Facebook is Trying to Kill Me

“Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn’t any. But this wrongs the jackass.” -Mark Twain


(I set out to do something and end up wasting time.  So goes my job search and this blog.  Sorry.)

I have decided that Facebook is trying to kill me.

When I was an undergraduate in 2004, Facebook was something of a novel concept.  One of my college friends got on it early on, if I remember correctly.  Since I was a child, I never liked to jump on to the latest craze just because everyone else was doing it.  What’s the purpose?  What’s the logic?  I never saw Facebook as being all that great and I didn’t want to be on social media.  I hated social media.  It keeps you connected!  Sometimes you just want to be alone!  I was rather glad in the early 2000s to be without a cellphone since no one could call me.  What about privacy?  Mark Zuckerberg likely never thought about that, and, I admit, he gave me and my fellow Millennials what we wanted or what we thought we wanted… connection!

I can’t remember when I finally got on to Facebook, but it had to have been in the late 2000s.  At first, I did nothing except get a bare-bones account.  I just wanted a basic account so employers knew that I was out there.  One of my high school friends “friended” me.  Others then wanted to friend me.  All Hell broke loose.  My first reaction upon seeing the images of my long-lost high school friends was to say “OMG, they are bald, fat,.. and my age!” It was bizarre to see who was with who and who was doing what.  Almost everyone I knew from high school appeared to have married each other in what I called “high school incest.”  One former high school mate had an avatar chugging a 3-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.  Others where drinking away at bars.  Some were cursing away and ranting.  I knew very little about Facebook’s privacy settings; most didn’t and many today still don’t.  Between the machinations of some of my Facebook friends, the fear of prospective employers seeing their antics and attributing them to me, and Facebook’s general disregard for privacy, I erased my account on Quit Facebook Day in 2010.

A few years later, Facebook went public and started selling shares.  I have a small trading account and bought around 10 shares as a lark.  After a few more years, I sold the shares since I figured the company wasn’t going to last with its privacy concerns and the fact that fewer people were getting on it.  Facebook was becoming “old hat” and not adapting to meet the needs of both younger and older generations.  Also, I wanted money for a new computer, which may have not been the best of financial decisions.

Early this year, I started taking online courses that emphasized having a Facebook account to collaborate.  I researched the best way to create the most guarded and privacy friendly Facebook account possible.  Not all, but many of my old Facebook friends found me again, along with some new friends.  It amazed me how most had matured, had families, had good jobs, had houses, and had many adventures.  Most were still fat, bald, and, of course, my age.  I was content with this arrangement and I was assured that employers would find my Facebook page dull, but existent.

However, the months of friending people and delving deeper into Facebook has made me see its dark side.  Many post conservative political and religious messages blaring out across multiple groups and pages.  They can post their messages about their beliefs, but I would be scared to death of correcting their factual errors or announcing my own beliefs.  I’m left-wing and agnostic (if not atheist), and I doubt these friends would tolerate it since apparently “my kind” is destroying the United States like that Atheist-Muslim-Satanic-Indonesian-Kenyan who’s in the White House.  I have to live and work with these people offline and an online spat could have dire consequences.  I need a job and who knows if admitting having “liberal” beliefs on Facebook could shut down opportunities for me.  I could be over-exaggerating and overly cynical, but I don’t want a confrontation online or offline.  I try to avoid confrontation.  I thought the purpose of the Internet was to spread new ideas and encourage dialogue?  Instead, you have walled gardens of liked-mined individuals who distrust the opposite-minded, and you’ll certainly find that on Facebook.  At least one of my new Facebook friends, who I know offline, insists on putting up messages like “If you care about me, post this on your timeline” and pressures others to do it.  So far, I haven’t done it, but I wonder if my not doing it could cause the individual to become… unhinged?  Let’s not forget my own corollary to Godwin’s Law that any Facebook thread, no matter how innocuous the subject, will inevitably lead to a rage-induced free-for-all where everyone gets emotionally and psychologically wounded.   Never go to Facebook groups discussing your local schools or local obituaries.  Never!   I have learned the hard way!

All online communities and the Internet in general is full of the angry and the deranged.  That does not bother me the most.  What bothers me most is seeing my peers on Facebook succeeding.  I should be happy for them and the success in their lives.  I’m in my early 30s, and yet my peers have moved on to careers, marriages (even divorces), kids, property, traveling, and pets.  I have a very small job history with huge employment gaps and a graduate degree.  I’m proud of my accomplishments, yet that has not translated into employment success and the rewards that brings.  I planned on being a librarian, but now I’m looking at retail positions or anything else entry-level.  I feel like Skipper Dan.

I look at my Facebook peers and I wonder where I failed while they succeeded?  I never thought deeply about marriage and children, but as I grow older, those opportunities seem to slip away.  They used to see me as the intellectual guy that would be “most likely to succeed” and yet they have gone through several major adult milestones while I still live at home.   Jealousy does not serve anyone anything, and I work to move on.  Facebook is trying to kill me, but I am reminded that while I am fat and the same age as my Facebook peers, I still have my hair for the most part.

Rebirth

“Move over, God!  Prepare for rebirth!” -Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama, Rebirth (Episode 89)


Slowly, but surely, getting this blog back on track.  I have a few drafts being crafted over the next few days.  I don’t know how people blog multiple times a day.  It takes awhile for me to find a pocket of inspiration, only to drain it dry in a short period.

Now, I’ll have to remember where on earth everything is in my WordPress Dashboard…

The Art and Business of Book Covers

I took a graphic design class with a professional who made a living largely on designing book covers. The things you can do with Photoshop are phenomenal!

Longreads

When I moved out of my previous home, I donated more than three-fourths of my book collection because I was moving into a tiny space. I had no logical process for deciding which books I kept. Some were sentimental, with handwritten notes written inside; others were souvenirs I bought during my travels. These books seemed obvious to keep. Yet I was also inclined to keep hardcovers I’d never read or even opened, simply because the covers were attractive. All of these books, together, would represent my best self — the one I wanted to display on my shelves.

As I read more online, and since my physical shelf space has dramatically shrunk, I wonder: what makes an eye-catching, effective book cover? Which books will make the final cut?

Here are pieces I’ve enjoyed, new and old, about the art and business of book cover design.

1. “Judge This: The Power of First Impressions.” (Chip Kidd, Medium, June 2015)

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Never Enough Time

“The best laid plans of mice and men…and Henry Bemis…the small man in the glasses who wanted nothing but time. Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself. Mr. Henry Bemis…in the Twilight Zone.” -Rod Sterling, The Twilight Zone


There are days when I’m on top of the world and days when I’m at the bottom.  More the latter, it seems.

Honestly, where did everybody go?  I had minor surgery and concentrate so much on job searching, I’ve only just recently noticed several writers I followed on WordPress have either left or locked up their blogs to selected readers only.  Is there something going on with WordPress no one has told me about?  It’s like a scene from The Twilight Zone where a man wakes up and finds everyone gone.  I hope I don’t break my glasses.  Where ever you all have gone, I wish you well and hope you stay in touch!

My erratic and anxious mind makes it difficult to explain if I am doing well or not.  I have a hard time looking at my success and failures from an objective point-of-view.  I am still applying to jobs and it feels hopeless at times, yet I am getting interviews this year for the first time since 2007.  I have dozens of jobs on my Indeed.com list and I spend some days just staring at the list with the feeling I have no enthusiasm for any of these positions.  Sometimes I apply and sometimes I don’t apply at all.  Even the library positions provide me no zest.   My computer used to give me joy, but now I see it as just a job search kiosk.  Whether I get up early in the morning or sleep late well into the day, there’s never enough time.  I have a hard time having fun or enjoying anything until I’m assured of a job.  Ironically, this anxiety makes me postpone applying and I just surf the Net for hours.  It’s a Kobayashi Maru problem.  It’s June and I thought with my new vigor and job hunt strategy, I would at least have a part-time position now.

My job coach has encouraged me to apply to non-library jobs in addition to librarian jobs.  I’ve gotten several interviews for retail jobs, but I can’t help thinking that my bachelor and master degrees weigh against me in those positions.  It doesn’t help that I’m an introvert and I have trouble showing “enthusiasm” for anything, even if I genuinely enjoy it.  You just have to believe me when I say I want the position and would do my best at it.  My word is all I have.

The myth I’ve been told about libraries refusing to hire people with Master of Library Science (MLS) degrees due to pressure from the American Library Association (ALA) apparently isn’t true.  I have been getting calls and invites to interview for paraprofessional positions now.  The fact that they are considering me means something has changed in the library world.  In academic libraries in my area, you have to have an MLS for part-time positions.  A few years ago, even a year ago, this would have been alarming.  I’m not sure what the ALA thinks of these new developments, but I’m always glad the ALA gets proven wrong.  Being a ALA member certainly hasn’t given me an edge or opportunity.  There’s also a greater chance those in my position who got their degrees from the height of the Great Recession might have a chance at a job now.

It’s a mixed bag with this blog post.  Some hope and some despair.  It’s better than my last post, but it could be brighter.  I suppose things will get better in time.  I feel, though, there’s never enough time.  For anything.

 

Reference Desk: LIS Employment Resources

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one looking for library jobs. Maybe I’ll get lucky soon as well?

LibrarianShipwreck

Pirates. I’ve been back to work for a few weeks now. Which, fuck capitalism, but I got a kitty to feed.

Anyway, over the course of my five months unemployed and job hunting, I amassed quite a list of job ad aggregation websites. And some of you might benefit from my acquired knowledge. Look, it’s either that or overthrow the system. Take your pick.

*ahem* Right, back on subject. Most of these are US-centric & NYC-centric, for which I’m only a little sorry, since that’s where I live. They cover a range of LIS jobs, including archives & museums, and a few other related odds & ends.

  • ALA Joblist Several jobs posted a day, for all levels of experience, across the US & occasionally elsewhere. Of course, every other librarian is seeing those ads, too. Follow it on Twitter: @ALA_JobLIST
  • SAA Online Career Center Like with many other things, SAA…

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