Over the past years my social web interaction shifted from Twitter and this very blog more and more to Facebook. I have so many contacts and interactions there that it feels very overwhelming and occupying a good chunk of my free time that I would love to spend otherwise: Hiking through the sun, having random thoughts and ideas, read long-form articles or play video games.

I was under the impression that engaging on Facebook – and to a lesser extend on Twitter – would allow me to relax, to have social interactions and would be worth the time. I have realized that this became less and less the case. Either things are fairly irrelevant for me, or there is in-depth political discussion. This made Facebook feel like a burden for me now, and the only way to reevaluate my usage is to stop using it almost completely.

While I had a pinned tab with Facebook open at all time, as well as the mobile app installed, I have now closed that tab and removed the app from my iPhone. I have disabled all notifications. This is day three and I only had brief looks into Facebook on the mobile web version to check for important notifications. I also allow myself to syndicate content to Facebook – like this blog post and via an iOS extension called Linky (which doesn’t currently support sharing to WordPress, e.g. this blog hint hint) but also using custom Workflows.

Although my brain doesn’t yet know what to do with those free cycles, it feels like a change for the better. I want to continue at least for another week or two. Then I probably need to make significant changes to the websites and people I follow to reduce the load.

The experiments of CGP Grey and Myke Hurley inspired me for this time-out. They outline their methods of “Dialing Down” in an Episode of their (much recommended) Cortex podcast.

(Image by Jonathan Bean via Unsplash.)

I am really worried about Facebook’s new Instant Articles feature… Not only does it bring web content into a private, proprietary silo, without URLs or any other possibilities to link to them apart from Facebook, but they also don’t seem to work on the iPhone with VoiceOver at all.

We need to be really cautious that we don’t lose HTML/CSS as the primary, open, accessible, linkable, syndicatable solution for web content. If we are not, this might be a turning point.

Back in the day, there were a lot of CSS Galleries. Most have been relatively uninteresting, but CSSMania and Stylegala stood out. While the former is still going strong (yes, I’m equally surprised), the latter faded away at some time and is now a 403 error. I still find me typing in “sty” in my browser when idle before realizing that the resource isn’t there. At least my browser is auto-completing to styleguides.io, which is a resource that fits better into this time.

Pegida Protesters

(The image shows PEGIDA protesters, PEGIDA = “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident”. CC-BY-NC Caruso Pinguin on Flickr.)

I am really worried about the nationalist tendencies in Germany (German) these days. I wonder how blind people can be, not realising that their protests increase the gap between cultures instead of closing it to make integration as easy as possible. Everything that is not “German” is deemed bad for this country.

(And what is “German” anyway? We used to be part of the Holy Roman Empire! – Shall we get back to Germanic/Teutonic clans to find out what our culture is? That would be absurd, culture is defined by the influence it got until now.)

Additionally people from other countries that work and live here don’t cost us money, instead they gather a 22 Billion Euro (German) surplus: Every foreigner – on average – pays 3.300 Euros more on tax and social contributions than they get from social benefits per year. On the other side there are people searching for asylum that don’t get offered basic care and food appropriate for children and no proper integration possibilities. They live in containers for months to wait for their asylum to be approved. They have no right to work, even if they could or wanted to. Foreigners often get work in Germany that is way below their qualifications. I rode taxis where the drivers studied architecture, medicine and even computer science but couldn’t find work in that field.

To live happily together and embrace the diversity of cultures, we need to go on the streets to support people that want to live here. We won’t win anything but fear, hate and racism if we want to turn back the clocks to the “good” old teutonic times.