It’s been quite a while (ten months? a year?) since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I do not regret it. Since then, I’ve had far less anxiety force-fed me. I still read news articles, and sometimes feel dismay, but it’s not an unending stream of doom coming at me.

But in the past few days, I’ve received email notifications that a couple people I actually care about have started following my Mastodon account. Which got me feeling a little conflicted.


I’m pretty sure I don’t completely understand the way the fediverse works. I mean, I kind of get how Mastodon works, but then there’s this protocol, ActivityPub, which defines how servers are supposed to talk to one another to share posts. There are a couple of plugins for WordPress that make a WordPress blog adopt that protocol, and I’ve installed them on this blog. Back when I first set up my Mastodon account (that’s when I installed the plugins) I followed this blog from that account and verified that when I post something here, it shows up in my Mastodon timeline. So, I’m sorta still participating in social networking?

But that’s only sort of broadcasting. It’s not duplex communication, nor even discovery. If I want to read what my friends are sharing, I can’t follow them from my blog; I have to follow them with my Mastodon account. And if I look at the Mastodon timeline, then I’m still exposing myself to all the stuff the other people on the account’s server are freaking out about. Because this is something true: people are more likely to spend time typing and posting when they are feeling freaked out than when they’re feeling happy or proud. If [redacted] or [redacted] are feeling anxious, sure, I’ve got some compassion to share — but there’s such a thing as compassion fatigue. There’s some account with a description like, “As soon as there are no wars at all anywhere, this account will be repurposed but until then, I’m all about WAR is BAD,” and I’m thinking, wow, this person needs desperately to step back from the keyboard and go outside.

I’ve been doing some difficult programming for the past couple of weeks and periodically I’ve felt frustrated or had a minor success and these have been moments when, if I’d been in an office setting, I might have shared with a coworker. But I’m in a one-person shop and the greater fediverse doesn’t actually care.

I’m currently engaged in paying closer attention to my eating and exercise, and the simple act of logging everything I eat has made a big difference. Like, sure, I’ll give myself permission to eat a handful of nuts or a container of ice cream, but I have to get out the logging app and type that in first. And that momentary pause, when I ask myself if it’s really worth the minuscule bother of logging the food to get the reward of the food, that is enough for me to realize that, no, there are other things I’d rather be doing. And that, my friends, is a win.

And you know what else is a win? Having a bit of barrier between impulse to speak and actually speaking. Having to spin up an offline composition application, fill in some metadata, and then type the thing…that’s frequently enough of a hurdle to let me realize that, no, I don’t really need to be putting that thought out into the greater world. No-one will be diminished for not knowing how I feel about Javascript at this particular moment in time.

But hey, here’s a list of stuff going on at the moment. It’s a reward for getting this far in the post, which means that you’re either bored or you care enough that you might enjoy knowing about these things.

  • We’re still living in a tiny condo in downtown Santa Cruz. But there’s a skeletal building up on the mountain, and it’s fully believable that we’ll be able to move in up there in Q2 of next year.
  • I’m working on some software for the American Democracy Project, and even though I feel frustrated with the tools, they are the right ones for the job. And, I absolutely believe that this work benefits society more than any other programming I might be doing, even if it’s less fun. 🙂
  • I’m storing up lots of fun projects for Q1 of next year, when we’ll be on a world cruise. I say, world cruise, even if it’s more like a tour of the former British Empire in the Eastern Hemisphere, but it’s still super cool. And I’m really looking forward to messing around with Arduino programming.
  • The App Store continues to send me weekly emails about my apps, which continue to get new installations every week. Which is pretty neat! I hate adware, so my apps are either free or pay once (guess which are getting installed). I also hate the review begging screens, so my apps don’t have them. And I maintain that’s the right choice — I’m not interested in creating and putting out into the world any product which would bug me to use. The down side is that I have no idea what people are using these for, and that’s kind of a shame. I’d kind of like to know how I’m making people’s lives better. Maybe I’ll look at putting some kind of custom About screen into them to invite feedback.

Published by pirateguillermo

I play the bagpipes. I program computers. I support my family in their various endeavors, and I enjoy my wonderful life.

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