Loren Davidson Rotating Header Image

May, 2018:

Okay, I give up. Sortakinda.

It’s possible that you might have actually noticed you haven’t heard from me here in a while. Or not; there’s so much going on out there that it’s easy to get distracted and not notice that someone you’re used to hearing from has been a bit quieter of late. Hell, *I* do that.

Anyway, back at the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to do something creative every single week, and to share that with you every week. And for the better part of four months…I succeeded.

However, for most of the last month…I haven’t been succeeding. Hell, I’ve been about half-dry, and some weeks I barely come up with four lines of possible lyrics.

So I’m just gonna own that I couldn’t make it the entire year. But I got several interesting and cool songs and a couple of passable songs out of it, and I managed to mostly keep that commitment for four months. And that’s better than I’ve ever done on something like that before.

And in the end…the only person I’m really out to beat is myself. :)

So the updates will likely be less frequent, unless I gear back up for another round and keep it going. Which is possible – if I can do four months once, I can do it again.

I didn’t post about it last week, but about a week ago I got a music idea and managed to get the essentials of it recorded before I ran out of idea and steam. Which to me is harder to do than just writing down lyrics or singing stuff into a pocket recorder. I managed to do a “prototype” in about an hour with underlying chords, the melody line I wanted, and I found a drum track/loop that works with it all. I need to go back and play with it some more, because I really do have ideas on how to finish it. It’ll be a calypso/soca instrumental number I’m calling “Rainbow Beach,” after a lovely place in St. Croix I got to spend some time last year. When I get a semi-finished version of it done, I’ll share it.

In the meantime…I also want to do an update to my mailing list, in which I’ll talk a bit about some of the cool things I’ve done the past few weeks, including a trip to Key West for Conch Republic Days and a couple of fun times I’ve spent with my musical friends.

And there will be more interesting songs, videos, and posts. The past few months have opened up some interesting creative doors for me, and I expect I’ll continue to explore beyond them.

Stay tuned.

Preparedness and the Internet

I got thrown into “Facebook Jail” today for the first time.

Personally, I’ve seen far worse stuff on FB than I got gigged for. I objected to someone calling me names and misgendering me, and I didn’t swear at them to do it. I filed a complaint, which likely goes to the Seventh Circle of Hell or some similar place – FB really doesn’t care how badly they inconvenience people, so long as they make their ad revenue targets. But that thing needed doing.

Oddly, I don’t contest their right to do that, or whatever else they want. It’s a free service, and we all blithely signed away our rights to our own content and online lives when we decided to have an account with them. They have the absolute power to shut you away from the fraction of your life that you’ve entrusted to them. For as long as they want.

But just so you know, let me tell you what FB jail looks like from the inside.

You can’t post. Obviously. You can’t even get a post in via your linked Twitter account. I don’t know about Instagram or other linked services.

You can’t “like” anything. I’m guessing you can’t even share stuff, but I didn’t try it.

And you can’t initiate or respond to messages in Messenger. No matter how serious.

It’s online government by Conan the Barbarian: Arbitrary rules, and absolutely no mercy. If your best friend dies and you don’t have the mundane contact info for their Next of Kin and you have info that said kin absolutely must have, they’re out of luck. If you run your business exclusively through FB, you can’t respond to orders, questions about orders, etc. You can’t update the regular stuff people expect you to update.

Granted, there should be consequences to violating rules of conduct. But when I see people engaging in obvious hate speech and not losing access, and I get gigged for something far less dire, when the rules *change* every time you turn around…it’s like trying to appease an abusive spouse. The goalposts keep moving, and no matter what you do, it’s never enough.

Enough of that. I’ll have access again sometime tomorrow, and I’m actually enjoying my respite from the negativity-charged wrestling match that FB has become. I’ve been dealing with food poisoning for a few days; I’ve already gotten used to eating and drinking a lot less than usual. This is just one more opportunity to try living for a bit without some of my usual habits and escapes. It’s kind of fun, actually. Liberating.

What I want to talk about is this: If all of your life is on FB or any other online service, what do you do if that service is taken away from you? How do you “route around the breakage?”

If it’s your business, how do you keep from losing it, or losing valuable income and customers?

If it’s friends and family or loved ones, how do you stay connected? What if your house burns down while you’re in FB jail; how do you get hold of people to help you? What if it happens while there’s a tornado or hurricane bearing down on you? What if you’re having a personal crisis and can’t get hold of your counselor or therapist because you only connect with them through FB?

Don’t laugh. The people who get hurt the worst in disasters are the ones who don’t believe it can happen to them. So take some time to think this through and come up with some possibilities for yourself.

Some thoughts:

1) If someone is sufficiently important to you that being disconnected from them would negatively impact your life or theirs, especially if something unexpected happens, have at least two (if not three) different ways of getting in touch with them, and they with you. This can be a phone number, an email address (yes, some people still use email), Skype, whatever. Make a list of who those people are in your life. Go through your phone contacts and/or your FB friends list if necessary, and then make sure you’ve got other ways to get hold of them.

2) If you’re running your business primarily on Facebook, get a website. Hosting sites are really cheap, and a lot of them will build your website for you or give you tools to do it yourself. Because of my music business, I’ve got a website, a blog site, Twitter, Reverbnation, my own domain with email addresses, and one or two other ways of getting info out to people that Facebook can never touch. If FB went away tomorrow, I’d lose connections for a while, but I have ways of eventually getting most of them back. And tomorrow I will be posting all of my links to FB for people to hopefully connect with.

3) Consider setting up an alternate social media site and/or an alternate way of sending and receiving messages. I’m checking out MeWe right now. Instagram works for some folks. Twitter still works for some. I think you can still get free email on Gmail, if you don’t mind Google snooping in your stuff. There are others.

4) If you get into the same situation I’m in, make sure you’ve got a friend or two who can post a note to your page for you. Not *as* you, because that doesn’t work right now. But make sure that at least some trusted friends can post stuff to your FB page. For a 24-hour ban I’m not bothering, but if it were longer than that, I’d email or text someone to do that for me.

We have placed our own heads into the wolf’s mouth. We can hardly do much if the wolf decides to bite.

(With apologies to the noble Wolf for the comparison.)