Thanks Joe

I have had the privilege to follow the entirety of Joe Mauer’s career with the Minnesota Twins, which is to say his entire career. From the prodigy to the elder statesman on my favorite sports team, Joe has been nothing but a professional.

I have felt more sadness over his (potential) pending retirement than I would have thought, but it is only because of who he was both on and off the field. Looking back, had the knee injury not happened his rookie season and the concussions not caught up with him, I dare to think how great he would, universally, be considered.

While his teams didn’t bring home a World Series, I will always remember Joe Mauer, #7, one of the very best of his era and a legend wearing a Twins uniform.

Thanks Joe.

Social Media Changes

It was finally time to dig into my social media usage a little bit and make some changes. With that in mind, I have made, or will be making, the following changes:

  • Removed all Twitter apps and the main Facebook app from my phone
  • All access to Twitter and Facebook is handled through the web browser on an old-fashioned web browser
  • Looking to use my personal website for more writing and even sharing of information
  • Using Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Fosstodon as broadcast platforms instead of pure social media/communication platforms … and if you find me anywhere it will be on Fosstodon for now
  • Looking to RSS for viewing/consuming more of my news

Part of the reason behind the use of RSS is to curate a good number of feeds for high-quality content I want to read consistently. This will mean being “quick on the trigger” to remove feeds that I do not find valuable anymore.

That’s about it. So far I went the entire weekend without adding Twitter or Facebook back onto my phone. I am hoping this will continue and break me of some very terrible habits when it comes to social media and media consumption in general.

Small Isn’t Bad

Being smaller is not always a bad thing, or at least it doesn’t need to be. Too often I believe that we think that the massive size of something (service, company, etc.) is somehow intrinsically good instead of a tradeoff or a net negative.

This has come to the forefront recently as Twitter continues to devolve into various stages of anger and disillusionment, Google continues to drop the ball as it relates to some of their products (Hangouts Chat continues to disappoint), Facebook continues to act as an Internet overlord, and Apple has broken the $1 trillion market cap for the first time. These are all massive, large, huge, monstrous organizations.

Within the maelstrom small groups of people have been breaking off in various ways and finding new homes in smaller corners of the Internet and technology sphere. Some have moved back to their own blogs. Others have migrated to paid services like Micro.blog. Still others have started breaking off from the large social network services into smaller communities hosted on Slack or onto Mastodon instances.

I’m not going to get into what Mastodon is, but I have found a temporary respite over at Fosstodon and I am enjoying the smaller (just over 1000) community and the new people I am bumping into. I don’t know what the future will hold, but trying something new out has at least broken me of some of my worst habits when it comes to Twitter.

This brings me to the title of this post and how small isn’t bad. A good portion of my “growing up” on the Internet focused on participating on writing forums focused on Star Trek. While I thought the community was large, it was tiny in comparison to the Twitters and Facebooks of the world. However, I was able to meet and talk with a more diverse group of people when we were all gathered around the subject of Star Trek than I ever have on Twitter.

I was also able to have considerably better relationships with those people, in whatever way and extent that can happen over the Internet. I even met a few face-to-face after years of talking only on those forums!

These smaller communities might be just what the Internet needs today. Allow people to break off into smaller groups, enable individuals within those groups to also converse with individuals from other groups and see what forms from there. Mastodon enables that, even though it is not perfect, and I am excited to see what that federated concept might be able to do in the future.

Maybe, just maybe, it can help us all to break things down into smaller chunks so that we can work within our limitations.

Following the Loons

I did not follow soccer at all growing up.

However, with Minnesota United FC starting its second season and my oldest son showing a little bit of an interest in soccer, it has been fun to watch the game a little more closely and start following the local team as well. It was also a World Cup year, so I was able to get updates on the day’s games from my two older sons as they followed the action in the afternoon.

One thing I have benefitted from has been my age as I am able to watch the game itself with a new set of eyes. Where in the past I might have seen nothing more than some (a lot) of running, now I pay more attention to the little things going on around the entire pitch. There is a lot going on away from the ball, and sometimes there is a lot more to enjoy when watching for the entire build up to something happening instead of focusing only on where the ball is.

So it has been a fun season so far, with three straight wins and 9 straight points. I am hoping the new additions will bring some more dynamism and that Darwin Quintero continues to find his extremely exciting niche in the league.