of social media for you? Do you prefer Twitter over Facebook? Or Pinterest versus Instagram??

Let me know in the comments; I’d be glad to hear your input!