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Breaking up with Social Media - Part Five - It's not Me, It's You! by Ian Hill

Social Media, at its inception, never seemed like anything more than a silly distraction to me. Yes, it was cool that so many more people were getting into this thing I loved called “The Internet” but to me I never saw these people as really getting what was special about the Internet to me so I never took sites like that seriously. At least that was the case at first. I had a strange love for the Internet but over time I learned how to stop worrying and love The Facebook. Sure the interactions were more vapid and self serving and less thoughtful or self-aware. I just figured that most people did not have a need to find themselves the way I did online, and good for them for already having their shit together. Instead I looked at social media as a place to get a hold of people I wanted to chat with that no longer used AIM and I would continue using my own website and Livejounral to continue loving the internet like I always had before.

That did not last for long.. Unfortunately Facebook became so popular that it more or less killed almost every other site that people used to connect with others online. Including blogging sites like Livejournal and any chat service that was not Facebook. As the world I loved online began to dwindle I too leaned harder into Facebook and started taking the content I would have previously posted elsewhere and started posting it on Facebook.

Only, things were not the same. You cannot post a long blog post (like this one) to Facebook and expect anyone to read it. At most people are going to read the title and maybe a few lines throughout and then make some kind of comment about the part that they read while ignoring the rest. Over time I stopped writing blog posts as instead of the thoughtful conversations I would get into on Livejournal with other writers I got nothing but homogenized life advice from people who did not even care enough to read what I had posted. The catharsis I had from the internet was going away. I could no longer be myself online as I had no place to do that anymore. Sure I can still post to my own personal website (and still do occasionally) but there was no longer any community to interact with. Meaningful conversation vacated the internet to be replaced with nothing but self-promotion and judgement. Online Ian no longer had a home and Family Ian had to move online to keep up appearances.

For years this has felt like a betrayal of myself. If I am not being authenticate online then what is even the point? I told myself I needed to keep up appearances so that if I ever got around to finishing a book I was writing I would have this large audience of online friends to share it with. I told myself that having a well kept online persona would help people get to know me with my best foot forward. I thought that these things mattered, but in reality I was just jamming myself back into a closet that I have always hated being trapped inside.

Now Facebook is a company that is actively harming the world. Nobody can question anymore the harm that the site inflicts upon democracy. It enables our worst tendencies as humans and silences voices that are not mainstream. So I have recently begun to really question why I am still on this site, can whatever I gain from being here actually make up for what I am supporting financially by allowing Facebook to sell my data for profit?

I don’t know that I can make that case. I don’t think there is enough to gain to make it worth it to continue to be on social media.

So with much pain I am breaking up with Social Media. I am sorry Facebook, it is not me, it is you. I fell in love with the internet when the internet was different. Back when it was accepting of who I was and allowed me to flourish as an individual. But as the internet has changed me so to has the internet changed, it is no longer the accepting place where I can be myself. I don’t really have any place I can be myself any longer (other than when I am home alone) and that is very sad. I would love for their to be a day where someone like me can find a place in the world again. However that place is certainly no longer Facebook or Social Media. So I must say goodbye to my online life, and move on to being myself in other ways. It was a good long run while it lasted but unfortunately there is nothing really left for me here.

I imagine my Facebook profile will still be online for a while but I have already removed most social media from my phone and I do not spend enough time online at home to really have any sort of presence anymore. If you are reading this and want a way to get a hold of me here are some great options!

Email: Ian@GreenGlassesProductions.com
Phone: (616) 841-5527
Google Chat: Ian.Bulock@Gmail.com

I hope this was an informative look into why I am quitting social media. If you want to know more about me check out my blog (you are reading it right now) there are plenty of other things to learn about me here. I would love to get some feedback from anybody that might have read this far. Maybe we can start our own online support group return some of that former glory we are missing online!

With Love <3 Ian

Along this Winding Road... by Ian Bulock

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I have been meaning to update my site with a new blog post for a long time now. I haven't written a blog post because I just could not think of anything witty or clever to write about.I thought about writing something angry again, something intended to just piss people off. However I just have not been that angry lately.  I need to write something though, I cannot just keep waiting for inspiration to find me. So let me write once more about my life, and the winding road I find myself traveling down.

Last year was not a great year for Ian. I started the year dirt broke and working at Mcdonalds. At least when I worked at Mcdonalds I still lived in the Lansing apartment. Then summer hit and against all odds I actually got laid off from Mickey D's. It was something completely unexpected and it came at the worst possible time. I was in the process of finding a new place to live and the sudden loss of income made my choices very limited. So I ended up moving in with my mom. I intended this to be a very temporary situation. It turns out my laziness was much stronger than my good intentions so I spent most of the rest of the year sitting alone in Olivet.

This ended up being mostly depressing for me and had a large impact on my self esteem. It was good to get close to my Mom and Step-dad again as well as to just have some time to relax, however every time I thought of my life living at home being jobless I would slightly hate myself on the inside.

Just writing about my life can be depressing, thankfully this story actually has a moderately happy ending.

Once winter fell things started to turn around for me quite drastically.  It started at RedditGifts.com of all places. This is a website where you can join a Secret Santa program with other fine folks across the internet. The site sorts everyone out and selects a random person to give you a gift and another random person who you must give a gift too.  Nobody sets any limits on how much can be spent, or not spent. It is all meant to be just good fun.

The person who I was selected to give a gift to was a gay man who used Reddit mostly for looking at "Bear" porn. At first I thought this was funny because back in my days as a gay man the bear community seemed to have a keen interest in the young and furry Ian. Then I started to realize I had no idea what to buy for this guy. I thought maybe he would appreciate some self pictures of me, but then I realized I was just being full of myself again. I didn't know how I felt about buying a stranger actual porn and sending it to them through the mail. I wasn't even sure if that was legal, though it would have been rather funny. Instead I waited to the last minute (like usual) and sent him an Amazon gift card. It was not creative but everyone can find something they like no Amazon.

I waited for a while for my package and when I received it in the mail I was quite excited indeed. It was like I was a Kid again, over time I had grown to know what to expect from my family and friends in terms of gifts but this was new. This was a stranger who did not know me personally but he knew more about me than most people probably ever could if he researched my Reddit profile closely enough.  So when that truck pulled up to the house and the driver got out with a box in his hand I was brimming with anticipation. I spent no time taking the package back to my room and promptly tearing the box open. Inside of it was an Amazon gift wrapped box. At this point I knew I had spent to much on the gift I sent out, the gift card I spent couldn't buy a gift this large not to mention the additional cost for gift wrapping. No matter how much anticipation had built up what lied inside of that box still blew me away.

It was a Blue Snowball USB microphone. The person who sent me this gift had bought me the perfect gift. I had been podcasting for years but had always just used my cheap headset microphone. I had thought many times about upgrading to something that sounded better but I always opted instead to spend my money on things that seemed more important. This cycle would never have ended, and I might have never known what a good mic can do for my voice. Now, thanks to this stranger somewhere on the internet I would be able to get my voice out across the network in the clearest way it had ever been heard before. I was blown away. It was something I had always wanted that I never would have bought for myself. It filled me with a sense of goodwill I thought I would never feel again. This feeling is what prompted me to sign up on redditgifts.com to be a regifter, to buy some other new stranger who got nothing from their first match the gift they deserved (which is another story altogether, this post is about me.)

About a week after getting the amazing gift I had gotten an email from a local web hosting company which I had been applying to for a job. I had an interview scheduled for the day after my birthday. This did mean I could not be completely hungover that day but it also meant I might have a chance at a completely sweet job. The interview went well enough, I was completely nervous and thought I had screwed the entire thing up. They told me they would be in touch and I expected that meant I would not hear from them. The last time I had interviewed at this company they called me two weeks later to tell me I had not gotten the job. I figured it would take at least that long to hear from them and decided to go out to a movie with an old friend. Not even 3 hours later as I was walking into the movie theater my phone rang, I thought it was my brother calling at first since his name popped up on the screen so I answered in the most inappropriate way possible. Turns out it was the HR department at Liquid Web letting me know they had decided to hire me and that I would be started the next week. My brother works for the company so the corporate number was assigned to him in my phone, thankfully they said nothing about my strange greeting.

It was the day after my birthday, I was spending time with an old friend I had not seen in years, about to go do something I love and had just recieved some of the best news I had gotten in a long time. It didn't even matter what movie I was about to see, I was going to enjoy the time I had that day. This was the start of something new for me, a chance to get out of the rut I had been in for so long. I could see the path ahead of me start to brighten up again. After years of jobs that would go nowhere and opportunities squandered I had this chance to prove I was worth a damn.

The next few months went by slowly. The job was going great, as I expected it would. I was able to buy a truck with the help of my Mom and I started having money coming in every week. Slowly my confidence was building, slowly I was starting to feel more like myself again. After almost 6 months of having gainful employment, and a ride, I decided to finally make the move to getting my own place to live. I must say my decision was guided by the fact that my little sister was moving back home. Not that I do not want to live with her but she was going to kick me out of the room I had been staying in which meant moving into the camper, something I did not want to do. I found a place fairly quickly and moved in that same week.

That leaves me where I am now, sitting here in my shiny new apartment writing a blog post that is long overdue. This is the first time in my life I have had my very own place. Sure I decided to bring on a roommate as well but the lease is in my name and I can actually afford to pay for it on my own. Not once in my life have I ever been completely self sufficient and it feels fucking fantastic.

Life is good, at least for now.

 

Welcome back... by Ian Bulock

My Face So here I am, living at home again. I really did not think my life would come down to this again but it has, so I am going to do the only thing that makes sense to do and make the best of it.

My goals for the next few months include studying to increase my job opportunities, get my creative side flowing again with some more videos and blogs as well as getting my license back. Hopefully before the end of the year I will be at least back on track with where I was in life before it all came crashing down again perhaps I will be doing even better.

The new adventure begins now!

A Social Experiment... by Ian Bulock

I mostly try to keep my youtube account and my personal blog separate as I feel like two completely different crowds will be viewing these pages. However I would like to share something of a social experiment I am attempting. It is not an original idea but it is still a fun idea. I posted a video to youtube simply asking people to comment on the video with the promise that  I will make a personalized video response to each and every comment. Two hours in I have mostly gotten comments from one person but I feel like it is going great so far. So if you want to check out the video I will embed it here and of course leave a comment on the youtube page. Or leave a comment here and I will still make you a snappy video response!

Stories by Ian Bulock

I was just now going through a bunch of my pictures on my computer, and I realize how much every single picture has a story. Not that every story is really all that meaningful but when I look at the pictures I imagine myself telling some imaginary person in my head the story behind it. I have been thinking for a while of getting back into this whole blogging deal. I just don't have the motivation to do it. I am thinking though of finding old pictures, posting them here and telling the story behind them. You might not like the stories, they may not be interesting to anyone but the people in them. Just getting them out though will make me feel little bit better.