Following and friends

Anyone who’s interacted with me for any significant period of time will tell you that I pretty much suck at replying to email, keeping up with things, keeping up with people.

I have gotten slightly better at this lately, with my new technique: push almost everything away from me, allow the rest to slip through the cracks, and constantly adjust the cracks as needed.

For this, I have come to rely on two things: virtually ignoring everything by forcing myself to read my email through a dated web UI and Firefox’s app tabs feature — with this, I can quickly check things if needed, but can mostly ignore things too.

You won’t find me on Facebook, unless you really look hard. Even then, it’s not me. Honest.

For identi.ca, where I only read/reply to responses, and Twitter, where I constantly prune down the people I follow, this is also a challenge, yet still better than the Facebook metaphor of ‘Friends’ — while some of the people I follow are my friends, many are people I don’t know. Conversely, I am not following many of the people I do know… why? Because I know them, I don’t need to see their lives in 160-character updates. Most of the people I’m interested in seeing short posts from are the kind of people I’d subscribe to on an RSS reader if that wasn’t a lost cause to me.

Using RSS, like podcast subscriptions and not eating Skittles is one of those things I would like to eventually do, but won’t, because the interfaces are just too cumbersome.

If I’m not following you, or I stop following you, or I don’t reply to your emails, or phone calls… it’s not that I hate you, but probably more that I’m relying on you a little bit to not hate me for doing it. I probably will reply to your text messages.

At least for now.

As my website says:

  • If you sent me something and I didn’t reply within about five days, send it again.
  • If you’ve sent me email, and I haven’t responded, there are three likely causes. Either I did send a response, and your system bounced it due to a misconfigured anti-spam filter; or my own email sorting system has decided you aren’t interesting; or I haven’t gotten to your message yet.
  • If you’re a friend and you’ve tried emailing twice, it’s probably one of our mail handling systems. I suggest phoning me.
  • Failing all this, if you are convinced I am ignoring you, it’s probably true.

Posted by Matt Lee

Artist, writer, director and recovering free software user.

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