Hello world! And wow, a first post. Starting a blog is something I have thought about for a couple of years. Which leads me to a decent place to begin.
In early 2016, I deactivated my Facebook account and largely stopped using Twitter. Instagram kind of got a free pass because it is a photo-centric platform. And the comment narrative on Instagram is minimal and de-emphasized (though even that is starting to change). Nevertheless, there were several things that prompted my departure from the remaining social media sites.
First, I began to realize the vanity within my own posts. I was almost three years removed from college and almost seven years removed from high school. Already, the circle of friends whose opinions I valued was narrowing drastically. Yet, I continued to post to social media with an audience in mind that included people I may not have interacted with in years and in some cases a decade. To say the least, this rising awareness made justification of retaining those accounts more difficult.
Similarly, I was volunteering my time at a local senior high school as a wrestling coach. I really enjoyed my time coaching the kids. However, and likely inevitably, the kids googled my name on the internet specifically searching for my social media accounts. I knew my privacy settings were set to the highest possible setting. And still, I experienced a moment of panic when the kids stated they found my Facebook. In essence, a Facebook profile could be a timeline. Which would include any mistakes and immaturities. All of this from whenever a person begins it through however long they maintain it. For me, this would mean from when I was young and in high school, young and in college and then similarly when I was young and immature as an adult. Any number of things I posted in the past could have undercut my ability to positively influence those wrestlers both in wrestling and in life. The panic I felt in that moment when they found my profiles (but could not see any of my content) prompted a cold-turkey exit from those social media sites and I never really looked back.
And finally, I was beginning down a path that would see my continued education in data analytics and Operations Research. In 2016, it was already painfully transparent to me at a novice level, the most valuable thing to companies in general (but particularly to Big Tech companies) was our data. And yet posting to social media encouraged behavior where people were treated as products and voluntarily relinquished their own data.
It was a couple of years after my exit from social media when I began to lament when I used to quickly vent a thought to a status and see some reactions. “Has anyone ever noticed…” or “Am I the only one?” were some common threads. How could I regurgitate some of my more developed thoughts without consenting to relinquishing my rights to my own data? And thus, the thought of a personal blog was born around 2017.
These views are mine and should not be construed as the views of the U.S. Coast Guard.