SOCIAL MEDIA HAS MELTED MY BRAIN

This bit from Ryan Broderick’s ‘Garbage Day‘ newsletter melted my brain.

“According to Know Your Meme, about 60% of the memes we’ve seen in 2022 were created by Twitter or TikTok. And the three biggest apps behind those two —YouTube, Reddit, and Instagram — all trail far behind, contributing around 10% each. And if these current trends continue, it’s likely that by next year TikTok will outpace Twitter. In fact, we’ve entered a new interesting moment where it’s usually unclear whether people on Twitter are talking about something because it’s on TikTok or if people on TikTok are talking about something because it’s on Twitter. Soon it won’t be. Very shortly, every every platform on the internet will be completely downstream of TikTok.”

Ryan Broderick

Like, what?

Sometimes I see some Twitter drama, and follow it for a day. Then, when I tell someone who’s not on Twitter about the drama, they look at me like I have three heads.

This is that. That is this.

I want off, I want out. I am 46 now and while I’m not going back to a 56K modem or purchasing a flip phone, this idea that we all need to be plugged into the social media slot machine, constantly pulling the lever to ingest more more more into our eyeballs is just about over for me.

Half the shit anyways is in response to things on the internet anyways – news reports, new videos, and – of course – the trendy new happing on TikTok.

So whatever.

I’ve been writing here at sethw.com since about 2018. On and off, stop and start, sometimes not a lot of writing, and sometimes a bit more. But this place is mine, and mine alone.

Anyone from the world wide web can discover this site, read what I’ve been writing about going back to 2018, and go on about their merry way.

Try reading someone’s Tweets going back to 2018. Good luck.

For the last two months I’ve been getting my ass out of bed and to the gym instead of scrolling social media. I deleted Twitter from my phone (again). And two months later I feel better.

Social media is a habit that’s meant to be broken.

JUST KEPT CLIMBING

I joined the ‘August Run Climbing Challenge‘ on Strava, which set a goal of running up 2000 meters in during the full month. This got me exploring some of the more hilly trails in the past few weeks.

On a Tuesday I set off for The Pinnacle, which starts very matter of factly as this yellow gate. In total it was 898′ of climbing, mostly power hiking because a lot of it is over 10% grade (it even hits 20% at one point). That was a 3.6 mile adventure in under an hour, and it even started raining at the end, which was very nice.

Then on Wedneday night my buddy Mimi hit me up, saying she’d be in town for a bit, so I went to crash with her and her family that night, so we could run up Mount Minsi the next morning. This was 1,171′ of climbing, and again it was steep, upwards of 20 and 30% grade in parts when you just sort of had to crawl up the mountainside. It was amazing. We did that, plus some extra miles to and from the trail head (because of this cool creek crossing) for a total of 6.15 miles, in just under two hours.

Then Friday night, I’m feeling good, an my friend’s still in town and leaving the next morning. She texts me saying we should run up the other side, Mount Tammany in NJ. So I got up at 6am on Saturday, drove up her way, and we set off for the trail (and parked much closer this time).

So we start that at about 7:30am, before it got too warm or crowded. This climbs up to about 1500′ in elevation in 1.5 miles, so pretty steep in places. Lots of rocks to climb over. It’s like going to fucking Mordor. But we made it, and you can see the other peak in the distance, which is what we climbed two days prior (Strava).

Afterwards we get some Dunkin Donuts, we’re hanging out, all is good, and I head back home. Then I get the idea to drive to Palmerton, PA and try running up that peak!

I stop at a grocery store and pick up some yogurt (for protein), some fruit (carbs), some iced oatmeal cookies to use as a spoon for the yogurt, a gallon of water, and a Gatorade. Turns out after eating this, then waiting about 30 minutes, I was able to give the trails in Palmerton a go.

Mercifully the trail to the summit was closed, I think, and I stayed on the Prairie Grass Trail which was grassy (duh), up and down, and led into some pretty neat sections of single track. So I ran that out a bit, then came back, for yet another 3.6 mile run.

In all that was 3,709′ of climbing, and almost 17 miles in five days time. Today is Sunday and I’m feeling pretty good overall, but definitely need a nap later today (and no running).

MAKING SURPRISES

Love this from James Clear’s 3-2-1 newsletter:

“Children are joyful and treat each day as a miracle—in part because they are continually surprised.

Each day, they hear a new word or listen to a new song or learn about a new animal. It’s their first time visiting that restaurant or jumping in that pool or riding that rollercoaster. The world is continually unfolding before them.

How can you introduce more surprise into your life as an adult? How can you renew your sense of childlike wonder?”

James Clear

How, at 46, do I introduce wonder and surprise? That’s a tough one.

Going biking in new places brings about some surprise and wonder, as the weather may change, or I might show up right when a steam train is leaving the station, and I can try to “race it.” Those small, spontaneous moments, I guess.

Running is always a surprise, too, because I sort of never know how the body will feel. Most days it can be hard to get out the door (especially with the heat wave we have here on the east coast), but then 1.8 miles into the run everything feels great, or I see a breathtaking sunset, or I come across a dog who loves racing me from the other side of the fence.

In part I think it’s just getting out and doing something, throwing myself into the world and seeing what happens. That’s looked different in the past few years due to COVID, which has meant a lot of missed opportunities to meet new people, so lately it’s been about the experiences, and the scenery.

NOTHING SHOCKING

From @joysullivanpoet via Instagram.

I always thought of these people as having the “audacity to dream,” and how I loved being around these folks, something I’ve been lacking in recent years given the pandemic and all.

The dreams have withered though. Maybe it’s because I’m 46, over a decade since I got rid of all my stuff and started riding across the US with my laptop, and crashed on the couches of my friends.

Money is hard to make, free time is scant. The time for dreaming is hard to come by, so maybe the dreams get smaller. I’ve heard more than once in the past few years, “wow, I wish I could just have health care,” or something similar. Like, that’s a dream for some people in America, which is fucking gross.

PLATFORMS

Saw this on Twitter recently, from Adam Bartlett of Gilead Media (copying and pasting because I don’t trust Twitter embeds will be around forever):

It’s so wild to watch the entire indie label world go from being based around forums and newsletters, to social media, and now on to…what? There isn’t a single platform I can think of that isn’t a complete shit hole right now.

Am I shaking my fist at a cloud right now? Maybe, I guess. But things were definitely cooler before the ALGORITHMS took over and I think that’s probably an indisputable fact.

via Twitter

Adam ain’t wrong.

Back in the early 2000s bands had websites and email list.

Along came MySpace, and lots of folks jumped there, and it became the #1 music site in 2006.

In the same year, Twitter launched. I think Facebook opened up to everyone, too. Bands and labels eventually moved the bulk of their “getting the word out” operations to these sites.

So over a decade of neglecting email lists and websites, as social media sites have revealed who they really serve (investors, advertisers, their boards, Elon Musk), and we’re left with a bunch of “followers” and “engagement,” which is about as useful as “thoughts” and “prayers.”

Email still works, regardless of the few people who leave comments saying “my inbox is a wreck, I miss so much stuff.”

These are the same people who follow 3000 accounts on social media platforms, and are probably among the 70% of the people who don’t see your social media posts anyways.

Start an email list, send to an email list.

“Yeah, but my fans don’t use email.”

Bullshit.

They use emails to sign up for social media accounts. They get receipts emailed to them for concert tickets and vinyl orders.

What’t the alternative? Are we just going to start making more video content for whatever Instagram is becoming? And TikTok?

A majority of bands and labels can’t even figure out how to use Twitter which has been around for over 15 years, but you’re telling me they’re gonna “figure out” the new breed of social media platforms?

Make music videos.
Post your songs.
Release your vinyl.

But for fucks sake put it on your website, email you fans, and go drink some coffee. Use the countless hours of banging your head against the wall over social media algorithms and go write a good song, or strike up a partnership that will go a lot further than a $20 “boosted” fucking post.

STOP AND REST

From a recent trip down to West Virgina, this on the Baltimore National Pike. Views for miles, a fun place to get off the highway and stretch your legs.

I haven’t driven more than 2 or 3 hours in awhile, but this was a full, eight hour day from early morning to late afternoon.

Of course, after all that driving, you wind up at a place like Burger Carte, which served up burgers so good, we went there two nights in a row.

THE TODDLER

This is America.

“I don’t understand why Biden is not on TV every single night talking about this – it’s terrorism. It’s decades of killing social and civic fabrics. It’s fixable,” from another of Melody’s Tweets.

I KNOW NOTHING

I know what the President said 13 seconds after he posted it, along with the 100 replies to that the statement, and the 14 articles that will be written about soon after. I know that the President read something.

But I don’t know if my neighbor had a good holiday.

I know so many random bits of NBA trade gossip, but can’t tell you the hours of the three places to get coffee here.

I know what my friends had for lunch, several time zones away, but I never checked to see if there’s a soup kitchen or community pantry in my town.

I feel like I know so much about such little things, and the big things right in front of me are invisible.

I JUST KEEP DANCING

Via @_meanmachine on IG

Not as many miles as I wanted this week, but it’s been brutally hot out, so the few miles I’m getting feel like more bang for the buck. Running in the heat is double duty on the heart; one for the run, two for the internal cooling.

There was a half mile stretch the other night where things came together. Warmed up, legs felt great, sun beating down, and settled in at my 10:30-ish per mile pace, which I am not usually doing. I’m puttering along most of the time, really, as I don’t want to press, and wipe myself out after every run – life is hard enough already!

But yeah, that little half mile section felt good. Settled in, accepted the discomfort, eyes on the prize, chest up, and yeah, got it done.

Today’s run at the nature preserve didn’t have the same vibe, but it was a lot more climbing, which felt good. I didn’t run much of it, but I got the heart rate up, saw some buffalo, and got home without destroying myself. Felt good to have all that under control.