My Alternative Social Media Sites Review

Eschewing Facebook has left me with some time to fill, and I’ve been trying to fill it with other social media. This is somewhat contrary to my goal, but there’s nothing out there so all-consuming as Facebook (for me), so thankfully, I am still forced to fill time in other ways. But there are still times when I’m left with a small gap to fill and nothing around but a phone, so I thought I’d do a little review of the other social media sites I have been using. By the way, Twitter will not be a part of this review because I hate it. I always have, I always will. It’s 140-characters of pure yawn. But on to other sites, like…


I only got access to Instagram last year when I finally made the transition to a smartphone. Instagram takes me about 40 seconds to check, unlike Facebook, which would take me 40 minutes. There isn’t as much activity on Instagram as Facebook, and I’ve also limited my following list. I like that Instagram’s feed is stable. None of the Facebook bullshit where you might see a post from a friend 18 hours after they posted it, 3 days, or not at all. Instagram posts are always there and always in the same order. Advertising exists but is minimal, and not so annoyingly click-baity, like Facebook’s ads. However, I don’t like the fact that all pictures must be cropped square. I’m not a professional photographer, but I don’t take my pictures with squares in mind and more often than not it ruins the composition. I’m also not really interested in playing with the filters.


I find pinterest useful but cluttered. For every fantastic idea I get, like putting the kid’s cups in baskets on a shelf that she can reach, I have to wade through 100 listicles. My recent favorite was, “7 ways to get the pee smell out of your bathroom.” I didn’t read it, because I’m pretty sure there’s just the one way. Clean. Anyway, I search for lots of things on Pinterest, including teaching ideas and recipes, but mostly I like looking at the pretty houses and trying to get ideas for my house. Ads exist but are minimal. And I can pin articles and other things I find on my own, on the world wide web at large, to my boards, so I can access them again. I find this incredibly handy. Pinterest seems to get more needy the more you use it, though. If I access it, then an hour later I inevitably have an e-mail about more things I should see. If you leave it alone, it leaves you alone.


I love the idea of Goodreads. A place to keep track of all your readings and reviews, and it doesn’t matter where you bought the book or if you borrowed it. The monthly Goodreads newsletters are ones I don’t mind getting, especially the section with new works by authors I’ve read. Occasionally they have interviews with authors that you don’t see elsewhere. Having said all that, I truly hate the Goodreads website. It is a disastrous mess of confusion. Trying to get a book on your shelf and leave a review is not intuitive. Trying to figure out something new is near impossible. It has a feature that you can set the date you started reading a book, but then it’s very difficult to get the book of your “currently reading” shelf if you abandon it. I finally found that option on the mobile app the other day, but I’ve got books on my list that I’ve been “reading” for four years, because there was no way to move or delete them. I set up a whole shelf called “abandoned,” only to realize that all books must be on one of the three main shelves (read, currently-reading, want-to-read) in addition to whatever shelves you create on your own. I’m trying to use the site now to keep track of all the wonderful reading I’m doing while I’m not checking Facebook, but probably at some point I will throw up my hands and say “forget it!” like I always do. There is a social component to Goodreads, in that you can see what your friends are reading or have read, but I don’t find this very interesting. It’s nice to know that friends are reading, but I don’t really care what they’re reading.


Bwahahahahahaha! Just kidding! I deleted my LinkedIn account a few months ago in an attempt to get them to stop frigging e-mailing me, and it seems to have worked. I have never been happier to take personal information offline.

Reddit, YouTube and the Rest

I guess I’m too old to be a real social media “guru.” I occasionally try to get into reddit, but I can’t. I actually found a subreddit devoted exclusively to tea, and even that couldn’t keep me hooked. I post the occasional video to YouTube for posterity and watch the occasional viral video, but that’s it. I’ve heard of Snapchat and Tumblr and Periscope, but I just…I just don’t care. They feel like the fads of a younger generation. They’ll burn bright and fast, and at the end of the day we’ll be left with Facebook, Twitter, and God-willing, an updated UI for the Goodreads site.

I think the way I feel about these social media sits, with varying degrees of interest but not addiction, is the way regular people feel about Facebook. It’s there, they use it, maybe sometimes they use it more than other times, but it’s just a website. Breaking the cycle has been good for me, and I hope to wind up in a place where Facebook holds the same allure as Instagram. It’s all right in a pinch. Facebook, by the way, doesn’t make it easy to quit. It hammers me with emails, several a day, telling me that I’ve missed a bunch of stuff and I should come back and see what’s going on. Imagine what an evil person you’d be if you were constantly trying to entice the local recovering alcoholic to your house with the promise of all the good drinks he’d been missing out on. Facebook knows it’s a monolith built on the shaky soil of social media. It is rightfully worried about the day people realize there are better ways to spend their time.


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My Things I Would’ve Said on Facebook

Well, it’s been a week since I have been on Facebook. I’ve done week-long cleanses before, but this time I’m going for the gold of a three-month hiatus. Facebook, by the way, gets very clingy if you don’t call for a few days. It starts sending out e-mails, trying to entice you back with news of notifications and messages. The whole thing reeks of desperation.

Not checking Facebook has freed up an enormous amount of time, but I have not been able to rid myself of the instinct to post to Facebook. So here are the things I would’ve probably said on Facebook this week.

First, I would’ve shared this cartoon because this is how, as a teacher, I felt all winter break and then the night before classes started up again.


Then there would have been several posts about Justified. Some would’ve said how good it was. Others would have been laments that now that I have binge-watched to my heart’s content, I have no more Justified to binge-watch. I might’ve tried to crowdsource suggestions from fellow Facebookers as to what series I should watch next, but this hasn’t been a very successful endeavor in the past, so probably best that I didn’t have access.

I would’ve shared the following picture of a very upsetting garlic toast mishap:


I also would’ve shared these pictures of the cat and the kid being adorable.

If I fits, I sits

If I fits, I sits


Sonja Selfie

And I would’ve said these things, without pictures.

-Sonja is making up a song which would be titled, “The chicken ran away from Christmas.”

-My desk goes from zero to berserk in 2 seconds flat.

-“I never think environmental hazards are going to kill me. I only think serial killers are.” From Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling.

-It turns out, when too stressed to think about what I should be eating every second of the day, I will eat nothing but cheese.

And there you have it. Phew! I feel better now.

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My 2015 Blogging Stats

For future reference, self.

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My DSP4 Playlist

The fourth installment of the DSP playlist.

Pay Attention Pomplamoose
Getting Better Beatles
If I Had $1000000 Barenaked Ladies
Cotton Fields Creedence Clearwater Revival
What About Me? Lake Street Dive
Mistletoe and Holly Frank Sinatra
Once in a Lifetime Talking Heads
These Lonely Nights Willie Nelson
The Wind Cat Stevens
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) Green Day
My Flea Has Dogs Caspar Babypants
Lump The Presidents of the USA
Happy Xmas (War is Over) John Lennon
Dedicated Follower of Fashion The Kinks
The Kind You Can’t Afford Madeleine Peyroux
Zombie Jamboree Rockapella
Spirit on the Water Bob Dylan
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch Thurl Ravenscroft
American Tune Paul Simon
Lover’s Prayer Randy Newman
The Longest Time Billy Joel
New Paul McCartney
Nobody Told Me John Lennon
Here Comes Santa Claus Gene Autry
Sleigh Ride The Ronettes
Good People Jack Johnson
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight Norah Jones
Put Your Records On Corinne Bailey Rae
Yeh Yeh They Might Be Giants
The Last Mall Steely Dan
The Underdog Spoon
Why Don’t You Get a Job* The Offspring

*Whoops, accidentally published two songs on the 28th.

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My Not-So-Simple Resolutions for a Simple 2016

Two days before Christmas, long after I swore I wouldn’t be leaving the house again until the new year, I found myself wandering the aisles of a grocery store, a petulant child crawling on the floor behind me and wailing that she didn’t want to walk anymore. A deep, dark voice came from the shadows. “Mom?” I was not entirely sure I was the person being addressed here, but I turned to see a heavy-set man in a hair net. “C-O-O-K-I-E?” he spell-asked me. I had to think. This was clearly not behavior that should be rewarded. However, at this point she had probably already seen the c-o-o-k-i-e, and it was a free coo… “Yes, no, maybe so?” the voice interrupted my thoughts. There is simply no time for contemplating parenting complexities in the dairy section. So I took the cookie. Though initially she screamed that she didn’t want it, shortly thereafter she reconsidered, started eating it and walked with me to the checkout. Continue reading

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My DSP 4: The Underdog

SongThe Underdog

Artist: Spoon

Year: 2007

Favorite Lyric: You got no time for the messenger
Got no regard for the thing that you don’t understand
You got no fear of the underdog
That’s why you will not survive

Significance: I heard this song in the movie Cloverfield. I liked it enough at the time to download it. It found its way back into my playlist this year and in heavy rotation. And it seemed like a fitting end for the year. Happy new year, everyone!


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My DSP 4: The Last Mall

SongThe Last Mall

Artist: Steely Dan

Year: 2003

Favorite Lyric: Roll your cart back up the aisle, kiss the checkout girls goodbye
Ride the ramp to the freeway beneath the blood orange sky
It’s last call to do your shopping
At the Last Mall

Significance: I think this song is both a prescient commentary on the soon-to-be-anachronistic shopping mall, as well as a veiled way for Steely Dan to say, “that’s all, folks.” Since we haven’t heard from anything new from then since the album on which this song appeared, it could be true. I’m posting it here, today, now, because this may be the “last mall” of the December Song Project.


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My 2015 Year-in-Review

Facebook promoted a personal year-in-review this year that I thought was kind of lame, as it only included ten pictures. Not even 12, Facebook? But it’s enough to jog one’s memory. Like many others before it, this year went by very quickly, but we seemed to do a lot. For instance, in…

January Continue reading

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My DSP 4: Yeh Yeh

SongYeh Yeh

Artist: They Might Be Giants

Year: 2001

Favorite Lyric: And then she asks me why don’t I come to her flat
And have some supper and let the evening pass by
Playing records, the sounds of groovy hi-fi
I say yeah yeah, that’s what I say, I say yeah yeah

Significance: They Might Be Giants was a very influential band to me when I was a teenager. So influential I almost never listen to them anymore. This cover of a 1965 hit by Georgie Fame is an exception. Incidentally, a while back I heard an episode of Slate’s “Working” podcast in which John Flansburgh, half of the main TMBG duo, was interviewed. It was enlightening.


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My DSP 4: Put Your Records On

SongPut Your Records On

Artist: Corinne Bailey Rae

Year: 2006

Favorite Lyric: Summer came like cinnamon, so sweet,
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete

Significance: This was a bit of a one-hit wonder that I heard on The Late Late Show when it still belonged to Craig Ferguson. Great find.


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