January 1, 2013

Changes for 2013

English: New Year's Day postcard mailed in 190...
English: New Year's Day postcard mailed in 1909. It reads: "A New Year's Resolution / Jan. 1st / Good Resolution / Each resolution that I make / My conscience surely troubles / Because I find they always break / As easy as Soap bubbles" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2013 is here. Happy New Year! I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions. I've tried them in the past and nearly always failed at them. What I haven't tried before is making some sort of a record of them to hold myself accountable. I'm going to try that now with a portion of my resolution for this year - the portion that pertains to my online activity. In this regard, there are three main things I've like to accomplish in 2013: spend less time online, reduce the level of aggravation I experience while online, and begin to take advantage of the wealth posts I've accumulated over the years.  

1. Spend Less Time Online

In order to meet my goal of spending less time online, a goal I have because there are other things I want to do (or need to do) more of offline, I am going to need to make a couple of changes. First, I need to free myself from some of what I've allowed to become obligations. I started this process by closing two of the three active Twitter accounts I've been using for some time. Besides my primary account (@vjack), I had two others: one for Mississippi Atheists and one for Red State Progressive. It was eating up too much time to maintain them, so they are gone.

Looking ahead, the first change of the new year will likely involve closing down my Red State Progressive blog. I haven't been particularly happy with it for some time, and I'd rather allocate the time elsewhere. It may stay up for another month or so, but probably not much longer than that. I have not decided how much longer I'll keep Mississippi Atheists going, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see it go sometime this year as well. As for Atheist Revolution, I have no plans to shut it down; however, I will almost certainly reduce my posting frequency a bit.

In addition to freeing myself from some of these obligations, I plan to find ways of using the time I do spend online more efficiently. I'm also considering how to use the many social media networks I use more efficiently. I've been trying some new tools and services in December, and I think some may be worth a look in 2013. If I find some I think are worth recommending, I'll certainly do so.  

2. Less Aggravation

I'm not talking here about the sort of useful anger than can inspire meaningful action but about the frustration that comes with dealing with people who are beyond reaching. I have been subjecting myself to entirely too much of this, and I don't think it is healthy. While I am still not interested in shielding myself from opposing views, I plan to reduce aggravation by not being so quick to engage trolls.

Since I started this blog in 2005, I've become quite accustomed to Christian trolls (i.e., those who monitor atheist material and then attempt to insert themselves into the interaction with ridiculous statements to create conflict). I know how to deal with them, and I rarely become aggravated while doing so. However, I still struggle with atheist trolls. It occurs to be that I do not need to enter into a pointless exchange every time some atheist decides to take it upon himself or herself to police the Internet against whatever offenses I have allegedly committed. In recent months, I've seen an increase in this behavior. Some atheists, usually but not always self-described feminists, seem to have nothing better to do than monitor Twitter in the hopes that they will find something at which to take offense. At this point, I see little reason to treat these atheist trolls differently than I treat their Christian counterparts.  

3. Learning From the Past

I'm hoping to dig into some of my vast archive of previous posts and see whether any are worth updating or revisiting in some other manner. Since my opinions on some issues have undoubtedly changed, I think it may be interesting to take a look back. As I do this, some amount of clean-up will be necessary. I know I have old posts that point to stories on other sites that no longer exist. I'd like to correct this where I find it.

As I have started to look back, I have already noticed a few examples of where I wrote a post or two with the goal of making it into a series, got sidetracked, and never finished. Perhaps it is time to dust off some of these projects and see if they are worth reviving.

If there is one thing I've learned from my own life and my blogging past, it is that I prefer to spend time building up the atheist community and helping others where I can than tearing down either religion or irrational atheists. I realize that some are not interested in constructive dialogue, but that does not mean that I must change to suit them. I hope to return to my roots a bit in 2013, remember why I started writing in the first place, and be truer to myself. As always, you are invited to come along for the ride.