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Pace Facebook, Pace Twitter!

That’s pace, as in the Latin word for peace. Lordie, can those platforms be NUISANCEY!

The constant tide of “notifications” from Facebook and Twitter has taken to filling up my email inbox. Derailing these junk messages (“Olivia Boxankle commented on your comment to her comment!” “Wish Julia Neverheardofher a happy birthday!”) has turned into a BIG, time-consuming job.

Apple’s mail program has an inscrutably complicated method (if “method” it is) of dealing with nuisance mail. Instead of consigning suspect messages and messages from senders you’ve already flagged to one junk mail folder, it has a “Junk” folder and also a “Trash” folder. Exactly why some incoming goes to “Junk” while others go to “Trash” is opaque, and as far as I can tell, there’s no consistent way to clue MacMail as to where you want which flak messages to go. You can tag certain senders or subject matter as junk or trash, but the result isn’t reliable: it doesn’t always work the way you think it’s going to.

The result is that every few days, you get hundreds of messages consigned more or less randomly to these two folders.

And, just like Gmail and Outlook, MacMail often relegates legitimate messages from real, live senders — friends and clients and vendors — to “Junk.”

This means messages that you need or want to see often get submerged in the tsunami of incoming debris. And that means you have to scroll tediously through scores and scores of meaningless emails — in not one but two mailboxes — trying to catch one or two messages that matter.

Every few days I shovel out these mailboxes, confronting something over 200 messages in one and something over 100 in the other — not counting the ones that get through to the legitimate inbox. That’s THREE TO FOUR HUNDRED messages to have to review!

You wanna talk about time sucks?

Sick and tired of combing through this monumental nuisance, I realized that about 98% of the debris comes from Facebook or Twitter in the form of “notifications” flagging incoming comments or messages.

I use Facebook and Twitter primarily to publicize my blogs and try to peddle my books. Some years ago, a very clever Web guru — since retired — set up Facebook so that posts at Funny about Money (which was monetized at the time) would automatically post to Facebook. FB figured this out and brought a stop to it, so you can no longer do that — you have to jump through a series of third-party hoops, a process that’s rather too ditzily techie and annoying for me to be bothered with. So these days I manually link to FaM at Facebook.

Physically going there for that purpose leads me to browse through friends’ and enemies’ posts — amusing enough, but still: a time suck of the first water.

The appeal of Twitter escapes me. I cannot think of anything more boring or stupid than Twaddle posts. So it wastes less of my time…but still, it does take time to go there, post a link, find and post an image, and dream up a “tweet” to try to lure readers over…probably fruitlessly, if they find the platform as meaningful as I do.

It’s pretty easy to turn off “notifications” from Facebook and from Twitter. In both cases, it involves hoop-jumps. And in neither case is the “off” function 100% effective. But it cuts off most of the flow of electronic chatter the two platforms dump into your in-box. Facebook’s “off” function seems to be a little more effective than Twitter’s — I’m still getting some trash from Twaddle, but effectively none from FB.

So. At this point I’ve made myself kind of semi-demi-off those two platforms. To some degree, I’ll be able to view friends’ posts and comments at my convenience, not at some machine’s.

And one aspect of the intrusive dystopia we occupy these days is rendered partially under control.

4 thoughts on “Pace Facebook, Pace Twitter!”

  1. I can’t speak for Twitter, but if Facebook is still sending you any mail at all, you’ve missed a setting. I never receive any mail from Facebook.

    • The myriad “off” settings I clicked yesterday at Facebook worked to a great degree. But this morning I still got a couple of “notifications” in response to a friend replying to some reply I’d made to a reply from her to a reply from me on one of her posts. 😀 Twitter was MUCH easier to turn off. Apparently Facebook is constructed specifically to pull you into its net and not let you out…I lost track of how many “off” buttons I clicked, at several FB pages.

  2. I personally enjoy Twitter quite a bit. There can be a lot of clever quips, and it’s an easy way to keep up on other friends’ (read: PF bloggers) days/lives. Plus it’s a way for me to see blog posts I might have otherwise missed/remind me to go check some of the blogs I read on an allegedly regular basis but often space out on if not reminded.

    Sorry your inbox/junk/trash folders are getting flooded. I guess my friends are relatively boring because I only get an email from Facebook when someone tags me or posts a new photo. The latter is admittedly a little annoying, but I’ll live.

    • I suspect younger people prefer Twitter because your minds are still more agile than ours — by “ours” I mean “us old bats.” Maybe because of the way my account is set up (or not set up), Twitter feels like an undifferentiated flow of bleats to me — it’s radically gestalt.

      The torrent of email notifications from FB feels much the same as a Twitter feed, if you don’t keep it under control. That may be why having it flow into the email in-box feels…well…radically gestalt.

      Some people are good power users of Twitter, though. Occasionally I come across tweeteries from Revanche, and you can see she uses it very effectively, allowing her to keep up with friends and also to keep “present” to them. It’s a skill, no question of that.

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