Slowing Down to Speed Up: Social Media Schedule Shift.
As mentioned in this entry, the blogging schedule is changing here for the short-term due to the workload behind the screen. This also will affect how I run my social media. In short, nearly all my networks will be used to point people to articles of interest, videos, blog entries, and a few other things as per usual, the difference being that that’s pretty much all they’ll be used for. Sure, I might throw in some musings or wisecracks, but in terms of social discussion, we’re pretty much in Broadcast Mode.
Regarding Instagram, we’re going to primarily be turning it into an art channel and a book cover showcase as well as a notifier of new YouTube videos.
The social media game is changing in general and the above changes to my social media schedule are my way to utilize those platforms in the best way possible for my particular business model.
And, of course, tweaks and adjustments will be made along the way as time goes on because that’s the nature of this game.
Type “A.P. Fuchs” into your social networks’ search bars and you should find me since I am on most platforms.
Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch.
Last week I was off-line except for a couple of tasks that needed doing via the Internet (like administration). To ensure I remained off-line–I’m just as human as the next guy (I think)–I got an app for my computer phone called Stay Focused. This app can block any app on your phone and, in the free version (which I used), can block up to 5 apps at once. You set a schedule by telling it which hours and what days you want certain apps blocked. I applied these to the social media apps on my pocket computer to keep me on lockout. While true I’m in Broadcast Mode in the winter, as part of broadcasting I sometimes need to go into an app like Instagram and post something. The problem is one glance at the feeds can quickly lead to two, then three, and so on, and the next thing you know you’ve fiddled away an afternoon scrolling and scrolling and refreshing and scrolling.
This picture is a screenshot of the app from the day I went dark. You can see the stat on there says I’ve already tried opening the app 3 times and each time it didn’t work (was running tests). The timer on locking me out of these apps ran for a week. And it worked! Once I knew I was locked out, I didn’t give the apps a second thought.
Stay Focused also acts as a master lock, meaning you have these little locks under it (like the apps you’re blocking), but then you can lock Stay Focused itself–but only in 6-hour chunks in the free version–to ensure you don’t unlock your blocked apps. I’m assuming this is for extreme cases where certain people need a double padlock on their phone. To get even more extreme, I’m pretty sure there’s a lock on Stay Focused that forbids you from uninstalling it in an effort to destroy your barriers.
What was interesting was it kept track of how many times I unlocked my phone to do something, like reply to a text from family. I was disgusted when I saw, at the end of one of the days, I had unlocked the phone around 35 times. I barely used it that day! But numbers don’t lie. I barely used it? That was 35 times in the span of 12 hours (roughly). That’s approximately 4 times an hour. That’s once every 15 minutes. My unlock count steadily dropped as the week wore on and I got busier, but this goes to show how much we’ve integrated pocket computers into our lives.
The app has other features, like how long you are using any one program and your total phone usage for the day.
In the end, getting an app like this is highly recommended, especially if you are a phone junkie and recognize you have a problem (dopamine addiction). And, yes, the irony of this kind of post ranting about frequent phone use is not lost on me. I fully recognize a good part of my business is digital and having people on-line looking at or reading my stuff is better for me yet here I am encouraging my readers to go live life in the physical world. Oh well. But my refutation to the irony is this: I’m referring to balance. Is your on-line and off-line lives balanced? Take away sleeping hours, eating, and body maintenance, and see how much time is spent on a screen while you’re awake. The rest is up to you.
(I know that author J.B. Bennet got on board and locked themselves out of things during working hours each day, so others see the merit in this.)
I made this video on Friday of last week and aired it yesterday. It gets into what happened during my time off-line. Watch and subscribe. You might relate.
Lastly, for months I was getting frustrated of having to pull out my phone to check the time. While 9 times out of 10 all it was was checking the time, there was always that one time in there where it became an excuse to futz around on the phone. I couldn’t have that. I needed to be off-line, so I took the plunge and got myself a basic sports watch by Timex. As a kid, I had a couple of their Ironman watches, which I loved. I was aiming for another basic Ironman this time around but it was suggested to me that’s more a watch for a 15-year-old than a man so opted for a different one because I thought that was a valid point (I’m talking purely the aesthetics).
This is the watch I got, model TW5M23300:
And that was how I kept dark last week.
Taking a break from the Internet is something I’ve recommended for years for the sake of maintaining all facets of one’s health. I will go off-line again somewhere down the road because 2020 is a stupidly busy work year and sometimes you need to just shut up and get the job done. But that upcoming time off-line won’t be for a while yet. Not until my first holiday of 2020. Until then, I’ll be here, writing to you and making books and art and comics and videos.
Keep coming back to the blog every day. There’s always something being posted.
Ps. Today, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine aired on Patreon! Please go here to get access to this fun romp of creature horror for just a buck!
In an effort to make sure the reissue and new release schedules are on track, I’ll be offline this week so no blog entries until I return. (I might post something if I need variety but that’s a maybe.) Feel free to check back every day just in case and/or surf the blog for past entries to get caught up on anything you missed. Also, my social feeds are on automated Broadcast Mode so I cannot be reached there. If you’re a Patreon subscriber, this week’s post for the Essays tier will show up in the Patreon feed on your pocket computer (or on the website on the non-pocket computer). It’s an essay on how to always keep your audience engaged.
If you are a client, please use email. If you are a reader and need to reach me, please use email. Please note that email is very low priority so unless I owe you a project (which I can identify by the sender), most likely emails will be replied to upon my return. If it’s an emergency, then you know who you are who has that kind of access.
Enjoy your week, everyone. See you on the other side in Saturday’s newsletter.
To keep busy while I’m away, here are some suggestions:
Read back issues of The Canister X Transmission and be sure to subscribe to receive a letter from me every Saturday in your inbox.
Review the social feeds to the right if viewing this entry on a standard web browser to make sure you and I are connected on your various social networks. If you are viewing this on your computerized telephone, type “A.P. Fuchs” into your social network’s search bar and you’ll find me.
Relax and take care of yourself however that might look like.
For those unfamiliar with this segment (here’s the last one), it’s basically a round-up of a few items from around the Internet that I found interesting and thought were worth sharing. Do with them as you please.
First up, my friend and cartoonist, Max West, has a new Kickstarter starting up soon. It’s for Dominic and Claire Circus. I have the minicomics from the previous Kickstarter and they are a hoot. Go here to learn more about Max West and watch the video below to see the comics from the previous Kickstarter.
I missed sharing this on social media at Christmas time–thanks Broadcast Mode–so I’m going to share it here. It’s a parody of “Let it Snow” called “Make it So.”
As you know, I love newsletters and prefer them as a solid form of communication from creator to reader. Piers Anthony–whom I had the privilege of publishing in the Bits of the Dead anthology–has a monthly column that acts as his newsletter. He’s always up to something interesting even if his views and mine don’t always line up. His newsletter can be found here.
Lastly, Wil Wheaton’s blog is quite good and, while he’s well-known in fandom, he’s also a really down-to-earth guy so I check in on his blog now and then to see what he has to say. Please visit Wil here.
In personal news, the week is coming along. Finishing up things so I can move on to new things. All this is logged in my weekly newsletter, so if you haven’t already subscribed, be sure to get on board and join me and my other subscribers on Saturdays to wind down from the week. Hope to see you there.
I’ve been off-line for the most part during the 2019 Broadcast Mode season and have noticed massive improvements in my mood and mental health. The exposure to the toxicity of the mainstream social feeds had brought me low, so much so I was physically not feeling well. Recently, I came across this photo series in which the photographer removed the electronics from our hands to show us the lonely world we’re creating and it further cemented my thinking of us having lost our balance when it comes between living life on-line and off-.
Back when I first started in this business, 98% of my computer time was spent writing. The other 2% was periodically updating my website and checking in on a message board called Shocklines. Even if I was following a conversation thread, most often I didn’t keep going back for updates. Those would wait until the next day to see where the conversation went. And people were polite for the most part and keyboard warrioring wasn’t really a thing. It was about lifting each other up instead of whining and complaining and tearing each other down.
We need to get back to that in our on-line behaviors. We also need to find balance.
It’s gone too far.
I’m thrilled about being in Broadcast Mode. Life is so much easier. Work is so much easier. Everything is just, simply, better.
Some people might wonder why I periodically switch to broadcast mode with social media. The answer is simple: eliminate distraction. I program Hootsuite with my social media posts and let it run in the background so I can focus on producing more work in the foreground. It’s tough to constantly lead two lives—digital and physical—so to unplug and take a break from one lets me work on the only life that truly matters, which is the physical one I have on Earth.
Besides, it speeds up getting books and comics to you because I’m spending my time making them instead of writing thousands of words in social media posts.