Looking Back At 2018

We made it to the end of 2018! For me, I can say right away it was better than 2017, which was summarized by stress and anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve had less of that this year. I wish I could think of one word to describe 2018, but my mind comes up blank. Maybe resilient.

Looking Back

In the last 12 months, I made changes that would, among other things, help manage my anxiety better. Overall, I slowly improved; my anxiety was not as bad as in 2017. There were severe flare ups at times, but I was able to bounce back quicker and easier.

A big change in 2018 was returning to my previous employer, which was surreal at first after having been gone for 3 years. I got to do more of the work I once did, and I really like it. It’s been very good to be back. Usually the stress of this kind of change is too much, but it was worth it.

flat lay photography of calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This year, my wife and I also started a new part of our family ranch: raising meat goats. So I built a pen and a shed for our new goats. And we expanded our chicken population, building a bigger chicken coop to house our additional hens.

Back in January, I took on a new reading challenge of 1 book per month. But instead of 12 books this year, I read 22! This included, for the first time, the entire Harry Potter series! I was late to the game but glad I finally showed up.2018 reading challenge

A few other highlights for 2018: I was able to visit with my brother and his family. It’s a real treat because they live overseas. My family went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise in the Spring. I deleted my Facebook and Instagram in the Spring, then rejoined in late Summer.

One last kind of milestone: the Summer had a surprise that kind of resurrected an old pastime of mine. My wife bought me a used Wii U for Father’s Day, so I did a bunch of gaming! I finally played Zelda Breath of the Wild, among others (Xenoblade Chronicles X!). It was like reliving my childhood. The last console I owned was the Gamecube. Nothing like escapism through some Nintendo.

Looking Forward

Peaking at 2019, I wonder how we’re gonna close out the teens of this century before embarking into the 20s!

I’m not a big goal setter, but I hope and plan to continue blogging on a regular basis.

Also, my family is looking at getting some major house projects completed: adding on a bedroom, renovating the living room, building a barn and paddocks, adding donkeys to the ranch, and expanding our goat herd.

So, I’ll be busy. I hope when I do the 2019 year-in-review it’s not summarized by the word, “busy” or “exhausting.”

A parenting milestone occurs in the upcoming year: we will have our first teenager! My oldest turns 13 in a few months. Life may get interesting.

The rest…we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

How was your 2018? What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Thanks for reading!


Merry Christmas 2018

Just a short post here to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope you can enjoy holiday time and get some rest and relaxation.

May your time with friends and family be blessed! And may you know the love of Christ this Christmas!

Thank you for reading and following Jason Journals in 2018.

Being An Introvert On Twitter

This year has seen a lot of bad news concerning Facebook and online privacy. The drum beat of anti-social media has grown louder. You’d think scrolling a newsfeed is like smoking cigarettes. Perish the thoughtcrime!

On some level I think that’s an apt description. Like maybe Brave New World is coming true. Or 1984. Or both. Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death? To some degree. But I don’t want to over-amplify suspicions of dystopia.

Social media does have some benefits, right? It’s not all bad. Convenience and connection come to mind. I know that’s debatable. And I think whether the good outweighs the bad is ultimately an individual decision. Yet when the anti-social drum beats loudly, it sounds like many agree the bad overshadows the good, if there is any at all. Personally, I go back and forth.

When I deleted Facebook and Instagram earlier this year, I kept Twitter.

Being the biggest and most influential of all, Facebook gets most of the heat. It’s well deserved based on the ill news reports of privacy disregard and misinformation campaigns. But Twitter also gets a fair share of backlash.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The tweeting bird icon is cute, but Twitter’s been described less favorably: cesspool of toxic human waste, vitriolic garbage fire, hellscape. Sounds harsh! And I think I can see why; I’ve heard pretty bad things about the negativity there: trolls, unfiltered comments, blocking people, and the like.

Maybe I’m a bit naive, but fortunately so far, my experience as a ‘nobody’ on Twitter has been far better than that. Maybe it’s because my follower/following counts are so low: just double digits. But that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy user of Twitter. But I like it. Why?

In general, Twitter’s design and function on the web and iOS app is simple, clean, and elegant when compared to Facebook. The user interaction is minimal. Only 140 (now 280) characters of text! A few buttons here and there, a few features. That’s it. On the surface, it seems easy to grasp.

The whole Twitter etiquette thing may be less easy to grasp as I’m sure I’ve broken it before; I try to not spam or overuse #hashtags or @replies. But I think this is due to my slow grokking rather than poor design of the service.

Even though I’ve had little engagement on Twitter with other users, it’s actually been nice. Quality over quantity. People have been polite, sincere and helpful or encouraging. So my guess is it depends largely on who you follow and how many people or brands you keep up with.

A specific insight I think I’ve had on why I like Twitter is this: it may be a place where introverts can feel like extroverts at the party. That might sound dopey, so I’ll try to explain.

Introverts like myself generally don’t do well at parties or other social gatherings of humans. I’ll speak for myself; I’m not good at saying witty, funny, or intelligent things on the fly. In fact, it’s hard to say those kinds of things even in writing where I have time to think before I speak!

On Twitter, I think introverts can sort of feel like they’re “part of the conversation.” They can throw in their two-cents worth of deep thoughts in a succinct-pithy-partial-paragraph. Or even just silly banter. We can be ourselves without worry because the awkwardness of close physical proximity is absent!

Granted, the lack of physical proximity, and worse, the ability to remain anonymous if one so chooses, both allow or enable all kinds of the bad behavior Twitter is infamous for.

Introverts can follow/be followed relatively easily, “hang-out” with peers or keep company with prominent figures and have a semblance of connection. (Of course I’m presupposing authenticity and all that.)

Where else can I easily express my fondness of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with others? Well, I could blog about it here I guess, but I doubt Dunkin’ would notice. On Twitter, they’re likely to engage with me with a retweet supporting their brand. But I digress.

If it turns out that a majority of people agree social media is more trouble than its worth or is detrimental to our mental health enough to require a surgeon general’s warning, then I’ll probably quit not just Facebook but also Twitter. Like switching from Camel Wides to Marlboro Lights won’t cut it. You gotta quit smoking altogether.

As one can breath air without inhaling ciagarette smoke, one can communicate without social media.

Anyways, I couldn’t fit all that in a tweet. So I blogged it! And I’ll share the link on Twitter.

What are your thoughts? Thanks for reading.


The Web Itself Is The Social Network

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media versus the blogosphere. To help distinguish them, the term social network is synonymous with social media, whereas I refer to the blogosphere as ‘online networking’. But today I discovered something that clarifies and simplifies this latter term.

Online networking is simply…the internet! I kind of knew that already, but I didn’t know how to articulate it in a way that helped distinguish it from social media, you know, the walled-gardens and silos that seemed to evolve from blogging.

The discovery I made today is called micro.blog, which led me to the site inessential by Brent Simmons. There, I found a statement that shed more light on the subject:

Micro.blog is not an alternative silo: instead, it’s what you build when you believe that the web itself is the great social network.

Brent Simmons – inessential.com

The web itself is the great social network. This is music to my ears! Or poetry. You get what I’m saying.

In a discussion about the latest Facebook privacy scandal and the ills of social media in general, I heard someone mention micro.blog as an alternative to Twitter. I like Twitter, and I like new tech things. So I had to check it out. That’s when I found the distinction above: micro.blog is not an alternative silo.

Earlier today, I published a blog post about Walt Mossberg quitting Facebook. In it, I wondered what new social paradigm might replace social media as we know it.

On top of that, in a post I wrote last week, I suggested that the blogosphere, or at least the best parts of it, could be the best alternative to social media, perhaps in an updated form.

At first glance, micro.blog seems to be an incredible fit to all of this.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It sort of encapsulates a way to have independent blogs (a bit of the past from the blogosphere) and a common “stream” or “feed” where everyone’s blog posts can appear (a bit of the present from social media) for a modern combo of online networking.

Like the best of both worlds, maybe micro.blog takes the positive benefits of blogging and Facebooking, leaves out the bad parts, and refines them into a bit of the future alternative we may all need online.

This is all my first impressions and some speculation I guess. But it’s intriguing. And worth looking into. I mean, does this not sound pretty awesome?

Instead of yet another social network, Micro.blog is designed to work with the open web. It’s built on RSS and independent microblogs. It’s about pulling together short posts and making them more useful and easier to interact with. It prioritizes both a safe community of microblogs as well as the freedom to post to your own site.

Manton Reece

After 2018’s social media problems, maybe 2019 is the time to move on from things like Facebook once and for all.

Any thoughts? Comment below. Thanks for reading.

A Tech Hero Quits Facebook

Venerable tech veteran Walt Mossberg announced he’s quitting Facebook after 12 years of socializing there. But does this news really matter?

First, I applaud Mossberg’s decision. More power to him. He’s doing what he thinks is best. And frankly, my opinion is that we should all probably quit Facebook. More on that later.

That said, I think his quitting does and doesn’t matter. Let me explain.

It Matters

It matters because of who Mossberg is. Given his particular credentials and long history in the tech industry, his quitting says a lot about Facebook as a tech product or service.

Despite the many years of trouble for Facebook with its frequent privacy scandals, Mossberg weathered all those storms and kept his account open.

Until now.

So Mossberg, who I take as a very level-headed down-to-earth guy, has said enough is enough. And if he says that’s it for him, then we should seriously rethink our own Facebook accounts.

It Doesn’t Matter

I think Mossberg’s departure matters; at least it should. But in the end, I don’t think it will have much affect on either Facebook or those who use it. In that sense, his quitting doesn’t matter.

Also, because other high-profile people have quit Facebook without really causing change, I don’t see why Mossberg’s quitting will be any different despite his admirable influence.

Quitting Is Hard

Facebook is like a drug. It’s easy to quit… I’ve done it several times. Then I go on a social bender and re-friend everyone. Right.

I see just two basic reasons why people will quit using a drug like Facebook.

One, they finally realize it’s killing them; they must quit or die. And the harm of continued use outweighs the harm of the struggle to quit.

And the other reason: you find a better drug to replace the one you’re hooked on.

I think this latter reason is the most likely way Facebook will fade away. People will find new and better social fixes.

And I think, or hope, it won’t be a “better Facebook.” I think it may not even be social media as we know it.

In a similar way that online networking evolved from the blogosphere to social media, I think there will be, or needs to be, a fundamental shift away from social media to a new paradigm.

What that might look like, I’m not sure. But I bet someone is cooking it up in a lab to capitalize on the growing social media backlash. If you build it, they will come, right? (Nevermind Google+.)

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.