thoughts, ramblings, and ideas regarding various internet-related topics.
it is funny to me that so many people write on their neocities page that they came here to escape social media, and yet, they treat their site and the 'feed' pages like social media. lolz
in other news, i shall write up about my screenless dayz soon...they have been very enjoyable so far, a nice way to slow down in life...
when i first gave up my smartphone, i was very nervous about losing the immediate and convinient access to many things - such as maps, taking photos, the internet etc - but ive found the lack of these things do not bother me at all and i prefer not having such access to these things for a myriad of reasons. however, ive found the most frustrating thing ive lost is the access to natwest banking. trying to navigate their services on desktop is infuriatingly difficult for some reason. their app was so easy. i dread payday and sorting out my monies now because of their fucking awful website
i also finished the shallows. really, really enjoyed it...has given me so much to think about.
starting this sunday, im also going to be doing completely screenless days once a week, where i do not use screens (and as a result, the internet) for one day a week. i cant remember the last day in my life where i had gone without these two things and im curious to see the impact itll have on my productivity, my thinking, and my overall connection to the world around me. im fortunate to have sat/sun guaranteed not at my shitey job and i can move my freelance work that needs screens away from that too so i will do it on one of those days. stay tuned for that blog post sometime down the line
1) finally reading the shallows by nicholas carr. it is funny that he mentions eye fatigue because after reading a few chapters of this pdf yesterday my eyes are fucking burning. i thought it was to do with the heatwave. local libraries dont have it at all and i need to save pennies this month so i downloaded a pdf and this is my first time reading a book on a laptop. i used to read a lot on my old smartphone and that was actually easier and never strained my eyes...
2) my cat is 20 in two weeks. she is older than smart phones and social media. shes even older than some of u
payday came and so i got a new featurephone as using my iphone again for just over a month was driving me up the wall. i forgot how BAD the battery is on that thing! never found a fix for my LEGENDARY PIECE OF SHIT so it is permantely retired. i decided to get a nokia 225 4G. its been really nice to once again not be haunted by a smartphone 24/7. even after trying to dumb my iphone down to basically be a featurephone, the allure of hoping on safari and doing things is simply too strong for my addicted mind. even if i wanted to do this on my nokia, the websites, if they load, come out so shit there is no point XD the battery sucked soooo bad which i had forgotten about. many bus stops if you look at the sign have a number you can text and itll send you the latest bus times - but i have tested lots in my area, and none of them actually work LOL
the phone itself is fine, does what i need. my only issues with it is that i cannot delete the shitty preinstalled games on it, and the spacebar on the keyboard is in a different place to where it was on the sony phone, so i keep from muscle memory pressing a different key which instead changes the ABC/Abc/123 function of the keyboard and lots of my texts read like this "heyWHATS23562356" if i dont pay attention lol. also, where this model is from 2017, it doesnt actually have a slot for my keyrings!!!! wtf!!!!!!!!!! i managed to hook them through the slot on the back for the speaker hehe. it also turns out i suck at snake. the phone has a torch and passcode which i appreciate very much, as well as a FM radio. sadly it doesnt pick up the random station from belgium i enjoy listening to on clear days on my actual radio
here are some pics. absolute dog shit
ps im sick of neocities shit. update my thumbnails
curation - michael bhaskar 2017
im currently in the process of a lengthy rewrite and restructuring of the digital wellbeing page. i want to this time add a lot more psychology relating to addiction and habits - to help people understand how habits are formed, how they can turn into addictions and how to identify, change, and cope with withdrawal. as part of this rewrite, i decided to search the term "digital wellbeing" to see what would come up. i was VERY amused to find that google have their own page about it, offering gentle advice. this page, like many other rescources ive read about this topic, always try to dance around the words addiction and make it seem like something you can just fix, like messy room. it doesnt address anything underlying, and neither does my own page which is what i hope to rectify. only as much as i can, of course - im not a therapist or doctor or professional.
i feel like im writing a fucking dissertation with how much planning and such is going into this. ive been feeling a bit frustrated lately with how some in my circle simply write off the critical side of the discourse on this topic as "phone bad". the fact they can often only reply with these memes and internet slang, in many ways, proves some of my points and thoughts ive yet to explore in digital wellbeing. cult-like echo chambers, fandom spaces, the loss of the ability to think for oneself and educate oneself properly are something ive not written about, but intend to do so as these things are the biggest shocks ive had from leaving the constant exposure to these sorts of spaces for over 10 years.
i also mentioned this book - no one is talking about this by patricia lockwood - briefly in my journal in links. the character, especially in the first half of the book, personifies someone who is "extrmely online". its only during reading this book did i begin to notice how familiar, uncomfortable, and alien this kind of person feels. this kind of person was me, is still me, is many people i know. it made me laugh at first but almost nervously. i cannot describe how brilliant this book was and how it forces you to watch from the outside even if you are extremely inside, extremely this character.
i could write more, more, and more into the night but i try to turn off all my screens at 10pm so i can actually maintain some kind of sleeping routine, good sleep is vital.
some months ago, i wrote about how i switched out my iphone for a featurephone. the past few months had been lovely with the featurephone - it felt good to have a device which is just there to be a tool, like my stepcounter or mp3 player, it made me more present in life, i didnt even take it with me when i was with friends or family and i kept losing it XD - however that journey has come to a pause for now. the phone is a model from around 2010, so it is not surprising that last week when taking or making calls, the audio stopped working - i cannot hear anyone, and they cannot hear me. it is strange, as ringtones and other sounds still work. this happened on days where otherwise i wouldve been stranded if not for SMS!! for now, i have had to reluctantly retire it as a ponder on my next move. unless i can figure out what the issue exactly is and fix it, ill need to look into finding another phone. i have an old blackberry curve but it does not seem to function well with the sim card in at all. it is frustrating to deal with this iphone where the battery doesnt last more than a few hours, and i already feel more anxious and prone to picking it up even though i have next to nothing on it, and of course, there are my privacy concerns too. worst of all, there is no where to put my darkrai phone charm...
i discovered today that ublock origin has a feature where you can block certain elements of a page, similar to the extensions i have listed in the digital wellbeing toolbox that can block features of youtube or twitter. i dont have either of these extensions yet on my laptop, so i went on a little spree hiding follower counts on both neocities and twitter, the number of notes on a post on tumblr, and the 'like' button here on neocities.
where i occassionally post to tumblr or twitter, and even here, theres a demon still in the back of my mind telling me to check the numbers. check the numbers so i can check if your work matters, if you should next time repeat and adjust. check the numbers so i can rewire the organic feelings you once had towards your AND other's work. insidious little shit!
heres how i made my twitter homepage look.
just kidding lol. to do this, u right click somewhere on the page and select this box, easily identified by the ublock origin logo.
i then select 'pick' and use the crosshairs to pick an element to block, and click create. it can be a little finnicky and u might need to move pixel by pixel on some sites.
if you fuck something up like i kept doing you can open ublock origin's settings, and under 'my filters' simply erase the relevant lines. in the automatically created lines with the ! prefix, i also wrote notes so i know what each line is blocking for future reference if i need to change something.
copy url in a new tab to see this in full resolution btw
im struggling to get the numbers that appear next to tweets to remove themselves without removing the actual buttons but oh well. it can be added back in and removed at will. where i still tweet art related shit sometimes i have to visit my profile and see all the numbers. twitters notifications tab is so whack in general that it never really bothers me so i just left it.
im not sure if this works on non-chromium based browsers or if other adblockers offer it, but im sure theres gonna be something out there for any browser that allows you to do this. perhaps more tech savvy peeps know how to do this without downloading any extension or what have u. im tryna provide knowledge for the simpletons like me :o)
currently, i am working towards tackling some of the addictive behaviours that occur when using laptop/computers. theyve interestingly lessened since i have stopped using my smartphone, but is now my new centre of focus and what i notice more. ill check in anther time about this when it is not (checks watch) my bedtime u_u
ps my internet kept going down all evening today. free internet detox
pps i have a blinkie collection but its gonna stay offline forever bc i wish i had sources for all of them but i dont and likely never will. my blinkie collection is the best fyi
ppps i only just figured out how to reply to people on the guestbook LOOOOOL
its just highlighted more for me how random scrolling is still such a big issue i have and its something thats really, really been ingrained into me - despite having done so much blocking and removing, i am still unconsciously finding ways to satisfy some kind of website based dopamine hit, even on neocities homepage now which makes me sad :( in a journal this week, i wrote "how deep does the addiction run? i have LITERALLY ZERO notifications and i checked all the things 10 mins ago on my computer and yet i still went on my phone checking the same stuff numerous times with zero results like this shit is LIFE LONGG".
a few days before, i wrote out a table of reasons stopping me from ditching my smartphone and the solutions to them. ill share it another time, but a lot of the reasons are very convenience based and ive navigated life without these things in the past when i was a kid, for example not having live updates on public transport. like i really dont actually need to know that much info esp when i can check on a computer before i leave. ive said id get a featurephone for a few months, yet paydays come and go and i seem to always have a different excuse as to why i dont follow through. my latest is that "i can just make my phone as minimalist as possible, so i dont have to spend the xtra money and have a new item" which sounds great in theory but ive already done as much as a physically can and yet, i still end up with an hour 30 average per day on my phone. its the convenience of it which is the issue.
i do sometimes wonder how all this (this page and all my blogs) sounds to anyone reading who doesnt have a smartphone. one of my very close friends has never had one, and i remember when we met in 2015 being absolutely flabbergasted that he didnt have one. i couldnt understand how he functioned and i was worried he would be left behind, i tried to convince him to get one and a social media to "be more connected" (sound familiar? ). a lady at my job also doesnt have one, and whenever she mentions this our colleagues react with such horror and disbelief, which i find humorous for a second but its followed by feeling disheartened.
on a slightly different note, im enjoying how not being in fast paced environments such as twitter/insta as an artist has allowed me to slow down and think about my work and its intentions and what i want to do a lot more. id like to write about this in full at some point and how important this is, im sure i did briefly however in my r u an artist on social media blog post. this is also true of playing video games as i feel constantly seeing others progress online forces you to play so much faster and i find enjoy the process and hidden little nuggets a lot less. the train of thought is similar to that of what i wrote in my previous full blog post about solitude.
id like to share and expand upon some thoughts i had written down while reviewing my year using lavendaire's 2021 reflection video the prompt was "what did i learn in 2021?". i wrote about how i learnt more deeply about the importance of dancing to one's own tune and taking responsibility for ones actions and the importance of discipline. i also wrote: "i learnt what its like to think freely again after leaving social media. i learnt what its like to have joy in my own private moments + not having the need to post it online, whether this be describing something in a tweet or taking photos and videos with the intent of posting it to look a certain way on my online profiles and to be percieved a certain way, rather than taking photos for future memories. ive reconnected with views and ideas id surpressed because i was too busy having my thoughts bombarded by the views of everyone else i was seeing online. [...] i feel my life is so much more peaceful and its not so noisy and cluttered. ive wiped the slate clean and am now filling it with what i cherish and find important."
(i would totally scan my journal pages but my handwriting is doctors handwriting and id like for people to actually read my thoughts which is the point of this page lol)
dancing to ur own tune is hard. when u drastically cut down ur phone usage (i try to limit mine to under 1 hour per day) or leave social media or whatever u notice how much everyone else around you uses it and how it makes you feel shut out. it can be hard not to say something and its no wonder its an unspoken rule that if someone pulls out their phone its okay for you to too, because it does feel quite shitty and isolating to be the odd one out. i felt this on my lunch breaks at work, or out to meals with people.
ive always said that once my iphone SE kicks it (it is 4 years old) i would get a feature phone. id found numerous by nokia which had 4G and maps which i thought was brilliant so i could still check in with my friends and not get fucking lost, but a conversation with my brother made me realise on the privacy side its perhaps only going to bring a little bit of improvement. these 4g nokia phones use kaiOS, which come preinstalled with Meta (facebook, instagram, whatsapp) apps and google apps, sometimes you cannot even remove them.
for me the biggest thing id like to keep is maps. i like going to new places and exploring but as a young female i do also like the added layer of security having access to maps gives me, especially as my navigation skills are (currently) awful.
idk just more for me to ponder before i buy lol. heres a pic of me pondering my orb
upon reflecting upon my leave of social media i feel like ive grown up? i feel different and more mature in a way i cant quite articulate. i think for myself more, i think about my day and the happenings around me, i think more. my brain is being excersized daily instead of it being numbed by mindless scrolling.
i think something not often thought about is the long term effects of having online prescenses. many social media profiles are encroaching upon 10+ years of existence. of course there are sites, blogs, and other profiles that people have owned for much longer than this, possibly 25-30 years worth of online prescense, but something about the culture of social media and the fact everyone is in the same space puts a bit more of a pressure on someone to uphold the image of the person theyve created on that profile. this is definately something i used to feel. i dont think youre given room to explore or grow. youre not given the space to properly verbalise and brainstorm and converse and have opinion. i wonder what does this do to a persons portryal of themselves in real life? ive definately said things online just because it fit into the political sphere im in but not even believed it, and somethings i thought i believed until i left social media and like. started using my brain lolz and reading longer texts instead of passive aggressive shit u read in 10 secs on someones instagram story before they post a meme straight after. idk. this is obviously a big rabbit hole
i fear being addicted to these technologies for the next 60 years of my life. i look back at my teenage years and early 20s and i dont want how i felt and used to be and the time i wasted to carry on for the rest of my life. i fear watching my friends and family and society succumb to the same fate. i fear the lack of awareness, and the outright denial that this is a problem and that tech giants seek only to increase it. our entire lives are entagled upon it and to not be or to try to break out is a social suicide and societal ostracisation most will never have the courage to embrace in order to save themselves as human beings. we are animals, part of nature, part of earth. everything we've created can be wiped away in a second so why would we want to spend our fleeting existence stuck to screens. what will become of us, us who are already dealing with fragmented attention spans and the suppression of our passions and thoughts, our children who struggle to imagine, who dont know life without portable screens, who spend more time in front of one instead of looking around who scream when parents take away the screen to pay or get sucked in themselves.
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