This past weekend, I drove up to Smithers, BC, to visit my kids. They're living up there and I had a 3½ day weekend, so I went up to visit them. It was good to see them and I'm grateful for the time I got to spend with them. It was also a little heartbreaking, considering the length of the drive and the typical things adults need to deal with in regards to today's kids: namely, screens.
My kids do not suffer from obesity, but I find it difficult to pry them away from screens. I feel like this is a common Western parent battle, though; practically every screen-laden household needs to deal with this sort of thing. And we all have double-standards about how much screen time is too much, and when it's appropriate to use screens.
I need to regularly remind myself of how much television I watched at their age, even when "nothing was on" and I barely enjoyed it. I did this too.
But I can see how these screens mess with sleeping patterns, with relationships, with perception of the world. Because I deal with it too. Even now.
So who am I to say, "Get off the screen and pay attention to me..." when my own hand is also reaching in my pocket for my own personal screen? I may cast the first stone, but I do so as a hypocrite.
In my continuing battle against screens and digitization, I've been re-engaging more with film photography. Here are a few recent film photos from the trip to Smithers... and I digitized them in order to post them to the Internet.
These are all photos taken on a Pentax K1000 that I borrowed from the school. Black and White Kodak C-41 film was already loaded in the camera.
15 weeks ago, according to Instagram, I received this 235° clip-on lens in the mail. It has been a dear, convenient companion since then. Although I've posted a few photos to this blog where I've used the lens before, I'm really pleased with how some of these photos turned out. So here they are.
I've had to repair it a few times; once it slowly unscrewed itself, and recently I dropped it and the lenses inside got all misaligned. However, it's a sort-of soothing thing to repair, so I don't mind.
It really is an excellent little accessory and has created some memorable photos, especially in family situations (which I do not post online). It's fun to be able to capture a photo that gathers light fromt he entire room.
Over the last year, I expanded my social media presence. When I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S5 in early December of 2014, I signed up for Instagram right away; I signed up to Twitter in January; recently, I opened a Tumblr blog. Yes, I'm typically late to the game, but I'm in the game nonetheless.
By contrast, I've deleted vast swathes of my Facebook history and hope to delete most of my personal presence from it soon. Facebook-style social media became something that consistently battered my ego, and after a second "hiatus" from that social network, I've minimized my presence there drastically. At this point, I exclusively use my personal Facebook profile as an address book and messaging service, and my "band page" will still be used if I ever get my music working again. I still check my Facebook every day, but I don't participate. It's like smoking without inhaling.
So over the year, what have these networks become to me?
Most importantly, they give me the ability to embed different types of short-form media into this website. As the year has progressed, my weblog entries here at jnordstrom.ca have grown more embedding-dependent. 30-second rants on Twitter have been a good outlet for days when I can't seem to focus on a singular topic; Instagram photos are stylish enough to make my banal life worth posting; Tumblr posts let me embed vain ideas or other people's art. As a student going through a research project, embedding makes room for easy citations and spreads my social media influence out a little. As if I have any influence in the first place.
Twitter has become what Facebook, for me, essentially was from 2007-2013. Over those years, I regularly posted interesting links to my Facebook. When people suggested that I should do this on Twitter, I wasn't really interested. For that period of my life, the private, limited audience of Facebook was all I desired, and I didn't have the self-control needed to avoid flame wars on Twitter. You can still find some of my immature comments underneath news articles here and there throughout the Internet; I didn't need to consolidate those comments in Twitter.
By 2013, however, my attachment to Facebook had grown pretty thin. I wasn't posting links very often and rarely engaged with anybody. I avoided any controversial content, and in turn lost relevance amongst my Facebook friend group. Facebook brought me no happiness.
Again, all this changed when I got the S5. Twitter was annoying to use on my Blackberry Torch, so I never used it, but the screen size on the S5 made it a reasonable option. Twitter is a more public space, which gives me the freedom to expres comparatively neutral opinions; where I felt oppressed by people's intimate judgement on Facebook, Twitter's inherent public-ness was a relief. Twitter's been useful for hearing what people are thinking, but I have to admit that I don't read very much there. It leads me to some news now and then and gives me a chance to rant every once in a while.
Instagram has helped me revive my love of taking artful photographs, especially when I don't live near a good developing store for medium-format film. I enjoy being on Instagram because it is both public and generally consequence-free.
Tumblr has become my place to be a little more ridiculous. I'm a little more self-conscious on Twitter and Instagram about posting selfies and whatnot because they connect to too many apps. Twitter and Instagram are simply too embedded in the fabric of social media to be overly silly, for my purposes. I assume that, when I start to look for work again, people will want to check out my Twitter to see my antics, and I'd like to avoid coming off as a Narcissist. But Tumblr is the realm of chaos and ego, so I can let my happiness with my weight loss shine through a little more there. I'm still learning how to use Tumblr effectively.
So what does it represent?
I think I've taken a sort of unique path to social media. As I mentioned, I came to all of these very, very late. And I certainly haven't developed a marketable image on any of them. They're all for me. And I have very little to say right now. I can only think in bite-sized chunks, and I can then spew those bite-sized chunks all over these three platforms.
This year of latecoming to social media shows the hodgepodge chaos of my life right now. I have no goal, no direction, and no overarching vision. I'm just trying to get by with what little I can.
So I guess it's almost actually representative of my life right now.
And if sure feels good to have generally disengaged with Facebook.
When I saw the choir stands in downtown Chilliwack on December 6, I had a mediocre brainstorm: sing the 12 Days of Christmas in different locations until Christmas, and post each day to Twitter. Twitter's videos max out at 30 seconds, so it would get progressively more difficult each day.
DAY 1: DOWNTOWN CHILLIWACK
DAY 2: DOWNTOWN HOPE
DAY 3: GUILDFORD MALL IN SURREY
DAY 4: AT AGASSIZ ELEMENTARY-SECONDARY SCHOOL
DAY 5: DOWNTOWN AGASSIZ
DAY 6: FERNWOOD IN VICTORIA
DAY 7: HIGHSTREET IN ABBOTSFORD
DAY 8: COTTONWOOD MALL IN CHILLIWACK
DAY 9: AT HOME IN CHILLIWACK
DAY 10: WALKING DOWN THE STREET IN CHILLIWACK
By the way, apparently Global News used this clip (above) in their newscast on Christmas Eve. They didn't tell me they were going to use it, nor did they even give it a "heart." So I don't know if they broadcasted it because they liked it or because they thought it was laughable. Thank you to my friends, however, who alerted me that I'd made the news.
DAY 11: IN THE LIVING ROOM IN CHILLIWACK
DAY 12: WALKING DOWN THE STREET IN CHILLIWACK
Happy holidays. I'm glad to have finally memorized the song... until next year.
Last week I had the opportunity to take part in the BCSSA's semi-annual conference for educators. I attended as a teacher representative for my district. I stayed at the Westin Bayshore in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC, right above where the conference itself took place. Overall, I had a good time.
Knowing that I would be encouraged to do a lot of tweeting during the conference, I set up a new Twitter account in order to address more education-based tweets; I had no interest in filling people's feeds with my usual sets of links and reflections. Fortunately, my phone makes it easy to switch between the two accounts.
I tweeted a lot.
For example, I used my clip-on 12x lens to take these photos of the keynote speakers, namely Robert Marzano and Dr. Norman Doidge:
And I tweeted lots of responses to speakers and presenters. For example,
Now, I'm fully aware that I don't use my hashtags with skill or aplomb, and I rarely tweet incendiary comments in order to drum up controversy. I enjoyed writing tweets while people presented; it worked as an interesting way to frame my notes and memories from the content. It felt a little rude to be looking at a screen now and then while presenters were making their points, but it was fun and generally served its purpose.
Unless your purpose was actual networking and meeting real life people. I didn't meet a single one of the people with whom I shared a Twitter dialogue. All those tweets and I didn't come out of it with a single new connection. All that screentime without a new face.
The only people I really met were people I met face-to-face without the aid of a phone.
What's the point, then? Why spend all this time tweeting if you don't get to meet a real person out of it?
All of this only shows me one thing: that if I'm crummy at meeting people in real life, Twitter is not the method I need to use to facilitate more connections.
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas