December 31, 2013

Reviewing My Progress in 2013

English: Home made by John Heckathorn (Grandfa...
English: Home made by John Heckathorn (Grandfather) Wilmington, NC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On January 1, 2013, I wrote a post noting three changes I hoped to implement in 2013 with regard to Atheist Revolution and how I spend my time online. I've never been much of a fan of New Year's resolutions, but I thought that I'd give this a try anyway. I'm happy to say that I've been very successful with two of the three and partially successful with the other one. It is time to take another look at the list, review my progress, and identify areas for continued improvement.

My list was:
  1. Spend less time online and make better use of the time I do spend online.
  2. Reduce aggravation by not being so quick to engage trolls and others who contribute nothing besides annoyance.
  3. Do a better job of utilizing past posts, revisiting some that deserve another look.
Item #1 is the one where I must describe my success as partial. I really haven't managed to spend much less time online. I have reduced it some but not as much as I had hoped for. What I have managed to do here is use my time much better when I'm online. Shutting down two Twitter accounts in 2012 helped, but it wasn't enough. In 2013, I followed through with my plan to close one of my other blogs. I also started using Buffer, and that has been a real help in limiting my use of social media.

Item #2 has been a smashing success. I've stopped engaging trolls reflexively, and this has made a huge difference in reducing aggravation. The key, and it pains me to say this, is that I have learned that view atheist trolls are not appreciably different from their Christian counterparts. They are every bit as irrational, can be every bit as vile, and the time I spend interacting with them seems every bit as wasted. So I've given myself permission not to do so, and that has made my online experience far more enjoyable. When I find someone's behavior objectionable, I unfollow them and don't give it a second thought. Aggravation greatly reduced.

Item #3 has required the most sustained effort and much work remains, but I am off to a good start. I've been using social media to revive some of the old posts that deserve it. I've also found a few series I plan to resume and have fixed quite a few broken links. The fact that so much of this sort of work remains is actually a source of encouragement because it shows me that I'm unlikely to run out of ideas any time soon. Even if nothing much has been happening I want to write about, there are plenty of topics worth revisiting.

I ended the post about what I hoped to accomplish in 2013 with the following:
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.
Despite a few missteps here and there, I think I generally managed to do this in 2013. I'm looking forward to continuing on this path in 2014. None of this means that I will ignore conflict where it is relevant or stop criticizing bad behavior; it means that there will continue to be some balance and attention to my priorities.