Charlie's Blog: SOC 15


SOC 15

The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?

I still continue to neglect the C-blog. This is not on purpose, but I find my time vanishing in the pursuit of making money these days. I contemplate giving up the blogging/tweeting thing. Do I have the time to keep this up?

Part of the temptation to cease my heavy online presence comes from my Luddite impulse. I will have to explain that a bit. Recently, the television show NCIS had an episode where the characters got their devices hacked and taken hostage with ransomware. The team had to go back to using flip phones like the Jethro Gibbs character. Naturally, this was a great way to have a few laughs over the smartphone/dumb phone debate.

Now, I admit that I am the Jethro Gibbs of my workplace. I never upgraded to a smartphone, and I still use and love my old fashioned flip phone. This is a deliberate choice on my part. Most flip phone people never got on the smartphone bandwagon, but I make a point of being openly hostile to the smartphone. It is the first bit of tech that ever came along that provoked my hostility.

The characters on NCIS ask how Gibbs can live with just a flip phone. I get the same question in real life. The answer should be obvious. I live the same way I have for the last seventeen years when I first broke down and admitted that I needed a cellphone. I bought a flip phone, and I have been satisfied ever since. I have purchased newer models as the older ones literally wore out. I have been rocking my current model since at least 2012.

I am not alone in being a smartphone refusenik. Numbers vary but at least a quarter of the US population still stays with a dumb phone. There is even nostalgia for the devices such that Nokia reintroduced a new version of their old 3310 phone. Most people will recognize this as the burner phone of choice among drug dealers.

I remember this phone, and I hated it because it would butt dial when you put it in your pocket. This is when I fell in love with the flip phone form factor. The flip was the end of butt dialing. The irony is that butt dialing returned with the smartphone, and I get butt dialed on the regular now. This is progress?

I predict that Motorola now owned by Lenovo will bring back an updated Razr phone which stands as the king of all flip phones. I had made the prediction that smartphones were a long term fad that would fade out as people returned to phones that were just phones. The persistence and nostalgia for these classic dumb phones is a strong indicator that I may be right. As for Jethro Gibbs, that character is kinda funny with his flip phone, but you admire and even envy the guy a bit in his simplicity and refusal to go along with the herd.

Once upon a time, I was a cellphone refusenik. I didn't see the point in even having a flip phone when I lived in a world filled with pay phones. Then, the pay phones disappeared. Today, it is very difficult to live without a mobile device. I was also a latecomer to the the internet back in the 90's. But I use my computer and my cellphone daily now. I don't see any vice in being a late adopter of technology.

Recently, my wife and I made the move to cut the cord on cable television. It was a no brainer for us when we considered the fact that we paid for television that we never watched. So, I went to Walmart, bought one of those antennas, and returned my cable box. I still keep the internet service with the cable company, but I am done paying for Telemundo. Cable television is heading down the same path as the landline telephone.

The cord cutting thing is interesting because it seems like a regression. The last time I watched free over the air TV was back in the 80's. By the 90's, I had abandoned television completely and didn't even own a TV set. Then, 9/11 happened, and this need to be informed led me back to television. But the internet does a better job, and I only watch two cable channels--Fox News and EWTN. Both of those are streaming on the internet. Basically, I watch for free now.

Cost is a big factor when it comes to these decisions for me. The internet still feels like an unbeatable deal to me all these years later, but cable/satellite smells like a giant rip off. The key word here is "bundles." This is how you pay for 200 channels you don't watch to get the 2 to 5 channels you actually do watch.

This brings me back to blogging/tweeting. Money is a real motivator when it comes to things like cutting cable or refusing those expensive smartphones and the pricey data plans. With my online presence, the issue comes down to time. I find time is every bit as valuable as money which is why I have such a love/hate relationship with Twitter.

Twitter is like that bad girlfriend you can't cut it off with. You fornicate with abandon with that skank, and she ruins your life in the process. Yet, you just can't let her go. The relationship is pleasurable and destructive at the same time. Thanks, Twitter.

When I deactivate my Twitter account, the first thing that happens is that I have time back. It's the same thing with breaking it off with some skank. You have money and self-respect back. But it never fails. You get lonely on a Friday night, and you are calling her up. Saturday morning, you wake up with a hangover and gonorrhea. Thanks, Twitter.

Blogging is not the same as tweeting. Blogging is like a marriage. The value of the thing builds up over time. The pleasures are more enduring. Is it as exciting? Of course not. Like a hook up with a drunken skank, Twitter allows you the excitement of posting in haste and regretting it long afterwards. How many people have damaged and destroyed themselves in the short time it takes to type 140 characters?

Part of me persists with Twitter because I think being on social media is necessary for a cross platform strategy of reaching out to people. This cross platform thing is preached relentlessly in advice articles on blogging and explains the ubiquity of that row of social media buttons that permeate the blogosphere.

If you are going to be on the internet, then you absolutely have to be on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and on and on. But I question that thinking now. There is one guy who breaks this rule, and this is Matt Drudge. Drudge does not do social media. He does have an account on Twitter with exactly one tweet. He regrets having that, and he seems to have it more as a placeholder than anything else. Drudge refers to Facebook and Twitter as social media ghettos. I prefer the skank analogy better.

Drudge shows that you don't need social media to be successful on the internet. In fact, you would probably do better without social media. The better path is to make one really good website in much the same way that you should eschew trailer trash skanks and devote yourself to being in a really good marriage. As it stands, my blogging suffers as a consequence of my tweeting in much the same way a marriage would suffer from repeated adulterous flings with diseased skanks.

I will probably try and quit Twitter again. I think social media is a disease. Matt Drudge is showing me the true and better path forward on the internet. You want to lose that skank's phone number forever.